Thursday, 31 August 2017

War Starts Here - Let's Stop it

War, injustice, and repression starts here. Thousands of people are coming together to stop it. Be part of it! Join the protests and add your name to the call to Stop the Arms Fair 
On 12 September, the international weapons industry plans to set up shop in  East London at a huge arms fair DSEI, the weapons sold here fuel the death and destruction duel the and injustice perpetrated by militaries, police forces and at borders around the world. For one week every two years, arms companies like BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Airbus etc etc display their weapons to buyers from around the world, including  countries in conflict, authoritarian regimes and countries with serious human rights problems. Weapons that have been used to crush pro-democracy movements around the world. Many of the biggest companies at DSEI are central to the Trident replacement and the nuclear arms race – spending billions to kill millions.
In 2015, hundreds of people took part in a week of action - the biggest ever protests against the DSEI. For six days entrances were blocked, disrupting the set up o the fair. 2017 is set to be even bigger. Join actions at the gates every day from 4-11 September, stopping the arms fair before it starts. If you can't be there in person, you can still make sure the opposition is the biggest ever.  As the September 4th start date edges closer, early actions to draw attention to protests against this annual gathering of the merchants of death have begun to filter in.
Posters have been put up around London by activists using the increasingly popular method of hijacked bus hoardings.

Stop the Arms Fair is regularly updating  on social media in advance of the event and has been putting up useful tips such as on knowing your rights on its website. A full schedule off events has also been published of what's going on during the week, see below

September 4th-10th
All day
Occupy the Arms Fair! Stop DSEI campt
ExCeL east entrance, London
Monday September 4th
All day
Stop Arming Israel! Stop The Arms Fair!
ExCeL east entrance, London
Tuesday September 5th
No Faith in War
ExCeL east entrance, London
Wednesday September 6th
All day
No to Nuclear Weapons: No to the Arms Fair
ExCeL Centre, London
10am-6pmArms to Renewables
ExCeL east entrance, London
Thursday September 7th
All day
Free Movement for People, not Weapons!
ExCeL east entrance, London
Friday September 8th
Conference at the Gates: Academics Against the Arms Fair
ExCeL Centre, London
10am-2pmSuper-Villains Picket the Arms Fair
ExCeL Centre, London
Saturday September 9th
Art the Arms Fair at the Big Day of Action
ExCeL east entrance, London
10am-6pmBig Day of Action
East Entrance, Victoria Dock Road

Spread the word, share the above video and please sign the following petition :-

Find out more ways to get involved at :-

The latest annual report from the government’s Defence and Security Organisation shows that the UK won £6bn of arms deals in 2016 – representing 9% of the global market. Half of the total value was to the Middle East.Over 10 years, the report ranks Britain as the second biggest arms dealer in the world behind the US.
A telling example of the blood money and lucrative profits to be made by the revolving door between  government departments and arms companies is the case of Elbit Systems and former British army General Dick Applegate who went on to become chairman of Israel arms company Elbit Systems IK branch in 2011.
According to Campaigm Against Arms Trade:"In 2012 the Sunday Times exposed Applegate, ewcording him boasting of how he lobbied to secure 500m of government money or Elbit. Appleton  was filmed admitting he'd applied pressure by 'infecting; the system at every level."
Lets remember that the UK government helps to organise this arms fair, and invites these military buyers from around the world, and helps arms companies to make deals, at taxpayer expense.Theresa May’s Government  also exports weapons to 22 out of 30 countries on their own human rights watchlist. A vicar’s daughter should know better.
The arms industry's influence is all pervasive at every level of government influencing both foreign policy and public spending. It means that instead of criticising abuses committed by regimes such as Saudi Arabia, the British government  goes out of it's way to sell them more weapons.
Deals  hatched and made at the DSEI Arms Fair destroy lives, create  mayhem and destruction. This has to stop, and together we can stop it. These profiteers of human misery should be given no welcome.

P.P.S. Are you in the Labour Party? If so, please take urgent action to ask your Constituency Labour Party to support a Stop Arming Saudi contemporary motion for Conference.

Another World is Possible - Stop the Arms Fair 2017

Monday, 28 August 2017

Rabindranath Tagore (7/5/1861-7/8/1941) - Let My Country Awake (Where The Mind Is Without Fear)

Rabindranath Tagore was a a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music.   This Poet, Philosopher, Musician, Writer, Educator,.has been labeled the "King of Poets" for his beautiful and exquisite poetry..
Born in 1861 in Calcutta into a wealthy and prominent Brahman family. His father was Maharishi Debendranath Tagore, a religious reformer and scholar. His mother, Sarada Devi, died when Tagore was very young. Tagore received his early education first from tutors and then at a variety of schools. Among them were Bengal Academy where he studied history and culture. At University College, London, he studied law but left after a year - he did not like the weather. Tagore started to compose poems at the age of eight. Tagore's first book, a collection of poems, appeared when he was 17; it was published by Tagore's friend who wanted to surprise him.
In 1883 Tagore married Mrinalini Devi Rai chaudhuri, with whom he had two sons and three daughters. In 1890 Tagore moved to East Bengal (now Bangladesh), where he collected local legends and folklore, combining this with a great love of music, in particular Bengali music.
Tagore wrote 51 plays,13 novels, over 110 short stories ,over 1000 poems, over 2000 songs, two of which became the national anthem of India and Bangladesh, many, many letters and essays, painted over 2000 paintings, founded a university and a school, was a social reformer, did political work ,wrote on educational philosophy and wrote on the philosophy of science. Le't's just say he had a busy , productive life.
Tagore wrote his most important works in Bengali, but he often translated his poems into English.   In translation his poetry was viewed as spiritual and mercurial; his seemingly mesmeric personality, flowing hair, and other-worldly dress earned him a prophet-like reputation in the West,  highly influential in introducing the best of Indian culture to us and vice versa, and is considered one of the most outstanding creative artists to have emerged from India.
Tagore became the first non- European to be awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913 for his book ‘Gitanjali’, (Incidentally, I am fortunate to own a copy, mine from 1927, picked up from Amnesty International Garden party for 50p, rests neatly by my Edward Carpenter, another inspiration, that I have only recently discovered was actually a close friend and correspondent with Rabindranath. I like the fact two of their books have nestled side by side for years, before I realised their connection., in act of symbiosis ).
W. B. Yeats in particular was deeply impressed with this particular work and wrote an introduction. With this honour Tagore became famous in both India and the West. In 1915 Tagore was knighted by King George; however Tagore was to return his knighthood in protest of the Amritsar massacre (1919) where British troops killed more than a 1000 unarmed Indian demonstrators after General Reginald Dyer ordered troops to fire  machine guns into the crowd.
In the following poem, Tagore paints a moving picture of how he would like India to be, a country that is free from oppression or forced compulsion. When Tagore wrote this poem, India was struggling to break free from the British Raj.Although Tagore was good friends with Mohandas Gandhi, he disagreed with Gandhi’s political ideas concerning Indian independence. Rabindranath Tagore denounced British imperialism, yet he did not fully support or agree with Gandhi and his Noncooperation Movement. He viewed British rule as a symptom of the overall “sickness” of the social “disease” of the public. India  eventually got it's  Independence on August 15th 1947, after a long political and social struggle that would involve non violent and civil  disobedience  resulting in the partition of India into the dominions of India and Pakistan.
Yet many years after this poem was written it still  continues to have global appeal, speaking out to us, almost prayer like, seeking a a world that is not fragmented by prejudices or superstition. The yearning for a world where there is a freedom of the spirit, of the mind, of respect and dignity, where people do not cower in subjugation. Our world, our nations, ,are still far from free of all of its burdens, but Tagore at least here, gives us a glimpse of hope, a concern and search that I believe still deeply resonates .

