Friday, 22 September 2017

The Good Goddess: Happy Autumn Equinox / Gwyl canol Hydref


(Thank you Paul, blessed be)

In the husk of life, among it's hardships
Day and night, at least in balance,
Halfway between Lammas and Samhein
As colored leaves  fall in abundance,
We honour the Dark as well as the light
The difficult as well as the easy,
Through shadows of darkness
The good goddess returns,
Breaking through autumns window
To sanctify desires, help fear dissipate,
Existing in the form of time and space
Immortal protector of the human race,
Scattering seeds where dreams sprout
Mortals accept  magic into heart,
Journeying on to the chill of winter
Catching nature's loving embrace,
Bidding farewell to long days of light
We return bright blessings and rejoice.


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Morrissey - Spent the Day in Bed



Morrissey returns with a gloriously pro-idle single called “Spent the Day in Bed” it's classic Moz  and includes such subversive lines as “I spent the day in bed, as the workers stay enslaved”, “no bus, no boss, no rain no train” and “stop watching the news!” It's a delightful return to form, a typical blend of melody and the morose as he puts a big middle finger up to the establishment and reflects on the horrors of the modern world presented by the media – choosing to remain in bed rather than get involved. "And I Recommend that you stop watching the news because the news contrives to frighten you , to make you feel small and alone , to make you feel your mind isn't your own."he track is taken from his first new new studio album in three years called Low in high school.
Elsewhere Morrissey has finally taken to social media and has opened up a 'Twitter account. His first post ? " Spent the day in bed." Of course!!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

In a troubled world : Some respite


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


As seasons change, with loss and time, some words simply released, from  jotted down thoughts, on different pieces of paper, somehow freestyled, pieced back together.Beyond the pain of humanity and  the sadness of separation, melodies  lift, I hear hope as an echo, where humanity dances, leaving nothing but wonder. Innumerable memorable.Among times drifting clouds, respite continues, some  moments or two of peace and quiet ,to share. To allow thoughts to keep moving on, walking through gardens of truth , with reason and passion.
Lets water the seeds of liberty, as  stars above shine, into all our yesterdays and all of our tomorrows, every single second of  our steps draws us ever closer still . Overcoming days  hollow woes, seizing magic, while it glows, beyond fears containment, the laughing smile comes back and dreams live on.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

35th anniversary of Sabra-Shatila massacre.


“Sabra and Shatila Massacre” (1982-83), by pioneering Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi

35 years ago over three bloody days from September 16 through  to  18, 1982, up to 3,500 Palestinian defenceless refugees in Shatila camp and Sabra neighborhood in Beirut, Lebanon were slaughtered at the hands of Phalangist militiamen, encircled, trained and supported by Israeli occupation forces who had besieged West Beirut for 88 days before launching a full-scale occupation-day period, members of the Lebanese Christian militias, with the support of Israeli troops, killed mostly women, children and the elderly living in the camp complex. Exactly how many were actually killed  remains unknown as the real number is hard to determine because bodies were buried quickly in mass graves or never found and many men were marched out of the camp and “disappeared.” Israel actually supplied the bulldozers to bury the dead and later  tanks entered the camps and ran over the whole area, destroying houses and clearing any signs of crime.
Shortly before the massacres, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation was evacuated from Lebanon as a result of an agreement reached after the Israeli invasion of the country. That meant the residents of Sabra and Shatila no longer had protection, despite promises made to them by Philip Habib, an envoy for then US President Ronald Reagan, that their security would be guaranteed.
The massacre was presented as retaliation for the assassination of newly elected Lebanese president Bachir Germavel, the leader of the Lebanese Kataeb Party. It was wrongly assumed that Palestinians militants had carried out the assassination. The incident would cause outrage and condemnation across the world.Sadly the Sabra and Shatila crimes were not the first crimes against the Palestinian people and would not be the last.
Thirty five years later, the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila camps is remembered as a notorious chapter in modern Middle Eastern history. Today, not a single person (Israeli or Lebanese) has been charged with  involvement in the crime. The amnesty law that came into affect after Lebanon’s Civil Wars ended in 1991 let many of those involved in the massacre off the hook, including those who now form one of Lebanon’s ruling political parties, the Kata’eb. The forces who led the massacre were under the direct leadership of Elie Hobeika, intelligence chief of the Lebanese Forces. .
The Kahan Commission, later set up in 1983 in response to widespread international pressure, concluded that that Israeli leaders were “indirectly responsible” for the killings and that Ariel Sharon, then the defense minister and later prime minister, bore “personal responsibility” for failing to prevent the massacre Ariel Sharon, bore personally responsible, among others, for the massacre. Elie Hobeika later became a long-serving Member of the Lebanese Parliament as well as serving in many minsterial roles. Despite the findings of the Kahan Commission, Ariel Sharon held many influential ministerial roles in the Israeli government, serving in fact as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006. Thus were the engineers of one of the bloodiest and most appalling massacres in contemporary history rewarded.
It is quite simply one of the greatest human tragedies that we should never simply forget.
Israel continues to abuse Palestinian rights without consequence. Settler attacks on Palestinian property, lands, and persons have terrorised thousands and killed almost entire families, such as last year's arson attack on a Palestinian home that killed a mother, father, and their 18-month baby. Palestinian complaints filed against settlers go unindicted by Israel. In fact, as documented by Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem, "the Israeli military serves the settlers by allowing the attackers to simply walk away". When they do take action, Israeli soldiers are more likely to support the settlers, often allowing them to continue attacking Palestinians rather than shielding innocent civilians.http://www.btselem.org/ota?tid=32
The dehumanisation of Palestinians by Israel continues and the Israeli military itself continues to commit war crimes with impunity, as evidenced by Israel's repeated attacks on the tiny besieged Gaza Strip over the past decade, which have killed thousands of innocent Palestinians with disproportionate and indiscriminate force. Today there are more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, most barred from owning property and earing decent wages. They make up part of the nearly 5 million Palestinians refugees living in the West Bank, Gaza and throughout the Middle East, descendants of the 750,000 displaced after the establishment of the Israeli State.
Israel's 69 years of dispossession and half-century of military rule still ongoing and is supported by unconditional American military aid and diplomatic backing. International bodies like the UN Security Council have repeatedly made note of Israel's human rights violations. Injustices continue to this day  through land confiscations, home demolitions, mass imprisonment, collective displacement, racist discrimination, assassination and killing.
The conscience of the world was terribly wounded on this  day and we cannot, should not and will not ever forget or forgive.With sorrow and with struggle, we  must remember Sabra and Shatila and pledge to continue to work for justice.The international community is obliged to remedy its moral responsibility to the victims of the  massacre by working to end Israel's occupation and other abuses of Palestinian rights.
I conclude this post with the following powerful, moving poem from the pen of the late great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/mahmoud-darwish-poet-of-resistance.html


Sabra and Shatila  by Mahmoud Darwish

Sabra — a sleeping girl
The men left
War slept for two short nights,
Beirut obeyed and became the capital…
A long night
Observing the dreams in Sabra,
Sabra is sleeping.
Sabra — the remains of a dead body
She bid farewell to her horsemen and time
And surrendered to sleep out of tiredness.. and the Arabs who threw her behind them.
Sabra — and what the soldiers Departing from Galilee forgot
She doesn’t buy and sell anything but her silence
To buy flowers to put on her braided hair.
Sabra — sings her lost half, between the sea and the last war:
Why do you go?
And leave your wives in the middle of a hard night?
Why do you go?
And hang your night
Over the camp and the national anthem?
Sabra — covering her naked breasts with a farewell song
Counts her palms and gets it wrong
While she can’t find the arm:
How many times will you travel?
And for how long?
And for what dream?
If you return one day
for which exile shall you return,
which exile brought you back?
Sabra — tearing open her chest:
How many times
does the flower bloom?
How many times
will the revolution travel?
Sabra — afraid of the night. Puts it on her knees
covers it with her eyes’ mascara. Cries to distract it:
They left without saying
anything about their return
Withered and tended
from the rose’s flame!
Returned without returning
to the beginning of their journey
Age is like children
running away from a kiss.
No, I do not have an exile
To say: I have a home
God, oh time ..!
Sabra — sleeps. And the fascist’s knife wakes up
Sabra calls who she calls
All of this night is for me, and night is salt
the fascist cuts her breasts — the night reduced — 
he then dances around his knife and licks it. Singing an ode to a victory of the cedars,
And erases
Quietly .. Her flesh from her bones
and spreads her organs over the table
and the fascist continues dancing and laughs for the tilted eyes
and goes crazy for joy, Sabra is no longer a body:
He rides her as his instincts suggest, and his will manifests.
And steals a ring from her flesh and blood and goes back to his mirror
And be — Sea
And be — Land
And be — Clouds
And be — Blood
And be — Night
And be — Killing
And be — Saturday
and she be — Sabra.
Sabra — the intersection of two streets on a body
Sabra, the descent of a Spirit down a Stone
And Sabra — is no one
Sabra — is the identity of our time, forever.

