Thursday, 28 September 2017

National Poetry Day: Still Hungry for Freedom

Nice project for National Poetry Day on I am not a silent poet
Send your poems here today:
An old poem from my pen :

Still Hungry for Freedom

So long as a human being thirsts for freedom...
and is shackled in a concrete cage
without charge under a policy universally condemned
called administrative detention
I will sound alarms.

and if my poetry drifts towards polemic
I will make no apology
with the absence of the unseen in mainstream news
I will spread their dreams and hopes.

So long as bulldozers
destroy peoples homes
and walls are built that divide and uproot
I will raise my voice.

and when peoples lands are stolen
daily from under their feet
I will not be cowed into silence.

When rules of law are twisted
that allow voices to be unheard
I will not feign blindness
pretend ignorance
I will try to be an echo.

and if some are allowed
to steal the richness
from peoples souls
I will stand up
and stamp my feet.
and will proudly raise my fist
proudly raise my fist.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Banned Books Week (24/8/17 -30/9/17) and Poetry's Place

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it serves to highlight free and open access to information.Every day across the globe, writers are being censored in a hundred different ways. Some face persecution, others are imprisoned, some have their work banned and some are subject to more insidious means of censorship. For some, such restrictions may seem sensible, while for others, they appear arbitrary at best, oppressive and dangerous at worst.
The list of books suppressed in the English language features the sacred and profane, poetic and pornographic, famous and infamous. A history of the censorship of literary texts is also a history of the authorities that have attempted to prevent their circulation: sovereigns, politicians, judges, prison officers, slaveholders, school governors, librarians, teachers, parents, students, editors and publishers.
Each year a host of events are held across the United States such as author readings in bookshops, libraries, and schools, as well as panel discussions and webinars.Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries in the US and designed to bring awareness to the number of books that face bans and censorship in the United States.Since then according to the American Library Association more than 11,000 books have been challenged.
We might expect that book bannings are a particularly American thing, but this year Banned Books Week is a bigger thing in the UK than it ever has been before, largely due to the involvement of the non-profit campaign Index for Censorship.
“Censorship isn’t something that happens far away,” says Jodie Ginsberg, the campaign’s CEO. “It has happened in the UK. In every library there are books that British citizens have been blocked from reading at various times. As citizens and literature lovers we must be constantly vigilant to guard against the erosion of our freedom to read.
“Index is excited to be joining the coalition as the first non-US member. We have been publishing work by censored writers from around the world for 45 years and – given all that is happening on the global political stage – it feels more important than ever to be highlighting censorship and demonstrating just what it means when books are banned.”
Charles Brownsein, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition and executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund, which finances comic book creators and retailers court cases against censorship actions, is delighted that the primarily US event now has a foothold in the UK. He says, “We are very excited to have the Index on Censorship join the coalition. Their work not only aligns with our mission, but will bring an international perspective and awareness to our annual celebration of the freedom to read.”
Literature is usually banned because people with power do not approve. Words are dangerous because they can.inspire action. They can point to an injustice, breathe life into dormant issues, create a national feeling or hold people accountable. Call me a hypocrite and I make no apologies I've been known to throw Fascist propaganda in the bin, because I happen to think  recycling is very important too. Banned Books week has certainly giving me some needed food for thought though.
In 1644, poet John Milton famously wrote, “Censors rake through  the entrails of many an old good author, with a violation worse than any could be offered to his tomb.” The statement comes from Aeropagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing to the Parliament of England, a spirited defense of free speech that he wrote in response to Parliament’s Licensing Order of 1643. Milton, who himself was the victim of censorship in his efforts to publish treatises defending divorce, published Aeropagitica in defiance of the same censorship law it argued against.
While Milton’s treatise was a response to an immediate threat to freedom of speech, the practice of censoring and banning literature both predates and postdates Milton’s defense — particularly as it relates to poetry.
A few decades later, poet, novelist, and playwright Oscar Wilde said, “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” Even later, poet Joseph Brodsky said, “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
While the history of censorship has become more visible in the last few years through campaigns like Banned Books Week, perhaps less noted or known within that history is how poets and poetry have been similarly challenged, censored, and banned.
In honor of Banned Books Week this year, here are some significant  poetry collections, poems, that have been challenged, censored, banned, and even burned throughout history as controversial works and some poets that continue to be silenced even today:-

Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) by Charles Baudelaire:

Banned in 1857 for eroticism, and, according to the judges, poems that “necessarily lead to the excitement of the senses

Mahmoud Darwish :

Though he was widely considered the Palestinian national poet, Mahmoud Darwish frequently faced controversy and censorship with his work. As a young man, Darwish faced house arrest and imprisonment for his activism. He later became increasingly involved in politics, openly criticizing Arab governments and Palestinian politicians. He lived in exile from Israel for twenty-six years, until he was able to return in 1996.
In 2000, Yossi Sarid, then the education minister of Israel, suggested including works by Darwish in the school curriculum. But right-wing members of President Ehud Barak’s government threatened to introduce a motion of no-confidence. Barak said Israel was “not ready” to teach Darwish in the schools. After Darwish had learned of the controversy, he said, “It is difficult to believe that the most militarily powerful country in the Middle East is threatened by a poem.”
The issue of Darwish’s censorship came up again in 2014, when his works were removed from a major book fair in Saudi Arabia for containing “blasphemous passages.”

Howl by Allen Ginsberg:

Challenged in a famous 1957 obscenity trial for its language and content about drug use and sexuality. On October 7, 1955, Ginsberg publicly read part of “Howl” for the first time at the Six Gallery in San Francisco, to the praise and acclaim of his fellow Beat writers. The following day, City Lights publisher and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti sent Ginsberg a telegram
am asking for the manuscript of the poem. Anticipating a controversial release, before City Lights published the manuscript, Ferlinghetti asked the American Civil Liberties Union if it would defend the book in court if he were prosecuted.
Howl and Other Poems was then published on November 1, 1956, as part of the City Lights Pocket Poets Series. With its long, winding lines; profane language; and frank, racy content about drug use and sexuality, Howl was deemed obscene and Ferlinghetti was arrested and taken to court. Obscenity charges were dismissed after trial.