Let My Country Awake (Where The Mind Is Without Fear) - Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments 
By narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way 
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit ;
Where the mind is led forward by thee 
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

The original Bengali language poem, "Chitto jetha bhayashunyo", was published in 1910 and included in the collection Gitanjali by Tagore.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Sad about Big Ben?

Politicians were said to have shed tears earlier this week when  Big Ben was silenced. Where were the crying politicians for the working class dead of Grenfell Tower? Where was the outrage at ordinary people's reliance on food banks, child poverty, the NHS crisis or the increasing number of homeless people on streets.
MPs gathered to bow their heads as the world-famous clock tower rang out for the last time, last Monday because the 157-year old clock tower is undergoing vital repairs and the bell will be taken out of service – apart from Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve – until 2021 to protect the hearing of workers. Theresa May was one who joined in this shallow chorus of dismay, declaring ' it can't be right ' that Big Ben be kept silent for so long. 
As Members of Parliament  get  upset about a  big clock stopping chiming for a few years, I would like to have reminded them that in the real world, we are facing .times of uncertainty, inequality, division and suffering.  But certain politicians are so clearly out of touch and isolated from the  reality of other people's lives. Hope it's not only me but the sight of politicians mourning for a clock while so many lives are being destroyed , looked not only stupid but trivial too. It's not even as if the clock is going to be torn down, it's chimes of freedom will eventually  return, just think that there are  much bigger issues politicians should be concerning themselves with such as food banks, the GP crisis, a referendum imposed by morons and harsh cuts, all these issues of far greater importance.
I am shocked, but not really that surprised that MPs demonstrably give more of a fuck about an old clock than they do about actual human beings.

Saturday, 26 August 2017


There are times
When the world is unwilling
The fuel we seek
Remains diminished
We fall and rise
Hatch a plan or two
It begins to rain
We find excuses
Wait until after dark
For quiet moments
That let go of yesterday.
Seek out new songs
Old rhetoric tossed aside
Create laws out of dust
Staying alert, beyond command
Release acts of disobedience
Strategies of renewal
Fruits of endless toil
Storing ideas, to work their hidden will
Beyond conditioned chains of time
Weather the storms,
With clouds made of tomorrow

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Great Meeting on Mynydd Sylen / Y Cyfarfod Mawr ar Fynydd Sylen :25/08/1843

In 1843 the whole of west Wales was gripped in the civil disturbances known as the ‘Rebecca Riots’. Aimed mainly at the unfair tolls that were charged for the use of the turnpike roads, the rioters disguised with blackened faces and attired in women’s clothes would attack and destroy the offending tollgates and their attached gatehouses. This uprising of an oppressed peasantry against the burden of the tollgates has become part of the folk tradition of West Wales.
Farmers were  the hardest hit  as they used the roads to transport lime to their farms to improve the soil. In 1839, a new gate was erected at Efailwen to catch farmers who were evading the tolls. It was the last straw. Already there were too many toll gates; the market town of Carmarthen was like a fortress with twelve gates around it. The Efailwen gate was destroyed by a large crowd and when it was re-erected, a public meeting was announced 'for the purpose of considering the necessity of a toll-gate at Efailwen.' It concluded that there was no need and the gate was destroyed again.
The name 'Rebecca' was that of the mythical leader. 'She' had helpers like 'Charlotte', Nelly and 'Miss Cromwell' and followers (daughters). The name came from the Bible which Welsh chapels goers had learned to read in the previous couple of generations: 'And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, by thou the mother of thousands of millions and let thy seed possess the gate of those that hate them' (Genesis 24 Verse 60). The toll gates were seen as the property of the gentry ('those that hate them') as they were often the trustees of the turnpikes. The gates became a symbol of many different discontents about the land and the church (which was also seen as the church of the gentry). The rioters wore women's clothes and blackened their faces, for disguise, but also perhaps to suggest the idea that women were entitled to act to defend their families. Normally respectable people may have felt that in disguise they were symbolising their community rather then breaking the law as an individual.
Pat Molloy, an author of a book on the riots, said that Rebecca was a champion waiting to be called upon. To the country people there was a higher law than man's  but when man's law intruded into their world it was obeyed, provided that it accorded with their notion o natural justice. When it jailed or oppressed them they looked for justice, and when man's law refused them justice, or set too high a price on it, they knew instinctively where to turn. Then they looked to their Bibles for a sign, without which, right would not be on their side nor  success attend their endeavours. They found it, and they blessed Rebecca.
By the end of the summer 'The Rebecca Riots', which had ravaged these parts, was drawing to an end. The violent and clandestine attacks on the tollgates were being replaced by peaceful and open air meetings calling for political action. Perhaps 'the greatest of all these meetings' was held on the slopes of Mynydd Sylen near Llanelli, where it is claimed  that no less than three thousand people were in attendance. Farmers came from all over the south east of the area and colliers sacrificed  day's pay to attend.
On the 25th of August 1843 some of the most important and influential people addressed the meeting including the 'Rebecca' leader, Hugh Williams and the Llanelli landowner and magistrate William Chambers Junior JP. The Times reporter, Thomas Campbell Foster and the lithographer, William James Linton of the London Illustrated news reported on the event. As a result of the meeting a lengthy petition to Queen Victoria was drawn up calling for an end to the injustices.
Subsequently, attacks by Rebecca continued, but  with far less frequency. The main reasons being that the authorities had started to take notice and had begun to address some of the rioters grievances by looking into the problems here in West Wales. As a result they now moved away from violent tactics to holding mass meetings, like this one mentioned.  Other factors included the metering out of harsh punishments,as  rioters were caught and sentenced to transportation,  what with  the  arrival of troops,  and the increasing use of informants with the offer of financial rewards or the capture of the rioters leaders, to crush the rebellion,helped play a part too in the change of direction to a more moderate approach.
One of the  last of Rebecca’s attacks in Llanelli came on Saturday 30th September 1843, when she removed the Tyrfran Tollgate on the road to Felinfoel and dropped it down the shaft of a nearby coal pit. Social conditions  began to  change over the decade. Improvements in the laws controlling turnpikes came to pass in 1844, and the coming of the railway eased many of the transport problems in west Wales. People could move more easily to find work and this helped reduce pressure in rural areas for jobs. The ending of the Corn Laws in 1846, and attempts in 1847 to make the Poor Law less cruel, also helped.
The name 'Rebecca' though lived on. Over the years the Rebecca Riots have become part of the cultural identity of the Welsh, fuelling the idea of the werin/folk fighting for their rights, standing against tyranny and oppression.
In the 1860s and 70s local people protesting against the sale of fishing rights to outside interests in mid-Wales used the name again in their protests, as did farmers in the past fifteen years or so protesting about policies in agriculture. When the local community bought to right to levy tolls at a surviving toll in Porthmadog in the 1990s, they named it Rebecca and gave the money raised to local charities
Sadly though, the summit of  Mynydd Sylen is an unloved one, with ugly  masts, tatty barbed wire fences and rubbish at the nearest parking spot, rather disheartening considering its  historical significance