(translation by Saad El Kurdi)



Here is a link to a post from a few years ago:
https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/remembering-sabra-and-shatila-massacre.html


Friday, 15 September 2017

End indefinite Detention


Immigration detention centres are officially called Immigration Removal Centres, as their stated purpose is to hold people who the government intends to deport from the UK. Around half of people in immigration detention are asylum seekers, and many have family ties in the UK. Over 30,000 migrants are detained in the UK every year.
There are, at present, 11 detention centres in the UK. (This figure includes Short Term Holding Facilities.) Some are run by private security companies, others by the Prison Service. People in detention cannot leave and have very limited freedom of movement within the centres. Security levels are similar to prisons
People are detained for a very long time by the UK Border Agency when they cannot return to countries like Zimbabwe or Somalia because they are too dangerous. Others cannot be deported because they do not have a passport and their Embassy refuses  to allow them to return. People are not able to leave Britain but instead of being released, they are kept in detention indefinitely.
Most people find long-term detention intensely traumatic. Not knowing when you will be free is damaging to mental health. People who have been tortured or imprisoned in their home countries are particularly scarred by long-term detention.
Indefinite immigration detention is arbitrary from beginning to end. A person doesn’t know when they will be detained; and when they are picked up, they won’t know where they are being taken. Very often, the only belongings they will be allowed to take with them are the clothes they stand up in. Likewise, they won’t know when, or how, their detention will end. Durations vary, and detention might be only a matter of weeks, but it could just as well be months or years, the whole point being that the person detained doesn’t know. This isn't for committing a crime. It's purely because their applications to be in Britain have been refused, or are still being processed.
The UK is the only country in Europe which locks asylum seekers up indefinitely.How would you feel if you had to flee your home for fear of persecution, risked everything to travel to another country in the hope of safety, only to arrive and be detained, often without explanation or any indication of when you at be released? Would you not agree with me that it would be a completely  dehumanising experience.Alternatives to detention are cheaper, more effective and avoid the harm of detention.  States that have tried working with migrants in the community to resolve their cases have found that most comply with immigration requirements, for a fraction of the cost of detention.
Please sign the below petition from the Green Party of England and Wales to demand an end to this cruel, unnecessary practice!
https://action.greenparty.org.uk/detention