Amores (Loves) & Ars amatoria (Art of Love) by Ovid:

The Roman poet Ovid not only had his book, Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) banned, but he himself was banished from Rome for writing it in the year 8 CE. Banned, challenged, and burned for sexual content.In 1497, Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican monk living in Florence, Italy, began burning all objects he found immoral and corruptive in what would be called the Burning of the Vanities. All of Ovid’s works were included in the pyre.
Ovid’s works were challenged again a century later in Elizabethan England as Amores, elegiac poems in a set of three books that describe one of Ovid’s affairs, was proscribed in the 1599 Bishops’ Ban. Ordered by John Whitgift, the archbishop of Canterbury, and Richard Bancroft, the bishop of London, the Bishops’ Ban resulted into the cessation of the printing of questionable books and the destruction of existing copies of those texts. Christopher Marlowe’s translation of the Amores was included in the ban. U.S. Customs banned it in 1930 - nearly two thousand years after it had been written. This makes it a candidate, if not the winner, of the dubious distinction of being the longest (in time) banned book.

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein:

Banned for encouraging bad behavior and addressing topics some deemed inappropriate for children.
This is one of several poems that led to the collection being banned because it was said to cause messiness and disobedience.

How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes

If you have to dry the dishes
(Such an awful boring chore)
If you have to dry the dishes
(‘Stead of going to the store)
If you have to dry the dishes
And you drop one on the floor
Maybe they won’t let you
Dry the dishes anymore

(Light in the Attic, Harper Collins, 1981)

First Folio by William Shakespeare:

Arguably the greatest writer in the English language, has been banned many times. His plays and his sonnets excite the greatest difficulty for teachers by alluding to sex in many ways; several plays banned for profane language, sexual content, violence, political implications, and more.

Dlatego żyjemy (That’s What We Live For) by Wislawa Szymborska:

Wislawa Szymborksa is considered one of the major modern Polish poets; she published several poetry collections and was awarded a Nobel Prize in literature in 1996. Szymborska spent much of her life in a Stalinist Poland, in which socialism was enforced upon Polish artists.In 1949 her first book, Dlatego żyjemy, was set for publication but was banned for being too preoccupied with the war and not loyal enough to the socialist regime

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman:

Famously “banned in Boston” in 1882 for sexual content.Seminal to the history of American verse, Leaves of Grass, a frank and sensual celebration of America and the human body, would later be considered a classic that established Whitman as one of the originators of a uniquely American poetic voice


Ahmad Shamlu - Metals and Sense :

The Persian poet, also known by the surname Shamloo, or in his homeland as Ahmad Šāmlū,  occasionally used the pen name A. Bamdad when writing poetry or working as a journalist. Many critics consider him to be amongst the most influential poets in modern-day Iran.
Shamlou’s first collection of poetry was called Forgotten Songs and was published in 1947. It was a collection of modern and classical poetry and he followed this by making regular contributions to a literary periodical called Sokhan-no. A second collection appeared four years later called Manifesto and it was around this time that his socialist tendencies manifested themselves. He took on a job at the Hungarian embassy as cultural advisor.
Perhaps it was his growing notoriety in Persian society that caused his third collection of poetry – Metals and Sense in 1952 – to be first banned and then all copies confiscated and destroyed by the police. Things got a little easier for him during the next twenty years as he continued to write and publish his work although, in 1966, he found his literary magazine subject to a banning order by the Ministry of Information.
Shamlu left Iran in the 1970s as he was not in favour with the Shah’s regime. He moved to the United States and then to Britain for a time. The 1980s saw him living a secluded life while still writing regularly but this was interrupted when he was invited to do a lecture tour throughout Europe, and this was repeated in the early 1990s. Further tours of the United States and Canada established his name as one of the greatest figures in Iranian literature.

Lenore Kandal - The Love Book:

Lenore Kandel  hung out with Beat Poets and was  and was immortalized by Jack Kerouac In "Big Sur," Kerouac's 1962 novel, Ms. Kandel is portrayed as Romana Swartz, a "big Rumanian monster beauty.
She believed in communal living, anarchic street theater, belly dancing, and all things beautiful. She was one of the shining lights of San Francisco's famous counterculture of the '60s. Her book of poetry "The Love Book," published in 1966, was deemed pornographic and the famed Psychedelic shop
on Haight Street where it was sold was raided by the police. Copies were confiscated on the grounds that their display and sale "excited lewd thoughts" and the store's owners were arrested.
'The Love Book' was extremely graphic sexually," said Gerald Nicosia a Kerouac biographer and Beat generation chronicler. "She showed this openness to sexuality, this freedom of lifestyle. With 'The Love Book,' she became a cause celebre. But Lenore was a true lyric poet. Her language was as beautiful as anything being written."
Ms. Kandel wrote another book of poetry, "Word Alchemy," published in 1967. The same year, she was the only woman to speak onstage at the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park. She  went from the Beat community to the Diggers, to being a major player at the Human Be-In, a very deep poet, who was committed to radical values and transforming culture.

D.H. Lawrence :

D. H. Lawrence was no stranger to censorship; his novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Rainbow were censored and banned. However, many of Lawrence’s poems came under fire as well. His poems—such as “All of Us," a sequence of thirty-one war poems—attacked politicians and criticized World War I and imperial policy, but due to censorship  ultimately rendered the works unreadable to the extent that the full extent of his poetic talent has been overlooked.
Lawrence, who wrote poetry from 1905 until his death in 1930, struggled to get his poems into print, especially after the controversy surrounding his other published works of the time. It wasn’t until decades later that Lawrence’s works began to be published in their entirety.A new edition of Lawrence's poems, many rendered unreadable by the censor's pen, will reveal him as a brilliant war poet .