'And They Blessed Rebecca' by Pat Molloy

'The Rebecca Riots' by David Williams

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Tories should legalise drugs to win millennial votes, says right wing think tank

In a  report published today, the Adam Smith Institute (ASI)  a notoriously right wing pro-Tory thinktank  and lobbying group based in the United Kingdom, named after Adam Smith, a Scottish moral philosopher and classical economist, proved  how little conservatives truly understand about the real-world problems faced by young people in Britain today.
In it's report, dubbed the ‘Millennial Manifesto‘, they suggest that in order to win back votes from young people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn in June, the Tories should make flights to Ibiza cheaper by scrapping Air Passenger Duty for under 30s, and that they should also legalise drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine. You really couldn't make it up, opportunist to say the least.
In the Manifesto, it states: “If these recreational drugs were legalised, young people would be brought back into the framework of society, instead of feeling it is out to oppress them and spoil their pleasures.
“It would enable quality controls to be established so that young people could be assured that what they were taking was what they expected it to be, instead of being adulterated, perhaps with toxins, or supplied in unregulated massive overdoses.”
Other perceived policy wins for those trying to engage with young people and take on Jeremy Corbyn include cutting National Insurance for the under 25s from 12% to 8%, replacing student loans with a graduate tax and a 50% council tax discount for young people.
Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said: “It isn’t easy being young in Britain.
Reading through certain sections of the report, it’s easy to see why young people feel a huge disconnect between themselves and those in the media and political establishment.
Especially when they write about young people like they are a different species from another planet:
"Many young people take recreational drugs. Occasionally some of them smoke a cannabis spliff with friends. Many of them pop an ecstasy tablet to help them enjoy late night dancing at a club. Some of them try amphetamines or snort a line of cocaine. Consumption of any of these drugs is currently against the law. Indeed, two of them, ecstasy and cocaine, are class A drugs with severe penalties attached to their use."
 "Young people seem to want to do the things that for decades have been part of young people’s way of life, with the added possibilities and opportunities that modern technology and new developments make possible. Most of them want to socialize with friends, both in person and on social media, to enjoy music and travel, perhaps to work abroad for a spell. Some want to engage with friends in recreational pursuits such as sporting activities. Many enjoy attending concerts, or simply hanging out with their peers over a few drinks."
The report then goes on to slam the Tories for ignoring ‘the concerns of young voters’, as well as both: "neglecting their wellbeing directly and taking positions that are badly out of touch in areas like animal welfare and openness to immigration."
If the Tories are actually looking to produce policies that will really resonate with young people, rather than listening to organisations like the Adam Smith Institute, why don’t they actually try listening to the views of actual young people.
The document  provides very few truly beneficial solutions to many of the huge problems faced by youngsters today, such as lack of affordable housing, low wages, lack of job security, and a huge rise in the cost of education.

And for many young people, the impact of austerity means that “partying in Ibiza” is not a top priority. A report by The Prince’s Trust found that 'young people’s happiness and wellbeing are at their lowest levels since the study was first commissioned in 2009.' It is safe to say that the “Millenial Manifesto” has taken a bit of a battering on social media.
Scores of people have tweeted about the suggestions for winning over young people ,labelling the ideas as “clueless” - with a series of hilarious memes mocking the ideas involved.
Emma Burnell wrote: “Wow the Adam Smith Institute are clueless. How addled do you have to be to think the key problem young people face is taxes on airfares?”
Allan Faulds‏ tweeted: “Gotta love the Adam Smith Institute. How old and/or posh do you have to be to think “cut the Ibiza Tax!” is going to win over youth vote?”Labour MP told Huffington Post UK that the plan was a "laughable failure to understand what young people actually care about." Smith said: "Having spoken to hundreds of young people over this summer I can say that of all their demands from government, from the crisis in mental services to huge personal debts from study, no one has raised Air Passenger Duty with me."

To be hopeful in bad times - Howard Zinn (24/8/1922 - 27/1/ 2010).

Howard Zinn  was a truly  remarkable historian, and passionate activist.Born in Brooklyn, New York, on  the 24th of August, 1922 into a  Jewish immigrant  he began his working life as a shipfitter. A strong opponent of fascism  Zinn joined the United Air Force in 1943, and during  the Second World War flew missions throughout Europe In April 1945.he was involved  in the bombing pf German soldiers in Rovan, where napalm was used, the experience of which taught him to hate war itself. When he returned home he put his medals in an envelope and sealed it with the words “never again.”
After his military service he went to college under the GI bill, earning a doctorate in history at Columbia University.  He went on to teaching at Spelman College in Georgia where he was active in the Civil Rights movement. In 1963 he moved to Boston University and became a prominent, outspoken critic of the Vietnam War
He wrote more than twenty books, including his best-selling and influential A People’s History of the United Statesa history of America through the perspective of“those outside of the political and economic establishment. He was the first historian to write about American history from a perspective of indigenous people, from a perspective of the working class, people who worked in the steel mills, people who worked in the mines, people who worked on the railroads. He told the stories of immigrants, and presented all the rough hands and tortured faces that built the country we know as America. Ordinary people who joined popular struggles for a better country.
In his 2002 autobiography You can't be neutral on a moving Train he wrote the following, reminding me to remain hopeful , hope gets us through the good days and especially the bad ones.Many of us sit in wait of something miraculous  to take place and get so very discouraged when all that keeps flowing are disappointments. At the end of the day it  is we who are the avenues of change in our own lives :

" There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment we will continue to see. We forget how often in this century we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -- and there are so many -- where people behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."— Howard Zinn

There was nothing naive or sentimental about Zinn’s positions. He had seen first hand the worst that humanity was capable of, and simply chose to confront it as a challenge rather than accept it as our final destiny. On 27 January 2010, Howard Zinn,, American libertarian socialist historian  and activist died of a heart attack  after swimming. A great loss to many. 
In this excerpt from the 2004 documentary also called Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, Zinn describes his experiences as an Air Force bombadier in World War II, which helped inspire his life’s work. The “great question of our time,” he later wrote, is “how to achieve justice with struggle, but without war.”

