Friday, 29 August 2014

Some aphorisms from the diaries of Mark Twain on my 47th birthday

                                                       Mark Twain

' The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much : if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.
Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of ourselves and how  little.
Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
There are several  good protections against temptations, but the surest  is cowardice.
Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.

(um I've been cat sitting in Wood Green in North London.)

NATO comes to Wales to plan War : Join others from across the country to say no.

Next week, heads of governments from more than than 60 countries  will descend on Newports Celtic Manor Park for NATO's latest gathering.
I will be heading down too, on Saturday  to join a week long peace camp protesting against its plans. At the moment the two cities of Cardiff and Newport are in lock down to try to prevent  people opposing NATO's presence and dubious agenda, at a cost of millions  in this age of austerity.
A national demonstration will be held tomorrow Saturday 30th August

It is hoped that thousands of people  from Wales and across the country will  embark  on a series of protests across the two cities, and attend an alternative counter summit that will be taking place. I have packed my  tent to join others at this Peace Camp
Hopefully NATO will receive  a clear message of defiance to their plans, saying no to a summit that takes place only weeks after the centenary of World War 1, which forever serves as a reminder of the bloodshed and horror that empire,militarism, nationalism, and yes organisations like NATO help to perpetuate.
It is heartwarming to learn that a  non religious/non partisan vigil for peace  in support of  the opposition to the NATO summit, will be taking place in my hometown of Aberteifi/Cardigan, West Wales from 11 a.m to on the Guildhall steps.
An alternative message of peace must be delivered.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dear Darling

We can cite the tens of thousands of working families relying on foodbanks, the sick and disabled people commiting suicide because of benefit cuts, the rising numbers of children in poverty.
Britain on its  way to being the most unequal country in the world according to Oxfam, pensioners being payed the lowest pensions in Europe while the income gap rockets between working people and a super wealthy elite, who use their power and influence to maintain the status quo.
Alex Salmond smashed you to bits the other night, seeing you as an opponent  who sides with the tories, that would push us all further into poverty.
Your message appalling  for someone who is supposed to  be  in opposition to the Conservatives and their cronies. Darling, your message simply appalling. xx

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Time to end todays modern slave trade.

For over 400 years  more than 15 million, men, women and children were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the deadliest chapters in  human history.It is a sad fact  that there are more people in slavery today  than during the entire period of the International Slave Trade.
The United Nations defines slavery as " when someone is coerced against their will into making money for someone else.            
According to the International Labour Organisation, almost 21 million people are enslaved into forced  labour worldwide generating an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits each day, forced  into labour in the global economy.
They are exploited  by private individuals or enterprises,with economic self interest and moral convictions cast aside, many of todays' capitalist corporations, still turn a blind eye, still profiting from peoples misery and exploitation. Sadly too  4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation.It is such an unfortunate fact that modern day slavery helps too, to fuel corruption and organised crime. Over 130 goods from more than 70 countries are still produced  by forced labour.
Despite being  remembered on the International Day for the Rememberance of the Slave Trade on August 23 every year, when  on this day  in 1791 the slaves of Saint Dominique (now known as Haiti) began an uprising. though courageous, it did not bring  down the slave trade, .
We must today provide safe harbours, make sure that victims forced  into illegal activities are not prosecuted
and that that are provided  with shelter,treated with respect and dignity  and the means  to escape their oppression, and given the means and assistance available to try and help them rebuild their lives.
We should continue  to be asking large companies to take action to ensure that as consumers we are contributing to the end of modern day slavery instead of propping it up.
Let us remember too as NATO meets next week in Newport, South Wales, UK, that its core member states play central roles, and are complicit in many of the causes of conflict that lead to slavery and trafficking.We should not forget that NATO is nothing more  than a war machine, whose entire raison d'etre, is to start wars ,and fuel the voracious appetite of the arms industry, acting belligerently like modern day slave masters, who only show contempt for their slaves.
It is time this distortion is stopped now. End the suffering and exploitation of people across the globe.