Federico Garcia Lorca :

Federico García Lorca is one of the most important Spanish poets and dramatists of the twentieth century, the author of such celebrated works as Romancero Gitano (The Gypsy Ballads), which was reprinted seven times during his lifetime. But his work was still the object of censorship in Spain in the early 1900s. Lorca was openly homosexual and known for his outspoken socialist views, and his works were deemed dangerous for their sexual content, language, and political underpinnings.
In 1936, Lorca was shot to death by Spanish nationalists due to his support of the deposed Republican government. Lorca’s work was burned in Granada’s Plaza del Carmen and banned from Francisco Franco’s Spain. His books remained censored until Franco’s death in 1975


Sappho :

The Greek poet Sappho lived on the island of Lesbos and is famously known for her poems of romantic longing and her affairs with other women. Though Plato referred to her as the “tenth muse,” her sexuality occasionally overshadowed her work, which was frequently viewed as obscene and objectionable. In 180 AD, the Assyrian ascetic Tatian decried Sappho as a “whorish woman, love-crazy, who sang about her own licentiousness.”
Before it was destroyed, the library of Alexandria housed nine collections of Sappho’s poems. But in 380 AD, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, the bishop of Constantinople, ordered her work burned. Later, in 1073, Pope Gregory VII also ordered that her work be publicly burned. Most of her work was destroyed; only one complete poem survived—until the discovery of some more of her poem fragments by scholars in 1898.

Nazim Hikmet :

Considered Turkey’s greatest modern poet, acclaimed both nationally and internationally for his works, Nazim Hikmet was a Communist who was stripped of his citizenship for his political views. His work, which praised his country and the common man, was deemed “subversive” and banned in Turkey from 1938 to 1965.
Hikmet himself spent several years in Turkish prisons and in exile. He wrote many of his most popular poems during these times, such as his masterpiece Human Landscapes from My Country, which he wrote while imprisoned from 1938 to 1950.
Despite the controversy surrounding his works, Hikmet’s poems won the praise and support of artists from all over the world. Now Hikmet’s work is available in more than fifty languages, and he is praised as a major figure in modern poetry.

Gwendolyn Brooks :

Gwendolyn Brooks  was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, wrote the very brief but pointed poem, We Real Cool, the Poem was banned  for the line “We jazz June” which was taken to be a metaphor for sex. “We Real Cool” (The Pool Players) is so brilliant that you could read it in essentially any time period in American history and it would still ring true.

We real cool . We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz soon. We
Die soon.

Alexander Vvedensky :

Alexander Ivanovich Vvedensky  was a Russian poet and dramatist with formidable influence on "unofficial" and avant garde art during and after the times of the Soviet Union. Vvedensky is widely considered (among contemporary Russian writers and literary scholars) as one of the most original and important authors to write in Russian in the early Soviet period.
As members of OBERIU (a modified acronym for “Association of Real Art”), Alexander Vvedensky and his colleagues were hounded to their end for their “meaningless” and “irrational” literary work.
During the 1920s and 30s, the Soviet Union made it nearly impossible for OBERIU members to publish their poetry anywhere. As a result, most of Vvedensky’s writing vanished and the first edition of what did survive was not smuggled out of the U.S.S.R. until the early 1980s. Now, several decades Vvedensky’s death on a prison train in 1941, his story and the story of OBERIU has become a rallying cry of contemporary Russian dissidents like Pussy Riot.The writer, has garnered a new English-language audience since Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova quoted Vvedensky at her trial in August 2012. Tolokonnikova compared Pussy Riot, arrested for an anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral, with the dissident Soviet poets of the OBERIU group, whose deliberately incomprehensible work challenged and de-familiarized the death-dealing logic of the communist state. She quoted Vvedensky’s idea that “the inexplicable is our friend” and insisted: “Pussy Riot are the disciples and heirs of Vvedensky,” – like him, they pass judgement on the state, even as they are sentenced to imprisonment: “The dissidents and the poets of OBERIU are thought to be dead, but they are alive,” she asserted. “They are punished, but they do not die.”

Forugh Farrokhzad :

Iranian Farrokhzad, a controversial and modern poet who openly discussed her love life in her poems, was killed in a car accident in 1967 when she was 32 years old. She remains one of the most iFarrokhzad's poems were banned following the 1979 revolution. Later, some of her poems were republished. In her poems, Farrokhzad writes about the plight of women, her unease with the conventional style of life, and her relationships.

Some excerpts:

I am thinking that in a moment of neglect
I might fly from this silent prison,
laugh in the eyes of the man who is my jailer
and beside you begin life anew.

Life is perhaps lighting up a cigarette
in the narcotic repose between two love-makings
or the absent gaze of a passerby
who takes off his hat to another passerby
with a meaningless smile and a good morning.

Exiled Iranian poet Esmail Khoi has said that Farrokhzad, as a poet and as a woman, has "all the characteristics that the Iranian government hates."
"Farrokhzad is an intellectual woman, broad-minded, freedom loving, and brave, who expresses all her feelings as a woman. She can be and in my view has always been a model for other women. This is something that the Islamic republic cannot tolerate," Khoi said in an interview with the BBC.

Mohammed al-Ajami :

Mohammed al-Ajami, is a Qatari poet who was imprisoned between 2011 and 2016 for reciting a poem critical of Qatar’s ruling family. Prior to his arrest, he was a literature student at Cairo University. On 29 November 2012, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, a sentence commuted in March 2016 through royal pardon because of international pressure.

Fatima Naoot :

Egyptian poet, author and former Parliamentarian candidate Fatima Naoot  was chief editor of the literary magazine Qaws Qazah (The Rainbow) and a writer for The 7th Day newspaper. She has translated short stories by Virginia Woolf, a volume of American and English poetry and a volume of short stories by John Ravenscroft. From 2001 onwards she published four volumes of Arabic poetry. The manuscript of her fifth volume was rewarded with the first prize in the Arabic literature section of the Literary festival in Hong Kong in 2006. The translation of this volume in both Chinese and English appeared meanwhile with the title A Bottle of Glue.Naoot has attended many poetic festivals and committees in Middle East, Europe, and Latin America, and wrote weekly columns in newspapers in Egypt and the Middle East. Her poetry has been translated into languages including English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese and Kurdish. She was recently sentenced to three years in jail by an Egyptian court for the crime of insulting Islam. Ms. Naoot was arrested
for writing  a Facebook post in which she criticized the mass slaughter of animals during the religious festival of Eid al-Adha. You can still see Ms. Naoot's Facebook page here.