 You can read Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States online. You can also visit the website dedicated to Zinn’s work, offering a great archive of his articles and interviews, bibliography and video & audio material.
As the legendary activist and author discussed in one of his final interviews, he wanted to be remembered for “introducing a different way of thinking about the world,” and as “somebody who gave people a feeling of hope and power that they didn’t have before.” We need this now more than ever  we can't afford to be "neutral on a moving train."

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Brian Eno: Why We Need to Stop the War

16 years on from the beginning of the War on Terror. British taxpayers' money is continuing to fund bombing and killing in the Middle East. Over a million have died in Iraq alone. Many thousands have died or have been maimed in other countries that Britain has intervened in, War is still raging in Asghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Millions have had to flee their homes. Meanwhile, while spending our money on foreign wars, the British establishment is continuing with its programme of crippling cuts to public services.
The British government has also admitted that it is providing technical and other assistance to the Saudi government in its hideous bombing campaign in Yemen, which has killed thousands of people including thousands of civilians. Moreover it has sold more than £3 billion worth of arms to the Saudi dictatorship , in contravention of international law since the bombardment began.
But the tide is now beginning to turn, as anti-war politics are gaining increasing power and influence in British political life .Jeremy Corbyn  is right to warn Theresa May's government not to 'obediently applaud ' Washington's planned escalation of the war in Afghanistan. A war that has failed  with such devastating human cost, that hs only served to increase the terrorist threat.
Let's reject the idea that war is either admirable or good. Let's reverse the militarization of so many dimensions of our society. Arms Fairs are crucial to the smooth-running of the arms trade. They promote weapons sales by giving arms dealers the chance to meet and greet military delegations, government officials, other arms companies and a host of individual visitors.
Unsurprisingly, the guest lists for arms fairs frequently include regimes who abuse human rights, and countries actively involved in armed conflicts. Say no to companies that profit from human misery.
Join the week of action to Stop the Arms Fair at London’s Docklands, 4th-11th September, 2017.
Here are some words from the musician and activist Brian Eno :-

'Fear is a great paralyser. A frightened population is easy to govern. In a climate of fear, people are willing to allow their rights and freedoms to be limited. They’re willing to follow orders and penalise resisters. They’re willing to fall for easy, quick and ill-conceived military ‘solutions’. They’re willing to serve as defenders of the state without asking why that state needs defending, or from what.
So it’s fear that keeps the hamster-wheel turning; but it’s hope that... will get us out of the cage.
Stopping war means building a society based not on relentless consumption and profiteering but instead on sustainability and conservation and sharing. It means making a world that is worth saving for everybody, so that the idea of war - of destroying all that - becomes unthinkable, ridiculous.' -

Brian Eno, 2017
Stop the war's new President.

Read Brian Eno's essay on the importance of the anti-war movement.and strengthen the movement  join Stop the War Coalition today:…/get-involved/join-stop-the-war

Monday, 21 August 2017

After I'm Gone

( Some philosophical play, Rossetti never taught me punctuation. )

After I'm dead
I might be remembered,
A distant echo of memory
A soul phased for eternity,
Ashes scattered to the winds
Under a satin sky,
Sleeping peacefully
Please don't disturb me,
Look after my records and books
Keep on building another world,
Rid of poverty, inequality, destruction
With so much comfort, grace and appeal,
Deep in the valley, a bell shall toll
In a place where rests the soul,
On slate and stone poetry reimbursing
Beyond life's awakening curses,
This elusive dreamer will dream away
Flying on high in distant space,
In shards of broken time 
As birds  forever burst into song.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Max Romeo (b,22/11/44) - Socialism is Love

Have decided to start posting a little more music related posts here from time to time.
Max Romeo is a roots reggae legend. Max Romeo was born  Max Smith in 1944, the eldest of nine children. He acquired the nickname "Romeo" from the father of a would-be girlfriend.
Born in St. D'Acre, Jamaica, he  left home at the age of 14 and worked on a sugar plantation outside Clarendon,, before winning a local talent competition when he was 18. This prompted a move to the capital, Kingston, in order to embark on a musical career.
Max’s storied career took off when he signed a contract with Bunny Lee, one of the biggest producers of his time in Jamaica in the 60s. 
In the early 1970s he began carving out an identity as a "militant singer"-- singing about "what's happening for the people to hear... the prices too high, things are too hard and what have you."
His second album, Let the Power Fall, from 1971 included a number of politically charged songs, most advocating the democratic socialist People's Nationalist Party (PNP), which chose his song "Let the Power Fall" as their theme song for the 1972 Jamaican n General election. 
Romeo's connection with the PNP became less direct over the course of the 1970s, but his music remained politically militant, if increasingly voiced in a Rastafarian idiom: in songs like anti-clerical "The Reverend" and on "concept albums like "Revelation Time," from 1975 recorded at Lee"Scratch"Perry's legendary Black Ark Studio. Romeo noted that "Revelation Time" was "really a revolutionary album. It came from 1972, when we had a revolutionary movement, with Mr Michael Manley trying to change society from capitalism to socialism. At the time I was socialist-minded - because it’s the only form of poor people government, socialism."
In 1976, Romeo released War ina Babyon an album perceived as his best work. The politically and religiously themed album included the popular single " I chased the Devil" , which would become one of his most known songs, which was later sampled by those great dance  terrorists the Prodigy and by countless others..
Throughout his long career Max Romeo has proved that he is one of Jamaica’s most enduring stars.To this day he still delivers spectacular  live performances, I was most fortunate to catch him in Brixton a few years back.
Here he sings some  words of wisdom. His voice is  really mesmerising do yourself a favour and listen, listen, listen.

