Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Anna Campbell :Death of a freedom fighter

 It was with sadness, that many were greeted at the weekend by the news of 26 year old  Anna Campbell from Lews, East Sussex, who was killed by a Turkish air strike on the 15th March in Afrin alongside 100 volunteers with the all-female Kurdish protection  unit, the YPG in Syria.
A qualified plumber in the UK, she first travelled to Syria in May 2017 to help the Kurds, who were battling the Islamic State group.
A prominent human rights activist in Britain, she had been been heavily involved  in the Empty Cages Collective a project aimed at building a movement in England, Scorland and Wales to resist the prison industrial complex and organise a prison free world. Through grassroots organising, advocacy and direct action she and her allies challenged the prison system which puts prisoners at risk of dangerous environmental conditions, as well as impacting surrounding communities and ecosystems by their construction and operation.Well known in Brighton and Bristol anti-fascist, animal rights , environmental protection, anarchist and feminist circles, Anna was an individual and known for her passionate idealism, and her cnommitment to fighting for the causes of liberation.
Until recently, she had no connection to the Kurds, yet she was deeply moved, family and friends have said, by the fight to defend an autonomous, mostly kurdish region in northern Syria, known as Rojava, whose leaders advocate a secular, democratic and egalitarian politics, with equal rights for women.
" She was somebody who saw the injustices of the world and plight of the weal and vulnerable and disempowered, and she also saw the idealism, the amazing utopian vision of Rojava, and she found those two elements inrrestible ! her father Dirk Campbell, said in an interview."She wanted to prevent this being stamped out, which Turkey and Syria are trying to do."
Anna who given the nom-de-guerre Helin Qerecox, sheer heroism was demonstrated by her insistence on taking part in the Afrin resistance despite the great danger she faced in fighting against NATO's second-biggest army. Eight British fighters have now died fighting in the Rojava revolution though Anna was the first woman.
On Sunday, the city of Afrin was confirmed to be occupied by the Turkish Armed Forces and its Free Syrian Army affiliates. Launched on January 20th, the so-called "Operation Olive Branch" has been subject to criticism from the United Nations, the European Parliament, members of the UK parliament and various humanitarian agencies. Footage taken over the course of the opration shows looting, extrajudicial killings , with estimates of the civilian death toll ranging from 300-500 civilians.
The Kurdish community keeps reminding us that Turkey's invasion of Afrin is illegal and has no basis in international law. Their attack on the convoy which killed Anna constitutes a war crime and they call on progressive fores here in the UK to keep pressuring the UK Government to take firm action against Turkey.
Anna's act of bravery will not be forgotten by the Kurdish community, by her friends, family and comrades and all who fight for a better world , in defense of freedom.with the firm conviction that her sacrifice will not be in vain. Long live the Rojava revolution.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Spring Resurrects

(Spring Equinox Greetings, sad times but life can renew)

I have prayed for miracles
That simply do not exist,
Perception tested, rearranged
Obscured by realities mist,
In the morning tinged with sadness
Tickling blossoms return to nurture,
The air, bright clear and glorious
Plough all depths of possibility,
Old spirits return, needing to inspect
Sit beside me once more and investigate,
Call my name as birds sing
Spring guiding lifeblood of existence,
Resurrecting in subtlest way
While daffodils dance, and snowdrops bow
Nature alive again, with scented  treasure,
Love resonating with every sound
Touched with truth, that needs no eye,
In Camouflaged ripples of time
Trees whisper secrets of surrender,
darkness dwindles, hope releases
Under open sky, dreams tapestry unfurls,
Pagan life forces of crescendo
Lift  us forwards to tomorrow.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Supremacy- Le Trio Joubran & Roger Waters

Former Pink Floyd front man, released the following  vocal protest to US President last week in regards to Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.In what is seen by many to be a major set back in the middle east  peace process.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, as it is claimed by both sides as its  capital, Israel seizing East Jerusalem from Jordan in the Six Day War which the Palestinians see as their  their future state.
To fan the Palestinians flames even further, Trump announced that this move will take place on May 14 to coincide with Israel's celebration of it's 70th anniversary, a day that also marks what the Palestinians call Nabkka Day or "Day of Catastrophe"  which in 1948 saw the mass deportation of a million Palestinians from their homes, and the razing to the ground of hundreds of their villages.
Accompanied by Nazareth based  Palestinian oud group Le Trio Joubran , Roger Waters recites the verses from the great Palestinian national poet of resistance Mahmoud Darwish's " the Penultimate speech of the 'Red Indian' to the white man,"
In a statement Roger Waters wrote,"On the surface it narrates the last speech of the Native American to The White Man, but it also speaks to Darwish's beloved Palestine and it's indigenous people, in fact it's relevant to all victims of settler colonialism everywhere,"
Le Trio Joubran added , "We have been touring the world with our ouds for the past 15 years, taking with is, from city to city, a bit of Palestine. We honor the struggles of indigenous people across the globe, and through our art, affirm that the relationship between people, culture and their homeland survives history."