Amanuel Asrat :

Eritrean journalist and poet, Amanuel Asrat has been incarcerated since September 23, 2001 in an undisclosed, maximum security prisons along with other journalists and former government officials who demanded reform. Amanuel (b 1971), a graduate of soil science and water conservation of University of Asmara, is greatly credited for Eritrea’s poetry resurgence of 2000s. An award-winning poet and critic, Amanuel (with two colleagues) has established grassroots literary clubs across the country. Amid the political crackdown and banning of the private newspapers, Amanuel was taken into custody in the morning of September 23, 2001. Apart from unauthorized rumors mainly through former prison guards who have fled the country, their whereabouts is unknown and there has never been an official statement by Eritrean authorities.
Amanuel Asrat is one of the few Eritrean writers who are assuming their proper places and due recognitions internationally mainly through PEN Eritrea’s advocacy campaign. He was profiled in August 2015 issue of The Guardian along other five Eritrean journalists; his poem was translated into 14 languages to mark International Translation Day; he held one of the empty chairs at the 81st PEN Congress in Quebec, Canada; and he was one of the five writers featured in 2015 on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, an international day that recognizes writers who have suffered persecution as a result of exercising their right to freedom of expression. For International Translation Day on 30 September 2015, PEN members from around the world translated ኣበሳ ኲናት (The Scourge of War) into  many different languages.

ኣበሳ ኲናት (The Scourge of War)’

Where two brothers pass each other
Where two brothers meet each other
Where two brothers conjoin
In the piazza of life and death
In the gulf of calamity and cultivation
In the valley of fear and peace
Something resounded.
The ugliness of the thing of war
When its spring comes
When its ravaging echoes knock at your door
It is then that the scourge of war brews doom
You serve it willy-nilly
Unwillingly you keep it company
Still, for it to mute how hard you pray!
– Translated by Tedros Abraham

Liu Xiaobo :

Poet Liu Xiaobo was detained in 2008 before  he died of cancer while in custody at a hospital on July 13 aged 61. Beijing faced a global backlash for its treatment of Liu Xiaobo, who became the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky in 1938.A veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, he was sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2009 for “subversion” after pushing for democratic reforms.Following his terminal cancer diagnosis, Liu had requested to receive treatment abroad  a wish that friends believe was in reality for his wife’s sake. But the authorities refused to let him go.
His death in custody triggered rage and frustration among the dissident community and an outpouring of grief in semi-autonomous Hong Kong, where pro-democracy forces must also contend with an increasingly assertive Beijing. Concerns for his widow Liu Xia also a poet are currently ongoing.

Dareen Tatour :

Finally this Palestinian poet  has spent over a year and half under house arrest for publishing a poem on her Facebook page. Since then, she has lost the ability to support herself. and cannot leave the house without a chaperone.
Tatour, 34, was arrested by Israeli police on October 11th, 2015 for a poem she had published on Facebook.The main clause of her indictment was based on a poem that she had allegedly posted on YouTube under the title: ” (Resist my people, resist them). She was charged with incitement to violence and identifying with a terrorist organization ,all because of her poem.
Since then, the state has been waging a legal battle, which has included bringing in a series of experts on both Arabic and Arabic poetry, in order to dissect the words of a young poet who was nearly anonymous until her arrest. Her trial, and the state’s attempts to turn a poem into an existential threat, has been nothing short of Kafkaesque.
‘Chains can imprison a poet physically, restrict his movements and impose house arrest, but they can’t restrict his thoughts, tongue, words and poems’.
These were her words when the Danish Carl Scharnberg Foundation,  in June 2017, awarded her a prize of  2000 euros  to support her fight for poetry, art and justice.
In the charges against Dareen for her poetry and expression, the indictment severely disregards her internationally recognized human right of expression. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Article 19(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.” Article 19 (2) also states that: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.” Although Freedom of Opinion and Expression is guaranteed under these international human rights conventions, the Israeli authorities continue to violate these internationally codified rights through the criminalization of Palestinian expression through social media outlets. The arrest and detention of Dareen and other Palestinians take place in the context of collective punishment, punitive measures and repression of Palestinians. Here is link to a previous post on the case and the poem concerned :

The Turkish government’s hostility to poems that challenge its official ideology is a long-held tradition in Turkey.The Turkish Republic was founded in 1923 and governed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) until the first free national elections were held in 1950, as a result of which the Democrat Party (DP) came into power. Although both parties were rivals, they had a lot in common, such as their intolerance of dissent and free exchange of ideas.
When the issue of jailed or exiled poets in Turkey is discussed, one of the first that comes to one’s mind is  Nazım Hikmet (born 1902, Salonika, Ottoman Empire [now Thessaloníki, Greece]—died 1963, Moscow), who was one of the most influential figures in 20th century Turkish literature.

However, the history of Turkey is filled with many examples of banning poems, removing poetry books from the marketplace, and jailing poets, however, the history of Turkey is filled with many other examples of banning poems, removing poetry books from the marketplace, and jailing poets, prosecuted and persecuted for their literary work.
As you can see  poetry for a long time has been considered dangerous and subversive.The names mentioned previously could have been joined by many many others.
Bertolt Brecht, who not only lived through some of the ‘darkest times' of the last century but was also one of its greatest lyric poets. His poem, ‘To Those Born Later', written while Brecht was in exile from Nazi Germany in 1938, goes to the heart of the matter:

What kinds of times are they, when
A talk about trees is almost a crime
Because it implies silence about so many horrors?[4]

A year earlier Brecht wrote this poem, ‘In Dark Times':

They won't say: when the walnut tree shook in the wind
But: when the house painter crushed the workers.
They won't say: when the child skimmed a flat stone across the rapids
But: when the great wars were being prepared for.
They won't say: when the woman came into the room
But: when the great powers joined forces against the workers.
However, they won't say: the times were dark
Rather: why were their poets silent?[5]

What Brecht seems to be saying is that poetry is impossible in ‘dark times' because poetry addresses itself to issues which the dark times crush into irrelevance. But he also reminds us that silence is no option. Here is a link to his poem The Burning of the Books :