A couple of useful links:-

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Carnival Escapology

                                Image of  Notting Hill Carnival.
                                ( Where I returned from earlier, me old mate ken sent me)

Sometimes the weight of the world
feels like an inflatable balloon, filled,
                                      with tears,
leaving a permanent scar,
like a tatooists signature.

But cordial jet streams, pass upstream too
heaving with notations, admission price zero,
turning down streets, flowing with rum
the afternoon thunders along, with the pulse
                                              of adventure.

We join a carnival, follow sweet, perfumed air
a procession of celebration, high on hope,
dancing to the throb of bass and drum
voices laugh and sing, together we dance
as strong community spirit, is shared.

We drift, deeper and deeper
get lost in mists of perambulation,
to find  the source within to rekindle
                                        and save,
to store in our hearts, waves of spirit
that we hope, may never be erased,
from the rivers to the sea
in synchronisation we are free.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Keep up the pressure on Companies that invest in killing Palestinians.

As news reaches us that the ceasefire has been broken again it is vital that we keep  on the pressure of Companies that invest in Killing Palestinians.
Sadly at least 2,0016 Palestinians including 541 children, 250 women and 95 elderly men, have now lost their lives so far, and as  many as 10,196 others have suffered injuries in Israels onslaught.

Please Watch :-

Please sign :-

Please sign :-

Please keep up the Pressure

Many thanks


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

His Hands Were in the Air, R.I. P Michael Brown; Let Justice be served

Song by David Roviks

R.I.P Michael Brown, unarmed African American teenager executed in broad  daylight by racist cops on his way to visit his grandmother in Ferguson, Missouri..For more than a week now, we have witnessed the rage on the streets of America, days of unrest as we see angry  confrontations between protestors and police, nighttime clouded in tear gas and anger.
Sad as all this is, the cops are now trying to lay the blame on the victim, spreading a dubious story that the young man, had supposedly shoplifted a cigar from a convenience store. Well the cop that killed him .knew nothing of this allegation, which as it turns out, happens to be completely false. The search for justice seems to be lost, with the Ferguson Police Chief,Tom Jackson  and his police department leaving the impression that they really don't give a damn.
I fear the rage will continue and many more flashpoints will occur, it has exposed the ugly underbelly and racism that still exists in American society, Ferguson just the latest in a long list of African Americans, being treated with suspicion, recklessly, unlawfully killed by the police.
If the end results, mean that the actions of the police on the streets are now being called into question, then that is good.
But before Obama jets over to us, to meet other World leaders, at the NATO gathering in Newport South Wales to apparently try and build some stability in this unpredictable world( but in many peoples eyes, a gathering of leaders, that are seen as solely responsible for the chaos of our times), perhaps it is time for Obama to look for a change in his own backyard, and start addressing the root problems that still  sees his one nation divided. Until he tackles his hometurf, the backlash of a communities anger will continue to rise.He has to try and overcome the appalling record of injustice that still exists in  today's America.
Until then  voices of condolences are just empty gestures, and justice is far from being served.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Never give up hope

Never give up. They were born to make life, and they are. Palestinian children  from Gaza, smiling  in despite of  the destruction all around them (13/9/14). In sad and desperate times, these children  still cling on to hope. Despite experiencing excruciating,  times of misfortune, they keep on smiling.
It takes great  courage to stay  delicate in a world this cruel.
They stay human, but lets not forget our silence allows us to consent to their dreams being torn apart.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Robin Williams ( 21/7/51 -11/08/14) R.I.P Some Personal thoughts on depression.

