Thursday, 28 February 2019

Yves Rocher Act beautiful, stop union-busting

French cosmetic and skin care giant Yves Rocher who makes a whopping 2 billion Euros a year  has come under fire after132 workers at its Turkish subsidiary Kozan Kosmetik  in the Turkish industrial district of Gebze, near İstanbul, mostly women ,got so sick and tired of the appalling conditions -- they joined a union.The management then fired them.Yves Rocher’s built its brand on women’s empowerment. But it’s walking all over one of the most fundamental rights of its female workforce,   despite the Fact that the Right to unionise is recognised both by the Turkish Constitution and the Internationally Recognised Conventions of the International Labour Organisation. .
The sacked employees  mainly female workers have  been picketing the factory for almost 300 days since May 15  with  bosses erecting barbed wire fencing to prevent them from speaking to other workers.
Yves Rocher bought a 51 per cent stake in Flormar in 2012, in a deal worth estimated at $150 million (£116m). Flormar is the number one make-up brand in Turkey with a 21 per cent market share. Its goods are exported to around 60 countries, with global sales worth around $100m (£77m) per year.
However, the workers at the Flormar factory complain of low pay and poor safety conditions, with bosses demanding that they work extra hours for no more than the minimum wage.
The company went to court to challenge a union certificate issued by the Ministry of Labour, exploiting loopholes in the law to block union recognition.
Flormar bosses started targeting workers for their trade union activities in April, when they sacked 14 members of Petrol-Is.
By mid-May, a total of 132 union members had been dismissed. Many have been campaigning under the slogan “Act beautiful, stop union-busting,” subverting the motto of Yves Rocher, which has tried to distance itself from responsibility for the dispute.
  soL HD has shot  the following  documentary video, “Beauty is resisting”, with English and French subtitles, dedicated to the struggle of the resisting workers.

As the video shows, the Flormar workers, were fired one by one, including many of them who had worked for the company day and night for 14 years, simply for seeking  their labour rights.
Social media users from Turkey and around the globe have since started to share soL News’ video to show their solidarity with the resisting workers.The video sharing has turned into a mass social media campaign with those supporting  them popularizing the video with hashtags such as #ActBeautiful (in Flormar-in Turkey) and #STOPUnionBusting. Social media users criticizing French Yves Rocher and its Turkish trademark Flormar for their anti-labour and anti-trade union practices  that they have imposed upon the workers
.One worker employed as a subcontractor, who did not wish to be named, explained: “They asked about my partner’s job and if I had taken part in May Day protests or was a member of a political party.
“They said being in a union was a big problem for them and told us that, if we spoke to those resisting, we would be sacked.”
Pinar Koca, who was sacked the day after she joined the union, said: “We are defending not only our own rights but also the rights of our friends in the factory.”
She called on women to “boycott cosmetic products by Flormar and Yves Rocher and support our action.”
Sacked Flomrar worker Elif Ulsu remains confident of victory, saying: “We will not give up. I believe women are going to win at Flormar.”
If one company gets away with firing workers in Turkey for joining a union, what’s to stop other big employers doing the same thing?
If people can't join  a union, they have no way to stand up for themselves  and demand wages that will feed their families, safe workplaces, time off when they’re sick and freedom from management bullying.
Yves Rocher’s makeup and skincare products target women. They even sponsor awards for women leaders around the world. Well, the many women who worked at this factory aren’t asking for an award -- they just want their jobs back, and a guarantee they can stand up for themselves by working together in a union.
Now SumOfUs, the large international campaigning group, has taken up the Yves Rocher case as a priority campaign. Thousands of supporters daily are signing the online SumOfUs petition calling for Yves Rocher to stop the union busting in Turkey.
Support the workers and join the campaign.

 TO: Yves Rocher 

Demand that your Turkish subsidiary reinstates union members illegally fired and respects its workers rights.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019



Awoken again with mind ablaze
Tangential thoughts flooding my brain
Lost in times deep seated memories
Scrapped Poetry snippets strewn across the floor
Proscrastination fuels my aversion to tidying up
Time now to walk through sunshine
Reflections of wonder, surfacing embrace
Within the minds eye
Opportunities present themselves
Lessons to be taught again
Time to go for papers, rizlas
Follow some straight lines
Allow the darkness to recede
Find some glimmer to share
Reflections of inner hunger
In the garden look for serenity
Beyond the fractures, the deep blue hue
States of karmic energy
Awakening again
Fractal dreams igniting
Passions thirst liberating
Springs eternal kiss releasing
Guiding obsessions emanating
Forever lost in fierce permanence.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

People who betray those who gave them power.

"I'll be blunt with you Roy, you talk about cancer - I feel very strongly about people whose entire life depends on the working class movement, your father was a miner, he was in jail during the General Strike, you got into parliament as a Labour member, every office you held was because of The Labour Party, Cabinet Minister appointed by a Labour Prime Minister, and then you left the party
Now THAT'S a cancerous growth. People who betray those who gave them power are the real threat, and I must say that bluntly those who stay true to those that put them in power - these are the ones I admire."

Tony Benn speaking to the traitor Roy Jenkins, who, along with Shirley Williams, Bill Rogers & David Owen formed the so called 'gang of 4' who cemented Margaret Thatcher's rule in the 80s.

As Tory Austerity continues to tear our lives apart, the new so called called Independent Group betrays all who voted for them, if they were really committed to helping the lives of millions in Britain  they would not be fuelling the Torys fragile grip of power.

If they actually had the guts and did the decent  thing they should all face by-elections immediately, I truly believe they would be absolutely crushed. At the moment they are just a bunch of elite opportunists, who have absolutely  no mandate.The SDP though actually had some policies, but like yesterday the Independent Groups are the same sneering traitors who are never forgiven by history.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Luis Bunuel ( 22/2 1900 - 29/7/83) - A Statement

Spanish Surrealist Luis Bunuel was widely regarded as an innovator of avant-garde filmmaking. In his  pioneering efforts date from the late 1920s, he cited Marxism as the political motivation behind his respective works.
He is  considered to be the father of cinematic Surrealism and one of the most original directors in the history of the film medium.In 1928 after returning from shadowing and working for the renowned French director Jean Epstein in Paris, Buñuel used his newly acquired filmmaking techniques to collaborate with Salvador Dali on Un Chien Andalou  A “surrealist weapon,” the movie was made to shock the Spanish bourgeois and criticize the avant-garde.

Surrealism rose out of Dada, an artistic movement which believed, in part, that an excess of cold rationality brought about the carnage of The Great War, later known as World War I. This conflagration destroyed a generation of Europe and threw the old world into the new in a blood-drenched tide. The stated aim of Surrealism was to undermine the scientific, rational precision which was taking over every facet of life, using the Freudian conceptions of the mind and specifically the unconscious to, "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality."
Up until this point, in the early 20th century, the common view was that civilization was on an unstoppable onward and upward curve towards perfection, perfection aided by science. The Surrealists, led by André Breton, rejected traditional meaning in favor of an art dominated by the unconscious, the new and little understood part of consciousness which operated underneath daily consciousness, working via symbols and apparent randomness.
Andre Breton defined surrealism as: "Pure psychic automatism through which it is intended to express, either orally or in writing, or in any other way, the actual way thought works." And Un Chien Andalou, which means An Andalusian Dog, the name of a breed of dog from the Andalusian region of Spain, certainly follows a dream logic. Decades later, the film would also inspire "Debaser," a very sad song by American alternative rock band The Pixies.
 Connecting himself to the Surrealist movement, Buñuel later said of  "It was an aggressive morality based on rejection of all existing values. We had other criteria: we exalted passion, mystification, black humour, the insult and the call of the abyss."
Of their famous first film, Buñuel later recalled: "Our [Dali and Buñuel] one and only rule was very simple: no idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted. We had to open all doors to the irrational and keep only those images that surprised us, without trying to explain why." As filmmaking is a labor intensive, industrial process, this was, to say the least, a risky proposition. Interestingly, the film was a huge hit with the French bourgeoisie, playing for eight months in Paris and making stars out of the two. Naturally, this led to Buñuel's disgust:
What can I do about the people who adore all that is new, even when it goes against their deepest convictions, or about the insincere, corrupt press, and the inane herd that saw beauty or poetry in something which was basically no more than a desperate impassioned call for murder?
The images are startling and manage to haunt long after the few 'scenes' of the film are done, and this is a low-budget, silent, short film more than 3/4 of a century old (so there's no excuse for you not to get out there and put your vision on the screen!). In fact, one could argue that Un Chien is the first low-budget indie film, since by 1928/9 there was most definitely a production and distribution system in place, and Buñuel and Dalí were working completely outside of said system, self-financed, and so low-budget that Buñuel had to edit the film in his kitchen without the benefit of any equipment save his (unsliced) eyeball and, ironically enough,  razor blades and tape. It has also been argued that the film was an inspiration for the symbolic, associative editing and imagery in music videos -- many commercial directors saw the film in school, which for years was one of the few places that had a print to screen.
The turbulent years of the 1930s were of profound importance in his life. He joined the Surrealist movement in 1929 but by 1932 had renounced it and embraced Communism.He continued to develop his surreal movie-making style, travelling between Hollywood and Spain until Civil war broke out in 1936. During the war he worked for the Republican government and created a war documentary titled, España Leal en Armas (1937).

In 1946 Buñuel moved to Mexico, where many other intellectuals had fled with the outbreak of war in Spain. He would stay there for the rest of his life, becoming a citizen and directing over 20 films by 1964. All of his films were very critical of the systems and powers that be, and one of his  favourite targets was the Catholic Church. But he always mitigated his fierce critique with great talent, a very peculiar sense of humor, and with the the heavy influence of one of the mot releant artistic movements of the Twentieth century;surrealism.  His films  1961's Viridiana and 1962’s The Exterminating Angel Buñuel developed a new style that was surrealist in both form and content. Employing the language of classical Hollywood cinema, both films skewer the status quo with taboo imagery and disturbing scenarios involving sexual mania, religious hypocrisy, and social savagery.
 Buñuel continued to attack church and state through film, and by the 1980s he created his autobiography, My Last Sigh. Buñuel died in Mexico City on July 29, 1983, a decorated and celebrated filmmaker.

Luis Bunuel  - A Statement

1.In none of the traditional arts is there such a wide gap between possibilities and facts as in the cinema.Motion pictures act directly upon the spectator; they offer him concrete persons and things;they isolate him, through silence and darkness, from the usual psychological atmosphere. Because of all this , the cinema is capable of stirring the spectator as perhaps no other art. But as no other art, it is also capable of stupefying him. Unfortunately, the great majority of todays films seem to have exactly that purpose; they glory in an intellectual and moral vacuum, movies seem to prosper.                                                                           

2. Mystery is a basic element of all works of art. It is generally lacking on the screen. Writers, directors, and producers take good care in avoiding anything that may upset us. They keep the marvellous window on the liberating world of poetry shut.They prefer stories which seem to continue our ordinary lives, which repeat for the umpteenth time the same drama, which help us forget the hard hours of our daily work. And all this, of course, carefully watched over by traditional morals , government and international censorship, religion, good taste, white humour and other flat dicteria of reality.
3. The screen is a dangerous and wonderful instrument, if a free spirit uses it. It is the superior way of expressing the world of dreams, emotions and instinct. The cinema seems to have been invented for the expression of the subconscious, so profoundly is it rooted in poetry. Nevertheless, it almost never pursues these ends.

4. We rarely see good cinema in the mammoth productions, or in the works that have recieved the praise of critics and audience. The particular story, the private drama of an individual cannot interest -I believe - anyone worthy of living in our time. If a man in the audience shares the joys and sorrows of a character on the screen, it should be because the character reflects the joys and sorrows of al l society and so the personal feelings of that man in the audience. Unemployment, insecurity, the fear of war, social injustice, etc., affect all men of our time , and thus, they also affect the individual spectator. But when the screen tells me that Mr X is not happy at home and finds amusement with a girlfriend whom he finally abandons to reunite himself with his faithful wife, I Find it all very moral and edifying, but it leaves me completetly indifferent.

5. Octavia Paz has said :" But that a man in chains should shut his eyes, the world would explode." And I coould say : But that the white eyelid of the screen reflect its proper light, the Universe would go up in flames. But for the moment we can sleep in peace : the light of the cinema is conveniently dosified and shackled.

The above originally puplished in "FILM CULTURE ", no 21, Summer 1960, pp. 41-2. Still relevant methinks

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Malcolm X - No Sell Out ( 19/5/25 - 21/2/65)


Malcolm X  originally Malcolm Little (and later also known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) in Omaha, Nebraska, on 19 May 1925 remains today  a controversial figure.The fourth of eight children of  outspoken Baptist ministe the Reverend Earl Little and his wife, Louise. Soon after Malcolm's birth the Littles moved to the outskirts of East Lansing, Michigan. When Malcolm was six, his father died, presumably murdered by the Black Legion, a violent racist group similar to the Ku Klux Klan, and the Little home life became more and more difficult. Louise was eventually placed in the state mental hospital, and her children were declared wards of the state. In 1941 Malcolm moved to Boston to live with his half sister, Ella. He became caught up in the nightlife of Boston and, later, New York. After a few years in the underworld of Harlem, selling drugs and working for call-girl services, Malcolm began a burglary ring in Boston. In 1946, at the age of twenty-one, he was arrested for armed robbery and sent to prison.
During his six years in Charlestown Prison, Concord Reformatory, and Norfolk Prison, Malcolm underwent a spiritual and intellectual transformation.It was  during this period that Malcolm’s brother alerted him to the teachings of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and encouraged Malcolm to convert to the Muslim faith. Intrigued by the NOI, Malcolm began studying the work of Elijah Muhammad who preached about systemic oppression and fought for a world separate from one inhabited by White people.
By the time Malcolm X was released from prison he was a devout follower and soon after meeting Muhammad and agreeing to work for NOL,changed his name to Malcolm X, the X representing the unknown name of his African ancestors and their culture that had been lost during slavery. As well as the “x” that many slaves received as a brand on their upper arm .
Malcolm X was soon appointed as a minister and national spokesperson for Nation of Islam.  He was also charged with establishing new mosques around the country. He returned to Boston and became the Minister of the NOI’s Temple # 11. He was also selected to lead the NOI’s mosque #7 on Lennox Avenue in Harlem and is credited with other establishments in Detroit, Michigan and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His public speaking and media appearances also contributed to increased awareness and interest in the Nation of Islam. His commanding stage presence, quick wit, and erudition, combined with the authenticity of his experience as a street hustler, made Malcolm a remarkable orator and a dynamic leader. In fact, Malcolm X is largely credited with building the Nation of Islam from a tiny sect to a significant force in urban black America, increasing  the NOI membership from 500 in 1952 to 30,000 in 1963.
The public nature of his work, however, led the FBI and national government to pay very close attention to Malcolm X. At certain points the NOI organizations Malcolm X was involved in were infiltrated by the FBI and the group’s communications and activities were heavily monitored.
In 1963 there was increasing jealousy in the Nation of Islam over Malcolm's increasing celebrity, and Malcolm's discovery of violations of the Muslim's strict moral code by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm had learned that  his mentor, was indulging in secret relationships with as many as six women  within the NOL, some of which  produced children. The teachings of NOL specified celibacy until marriage. Elijah was not married to any of them. He asked Malcom to help cover up the affairs  and the evidence of children, he obeyed and kept quiet.
Nevertheless, Malcolm cold not look  past Elijahs deception and in March 1964 terminated his relationship with the NOL. Once out from the strict teachings of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm drifted from the primarily spiritual philosophy of the Nation to a more political black nationalism.On April 12, 1964, one month after splitting with the NOI, Malcolm X gave his "Ballot or the Bullet" speech at King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit (he'd given the address nine days earlier in Cleveland, but the Detroit version is regarded by some scholars as definitive). It was the fullest declaration of his black nationalist philosophy. Mainstream black ministers in Detroit tried to block Malcolm X from using the church, saying "separatist ideas can do nothing but set back the colored man's cause." But the church hall had already been rented out for the event.
"The Ballot or the Bullet" became one of Malcolm X's most recognizable phrases, and the speech was one of his greatest orations. Two thousand people – including some of his opponents -- turned out to hear him speak in Detroit.. President Lyndon Johnson was running for reelection in 1964, and Malcolm X declared it "the year of the ballot or the bullet." He outlined a new, global sensibility in the fight for racial justice: "We intend to expand [the freedom struggle] from the level of civil rights to the level of human rights."
 In the spring of 1964, when Malcolm X gave his "Ballot or the Bullet" speech, he was regarded by a majority of white Americans as a menacing character. Malcolm X never directly called for violent revolution, but he warned that African Americans would use "any means necessary" – especially armed self defense – once they realized just how pervasive and hopelessly entrenched white racism had become.
Malcolm was now free of the NOI's ban on members participating in the mainstream civil rights movement. He encouraged black militants to get involved in voter registration drives and other forms of community organizing to redefine and expand the movement.
The day after his Detroit speech, Malcolm X embarked on an overseas tour that included a life-changing pilgrimage to the Muslim holy city of Mecca. Known as the Hajj, the pilgrimage must be carried out at least once in a lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. The racial diversity he experienced in the Middle East, especially among Muslims, led him to discard his strict notions of black separatism for a wider, more inclusive movement against white supremacy and colonialism  and, tentatively, to a more internationalist philosophy--Pan-Africanism.He founded his own religious organization, the Muslim Mosque, Inc. converted to Sunni Islam, and  was a devout Muslim until the day he died. 
Malcolm X returned to the United States with a new energy and vision for his work. He began to not only direct his work towards African Americans but to people of all races and ethnicities. He preached about human rights, freedom, action, and community building. If was also at this time that Malcolm and Martin Luther King,Jr began to move closer to each other, Their unity if given the opportunity to fully develop, could have led to a deeper unity of the African American community and the strengening  of the all-sided fight for peace freedom and justice.
 While re-establishing himself, however, the old tensions with the Nation of Islam were still festering and rumors began that Malcolm X had been targeted for assassination. Attempts were made on his life and threats were made against his wife, Betty, and four daughters. In February of 1965 his family home was firebombed, and while everyone made it out alive, no one was ever charged with the crime. 
It was only one week later, on February 21, 1965, in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom when three men rushed Malcolm X on stage during a speaking engagement and shot him 15 times at close range. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at New York’s Columbia aged only 39.
 In death, he became a seminal figure to an increasingly militant generation of young African Americans, a beacon for activists in the 1960s Black Power and Black Arts movements, inspiring and informing many others in their fight for social justice and equality.His legacy lives on because Malcolm X was one of the most dynamic, dramatic and influential figures of the civil rights era. He was an apostle of black nationalism, self respect, and uncompromising resistance to white oppression. A polarizing figure who both energized and divided African Americans, while frightening and alienating many whites. He was an unrelenting truth-teller who declared that the mainstream civil rights movement was naïve in hoping to secure freedom through integration and nonviolence. The blazing heat of Malcolm X's rhetoric sometimes overshadowed the complexity of his message, especially for those who found him threatening in the first place.
His major literary achievement, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), composed during the last two years of his life with the writer Alex Haley, contains a montage of Malcolm's perspectives and only invites speculation as to which direction Malcolm's philosophy would have taken. The Autobiography, published posthumously, stands as a major twentieth-century African American literary work. Its orality, its political intentions and ramifications, and its promise of unspoken truths about the African American experience all place it firmly in African American autobiographical traditions. n 1998 Time named The Autobiography of Malcolm X one of the ten most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century
Malcolm X today carries tremendous weight as a cultural icon, most notably in the films of Spike Lee. He has been used to symbolize an alternative, more militant vision of social protest than Martin Luther King, Jr.'s nonviolence, and his name appears in rap and other African American poetry as a symbol of black pride and for many people he remains an icon. An individual who was not raid to challenge oppression, who was courageous enough to change his mind .and admit his mistakes, but foe  may Malcolm X was no sell out, and for that reason his legacy lives on and on. 

Malcolm X - Advocates Self Defense Units (1964)

No Fear - Malcom X

Malcolm X - The Last Speech

No Sell Out Malcolm X

International Mother Language Day.2019


Happy International Mother Language Day.
The day was proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1999. International Mother Language Day aims to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used around the world.The day is also observed to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, multilingualism  and bring awareness to languages on the path to extinction.
The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police.
International Mother Language Day provides a grand exposure for the recognition, protection, and spread of lesser-used and threatened languages to reassert themselves in their struggle for language rights, to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
This year’s theme is “Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation”.Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development are of strategic importance for people.Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
But linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages  disappear. One language disappears on average every two weeks, taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage.According to the United Nations, 43 percent of the estimated 6,000 world languages are  “endangered.” Thousands of local languages used as the daily means of expression are absent from education systems, the media, publishing and the public domain in general because of state policies.
 We learn better in our mother tongue when it is taught in school  But this is not the case of all minority languages. 476 million of world’s illiterate people speak minority languages and live in countries where children are mostly not taught in their mother language
Tashi Wangchuck's Tibetan Language advocacy was peaceful, non-political and conducted  through official channels. He was  neverthcless arrested by the Chineses authorities and sentenced to five years in prison.
In Turkey, because of repressive assimilationist policies, many Kurds have suffered language loss. The so-called democratization process has proven to be elusive, cosmetic, inconsequential and peripheral. It is not surprising that despite all the misleading rhetoric on language reform in Turkey, Kurdish has not been given its denied status, and the demand for the basic right to education in the mother tongue is still controversial and rejected.
In Iran, draconian restrictions are being used against using the language in official institutional and educational settings. Government directives issued periodically reinforce a repressive policy that has turned schoolyards into a battlefield where administrative personnel and teachers have been requisitioned to watch over and eavesdrop on Kurdish students to ensure that no one speaks “the local dialect.”
Similarly, Kurdish ethnic and linguistic identity in Syria has been denied and brutally repressed. To this day, Kurds are treated as outsiders and foreigners. These entrenched state language ideologies, in short, have made a stateless nation subjected to harsh measures of linguicide and ethnocide.  
These exclusionary and discriminatory practices have detrimental social and educational implications for Kurdish children who find it more difficult to thrive endemically.
When a language disappears, it takes with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage so does the world’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity..As we celebrate the 70 th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remember it enshrines the right to freedom of opinion and expression and promotes the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world. Not only does the recognition of the value of one’s mother tongue help develop a sense of pride in it, it can help promote an attitude of mind towards other cultures and tongues, as being due a reciprocal respect.
 International Mother Language Day is also a good opportunity to remind ourselves that children of migrants and Indigenous people have an international right to speak, grow up with, and celebrate their own heritage languages, wherever they reside. Languages enriches society, economic mobility and at end of the day is what makes us human.
 On , let’s stand together to make sure that are preserved!

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Kurt Cobain ( 20/2/67 - 5/4/94) - "I'm so happy, because today I found my friends, they're in my head."


Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain would have turned 52 years old today.In the brief, less-than-three-year window between Nevermind’s release in the fall of 1991 and the Nirvana frontman’s suicide on April 5, 1994, at the age of 27 there was no one more influential in rock music than Kurt Cobain, whose impact on the world is still being felt.
At the height of Nirvana’s immense fame Kurt’s intense lyrics, unique voice and incredible stage charisma truly cemented his place as the voice of a generation, unfortunately, he battled substance abuse problems all his life and found it difficult to deal with his fame, and a combination of deep depression  fuelled his self detonation.
His hits as the band's lead singer and writer include Smells Like Teen Spirit, Lithium and Come As You Are, still sound as fresh to me as to when I first heard them, lyrics of raw intensity and feeling  that focused on themes of existentialism, loneliness, and  yes depression. Despite the tragic circumstances of his life  they have actually helped me get me through the sludge and managed at same time to actually lift me up, so am grateful for that at least.
But lets be clear there is nothing glamorous about depression or mental illness, it can effect anyone, rich or poor, like Kurt you just have to be human, the important thing is to keep talking, battling, surviving,  try and be defiant and keep raging against the world, but remember too that the road to Nirvana is often very hard to find... 


I'm so happy because today
I've found my friends
They're in my head
I'm so ugly, but that's okay, 'cause so are you
We've broken our mirrors
Sunday morning is everyday for all I care
And I'm not scared
Light my candles in a daze
'Cause I've found god
Hey, hey, hey

I'm so lonely but that's okay I shaved my head
And I'm not sad
And just maybe I'm to blame for all I've heard
But I'm not sure
I'm so excited, I can't wait to meet you there
But I don't care
I'm so horny but that's okay
My will is good
Hey, hey, hey

I like it, I'm not gonna crack
I miss you, I'm not gonna crack
I love you, I'm not gonna crack
I killed you, I'm not gonna crack

I like it, I'm not gonna crack
I miss you, I'm not gonna crack
I love you, I'm not gonna crack
I killed you, I'm not gonna crack

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Sir Richard Branson's Venezualan PR Stunt


On February 15th British billionaire entrepreneur and fat cat owner of the Virgin media Group Sir Richard Branson  announced plans for a “Venezuela Aid Live” concert to be held on February 22 in the Colombian border city of Cucuta and also to be live-streamed on the Internet, to  ostensibly raise money for “humanitarian aid” for Venezuelans. But far from being apolitical, in Branson’s own words, the concert is taking aim at what he calls the “Maduro regime” and was apparently organised at the suggestion of the self-appointed “president” Juan Guaidó himself  and opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, coinciding  with them calling for a so-called “humanitarian corridor” to open across the border on February 23, one month after their failed coup attempt.

What Branson has effectively annonced is a  cynical propaganda spectacle on the Colombia-Venezuela border this Friday in the form of a concert for regime change. The vulgarity  of the entire event should be highly disturbing to anyone who supports international law. The goal of Guaidó is to overthrow a legally recognised government and as such, staging a concert such as this is nothing short of a geopolitical provocation disguised as a joyous charity event.
Major relief organizations – the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Catholic aid group Caritas – have so far been reluctant to cooperate with the so-called “humanitarian” food and supply efforts of both US AID and the Lima Group, warning against using food as a political pawn.The politicisation of aid is among the most disingenuous things that one could do. UN spokesman Stephen Dujarric told reporters last week, referring to the crisis in Venezuela, that humanitarian action must be independent of political or military objectives.
Sir Branson’s concert is just his own egoistic PR campaign, many  have mocked the call to donate from a man who is worth billions, saying  that if he really cared at all about the plight of the Venezuelan people  he  could easily pony-up the $100 million himself from petty cash, and  pointing out that he could  help the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela by using his power and influence to get the USA to lift sanctions, which have inflicted so much pain on the country making people suffer  while they continue to plan interventions.
 Even Venezuelan economists who oppose Maduro acknowledge it is SANCTIONS that ruin the Venezuelan economy. freely admitting that it’s the sanctions that have crippled their economy. Trump's Economic Sanctions have cost Venezuela about $6bn since August 2017.  For these – and  so many other reasons, any coordination with the US government in respect of ‘humanitarian aid’ to Venezuela is at bestdeeply misguided.
Thinking about it where's the Live Aid style event for the people of Gaza or Yemen. There is  a growing movement to ignore the live-streamed event on the Internet, refusing to participate in Sir Richard Branson’s (and Juan Guaido’s and Leopoldo Lopez’s ) PR stunt.
Barely missing  a beat  on Monday the government of Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has responded by  announcing  that it will hold its own huge concert to rival one being organised by Branson's on Saturday and Sunday on Venezuela’s side of the border, Rodriguez did not announce the artists who are expected to perform, saying only that the concert would be massive.“People from all over the world want to take part in this message of love, solidarity and denunciation against the aggression that they’re trying against the Venezuelan people,” Rodriguez said.
The government of Venezauela routinely complains of US interference.Maduro has opposed aid being sent in saying its a trick , blasting it as a ploy to topple the government, instead demanding that Washington lift the economic sanctions imposed on Caracas that could .leading to a military invasion that will be used to enslave the people of Venezuela.
Stepping up the standoff, Rodriguez also promised to deliver 20,000 boxes of government-subsidized food to the poor in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, where tons of aid from the United States is now sitting earmarked for struggling Venezuelans.
Maduro is vowing not to let the U.S. aid enter Venezuela, and he announced on state television Monday evening that his government would import 300 tons of aid from Russia that he said will arrive soon. He said Venezuela paid for the Russian goods and isn’t a country of beggars, lashing out at President Donald Trump for thinking he can force in unwanted assistance.
“They want to enslave us,” Maduro said. “That’s the truth.”
Demonstrations have been planned around the world on February 23 to couter this war propoganda blitz against  Venezuela.
U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has already admitted what U.S. intervention is really about: “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” Just like Iraq, this is another U.S, intervention for oil.
Over 200 organizations and thousands of individuals from across the world have endorsed the call for actions on February 23. Read the call and add your name or organization as an endorser at

Monday, 18 February 2019

Long-standing Labour MP Paul Flynn dies aged 84

The long-standing Labour MP Paul Flynn has  died aged 84,his local association has announced The association said on Twitter: “It’s with great sadness that we let you know that our MP, Paul Flynn, has died today.the party has announced. “Paul is a hero to many of us in the Newport Labour family and we mourn for his family’s loss. We would ask that the privacy of Paul’s family is respected at this difficult time.”
Mr Flynn was born in Cardiff and educated at St Illtyd's College and University College, Cardiff, becoming a chemist in the steel industry until 1983. A fluent Welsh speaker, he was a member of the Newport Borough Council (1972–81) and Gwent County Council (1974–82). He was elected to the House of Commons for Newport West at the 1987 general election, and remained its MP ever since, being re-elected at the 2015 general election.
Paul Flynn joined the front bench under Neil Kinnock in 1988 when he became a spokesman on health and social security and for social security in 1989. He resigned from the front bench in 1990. He has been a member of the Transport Select Committee (1990-97), the Welsh Affairs Select Committee (1997-98), the Environmental Audit Select Committee (2003-05), and the Public Administration Select Committee since 2005. He had been Chairman of the Broadcasting Council for Wales, and member of the South Wales Docks Board and the Council of University College, Cardiff.
He had long  been considered an  outspoken maverick and fearless campaigner on a wide-range of issues,Mr Flynn's was not a career of high office but instead of long-fought causes including benefits, animal  welfare, devolution, and  was a long-standing opponent of nuclear power in the United Kingdom  and in particular the new  Hinckley Point C nuclear power station across the Bristol Channel from his constituency. He was on the left of the party, he was also a fierce critic of the so-called "war on terror"  and a consistent opponent of the Iraq war and Western military interventionism, one  of his interventions in recent years was to reeatedly read in parliament as an anti-war intervention the names of each new soldier who had falen in Afghanistan to focus MPs minds that their lies meant people died. He was  also a principled republican who in 1996 tabled a bill to abolish the monarchy via a referendum. The MP, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, was also noted as a strong and loud advocate of legalising cannabis and drug reform, once saying "Cannabis is the oldest medicine in the world. It has been trialled and tested by tens of millions of people over 5,000 years. If there were any problems with natural cannabis that would have been apparent a long time ago. " In  2017 he called for users to come to Parliament to break the law.
He also defended labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during the 2016 coup attempt and in spite of health issues, served in two shadow ministerial posts – Shadow Welsh Secretary and Shadow Leader of the House – to fill gaps left by those resigning to try to force Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation.
The Labour leader, said Flynn would be “greatly missed”. He tweeted: “I’m very sad at the passing of my good friend Paul Flynn. He had such love for Newport, knowledge of radical South Wales history and a dry wit..“He was an independent thinker who was a credit to the Labour Party. He will be greatly missed."
 First Minister of Wales and Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford described Mr Flynn as a “giant of the Welsh Labour movement”.He added: “Today’s news will be a source of great sadness to all those who knew him.“He was one of the most effective communicators of his generation – inside the House of Commons and outside. But it was Paul’s willingness to speak up for causes beyond the political mainstream which marked him out as a politician of real courage and integrity.”
 The Welsh secretary, Alun Cairns, tweeted: “Very sorry to hear of Paul Flynn’s passing. My thoughts & prayers are with his family. “He was an exceptional constituency MP & it was a privilege to work with him taking the Wales Bill through Parliament when he was Shadow SoS for Wales. We always had a warm & friendly relationship”.
Mr Flynn  announced in October that he intended to stand down as an MP due to health reasons, telling the Press Association he would “wait for a convenient time to go” and had “loved every minute” of his time in Westminster.He said at the time: “It’s been a great, wonderful, rich experience. I lasted 31 years.”
On all accounts  a kind principled man, who stood by his principles, who did not betray them like the new self indulgent Blair appreciation party, he was worth a million of them. He fought for the soul of the Labour Party against the Blairites as documented in his book 'Dragons led by Poodles '.He was  well respected across the political divide with his wonderful turn of phrase, witty comments and incisive mind, an example rarely seen  who will be missed. Whatever you think of his politics, his passing is sad news. He is survived by his wife Samantha and his two children.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Sham 69 - If The Kids Are United

Thousands of schoolchildren and young people  walked out of classes on Friday, skipping class as part of a global youth action over climate change, co-ordinated by the UK Youth Climate Coalition.  to save the planet amid growing anger at the failure of politicians to tackle the escalating ecological crisis.
Organisers said more than 10,000 young people in at least 60 towns and cities from the Scottish Highlands to Cornwall joined the strike, defying threats of detention to voice their frustration at the older generation’s inaction on the environmental impact of climate change.
Organisers also estimated around 3,000 schoolchildren and young people gathered in London, with 2,000 in Oxford, 1,000 each in Exeter and Leeds and several hundred in Brighton, Bristol, Sheffield and Glasgow.
In London, the protesters held banners and chanted as police and onlookers watched. They blocked the roads outside parliament chanting “Turn off your engines” at passing cars, and “We want the chance for change now” before mounted police moved them away.
 In Manchester, hundreds gathered outside the Central Library before marching to the Royal Northern College of Music with signs reading “Climate over capitalism” and chanting “Whose future? Our future.”
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student who started the Friday strike movement in August last year by striking outside the parliament in Stockholm, said that her message to the students striking in the UK was the same as to students striking everywhere. “They should not let anyone tell them not to do this, because it is our future and our choice,” she said. “And we have to continue like this, every day, or every week, or every month, just to continue putting pressure on people in power.”
The strikes first spread to Australia. By December last year thousands of students had joined them, mostly in Europe and North America, including in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, the US and Canada. Since the new year, they have spread even further to countries across Africa and South America, with strikes in Colombia, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Mali. Now up to 70,000 school students are striking every week – in at least 270 different cities and towns, – under the tag #FridaysForFuture. The movement is being driven almost exclusively by teenage girls and young women, many of whom are rejecting the role of men who have been running the environmental movements in the past.
The young people taking part in Friday’s strike called on the government to declare a climate emergency, communicate the severity of the ecological crisis and change the curriculum to make the state of the environment an educational priority. The size of the Youth Strike 4 Climate is testament to the passion and awareness among young people that we need to fight for a future that simply doesn’t exist because we’ve been betrayed by the inaction of those in positions of power.
We should not forget that it is the capitalist system,  and the politicians who defend it  who are responsible for climate change and environmental degradation. We adults ought to realize that it is no longer for us to tell our kids what to do.We ought instead  take up the role of supporting them in their uprising, asking how we can help them in their struggle for survival. They are so inspiring us, at the moment. It is a result  our own inaction that  has led the world being in a state of crisis, that threatens our kids future, that they are currently making a stand. We have no right to judge them or to take the moral high ground. like Theresa May has been, after all they are showing us such a good example in their positivity and outlook who have the logic to recognise the current climate emergency. .
Sham 69 's terrace anthem above  still  relevant  after all these years, the Kids United will  never be divided and can still be a powerful force for change.

Sham 69 - If The Kids Are United

For once in my life I've got something to say,
I wanna say it now for now is today.
A love has been given so why not enjoy,
So let's all grab and let's all enjoy!

If the kids are united,
Then we'll never be divided.
If the kids are united,
Then we'll never be divided.

Just take a look around you,
What do you see?
Kids with feelings,
Like you and me.
Understand him, he'll understand you;
For you are him, and he is you.

If the kids are united,
Then we'll never be divided.
If the kids are united,
Then we'll never be divided.

If the kids are united,
Then we'll never be divided.
If the kids are united,
Then we'll never be divided.

I don't want to be rejected,
I don't want to be denied.
Then its not my misfortune,
That I've opened up your eyes.

Freedom is given,
Speak how you feel.
I have no freedom,
How do you feel?

They can lie to my face,
But not to my heart.
If we all stand together,
It will just be the start...

If the kids are united,
Then we'll never be divided.
If the kids are united,
Then we'll never be divided.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Tommy Robinson and his supporters show their true colours

Just when it might have been thought that Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson could not get any lower, he then outdoes himself with the support of his devoted followers.
He and his supporters tried to jam up the phone line to a Rape Crisis  centre for BAME people whose volunteers speak several languages, because he took offence to a poster not mentioning white people.
On on his Facebook page, which has more than a million followers  posted a picture of a leaflet produced by Rape Crisis Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks, urging black, Asian and minority ethnic women who have experienced sexual violence to come forward if they needed support. 
The leaflet also includes a contact mobile number where callers can speak to someone in Punjabi, Hindi or English.
 Alongside the photo of the leaflet, the post was captioned: "I guess it's ok to rape white women then??!?!?!"
Rape Crisis said since the post was shared on Facebook yesterday, the centre has received a "significant volume of abusive phone calls, messages and emails, many of which are of an overtly racist nature.
Some of Robinson's one million Facebook followers jumped on the post, calling the leaflet "horrendous", "discriminative" and "out of order". 
One commenter said: "That sums up what our country has become and what we need to stop."
Another added: "Think we ALL need to phone the numbers advertised & put in a racist complaint !!!"

Rape Crisis has informed the police of the torrent of abuse they have received and slammed the post for "disrupting much-needed service provision for victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse of all ethnicities and backgrounds". 
In a statement, the charity said: "Rape Crisis (Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks) recognises that some groups of women who have survived sexual violence and abuse can face additional barriers to accessing services, including related to language and to the fear and/or past or current experience of racism and racial discrimination.
"As part of its commitment to accessibility and inclusion, it therefore offers a specialist service for black, Asian and minority ethnic women aimed at overcoming some of these barriers.
"An image of a leaflet advertising this specialist BAME service was recently posted on social media with a misleading caption.
"Since then, Rape Crisis (Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks) has received a significant volume of abusive phone calls, messages and emails, many of which are of an overtly racist nature, and the police have been informed.
"These activities have disrupted much-needed service provision for victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse of all ethnicities and backgrounds.
"Rape Crisis England & Wales supports Rape Crisis (Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks) and all its member Rape Crisis Centres in the provision of fully inclusive, accessible services, including specialist work with specific groups of under-served, minoritised or marginalised victims and survivors."
Robinson  has since been slammed for wilfully encouraging abuse of the charity.
Antony Sheehan wrote: "Congratulations on jamming the lines of a centre designed to help women who have suffered a brutal life changing experience. Hope you’re all proud of yourselves".
Barbara Treen wrote: "The organisation is presumably trying to reach out to a group of women who have experienced sexual assault but are known to not normally seek support."
Robinson has not removed the  post from his facebook account. He and his supporters sought to take it upon themelves to try and destroy a helpline to help rape victims. What kind of profound ignorance and violent irrational hatred drives a man and hus supporters  to attempt to prevent  a  raped woman  from trying  to find and seek help, because of the colour of her skin. What vile disgusting despicable cowards they all are each and everyone of them. As if these women do not have enough to contend with. How can Robinson still manage to garner  support or any form of respect is simply beyond my comprehension . 

Read more here :-

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Love is Liberation.

                                                    Love is Liberation a four letter word
                                                    Found In the pulse of everyday,
                                                    For rich and poor to ever seek
                                                    Let it reveal it's wild contagion,
                                                    A soothing plaque to heal world
                                                    Touching the void of emptiness,
                                                    Freeing minds and captive souls
                                                    Stretches to infinity, travels on waves,
                                                    In patterns of endless recurrence
                                                    More than enough to go round,
                                                    Filling the air with dizziness
                                                    An essence that cannot be caged,
                                                    We can all be free within it's grasp
                                                    Casting warm shadows on our lives,
                                                    A taste of freedom we can embrace
                                                    Running relentlessly through veins,
                                                    Generating kindness, shows no fear
                                                    Sharing the gift of understanding,
                                                    Opening eyes to magical emotion
                                                    Can unshackle hearts from tears.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

I Have the Right

I have the right to my own opinions
to state what I believe to be the truth,
I believe in freedom of thought
I believe in freedom of speech,
I have the right to be free from bondage
to be free from chains and mental slavery,
to choose what I want to be, where I need to go
because this is my right to be me.

I have the right to speak out
this is my choice, this is my conscience,
this is my right to freedom of expression
this right allows me to speak out against oppression,
a right that embraces the immortal declaration
a right that recognises the concept that all men born equal,
everyone has the right to life and liberty
to breathe in, breathe out, scream and shout.

I have the right to dignity and pride
the security of peace and protection, 
that allows me to love, laugh and cry
to be treated kindly, not like a fool,
remember when justice is forgotten 
and certain paths trample down opposition,  
keep on fighting for human rights with no inhibition
decency and justice, and all that has been given.

I have the right to pledge no allegiance
to any country, or any bloody flag,
my struggle embedded in the rich earth 
the poetry I release from my breath,
as the shadows wait for the tides to turn
will blister through cement walls,
remembering complacency invites an impasse
what unites us is greater than what separates.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Bring all utilities into public ownership

As hard pressed families are choosing between heating and eating and news arrives  of energy bills set to rise once more there is growing support  for bringing all utilities into public ownership, and   thanks at least to Labour's manifesto pledges, it's now on the political agenda like never before.
Speaking at a Labour Party event on 10 February last year, Jeremy Corbyn reaffirmed Labour’s 2017 manifesto pledge “to bring energy, rail, water, and mail into public ownership and to put democratic management at the heart of how those industries are run”.
“By taking our public services back into public hands”, he said, “we will not only put a stop to rip-off monopoly pricing, we will put our shared values and collective goals at the heart of how those public services are run”. He promised “a society which puts its most valuable resources, the creations of our collective endeavour, in the hands of everyone who is part of that society”. He argued that the energy industry must be remodelled to abate carbon emissions, and declared that “in public hands, under democratic control, workforces and their unions will be the managers of this change, not its casualties.
“The growth of green energy and green tech offers huge opportunities for job creation. Our publicly owned energy system will ensure a smooth transition and protect workers and communities, seizing those opportunities for the many, not the few...
“The next Labour Government will guarantee that all energy workers are offered retraining, a new job on equivalent terms and conditions, covered by collective agreements and fully supported in their housing and income needs through transition”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 the same day, shadow chancellor John McDonnell refuted claims that the nationalisations would be unaffordable. He said that shareholders in privatised utilities, which include pension funds, could be given newly-issued government bonds in return for their shares.
A survey by YouGov around the time of the 2017 election showed that these policies are popular. It showed an 84% to 5% majority for the NHS being in the public sector; a 65% to 21% majority for Royal Mail; a 60% to 25% majority for rail; 53% to 31% for energy; 59% to 25% for water; and 81% to 6% for schools. The case for public ownership, and against outsourcing to private contractors, has been strengthened since then by the Carillion scandal.
Corbyn and McDonnell are right to put public ownership back on the agenda. After Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 one  by one, our public utilities, described by Harold Macmillan as the family silver, were sold of  piece by piece among the first were British Telecom, then British Airways and British Steel. The water firms followed along with the energy companies and, finally, in the dog days of John Major, British Rail.
Privatisation, was supposed to give us a stake in the British economy, reduce prices and improve services. Its actual track record has been abysmal with disastrous consequences with  prices soring and standards falling. Just look at the ludicrously over-priced and over-complicated railway system, which we have been left with as the result of privatisation  in the '90's.
Britain’s family silver is now mainly owned by overseas firms and investment groups  who are able to make huge profits from exploiting a captive market.A system was created allowing an elite few to reap extortionate profits via a monopoly service. Executives running these firms could not  believe their luck as they were give free reign  to fleece and rip of people on a massive scale.
The profits of the Big 6 energy companies in the last few years  has been astronomical, their increase in profits particularly galling due to the price rises imposed by the energy companies on consumers.
The Big Six claim that the high prices consumers face are not due to their profiteering, but due to factors beyond their control, such as fossil fuel prices, which they have to pass on. Ofgem have suggested that there is clearly a gas wholesale driver, but that on top of this, the Big Six are not adjusting prices as they should. Overall, the Big Six are making very large profits, profits which have increased substantially over recent years. These profits are a sign of a broken system. It’s one thing to increase profits, dividends and executive pay from providing a good service, but it’s another to do the same while whilst the people of Britain starve and die of cold, because they cannot afford to keep themselves warm and  unjustifiable level of profit are being made and they continue to shower their shareholders with vast amounts of money. This rip off  game has gone on long enough, it should not be allowed to continue.The public deserves better.  It's a national failure and a disgrace.
The UK public is paying through the nose for the provision of services and products  previouly owned by them. These resources  belong to everybody. They should be a common treasury and a human right, not a stock market commodity or a source of profit, we can all benefit from a fairer, not for profit, pricing structure to everybody. All utilities are necessary for the functioning of our society and the preservation of life. To allow life and death decisions to be made based on profit concerns is a violation of human rights.The capital that these industries generate can work for the benefit of us all not just the few and privileged. It is more than time that we renationalise all privatised utilities and services, with compensation paid only on the basis of proven need. Utilities are a public good that should be owned by the public for the people  not profit.

To Those Born Later - Bertolt Brecht (10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956),

Bertolt Brecht (1898 - 1852) wrote the following poem in exile  during the early years of the Third Reich in virtue of its title, addressed himself to a posterity he believed, would be unable to understand how it felt to live in a time of acute moral and political crisis. What defines such a time, he wrote, is that disaster becomes the only possible subject of thought, crowding out everything we think of as ordinary life:
 “What kind of times are these, when/To talk about trees is almost a crime/Because it implies silence about so many horrors?” Brecht urged his readers to consider the actions of people living in these “dark times,” finsteren Zeiten, with particular sympathy: “When you speak of our failings,” the poem implores,  “Bring to mind also the dark times/That you have escaped.”
Entitled An die Nachgebrenen or To Those Born Later in a period he referred to repeatedly as "the dark times." From the perspective of this time of desperation and despair Brecht imagined in his poem a different future a time when "man would be a helper to man"
The dark times sadly are still not over, we still bare witness to a world of global war,poverty, hunger, environmental collapse, the unchallenged reign of capitalism, and far-right groups emerging again to take advantage of the fear among us.
Brecht's words are ever so resonant as we also attempt to imagine a better future and find traces of  hope before its too late, his words can still sustain us as we seek ways to escape and resist the politics of division.
These dangerous times  require all of us to dig deep into our common humanity. We must build bridges across all boundaries of difference and nonviolently resist all efforts from whatever quarter to dehumanise and demonise the other as is happening all around the world at the present time.

To Those Born Later - Bertolt Brecht


Truly, I live in dark times!
The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead
Suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs
Has simply not yet had
The terrible news.

What kind of times are they, when
A talk about trees is almost a crime
Because it implies silence about so many horrors?
That man there calmly crossing the street
Is already perhaps beyond the reach of his friends
Who are in need?