But  censorship of poetry never truly lasts. Whether it takes days, months, years or decades eventually a banned poem will be brought to light and its message heard again. But the importance of the issues surrounding banning books today remains, and is one about fundamental freedoms and civil liberties.
Writers are still regularly jailed in many countries for speaking their minds or daring to question orthodoxy. Freedom of speech is a rare and precious thing in the world today but writers are still paying the price for speaking out and using their voice. While in America the First Amendment protects freedom of expression as a basic right, it is nevertheless not enough to prevent ideas being challenged, books banned  on the grounds of difference in interpretation. In some countries  freedom of expression is still completely absent from social culture, the ability to access forbidden information becomes a dangerous necessity, made only possible today because of  advances in technology, giving banned writers a global outlet, and an invaluable resource to readers.
There will always be struggles over the proper limits to free speech, but banned books week might at least help draw attention to the issues involved and  broaden peoples understanding and awareness.
And serve to remind us of the power of words and those that seek to silence them. Yet when this free speech becomes unlimited, especially in this current fractured world there will always be those who seek to provoke an extreme reaction, this is also the dark side of humanity, that can veer towards hate. The danger is that tolerance and respect for our differences - and for each other - could actually tear us all apart. Left unchecked, hate speech can lead to war and genocide. Although the right to free speech is a fundamental value, it should not be allowed to outweigh the basic human rights of other people, especially their right to life.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Animation for Tibet

Tibet is a country that has been living under China's brutal occupation for over 65 years,.Last year, Free Tibet commissioned major research into public understanding of Tibet. The results were sobering. Many are barely even aware that Tibet exists. It's time to change that.
Free Tibet is  currently raising money to fund a brand new animated short film about Tibet, in attempt to bring the Tibetan story to life, and capture the struggle and tenacious spirit of the Tibetan people.
Once completed, they  will use Free Tibet's international reach to get this video seen by millions of people; creating a whole new generation of Tibet supporters. Whatever my political allegiances my own feelings of solidarity remain with  those who are physically, economically and culturally brutalised  Like the Palestinians and the Kurds I support their daily struggle against brutal political repression and will side with those people that are  immediately oppressed. There  is simply no escaping the fact that China occupies Tibet in much the same way other regimes occupy lands that simply do not belong to them. China’s claims to have “liberated” Tibet continue to ring hollow, and the continuing Tibetan resistance represents an important call for self-determination'
However since the 2008 uprising in Tibet, the situation has been deteriorating with thousands of arrests, and the torture of Tibetans. It is evident that Chinese policies are hampering Tibetans who are driven to drastic acts of self immolation to resist China’s political repression and cultural assimilation. Here is a link to a crowdfunding page to help Free Tibet get their message out to a much wider audience, that these people are simply not forgotten. :-, people are not simpltm/projects/animation-for-tibet?mc_cid=c8ad5c5085&mc_eid=4bb4a1c634#/

Reflections on German election night


As was widely expected, Angela Merkel was re-elected to a fourth term as German chancellor on Sunday , but I am currently very saddened and  repulsed by the shocking gains of  the far right, anti-immigrant party Alternative for Deutschland (AfD)  who won 13 percent of the vote which could see them securing 88 seats in the Bunbdestag. Which will be the first time chillingly that a far right, neo Nazi party has succeeded in getting into Germany's parliament in half a century. a really surprise result for a far-right party frequently accused of harboring Nazi revivalist ambitions. During the election campaign, the party's leading candidates said that Germans should show pride in its war veterans, including those who fought for Adolf Hitler's Third Reich  and claimed that terror is grounded in the Muslim religion.
The AfD  which was only founded in 2013 as a party against Germany's use of the 19-nation euro currency rather than the mark and the country's actions in bailing out Greece during the euro crisis. But the party quickly shifted to a nationalist, anti-immigration platform after Merkel's open-door policy was announced.This party's staunch anti-Islamic rhetoric seems to have appealed to pockets of voters who feared that at an influx of muslim refugees could shake the foundations of German society.
The vote has since  subsequently been celebrated by France's fascist Marie Le Pen ,"Bravo from our allies from AFd  for this historic score." she tweeted. It is a  a chilling reminder of the right wing, racist populism  that has won electoral success from France and Germany to Donald Trump's victory in the US.
Outside AfD's election party in Berlin after the results were announced thousands of protestors shouted "All Berlin hates the AfD" "Nazi pigs"  and other slogans. Major Jewish groups have also expressed dismay , with the World Jewish congress, calling the party " a disgraceful reactionary movement that recalls the worst of Germany's past."
Germany's  political situation  like the rest of the world , reveals a deeply disturbing  mirror of the times that we currently live in, I sincerely hope that the forces of anti-Semitism, fascism, racism and xenophobia will continue to be challenged and countered, wherever these  ugly ideas are revealed, this right wing extremism must not be allowed to grow,  must  not be allowed to triumph , as they fan the flames of fear, and must continually be resisted. Lets continue to show our humanity and promote and grant safe haven to people fleeing war and misery. Don't sit on the fence when fascism continues to rise.

Sunday, 24 September 2017


Thoughts are drunk on lemonade
the well is deep, as time drifts,
freedom to reminisce, words to spin
sorting and processing
musings whirl out the door,
another day breeches
dragging visions, as leaves fall,
the river is high, so am I
every layer has a different meaning,
I have no reason to be afraid
I have seen how light flickers,
from the eyes of springtime
the eyes of summer, the eyes of autumn
to the eyes of winter; laughter sizzling,
the ebb and flow of memory
richoceting from every direction,
revolving doors of feeling
trickling through skin and bone.

PICTURE by Keith Garrow.

