Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Not all those who wander are lost.

                                        ( After, hay-on-wye and the golden valley)
Everything can be suddenly changed,
the crazy doodles of the heart,
among valleys, under trees,
find smooth tempered words,
make up for the lengths, that we take,
to hide ourselves, from minds archive,
with  distracted voices of calmness,
we can leave a trail of thought,
follow the untethered leaf,
and later make a poem,
under the muttering sky,
catch the stars falling,
being grateful that,
we can still breathe.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

In the Presence of the Holy See

So the Pope is visiting Palestine today. Above are a wonderful set of collages to remind  him - or inform him, if he doesn't yet know - of how the Israeli  occupation daily commits  crimes against the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian  Museum has launched  this project  in honour of his visit. Banners  combining recent media photographs of the Palestinian landscape and its people with Western baroque  paintings of biblical scenes will decorate Manger square in Bethlehem, highlighting the tension between the popular image of the Holy Land and Palestine's ongoing history of suffering under occupation  and oppression.
My hope is that he uses his visit to speak out against the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people.

More details here:-

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Why not to vote - Shane Jansen-bowen


Some valid, coherent, thoughts from guest contributor in anticipation of tomorrows European election or any other in fact.

Don't vote, don't even think about voting. Don't  worry that not  voting is a wasted opportunity.
Don't reach for the people died so that you can vote justification. Don't believe that there is hope from NEW government. Just think  for a moment. Politicians ARE dishonest. A broad generalisation I know, but a stereotype that has been proven  in its rigorous Westminster playground over and over.
Have you noticed in the past that laws that have been passed have improved things.
What do politicians actually do? How much do they really get paid when you add up all the benefits they receive? How does your income  reflect their income? Well  there is plenty of info on all that crap out there so I will assume you know this shit.
Why are some people poor? That's a valid question. Farmers, factories, mass production techniques mean that one man can provide for 1000's so why is everyone poor?
A builder will make 100's of houses in his lifetime, why  is anyone without a roof? A person goes down to the stream to drink. Someone else brings a bucket so many can drink. A well, a dam, a desalination plant. You get my flow.
No one should ever be thirsty. Why are we? Because we have the same system of governance that we have had for millennia. It's called a hierarchy. This system is holding humanity in stasis, preventing the next evolutionary step. A step for both the freedom of the individual and the chance at global community.
You generally make a choice between the red and the blue, why? It would be easy to show with 'prove anything' statistics that for the majority, party X was more favourable than party Y but you are missing the point. We say 'the lesser of two evils'., we joke about it. It's not very bloody funny. Any vote is going to result in a negative outcome, so don't.
I do propose anarchy, the type where you sit on your but and ignore the powerful, just like you would with a child that was having a tantrum. Politicians allow people to die, they cause wars, they sponsor greed and they do this in your name because you voted for that. You paid for children to die. The action of your representative, in your name, with your signature have caused untold misery. These people are insane and you allow this insanity to grow and fester into depravity.
Name me a good man, one that never got angry, never did anything wrong, compassionate one with no flies. All those names you're thinking, are you sure they were never a soldier, are you sure they were not misogynistic, held views that were popular but not bigoted against some faction.
We are not perfect and voting for someone to be in charge is crazy, we don't need managing, we don't need direction. We just need compassion and a willingness to help each other. Most of us already have that. So ask yourself just what does the government do for you or anyone you know? Do they really help you?
What does that friend of yours do for you? ..... Yeah! They do make a difference.
We have civil servants, we don't need government.
Don't vote.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Max Ernst (2/4/1891- 1/4/76) - Profanation of Spring