                                          Peter Weir Dead Poets Society 1989

Sad to hear of the passing of the comic Robin Williams,a sad loss indeed. My heart though goes to the many who have been effected by this story. The millions of individuals whose stories and voices are never heard. We can  never really know or understand  the suffering of others. But the reality is that daily people suffer, many in silence, with no support. We must keep working on our self-awareness, drop the shame and the guilt. I am sorry to have to say this, but there is no easy way of coping daily with an illness that causes exhaustion, physically and mentally. Many people  still live with undiagnosed  or untreated depression, often masked by self-medication of alcohol or drugs. There are no magic formulas, but I guess the strength of others can help, and it is always good to swim along waves of pride, love and hope.
 Often when we are alone and in despair  it is easy to get lost, find ourselves in rooms  that  offer no means of escape, so I can understand why some people choose to let go. But I remember too, that some of us find ways to cope, paths of living and endurity, and survival, but even then we are left to our own devices, have to do it all on our own.
I remember today all the victims, that this government of ours has caused  with blood on its hands, stopping essential services to those that really need it, the cutting off of benefits to the marginalised and the walking wounded. I remember the outsiders, the stigmatised, the branded, the unloved, the unwanted. The devastation  daily caused to lives already finding  it difficult to cope, their lives a daily battle, a continuing battle of the wits. We need to find ways to be there for them, if they talk, then we must listen, don't judge, give them your opinions. A hug perhaps, maybe some reassurance, but remember you are never in their shoes. But we should not give up on them, allow them to breathe in  a little hope. Personally the black dog still comes a barking, I can never  know when it will appear, in the meantime I try to engage with time, patience and kindness, find ways to express some of my inner angst, and at the end the day, I tend to think,that what the world really needs is a restart, some much needed compassion and peace.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

For the children of Gaza - Onslaught Press

I am very honoured and privileged to be included  in this new book published by Onslaught Press, for the children  of Gaza, with a poem published under my actual name in  an anthology of poems and art work. Great to be part  of a project that has been released so quickly, with  some well chosen  poems, all powerful and moving stirring in their own way. You can  contribute yourself by buying a copy here.

Below is the preface written by the editors, Mathew Staunton and Rethabile Masilo.


Operation Protective Edge, described  by US Secretary of State John Kerry as "Israel's  appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself" from Hamas rocketeers and tunnel builders, is now in its fourth week. Unfortunately for the  civilian population of Gaza, however, there is little  in this operation that could reasonably be considered  defensive. The destruction of Gaza's civilian infrastructure and its only power station, the targeting of schools, hospitals, mosques, fishing boats, orchards, and the beach  is more about making life intolerable for Gazans than it is about ending  rocket attacks.
The civilian death toll, and the number of child casualties in particular, make  it difficult to see this as anything other than collective punishment. And yet we  are asked everyday to believe that these casualties are ' legitimate, 'unavoidable', appropriate', 'justified', 'necessary', and 'reasonable' and that children are dying because they are being used as 'human shields'.
Suffering is increasingly mediated by diplomats, official spokespeople, broadcasters, news corporations, community leaders, spin doctors, and legal tams, but  usually with no more than a passing commentary. We see more and more pictures of dead children on our screens and in our newspapers but the texts and speeches  that accompany them are  full of ambigious and misleading words, or words with no meaning at all. Sometimes there are so many dead children that it is more expedient to forget about words alltogether and simply use numbers.
The contributors  to this book are  telling the story of our anger and disgust and horror. You will not be surprised to discover that there is darkness in many of the texts that follow. But there is also joy and beauty. Its aim is much less to  accuse than to paint a correct picture of what most of the world seemingly does not see,  or chooses not to see, and we think that a right recognition of the reality  of Gaza today needs to be accompanied by the right remedial action. Such action is in the hands of all of us, even if the leaders of the world, who are indeed in the best position  to act, do not.
What is at stake in Gaza goes well beyond the politics of sides and enters the consideration of crime and of killing. There are many accomplices on both sides and as in any crime, they, too must be held accountable. Bishop Tutu has said that "if you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of  the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." The work presented here  by many artists and writers from all corners of the world attempts, unlike the non-actions of those who actually have political clout and power, to choose the side  of the oppressed.
Suddenly in the face of these killing, it does not matter that tunnels have been dug, or that rockets are being launched at Israeli cities. Even if you are right; what suddenly matters is choosing to kill your opponent, who is weaker.