Friday, 22 September 2017

The Good Goddess: Happy Autumn Equinox / Gwyl canol Hydref

(Thank you Paul, blessed be)

In the husk of life, among it's hardships
Day and night, at least in balance,
Halfway between Lammas and Samhein
As colored leaves  fall in abundance,
We honour the Dark as well as the light
The difficult as well as the easy,
Through shadows of darkness
The good goddess returns,
Breaking through autumns window
To sanctify desires, help fear dissipate,
Existing in the form of time and space
Immortal protector of the human race,
Scattering seeds where dreams sprout
Mortals accept  magic into heart,
Journeying on to the chill of winter
Catching nature's loving embrace,
Bidding farewell to long days of light
We return bright blessings and rejoice.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Morrissey - Spent the Day in Bed

Morrissey returns with a gloriously pro-idle single called “Spent the Day in Bed” it's classic Moz  and includes such subversive lines as “I spent the day in bed, as the workers stay enslaved”, “no bus, no boss, no rain no train” and “stop watching the news!” It's a delightful return to form, a typical blend of melody and the morose as he puts a big middle finger up to the establishment and reflects on the horrors of the modern world presented by the media – choosing to remain in bed rather than get involved. "And I Recommend that you stop watching the news because the news contrives to frighten you , to make you feel small and alone , to make you feel your mind isn't your own."he track is taken from his first new new studio album in three years called Low in high school.
Elsewhere Morrissey has finally taken to social media and has opened up a 'Twitter account. His first post ? " Spent the day in bed." Of course!!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

In a troubled world : Some respite

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

As seasons change, with loss and time, some words simply released, from  jotted down thoughts, on different pieces of paper, somehow freestyled, pieced back together.Beyond the pain of humanity and  the sadness of separation, melodies  lift, I hear hope as an echo, where humanity dances, leaving nothing but wonder. Innumerable memorable.Among times drifting clouds, respite continues, some  moments or two of peace and quiet ,to share. To allow thoughts to keep moving on, walking through gardens of truth , with reason and passion.
Lets water the seeds of liberty, as  stars above shine, into all our yesterdays and all of our tomorrows, every single second of  our steps draws us ever closer still . Overcoming days  hollow woes, seizing magic, while it glows, beyond fears containment, the laughing smile comes back and dreams live on.

Friday, 15 September 2017

End indefinite Detention

Immigration detention centres are officially called Immigration Removal Centres, as their stated purpose is to hold people who the government intends to deport from the UK. Around half of people in immigration detention are asylum seekers, and many have family ties in the UK. Over 30,000 migrants are detained in the UK every year.
There are, at present, 11 detention centres in the UK. (This figure includes Short Term Holding Facilities.) Some are run by private security companies, others by the Prison Service. People in detention cannot leave and have very limited freedom of movement within the centres. Security levels are similar to prisons
People are detained for a very long time by the UK Border Agency when they cannot return to countries like Zimbabwe or Somalia because they are too dangerous. Others cannot be deported because they do not have a passport and their Embassy refuses  to allow them to return. People are not able to leave Britain but instead of being released, they are kept in detention indefinitely.
Most people find long-term detention intensely traumatic. Not knowing when you will be free is damaging to mental health. People who have been tortured or imprisoned in their home countries are particularly scarred by long-term detention.
Indefinite immigration detention is arbitrary from beginning to end. A person doesn’t know when they will be detained; and when they are picked up, they won’t know where they are being taken. Very often, the only belongings they will be allowed to take with them are the clothes they stand up in. Likewise, they won’t know when, or how, their detention will end. Durations vary, and detention might be only a matter of weeks, but it could just as well be months or years, the whole point being that the person detained doesn’t know. This isn't for committing a crime. It's purely because their applications to be in Britain have been refused, or are still being processed.
The UK is the only country in Europe which locks asylum seekers up indefinitely.How would you feel if you had to flee your home for fear of persecution, risked everything to travel to another country in the hope of safety, only to arrive and be detained, often without explanation or any indication of when you at be released? Would you not agree with me that it would be a completely  dehumanising experience.Alternatives to detention are cheaper, more effective and avoid the harm of detention.  States that have tried working with migrants in the community to resolve their cases have found that most comply with immigration requirements, for a fraction of the cost of detention.
Please sign the below petition from the Green Party of England and Wales to demand an end to this cruel, unnecessary practice!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Diolch yn fawr BBC

Diolch yn fawr BBC  Cymru ,"No drones over Gaza!" was chanted by  protesters from Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire at the  drones testing airfield, known as Parc Aberporth .
Based in the city of Haifa, Elbit produces military and civilian-use equipment, including drones, aircraft, weapon control systems, and artillery. The company's customers include the Israeli army, US Air Force, and the British Royal Air Force.
Operations at the Elbit owned drone factory at Shenstone near Birmingham was shut for two complete days  as protestors called for the closure of the factory and for a complete embargo on arms sales between Israel and the UK. On Thursday 6th July over a hundred people had gathered at the factory and took part in a number of activities to remember the thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Names of those killed, written on hundreds of strips of material,were tied to the fence surrounding the factory and the top of the fence was festooned with Palestinian flags. Small cardboard coffins, each with a photograph and name of a child killed in Gaza, were laid across both entrances to the factory. Palestinians at the protest reminded people that each of the people killed by an Israeli drone is a person, with a name, an age, a family and a story of their life.
On Friday 7th July activists returned once more to the factory, where the Palestinian flags and ribbons of names of those killed continued to surround the factory. All three entrances to the factory were blocked, forcing its closure for a 2nd day. Five protestors were subsequently arrested but as they were taken away the names of those killed in Gaza were still fluttering from the fence and 50 or so flags were flying defiantly. The protesters believed that the factory is complicit in illegal activity and that they were preventing a crime,"
The chanting  in Aberporth was heard loud and clear in the background as Bethan Williams of Cymdeithas yr Iaith (pictured below on far right) spoke to BBC Wales reporter Matt Murray who happened to be there in connection with the Telegraph report about the two drones that had crashed into the sea off Aberporth…/army-grounds-1bn-drone-fleet-…/. Bethan's excellent clear, cogent interview was broadcast on Radio Cymru's "Post Prynhawn": @ 37.41 The references to the drones' impact over Gaza were not edited out of Bethan's interview the way they were from the other interview with my comrade Harry Rogers. Harry of Bro Emlyn Peace and Justice and  also of the Drones Campaign Network Cymru  (far left in photo above waving Palestinian flag )  in a greatly shortened interview, omitted any mention of Gaza, but was at least broadcast in the evening news on BBC Wales…/bbc-wales-today-evening-news-13092017 @ 6:45
And well done to Elizabeth Morley for coming up with the idea for us to go to Aberporth.. Incidentally I try not to smile for camera on occasions like this. But charges  were dropped against 3 defendants. The trial of the remaining 2 will be on 24 November. Palestine will be free.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Remembering Photojournalist Kevin Carter ( 13/9/1960 - 27/7/1994)

Kevin Carter was an award winning South African photojournalist whose image of a starving female Sudanese toddler, alone and severely emaciated, attempting to crawl to an aid station for food made hi internationally famous. A vulture is standing on the ground behind her, waiting for her to die so that it can eat her. Thanks to this memorable photo, the famine in Sudan became internationally known. Carter left an indelible mark on the planet's consciousness. At this point Carter was probably not aware that he had shot one of the most controversial pictures in the history of photojournalism.