Max Romeo - Socialism is Love

You're asking, "What is Socialism, and what it really means?"
It's equal rights for every man, regardless of his strength
So don't let no one fool you, (Joshua said)
Listen as I tell you, (Joshua said)
No man are better than none,
Socialism is love between man and man

Socialism is
love for your brothers
Socialism is
linking hearts and heads,
Would you believe me?
Poverty and hunger what we are fighting

Socialism is
Sharing with your sisters
Socialism is
People pulling together,
Would you believe me?
Love and togetherness, that's what it means

Mr Big trembling in his shoes saying he's got a lot to lose,
Don't want to hear about suffering at all
(Joshua said)
One man have too many,
While too many have too little,
Socialism don't stand for that, don't stand for that at all

Socialism is
love for your brothers,
Socialism is
linking hearts and head,
Poverty and hunger is what we are fighting

Socialism is
Sharing with your sisters
Socialism is
people pulling together
Won't you believe me?
Love and togetherness, that's what it means

Socialism is
love for your brothers
Socialism is
linking hearts and hands
Poverty and hunger is what we are fighting

Socialism is sharing with your sisters
Do you believe me?
People pulling together
Love and togetherness, that's what it means

Socialism is
love for your brothers
Socialism is
linking hearts and hands
Poverty and hunger is what we are fighting

Socialism is
Sharing with your sisters
Socialism is people pulling together

Solidarity brothers and sisters

Saturday, 19 August 2017

World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day is a time to recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. The day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 UN staff.
The day serves as a way to raise public awareness of the incredible work that aid workers do. Likewise, it also encouraged those involved in the humanitarian system to fight for increased safety and security for aid workers. The event is given a different focus each year to ensure that all humanitarian causes are recognised.
Every day humanitarian aid workers help millions of people around the world, regardless of who they are and where they are. World Humanitarian Day is a global celebration of people helping people.
The UN Secretary-General held the first-ever global humanitarian summit of this scale in Istanbul in May 2016. The goal of this summit was to find new ways to tackle humanitarian needs in our fast-changing world. This three-year initiative is being managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The summit set a new agenda for global humanitarian action. It focuses on humanitarian effectiveness, reducing vulnerability and managing risk, transformation through innovation, and serving the needs of people in conflict. Full details of the summit can be found here.
Around the world, conflict is exacting a massive toll on people’s lives. Trapped in wars that are not of their making, millions of civilians are forced to hide or run for their lives. Children are taken out of school, families are displaced from their homes, and communities are torn apart, while the world is not doing enough to stop their suffering. At the same time, health and aid workers , who risk their lives to care for people affected by violence, are increasingly being targeted.
This year’s message is even more encompassing - urging the global leaders to ensure that all civilians (including the aid workers) caught in the reality of war and armed conflict are not targets of military action.
For WHD 2017, humanitarian partners are coming together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget.
Civilians are too often affected by conflict and violence, they are driven from their homes, struggle to find sufficient and nutritious food, suffer from sexual harassment, injuries or death. Today, the United Nations (UN) is calling on global leaders to take action to protect civilians. The UN  has launched a petition urging the world's politicians to ensure all parties to conflict respect and protect civilians. Please sign it.
The UN has also reported multiple times throughout 2017 that civilians had been caught up in airstrikes in warzones such as Syria. With a death toll in the thousands and millions more trapped in dangerous situations, the UN is keen to ensure that innocent people aren’t harmed by political issues.
“Millions of people are trapped in wars that aren’t of their own making,” the World Humanitarian Day website reads. “We demand world leaders do everything in their power to protect the millions of civilians caught in armed conflicts.”
These demands include a promise not to launch attacks which will cause civilian harm, whether through direct injury or damage to infrastructure and services that will severely impact on quality of life.
As every year, this day also commemorates those who dedicate their lives to serve others. Humanitarian workers often operate in life-threatening environments, facing lootings, kidnapping, hostage situations, and in most extreme situations ,executions. This reduces the safety of aid workers, making it difficult, if not impossible, to provide life-saving assistance, deliver necessary relief items and care to those in desperate need.
The UN reminds us that in the past 20 years, over 4,000 aid workers have been subjects to attack and in 2016 alone, 91 humanitarians were killed while serving others, mostly in South Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia. It is an imperative that all parties to conflict should respect humanitarian law, protecting the civilians but also the humanitarian workers, regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, or other status.
Around the world,  dedicated people work every day to help people survive crisis, find hope for the future and build better lives for themselves and their families. When disasters strike or conflict erupts, they are there to provide immediate relief , and they stay long after to help communities recover and rebuild.
This World Humanitarian Day, we come together in solidarity with the millions of people caught in armed conflict.
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, works to protect and assist those fleeing war and persecution. Since 1950, they  have helped tens of millions of people find safety and rebuild their lives. With your support, they can restore hope for many more.


Civilians are not a target

Friday, 18 August 2017

Alcohol Poem

I'd become disappointed
All my hopes were dashed;
I didn't get what I expected
All my dreams were smashed,
I became, thwarted, frustrated
Foiled, depleted and defeated.

Did not make my mind taste too good
Could not find a reason, why it should,
Drunk from bottles in search of oblivion
To drown my sorrows, travel deep inside,
Left me moaning, cursing my fate
At the bottom, feeling second rate.

Chain smoking, swallowed poison
Underfed my battered senses,
Abandoned pride, logic's reasons
Drifted through the passing seasons,
Could find no escape, from this deep fog
whimpered and moaned like a beaten dog.

All my energy seemed to have been spent
Felt rejected every fucking place I went,
Veins found comfort in flowing alcohol
The abyss became my lonely port of call,
This sweet addiction with it's power to destroy
Started to drown my thirst for social justice.

Not that easy though, to simply walk away
The taste is deep, emitting toxins of desire,
Hard to leave an increasing dependency
Like an old lover,that heart has been given to,
Ultimately can deliver, an amount of pleasure
Releasing blurred visions, in the vortex of surrender.

But enlightenment and liberation go hand in hand
Slowly I've been trying to find a different land,
Still searching, got many more miles to go
Trying hard  to resist, counter the flow,
Have not given up, and the battle will be long
It's getting easier though, to find another song.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Visualising Palestine : For Social Justice