Even today Surrealism captures the imagination, with surprising force. Max Ernst, German painter, artist and poet was one of its primary forces. I am a great admirer of his work. In his painting Profanation of Spring painted in 1945 with its rich, bizarre portrayal he displays his fascination with the natural environment. Bulging-eyed insects. larval forms and subterranean anthropods, lurking in a dense web of decaying vegetation and murky humus.
Unlike Rousseau's jungle -like charm though  it had far more deeper, sinister implications, as Jon Russell  described  his paintings  of the 1940's (in Max Ernst: Life and Work, New York , 1967) it was to become one of his 'portraits of dissolution, panoramas of a world gone soft,'
Events of the day also weighed heavily on Ernst's thoughts, during this period. Nazi Germany had surrendered unconditionally to the allies on 8 May 1945. One might optimistically think that this  springtime victory over the forces of darkness as the auspicious beginning for a season of rebirth and renewal in devastated Europe. During the final weeks of the war, however, and following its conclusion, with the horrors of the death camps, and the sheer magnitude of Nazi genocide that became apparent to all, this may be the desecration of the life-affirming symbolism of spring to which Ernst alludes to in his title.
As the spectre of fascism lurks over Europe again, Ernst reminds me not to forget, as Spring smiles and awakes, the sense of foreboding menace and its jackboots are still stamping their feet, and raising their ugly voices. Deep in the undergrowth, sadly visible again.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Month of May - Irish, author unkown; .ninth century

May it is
fair faced and gentle
blackbirds exult at the crack of day

cuckoos' work greets lordly summer
a balm it is for every bitterness
hedge-green bristle the branching boughs

summer shallows
thirsty herds hasten there
heather's hair sprouts
bog cotton flourishes

tides of smoothness
the ocean drowses
flowers decorate the world

bees bear their weight of harvest
high hills call the cows
the ant feasts

harp of the trees hums and soothes
colour reposes on each slope
haze upon the brimming lake

the corn-crake croaks on, merciless poet
pure falls fall to the warm pool
rushes regain their voices of whispers
swallows soar and dart above

ardent music rings the hill
fruit of sweetness is in the bud
the dusty cuckoo cries and calls

speckled fish are at their leaping
strength of on the swift hero
strength of man is in full flower
majesty of heights unmarred
fair are the woods from root to twig

fair each fresh and fertile field
ever pleasant the garb of spring
winter gales past and gone

cheerfulness on every grove
restful, happy, sunlit time
flutterings of birds  flock down
green fields full of answerings
where the busy water sparkles

a passion sparks for the racing of horses
where warriors are arrayed
rich verges on the cattle pool
lend gold to the iris flower

shy unyielding lark
the burden of your song is clear
bonny serene May is perfect

Reprinted from :-
The Craneskin Bag;
Celtic Stories and Poems
as told and sung by Robin Williamson
Canongate, 1989

Friday, 16 May 2014

If I were taken into custody by the authorities in my Country I am confident that I would be safe from torture.

How safe would  you fell if you were taken into custody?
Shockingly nearly 80% of people asked  in Britain don't feel safe from torture if they were arrested.
Enough is enough, join the campaign and help Amnesty International stop torture.
We need to send a message to two faced governments to stick to their promises.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Tony Conran (7/4/31 -14/7/13) - Becca At The Gate

On the 175th anniversary this week of the Rebecca Riots thought I'd post this poem written by the late great Tony Conran, for the late Paul Davies, founder of the Becca group of artists, that was named after 19th Century Rebecca Riots against tollgates that were seen as symbols of oppression.A movement that sweeped my local  countryside, a popular uprising of the oppressed peasantry. By night the countryside seemed qiet, but at night fantastically disguised horsemen careered  along highways and through narrow lanes on their  rebellious quests ,an inspiring uprising that is still remembered as one of the most famous and striking protest movements in modern Welsh history.That still strikes the imagination in our hearts,minds and deeds.

Rebecca Riots remembered:-

Becca At The Gate

You saw them shouting at Efailwen,
Preseli men round Mynachlog Ddu,
Swains of Llangolmen and Maenchlochog,
Farmhands, greybacks at Llandysilio -

You saw the wrath of Twm Carnabwth
The house-in-a-night man, who put stones
Round a hearth, a roof and a chimney
And a good fire alight by the morning

Gunfire and horsehooves in the darkness
And you saw Rebecca at the gate-
Red petticoats over ploughman's boots,
Bonnets and shawls, tall hats of women.

You were at the hosting at St Clears
Blackfaced on  steeds round about Pwll Trap.
You saw the old bent Becca hobbling
Up to the gate, stooped on a thorn stick.

You saw the stick feel in front of her.
"Daughters, there's something put up here
Across the road, I cannot go on."
Hundreds shouted, "Mother, what is it?"

Nothing should bar your path, old Mother-
Not a great gate, nor bolted custom ,
Nor opportunities taken away,
The theft that is wealth, or dumb respect.

