Saturday, 30 June 2018

As the NHS turns 70, remember to keep fighting for it.

Today many people will be marching to celebrate Nye Bevans legacy that came into the world 70 years ago  on 5 July 1948, when he opened Park Hospital in Manchester at a time of rationing and shortages, when we were nearly bankrupt, a jewel  that the war generation left us with, a proud legacy, for us to all to continue to share. It offered for the first time a free healthcare system for all, and has since  played a vital role in caring for all aspects of our nations health. For the first-time doctors, nurses, opticians, dentists and pharmacists all worked under one organisation, free at the point of use, which has since  played a vital role in caring for all aspects of our nations health, that has been the envy of the world,  currently fiecely defended by people as their fundamental social right.
This right now in jeapordy at moment because the NHS is being transformed into a skeleton, for profit service, modelled on the US healthcare market,and as as a result of chronic underfunding, a massive expansion of the private sector into healthcare provision, and a demoralised, underpaid workforce have combined to put the NHS in grave danger and the result of  of the privatisation policies of successive  governments has put  it constantly under threat.
But today is the perfect opportunity today to appreciate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, and acknowledge the vital role the service plays in our lives, and to recognise and thank the extraordinary NHS staff – the everyday heroes – who are there to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out. It wouldn’t be possible to run a 7-day NHS, caring for millions of people day-in-day-out without the hard work and dedication of its staff. Despite all the adversity that’s thrown at them: poor pay, bursary cuts, hospital parking fines and staff shortages to name a few; they continue to become stronger and relentlessly keep delivering fantastic healthcare to the nation .
The NHS  here in Wales employs close to 72,000 staff which makes it Wales’ biggest employer. I can never forget the compassion they gave to my dear departed, my dad, who himself served for 30 years. the staff always managing to keep their spirits high, never once showing any dereliction of care, dedicated, compassionate people under increased pressure, some of whom are resorting to food banks to get by. As the Tory's and their rotten hearts seek to dismantle it,  we should not forget Nye's words who said " It will last as long as their are folk with enough faith to fight for it."
We  cannot reach the day again where people make a profit out of our sickness. On its birthday we should also join the call for fair pay for all NHS staff . We  must not reach the day again where people make a profit out of our sickness . The NHS continues to be  a shining example of how a caring society can create good and safe care, making such a great contribution towards social and health equality, remember we paid for it, so it is owned by us, it is our precious commodity our national treasure that must suvive, we must do all that it takes, to tear the vultures hands from it. We must continue to keep fighting for it, put people before profit, allow it to keep providing free and universal world-class care far into the future.

 Tonight, some essential viewing, a film poem by Owen Sheers, with a great cast, including Michael Sheen

Friday, 29 June 2018

Wild Swimming (After Poppit beach/ Traeth Popit)

After much hibernation
I returned to a favourite place,
Submerged myself in its waters
Enjoyed a fine summers day,
After heaviness my body grew light.
before golden sunset, and full moon called,
found peace and calm to restore sanity
As my body moved in the ocean,
Arms outstretched, tasted sense of freedom,
On my back, body felt warm and tranquil
In  serenity, mind drifted in restful space,
As the world went silent for a while
Its weight no longer carried me,
In the distance the sound of laughter
Warm  healing air, released contentment,
Moving through patterns of light and shade
Thoughts felts at ease, as lapping waves soothed,
This tranquil place felt like magic
I feel I could have basked there forever,
Today thoughts keep on swimming
Feeling recharged, heart not currently sinking.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Stop arming Turkey! / Support the Cardiff arms fair defendants

On the 3rd of July, three activists, one who is a member of the Kurdish community in Wales and a British Kurdish Solidarity Network member, another BKSN member, and a member of the Anarchist Federation are facing charges of aggravated Trespass (" failing to leave land") for protesting at the Cardiff Arms Fair ( DPRTE) against weapon sales to the dictatorial Turkish state.
Prime minister Theresa May has long championed arms sales to Turkey, but by arming Turkey, the UK government and companies like BAE and Airbus are complicit in human rights abuses, and in the massacre of hundreds of people in Afrin. As reported recently in the Independent, Turkey have hired former ISIS fighters for the invasion of Afrin, War crime allegations against the Turkish military and their hired jihadist mercenaries include the mutilation of corpses of women fighters, the use of chemical gas, and the deliberate targetting of  civilians. There are regular reports of kidnapping, rape and torture, abduction, forced religious conversion, and the indiscriminate shooting of refugees.
British weapons bought at Cardiff arms fair are likely to be used not only to suppress the Kurdish struggle for autonomy in Turkey, but also against the US - backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) spearheading the fight against Islamic State in Syria. Turkey has used and will continue to use these weapons against the Kurds both within its borders and in Syria.
In Rojava and Northern Syria, people are organising themselves in networks of grassroots assemblies and co-operatives, using the model of Democratic Confederalism, which emphasises direct democracy, feminism and ecology, and a multi-ethnic society without discrimination based on religion, compare this to the Turkish Government, which has been repeatedly criticised by the European Court of Human Rights for the issues raised above, alongside enforced dissapearances and the mass imprisonment of journalists and politicians.
It is important to keep speaking out against the UK government's support for fascist regimes and their attacks on the people of Kurdistan.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Westminster "betrayal" as ministers reject Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