Mathew D. Staunton & Rethabile Masilo

You can see much more on their facebook page

I can send a PDF too anyone interested.

Link to poem of mine included, originally posted here on this blog:-

The Night is Long Faced

Saturday, 9 August 2014

The Case for Cultural & Academic Boycott of Israel with intro by Ken Loach

Solidarity with all those marching for Gaza and Palestine today.
Silence is complicity. The chance to be a force for good in the world is there for the taking. I hope more join Ken Loach and others willing to  speak their minds - movement and momentum is everything.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Long March on Newport

In September 2014 (4th and 5th) NATO will bring its summit to Wales. Throughout Wales  opposition grows, peace activists and members from a wide section of our communities are  already spreading an alternative  message across our land, with campaigners starting  of on a 192-mile Long March  On Newport  inspired by the Chartist Uprising.
We have a long proud tradition of standing up for peace, against injustice, this is what I hope the walkers will bring to mind. Ordinary people reflecting a different view, another path. Against militarism and institutions that perpetuate violence on a global scale. As heads  of governments from 60 countries head  to Newport, at Celtic Manor Resort I sincerely hope that the people of Wales, are joined in solidarity from people from all walks of life who  want to see an end to aggression perpetuated by alliances forged with imperialistic agendas, that seem to serve only their own self interests, profiteers of war and poverty, with the added obscene  costs of this summit in these austere times, a clear message of defiance and resistance must be delivered. To demand a world without bosses or bombs.
Marchers  plan to  start from the Eisteddfod in Llanelli today to arrive in Newport on August 29 ,the day  before a planned  demonstration in the city, I hope to make the journey at some later stage too.

More Details here:-

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

B.B.C Censorship at Welsh National Eisteddfod

While everyone  is crying for Peace and crying out for Justice and crying out for justice, heard about this worrying incident at the Welsh National Eisteddfod yesterday, a choir called Cor Seingar from Carmarthenshire was wearing pro-Palestinian badges and the BBC told them take the badges off or the BBC would not broadcast their performance.
The BBC has said that this was just a misunderstanding but the choir disagrees, and the choir is taking it further. All they were doing  is wearing badges as a gesture of support and solidarity.
I'm not sure if I can  trust the Beeb at moment, because  this is the same BBC where Lyse Doucet said that the ceasefire in Gaza means that the Arab fishermen can go back fishing on  the sea normally again. What she or the BBC do not say is that  the Palestinians are not allowed to go out beyond 250 metres off the beaches, and have not been allowed to do this since 2007, because of the illegal blockade thrust upon them. Its all reported as if nothing  was wrong in Gaza prior to 4 weeks ago, and the same  BBC  that uses its news services to spread its messages of jingoism in support of things that only readers of the Daily Mail would want to hear about.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Ballad of Rivka and Mohammed - Leon Rosselson

Leon Rosselson has written a powerful new song about Gaza. A song from the heart for all of us, which you might like to share.
A song which tells the story of two children in different wars.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

We Never Forget

Contribution to letter to Unknown Soldier Project

We build anniversaries, to remember horror,
as genocide still brings its daily misery,
we should never forget, anybody's senseless slaughter,
all those tragically killed  in patriotic disguise.

The innocent victims, the fallen, the walking wounded,
all those that do not return home, those that mourn,
the many  voices, silenced and stilled,
their names and stories forever  touch and live.

We remember as long as dead names are coughed out,
as time moves on, locomotive  tracks of destruction still created,
as days stretch,  we  do not follow complicity with silence,
remind ourselves  of senses of humanity, left scattered and slain.

We remember too, all those who refuse to fight,
branded cowards, treated like an enemy,
as they battle for a world of peace,
against brutal threads that leave us numb.

With these memories, we continue to share,
spreading the fever  of anger, across many lands,
all loss  is  like a ruined tunnel of light,
a centenary later, we again chant words of peace,
swimming together, desperately under dangerous sky.