You were with wassailers by moonlight
On familiar ground, under the stars.
Her cry rang out " Children, off with it,
Break  the gate down, it's no business here."

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Explosion in Turkey : Capitalism kills

A woman cries at the scene of one of  the explosion sites, after several explosion sites killed at least 200 people and injured over 80  at a mine in Soma, in the Western Turkish province of Manisa. Most deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are reports  of over  400 trapped underground. Imagine  this had taken place in a Parliament building and the dead and trapped people were politicians, imagine the media frenzy ...Yes exactly.
Miners  have blamed the disaster  on the absence of safety procedures  and the drive for profit at the massive mine. It is to me another case of work murder, where workers are forced to work in sites  in illegal, irregular, unsafe and  unhealthy conditions.
Those who try to protect their wealth  by saying 'profit and capital first', rather than 'People first' share responsibility for these murders. Turkey  has lost  many other workers like  this in similar accidents because of  their bosses thirst for profit and casual disregard for safety procedures, but this is the worst disaster for decades and is now being regarded as a catastrophe. To say that I am angry is an underestimate, at the end of the day, again and again  CAPITALISM KILLS.
All part of a system designed to maximise profit and create obscene  amounts of wealth for a privileged minority and consigning millions to a life of hardship and misery.
My thoughts go out to the victims, and the survivors, their families and those who are left to mourn.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Palestine Through the eyes of Photography

Hamde Abu Rahman is an award winning Palestinian photojournalist, activist and journalist and author of the photo book 'Roots Run Deep - Life in Occupied Palestine, a beautiful gem of a book, in which the photographer tells us ' left my work and studies to move back  to the West Bank to help my people and document the truth about  our struggle  against the illegal occupation of our land.' The book is dedicated to his cousin Bassem  who was shot and killed by Israeli  occupation forces during one of the weekly demonstrations at Bi'lin caprured so brilliantly in the Oscar-nominated  film Five Broken Cameras.
The book has been published privately, but I hope that   it gets to be seen by as many people as possible,  Hamde uses his photography powerfully to express what is going on under occupation, with beauty and insight, creativity,  allowing us to witness the steadfastness of Palestinians living in the West Bank. A truly powerful and moving book.
You can order the book here.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Eternities Dream


Let's go into worlds unknown
where we can search again  for humanity's glow,
a place where things can be forever regained
warmth and affection raining down  
Words growing on branches of love and passion
spinning tops of renewal and survival,
barriers becoming invisible again
as the world in slumber bathes,
fertile crescents shining on mountain tops
oppression and exploitation passing,
into passionate hands flowers bloom
delicate voices abandon anxiety,
having rid themselves of tyranny
despots, dictators, oppressors,
each morning waking to unity's exhaltation
universe surrounds us with multitudes of strength,
communal blankets wrap round protection
embers flicker with imagination,
glistening with eternities dream
our flames of hope, flicker with life,
every word released is magical
we flow as one, as we scratch the sky.  

Friday, 9 May 2014

Terence Mckenna (16/6/46 - 3/3/00) - Reclaim your mind

" Catalyst to say what has never been said. To see  what has never been seen. To draw, paint, sing, sculpt, dance and act what has never been done. To push  the envelope of creativity and language. And  what's really  important  is. I call it the 'felt presence of direct experience'. Which is a fancy term which just simply means we  have to stop consuming our culture.
We have to create culture. Don't watch T.V. Don't read magazines. Don't even listen to NPR (radio). Create your own roadshow.
The nexus of space and time, where you are now, is the most immediate sector of your universe. And if you are worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered. You're giving  it all away to icons, icons which are maintained  by an electronic medium so that, you know, you wanna dress like X or have lips like Y or something. This is shit brained, this kind of thinking.
That is all cultural diversion. And what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs.your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears.  And we are told 'No'. we're unimportant, we're peripheral, get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that - and then you're a player. You don't even want to play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world. Where is that?"

Any regulars to this blog, will notice that I have returned to Mr McKenna's  work several times over the years, but to anyone new, I strongly suggest you seeking out his work, always a treat to read. His life an endless search for mindblowing possibilities,  a perpetual quest of comtemplated consciousness,  psychonaut, teacher, writer, researcher.
Before anyone comments, not that may people do, the above quote does come across a little contradictary, this sadly is life, also mentions two people  that are not that relevent to the present age
replace them and I think it is applicable to anybody.
We still live daily in atmospheres of complete hypocrisy.
At the end of the day I guess  we all, need to learn again how to do it ourselves..