In a  historical disgraceful shameful betrayal and crushing blow to the people of Wales, the UK Government has rejected plans for the world's first ' green energy ' tidal power scheme in the UK, saying that the Swansea Tidal Lagoon project in Swansea Bay would be too expensive. This follows their decision to give nuclear energy the green light and giving the Heathrow Expansion the go ahead, which will be a disaster to air pollution and climate change.
The project had been described as a "pathfinder" project, with plans for a further lagoon between Cardiff and Newport. The developers 'Tidal Lagoon Power' had wanted subsidies similar to nuclear power to build  the £1.3 billion scheme.Yet almost 18 months after the government had commissioned a review and called the lagoon a "no regrets policy the Business Secretary Greg Clark said it now "does does not demonstrate value for money" and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns saying the scheme "just did not stack up."
It is mildly put such a shortsighted move, despite the fact that public support for the lagoon was unquestionably in favour. People seeing the benefits in both environmental and economic terms that would have been hugely significent for Wales, putting  my country firmly on the world stage and would have also created a much needed  2,000 jobs in the process, giving a huge boost to the economy..A missed opportunity,that  people are now greeting  with  justifiable anger, as my nation suffers again, because of the tories refusal to give the project the go-ahead, in what shows clearly there lack of desire to invest in renewable power, a decision that will surely come back to bite us all in the behind down the line, serving to illustrate their contempt and  continuing neglect and lack of interest in Wales.
Responding to the news, Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said the UK Government has made a huge mistake, saying that "As a pathfinder project Swansea would pave the way for an entirely new industry where Wales and the UK would be a world leader. The UK Government has spent 18 months on this decision and after all that time they have made the wrong call.They are removing nearly £2bn of investment from Swansea and South Wales,"
There have now been calls for Mr Cairns to resign with Plaid Cymru tabling a motion of no confidence against him following the decision.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

No words needed .... but

For me the Royal family represent inequality, a dynasty that has no place in the modern world , above though we see  Theresa May fawning in open deference while Brtain is going through a time of national economic and social stress , due to Brexit, austerity, incoming roll out of Universal Credit and so on.
The Prime minister performed this awkward unusually low dip as she shook the Duke of Cambridge's hand to welcome him during a visit to a newly built Defence and National  Rehabilitation Centre last Thursday in Nottinghamshire. I find it  unbelievable that one human being would publicly and shamelessly debase themselves in this manner. Theresa May curtsying, grovelling more like, to Prince William is one of the most cringeworthy, nauseatingly, obsequious spectacles I have seen for a while, and is simply an affront to human decency. How can human beings indulge in this humiliating behaviour with a straight face, heaven knows.
Others might point out that she was just showing some basic chivalry, protocol and respect, but have we not  in the modern age, moved on from these outdated monarchist hangups. I personally look forward to a society in the future where we can all look into one another's eyes as equals, whatever our positions in life.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Lowkey ft Kaia - Ghosts of Grenfell 2

After a five year hiatus in 2017, Lowkey returned to the mic with a personal tribute on the Grenfell disaster,  who  many have said could have been avoided  with proper construction practices. Above is his powerful sequel  to remind  our government that victims of this avoidable tragedy are still fighting for justice.
The tale of Grenfell is a tale of two Kensingtons. It is the story of how scores of poor people were left to perish, in a block riddled with fire and safety problems and disrepair, just meters away from some of the wealthiest streets in the country.
And if this alone does not  make you cry, then  listen to the following.Simply beautiful.Does music have the capacity to heal?

Yousra & Johara - Fire in Grenfell

My own initial response

And some further reflections,

rehouse the survivors, prosecute those rsponsible, Justice 4 Grenfell  💚

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Halfway there (Happy Summer Solstice)

(happy summer solstice, to all out there, heddwch /peace, blessed be)

Surging through veils
to enhance, to heal,
recharge, renew, reveal
time to celebrate
through spirit, mind, and heart,
the turning of the seasonal wheel,
under the influence
of a bright shining moon,
swirl in peace for awhile
solitary or in company,
kiss goodbye to the last shades of spring
pay homage to forces of nature we trust,
marking new beginnings
as earth's darkness returns to light
radiant sun returns with dawn
and summertime is reborn.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Donald Trump must end the separation of migrant families.

Between October 1, 2018, and May 31, 2018, at least 2,700 children  have been split from their parents. 1,995 of them were seperated over, the last six weeks, April 18 to May 31, indicating that at present, an average of 45 children are being taken from their parents each day. Migrants who have been crossing the hot southern desert into the U.S seeking security and safety from gangs and drug cartels. The UN says the use of detention and family seperation runs counter to human rights standards and principles.
This has seen the United States , under an Orwellian  policy of 'zero tolerance' immigrant children being ripped from the arms of their mothers and fathers and placed in detention camps. This is the same country, who has invaded a number of states across the globe in the name of freedom, human rights, democracy and equality, but we are currently seeing the real face of the USA, and with their President warning that migrants will 'infest' America, some are saying Holocaust parallels are impossible to ignore. Currently speaking wikipedia is listing Trump's detention centers as concentration camps.
The  heartbreaking sight  of children being held in metal cages, in extreme heat by day, extreme heat at night  is America's shame, what the Trump administration is doing to these families is simply barbaric.Church leaders and figures across the political spectrum have expressed their outrage.This
outcry has increased  after an audio recording  captured distraught  minors, apparently between  four and ten, screaming "Mami" and"Papa" hours after they were removed by their parents.
Parents who have fled trauma and persecution are now having to endure the unfathomable terror of not knowing if they will ever see their children again.
Taking children away from their parents can risk  re-traumatising children who have already sufferred the trauma of violence and persecution in their native countries, as well as the arduous journey to seek safety. The idea that children can be protected by tearing them away from their families is cruel and unnecessary, defying all sense of logic and humanity. None should be treated so cruelly .Punishing people seeking safety and dignity goes against all values of dignity and compassion.
Donald Trump must end this human rights violation now and when he lands in the UK on July 12, we should make sure he is not given any welcome.
Please sign the following  :-

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

- 'The New Colossus' by Emma Lazarus. Written on the statue of liberty.