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Diolch yn fawr BBC


Diolch yn fawr BBC  Cymru ,"No drones over Gaza!" was chanted by  protesters from Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire at the  drones testing airfield, known as Parc Aberporth .
Based in the city of Haifa, Elbit produces military and civilian-use equipment, including drones, aircraft, weapon control systems, and artillery. The company's customers include the Israeli army, US Air Force, and the British Royal Air Force.
Operations at the Elbit owned drone factory at Shenstone near Birmingham was shut for two complete days  as protestors called for the closure of the factory and for a complete embargo on arms sales between Israel and the UK. On Thursday 6th July over a hundred people had gathered at the factory and took part in a number of activities to remember the thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Names of those killed, written on hundreds of strips of material,were tied to the fence surrounding the factory and the top of the fence was festooned with Palestinian flags. Small cardboard coffins, each with a photograph and name of a child killed in Gaza, were laid across both entrances to the factory. Palestinians at the protest reminded people that each of the people killed by an Israeli drone is a person, with a name, an age, a family and a story of their life.
On Friday 7th July activists returned once more to the factory, where the Palestinian flags and ribbons of names of those killed continued to surround the factory. All three entrances to the factory were blocked, forcing its closure for a 2nd day. Five protestors were subsequently arrested but as they were taken away the names of those killed in Gaza were still fluttering from the fence and 50 or so flags were flying defiantly. The protesters believed that the factory is complicit in illegal activity and that they were preventing a crime,"
The chanting  in Aberporth was heard loud and clear in the background as Bethan Williams of Cymdeithas yr Iaith (pictured below on far right) spoke to BBC Wales reporter Matt Murray who happened to be there in connection with the Telegraph report about the two drones that had crashed into the sea off Aberporth http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/army-grounds-1bn-drone-fleet-…/. Bethan's excellent clear, cogent interview was broadcast on Radio Cymru's "Post Prynhawn": http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b094hx7h#play. @ 37.41 The references to the drones' impact over Gaza were not edited out of Bethan's interview the way they were from the other interview with my comrade Harry Rogers. Harry of Bro Emlyn Peace and Justice and  also of the Drones Campaign Network Cymru  (far left in photo above waving Palestinian flag )  in a greatly shortened interview, omitted any mention of Gaza, but was at least broadcast in the evening news on BBC Wales http://www.bbc.co.uk/…/bbc-wales-today-evening-news-13092017 @ 6:45
And well done to Elizabeth Morley for coming up with the idea for us to go to Aberporth.. Incidentally I try not to smile for camera on occasions like this. But charges  were dropped against 3 defendants. The trial of the remaining 2 will be on 24 November. Palestine will be free.







Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Remembering Photojournalist Kevin Carter ( 13/9/1960 - 27/7/1994)


Kevin Carter was an award winning South African photojournalist whose image of a starving female Sudanese toddler, alone and severely emaciated, attempting to crawl to an aid station for food made hi internationally famous. A vulture is standing on the ground behind her, waiting for her to die so that it can eat her. Thanks to this memorable photo, the famine in Sudan became internationally known. Carter left an indelible mark on the planet's consciousness. At this point Carter was probably not aware that he had shot one of the most controversial pictures in the history of photojournalism.