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners on hunger strike.

Nearly all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails involving aproximately 2,000 political prisoners  have gone on hunger strike today, in solidarity with  administrative detainess who have been on hunger strike for nearly 2 weeks.
Administration detention is an Israeli policy under which Palestinians are held without  trial or charge  for one to 6 months. This periond can be extended to up to 5 years by an Israeli military court.
The current  protests can  be traced  back to May 2012,  when an agreement was  reached between the Israel prison service and representatives of the prisoners, which  brought an end to a previous hunger strike. At the time Israel agreed to limit its use of administrative detention to only exceptional cicumstances, but since then  they have  reneged on this deal and has  continued  to use administrative  detention on a systematic basis which has left the detainess  with little option  than to launch  a fresh strike.
Incidentally this is a lot of people imprisoned unjustly,surely the Israeli government can't imprison the whole Palestinian population to silence them? To many people this sadly appears to be the case.
Amnesty International has long campaigned against Administration detention's use  which effectively sees  Palestinian prisoners  being starved of justice.
Yet again these practices contravene Israel's obligations under international human rights law and international human law.
Today I support the Palestinian prisoners hunger strike in opposition to inhumane prison conditions and Israel's practice of detaining Palestinians without charge. It is more than time that the use of Administrative detention is ended.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Bring Back Our Girls


There have been global protests across the world in response  to a global social media campaign, fot the Nigerian government to  do more to rescue more than 200 schoolgirls  forcibly taken from a Northern boarding school in Nigeria, on April 14th  by Islamic militants. The girls   that wee abducted live in a region that has the  lowest  girl child enrolment in Nigeria. They were  taken and abducted   by Boko Haran, simply because  they wanted an education. 
The #BringBackOurGirls  hashtag  is keeping the story in the media lens. If it stays in  the media hopefully the Nigerian government will be forced to act. These girls are children of the poor, in Nigeria's deeply inegalitarian society and  must be saved. This tragedy touches the hearts of everyone, evoking a feeling  of revulsion, at their loss of freedom, their right to education. and the mistaken  assumption that  for these young girls their destination must be forced marriage and servitude.
Whatever mantra this militant group is following it is not  following the words of the Koran. The prophet Muhammed  categorically stated during his lifetime that women or children were never to be harmed under any situation that "oppression is worse than murder  (2:191)) and  that nobody "shall  force girls to commit prostitution." (24:33)
We must though stand in solidarity with these missing school children and any other woman around the world who continues  to fight for their basic human rights ,we  however must be careful of western intervention, we should remember that it is the Wests interests in Africa that has helped foster and spread this dangerous  misinterpretation and corruption of  Islam.
We must continue  to listen to what the  families and thinkers, the professionals  on the frontlines of this crisis have to say.
At the end of the day it is the people of Nigeria that has to find the answers, a troubled area   already, with their own backdrop of corruption and inequality. we do not want to  add to their problems and hasten a scenario that could result in a African Afghanistan.
We can continue to express our anger and frustration, and hope that the Nigerian government finds these girls, and they are taken from harms way and back into safety.
We should not forget many other innocent people who dissapear every day as well, migrants who drown seeking a better life, innocents  killed by remote control drones,  injustices daily incurring across the globe, in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, in all corners of the globe that sadly do not warrant the same headlines, all innocence is worth protecting.


Monday, 5 May 2014

The True Little Tramp

In February 1914, in  a time  of economic turmoil and international conflict, Charlie Chaplin walked into screens for the very first time as the beloved Little Tramp character, 100 years later, with homelessness on the rise, massive cuts to  social security, and an uncaring government trying deperately to drag the country  to war once more, Jack Brindell and friends consider what the Tramp's legacy can teach us in modern times.

My earlier post on Chaplin can be found here:-

Charlie Chaplin - Citizen of the World


Saturday, 3 May 2014

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and Nick Mason: Why Rolling Stones shouldn't play in Israel

Like many other musicians across the world, two former members of Pink Floyd Roger Waters and Nick Mason made this call in an op-ed that was published in
 in relation to Israel's systematic violations of the rights of millions of Palestinians,  heeding to the recent appeal made by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committe and plans of the Rolling Stones to play in Tel Aviv in June.