Bowing to immense pressure. Trump has abruptly reversed  and signed an executive order halting his administration policy of seperating children from their parents when they are detained illegally crossing the U S border. A dramatic turnaround for him, who had been insisting wrongly, that his administration had no choice but to seperate families apprehended  at the border because of federal law and a court decision. In my opinion Trump is still an exceedingly dangerous man, out of control drunk on power.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Refugee Week 2018

This week, from 19-24 June is Refugee Week, in which thousands of people across the country celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees, promoting understanding of why people see sanctuary. The UN has announced today that more people are fleeing conflict and persecution than any time in the past 70 years. The UK government can and must do more to help.By signing the following petition, this one simple act will hopefully bring us one step closer to changing the unjust rules that keep many families apart.
The following is a letter that I wrote to my local paper, the Tivy-Side Advertiser to mark Refugee Week..

FOUNDED in 1998, Refugee Week Wales is a week long cultural, artistic and educational celebration of the contributions made by talented asylum seekers and refugees who arrive in Wales.
Refugee Week takes place from June 17-24 and Cardigan and North Pembrokeshire Amnesty International group always marks the week.
Wales has a proud history of welcoming refugees from all over the world. Refugees are forced to leave their country in order  to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster often with no warning and cannot return to their country unless the situation improves. This is different to economic migrants.
Refugee Week Wales is an opportunity to promote this message across Wales.

                                                                                                                   Dave Rendle
                                                                                                        Cardigan and North
                                                                                                 Pembrokeshire Amnesty
                                                                                                         International group

Sunday, 17 June 2018

After the Hatstands ( Forever we will dance)

In the morning, days lay ahead
in the middle just a dot,
as sky above, slowly awakes
releasing heat, to cloy the senses ,
into this world of daily prescription
a shot of benevolance, beyond the dark,
on spinning floors, laboriously gathered
we are one, a stream of togetherness,
taking deep breaths, we sail again
holding on to memories, sliding down,
we inhale the smell of one another
the sweet anesthetic of friendship,
carried by rhythmic vibrations
from our cages, we free ourselves,
beyond drifting world of chaos
float peacefully towards tomorrow,
among tinctured cadences and
                            patterned threads
find fulfillment in music and magic,
fuse our movements, blend emotions
release our breathe, redistribute passion
as fragments drift into twilight
forever we will dance

Friday, 15 June 2018

Guantanamo 6,000 days,

This Friday, June 15, Guantanamo Bay prison will have been open for 6,000 days. A depressing milestone  that marks 6,000 days of torture, abuse and indefinite detention without charge. It is a cruel reminder of just how long this injustice has gone on.
 Via the Close Guantanamo  campaign, there has been a photo campaign all year involving the Gitmo Clock, which counts, in real time, how long Guantanamo has been open, and urges Donald Trump to close it.People have been taking photos with posters every 25 days showing how long the prison has been open.
Join us in telling Donald Trump, "Not one day more!"
Print off a poster, take a photo, with it and send it to, or just gisplay the poster on a tablet and have your photo taken with it - or even on your phone!
6,000 Days Poster- 
Check out all the photos here 

Most of the men held at Guantanamo over the last 6,000 days (16 years, five months and four days) have been held without charge or trial, in defiance of international laws and treaties governing the treatment of prisoners, There are only two acceptable ways to deprive an individual of their liberty- either as a criminal suspect to be tried in a federal court or as a prisoner of war, held unmolested until the end of hostilities. The men at Guantanamo are neither. Instead, after 9/11, the Bush administration concieved of a novel category of prisoner - one without any rights whatsoever - and implemented this at Guantanamo. Although the prisoners have fought to secure rights, being granted constitutionally guaranteed habeas corpus rights by the Supreme Court in June 2008, those rights were eviscerated by a number of appeals court decisions between 2009 and 2011, effectively gutting habeas corpus of all meaning for the Guantánamo prisoners. The unacceptable reality of Guantánamo now is that the men still held can only be freed at the whim of the president, and the president has no intention of releasing anyone.
Donald Trump inherited 41 prisoners from Barack Obama, but he has only released one man, a Saudi repatriated to ongoing imprisonment as part of a plea deal he agreed in the military commission trial system in 2014. Of the 40 men still held, only nine are facing, or have faced trials. Five were approved for release by high-level government review processes under President Obama, but are still held, while the other 26, accurately described as “forever prisoners” by the media, are held indefinitely without charge or trial, regarded as posing an ongoing threat to the U.S., even though the U.S. apparently lacks the evidence to put them on trial.
Every day that Guantanamo remains open is a black mark against America's notion of itself as a nation founded on the rule of law, which respect the rule of law. Andy Worthington, the co-founder of the Close Guantanamo campaign, said "6,000 days is far longer than the two world wars combined. It is outrageous that the U.S Government continues to perptuate the  myth of an endless war, as a supposed justification for holding prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial, when this is, in fact, a policy for which there is no justification whatsoever."
Helen Schietinger of Witness Against Torture said "it
 is significant, and not accidental, that all the men who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo are Muslim. How many holy months of Ramadan have they missed during these 6,000 days? How many more must they endure, never being allowed visits by their families?"
The fight against Guantanamo is proving to be a long one, but wont stop until Guantanamo is closed for good.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Grenfell Tower Fire: One Year On