Sold to the New York Times ,the photograph first appeared  on 26 March 1993, and was carried in many newspapers around the world. Hundreds of people contacted the Times to ask the fate of the girl. The paper reported that it was unknown whether she had managed to reach the feeding center. . Carter left an indelible mark on the planet’s consciousness. At this point Carter was probably not yet aware that he had shot one of the most controversial photographs in the history of photojournalism
Sold to the New York Times, the photograph first appeared on 26 March 1993 and was carried in many other newspapers around the world. Hundreds of people contacted the Times to ask the fate of the girl. The paper reported that it was unknown whether she had managed to reach the feeding center. On May 23, 14 months after capturing that memorable scene, Carter walked up to the platform in the classical rotunda of Columbia University's Low Memorial Library and received the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.
However when the picture gained international prominence people started asking what had happened to the girl. It emerged that Carter had apparently done nothing to help the girl. He received heaps of criticism for his “inhumane” actions. Questions  were raised about the ethics of taking such a photograph. An article printed in 1994 in the St Petersberg Times commented on the morality of Carters actions, ‘the man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene,’
The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) have a ‘Code of Ethics’ which sets out certain ethical responsibilities when carrying out journalistic work, one reads as thus, ‘while photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.’ Considering this, one can say Carter was objective and documented what he saw, capturing the severity of the situation in Sudan.
Carter was working in a time when photojournalists were told not to touch famine victims for fear of spreading disease. He witnessed masses of people starving to death. Carter estimated that there were twenty people per hour dying at the food center. This child was not unique. Regardless, Carter often expressed regret that he had not done anything to help the girl, even though there was not much that he could have done. Carter defended himself and  claimed that he waited 20 minutes for the vulture to spread its wings, which he thought would make a better picture, and when it didn’t, he took the picture,scared the vulture away, then left the girl to continue crawling on her own.
Carter's goal was to spread awareness of the violence and famine plaguing sub-Saharan Africa. Often, after taking photographs, Carter was so deeply affected that he would sit alone for hours, crying and smoking cigarettes. He was unable to escape the terrible scenes he witnessed.
To this day no one knows what became of the Sudanese girl, but the picture remains one of the most powerful images of our time.
Carter's friend and fellow photographer Ken Oosterbroek was killed just few months before 27 July 1994 when Carter drove to the Braamfontein Spruit river, near the Field and Study Centre, an area where he used to play as a child, and took his own life by taping one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe and running the other end to the passenger-side window. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning, aged 33. He had spiraled into a depression, to which many things were a factor, his vocation as a photojournalist in 1980s South Africa is believed to be a huge part of it. Carter is the tragic example of the toll photographing such suffering can take on a person
Though he will forever be remembered by that harrowing picture and the fact that he committed suicide 14 months after winning the highest accolade in his field of art, Carter played an important role in ending Apartheid in South Africa through his craft.
Kevin Carter was born in 1960, the year Nelson Mandela's African National Congress was outlawed and the year of the Sharpeville massacre when South African police opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, killing 60 people and leaving ore than 300 wounded.Descended from English immigrants, Carter was not part of the Afrikaner mainstream that ruled the country. Indeed, its ideology appalled him. Yet like many others he was caught up in its historic injustices. Later he was conscripted into  the south african defense forces which he despised.One day he shielded a black waiter against other soldiers they called him a kaffir-boetie (nigger lover)which struck him severely. in 1980, he went absent without leave, he rode a motorcycle to durban  and became a dj but he lost his job and returned to the army to finish  his service in Pretoria. In 1983, while on guard duty, he was injured  by a bomb that killed 19 people , he survived and finished his service .He found a job at a camera repair shop and slowly drifted into photojournalism and started working for  the johannesburg star in 1984 , along with his friends Ken Oosterbroek, Greg Marinovich, and Joao Silva longed to expose the brutality of Apartheid to the world. Risking imprisonment and death they captured the violence of South Africa so vividly that a Johannesburg magazine dubbed them "The Bang-Bang Club." The title stuck. Carter and his friends were fearless and put themselves in harm's way for what they believed in.
Along with his famous photograph, Carter had captured such things as a public necklacing execution in 1980s South Africa, along with the violence of the time, including shootouts and other executions.


Carter spoke of his thoughts when he took these photographs: “I had to think visually. I am zooming in on a tight shot of the dead guy and a splash of red. Going into his khaki uniform in a pool of blood in the sand. The dead man’s face is slightly gray. You are making a visual here. But inside something is screaming: ‘My God!’. But it is time to work. Deal with the rest later. If you can’t do it, get out of the game”.

Kevin Carter in action




Carter's story was subsequently depicted in the 2010 feature film, The Bang-Bang-Club in which he was played by Taylor Kitsch.
Carter's friend and fellow photographer Ken Oosterbroek was killed just few months before. Kevin Carter wound up developing a serious substance abuse problem. He used cocaine to give him the energy he needed to be hyper-vigilant at all times while in combat zones. He used marijuana and alcohol to try to calm himself down at night, haunted by the things he'd seen. Carter also felt constant guilt as a white person when he witnessed the atrocities committed against black South Africans, as well as between various tribes. Carter felt responsible for the deaths that he saw and tried to atone for the violence committed by the hands of white South Africans. He would at least live to witness the election of Nelson Mandela and the fall of apartheid South Africa.
However a cloud of guilt haunted his eye, tormented by the human tragedy that he had witnessed.
Portions of Carter's suicide note read as this:"I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky."
If truth be told some photographs are  beyond words, deeds  or actions. Kevin Carter's  memory and contribution to ending oppression and exposing the suffering of Africans by releasing it to the world with his pictures lives on.