It is true I still earn my keep
But, believe me, that is only an accident. Nothing
I do gives me the right to eat my fill.
By chance I've been spared. (If my luck breaks, I am lost.)

They say to me: Eat and drink! Be glad you have it!
But how can I eat and drink if I snatch what I eat
From the starving, and
My glass of water belongs to one dying of thirst?
And yet I eat and drink.

I would also like to be wise.
In the old books it says what wisdom is:
To shun the strife of the world and to live out
Your brief time without fear
Also to get along without violence
To return good for evil
Not to fulfill your desires but to forget them
Is accounted wise.
All this I cannot do:
Truly, I live in dark times.


I came to the cities in a time of disorder
When hunger reigned there.
I came among men in a time of revolt
And I rebelled with them.
So passed my time
Which had been given to me on earth.

My food I ate between battles
To sleep I lay down among murderers
Love I practised carelessly
And nature I looked at without patience.
So passed my time
Which had been given to me on earth.

All roads led into the mire in my time.
My tongue betrayed me to the butchers.
There was little I could do. But those in power
Sat safer without me: that was my hope.
So passed my time
Which had been given to me on earth.

Our forces were slight. Our goal
Lay far in the distance
It was clearly visible, though I myself
Was unlikely to reach it.
So passed my time
Which had been given to me on earth.


You who will emerge from the flood
In which we have gone under
When you speak of our failings
The dark time too
Which you have escaped.

    German; trans. John Willett, Ralph Manheim & Erich Fried

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Justice 'Stansted 15' activists will not be jailed

Great news today  on hearing that none of the Stansted 15 will not be jailed for standing up for human rights.
The activists, who blocked a March 2017 deportation flight at London's Stansted airport had cut a fence at the airport and laid on the tarmac, chaining themselves together and forming a ring around a Boeing 767 chartered by the Home Office that was about to violently deport 60 people on an immigration removal charter flight.
On their way to the airport, the activists say they took turns reading aloud the emotional testimonies of those who were due to be on board the plane, which had been collected and published by Detained Voices, an independent human rights group which speaks by phone to people being held in detention centers, pending their removal from the country.The activists said many of those detained fear persecution if they were returned. Their desperate pleas for help had spurred the group on.
on an immigration removal charter fligh

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on an immigration removal charter fligh

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on an immigration removal charter fligh

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Last December the group was found guilty of endangering the safety of the airport following a nine-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Human rights campaigners  claimed that the charges brought against them were excessive.In a statement released after their conviction, the defendants said  the real crime was the government’s “cowardly, inhumane and barely legal” deportation flights and that the Home Office’s “out of control system” must be held to account for the dangers it puts people in.
Defendants Melanie Strickland said the verdict was “profoundly disturbing” for democracy in Britain. “It’s the Home Office’s brutal, secretive and barely legal practice of mass deportation flights that is putting people in danger and their ‘hostile environment’ policy that is hurting vulnerable people from our communities,” she said.“It’s the Home Office that should have been in the dock, not us.”
A man set to be deported on the flight but since granted the right to remain in Britain said the Stansted 15 ” were trying to stop the real crime from being committed.
He said: “Without their actions I would have missed my daughter’s birth and faced the utter injustice of being deported from this country.
“For me a crime is doing something that is evil, shameful or just wrong and it’s clear that it is the actions of the Home Office tick all of these boxes.”
This morning, Judge Christopher Morgan at Chelmsford Crown Court declined to sentence the Stansted 15 to immediate jail time, the Guardian reports. (The maximum sentence for these airport endangerment charges is life in prison.) Instead, 12 people received community service sentences, according to End Deportations, a collective whose members include the Stansted 15. The three others received suspended prison sentences due to prior convictions from a Heathrow airport protest in 2015.
As the sentencing was awaited today at Chelmsford Crown Court, anti-deportation activists reported further mass deportation flights to Jamaica, including of descendants of the "Windrush" generation who have lived in the UK for decades. The "hostile environment" policy that encourages discrimination and the abuse of human rights  still continues.using ID checks by healthcare providers, landlords and employers to make life so difficult that undocumented immigrants will voluntarily leave, or face being removed by the state.
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The 15 defendants sat alongside each other in the dock and the direction from Judge Morgan was met with smiles and hugs from the defendants. Hundreds of supporters had spent the morning outside the courthouse with speeches given and banners unfurled cheering as they arrived at court and posed on the steps before entering  and again when the news of their non imprisonment was announced.
The Stansted 15 provided the following statement to End Deportations.

“These terror convictions and the ten-week trial that led to them are an injustice that has profound implications for our lives. The convictions will drastically limit our ability to work, travel and take part in everyday life. Yet, people seeking asylum in this country face worse than this: they are placed in destitution and their lives in limbo, by the Home Office’s vicious system every single day.
“When a country uses draconian terror legislation against people for peaceful protest, snatches others from their homes in dawn raids, incarcerates them without time limit and forces them onto planes in the middle of the night, due to take them to places where their lives might be at risk, something is very seriously wrong. Every single one of us should be very worried about our democracy and our future.”

 If there was any real justice, the activists would probably be given some kind of award, they shouldnever have been charged in the bloody first place, they are heroes and deserve to be recognised for this and standing up against injustice. They have prompted a much needed change  in attitudes, with more people arguing against deportations and detention centers.It's so important that we continue to defend the right to protest, because it's protest that has delivered all of the rights that today we take for granted.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Tipping the balance

In a world fraught with merciless disparity
Embroiled in suffering despair and grief,
One could embrace the madness, concede defeat
Or follow rippling streams of hope glimmering,
That help in ways unseen, as thoughts keep navigating
To go to places beyond fear and desperation,
Where winds no longer deliver agitation.

As long nights still carve deep impressions
Tirelessly we try seek forms of abandonement,
Criss-crossing frantically, obstacles of existence
When all the skies are deeply overcast,
We continue to scatter ourselves among
New arrangements of the dream.

Amidst the pangs of sombre desolation
And the sporadic moments of insufferable solitude,
An infinitesmal light emerges
It's celestial infusions engaging with,
And uplifting doleful spirit
Engulfing it in a crimson cocoon.

As the sorrow laden clouds release their trembling tears
And the sun transfigures the stony sky;
Springs new heart beats and awakens
Its vibrant petals emanating with smell of regeneration;
The solace seeking spirits in succession triumph
And tethered souls are steered by tranquil serenity.

As the swallows head north through the cumulous clouds
And the suns waning rays dwindle into darkness,
Bickering bafoons and charismatic clowns with spurious smiles
Sprout their myopic pernicious poison,
To the oblivious masses and the credulous sheep
Slapping the face of humanity,
In a power-driven crestridden wave.

Revolutionary seedlings shoot through fertile virgin soil
Inducing the spawn of tomorrows cornerstone,
Bearing sweet fruit of the assemblance of unity
To nourish lifes voracious mortal chain,
Consciousness and attitude of this time
Guiding unruly glissanding ideals,
Wanting to come of age and avert the dystopian nightmare