It really is hard to believe that it has already been a year since the Grenfell Tower fire which shocked the nation and devastated a community, when  72 people tragically lost their lives on 14 June, 2017, when flames engulfed the 23-storey building in the worst fire to hit Great Britain since the Second World War, no one deserved or were supposed to die like this.
The chaos and confusion that ensued in the following days added further injury and insult to the hundreds of people immediately impacted by the fire and the wider community. Their anger and frustration were matched by their incredible kindness and generosity, as the people of North Kensington came together in a way that had not been seen in this country for decades.It also saw the UK unite in solidarity with the victims  and their families, against  the reckless incompetence that ultimately led to the fire. The incompetence, coming from both the government and property developers, that included the failure to take seriously the many complaints made by Grenfell residents regarding the lack of fire safety, as well as the failure to replace the extremely combustible cladding with fire-resistant cladding, which would have prevented the fire spreading at such a rapid pace, which would have cost only £293,000 to install, resulted in human beings meeting their deaths in the most horrific of way.
The legacy of Grenfell is clear, and of course we must remember each and every soul that tragically perished in such a preventable disaster, The Guardian recently published a piece on the " Lives of Grenfell Tower  in which mini obituaries written by the friends and family of the victims, were published as tributes to those who lost their lives.We must also remember that Grenfell Tower - a social housing enclave nestled in  one of the most expensive neighboorhoods in the world was mainly occupied by immigrants,people of colour and low-income families, and that the tragedy clearly demonstrated that their lives mattered significantly less, than those of their white, wealthy counterparts.
Time is supposed to heal wounds, but for many Grenfell survivors and victims relatives, the anniversary is a reminder of just how little has been put right over the past year.Sadly not much has changed since the tragedy, Nobody responsible has yet to be charged or arrested, and the consequent investigation into the tragedy, has not urged the government to ban combustible cladding, despite calls from campaign groups, across the country to to do so. 300 tower blocks across the country are still covered in the same dangerous cladding used on Grenfell Tower and building and fire safety regulations are still not fit for purpose
The lack of response is simply a disgrace, but the campaigns of the victims families provide hope for a future with better oversight and more safety, and as the public inquiry continues there are still so many questions to be answered in the fight for justice.
Theresa May  has admitted her failure to meet Grenfell residents in the immediate aftermath of the disaster made it appear she "did not care". The Prime Minister said she will "always regret" failing to go to the tower on the day after the tragedy, saying that her actions were "not good enough" Writing in the Evening Standard May said: "The day after the disaster I made the first of a number of trips to the site, thanking the firefighters for their work and holding a short meeting with the team in charge of the response."What I did not do on that first visit was meet the residents and survivors who had escaped the blaze."But the residents of Grenfell Tower needed to know that those in power recognised and understood their despair. And I will always regret that by not meeting them that day, it seemed as though I didn't care. "That was never the case."
Many people though believe her apology is simply to little and far too late, and are asking that if she cares so much, why are survivors still waiting  to be rehoused in permanent accomodation? Housing Secretary James Brokenshire has admitted that 43 families are still living in hotels, one year on. Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, he said 203 households needed new homes in the aftermath of the tower block fire, saying that of these, 198 have accepted permanent or temporary accomodation and 134 have now moved in. But he added he was "very concerned" about the 23 households who are living in hotels one year after the event.
"My ministerial team has met with many of them and I've  personally written to all of them, to find out what barriers exist in each individual case and how we can overcome them, he told MPs.
He also reiterated the Governments commitment to ban the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise tower blocks, subject to a consultation, that will be published next week.Adding that the Government has "made it clear" that it espects private building owners not to pass the costs of removing dangerous cladding on to leaseholders.
"The private sector must step up and I am not ruling anything out if they do not." he told MPs.
Responding to the Housing Secretary's statement, Labour's Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said the "time for warm words is long past".
"Grenfell residents feel that they were failed before the fire, and many feel failed since," said Mr Healey. "They were promised permanent new homes within a year, but only 82 of the 209 households are in permanent new homes. On the wider Grenfell estate, only 39 of 127 are in permanent new homes."
Mr Healey also pressed the Housing Secretary on whether the Government set for all survivors to be permanently rehoused.
"Without a deadline, more words of regret will simply ring hollow to the still homeless residents of Grenfell Tower." he added.
Grenfell Tower now stands in Kensington as a relic, covered in scaffolding and white sheets like a bandage over broken bones. On it is a banner featuring the green Grenfell heart and the words "Grenfell forever in our hearts" emblazoned across the four highest floors.
Justice for Grenfell is a community led organisation set up in the days following the fire, focused on obtaining justice for the bereaved families, survivors, evacuated residents and the wider local community. Where the authorities failed survivors, Justice for Grenfell stepped in, when the media and politicians went silent, Justice for Grenfell shouted louder.
On 14th June, alongside other activist groups,  Justice for Grenfell will mark 12 months since the tragedy with the 12th Grenfell Silent Walk walks are a monthly opportunity for the community to remember, mourn and pay tribute to those affected. On Saturday 16th June you can join them outside Downing Street at 12 pm to march for justice for Grenfell.
Today communities across the country will also fall silent for one minute at 12 pm to remember the victims and those affected by the inferno. In solidarity with the survivors and those whose lives were affected, residents, families, neighbours, emergency services, in what must still be an incredibly painful time.

