Thursday, 30 August 2018

Now I'm 51

I Look back and remember
when times were innocent,
life was much sweeter
in the morning the sun would rise
and in the evening would go down.

I'd have a smoke and get very high
as the moon glided through the sky,
happy days, humming with promise
the future seemed so exciting,
life was a compass, that followed no maps.

As time past, fell in love many times
rising like the wind, could do cartwheels for hours,
felt the wealth of kindness, releasing many smiles
ties bound with magical power
I danced merrily across the land.

And when injustice started to call
I would stand with my brothers and sisters,
in the summer,the spring and the autumn
on the cold edges of winter,
hoping hard times would pass.

Now 51, still on the edge of reason
but lovers and friends have gone,
that I can no longer dance with
as tides of inequity continue to grow
with social media, I release my chorus.

Still learning to live, let go and flourish
while mind and body getting tireder,
bones steadily getting  brittler
my voice at least remains strong
one thing that is for sure, this life goes  on.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Theresa May asked if she feels guilty for not campaigning for Nelson Mandela’s freedom

Prime Minister Theresa May, as a representative of a political party that actively supported apartheid faced awkward questions on her record campaigning for Nelson Mandela's  release in the 70's and 80's on Tuesday as she visited the cell on Robben Island where the former South African president was imprisoned for decades during the apartheid era.
In an extraordinary video clip released, Theresa May, interviewed by Channel 4s Michael Crick
just before she visited Mandela's cell,she was asked directly by Crick whether as a young Tory under Margaret Thatcher, whether she agreed with Thatcher's opinion that Mandela was a terrorist.
She was also asked repeatedly what she did to campaign for Mr Mandela's freedom.
May who is in South Africa as part o a three day trade mission to the continent responded:, without actually answering the questions with "What I will be feeling when I go to Robben Island is to recognise the immense statemanship of a man who spent so many years incarcenated and when he  came out of that incarcernation had that breadth ofvision and thaat calm approach that has enabled South Africa  to be built into the country that it is today,"
Asked if she went on any protests at the time, she said : I think you know full well that I didn't go on protests.
"But what is important is the work that the United Kingdom did to ensure that it was able to give support where the support was needed.
She added ;"What is important was the support that the UK government was giving at the time. Often support behind the scenes, but in other ways too, to ensure that we saw the result that we did in relation to the ending of Apartheid."
At this point it is important to remember ,as many of us know, she did absolutely nothing to protest against apartheid, she didn't boycott South African goods, she didn't challenge Thatcher and other Tories calling Mandela a terrorist.To those of us who did protest and boycott ,who thought it was nothing less than our dutry to take part in collective action against South Africa, the sight and sound of her visiting Robben Island for a photo  opportunity was simply nauseating.
To the Tory Party Nelson Mandela was a terrorist not a freedom fighter. Lets not forget that former Tory PM David Cameron himself was a member of a group of young conservatives that produced a poster saying " Hang Nelson Mandela and all the ANC Terrorists they are butchers"

Cameron also worked in the Tory Policy Unit at Central Office and even went on an anti-sanctions act-finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid lobby firm sponsored by PW Botha.. I simply forget when the whole Tory switch occurred, to accepting Mandela as a decent human being , all I remember is that Maggie Thatcher was the first British Prime Minister for quarter of a century to invite an Apartheid head of state to Britain, and that we became a country that sponsored oppressors against those who fought or freedom and civil rights.
This  in stark contrast to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, of course, who appears in the following now famous picture taken at the time,being escorted away by police with an anti-apartheid sign around his neck who principally fough consistently against the evils of apartheid South Africa and for the freedom of Nelson Mandela and his fellow comrades and freedom fighters incarcernated at the same time.

Anyway, during her visit to Robben Island , Mrs May was handed a key to open the cell of the man who went on to become South African president
She was given details about the cell as she stood inside, including what was used as a toilet.
She signed the guestbook, writing."It has been a privilege to visit in this year, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.
"His legacy lives on in the hopes and dreams of young people here in South Africa andaround the world."
That I can at least agree with, and one of the most important qualities we should also remember about Nelson Mandela and his supporters in South Africa and beyond was their willingness to question the status quo when others turned a blind eye to massive human rights violations.
Theresa May ,what will be her legacy, one as a hypocrite who continues to avert her gaze to the persecution of minorities , incipient genocide and ethnic cleansing around the globe, and the current apartheid policies of Israel. We should all continue to be asking her pertinent questions, and keep holding her to account.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Goodbye Senator John McCain, Republican War Hawk

It is  sad, when anyone passes, and many believe no one should speak ill of the dead. But on hearing the news that longtime US Senator John McCain, the Republican from Arizona has died at the age of 81 after a long battle with brain cancer, all I am currently reading about him by the mainstream media is him being described as a war. hero, whilst being canonised at the same time. So as a result,thought it was necessary to add a few words.
Is this not the same man  who before being captured in Vietnam as part of the U.S military machine was bombing innocent women and children, making him a front-line participant in one of the greatest war crimes in history, the savage American onslaught on Vietnam, in an attempt to terrorise the population into surrender.
The overriding feature of McCain's career, was his hawkishness on foreign policy. He supported war after war, intervention after intervention always promoting the use of force as the primary feature of American foreign policy. First elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, he backed the US invasion of Grenada in 1983 and the Reagan administration policy of supporting fascist forces in Central America, including death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala and the contra terrorists at war with Nicaragua.
Who then  along with the entire U.S  political  and military establishment, supported the wholesale bombing of Iraq's water purification plants during the first Gulf War. In what amounted to  planned genocide. Documents released in 2000 revealed that the U.S, had studied in detail all aspects of Iraq's water system, had planned a strategy for preventing Iraq from reconstructing that system
( via sanctions) and knew in advance that this could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease. Indeed it did, with more than half a million Iraqi children dead as a result, one of the greatest war crimes in history, carried out by the next generation of U.S.  pilots who followed John McCain and with his full throated support. He also backed the later invasion  of Afghanistan and called for the bombing of Iran and supported the Saudi invasion of Yemen.
When anti-war protestors stormed a Senate hearing whereformer US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was speaking, McCain ordered that they be scorted out of the hall by police and condemned the activists as "low-life scum".
He was also a dedicated supporter of Israel and was quick to U.S President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (This despite their noted personal disagreements.)
"I have long believed that Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel," he wrote in a statement on his website after the announcement.
The support extended to Irael's numerous offensives against Palestinian including the 2014 bombardment of Gaza, which killed more than 2,20 residents of the besieged territory, the vast majority of them civilians.
Then  in his own backyard while he was defense Secretary,showed his contempt for the indigenous people of America whom he had previously supported when he inserted language into a defense bill which opened up land sacred to the Apache of Arizona to mining,this act of utter betrayal shows the ruthlessness of his spirit and his rather contradictory nature.
A hero, yes,  it seems to many, and other places have shown him in a more kinder light, and we should honor the dead, but neither should we forget those lost in Vietnam, Iraq, and countless wars the world over, that he and his government helped displace, injure or kill. Surely all their lives matter too. R.I.P. Lets all continue to try and  keep working towards a world without war.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