This is a Visualising Palestine graphic which identifies how the (still living) Palestinians in Gaza have been unable to get any redress through Israel’s military court system, despite the massive damage done to them – over 2100 killed – and their environment by the IDF.
Over the past seven years, Visualizing Palestine has harnessed visual storytelling to bring public attention to the daily injustices facing Palestinians, using public information about life in Israel and Palestine to expose the damaging effects of the occupation, .with topics ranging from ceasefire violations and military aid to the uprooting of Palestinian olive trees and the segregation of travel, the demolition of homes, Administrative Detention, to mothers forced to give birth at military checkpoints. creating data-driven tools to advance a factual, rights-based narrative of the Palestinian-Israeli issue.
Its researchers, designers, technologists, and communications specialists work in partnership with civil society actors to amplify their impact and promote social justice and equality and human rights. It is here that the facts become memorable, relevant and authentic stories.
Visualising Palestine is the first portfolio of Visualizing Impact, a non-profit organisation that innovates at the intersection of technology, design and data science. Each image takes 6-8 weeks to finalize, from conception to promotion. Workshops, brainstorming and open exchanges turn the production into a social venture, an approach that extends beyond the organization. The infographics are then published under a Creative Commons license to facilitate their use as advocacy tools. Aa a result they have been published in Huffington Post, The Guardian, the Irish Times, Al-Jazeera, Open Democracy and other media outlets, as journalistic resources to inform, change perceptions, correct the narrative about Palestine, and push individuals to take action. It allows people to have a clearer perspective into an immensely complex issue.
There is a vast amount of information on the daily lives of Palestinians, their living conditions, experiences and circumstances on the ground , but it largely remains outside the mainstream media. Without being presented in a form that can easily be understood, remembered and shared, these details are not heard internationally. What is needed is a way to see the every day experiences of people living in this region, a means of bringing the facts to life.
The extent to which the Palestinian issue brings forward divisive and polarizing emotions is well recognized. That is why Visualizing Palestine’s dedication to verifiable facts and sources is all the more important. They have not had anyone bring forward facts that invalidate any of the statements made in their infographics. An invaluable  resource, helping to inform people, change perspectives , bringing statistics to life for the whole world to see. It is much needed and  needs all the support they can get.
For more information, or to see more of the infographics, visit the websites of Visualizing Palestine and Visualizing Impact. or  their twitter  and fsacebook page  

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Happy Birthday Charles Bukowski ( 16/8/20 -9/3/94) Barfly, maverick, genius.

Ah Mr Henry Charles Bukowski. This is a man that I owe a lot of debt and gratitude, For those  not familiar, I hail  him for being  one of Americas  greatest poets, novelists and short story writers. His writing that  still continues to influence, one of the main reasons I attempt to write myself.
Born  in Andernach, Germany in 1926,as Heinrich Karl Bukowski,  he came to the United States at the age of three, he began writing at  a young age, and was first published in the 1940's, he would spend the next 20 years, working in  a series of menial jobs, while immersing himself in the world of booze and hard living.
At the age of 49, after years of heavy drinking and debauchery, he struck a deal with Black Sparrow Press that allowed him to quit a work ethic that he was not comfortable with, in a post office, to focus full time on his writing. The result was over 30 poetry collections, 6 novels and two feature films based on his life and works, making him one of the most prolific writers of the 20th Century.
His work was marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships, failure, depression, gambling, life and death, and drinking and more drinking. He was a poet who wrote without pretence, privilege or sheen, embracing what so many of us try to avoid. He was heavily influenced by the geography and atmosphere of his home city of Los Angeles, and all the senses that he witnessed and devoured.
He lived alongside  his words, alongside the margins of societies edge, with the down and outs, the wrecked, the outsiders, the hopelessly abandoned, the walking wounded. Beyond the literary schools, his work emerged  to break all traditional rules, against all that is conventional, beautifully sinful, uncompromising, but  never hypocritically  righteous, releasing poetry of such passion that I believe still matters today. Utilising free verse and spontanaeity, despite the idolation that was bestowed  upon him, he joined no clichés, refusing acceptance  into any literary community, in true essence of his rebellious spirit.
Blunt and outspoken, he saw the ugliness of the earth, and was not afraid to express his ways of seeing. Remembered because of the rawness and roughness and the many manifestations of ugliness that he saw in life, I try not to forget, the beauty and tenderness that he shared too.
In simple language, he simply used the inner rhythm of his voice, to release what I have realised to be a form of magic, no cleverness or pretence disguised, just a raw undiluted life affirming truth filled with his brutal honesty.
He died in  San Pedro, California on March 9, 1994 at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp,  but his spirit and his words live on.
So today I raise a sweet glass to my lips, unfortunately it's apple juice, i'm currently on the wagon, hey ho, will still gulp down thirstily his words of essential breath, that still continue to fill my heart with hope, in a world driven mad. So thank you kindly Charles, happy birthday. Cheers.

Here is a selection  of some of my favourite poems from his pen. There are so many to choose from. I hope you enjoy.

don't come round, but if you do.

yeah sure, I'll be in unless I'm out
don't knock if the lights are out
or you hear voices or then
I might be reading Proust
if someone  slips Proust under my door
or one of his bones for my stew,
and I can't loan money or
the phone
or what's left of my car
though you can have yesterday's newspaper
an old shirt or a  bologna sandwich
or sleep on the couch
if you don't scream at night
and you can talk about yourself
that's only normal;
hard times are upon us all
only I am not trying to raise a family
to send through Harvard
or buy  hunting land,
I am not aiming high
I am only trying to keep myself alive
just a little longer,
so if you sometimes knock
and I don't answer
and there isn't a woman in here
maybe I have broken my jaw
and I am looking for wire
or I am chasing the butterflies in
my wallpaper,
I mean if I don't answer
I don't answer, and the reason is
that I am not yet ready to kill you,
it means I don't want to talk
I am busy, I am mad, I am glad
or maybe I am stringing up a rope;
so even if the lights are on
and you hear sound
like breathing or praying or singing
a radio or the roll of dice
or typing -
go away, it is not the day
the night, the hour
it is not the ignorance of impoliteness,
I wish to hurt nothing, not even a bug,
but sometimes I gather evidence of a kind
that takes some sorting,
and your blue eyes, be they blue
and your hair, if you have some
or your mind - they cannot enter
until the rope is cut or knotted
or until I have shaven into
new mirrors, until the world is
stopped or opened

  I am dead but I know
the dead are not like this

the dead can sleep
they don't get up and rage
they don't have a wife.

her white face
like a flower in a closed
window lifts up and
looks at me.

the curtain smokes a cigarette
and a moth dies in a
freeway crash
as I examine the shadows of my

an owl, the size of a baby clock
rings for me, come on come on
it says as Jerusalem is hustled
down crotch-stained halls.

the 5.a.m, grass is nasal now
in hums of battleships and valleys
in the raped light that brings on
the fascist birds.

I put out the lamp and get in bed
beside her, she thinks I'm there
mumbles a rosy gratitude
so I stretch my legs
to coffin length
get in and swim away
from frogs and fortunes.

well, that's just the way it is . . .

sometimes when everything seems at
its worst
when all conspires
and gnaws
and the hours, days, weeks
seem wasted -
stretched there upon my bed
in the dark
looking upward at the ceiling
I get what many will consider as
obnoxious thought
it's still nice to be

no help for that

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

a space
and even during,
the best moments
and the greatest times

we will know it

we will know it
more than

there is a place  in the heart that
will never be filled

we will wait

in that space.


the house next door  makes me sad
both man and  wife rise early and go to work
they arrive home early in the evening
they have a young boy and a girl
by 9.p.m all in the lights in the house are out
the next morning both  man and
wife rise early again and  go to
they return in early evening,
By 9 p.m. all the lights are

the house next door makes me
the people are nice people, I
like them.

but I feel them drowning,
and \ I can't save them.

They are surviving.
they are not
but the price is terrible.

Sometimes during the day
I will look at the house
and the house will look at
and the house will
weep, yes, it does, I
feel it.

alone with everybody

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
cases against the walls
and the men drink too
and nobody finds the
but keep
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
there's no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else

the laughing heart

your life s  your life
don't let it  be clubbed into dank submission
be on the watch
there are ways out
there is a light somewhere,
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch
the gods will offer you chances,
know them,
take them.
you can't beat death in life, sometimes
and the more often you  learn to do it,
the more light there will be
your life is your life
know it while you have it
you are marvellous
the gods wait to delight
in you.


not much chance,
completely cut loose from
he was a young man
riding a bus
through North Carolina
on the way to somewhere
and it began to snow
and the bus stopped
at a little cafe
in the hills
and the passengers
he sat at the counter
with the others,
he ordered and the
food arrived,
the meal was
and  the
the waitress was
unlike the woman
he  had
she was unaffected,
there  was a natural
humor which came
from her
the fry cook said
crazy things
the dishwater
in  back
laughed, a good
the young man watched
the snow through the
he wanted  to stay
in that café
the curious feeling
swam through him
that everything
was beautiful
then the bus driver
told the passengers
that it was time
to board,
the young man
thought, I'll just sit
here, I'll just stay
but then
he rose and followed
the others  into
the bus
he found his seat
and looked at the cafe
through the bus
then the bus moved
off, down a curve,
downward, out of
the hills,
the young man
looked straight
he heard the other
or other things,
or they were
or attempting to
they had not
the young man
put his head to
one side
closed his eyes,
pretended to
there  was nothing
else to do-
just to listen to the
sound of the
the sound  of the
in the

one for the shoeshine man

If you see me grinning from
my blue volks
running a yellow light
driving straight into the sun
I will be locked  in the
arms of a
crazy life.

Further Reading:-

Love is a Dog from Hell - Charles Bukowski;1977

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flames - Charles Bukowski; 1974;

Play the Piano Drunk like a percussion instrument until the fingers begin to bleed
-Charles Bukowski; 1978

Factotum - Charles Bukowski;  1979

Post Office- Charles Bukowski,  1971

Charles Bukowski; Locked in the arms of a crazy life- Howard Sounes; 1996

I have posted poems from  Bukowski, several times over the years, here is a link to two of them ;-

Beyond Doubt

Stubbornness can be linked with awkwardness
A refusal to play by rules of engagement,
Keep questioning if you doubt
But it's ok to accept assistance,
Investigate your fears and bias
Learn about new potential,
Mental processes will still define you
Past grinning gaze and teeth that gnash,
Allow tools to sharpen reason
With endeavour  purpose will become known,
Passing obstacles, retaining integrity
Accept mistakes as learning opportunity
Try not to spend those long hours, skulking in the dark.            

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Don't Be a Sucker :Post-WW2 Anti-Fascist Educational Film , 1947

Don't Be a Sucker! is a short educational film produced by the U.S. War Department in 1943 and re-released in 1947. The film depicts the rise of Nazism in Germany and warns Americans against repeating the mistakes of intolerance made in Nazi Germany and avoid falling for fascism. It emphasizes that Americans will lose their country if they let themselves be turned into "suckers" by the forces of fanaticism and hatred. The film was made to make the case for the desegregation of the United States armed forces by simply revealing the connection between prejudice and fascism.
This film is not propaganda. To the contrary, it teaches how to recognize and reject propaganda, as was used by the Nazis to promote to bigotry and intimidation. It shows how prejudice can be used to divide the population to gain power.
It  is very relevant again in the era of Brexit, Farage, Theresa May, Trump ,Charlottesville, VA.  et al. Something that needs to be reposted in these dangerous, broken, fractured times.
I am sharing after the weekend, when my stomach turned aftervarious groups of neo-Nazis including the National Socialist Movement and the Traditionalist Workers Party held an event called 'Unite the Right' in Charlottesville, VA. where they waved Confederate and Nazi flags, brandish weapons, scream “Jews are Satan’s children”
They used the same  dog-whistle politics, citing “freedom of speech,” like Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists in the 1960s, and the National Front, the BNP, and Britain First and the English Defence League that have followed in their wake in Britain.
Due to the hard work of the combined opposition of local antifascists and the numerous groups who made the journey to the city, the rally was called off before any speeches were made. But throughout the day violent clashes continued to take place as antifascists defended the streets against people who were openly identifying themselves as national socialists and ethno-nationalists. Later in the day as the event appeared to be coming to a close, James Alex Field Jr, who was seen holding a shield with American Vanguard, drove a vehicle at speed into a group of antifascists, which included a contingent of Wobblies, Black Lives Matter, and Democratic Socialists of America. Though different sources are saying slightly different things, it appears that 19 people were badly injured and one woman who bravely came out ro demonstrate was killed, she was Heather Heyer, a local Charlottesville antifascist .Rest in Power
Now the racists/Nazis are currently getting  all upset and whining about losing their jobs, .too bad, idiots. Their  bosses and the companies  they worked for also have the right to choose not to be associated with racists and Nazis just as the sane people of the world have the right to identify and ostracize them.
Frighteningly though there are white nationalist enablers actually in the White House. They demonize immigrants and Muslims. They boast about their close ties to the alt-right  They refuse to condemn far-right violence and terror by name. And in one case, they’ve literally helped to establish a political party with European neo-Nazis.Their presence in the White House emboldens neo-Nazis and brings their ideology into the mainstream.
They are Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka. It's time for the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to show them the door.
The hatred unleashed by President Trump’s campaign is not new to this country or to the world. We’ve seen it before, and we know that it will not be vanquished just by firing these three men, or even by the eventual end of the Trump presidency.
But firing them will send an important message that the White House will not allow these dangerous ideologies to fester within the president's closest circle of advisers. It’s a first step , and one that General Kelly needs to take now.
As long as Bannon and co. are still in the administration, any White House condemnations of white supremacy will be ultimately ineffective and inadequate. Their proximity to the most powerful person in the world is shameful  and dangerous.
We  afford to  sit by in silence while White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK and the Trump administration terrorize communities of color, Muslims, immigrants, the LGBT community, Jewish people and people with disabilities.
We don't have a Muslim problem. We don't have a Jewish problem We have a Fascism problem. Stop calling it alt-right. Start shutting it down. We can't afford to be suckers any more.
Please share the word.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Anti Fascist Poem

                                            Dedicated to Heather Heyer R.I.P

There should be no platform
For bigoted people with fascist views,
It's time to block and remove the space
That promotes superiority of white race,
Alt right equals Nazi, it's as simple as this
Provoking Nazi salutes, spreading hate.