Victims of the fire

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

300 prominent global figures accuse Israel of committing ‘war crimes’

Israel's forcible transfer of thousands of Palestinians has been denounced as a war crime by over 300 elected officials, legal scholars, academics artists, faith leaders and activists from around the world.
The universal show of solidarity to the Palestinians was published in an open letter which voiced strong opposition to Israel's plans to forcibly  transfer thousands of Palestinians living in farming shepherding communities in the West Bank.
Signatories include 80 members of parliament, many of whom are from the EU and UK parliaments.
Other notable signatories include ten Israel Prize  laureates, film director.Ken Loach, artists Al Weiwi, author Alice Walker, academic Noam Chomsky and several musicians. Dozens of Rabbis have also signed the letter denouncing Israel for what many would describe as ethnic cleansing.
Forcible transfer - by direct physical force or by creating a coercive environment that makes residents leave their homes - is a war crime the letter states.
Mentioning, in particular, residents facing expulsion from three areas, the Jordan valley, the South Hebron Hills and East Jerusalem, the letter says that Israel " aims to establish facts on the ground that would achieve exclusive de-facto Israel control in those area and eventually facilitate formal annextation"
"Israel's plans "the letter point out, range from freezing Palestinian development, through minimising Palestinian foothold in major parts of the West Bank, to the destruction  and transfer of entire communities " The plans, they add are being implemented through "coercive measures" which are listed as not being allowed to build new private or public buildings, denied access to water grids or to pave access roads, demolitions, threats and confiscation of essential equipment.
After denouncing Israel for committing "war crimes" the letter says "all people responsible for ir - including Israel prime minister and the minister of defence - bear personal responsibility.".
They also accuse Israel's high court of "rubber stamping" the criminal policies of the Israeli government. "All it does is also implicate Israel's High Court Justices in what is nothing short of a war crime, no matter how much legal formalism is enlisted in an effort to exercise the inexcusable." the letter concludes.
BDS until justice is done.


Open letter which voiced strong opposition to Israel's plans to forcibly transfer thousands of Palestinians living in farming communities in the occupied West Banlk

Monday, 11 June 2018

Noam Chomsky - Best Speech In 2018

Here Noam Chomsky who has dedicated his life to tackling very serious word issues, talks about  the major threats to the human race and other important issues of today. Though he talks eloquently, the stakes at moment are very high, words matter, but we as people must act.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Anthony Bourdain , Renegade Chef Who Reported From the World’s Tables, Is Dead at 61 .

Anthony Bourdain, the gifted chef, storyteller and writer who took TV' viewers around the world to explore culture, cuisine and the human condition for nearly two decades, has died. He was 61.
CNN confirmed his death on Friday and said the cause of his death was suicide.
Bourdain had been working  in France on an upcoming episode of his award winning CNN series, "Parts Unknown."
Born on June 25, 1957, in New York City, the son of a Colombia music executive and a New York staff editor, his love affair with food began during a family vacation to France, when he tried his first oyster on a fisherman's boat. Years later Bourdain dropped out of Vassan College and enrolled in the Culnirary Institure of America, graduating in 1978. In the following decades, he would run a number of popular kitchens in New York City.
In his twenties, Bourdain became addicted to drugs. " I was a complete a-hole. Selfish, larcerious, druggy, loud, stupid, insensitive and someone you would not want to have known. I would have robbed your medicine cabinet had I been invited into your house," he said during a conversation in 2013. Calling himself a very unusual case," Bourdain added, "Most people who kick heroin and cocaine have to give up on everything. Maybe cause my experience was so awful in the end, I've never been tempted to relapse," Bourdain also suffered finabcial hardships for most of his life. He told Wealth Simple in 2017 "I don't want to sound like I'm bragging about this, but the sad fact is, untill 44 years of age, I never had any savings account," !I'd aleays been under the gun. I'd always owed money. I'd always been selfish and completely irresponsible," Weed " was a major expense," he added, costing him a few hundred dollars a week. Looking back, the fact that I'd been smoking weed since I was 14 might have had something to do with my relative lack of ambition,"
Bourdain gained notoriety in 1999 after published a New Yorker article, "Don't Eat Before Reading This." It  became a best-selling book in 2000 Kitchen Confidential :Adventures in the Culnirary Underbelly, leading to shows on Food Network, Travel Channel and eventually CNN.Adventurous and outspoken this led to  him gaining a legion of fans and admirers through his numerous books and essays as well as his many television appearances.
The celebrated author and chef was married twice in his lifetime, first to Nancy Putkoski. then to Ottavia Busia, who he had a daughter with in 2007. Bourdain is survived by his girlfriend, the Italian actor Asia Argento ,
Recently he had emerged as a leading male voice in support of the 'MeToo movement in the wake of rape and abuse allegations against the film producer Harvey Weinstein, notably in support of his girlfriend.
For anyone who watched his show, Parts Unknown, what was clear that as well as travelling the world sampling cuisine, most importantly he actually spoke to citizens of each country, about culture, their innovations and their lives,  bringing a unique perspective on the food and political climates of Laos, Africa, the occupied Gaza Strip, and other distant cultures that are rarely depicted on major television networks. After tweeting a photo of dead children  on a Gaa beach in 2014 an receiving a flood of "ugly racist shit and accusations" in response Bourdain wrote "The willingness of people not to see what is plainly apparent, right there, enormous and frankly hideous. Unfortunately, we live in a world where its nearly impossible to even describe reality much less deal with it, It's utterly heartbreaking." When he visited Palestine a few years ago he did something unprecedented for American TV viewers, he portrayed Palestinians as human beings. 
He tried to highlight marginalised voices and called the powerful to account for their hypocrisy. He was capable of highlighting peoples struggles, their triumphs, and in places like Iran, discussed their oppression, especially the journalists who were jailed for speaking out and the minority classes who struggled to survive. He would speak to people like President Obama  and unknown residents of faw away countries who are trying to just get by day by day, in an equal manner. He made the world smaller, He dived in, hungry to experience. His wasn't the Orientalist gaze. He saw humanity (and food) everywhere, and connected with it.His show was part history lesson, part cooking show, part comedy, and part political commentary. He was brash, hilarious, a fearless renegade, who did not suffer fools, reaching out to the voiceless, reasons why he is bound to be missed by millions across the globe.
I don't know what was going through Anthony Bourdain's mind when he took his own life, but I've experienced depression, beyond sadness, a numbness, a sense that all value in the world was being quashed, feelings of utter hopelessness and despair.
If you or anyone you know are struggling, please seek help. Do not ignore the warning signs. Make yourself a safe person. Do not be afraid to ask if someone you love is thinking of suicide. Everyone struggling matters. You matter. Everybody hurts. To get help call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in your country.
Rest in peace - Anthony Bourdain