Sold to the New York Times ,the photograph first appeared  on 26 March 1993, and was carried in many newspapers around the world. Hundreds of people contacted the Times to ask the fate of the girl. The paper reported that it was unknown whether she had managed to reach the feeding center. . Carter left an indelible mark on the planet’s consciousness. At this point Carter was probably not yet aware that he had shot one of the most controversial photographs in the history of photojournalism
Sold to the New York Times, the photograph first appeared on 26 March 1993 and was carried in many other newspapers around the world. Hundreds of people contacted the Times to ask the fate of the girl. The paper reported that it was unknown whether she had managed to reach the feeding center. On May 23, 14 months after capturing that memorable scene, Carter walked up to the platform in the classical rotunda of Columbia University's Low Memorial Library and received the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.
However when the picture gained international prominence people started asking what had happened to the girl. It emerged that Carter had apparently done nothing to help the girl. He received heaps of criticism for his “inhumane” actions. Questions  were raised about the ethics of taking such a photograph. An article printed in 1994 in the St Petersberg Times commented on the morality of Carters actions, ‘the man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene,’
The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) have a ‘Code of Ethics’ which sets out certain ethical responsibilities when carrying out journalistic work, one reads as thus, ‘while photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.’ Considering this, one can say Carter was objective and documented what he saw, capturing the severity of the situation in Sudan.
Carter was working in a time when photojournalists were told not to touch famine victims for fear of spreading disease. He witnessed masses of people starving to death. Carter estimated that there were twenty people per hour dying at the food center. This child was not unique. Regardless, Carter often expressed regret that he had not done anything to help the girl, even though there was not much that he could have done. Carter defended himself and  claimed that he waited 20 minutes for the vulture to spread its wings, which he thought would make a better picture, and when it didn’t, he took the picture,scared the vulture away, then left the girl to continue crawling on her own.
Carter's goal was to spread awareness of the violence and famine plaguing sub-Saharan Africa. Often, after taking photographs, Carter was so deeply affected that he would sit alone for hours, crying and smoking cigarettes. He was unable to escape the terrible scenes he witnessed.
To this day no one knows what became of the Sudanese girl, but the picture remains one of the most powerful images of our time.
Carter's friend and fellow photographer Ken Oosterbroek was killed just few months before 27 July 1994 when Carter drove to the Braamfontein Spruit river, near the Field and Study Centre, an area where he used to play as a child, and took his own life by taping one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe and running the other end to the passenger-side window. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning, aged 33. He had spiraled into a depression, to which many things were a factor, his vocation as a photojournalist in 1980s South Africa is believed to be a huge part of it. Carter is the tragic example of the toll photographing such suffering can take on a person
Though he will forever be remembered by that harrowing picture and the fact that he committed suicide 14 months after winning the highest accolade in his field of art, Carter played an important role in ending Apartheid in South Africa through his craft.
Kevin Carter was born in 1960, the year Nelson Mandela's African National Congress was outlawed and the year of the Sharpeville massacre when South African police opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, killing 60 people and leaving ore than 300 wounded.Descended from English immigrants, Carter was not part of the Afrikaner mainstream that ruled the country. Indeed, its ideology appalled him. Yet like many others he was caught up in its historic injustices. Later he was conscripted into  the south african defense forces which he despised.One day he shielded a black waiter against other soldiers they called him a kaffir-boetie (nigger lover)which struck him severely. in 1980, he went absent without leave, he rode a motorcycle to durban  and became a dj but he lost his job and returned to the army to finish  his service in Pretoria. In 1983, while on guard duty, he was injured  by a bomb that killed 19 people , he survived and finished his service .He found a job at a camera repair shop and slowly drifted into photojournalism and started working for  the johannesburg star in 1984 , along with his friends Ken Oosterbroek, Greg Marinovich, and Joao Silva longed to expose the brutality of Apartheid to the world. Risking imprisonment and death they captured the violence of South Africa so vividly that a Johannesburg magazine dubbed them "The Bang-Bang Club." The title stuck. Carter and his friends were fearless and put themselves in harm's way for what they believed in.
Along with his famous photograph, Carter had captured such things as a public necklacing execution in 1980s South Africa, along with the violence of the time, including shootouts and other executions.

Carter spoke of his thoughts when he took these photographs: “I had to think visually. I am zooming in on a tight shot of the dead guy and a splash of red. Going into his khaki uniform in a pool of blood in the sand. The dead man’s face is slightly gray. You are making a visual here. But inside something is screaming: ‘My God!’. But it is time to work. Deal with the rest later. If you can’t do it, get out of the game”.

Kevin Carter in action

Carter's story was subsequently depicted in the 2010 feature film, The Bang-Bang-Club in which he was played by Taylor Kitsch.
Carter's friend and fellow photographer Ken Oosterbroek was killed just few months before. Kevin Carter wound up developing a serious substance abuse problem. He used cocaine to give him the energy he needed to be hyper-vigilant at all times while in combat zones. He used marijuana and alcohol to try to calm himself down at night, haunted by the things he'd seen. Carter also felt constant guilt as a white person when he witnessed the atrocities committed against black South Africans, as well as between various tribes. Carter felt responsible for the deaths that he saw and tried to atone for the violence committed by the hands of white South Africans. He would at least live to witness the election of Nelson Mandela and the fall of apartheid South Africa.
However a cloud of guilt haunted his eye, tormented by the human tragedy that he had witnessed.
Portions of Carter's suicide note read as this:"I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky."
If truth be told some photographs are  beyond words, deeds  or actions. Kevin Carter's  memory and contribution to ending oppression and exposing the suffering of Africans by releasing it to the world with his pictures lives on.