SUPREMACY - A Response to Trump - #JerusalemCapitalOfPalestine

 Music - Trio Joubran

Voice - Roger Waters Poem - Mahmoud Darwish

Translation - Dr. Fady Joudah & Roger Waters

Video Director - Adnan Joubran

Music Producer - Renaud Letang Recorded at Abbey Road Studios & Studio Ferber Label - RANDANA Management - Karim Ghattas

Poem - The Penultimate speech of the 'Red Indian' to the white man

A long time must go by 
Before our present becomes history 
Just like us 
We will face the long march 
But first 
We will defend the trees we wear 
We will defend the bell of the night and the hanging moon over our huts
We will defend the leaping deer
And the clay of our pots
And the eagle feathers in the wings of our final songs 
But soon you will erect your world on our remains 
You will pave over the sacred places 
To open a road to the satellite moon 
This is the age of industry 
The age of coal
 Fossils to fuel your thirst for fine wine 
There are the dead and the settlements 
The dead and the bulldozers 
The dead and the hospitals 
There are radar screens to capture the dead 
Who die more than once in this life 
To capture the dead who walk after death 
The dead who breed the beast of civilisation 
The dead who die to carry the earth 
After the relics are gone 
Where, oh white master, are you taking my people... and yours?

سَيَمضي زَمانٌ طَويلٌ لِيُصْبحَ حاضِرُنا ماضياً مثُلَنا ..
 سنَمْضي إِلى حَتْفِنا , أَوَّلاً , سنُدفعُ عن شَجَرٍ نَرْتَديه ...
 وَعَنْ جَرَسِ اللَّيلِ , عَنْ قَمَر , فَوْقَ أَكْواخنا نَشتْهيه
وَعَنْ طَيْشِ غزلانِنا سَنُدافعُ , عن طِينِ فَخْارِنا سَنُدافِعُ

 وَعَن ريشنا في جَناحِ الأَغاني الأَخيرةِ , عمَّا قَليل تُقِمونَ عَالَمَكُمْ فَوْقَ عَالَمِنا: مِنْ مَقابِرِنا تَفْتَحونَ الطَّريق
إِلى الْقَمَرِ الاصطناعيِّ , هذا زَمانُ الصِّناعاتِ هذا زَمانُ المَعادِنِ , مِنْ قِطْعَةِ الفَحْمِ تَبْزُغُ شَمْبانيا الأقْوِياءْ

 هُنالِكَ مَوْتى وَمُسْتوطَناتٌ , وَمَوْتى وبولدوزراتٌ , وَمَوْتى وَمُسْتَشْفَياتٌ , وَمَوْتى وَشَاشاتُ رادار تَرْصُدُ مَوتى
 يَموتون أَكْثَرَ مِنْ مَرَةٍ في الْحياة , وَ تَرْصُدُ مَوتى
يَعيشونَ بَعْدَ الْمَماتِ , وَمَوْتى يُرَبُّونَ وَحْشَ الْحضاراتِ مَوْت
 وَمَوْتى يَموتونَ كَيْ يَحْمِلوا الأَرْضَ فَوْقَ الرُّفات

إلى أَيْنَ يَا سَيِّد البِيض , تأَخُذُ شَعْبي ,..

Friday, 16 March 2018

Remembering Rachel Corrie, still not forgotten ( 10/4/79 - 16/3/03 )

It has become customary  of me to pay tribute to the passing of  Rachel Aliene Corrie, 
a courageous  23 year old American Peace activist and humanitarian  from Olympia, Washington who was crushed to death by an Israeli military, caterpiller D 912 bulldozer in 2003, while undertaking non-violent direct action trying to protect the home of  innocent  Palestinian  homes from demolition in Rafah in the Gaza strip. whilst serving with the ISM - International Solidarity Movement.
Rachel went to Rafah  in the Gaza strip in January 2003 and  received  two days of non-violent resistance training. She was horrified at the destruction she found there. Homes were destroyed and people detained and killed on a daily basis. Rachel recorded what she observed and felt in letters and emails to her family. In one email she wrote, "Now the Israeli army has actually dug up the road to Gaza, and both of the major checkpoints are closed. This means tat Palestinians who want to go and register for their next quarter at university can't. People can't get to their jobs and those who are trapped on the other side can't get home, and internationals who have a meeting tomorrow in the West Bank, wont make it."
In another email she wrote, "Just feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people who are facing doom... Honestly a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence off the willful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me."
So today day I reflect upon Rachel's brave stand in Gaza 15 years ago today and her courage to resist, and all  those who continue to live and struggle there. And all those passionate change makers across the globe who each day act with conscience and work tirelessly to try and make a difference.
Justice has never been served for her, along with many others who have been killed under the Israeli occupation. In 2005 Corrie's parents filed a civil lawsuit against the state of Israel, for a symbolic one U.S dollar in damages, to make the point that the case was about justice for their daughter and the Palestinian cause, she had been defending. Charging Israel with not conducting a full and credible investigation into the case and with responsibility for her death.  In August 2012, an Israeli court rejected their suit.
Her death they said was a " regrettable accident " for which the state of Israel was not responsible. According to Judge Oded Gershon of Haifa Court she had " put herself in a dangerous situation " whilst dressed in a bright orange and acting as a human shield, jacket when she was crushed to death. Israel to all intents and purpose declared itself not guilty of her murder. giving its stamp of approval to the flawed and illegal practices of the Israeli military. the verdict  failed to hold Israel's military accountable for its continuing violation  of human rights. 
The home Rachel died trying to protect was razed to the ground, along with hundreds of others.  and today Israel still acts with impunity, There is still no justice when their courts show such contempt for justice's meaning. There is no justice either , when the Gaza strip remains a sealed open prison, there is no justice when countless Palestinian families  are made homeless, their houses destroyed. Where is the justice for them or their friends after the uneccessary death of their loved ones.
Remember that what is happening in Palestine is no inexplicable cycle of violence where each side is as bad as one another.It is no more than an equal  cycle of violence than that seen in apartheid South Africa. Being against this injustice is not anti-Jewish, as is standing up to the British Government's injustices is seen as being anti- British.
Rachel Corrie understood these links and connections and would have known about an active Israeli peace movement, and of the hundreds  of Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories, many of whom have been jailed for their stance. Israel has invaded Palestinian land in breach of international law. Rachel died while attempting to prevent a demolition of a home, a common practice that the  Israeli army, uses as a collective punishment that has left more than 12,000 Palestinians homeless since the beginning of the second uprising in September 2000. A practice that violates International Law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.
So here's to the memory and bravery of Rachel Corrie  a true American hero,who courageously died whilst living her dreams, staying human and showing her solidarity with her beloved friends, the Palestinians. who continues to inspire activism and compassion across the globe, her  spirit lives on, challenging us to get out of our comfort zones and act with our convictions.
Rachel's death was tragic, but  brought the world's attention to the suffering and death of thousands of Palestinians.At least 6,500 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupation since 2000, so thee international community must carry on fighting for their justice too, as well as that of Rachel's, the situation sadly in the West Bank and Gaza, still no different today.
The world must not stay silent, while the struggle continues against the demolition and occupation of Palestinian homes and lands, restrictions of movement, detentions, arrest, collective punishment, the siege of Gaza and the aggressive military attacks that continue on a daily basis.
Here is a link to the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Pace and Justice set up in her memory :-

I'd Rather Be Dancing (Rachel Corrie;s Song ) -  Jim Page

The words of following song are based on actual letters Rachel wrote home to her parents, before she died.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Stop and Scrap Universal Credit.

Currently Theresa May's toxic Tory government is pressing ahead and rolling  out Universal Credit, at a time when many claimants  are descending into debt, relying on food banks, getting into rent arrears and in many cases getting evicted from their homes because of in-built problems with UC. People with disabilities will be among the hardest hit of these cruel welfare reforms.
UC replaces five benefits - child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income based jobseekers allowance, income related employment and support allowance and working tax credit. Seven million households will be affected, including one million low paid part-time workers. For the first time ever people actually in work could face being sanctioned, having their benefits stopped if they are unable to prove to the job centre that there searching for better paid work or more hours, in a completely illogical measure by our current government.
The government is imposing UC, despite losing a parliamentary vote on its extension to millions more people. On October 18, Parliament voted by 299 votes to zeros to temporarily halt the introduction of UC. Opposition  parties in Parliament led by Labour, passed a motion calling for the government to pause the rollout of UC. The vote was allowed as part of an Opposition Day Debate.
In the face  of mounting anger in the population, Theresa May's crisis ridden government instructed its ministers and MPs to abstain. This was due to their fear of a rebellion by at least 12 Tories as well as MP's from its governing partner, the DUP, who were prepared to back Labour. The government responded to the vote by declaring it was not binding, and with no regard to the mounting anger will continue to roll out UC regardless.
The entire process is riddled  with problems. Despite having been dreamt up a decade ago and built up since 2010 at the moment, hardly any part of the programme is functioning as it was supposed to. So far UC has been plagued by delays and administrative errors.The Department of Work and Pensions looks to many to be wholly unfit for purpose. Independent analysis has shown that the cuts hidden within UC  will result in three million families losing up to £2,600 per year each.The Charity Child Poverty Action estimates that this will push a million more children into poverty by 2022. And this only if everything  goes as planned.
UC is supposed to be an attempt to make the Benefits system better, but things like housing benefit are all chucked in with everything else, one single payment going to the 'head' of the household, This could put women in abusive relations in a very bad place. All the money for childcare, which once would have gone to her, is liable instead to go to the abusive partner. Financially this will mean that it will be harder for her to be independent and harder for her to leave. Applying to the government for benefits to be paid straight to her would simply alert the abusive partner to her attempts to escape his control. And this is currently happening in the name of 'simplicity.' This is just one example of the flawed nature of UC.
For now the waiting time has been cut from six weeks to five and from next month, housing benefit claimants will continue to receive support for two weeks after making their first claim for UC. It will also be possible to get a 100% advance on the benefit, with a year to pay it back, instead of being allowed only a 50% advance and being given just six months to return the loan.
But lets be honest  nobody seems to know what's going on anymore. Claimants across the country will find their payments being arbitrally cut month in, month out, with no explanation. Random debts  are imposed and retrieved with minimum information. Already as it is claimants, living on a shoestring, this process I fear will make things far worse.The Conservatives claim UC is designed to help help people into work by ensuring they are better off working than the unemployed  but whatever they say the number of families who are in work but still living below the poverty line is continuing to rise. As a result, inequality increases too, with the poorest among us being left behind.All because of their policies.
This is all why on  Saturday 16th May 2018 I will be supporting Ceredigion Disability People Against the Cuts (DPAC) who will be meeting  it, outside the Guildhall, Cardigan 11.a.m, to raise awareness of the impact it will have on our community when it hits us in September. We will have petitions to be signed and latest information on the roll out and how it will affect individuals claiming benefits, in and out of work.
Personally do not believe it can be fixed, or modified it needs to be stopped and scrapped completely. It is crucial that we carry on campaigning against its implementation to defend those on the receiving end of brutal cuts and to push for the complete abolition of these policies that will hurt those who are already the most disadvantaged in our society who are merely being treated as collateral damage and will as a result of UC will be pushed even further into the depths of poverty. We must continue to resist these devastating policies, an end to this cruel austerity measure and give support to all those that currently need it. Remember no one is immune to becoming ill or losing their jobs.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Stephen Hawkings ( 8 /1/42 - 14/3/18) - A Beautiful mind R.I.P

Another star just went out. Professor Stephen Hawking, the renowned British physicist and author of A Brief History of Time, has died at the age of 76. He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning his family said.
Professor Hawking, one of the world's finest scientific minds, was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 21 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and was given only a few years to live. Though 80 percent of those with ALS die within five years of diagnosis, he managed to survive for many decades, perhaps longer than any other patient with the disease in medical history. Eventually  he was completely paralysed, confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, except through his  trademark computerised voice system for communication.
Despite all this, he continued to travel the world giving lectures and writing scientific papers about the basic laws of the universe, Black holes  and time that earned him comparisons to Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton.He also embraced popular culture with enthusiasm  and humour, apprearing in cartoon series the Simpsons, starring in Star Trek and  providing the voice over for a British Telecom commercial that was later sampled by Pink Floyd on their album ' Division Bell. '
This physicists inspiring and turbulent personal story was dramatised in the 2014 movie "The Theory of Everything" which won the actor who portrayed  him, Eddie Redmayne an  Oscar for best actor.
A huge loss to science and humanity, his brilliant and extraordinary mind were obvious, which shined bright to the very end, but it was his courage in refusing to allow a disease that was a death sentence, that faced him daily and  his refusal to  allow it to defeat him, alongside his sense of humor that was to become an inspiration to millions.
He also stood for truth , justice and freedom of Palestine, supporting the academic boycott of Israel, and last year, he asked his millions of facebook followers to contribute financially to the Palestinian Advanced Physics School, a physics lecture series for master students in the occupied West Bank. " I support the rights of scientists everywhere to freedom of movement, publication and collaboration," he wrote.Bravely spoke too against the Iraq war and warned us too about the risk Nuclear weapons pose to the survival of humanity also must not be forgotten. He was also  a vocal champion of the NHS who, in the final months of his life, battled with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt over the future of the health service. He had recently said he would not have had such a long life without the NHS. Less than two months ago a campaign group backed by Professor Hawking was granted permission to challenge MR Hunt in the High Court over plans to allow private companies to play a greater role in the service. The scientist had warned it was an " attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS" to allow commercial businesses to run parts of the health and social services. The judicial review into the proposal was expected to take place as soon as possible after Wednesday incidentally the day that he died.
After his sad passing many people are now sharing his words of wisdom and moving quotes.
I will  add one, he once remarked : " I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God: No one created the universe, and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realisation that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful."
So long Stephen Hawking, such a beautiful mind. R.I.P your extraordinary legacy will live on for years, may your mind roam the cosmos for eternity.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Defending Afrin

In recent days thousands of Kurdish immigrants have been taking to the streets  of Europe to protest against the Turkish military operation in the Kurdish region of Afrin in the Democratic Federation of North Syria. Afrin is part of the revolutionary process in the region based on multi-ethnic grassroots democracy and women's liberation.
After the US announced the Turkey/Syria Border Security Force, since  January 20, the Turkish military has been attacking and trying  to invade, night and day, towns and villages, refugee camps, historic and sacred sites that  have been  consistently been bombed by Turkish war planes and artillery.During the first 10 days of these attacks, many civilians have been killed and heavily injured. Among the casualties are women, men children and refugees from other regions of Syria.
The regime in Turkey has openly announced   that its aim of military aggression in Afrin is in  wiping out the democratic autonomous self-administration of Rojava (the Kurdish name for Northen Syria) where the Kurds have defended themselves from Isis and set up an autonomous state where equality, civil engagement, and democracy are manifest in every level of organisation.
Turkey's aim is to occupy this region and crush the will of it's people.Turkey's war on Afrin is an attack not only on Kurdish self-determination, but on democracy and women's liberation in the Middle East. The YPG (People's Protection Units) and YPG (Women's Protection Units) have been one of he main forces defeating ISIS, and are in the process of eliminating religious extremism and terrorism from the region. This invasion threatens all of this. Many women joined the YPJ after being liberated from ISIS or to free their families from ISIS.
Whilst the people of Rojava have been organising themselves in networks of grassroot assemblies and co-operatives, using the model of Democratic Confederalism, which emphasises direct democracy, feminism and ecology, and a multi-ethnic society without discrimination , compare this to the Turkish Government, which has been repeatedly criticised by the European Court of Human Rights for torture, enforced disappearances and the mass imprisonment of journalists and politicians.
The Kurdish people have a saying "we have no friends but the mountains" which is  often repeated when referring to the countless massacres, injustices and betrayals that the people of Kurdistan have experienced throughout their history. Stretching over four of the most important counties  in the Middle East - Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, and constantly threatened with genocidal attacks from all sides, this expression resonates with lived experience far more than it should.
The international community to its shame has basically been silent. Turkey is a NATO country like Britain.The UK government has spoken of its support for Turkey's aggression,  Britain  just happens to be a major supplier of arms to the Turkish state and these arms are being used in a conflict where the deliberate targeting of civilians is taking place.
The Kurdish communities actions across the world, are an attempt to break this silence and International solidarity and the contribution of those not in Afrin canton are vital to help the Kurds struggle.In the battle for Afrin, we see the universal dimensions of popular struggles against fascism, dictatorship and death, and for democracy , freedom and justice.
We should strive to stop  the dictatorship of Turkish President Recep Tayvip Erdogan from spreading further its oppression, building it's road  of terror, full of despotic ambition, racist attitude  any further in the Middle East.
The Kurds deserve more than the friendship of their mountains, they deserve our solidarity, because not only is their existence and identity in danger but so too are the hopes of radical democracy and women's liberation  in the Middle East. Inside and outside Rojava, defending Afrin must become our imperative.
The Turkish army is now just a few kilometres from Afrin city where hundreds of  thousands of civilians are trapped.We must act now before its too late. raise our voices with spirit of the Kobane resistance! Try and find common cause with their struggle, to take a stand against these attacks  against one of the region's and the world's most hopeful movements.Who are currently building a new world in the shell of the old, planting seeds of imagination. Showing us another world is possible. Please join the Kurdish community and their friends in solidarity.No pasaran! defend Afrin , defend humanity.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

A New World In Our Hearts - Spaceheads

Have  had a wild weekend dancing my socks off, a magical blend of  musical adventure, a shout out to the wonderful Red and the hogweeds, Becky the Bullet and the Bloody frights, down at my local music venue the Cellar Bar, and the mighty anarcho punk band Mwstard  down at the Small World Theatre where the company of friendship  picked  me up so much, after a rather fraught week, bottom a little tender though , alas one move too far resulted with a collision with dance floor,whilst dancing to following band,  picked myself up again carried on doing what I do. 
I present to you the Spaceheads, trumpet player Andy Diagram and drummer Richard Harrison who last night released a joyful mix of jazzy , free form virtuosity, accompanying my journey with a backdrop of images from one of my favourite films, the 1928 Eisenstein film October: Ten Days That Shook the World, who through the medium of music manage to release a powerful optimistic call for change. Truly fantastic stuff. Which  serves to remind  me of old poem of mine slightly updated. lets all keep laughing in the face of power, and if you can keep on fiercely dancing

Spaceheads Introduce A New World In Our Hearts

Spaceheads - The Revolution Sashays Up the Mall

Spaceheads -  What is to be done

A New World In Our Hearts

We are building a new world in our hearts
Red and black flags united against the system,
With courage to demand nothing for us alone
But everything for everyone else,
Following a map towards tomorrow
Developing our own journeys,
Both individually and collectively
As we travel.

We don't want to rule others
And we will not be ruled,
We have no masters, our thoughts are free,
We have removed the chains that bind us,
Demanding the impossible 
Disintegrating capitalism,
Creating the world we want.

They try to reject us
Degrade us, belittle us,
Shame us and ignore us
Because together we are strong.
In unity we are fearless
As we try to eradicate their consensus
Growing kinder and more content.

Keep on laughing in the face of power
Filling emotions with love and rage,
Travelling far from webs of deceit
The daily delusionary shackles of greed
Living only now to feed our need,
Among widening circles that reach,
                              out across the world,
Believing in hope, it's enduring glow
And the messages that we share,
We fill our pockets with resistance
Keep on building  new worlds in our hearts.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

On International Women’s Day solidarity with Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers

At the beginning of the 20th Century women across Europe and America were finding their voice.That wanted and demanded decent jobs, better pay, emancipation and the right to vote and hold public offices. It was out  of this air of dissatisfaction,  that International Women's Day was born. A day that today we can still recognise the oppression that still flourishes, caused by both capitalism and patriarchy. Still an unfortunate and undeniable reality for many women today. The fight for woman's  rights might look a little different today, but many are still facing discrimination and injustices across the globe.
In recent times, issues of woman's political and economic inequality have been joined by broader struggles against racism, war, violence, oppression, for  social justice. So today as I observe International Women's Day, I stand up for all women still trapped by injustices. I believe the women's struggle is a struggle for the freedom of all  people, recuperating the fair value of people over things. I recognise the practice and theory of mutual support that women have laid, that are the foundations of social change that we must keep building.
Today in particular  I acknowledge those who are among the most vulnerable in the present moment of time- the refugees. In the same month that we have celebrated the centenary of (some) women's suffrage in the UK, we should not forget over 100 women who have been on hunger strike since February 21 against the inhumane conditions at the Yarl's Wood detention centre and the government's practice of indefinite detention, and their lack of human rights.
"We feel it is our responsibility to call the Home Office out, and take action with our bodies too," the Freedom Fast Yarl's Wood campaigners said in a statement."It is outrageous that 100 years after some women got the vote, elected governments can still openly enforce these inhumane and racist measures."
Some of the demands include an end to charter flights, snatching people ftom their beds in the night, an end to menial work for £1 per hour and to stop detaining vulnerable people and victims of abuse. They are also asking for adequate healthcare and amnesty for people who have lived in Britain for more than 10 years.The hunger strikers demands are for a fair system and an end to the hostile environment policy towards people with legitimate reasons to remain in the UK.A full list of the strikers demands can be found here:-
Each year over 1,500 women who have sought asylum in the UK are detained  at this infamous detention centre which has been the site of numerous scandals. Most of the women detained there are survivors of rape, torture ,sexual and gender based violence and  other abuse. The UK is currently the only country in Europe with no time limit on detention. A practice opposed by Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and many other civic and political organisations. This barbaric policy has no place in a so called civilised society.
However the Home Office has failed to acknowledge their demands has since taken punitive action, including attempting to deport two hunger strike participants Florence and Opela Kgare on Saturday 3rd March, before there case was complete. This deportion attempt was halted thanks to pressure from the women's friends, the involvement of Labour MPs and the intervention of Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes.
Today activists from across Britain will be taking part in a 24 hour fast on International Women's Day in solidarity with the Yarl's Wood hunger strikers. Migrant's right campaigners have united with the friends of those in the detention centre to call for a Freedom Fast on this day. They have urged " all people of conscience" to join.We must support the protestors and their demands, and stand with them in denouncing the Uk's  inhumane and fundamentally wrong treatment of them.
This International Women's Day, I simply ask everyone to stand in solidarity with female refugees, whatever the stage of their journey, and keep building a society where women's human rights are respected and in which they are free from persecution. Important  steps are already being taken, but it is a long road ahead. Today celebrate the women who are walking it: migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and women in the wider community working together. On the centenary year of women's suffrage in the UK , lets not forget those women, whose voices are too often not heard.It is also  time to keep on calling for the  closure of Yarl's Wood detention centre.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Yemen concerns

'Currently Tory Prime Minister Theresa May  is welcoming vile and  misogynist Saudi Arabian tyrants with open arms, with the aim of selling them even more British weapons to commit war crimes in Yemen.
Mohammed bin Salman is starting a three-day visit to the UK amid protests planned against his country's role in Yemen.
Jeremy Corbyn has accused the government of "colluding" in war crimes by selling arms to Riyadh.
The 32 year old crown prince,who is seen by some as a modernising force in the Gulf State. He has already had lunch with the Queen and Duke of York, and is due to have dinner with the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge.
The UK hopes to capitalise on the Saudi economy's opening up, but this decision has been met by protesters outside Downing Street against the killing of thousands of  Yemeni civilians in air strikes by a Saudi -led multinational coalition, backed by the UK and US, in what is is considered to be a forgotten war, where this crisis  grows daily, spawning an escalating, political, military and humanitarian crisis.
Also if  this Saudi Crown  Prince is truly a reformer, he must stop the execution of 18 young people for the'crime' of attending protests and put an end  to the shocking abuse of human rights.

Petition here:-

Here is a letter I managed to get published in my local paper Tivy-Side Advertiser yesterday expressing my concerns :-

THIS week the UK Government is rolling out the red carpet to Mohammad bin Salman the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, even as innocent children are being killed by the ongoing Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign in Yemen.
Since 2015 British weapons companies have made a staggering £6 billion from arms sales to Saudi Arabia the country leading the coalition bombing Yemen
At the same time, the British taxpayer is sending more than £200 million in life-saving aid to the Yemeni people.
As one of Saudi Arabia's key allies and arms suppliers, there is a risk that British bombs are being dropped on Yemeni children.
Thousands of innocent young lives have already been lost in airstrikes and explosions, and thousands more from hunger and preventable diseases like cholera and diphtheria.
Yemeni children are dying every day from preventable causes like hunger, disease and war.
It may be a far-away conflict, but I believe Britain has a moral obligation to help end the suffering.
I think our Government should stand up for Yemen's children and ensure food, medicine and fuel get into the country and that children are protected from bombs and bullets.

                                                                                                 Dave Rendle
                                                                                                 Teifi Terrace