Friday, 8 June 2018

Morrissey :Big Mouth strikes again

Confession. I used to love Morrissey, in my teens, and up to recently I used to sport  cardigans untl the moths had them. Still have loads of Smiths singles, L.P's, and even some of his solo stuff.
I've always been aware he's been a rather contentious sod, that was his beauty I guess, one who was never shy of expressing his opinions ,from  his loathing of Margaret Thatcher, the Royal Family, his passionate devotion to animal rights, which marked him out as  him as an outsider, but recently  this expats opinions really have been getting beyond the pale.
His recent outbursts have seen him swapping Thatcher baiting for muslim baiting and can  be viewed at his his own blog where he tells us Hitler was left-wing. halal meat is certified by Isis,a process which he describes as "evil" and which should be banned. He  also calls for the outlawing of jewish kosher meat preparation. which he says is "very cruel."A message from the Nazi BNP and EDL in Britain to Marine Le Pen's Front National in France issues that have acted as dog whistles for their Nazi followers.
He has also recently  rounded on Sadiq Khan, the Asian Mayor of London, accusing him of being in charade of a "debased" city and claiming he "cannot talk properly" And that the black woman shadow home secretary, who has been the subject of outrageous racist abuse, that reached a peak during last years election campaign, is dismissed with a sneer that "even Tesco wouldn't employ Dianne Abbot, and  that  the acid attacks in London are and are ' are all non-white, and even tells us we should all vote for Britain, a party founded by far right ex UKIP leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters, who Morrissey thinks believes in "British heritage" and "freedom of speech" and that she "wants everyone in the UK to live under the same law"- as if something like ' British heritage' is a fixed, inherent truth rather than totally nebulous and subjective concept, or that the UK's laws don't reflect the ideological prejudices of the ruling class, who design and enforce them. Even Nigel Farage, branded Morrissey's fave party as a bunch of Nazis and racists."
Now this master of melancholy, has caused outrage online again for voicing his support for Stephen Yaxley -Lennon, or Tommy Robinson, his nom de Nazi, who is currently in prison for seriously jeapordising a trial that should see child rapists and torturers rightfully punished, who through his actions put the victims at risk. Morrisey descibed the jailing of this right wing thug as "shocking" saying jailing him for breaking contempt laws by filming outside a court was an example of how Britain;s biggest political parties are against freedom of expression'
"It's very obvious that Labour or the Tories do not believe in free speech, " he said "I mean look at the shocking treatment of Tommy Robinson."
In the interest of free speech, it's worth noting that its simply tiresome that Morrissey continually uses the vaque notion of free thinking to voice support for individuals and parties deny the freedom and humanity of others, sich as For Britain's manifesto proposal for a ban on burqas. Morrissey has frequently denied that he is a racist, recently publishing an essay with the words " I despise racism" and I despise fascism. ".
Then again, anyone can say they're not something, its another thing for their actions to demonstrate this. Heaven knows I'm miserable now, the light has truly gone out, a voice I once  loved really seems to have gone full gammon. As one twitter user  remarked "It's so sad that someone with the talent and legacy of Morrissey can only reclain a desperate piece of monetry attantion by saying redundant, needlessly provocative things. He thinks he's the unshaken voice of the streets, but he hasn't lived on them for decades. " Now a mere mouthpiece for racism, I only only wish now his bigmouth would shut up.I was once the kind of fan who could remember an old Morrissey B-side, called "Get off the stage2, which evoked a singer who had outived his welome and turned into an embarrassment :"Oh, you silly man/ You silly old man/ You're making a fool of yourself' So get off the stage", I never thought the day would come that I wished Morrissey would heed his own advice. But sadly that day has come. Viva diversity, viva tolerance but goodbye to hate.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Murder most foul - No Israeli war criminal here, free Palestine.

"Murder most foul. But this most foul, strange and unnatural  Shakespeare Hamlet, act 1 , scene 5)
The Ghost Speaking to Hamlet says that murder is always horrible, but this killing was especially monstrous.
Between 30 March 2018 and 21 May 2018 - just over 7 weeks, 112 Palestinians were killed of whom 13 were under 18, and 12,190 injured. The injured included 7,618 struck. by live ammunition or rubber bullets, including 2,096 children and 1,029 women injured.
223 medics injured by either live fire or tear-gas suffocation, 37 ambulances partly damaged. and there have been 32 amputations.
At the same time at least 55 journalists covering ongoing protests on the Gaza Strip have been wounded by Israeli soldiers.
The world cries out in outrage as the wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people. Not one Israeli has died.I would urge all concerned people to pray for Palestine, to support BDS and call for  their political leaders to confront this dreadful catastrophe in the name of peace and justice.At least due to political pressure Argentina have cancelled their world cup warm up game against Israel this coming  Saturday.
Today Wednesday 6 June, Benjamin Netanyahu  is meeting with Theresa May, how do  you greet the head of a government that occupies a people and deprives them of their basic rights, shoots them when they protest and calls the killing of a 21 year old medic "standard operating procedure " Our prime minister is welcoming the man who presides over Israel's occupation and its siege of Gaza,while her Government continues to arms his state.
We should be calling on her to instead impose immediate sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel until it complies with international law, ends its blockade and the occupation, and should give him the welcome he deserves, join the emergency protest  opposite No 10 Downing Street. No Israeli war criminal here, free Palestine.
Please  share circulate this notice, invite your friends.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Allen Ginsberg (3/6/26 - 5/4/97) - Cosmopolitan Greetings/ Fifth Internationale

Allen Ginsberg's the visionary poet and founding father of the Beat generation  who inspired the American counterculture of the second half of the 20th century with groundbreaking poems such as "Howl" and "Kaddish, "birthday today. he was born in Newark, New Jersey on June 3, 1926.
. As a boy he was a close witness to his mother’s mental illness, as she lived both in and out of institutions. His father, Louis Ginsberg was a well-known traditional poet. After graduating from high school, Ginsberg attended Columbia University, where he planned to study law. There he became friends with Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Together the three would change the face of American writing forever.
With an interest in the street life of the city, Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs found inspiration in jazz music and the culture that surrounded it. They encouraged a break from traditional values, supporting drug-use as a means of enlightenment. To many, their shabby dress and “hip” language seemed irresponsible, but in their actions could be found the seeds of a revolution that was meant to cast off the shackles of the calm and boring social life of the post-war era. While a nation tried desperately to keep from rocking the boat, Allen Ginsberg and the Beats saw the need for a more vibrant and daring society.
One of the primary first works of the Beats was Ginsberg’s long poem “Howl.” In an age plagued by intolerance, “Howl” (1956) was both a desperate plea for humanity and a song of liberation from that intolerant society. Ginsberg’s use of a gritty vernacular and an improvisational rhythmical style created a poetry which seemed haphazard and amateur to many of the traditional poets of the time. In “Howl” and his other poems, however, one could hear a true voice of the time, unencumbered by what the Beats saw as outdated forms and meaningless grammatical rules.
For its frank embrace of such taboo topics as homosexuality and drug use, “Howl” drew a great deal of criticism. Published by City Lights, the San Francisco based publisher of many of the Beats, the book was the subject of an obscenity trial. Eventually acquitted of the charges, City Lights came out with Ginsberg’s second book in 1961. “Kaddish, And Other Poems,” often considered Ginsberg’s greatest work, dealt again with a deep despair and addressed Ginsberg’s closeness with his mother while she was hospitalized and fighting insanity. The raw nature of the subject matter and Ginsberg’s desperate emotions found a perfect home in his poem “Kaddish.” Of “Kaddish,” Ginsberg wrote “I saw my self my own mother and my very nation trapped desolate…and receiving decades of life while chanting Kaddish the names of Death in many mind-worlds the self seeking key to life found at last our self.”
Throughout the 1960s, Ginsberg experimented with a number of different drugs, believing that under the influence he could create a new kind of poetry. Using LSD, peyote, marijuana and other drugs he attempted to expand his consciousness and wrote a number of books under the influence including the “Yage Letters” with William Burroughs. For much of the youth of the day, Ginsberg’s embrace of illegal drugs and unrestrained sexuality made him a central figure in the rebelling movements of the time. More than any other American poet of the 20th century, Ginsberg used his popularity for social change. Coining the phrase “flower power,” Ginsberg encouraged protesters of the 1960s to embrace a non-violent rebellion. By the 1970s, his fame had grown enormously, and though he cast aside drug use for an interest in Buddhism and yogic practices, he remained important to newly-formed youth movements.
By the 1980s, Ginsberg was the most famous living American poet. As a writer he continued to publish challenging and personal verse and as a celebrity he maintained an international presence as a spokesperson for peace and tolerance—working often as a teacher and lecturer . In the last decade of his life, Ginsberg wrote and performed at the prolific rate of his youth  In  1082 he featured on the Clash song Ghetto Defendant. originally a poem called Capital Air..For his lyrics he researched punk rock culture and included phrases like '  do the worm' and 'n slam dance' as well as reciting the Bhuddist Heart Sutra. According to Ginsberg's biography, several sessions and collaborations were recorded but this was the only song ever released. .
.Allen Ginsberg died on April 5, 1997 at the age of seventy. At the time of his death, “Howl” had been reprinted more than fifty times, and the words of William Carlos Williams’ introduction still rang true—”This poet sees through and all around the horrors he partakes of in the very intimate details of his poem. He avoids nothing but experiences it to the hilt. He contains it. Claims it as his own—and, we believe, laughs at it and has the time and affrontery to love a fellow of his choice and record that love in a well-made poem.