Manic Street Preachers  - Kevin Carter

Hi Time magazine hi Pulitzer Prize
Tribal scars in Technicolor
Bang bang club AK 47 hour

Kevin Carter

Hi Time magazine hi Pulitzer Prize
Vulture stalked white piped lie forever
Wasted your life in black and white

Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter

Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter

The elephant is so ugly he sleeps his head
Machetes his bed Kevin Carter kaffir lover forever
Click click click click click
Click himself under

Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Broken (After visit to London, September 2017)

I heard the crying of the birds
as music sailed into tragic sky,
passing lonely figures with express
ionless gaze, sitting sightless and mute,
their only comfort a strong weatherproof can
almost naked in their cages, neglected and worn,
faces stained with sadness and bitter pills
the marks of battered existence,
sheltering among cardboard in open view
broken and torn, losing sense of hope,
with aching belly's, empty pockets
flicker of dreams slowly evaporating,
struggling, drifting on streets of anguish
the pavements they sleep, not laced with gold,
as rain poured down, to lash skin and souls
others rushed on by in search of entertainment;
troubles they will keep as another world turns
and politicians walk on paths of indifference.

Above poem can also be found here :-

Protest at Aberporth ELBIT drones parts factory to support the Elbit 5

"Stop Arming Israel Week" culminated on 6/7th July 2017 with activists from different parts of the UK successfully shutting down the drone factory at Shenstone belonging to the Israeli weapons manufacturer ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD for two whole days. 
Five were arrested and charged under the Trade Union and Relations Act , TULRCA 1992. Those arrested were told to appear at Cannock Magistrates' Court at 9.30 am on Friday 18th August.
The hearing was adjourned after a few minutes because the CPS had not prepared the case adequately. They are due in court again on Wednesday 13th September.
Solidarity demonstration are planned to show the British state and media that the campaign to end UK arms trade with Israel is growing in strength 
We are holding a sympathy demo in solidarity with the brave ELBIT 5 on Wednesday 13th September at Aberporth Airfield, SA43 2DW Aberporth. Ceredigion Wales.
The main purpose is to get a photo to send as part of a show of support, and of course the drone testing site is the obvious place to do this.

Drones are another example of technology outpacing ethics, with devastating consequences.
By changing the nature of warfare it is becoming easier for aggressor states to go to war, with fewer political and human costs at home, but are liable to error  but far from being the accurate weapon that the military claim drones are increasingly responsible for civilian casualties including many children.
Over the past few years we have witnessed the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, to undertake armed attacks around the globe. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia have all been subject to drone strikes by US or British drones while Palestinians are also subjected to strikes from Israeli drones.

Why Elbit?

ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD is one of the most iconic accomplices of Israeli violations of international law and a notorious war profiteer. Just after the brutal military assault on Gaza in July/August 2014, Elbit’s shares rose 6.6%. Elbit is deeply complicit in Israel's military aggressions against the Palestinian people and one of the world’s most important promoters of the use of drones in war and population control and directly involved in the construction of the Wall and the settlements, including their surveillance. For various reasons relating to Elbit’s violations of international law, various pension funds and financial institutions within the European Union have already divested from the company and the UN Special rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories called for the company to be boycotted.

Friday, 8 September 2017

This is the real Aung San Suu Kyi


The true colours of the Lady.

Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her “non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.”
But, she has been criticized internationally for allowing genocide, discrimination, and violence against Muslim Rohingyas.
The Nobel laureate has shocked the world by failing to speak up for persecuted minorities. Some believe she is showing her true colors.
Rohingya Muslims  are a small minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. They are becoming smaller still, thanks to a brutal campaign initiated in mid-October by the Burmese military. The spark for the violence came on October 9, when a Rohingya militia attacked a police outpost in northern Rakhine province, killing nine officers and seizing weapons and equipment. The military’s harsh reprisal campaign, designed to retrieve every gun stolen during the initial raid, is believed to have killed hundreds of Rohingya, and sent around 25,000 more fleeing into Bangladesh in what Amnesty International has termed “collective punishment.”
The world has waited a long time for Suu Kyi to address the Rohingya problem. She has been given the benefit of the doubt, out of deference to both her sterling human rights record and to the complex political landscape she must navigate for civilian rule to truly triumph over a military that still wields considerable power in Myanmar. But as the body count continues to mount, there is a dawning suspicion that there may be no objection forthcoming, that indifference is Suu Kyi’s final response to a human rights catastrophe unfolding in her country’s borderlands.
More than a dozen fellow Nobel laureates have criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, for a bloody military crackdown on minority Rohingya people, warning of a tragedy “amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”.
The open letter to the UN security council from a group of 23 activists, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai, warned that the army offensive had killed of hundreds of people, including children, and left women raped, houses burned and many civilians arbitrarily arrested.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a woman of 72 years old, a wise woman, some say, but their numbers dwindle.
And despite all her pious references to the Lord Buddha and despite all the stories about her study of the philosophy of non-violence and of many Buddhist scriptures, and despite the many years in which she, according to their own words, was sunk daily in Buddhist meditation,,despite all of this, she obviously never became detached from the searing ambition to become, at all costs, president.
There is no question of detachment. It is tragic, but not as tragic as the fate of the Rohingya, the people on whose backs the tragedy is being played out.
While Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi herself is not directly responsible for the military’s actions in Myanmar, the military is answerable only to its own high command , at the very least she has a moral duty to call out the human-rights violations that she herself campaigned to stop. Failing to do so is not the behavior of someone hailed by the Nobel committee for her “work for democracy and human rights” and her commitment to “peace and reconciliation.”
Many people are currently signing  a petition on demanding that the Nobel Peace Prize be taken back from Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi for failure to stop violence against the ethnic Rohignya Muslims in the country.
Three million signatures are needed to forward the demand to the Norway-based Nobel Peace Prize Committee.
Here is link to the petition: