Monday, 24 July 2017

Dear Nick Cave


Dear Nick Cave who I  truly have long admired, are you really happy to appease the Israeli regime, like Radiohead recently did, to the anguish of their many fans, because at moment this state is now executing a genocidal war against 2 million Palestinians (most of them children) in besieged Gaza:
"At least 30 hospitals, 70 primary health care centres and a blood blank are at risk of full or partial closure due to continued power outages and not enough fuel or spare parts for back-up generators" https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170722-who-gaza-health…/
Israel openly uses culture as a form of propaganda to justify its illegal occupation of Palestine. Just as South African anti-Apartheid activists called for an international boycott which led to the downfall of the Apartheid regime, Palestinians are asking for a boycott of Israel as part of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Thousands of artists across the world now refuse to perform in Israel.
The cultural boycott of Israel continues to grow, despite the efforts by Israeli promoters to ignore it.
More than 1,200 UK-based artists and cultural workers have signed Artists for Palestine’s online pledge to refuse to perform or exhibit in Israel and nearly 460 have signed a similar pledge in the US.
In New York City alone, nearly 300 artists have endorsed the cultural boycott.
I urge  you  to to read Ben Ehrenreich's 2016 book 'The Way to the Spring', and Max Blumenthal's 2015 book 'The 51 Day War, so that you can understand the reality of the situation for Palestinians under occupation'.
Pease add your name to the list and respect the boycott.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Johnny Cash - Sunday morning coming down.


Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

I'd smoked my mind the night before
With cigarettes and songs I'd been picking.
But I lit my first and watched a small kid
Playing with a can that he was kicking.
Then I walked across the street
And caught the Sunday smell of someone frying chicken.
And Lord, it took me back to something that I'd lost
Somewhere, somehow along the way.

On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I'm wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
'Cause there's something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothing short a' dying
That's half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.




Friday, 21 July 2017

No apologies


Frozen moments preserve my presence
Time keeps tumbling on and on,
Slowly but surely I trip over the fear
Clouds are passing over wounds,
Medication soothes the brain
The rain releases the gift of affirmation,
Laughter escapes from the darkness
Out of the silence  trust engulfs,
To allow the cultivation of breath
Inner reason that speaks the truth,
Continuing journeys of navigation
Avenues of concentrated imagination,
To allow destruction to disappear
For peace to visit  my sanctuary,
Though life will always be a struggle
Friends I will always  respect,
Mind occasionally exhausted
Will be rebellious, offers no apologies.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Anais Nin (21/2/03 - 14/1/77) - You have a right to experiment with your life.


" You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you're not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn't a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.”    

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The taste of magic (After Tinariwen, Cardigan Castle 15/7/17)


Fierce calm descended
Near a brimming river,
African guerrillas released magic
Sky donned its celestine cloak;
People danced and swayed
Sipping wine, feeling nourishment,
Shadows stole kisses of friendship
And the scent of  memories.
Devotees captivated under moon
Danced together in space,
Rhythms soothing, licking minds
Haunting music carrying treasure,
From the Sahara sharing subtle beauty
Songs of dignity, freedom and unity,
Dispensing to all rolling guitar
Music flooded into souls,
From Mali, desert blues uplifting
Love has no ending.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Lost Songs of Palestine


Despite the precariousness of the peace that exists in the region,  the Palestinian voice still resonates.
Lost Songs of Palestine is a collection of traditional folk songs which have been sung by generations of Palestinians, but which have been recently overshadowed after years of occupation. With an outstanding performance by the world music group ANATOLIA, Lost Songs of Palestine captures the essence of a time long past and a future long awaited. Lost Songs of Palestine is a masterpiece which will inspire both Arabic and non-Arabic listeners.
The CD features both solo improvisations (taqasim) as well as ensemble works (both vocal and instrumental) representing traditional Palestinian urban and village music. Some of the songs are found in other parts of the Arab world where they are sung in popularized versions. But for Westerners, Lost Songs of Palestineis a new opportunity to learn about the culture and rich musical heritage of an ancient people.
ANATOLIA is a western Massachusetts-based group of talented musicians whose love and dedication to Middle Eastern music has earned them wide acclaim from both ethnomusicologists and audiences at sold-out performances. The musicians of ANATOLIA perform on authentic Middle Eastern folk music instruments including kanun (zither), baglama (long neck lute, also known as saz), divan sazi (large baglama), ud (short neck lute, also known as oud), klarnet (clarinet), keman (violin), nay (end blown flute, also known as ney), bandir (also known as deff), riqq (tambourine), mazhar (large tambourine), darbuka (dumbek), tabla, zills (finger cymbals) and vocals.
Lost Songs of Palestine includes: Weyn A Ramallah, Arrozana, Dommak Doom, Ya Meet Masa, Marmar Zamaani, Ala Dal'oona, Ya Hweydalak, Housnak Ya Zeyn, Mouwashshah Lamma Bada Yatathanna and Al Yadil Yadi.
ANATOLIA's first CD Folk Songs and Dance Music of Turkey and the Arab World was released in 1996. Lost Songs of Palestine was released in February, 2001. Middle Eastern Songs and Dances for Children was released in 2005.
Founded in 1994 and directed by Edward J. Hines, ANATOLIA is dedicated to the preservation of folk, classical and dance music traditions of the Middle East. The musicians of ANATOLIA strive to bring a new understanding of Middle Eastern cultures to Western audiences, while celebrating music and dance traditions its members have known since childhood.
From Edward Hines Music :- http://www.hinesmusic.com/Anatolia.html.

Friday, 14 July 2017

China's Nobel Laureate ,dissident leader and human rights hero Liu Xiaobo dies.


Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate and writer Liu Xiaobo, who was imprisoned since 2009 for calling for more freedom in his country, has died. He was recently released into hospital for treatment after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer but died yesterday from multiple organ failure whilst under heavy armed guard.
The death of the 61-year-old dissident and veteran of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 has sent shockwaves through China’s activist community and among human rights campaigners across the world. In Hong Kong, about 100 democracy activists  protested outside China's liaison office.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said Mr Liu was a "courageous fighter for civil rights and freedom of expression", while the Norwegian Nobel Committee accused Beijing of having a “heavy responsibility for his premature death”.
Rex Tillerson, the United States’ Secretary of State, expressed condolences over the death of Mr Liu and called on Beijing to release his wife, the poet Liu Xia, and allow her to leave China.Mr Liu's wife  had been placed under house arrest in 2010, but was allowed to see him at the hospital  as her husband's health deteriorated over the past couple of weeks  before he died. Rights groups and Western governments have mourned Liu Xiaobo's death and also called for authorities to grant his wife Liu Xia and the rest of his family freedom of movement.  Her fate will now be the centre of concern among human rights groups.
Amid increasingly desperate calls from supporters for him  to be granted his dying wish to receive treatment for his condition abroad, Mr Liu remained in China where he died on Thursday evening, local officials said.His friends claim China’s refusal to allow him to travel overseas was an attempt to shorten his life, and ensure he could not criticise Beijing in his final moments.Beijing had repeatedly dismissed foreign criticism of its treatment of Mr Liu, saying that it is an internal affair.
Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, said: “The Chinese government’s arrogance, cruelty, and callousness are shocking – but Liu’s struggle for a rights-respecting, democratic China will live on.”
Mr Liu was born to an intellectual family in Jilin province in China’s northeast and led a life of fearless activism.The former professor of literature at Beijing Normal University wrote about the value of individual freedoms and nonviolent resistance.
He was influential at the Tiananmen Square protests, which ended when tanks rolled into central Beijing killing hundreds, possibly over a thousand protesters.Mr Liu was said to have saved the lives of many students when he negotiated between the army and protesters as they ended their occupation of the square.
Liu Xiaobo was one of China’s preeminent dissident writers and activists.Devoted not only to the end of China's one-party rule but also to the absolute necessity of replacing it with a democratic system, he was committed to non-violent protest. He was arrested in December 2008 on the eve of the release of Charter 08,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_08 an extraordinary declaration he had co-authored calling for political reform, greater human rights, and an end to one-party rule.
This bold manifesto, which was signed by more than 10,000 people after it went online, calls for the protection of basic human rights and the reform of China's one-party system.
- Words seen 'as crimes' -
Western governments, rights groups and fellow activists repeatedly called for his release.
Charter 08 specifically demands the abolition of subversion as a criminal offence.
"We should make freedom of speech, freedom of the press and academic freedom universal, thereby guaranteeing that citizens can be informed and can exercise their right of political supervision," it says.
"We should end the practice of viewing words as crimes."
Liu was subsequently held under ‘residential surveillance’ in a windowless room for more than six months. In June 2009, he was formally charged and transferred to the Public Security Bureau Detention Centre in Beijing,where he reported an improvement in his conditions; he was allowed outside and had detainees in his cell with whom he could talk. On 25 December 2009, Liu was convicted of ‘incitement to subversion’ for his role in Charter 08 and for several online articles. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Liu  spent much of his adult life as a target of the Chinese government. He played a crucial part in the 1989 pro-democracy movement, staging a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square in support of the students and leading calls for a sustainable democratic movement. He helped  negotiate the safe exit from Tiananmen Square of thousands of student demonstrators on the night of June 3-4, 1989 when the military bloodily suppressed six week-long protests in the heart of Beijing.Despite spending two years  in prison for his role, he continued to speak out in favour of freedom of expression and democracy. As such, he spent an additional three years in a re-education-through-labour camp (1996-1999) and was regularly detained and harassed until his most recent arrest.
Liu had been a prominent member of PEN http://www.pen-international.org/ and served as president of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC), which does on-the-ground advocacy work in China despite constant pressure from the authorities. In 2010 Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for human rights in China. Liu was the first Chinese citizen to win the Nobel Peace Prize and one of only three people to have won it while detained by their own government. He was the second Nobel laureate to die in custody after German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who passed away in a hospital under the Nazis in 1938.
"I want to tell the regime that is withholding my freedom: I have no enemies," Liu wrote in an essay that was published worldwide in 2010. Liu included police officers, public prosecutors and judges in his statement. "I do not accept your surveillance, your confinement, your judgements," he wrote. "But I do respect your professions and your personalities." He added: "Hatred corrodes the wisdom and the conscience of a human being. Demonizing others can poison the spirit of a nation, destroy tolerance and humanity, and block the path to progress and democracy. I hope to be able to respond with best intentions to the hostility of the regime, and to defuse hatred with love." 
The text was read out on the stage when Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 2010. The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored Liu for his long and non-violent fight for fundamental human rights in China. An empty chair sat where he would have were he not in prison.
This is a sad moment  for human rights, but Liu Xiaobo leaves behind a powerful legacy to inspire others to continue the struggle for human rights in China and around the world.
A poet, scholar, and courageous advocate, Liu Xiaobo dedicated his life to the pursuit of democracy and liberty. With courage and dignity he inspired millions. I hope he is the last victim in China's long record of treating words as crimes. It's leaders should bow their heads in collective shame.

Liu Xiaobo -  One letter

one letter is enough
for me to transcend
and face you to speak

as the wind blows
past the night
uses its own blood
to write a secret verse
that reminds me each word
is the last word

the ice in your body
melts into a myth of fire
in the eyes of the executioner
fury turns to stone

two sets of iron rails
unexpectedly overlap
moths flap toward lamp
light, an eternal sign
that traces your shadow