Yesterday Heather Heyer was murdered
In Charlottesville, USA, this occurred,
During an anti fascist demonstration
Slain by stagnated forces of negation,
Enough is enough people cry
We do not forget, we do not forgive!

Fascism does not arrive as a friend
Already using the language of persecution,
Daily threatening minorities and the vulnerable
Spreading message of repugnance and hate,
Harassing, prejudiced and spreading fear.
They will never be given a welcome here.

40 years ago the fascists were beaten
At the battle of Lewisham,
Intolerance was not accepted
Today we must face them again,
Standing together, proud and strong
We will resist, they shall not pass.

The above poem can now also be found here too :-

Friday, 11 August 2017

Demand freedom for Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin Now

Prominent leftist leader, feminist, human rights defender and Member of the Palestinian parliament Khalida Jarrar and Khilam Saafin, president of the Union of Palestinian Women's Committes and prominent struggler for the liberation of Palestinian women and the Palestinian have currently been held without being charged or tried for 36 days. They both face indefinite detention without charge or trial.
The ‘arrest’ of the two women should be seen in light of the Israeli policy to deprive the Palestinian people of its leadership. In Palestine and internationally, there has  already been a furious response. Their administrative detention orders can be renewed indefinitely and with no prior notice.
They  have been held without charge or trial since 2 July. According to Addameer Association’s lawyers who represent both women, the Israel military commander issued a three-month administrative detention order against Khitam Saafin on 9 July. The decision was confirmed by a military judge on 12 July. Khalida Jarrar, who is an elected parliamentarian, was given a six-month administrative detention order on 12 July and a military judge confirmed the decision on 18 July. Although six months is the maximum period of detention for each order, they can be renewed indefinitely.
Both women were arrested by Israeli soldiers during pre-dawn raids on their homes on 2 July. According to eyewitnesses, at 3:30am that day, between 40 and 50 armed Israeli soldiers conducted a raid on Khitam Saafin's home in Beitunia, a neighbourhood of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, in order to arrest her. On the same morning at around 4am, a similar Israeli military raid was carried out to arrest Khalida Jarrar in her home in Ramallah. In the raid, the soldiers also confiscated Khalida Jarrar’s phone, tablet and the hard drive of her home computer.
Both women were first held in Ofer military compound near Ramallah and then transferred to HaSharon prison inside Israel in the afternoon of 2 July. The transfer of both women to HaSharon prison violates international humanitarian law; detainees from occupied territories must be detained in the occupied territory, and not in the territory of the occupying power. Israeli authorities accuse each woman of membership in an illegal organisation, claims they both deny.
As with all cases of administrative detention, the “evidence” against Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin is secret, and neither they nor their lawyers are allowed to review it. This violates a central tenet of fair trial standards.
Khitam Saafin, aged 54, is the president of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, an organization that works for community-based economic and social development of women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She has been an outspoken activist for Palestinian women’s economic, national, and social liberation for decades who has spoken internationally and participated in many worldwide events, including the World Social Forum, linking women’s struggles internationally with the struggle of Palestinian women for national and social liberation.
Khalida Jarrar, aged 54, is an elected Palestinian parliamentarian and outspoken critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and Palestinian security cooperation with the Israeli military. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Addameer Association, a human rights organization, and an appointed member of the Palestinian Higher National Committee to Follow-up with the International Criminal Court. She has been a strong advocate for the rights of Palestinian prisoners and their families. She has been subjected to decades of harassment and intimidation by the Israeli authorities, including a travel ban imposed since 1998. The ban was lifted once for a couple of days in 2010 to allow her to travel for medical testing in Jordan for a serious chronic medical issue that she continues to suffer from. Israeli authorities have repeatedly declared her a security risk, but did not charge her with any criminal offence until April 2015. On 2 April 2015, she was arrested by Israeli soldiers at her home in Ramallah, and placed under administrative detention. On 15 April 2015, at the review hearing of her administrative detention order, the military prosecution brought 12 charges against her relating to membership of the banned political party Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and incitement to kidnap Israeli soldiers. She has vehemently denied this accusation and her lawyers have claimed that it has no basis. Following an unfair trial in an Israeli military court, Khalida Jarrar was convicted of four of the charges, including incitement. She served 14 months in prison and was released in June 2016 with a five-year suspended sentence.
Israel’s use of administrative detention of Palestinians is widespread and has led to mass hunger strikes by Palestinian detainees and prisoners, protesting against the conditions in which they are held and being detained without charge. Administrative detention, ostensibly introduced as an exceptional measure to detain people who pose an extreme and imminent danger to security is used by Israel as an alternative to the criminal justice system to arrest, charge and prosecute people suspected of criminal offences, or to detain people who should not have been arrested at all. Although six months is the maximum period of detention for each order, they can be renewed indefinitely and Amnesty International believes that some Palestinians held in administrative detention by Israel are prisoners of conscience, held solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and association.
According to Israeli NGO, HaMoked—Center for the Defence of the Individual, Israel is holding 465 administrative detainees without charge or trial as of August 2017.For decades now Israel has used its cruel administrative policies to trample over the rights o Palestinian detainees. Instead o indefinitely detaining Palestinians without charge or trial, I believe Israel should end its use of administrative  detention, which inflicts huge emotional suffering on detainees and their families, placing them in a permanent state of uncertainty.

The arrests of Khalida and Khiltam represent an attack on the political activity and popular organization of the Palestinian people and a blatant assault on the Palestinians women's movement. Therefore, it is necessary that the people of the world support and demand their immediate release, and all the thousands of Palestinian prisoners  of conscience behind Israeli jails.
The Palestinian people have the right to struggle against the occupation of their land and to use all means available under international law for their lives and their country.Israel must end illegal detentions, and all detainees must be charged and have access to a fair trial.
For a Free Palestine!  Solidarity with Palestinian women and the Palestinian people! From the rivers to the sea Palestine will be free.

Please write immediately in English, Hebrew or your own language calling on the Israeli authorities to:

Immediately release Khitam Saafin and Khalida Jarrar and all other administrative detainees or to promptly charge them with an internationally recognizable criminal offense and bring them to trial in conformity with international trial standards;Take immediate steps to end the practice of administrative detention.


Minister of Defence
Avigdor Leiberman
Ministry of Defence
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940

Salutation: Dear Minister

Commander of the IDF – West Bank
Major-General Roni Numa
GOC Central Command
Military Post 02367, Battalion 877
Israel Defence Forces, Israel
Fax: +972 2 530 5741, +972 2 530 5724

Salutation: Dear Major-General Roni Numa

And copies to:
Minister of Public Security
Gilad Erdan
Kiryat Hamemshala
PO Box 18182
Jerusalem 91181, Israel
Fax: +972 2 584 7872

Salutation: Dear Minister

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

2 Palace Green Kensington W8 4QB, 020 7957 9500

There is also a petition one could sign here :-