" Playing Israel now is the moral eqivalent of playing Sun City at the height  of South African apartheid, regardless of your intentions, crossing the  picket line provides propoganda that the Israeli  government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies  of its unjust and racist  regime."

Definition of apartheid: from the findings of Russell Tribunal on Palestine - Daniel Machover, Michael Mansfield lawyer and experts on international law and human rights.

The legal definition  of apartheid applies to any situation anywhere in the world where the following three  core elements exist:

(1) that two distinct racial groups can be identified;

(2) that 'inhuman acts' are committed against the sunordinate group; and

(3) that such acts are committed systematically in the context of an institutionalised regime  of domination by one group  over the other.

On July 30 2013 Israel and Palestine agreed to enter a negotiation process of nine months in order to achieve  a final staus agreement. With the active  sponsorship of the United States and encouragement from the  rest of the international community, all final status issues were supposed to be discussed, in order to achieve a two-state solution  on the 1967 border. However rather than achieve a final status agreement, Israeli occupation and colonization  policies were increased advancing settlement units for over 50,000 settlers during the past nine months.
In open violation  of international law and its own obligations, Israel, the occupying power continues its policies of aggression against the people of Palestine, killing dozens of Palestinians, injuring and detaining thousands, demoloshing homes, and carrying out thousands of military incursions within the occupied areas.
At the same time, Israels government incites against the Palestinian people, the Palestinian leadership, the two-state solution and the international  efforts being made in orderto achieve peace.
I believe there is nothing joyous or light hearted in a musical gig, when daily life under occupation, and all aspects of Palestinian lives are under control,the Palestinian people daily  denied basic freedoms, like the freedom of movement, access to land that has been stolen, and the freedom to protest against injustice, against repression. Whilst this is the case in question,  I do not believe it ok or right for musicians like the Rolling Stones, Neil Young etc to play concerts in Israel,under circumstances that seek to normalise the occupation.I believe musicians should continue to back the boycott until their is justice and equality for all.

There is a petition that is circulating that I would urge people to sign below asking the Rolling Stones to cancel their show.
I would be grateful that anyone visiting here could sign.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Worker's Maypole - Walter Crane (1845-1915) Happy May Day

Today I remember May Day. The origins of which can be traced back to 1886, and Haymarket where people were shot down, which led to us having the 8-hour day. The sacrifice of so many people  down the years also cannot simply be forgotten.
Today across the world people embrace the ideals of the Haymarket Martyrs, who were ruthlessly gunned down, and those who established this day as an International Workers Day.
And still today the powers that be seek to crush and repress workers who organise, try to divide, silence peoples voices, but I believe in all sincerity  it is impossible to drown the spirits of those who struggle, who daily show fierce resistance.
Solidarity , heddwch/peace, and remember an injury to one is an injury to all. Even where there is no work, we stand together.

The Worker's Maypole

World workers, whatever may bind ye,
This day let your work be undone:
Cast the clouds of the winter behind ye,
And come forth and be glad in the sun.

Now again while the green earth rejoices
In the bud and blossom of May
Lift up your hearts up again, and your voices,
and keep merry the World's Labour Day.

Let the winds lift your banners from far lands
With a message of strife and hope:
Raise the Maypole aloft with its garlands
That gathers its cause in its scope.

It is writ on each ribbon that flies
That flutters from fair Freedom's heart:
If still far be the crown and the prize
In its winning may each take a part.

Your cause is the hope of the world
In your strife is the life of the race,
The workers' flag Freedom unfurled
Is the veil of the bright future's face.

Be ye many or few drawn together,
Let your message be clear on this day;
Be ye birds of the spring, of one feather
In this - that ye sing on May Day.

Of the new life that still lieth hidden,
Through its shadow is cast before;
The new birth of  hope that unbidden
Surely comes, as the sea to the shore.

Stand fast, then, Oh Workers,your ground,
Together pull, strong and united:
Like your hands like a chain the world round,
If you will that your hopes be required.

When the World's Workers, sisters and brothers,
Shall build, in the new coming years,
A lair house of life - not for others,
For the earth and its fullness is theirs.

Happy Beltane too
May your baskets be overflowing