The Internationale - Billy Bragg

Stephen William "Billy Bragg" is an English singer-songwriter and left wing political activist. his music blends elements of folk music, punk-rock, soul  and protest songs, with lyrics that mostly span political or romantic themes. His music is heavily centered on bringing about change in our society.
Born in Barking, East London to a working class family. He was interested in music and poetry from an early age, and after a series of dead-end jobs and a brief stint in the army, which ended , when he realised they really did want him to kill people. he took to a serious pursuit of music.When 1979 bought the election of Margaret Thatcher's right wing government, Bragg began his long career as bard of the left.
Finding inspiration in the righteous of punk rock and the socially conscious folk tradition of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. For most of the eighties Bragg bashed out songs alone on his electric guitar. While his lyrics were bitingly intelligent and clever, they were also warm and humane, filled with detail and wit. Even though his lyrics were carefully considered, Bragg never neglected to write melodies that were strong and memorable.
The following is his own version of the Socialist anthem The Internationale, that dates back to 1871 written as a poem in French in the immediate aftermath of the brutal crushing of the  Paris Commune by revolutionary socialist, Eugene Pottier, and since sung and honoured  by various Labour parties, anarchists, socialists, Trotskistes, Leninists,Communists and other very stirred folk.Translated into  hundreds of languages across the globe, with billions of covers on youtube alone, it has been hailed as the most dangerous song on the planet, a rousing song.of continuing universal struggle, the call to the final battle which Bragg rewrote after a request from the late great Pete Seeger, after Bragg had complained that the traditional  lyrics were somewhat dated,thus modernizing the song, so that the language became less archaic and more reflective of current left-wing politics,as a means  keeping the powerful song relevant. It can know be found in the revolutionary Industrial Workers of the World's famed Little Red Songbook, that contains songs that continue to fan the flames of discontent..
Whether you like Bragg's music or not, there is a message at this song's core that is worth remembering. As bleak times lie ahead and dark forces of the extreme far right are on the rise again. however down- hearted you may feel right now, remember the international ideal unites the human race.
The following is the original song as Pottier wrote it

The Internationale Original  Verses

Debout, les damnés de la terre / Arise, damned of the earth
Debout, les forçats de la faim / Arise, prisoners of hunger
La raison tonne en son cratère, / Reason thunders in its volcano
C’est l’éruption de la fin / This is the eruption of the end
Du passé faisons table rase, / Lets make a clean slate of the past
Foule esclave, debout, debout, / Enslaved masses, arise, arise
Le monde va changer de base / The world is is going to change its foundation
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout / We are nothing, we will be all


C’est la lutte finale / This is the final struggle
Groupons-nous, et demain, / Group together, and tomorrow
L’Internationale, / The Internationale
Sera le genre humain. / Will be the human race
Il n’est pas de sauveurs suprêmes, / There are no supreme saviors
Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun, / Neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune
Producteurs sauvons-nous nous-mêmes / Producers, let us save ourselves
Décrétons le salut commun / Decree the common salvation
Pour que le voleur rende gorge, / So that the thief expires
Pour tirer l’esprit du cachot, / To free the spirit from its cell
Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge, / Let us fan the forge ourselves
Battons le fer tant qu’il est chaud / Strike while the iron’s hot


L’État comprime et la loi triche, / The State oppresses and the law cheats
L’impôt saigne le malheureux; / Tax bleeds the unfortunate
Nul devoir ne s’impose au riche, / No duty is imposed on the rich
Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux. / The right of the poor is an empty phrase
C’est assez languir en tutelle, / Enough languishing in custody
L’égalité veut d’autres lois: / Equality wants other laws
«Pas de droits sans devoirs, dit-elle, / No rights without duties she says
Égaux, pas de devoirs sans droits!» / Equally, no duties without rights


Hideux dans leur apothéose, / Hideous in their apotheosis
Les rois de la mine et du rail, / The kings of the mine and the rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose, / Have they ever done anything
Que dévaliser le travail? / Than steal work?
Dans les coffres-forts de la bande, / Inside the strong-boxes of the gangs
Ce qu’il a créé s’est fondu. / What work has created is melted
En décrétant qu’on le lui rende, / By ordering that they give it back
Le peuple ne veut que son dû. / The people only want their due


Les Rois nous saoulaient de fumées, / The kings made us drunk with fumes
Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans / Peace among us, war to the tyrants
Appliquons la grève aux armées, / Let the armies go on strike
Crosse en l’air et rompons les rangs / Stocks in the air, and break ranks
S’ils s’obstinent, ces cannibales, / If these cannibals insist
A faire de nous des héros, / On making heroes of us
Ils sauront bientôt que nos balles / They will know soon enough that our bullets
Sont pour nos propres généraux. / Are for our own generals


Ouvriers, Paysans, nous sommes / Workers, peasants, we are
Le grand parti des travailleurs; / The great party of laborers
La terre n’appartient qu’aux hommes, / The earth belongs only to men
L’oisif ira loger ailleurs. / The idle will go reside elsewhere
Combien de nos chairs se repaissent / How much of our flesh have they consumed
Mais si les corbeaux, les vautours, / But if these ravens, these vultures
Un de ces matins disparaissent, / Disappear one of these days
Le soleil brillera toujours / The sun will shine forever

Here's Billy Bragg's version performing it with Cor Gobaith at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 14 June 2009 

And here is a version that he  originally released back in 1990

The Internationale - Billy Bragg's updated version.

Stand up all victims of oppression
For the tyrants fear your might
Don't cling so hard to your possessions
For you have nothing if you have no rights
Let racist ignorance be ended
For respect makes the empires fall
Freedom is merely privilege extended
Unless enjoyed by one and all


So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The internationale
Unites the world in song

So comrades come rally
For this is the time and place
The international ideal
Unites the human race
Let no one build walls to divide us
Walls of hatred nor walls of stone

Come greet the dawn and stand beside us
We'll live together or we'll die alone
In our world poisoned by exploitation
Those who have taken now they must give
And end the vanity of nations
We've but one earth on which to live

And so begins the final drama
In the streets and in the fields
We stand unbowed before their armor
We defy their guns and shields
When we fight provoked by their aggression
Let us be inspired by like and love
For though they offer us concessions
Change will not come from above

Songwriter: Stephen William Bragg; music; Pierre De Geyter

At the end of last year Bragg, the protest singers’ released a new mini album ‘Bridges Not Walls’.
Galvanised by the political turmol facing us presently, the rie of Trump, Climate change , Brexit,  the monstrous forces of nationalism, racism and untruth..
Bridges Not Walls’ features all of the singles he had released over the summer plus two other gems that stand shoulder to shoulder with every song Billy has written in his 30 year career on the frontline. Always engaged, never predictable, Billy Bragg continues to fight the good fight.
‘Bridges Not Walls’ track listing

1. The Sleep Of Reason
2. King Tide And The Sunny Day Flood
3. Why We Build The Wall
4. Saffiyah Smiles
5. Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted
6. Full English Brexit

Friday, 24 August 2018

Other human beings are not our enemies - Thich Nhat Hanh

" People kill and are killed because they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies, When we believe that ours is the only faith that contains the truth, violence and suffering will surely be the result. When you act with compassion and non-violence, when you act on the basis of nonduality, you have to be very strong. To no longer act out of anger, you don't punish or blame. Compassion grows constantly inside of you and you can succeed in your fight against injustice, Other human beings are not our enemies. Our enemy is not the other person. Our enemy is the violence, ignorance, and injustice in us and the other person.
When we are armed with compassion and understanding, we fight not against other people, but against the tendency to invade , to dominate , and to exploit.
To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion.  When you understand, you cannot help but love. And when you love,you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people.
Understanding and Love are not two separate things, but only one."

- Bhuddist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh

We are currently living in tumultuous times, because of this, there is a tremendous amount of suffering going on, that is releasing and generating endless amounts of fear,anger and hatred, that is breaking many a heart in two.
Our  real enemy is not man, or other human beings, it lies in our ignorance and discrimination  that drives our fears. It is not wrong to feel anger, but many of us have simply forgotten  to take care of it, and  arm  ourselves with the energy of compassion or understanding, that has the enormous capacity to heal the world,

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The question of BBC bias and how to complain.

Sometimes watching the BBC news,  I have to awake myself  up from the utter pointless of it all. Fawning  reports about the Royal  family, minus their excesses, combined with  its  lack of impartiality on reporting on Gaza.and the West Bank that often sees it valuing Israeli lives above those  of Palestinians. That often then fails to reflect the imbalance between what it terms "the two sides" Israel and the Palestinians. I am not a member of the Labour Party but I  also see a  daily clear and consistent bias against it's leader Jeremy Corbyn, laced with a vitriolic right wing wing rhetoric, carefully edited into incoherent sound bites, though the BBC will claim otherwise. In light of this, it's worth pointing out that Margaret Hodge's daughter, Lizzie Watson is actually Deputy Editor of BBC News, which might explain a complete lack of impartiality when it comes to the recent Corbyn /Hodge row. This is surely a clear conflict of interest.
For further info on how the BBC is packed to the rafters with right wing elements, and those with vested elements, see the following from Marcus Moore who has worked with the BBC for over 30 years, really is rather interesting reading Whether right or left , their most obvious political bias is one that  keeps concentrating on the Westminster bubble that often forgets the rest of us.This combined with them reporting Government policies as facts, that sees ministers barely challenged .All journalism is biased to a degree but the BBC  no longer seems to represents all the British people, only serving the vested interests of those who are already doing  alright.  So  if we don't  complain about this bias and inaccuracy, nothing will ever change.
A lot of people  are not very familiar with doing online complaints to  the BBC,but  it really is  quite simple, and  can be quite  effective. They have a duty to reply to complaints to protect their so called independence  If you ever wish to want to make a complaint,  click on  the following  link, it's so important that we continue  to to hold them to account.
You will be given some simple instructions,  and after reading and you are completely satisfied with your response, you can then  submit your complaint. Some time later usually within a few  hours , you will receive  an automated acknowledgement, and in  due course, this could be a few days, weeks or even months, depending on the subject matter.  you will  then receive a reply. All this keeps  the BBC busy, and allows us the opportunity to hold the BBC to account and stops us all from being taken for granted.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Finding Comfort

To protect my energy, must learn drugs and alcohol do not mix
That it's ok to go back to sleep, it's ok to leave phone of the hook,
It's ok to let go of the past, ir's ok to refuse permission
It's ok to take the key and let it run, follow wildflowers of the heart,
Refuse to judge one self, toss away the shame of guilt
Raise my voice and speak out, disobey the rules,
cleanse eyes, tae back what's been stolen
Abandon labels, refuse to be characterised,
To protect myself from life's surprises, I have poems in my palms,
That help me chase away the darkness, escape from fragmented prisons
Even when slightly crazy, can change all my phases,
In love with music too, can find rhythms to guide me
Feel freedom blowing in the wind , allow me to deeply breathe,
Fight harder, become stronger, as I wash the dirt from my skin
All the avenues of healing lie within,  helping break down all walls,
Finding the unknown of possibility, pathways of change
Remembering that on life's battlefield, the future remains unwritten.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Benjamin Zephaniah - Revolutionary Minds

Just got latest  timely cd from pioneering dub poet ,Rastafarian and fervent campaigner for social justice issues Benjamin Zephaniah through the post entitled Revolutionary Minds his first foray into music for over a decade. It actually was released last year, but have only just managed to get a copy. It really is a tour de force,  essential listening for the times we live in, a solid piece of creativity that drives on home messages of hope, liberation, economic and political corruption rampant racism, fascist patriarchy in this world of struggle and desperation.
Zephaniah is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls "street politics". His poetry, books and plays have captivated hearts and minds, fuelling imaginations and winning him a legion of fans all over the world.Though his music is lesser known than his written work it is no less fervent. Created alongside his accomplished producer and collaborator The Sea, 'Revolutionary Minds' album is a deep selection of dub-reggae juggernauts, the essence and style of which fully reinforce the messages projected through Zephaniah's powerful lyrics and strong righteous rhymes it really paints a picture of  the world we live in right now.
The first track Earth Liberation Sound gets the ball rolling, as Benjamin speaks on civil odedience and the impact it has had in the past and the present,with  presence of a youthful  voice chanting  about revolutionary minds.

The following track Revolutionary Minds  is essentially the heart of the record, speaking on issues such as "women shall not be property" and "no one shall be judged by the color of their skin." in which the actor Matt Damon reads the words of the late American historian and activist Howard Zinn. "The problem is not civil disobedience, the problem is civil obedience."

 The next track President is a strong message aimed at the presidents of the world, describing the outcome of their hostile laws and policies.It is abundently clear who Sephaniah has foremost in mind when he unleashes his anger "Dear Mister President, you suck presidentially. Just run, run  as slowy as you can, and take your arms trade with you."

More Animal Writes speaks about the environment we live  amidst corrupt cops and their arbitrariness.
Cool Piece speaks about the conditions affecting women through violence and the impact of street life.
In the  song 'In This World, he makes it perfectly clear that most dangerous thingin the world is not beinga revolutionary, but it is in our passivity;"We live in a world where they say we communicate more, but.the world stayed silent when the slave trade was making money, the world stayed silent when the Nazis started to kill trade unionists, people with disabilities, homosexuals, left-handed people and Jews, and now in the age of the global village and  mass communications, the world is staying silent as the Palestinians are annihiliated."

In the poem What Srephen Lawrence Has Taught Us, originally witten in 1999. the artist reminds his listeners of the death of the young British man who was mudered in 1993. This case unveiled institutanised racism in Britain and questioned the judicial practice of double jeapordy with regard to murder cases. With incidents  of police violence still happening, it reminds us that we are still witnessing a never-ending tragic cycle. Almost 25 years later his murder reminds us that we live in a world where freedom and justice are not rights that can be taken for granted.


One of the greatest poets of his generation, who has  published 24 books,  he still delivers and packs a mighty punch with his  profound truth, who still manages to hold his heart on his sleeves. Revolutionary Minds is the soundtrack to the modern revolutionist, that will make you feel empowered, hopeful, galvanised to make a difference and get up and dance,whilst helping us mash down babylon. Try and get hold of it if you can, you will not be disappointed.The CD is accompanied by a 12 page booklet of Zephaniah's intensely conscious lyrics, allowing for his work to be read as poetry in addition to being enjoyed as songs.
At a seemingly tumultuous and divisive period in our society, 'Revolutionary Minds' revitalises the neglected art of the protest song. By reviving this discipline at this particular point in time, Zephaniah shines a critical light on to a range of activity that currently is taking place around the globe, providing a strong voice to the disenfranchised and displaced. One can listen or buy a copy here ;-; 
His autobiography  The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah is also out  now, which is a truly extraordinary life story which celebrates the power of poetry and the importance of pushing boundaries with the arts.

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Friday, 17 August 2018

Aretha Louise Franklin ( 24/3/42 - 16/8/18) - Respect, Rest in Power

Aretha Franklin who passed away  in Detroit, Michigan aged 76 on Thursday from pancreatic cancer  was a soul freedom fighter, musical legend an all encompassing guiding light, icon for feminism, a social justice pioneer and trail blazing activist for the civil rights movement. Born and raised in the segregation era to preacher and civil rights activist Clarence L. Franklin, who helped organise the 1963 Detroit Walk to freedom, ahead of his good friend Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr's March on Washington, her own mother was herself an accomplished pianist and singer, who died when Aretha was ten years of age, it was  just after her death that Aretha  began singing gospel music in her local church.
In 1967 she released "Respect" which became an anthem for the racial and gendered political movements of the time, something that was not lost on her, who said of the song in her memoit Aretha; From These Roots : " It reflected the need of a nation, the need of the average man and woman in the street, the businessman, the mother, the fireman, the teacher - everyone wanted respect."Franklin wrote. It would become one of the battle cries of the civil rights movement,and would take on monumental significance.
Franklin would also make pint of putting into her contract that she would never perform before racially segregated audiences. Her activism went beyond the lyrics of her songs, as she applied her wealth and platform to help fund many social  justice campaigns.
A clear example of her commitmentto civil rights was when she offered bail to recolutionary activist Angela Davis in 1970, after Davis, a member of the Communist Party, was accussed  of aasiting in a courtroom takeover that ended in  four deaths. In an interview at the time she advocates not only for Davis, but for black liberation.
" Angela Davis must go free." Franklin aid. "Black people will be free. I've been locked up 9 for disturbing the peace in Detroit) and I know you got to disturb the peace when you can't get no peace. Jail is hell to be in. I'm going to set her free if there is any justice in our courts, not because I believe in communism, but because she's a Black woman and she wants freedom for Black people. I have the money; I got it from Black people - they've made me financially able to have it - and I want to use it in ways that will help our people."
A fierce musical talent not only in sensitive and dynamic vocal  interpretation but also as a skilled pianist and arranger, who used her voice to advocate for racial equality,that enabled us to believe in the possible,that can empower us  to create some kind of lasting change in the world. Even long after the civil rights era, Franklin was very much invested in the modern social justice movements for equality, including Black Lives Matter.
Aretha Franklin demanded and deserves respect from all of us, because of this I believe that alongside her many great artistic and cultural achievements, it will be forever given. Her integrity and her music will live on and we  will always love her. As she once said "We all require and want respect , man or woman, black or white,. It's our basic human right. " Aretha Franklin continues to  leave behind a legacy that has touched the lives of many, and will continue to inspire. many more to come. May she rest in power.

Aretha Franklin - Respect

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Charles Bukowski ( 16/8/20 -29/3/94) - Death

Henry Charles Bukowski,   the quintessential bard of the barroom and the brothel, a direct descendant of the Romantic visionaries who worshiped at the altar of personal excess, violence and madness was born 78 years ago today..In my eyes he was simply a genius, of understated emotion. I owe him a lot of debt and gratitude, his writing  still continues to influence, and he is one of the main reasons I attempt to write myself. This post inspired by him  are simply some old words of mine regurgitated.
Born  in Andernach, Germany in 1926,as Heinrich Karl Bukowski, ,his father was a member of the U.S Army that remained in Germany, after WW1, and his mother bought him to the United States at the age of two, Bukowski wasa slight child with a poor complexion,who was often bullied by his peers and beaten by his father,who believed in a heavy hand when correcting his child's faults. He began writing at  a young age, and was first published in the 1940's, he would spend the next 20 years,working in a series of menial jobs, while immersing himself in the world of booze and hard living. His life perhaps, is not one you would want to emulate, but his insistence on being himself , and then using that to his advantage is a quality worth borrowing.
At the age of 49, after years of heavy drinking and debauchery, he struck a deal with Black Sparrow Press that allowed him to quit a work ethic that he was not comfortable with, in a post office, to focus full time on his writing. The result was over 30 poetry collections, 6 novels and two feature films based on his life and works, making him one of the most prolific writers of the 20th Century.
In novels and short-story collections like "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" (1969), "Post Office" (1971), "Factotum" (1975) and "Ham on Rye" (1982), Bukowski relied on an alter ego named Henry Chinaski, a down-and-out writer with a fierce dedication to women, drink, gambling and failure.
Mr. Bukowski wrote the screenplay for Barbet Schroeder's "Barfly," in which Mickey Rourke portrayed the poet in his younger days.
His work was marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships, failure, depression, gambling, life and death, and drinking and more drinking. He was a poet who wrote without pretence, privilege or sheen, embracing what so many of us try to avoid. He was heavily influenced by the geography and atmosphere of his home city of Los Angeles, and all the senses that he witnessed and devoured. He once said in a magazine interview that he began drinking at 13 to dull the pain of being beaten continually by his father
He lived alongside  his words, alongside the margins of societies edge, with the down and outs, the wrecked, the outsiders, the hopelessly abandoned, the walking wounded. Beyond the literary schools, his work emerged  to break all traditional rules, against all that is conventional, beautifully sinful, uncompromising, but  never hypocritically  righteous, releasing poetry of such passion that I believe still matters today. Utilising free verse and spontanaeity, despite the idolation that was bestowed  upon him, he joined no clichés, refusing acceptance  into any literary community, in true essence of his rebellious spirit.
Blunt and outspoken,he was not concerned with anything beyond what he was, and he didn't need you to agree with him, he saw the ugliness of the earth, and was not afraid to express his ways of seeing. Remembered because of the rawness and roughness and the many manifestations of ugliness that he saw in life, I try not to forget, the beauty and tenderness that he shared too. In simple language, he simply used the inner rhythm of his voice, to release what I have realised to be a form of magic, no cleverness or pretence disguised, just a raw undiluted life affirming truth , filled with his brutal honesty.
He died in  San Pedro, California on March 29, 1994 at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp, but his spirit and his words of pain and laughter live on, speaking a universal truth. His posthumous work has been almost as prolific as the work published in his lifetime, at least 24 volumes of his poetry, nonfiction has been published  since his death alone,and no one can assume there are more works out there waiting to see the light.
Going against the grain is a battle, and it's not an easy one to win, in the end we all face death,few have captured the complex dilemma than he did,  he once said " We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorised and flattened  by trivialities, we are eating up by nothing "So today I raise a sweet cold glass of beer to my lips in his honor,  cheers Mr Bukowski. Happy birthday.

There's nothing to mourn  about death any more than there is to morn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don't live up until their death. They don't honor their own lives. They shit them away. Dumb fuckers. They concentrate too much on  fucking , movies, family fucking. Their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them. Their brains are stuffed with cotton. Thy look ugly, they talk ugly, they walk ugly. Play them the great music of the centuries and they can't hear it, Most people;s deaths are a sham. There's nothing left to die" - Charles Bukowski


Charles Bukowski - Death 

Look he said 
You’ve got spider traps all along this wall 
It’s fascinating
He was outside my door peering at the stucco wall 
I said come on in
He said no way and he got a twig and found some ants 
And he said Bukowski I’m going to make this ant run the gauntlet 
The phone rang and I answered the phone
And while I was talking and listening he said
Bukowski he said he got away from the first spider 
Now the second one is out and he’s got the ant by the rear legs 
Listen Linda I said
I’ve got a visitor and also my toilets stopped and the shit is coming up through the tub 
Bukowski he said
Now the spider is throwing a net over him 
He’s weaving around and around 
Now he’s moving in Bukowski
Now he’s got him
The landlord came in
It will take a little while to clear it up he said
He was talking about the shit 
Alright I said
Linda I said 
Shit and death is everywhere
I’ll call you back she said 
Now I’ve got a spider said my visitor 
And I’m giving him to the ants 
I walked outside 
For Christ’s sake kid will you stop playing this spider ant game
Lets go for a ride 
the landlord gets very nervous when he plays with the plumbing
Look he said
The ants are chopping the spider’s legs off one by one
Good strategy I said 
let’s go 
We drove down to norms and had breakfast
My friend commented continually on humanity
He didn’t think they were much
I didn’t argue 
My friend was a great admirer of earnest Hemmingway
I drove him to Hollywood and Normandy and let him out 
When I got back the shit was still in the tub
I didn’t want to take a bath anyway

Tuesday, 14 August 2018


I believe in the many not the few
for all brothers and sisters to live in love
beyond  rising tides of  hate and envy
a world being painted darker still
by forces of fascism and intolerance
as we stand on the precipice
of a rumbling volcano
that heeds not the plea of humanity,
we are akin now to a flock of sheep
heading forth to danger
without a shepherd to guide
but with careful navigation
beyond the ignorance of our ways
we can find safer pastures to graze
follow peaceful rivers - unafraid,
forces of negation do not dissapear
if we simply ignore them
torrents of  poisonous tongue
keep releasing deep from bedrock
swastika eyes  now roaming the land
lets keep growing with compassion
in unison expel streams of division.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Great London Dock Strike of 1889

Detail from SS , Heritage Mural, designed and painted  by Frank Creber and his sons 

The Great London Dock Strike is widely acknowledged as a key event in the development of the modern trade union and labour movement in  this country. Following on from earlier strikes by match girls and gas workers, the dock strike signalled a remarkable new era of leadership and organisation  in the working classes, contributing to, among other things, the formation of the Labour Party in 1900.
The lives of the dockers and many others in the dock side communities at the time were marked by crushing poverty, disease, squalor and horrendous living and working conditions. This against a background of growing trade unionism among unskilled workers, who had become increasingly dissatisfied with their lot.
On August 12, 1889, at .7.30am, Will Thorne, fresh from his part in negotiating a deal to bring in the eight hour day for gas workers across the capital, following a strike at the Beckton Gasworks, spoke at the South Dock gates of the West India Docks in a meeting organised by Will Harris who worked on the tugs at the Albert Docks.Working class Socialist leader Ben Tillett, a docker himself, joined Thorne on the platform and appealed for the men to form a union  and then refuse to go to work unless they had a very modest increase in pay of 1d (one old penny, colloquially called the Dockers tanner) to something approaching enough for a docker and his family to live on, and assurance that no man would be taken on for  less than  4 hours a day.
As was the tradition of the period, and for many years afterwards, the dockers agreed to the resolutions by a show of hands, which on this occasion was unanimous. When Ben Tillett took these demands to the dock directors they refused to listen, he returned to tell the men the strike had begun.
Despite the obvious hardships ahead there was enthusiasm. The following day a small strike broke out in the South West India Dock in response to Tillet's statement and it would spread spontaneously and rapidly across the whole of London's docks.
As part of the strike, mass meetings were held at Tower Hill, pickets were established at the dock gates and marches were organised through the City of London. On the whole, the strike remained peaceful, as a result the dock workers gained much support and sympathy from the public.
The employees were intent to starve the strikers out and although the port was at a standstill and their companies losing money they believed that giving into the dockers demands would set a dangerous precedent, but crucially, financial help to the strikers and their families arrived from the Australian Labour , who sent over £30,000 to help the dockers to continue the struggle, alongside organisations such as the Salvation Army and the Labour Church who also raised money in support, Also landlords wgo tried to collect their rents fasced resistance, rent strikes were organised, with one banner reading :"As we are on strike landlords need not call." There was also a remarkable degree of solidarity between different faiths during the strike, in London's east end the Jewish community led a solidarity march with the dockers, a large  proportion of whom were Irish Catholics, and together with the Salvation Army provided soup kitchens for the dockers' families and children. The Irish dockers would get their opportunity to return the gesture of solidarity in the battle of Cable Street nearly half a century later, when in 1936, the ' Blackshirt fascists; targeted the local Jewish community in Stepney.
Anyway without this aid and support, perhaps the strike might not in the end have been won, but  after five weeks on the 14th September  1889, the strike leaders, negotiated an end to the strike with the dock managers with the employees accepting defeat and granting all the dockers main demands, after they had been met by the powers of mass organisation, discipline and resilience that had been ably demonstrated.
After this successful strike, the dockers formed a new General Labourers' Union, which in due course this union became one of the founders of the Transport and General Worker's Union..Ben Tillet was elected General Secretary and Tom Mann became the union's first President. In London alone, 20,000 men joined this new union. Tillett and Mann wrote a pamphlet together called the New Unionism, where they outlined their socialist views and explained how their idea was a "cooperative commonwealth."
This victory was a turning point, which saw workers across the country, particularly the unskilled workers, gaining a new confidence to organise themselves and carry out collective action. Over the next few years a large number of these unskilled workers joined trade unions, and between 1892 and 1899 membership of trade unions increased from 1,500,000 to  over 200,000

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Top Weapon dealers of the World: Stop the War Machine, Save our Planet.

Here is a list of the top 20 weapons dealers in the world. These are their names and where they are based (though they sell their weapons all over the world):

Lockheed Martin, United States
Boeing, United States
BAE Systems, United Kingdom — and subsidiary: BAE Systems Inc., United States
Raytheon, United States
Northrop Grumman, United States
General Dynamics, United States
Airbus Group, Trans-European
United Technologies Corp., United States — and subsidiary: Pratt & Whitney, United States
Finmeccanica, Italy
L-3 Communications, United States
Almaz-Antey, Russia
Thales, France
Huntington Ingalls Industries, United States
United Aircraft Corp., Russia
United Shipbuilding Corp. Russia
Rolls-Royce, United Kingdom
SAFRAN, France
Honeywell International, United States
Textron, United States
DCNS, France

You may notice that none of these companies is located in the parts of the world afflicted by warfare, while half of them are in the United States, seven in Europe and three in Russia.


Militarism, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. eloquently asserted in 1967, is one of our society’s “Triple Evils,” along with racism and economic exploitation. Now is the time to stop the War machine.  We must find ways to maintain world peace. War is not an option. Weapons sales are a major detriment to these ends. War profiteering was,  once deemed reprehensible. It has been in great measure normalized. Humanity as a whole I believe should seek ways to  render it unacceptable and impossible to engage in.
It is time to divest from weapons companies and invest in ethical, life-affirming solutions.We can only achieve a more peaceful world if we reduce the power of those who profit from war, that fuel conflicts in Yemen, Syria etc, with devastating effect.
According to Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Britain alone has licenced 34, billion worth of aircraft and weapons since the bombing campaign against Yemen started in 2015, which as a result is responsible for the Saudi-led coalition air attack on Yemen which struck a school bus of children heading through a busy market last week, killing more than 40 people, mostly children , and injuring  about 60. At the same time the UK imports Israeli military hardware and components, that has been field tested on innocent Palestinian civilians.
Let us not forget that in modern armed conflicts nearly 90% of casualties are civilians with about 40% of those being children. It is estimated that 2000 children are killed or maimed in wars each and every day. It is no accident that the massive rise in casualty figures coincides with the arms trade, that also helps prop up regimes with atrocious human rights records across our planet. Meanwhile every year DSEI  the world's biggest arms fair rolls into East London, with attendees from some of  the biggest arms companies in the world and many of the most oppressive dictatorships.
The war machine only runs on autopilot to the extent we let it. Put people before war and profit, heddwch/peace.

Two useful links

Friday, 10 August 2018

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki film they didn't want you to see

The film Hiroshima-Nagasaki 1945 was created in 1968 from Japanese footage that the US Defense Department had kept hidden for over 20 years. The filmmaker Erik Barnouw offered his 16 minute film to all the US main channels. None of them showed it. Why is obvious when looking at this three minute excerpt.
The atom bombs dropped by the US on those Japanese cities served no military purpose, as the Japanese were already suing for peace. President Truman, who ordered the bombs to be dropped, lied to the American people when he said that the atom bombs had saved lives and there were few civilian deaths, The  two atomic bombs killed and maimed hundreds and thousands of people.and the effects are still being felt today.
Seeing the barbarous effect of these weapons, did our political and military leaders decide to rid the world of them. Far from it.Today's nuclear weapons make the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs look like water pistols in  comparison, and there are enough of them to destroy not just cities but the whole world.
And who has most of these weapons of mass destruction? The only country to ever  use them - the United States.
73 years after they were used, it's time to finally bring an end to the era of nuclear weapons.The lingering humanitarian aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should remind us all of what is at stake and galvanise our action.
Completely ridding the world of nuclear weapons is a humanitarian and moral imperative and it is the only way forward,Governments must be urged to pursue negotiations to prohibit the use of and completly eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding international agreement.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organisations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nation nuclear weapon ban treaty. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on 7 July 2017.
More information below.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Remembering Nagasaki - Yosuke Yamahata (6/8/17 - 18/4/66)

73 years ago  August 8th 1955 ,a second atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese  port city of Nagasaki.The bomb which used plutonium 239, was dropped by parachute at 1102 by an American B29 bomber. called the Fat Man.
Unlike Hiroshima, Nagasaki lied in a series of narrow valleys bordered  by mountains in the east and the west. The bomb exploded above the ground and directly beneath it was a suburb of schools, factories and private houses.
Among the 270,000 people present  when this criminal act occurred were 2,500 labour conscripts from Korea and 350 prisoners-of-war. Nagasaki was completely destroyed. About 73,884 people were killed and 74,909 injured, with the affected survivors suffering the same long-term catastrophic results of radiation and mental trauma as at Hiroshima.
Exposing the true extent of human barbarism for years to come, never again should this ever happen.Let us commit ourselves to making sure Nagasaki is the last place on earth to suffer nuclear devastation..
On August 10th a day after this attack Yosuke Yamahata began photographing the devastation, over a period of 12 hours , he took over a hundred exposures. Later he himself was to become a casualty himself, on his 49th birthday and the twenteith anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima  he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, probably caused  by the effects of radiation, recieved at Nagasaki.
Today his images, still resonate with the truth, and the  shocking tragedy of this atriocity.

Robert Oppenheimer -

Now I become death , the destroyer of worlds

Further reading:-

Nagasaki Journey; The Photographs of Yosuke Yamahata.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Ballad of Mairéad Farrell - Seanchai and The Unity Squad, with vocals by Rachel Fitzgerald

On a quiet Sunday afternoon in Gibraltar on March 6, 1988 ,undercover British agents executed 3  members of  an unarmed Provisional IRA unit, Sean Savage, Dan McCann and  Mairéad Farrell close range  as they lay wounded on the ground.
Their deaths were controversial as several eye witnesses confirmed that they were all were unarmed and with their hands up,The three were believed  at the time to be mounting a bombing attack on British military personnel in Gibraltar.
What is undeniable is that just before four that afternoon – just two or three minutes after SAS soldiers took control from the Gibraltar authorities – all three IRA Activists were brought down in a hail of 29 bullets, 16 pumped into Savage alone. A police siren sounded, and two soldiers leaped over a barrier as Farrell and McCann lay dying in the road leading to the Spanish border. A few seconds later and another volley of shots brought down Savage as he headed up an alleyway back towards the town.
The gunning down of three unarmed IRA Activists on the streets of Gibraltar by the SAS has continued to haunt the British government. The March 1988 executions led to a cycle of death in the north of Ireland, re-opened claims that the government operated a ‘shoot-to kill’ policy and, yet again, called into question the reputation of British justice.
The British media at the time with the exception of Thames TVs Death on the Rock", repeated the British Army propoganda  that the three were armed and the local eyewitness were lying. At the inquest into the deaths held in Gibraltar the jury returned a verdict of lawful killing by a 9–2 majority. The coroner in summing up of the evidence to the jury told them to avoid an open verdict. The 9-2 verdict is the smallest majority allowed. Paddy McGrory, lawyer for Amnesty International, believed that it had been a "perverse verdict," and that it had gone against the weight of the evidence.
 The relatives of McCann, Savage and Farrell were dissatisfied with the response to their case in the British legal system, so they took their case to the European Court of Human Rights in 1995. The court found that the three had been unlawfully killed By a 10–9 majority it ruled that the human rights of the 'Gibraltar Three' had been infringed in breach of Article 2 – right to life, of the European Convention on Human Rights and criticised the authorities for lack of appropriate care in the control and organisation of the arrest operation. For many it was cold state-sanctioned murder, at point blank range.
 When the bodies came through Dublin Airport, all the staff stopped with their heads bowed and prayed as a mark of respect.
There was also shock at  the time as to how a woman like Mairead could have become involved with the IRA. To  Mairead, however her membership was a logical decision made as a result of a political analysis drawn from both political experience and a study of Irish history,
Mairead was born  in Belfast on the 3rd August 1957, the  second youngest of six children and the only girl. She was twelve when the British Army took over the streets of Belfast in 1969. This subsequently led to her being politicized.
" It was relavent of growing up in the Falls, we had to pass the Brits during the curfews you could only get out for a certain number of hours. We were all victims of the British occupation really you just accepted that you would be  involved to defend your country. " She joined the IRA and said later, "A lot of 17 to 19  year olds were involved, maybe looking back I was very young then but I was politically aware I know rhat now because my views haven't changed if anything I have become stronger, more committed. "
In 1976 she was arrested after taking  part in the IRA's campaign. She was convicted of possesion of explosives and membership of the IRA and sentenced to  fourteen and a half years imprisonment. Mairead was sentenced at a crucial turning point in British policy and was to become the leader of the women in Armagh jail when the republican struggle was focussed on the prisoners.
When Mairead entered Armagh in April 1976 she was the first woman republican prisoner to be sentenced under the new regulations and was refused special category status. She was isolated from the Republican organization in Armagh and only able to talk to the other fifty or so republican women for ten minutes after Mass on Sundays. She began a “no work protest” against the loss of special category status, “I knew now the battle would begin - the real battle - that the struggle would be a long and lonely one for us all
As other newly sentenced women entered Armagh they joined Mairead in protests. Mairead became Commanding Officer. ‘There was no kudos in it, I had to take decisions that would effect all the prisoners. There were times I felt very alone, even though I knew I had the support of the others at all times.’
The dirty protest that began on 7th February 1980 was forced on Mairead and her comrades. The Republican women were able to wear their own clothes; they were all dressed in black skirts and white blouses at a ceremony to honour Delaney. A week later, to crush this example of organised solidarity, a squad of 60 male and female warders surrounded the women at lunch time. Tim Pat Coogan stated that the women “were kicked and punched until order was restored’ Their cells were searched and wrecked by the warders and after the women were returned to their cells, “Men in riot gear armed with batons appeared in the cells again. The girls (sic) were beaten and carried down the stairs to the guard room to receive their punishment. The toilets were locked and they were confined to their cells for 24 hours.’
Mairead described the events to her parents: We were not allowed exercise nor out to the toilet or to get washed. We were locked up for 24 hours and allowed nothing to eat or drink. Male officers are still on the wing, they have not left and are running the wing got something to eat still not allowed use of toilet facilities. We have been forced into a position of “Dirt Strike’ as our pots are overflowing with urine and excrement. We emptied them out of the spy holes into the wing. The male officers nailed them closed.” Then later: ‘Male officers are still running the wing Lynn O’Connell was beaten twice, the second time was the worst. The officers jumped her as she was going out to the yard her face is badly swollen and cut.’
In early April 1980 Mairead wrote to her relatives, “The stench of urine and excrement clings to the cells and our bodies. No longer can we empty the pots out the window as the male screws have boarded them up regardless of day or night, the cells are dark for 23 hours a day we lie in these celIs’ The protest lasted 13 months. It was to Mairead the most frightening time of her imprisonment. Women were locked in pairs in cells measuring 3m x 2m (9ft x 6ft). During this time, Mairead told Tim Pat Coogan, “We are in a war situation. We have been treated in a special way and tried in special courts because of the war and because of our political activities. We want to be regarded as prisoners of war.
On 1st December 1980, Mairead, Mary Doyle and Mairead Nugent went on hunger strike in united action with the men in the Long Kesh ‘H Blocks. Afterwards she recalled how important was the support received from outside and also how she hated the distress caused to her parents. She continued on hunger strike until 19th December when it seemed the N.I.O. had agreed to the prisoners’ demands. This agreement was then retracted.
The Dirty Protest was called off in January 1981 in preparation for the second hunger strike in the H Blocks on 1st March 1981. A difficult decision not to join this was made by the women prisoners. It was the worst time for them as the women waited for news of the deaths, “I know it will be more difficult this time to win anything. It will take longer for the pressure to build up.” At the end of the interview Mairead said, “I am a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army and a political prisoner in Armagh jail. I am prepared to fight to the death, if necessary, to win the recognition that I am a political prisoner and not a criminal.’
In December 1982 strip searching was introduced at Armagh. The women republican prisoners refused to undergo these searches that were made before women were allowed out of the prison. Her last inter-prison visit to see her fiancee in Long Kesh was in October 1982 and she did not see him again until her release four years later. The remand prisoners suffered most from strip searching as they were searched before and after court hearings and were subject to regular beatings. The women republican prisoners ended their resistance to strip searching because of the fear of increasingly serious assaults. Mairead was strip searched on her release from Maghaberry Prison, “I felt it was the final insult. It’s designed as psychological torture, as a way of intimidating us.” Looking back on years in prison she saw them as teaching her the real values in life and making her more committed to her political beliefs.
During her last years of imprisonment, Mairead took Open University courses in Politics and Economics, and gained a place at Queen’s University on her release. She worked with the Strip Searching Campaign, speaking at meetings all over Ireland. She then reported back to the IRA. Just before her death she said, “You have to be realistic, you realise that ultimately you’re either going to be dead or end up in jail.”
“Everybody keeps telling me I’m a feminist. I just know I’m me and I think I’m as good as anyone else and that particularly goes for any man. I’m a socialist, definitely, and I’m a republican. I believe in a united Ireland; a united socialist Ireland, definitely socialist. Capitalism provided no answer at all for our people and I think that’s the Brit’s main interest in Ireland. Once we remove the British that isn’t it, that’s only the beginning.”
When their bodies came through Dublin Airport, in the aftermath of the shooting  all the staff stopped with their heads bowed and prayed as a mark of respect, following these events violenc would  escalate in the Belfast area and resulted in at least six further deaths. At the funeral of the 'Gibraltar Three' on 16 March 1988, three mourners were killed in a gun and grenade attack by loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone in the Milltown Cemetery attack.
After  Mairéad''s  death it would  lead to this hauntingly beautiful tribute  “The Ballad of Mairéad Farrell”, by Seanchai and The Unity Squad,  with vocals by Rachel Fitzgerald. In 2008 Sinn Féin asked to hold an International Women's Day event in the Long Gallery at Stormont commemorating Farrell. The Assembly Commission which runs the Stormont estate ruled that it could not go ahead. Heroine or villainess,  she remains an interesting human being. To the people of Falls Road she was a patriot. To the British she was a terrorist. To her family she was a victim of Irish history and a product of her environment.This elegy, this song and this history to this day has a sort of tragic, beautiful complexity to it.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there I do not sleep
Do not stand at my grave and cry
while Ireland lives I do not die
A woman's place is not at home
The fight for freedom it still goes on
I took up my gun until freedoms day
I pledged to fight for the IRA

In Armagh jail i served my time
Strip searches were a british crime
Degraded me yet they could not see
I'd suffer this to see Ireland free
Gibraltar Rock was the place I died
McCann and Savage were by my side
I heard the order so loud and true
Of thatchers voice said "SHOOT TO KILL"

So do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there i do not sleep
Do not stand at my grave and cry
While Ireland lives I do not die
While Ireland lives I do not die

Monday, 6 August 2018

Hiroshima Day- Never Again


Sadako and the Crane statue (Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park, Japan)

73 years ago, on 6th August 1945, at  8:15 AM the United States dropped an atomic bomb called “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, which is estimated to have killed 100,000 to 180,000 people out of a population of 350,000. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, killing between 50,000 and 100,000 atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima. Today, 73 years later, the world commemorates the lives that were lost and the unacceptable devastation caused to people and planet.

A survivor of the Hiroshima bombing gave this harrowing account:

"Through a darkness like the bottom of Hell I could hear the voices of the other students calling for their mothers. I could barely sense the fact that the students seemed to be running away from that place. (...) At the base of the bridge, inside a big cistern that had been dug out there, was a mother weeping and holding above her head a naked baby that was burned bright red all over its body, and another mother was crying and sobbing as she gave her burned breast to her baby. In the cistern the students stood with only their heads above the water and their two hands, which they clasped as they imploringly cried and screamed, calling their parents. But every single person who passed was wounded, all of them, and there was no one to turn to for help. The singed hair on people's heads was frizzled up and whitish, and covered with dust - from their appearance you couldn't believe that they were human creatures of this world".

In the current dangerous times today we must redouble our efforts to ensure that such an atrocity does not happen ever again. It should be unthinkable that the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should ever be repeated, o
n this poignant anniversary, we must reaffirm our determination to campaign for a world without nuclear weapons

For years the American government refused to release images and photographs, such was the sheer horror that they did not want the world to Know.
Those who did not get incarcented on the spot, were to be traumatised for the rest of their lives.
Hibakusha is a term widely used in Japan, that refers to the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it translates as 'explosion effected/ Survivor of the Light. This post is dedicated to them , we should make sure that the devastation caused by nuclear weapons is never forotten.
Please sign following petition :-

Hiroshima; An Acrostic Poem

Horror was dropped on August 6, 1945
Incinerating thousands of innocents
Reason evaporated after deadly poison shed
One bomb released left devastaion
Senseless slaughter, the scorched sin of humanity
Haunting vapors of pitiful sorrow
Insanity blossoming with black rain
Murderous atoms shattered spirits
American weapon of evil, B-29 Enola Gay

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Tommy Robinson same shit different arsehole

Apologies for language above but in  recent weeks we've seen the biggest far right demonstrations on the streets of the UK in decades, in support of one Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon ( who goes by the name "Tommy Robinson ") With support and funding from the "alt-right" in the United States and  the ethno- nationalist Generation Identity movement, whose leaders have been prevented from entering the UK,"Robinson" is reaching millions in the UK through social media with his vitriolic Islamophobic and anti-migrant message. And the Tories not only emulate their policies, from the hostile environment to go home vans -they'e actually meeting with "Alt-right " leaders like Steve Bannon. This far-right strategist actually called Lennon the "backbone" of Britain and is no no doubt hoping to make him a core part of his new 'movement, using him as a front man to increase divisions and stoke anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim anger across Europe.
Lennon has recently been released from prison, he and his allies claim him as a free speech martyr, some supporters chracterise him as a journalist exposing crime, but his social media broadcasts rely on information from the local and national "mainstream" media and tend to cover cases that have already been prosecuted. Lennon having previously broadcast his activities on Twitter, but was permanently banned from the platform earlier this year.He co-founded the EDL (English Defence League) in 2009 and has been arrested numerous times for acts of violence, as well as being jailed for mortgage fraud in 2014.
Earlier this year the former head of national counter-terrorism policing hit out at Lennon's "dangerous disinformation and propoganda" Mark Rowley said that Lennon attacks the whole religion of  Islam by conflating acts of terrorism with the faith often citing spurious claims, which inevitably stir up tensions"
"Such figures represented no more than the extreme margins of the communities they claim to speak for, yet they have been given prominence and a platform to espouse their dangerous disinformation and propoganda," he added.
Lennon remains an Islamaphobe with a history of violence and someone who uses intimidation against his opponents. His tactics reveal or expose nothing the courts and legal system have not already exposed. Lest we forget he remains silent about serious sexual abusers within the English Defence League while ranting against muslims.
It's time we woke up to the real Tommy Robinson and his allies, because the fascists are marching again, the fascists are targetting again, the fascists are growing again, and the prospects of fascist politics spreading  further their nasty brand of hate is a very real nightmare scenario indeed, its time to confine them again to history's dustbin, so their dangerous ideas never again see the light of day. No pasaran. They shall not pass.

Earlier post here