7 th October, 1958, Allen Ginsberg's first reading of Howl.

Allen Ginsberg's Wales Visitation

Cosmopolitan Greetings - Allen Ginsberg

                  To Struga Festival Golden Wreath Laureates
                                & International Bards 1986

Stand up against governments, against God.
Stay irresponsible.
Say what we know & imagine.
Absolutes are coercian.
Change is absolute.
Ordinary mind includes eternal perceptions.
Observe what's vivid.
Notice what you notice.
Catch yourself thinking.
Vividness is self-selecting.
If we don't show anyone, we're free to write anything.
Remember the future.
Advise only yourself.
Don't drink yourself to death.
Two molecules clanking against each other require an observer to become
scientific data.
The measuring instrument determines the appearance of the phenomenal world
after Einstein.
The universe is subjective.
Walt Whitman celebrated Person.
We are observer, measuring instrument, eye, subject, Person.
Universe is Person.
Inside Skull vast outside skull.
Mind is outer space.
"Each on his bed spoke to himself alone, making no sound."
"First thought, best thought."
Mind is shapely, Art is shapely.
Maximum infomation, minimum number of syllables.
Syntax condensed, sound is solid.
Intense fragments of spoken idiom, best.
Consonants around vowels, appreciate consonants.
Subject is known by what she sees.
Others can measure their vision by what we see.
Candor ends paranoia.

                                                                                            Kral Majales
                                                                                          June 25, 1986
                                                                                   Boulder Colorado

Fifth Internationale - Allen Ginsberg

                 To Billy MacKeever      

Arise ye prisoners of your mind-set
Arise neurotics of the Earth
For Insight thunders Liberation
A sacred world's in birth

No more attachment's chains shall bind us
Mind's Aggression no more rules
The Earth shall rise on new foundations
We have been jerks we shall be Fools

'Tis the Path of Accumulation
Let each sit on his place
The International Crazy Wisdom School
Could save the Human Race

Reprinted from
Cosmopolitan Greetings

In this collection, Ginsberg proved his vitality, his mind  still full of humanity and hopefulness and play..... his unobstructured breath still dancing with Spiritus. I'm still listening, still learning . His subversiveness still echoing with reason. Happy birthday, Allen !

Friday, 1 June 2018

Battle of the Beanfield Anniversary - Lest we forget.

The Battle of the Beanfield took place over several hours, ago today on the afternoon  Saturday 1 June 1985, when Wiltshire police prevented a vehicle convoy of several hundred New Age Travelers, known as the ' Peace Convoy'  from setting off from Savernake Forest in Wiltshire towards the twelfth Stonehenge Free Festival and setting up a free gathering and celebration of the summer solstice that had been taking place since 1974.
They were stopped by a  militarised police roadblock, when around 1,300 police descended upon them and a violent confrontation took place, resulted in innocent unarmed people, women and children being violently beaten up in their own homes, after years of gathering  in the same place of celebration, by the combined  forces of the state, who armed with shields and batons ran savagely amok. The  marginalised and dispossessed  of this land  were brutally  targeted by a police forces  under the auspices of  Margaret Thatcher's right wing, repressive  Conservative Government,  as they suppressed a peoples thirst for freedom,  with  quasi military force that systematically carried out serious abuses of their power with such unrelenting  frenzied brutality following similar attacks that year on the miners. 
A horrible time, like today, when people who live on societies  edges are attacked simply for being different. Women and their babies were left showered with glass after the police had smashed up their vehicles. It would subsequently  leave over 116 travelers  hospitalised. and 420  of their number arrested ( the few that were arrested were never ever prosecuted) after their homes were systematically looted, smashed and burnt  with their possessions  being stole.
Innocent people  whowere beaten and bloodied because they simply refused to conform or bow down to a rotten system, and had decided to try and live by their own set of alternative values. Who  simply wanted to gather under the stones to celebrate their lives, sing and dance.. The overall cost of this operation was a staggering £5 miillion. The media of the time played their part too, with footage of the most extreme police violence being subsequently lost, and the subsequent demonising of the traveller lifestyle.  The travellers inexpected saviour at the time was the Earl of Cardigan, who at the times self-described  himself as "card-carrying Conservative" but  became an invaluable witness to the travellers' tales of police brutality, vandalism and unfair arrest.
A dark day for British justice and civil liberties and freedom, marking a turning point after the injustices of  Wapping, and the miners strike in this supression of our civil liberties that we should never forget. Years later people still  suffering the consequences ,and bearing the scars of this dark passage in history. The stones remain, but we should continue to mourn  to  remember and mourn  the pain, and values of human decency that was lost on this day.
Footage of this day which you can see in following film should still make us all, shudder - it's the sight of power off the leash, police arrogant enough to know that they can beat up defenceless people in front of TV cameras without having to worry because they know their political masters had given  them them the green light to do what they like, a dark day reminding us  how British justice and civil liberties and freedom is eroded, that we  should never forget. Years later people still  suffering the consequences , and bearing the scars of this dark passage in history. 

Operation Solstice -- Documentary


Some good links here for more on this  tragic story

The Levellers - Battle of the Beanfield

Hawkwind - Ghost Dance

Inner Terrestials - Free the land