Manic Street Preachers  - Kevin Carter



Hi Time magazine hi Pulitzer Prize
Tribal scars in Technicolor
Bang bang club AK 47 hour

Kevin Carter

Hi Time magazine hi Pulitzer Prize
Vulture stalked white piped lie forever
Wasted your life in black and white

Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter

Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter

The elephant is so ugly he sleeps his head
Machetes his bed Kevin Carter kaffir lover forever
Click click click click click
Click himself under

Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Broken (After visit to London, September 2017)


I heard the crying of the birds
as music sailed into tragic sky,
passing lonely figures with express
ionless gaze, sitting sightless and mute,
their only comfort a strong weatherproof can
almost naked in their cages, neglected and worn,
faces stained with sadness and bitter pills
the marks of battered existence,
sheltering among cardboard in open view
broken and torn, losing sense of hope,
with aching belly's, empty pockets
flicker of dreams slowly evaporating,
struggling, drifting on streets of anguish
the pavements they sleep, not laced with gold,
as rain poured down, to lash skin and souls
others rushed on by in search of entertainment;
troubles they will keep as another world turns
and politicians walk on paths of indifference.


Above poem can also be found here :-
https://iamnotasilentpoet.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/broken-after-visit-to-london-september-2017-by-dave-rendle/


Protest at Aberporth ELBIT drones parts factory to support the Elbit 5


"Stop Arming Israel Week" culminated on 6/7th July 2017 with activists from different parts of the UK successfully shutting down the drone factory at Shenstone belonging to the Israeli weapons manufacturer ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD for two whole days. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170707-uk-protest-shuts-backbone-of-israeli-drone-factory/ 
Five were arrested and charged under the Trade Union and Relations Act , TULRCA 1992. Those arrested were told to appear at Cannock Magistrates' Court at 9.30 am on Friday 18th August.
The hearing was adjourned after a few minutes because the CPS had not prepared the case adequately. They are due in court again on Wednesday 13th September.https://www.facebook.com/events/158937174658725/
Solidarity demonstration are planned to show the British state and media that the campaign to end UK arms trade with Israel is growing in strength https://www.stoparmingisrael.org/ 
We are holding a sympathy demo in solidarity with the brave ELBIT 5 on Wednesday 13th September at Aberporth Airfield, SA43 2DW Aberporth. Ceredigion Wales.
The main purpose is to get a photo to send as part of a show of support, and of course the drone testing site is the obvious place to do this.https://peacenews.info/node/4110/testing-death-drones-aberporth

Drones are another example of technology outpacing ethics, with devastating consequences.
By changing the nature of warfare it is becoming easier for aggressor states to go to war, with fewer political and human costs at home, but are liable to error  but far from being the accurate weapon that the military claim drones are increasingly responsible for civilian casualties including many children.
Over the past few years we have witnessed the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, to undertake armed attacks around the globe. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia have all been subject to drone strikes by US or British drones while Palestinians are also subjected to strikes from Israeli drones.


Why Elbit?

ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD is one of the most iconic accomplices of Israeli violations of international law and a notorious war profiteer. Just after the brutal military assault on Gaza in July/August 2014, Elbit’s shares rose 6.6%. Elbit is deeply complicit in Israel's military aggressions against the Palestinian people and one of the world’s most important promoters of the use of drones in war and population control and directly involved in the construction of the Wall and the settlements, including their surveillance. For various reasons relating to Elbit’s violations of international law, various pension funds and financial institutions within the European Union have already divested from the company and the UN Special rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories called for the company to be boycotted. https://www.un.org/press/en/2012/gashc4048.doc.htm



Friday, 8 September 2017

This is the real Aung San Suu Kyi

..

The true colours of the Lady.

Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her “non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.”
But, she has been criticized internationally for allowing genocide, discrimination, and violence against Muslim Rohingyas.
The Nobel laureate has shocked the world by failing to speak up for persecuted minorities. Some believe she is showing her true colors.
Rohingya Muslims  are a small minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. They are becoming smaller still, thanks to a brutal campaign initiated in mid-October by the Burmese military. The spark for the violence came on October 9, when a Rohingya militia attacked a police outpost in northern Rakhine province, killing nine officers and seizing weapons and equipment. The military’s harsh reprisal campaign, designed to retrieve every gun stolen during the initial raid, is believed to have killed hundreds of Rohingya, and sent around 25,000 more fleeing into Bangladesh in what Amnesty International has termed “collective punishment.”
The world has waited a long time for Suu Kyi to address the Rohingya problem. She has been given the benefit of the doubt, out of deference to both her sterling human rights record and to the complex political landscape she must navigate for civilian rule to truly triumph over a military that still wields considerable power in Myanmar. But as the body count continues to mount, there is a dawning suspicion that there may be no objection forthcoming, that indifference is Suu Kyi’s final response to a human rights catastrophe unfolding in her country’s borderlands.
More than a dozen fellow Nobel laureates have criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, for a bloody military crackdown on minority Rohingya people, warning of a tragedy “amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”.
The open letter to the UN security council from a group of 23 activists, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai, warned that the army offensive had killed of hundreds of people, including children, and left women raped, houses burned and many civilians arbitrarily arrested.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a woman of 72 years old, a wise woman, some say, but their numbers dwindle.
And despite all her pious references to the Lord Buddha and despite all the stories about her study of the philosophy of non-violence and of many Buddhist scriptures, and despite the many years in which she, according to their own words, was sunk daily in Buddhist meditation,,despite all of this, she obviously never became detached from the searing ambition to become, at all costs, president.
There is no question of detachment. It is tragic, but not as tragic as the fate of the Rohingya, the people on whose backs the tragedy is being played out.
While Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi herself is not directly responsible for the military’s actions in Myanmar, the military is answerable only to its own high command , at the very least she has a moral duty to call out the human-rights violations that she herself campaigned to stop. Failing to do so is not the behavior of someone hailed by the Nobel committee for her “work for democracy and human rights” and her commitment to “peace and reconciliation.”
Many people are currently signing  a petition on Change.org demanding that the Nobel Peace Prize be taken back from Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi for failure to stop violence against the ethnic Rohignya Muslims in the country.
Three million signatures are needed to forward the demand to the Norway-based Nobel Peace Prize Committee.
Here is link to the petition:
https://www.change.org/p/take-back-aung-san-suu-kyi-s-nobel-peace-prize

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

R.I.P Holger Czukay (24/3/1938 -5/9//2017) Trailblazing Can -Co founder


Sad to hear that Holger Czukay, born Holger Schüring, the co-founder and bassist of the iconic and influential Krautrock band Can has left the planet. He was 79. He was reportedly found dead in the original Inner Space Can  studio in  Weilerswist (formerly a movie theater) near Cologne, where he had allegedly been living. His cause of death is unknown. It follows the loss for the band this year; of founding drummer Jaki Liebezeit who passed away in January, and then the sad loss of his wife U- She, who passed away on July 28th, her 55th birthday.
"We are very sad to confirm that Holger passed away yesterday, in his home, the old CAN Studio in Weilerswist," the band wrote on Facebook.  "His wife U-She passed away only weeks before. Holger was devastated by the loss of his beloved partner, but was looking forward to making more music and was in good spirits. His passing has come as a shock. We will post more information about funeral arrangements shortly."
Czukay was born  in Gdansk, Poland on March 24, 1938 but the onset of the Second World War saw his family being expelled from the country. After falling in love with music at a young age, he spent his formative years studying to be a composer and conductor, but his ideas were frequently too radical for mainstream tastes; after being disqualified from one jazz festival for his "unclassifiable music," he was later expelled from Berlin's Music Academy for similar artistic insolence.
Czukay studied in Cologne from 1963 to 1966 with the pioneering avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, a mentor-figure who made a lasting impact on his approach to life and music. While he initially had little interest in rock and roll , he was piqued by the Beatles I am the Walrus ,which led him to discover the music of the Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix , and Frank Zappa among others.
In 1968, after picking up the bass , Czukay  teamed up with  the young German guitarist Michael Karoli, fellow Stokhausen protégé Irmin Schmidt, and American born vocalist Malcolm Mooney and the group Inner Space was formed. Quickly renamed Can, they released their debut album Monster Movie in 1969, the first in a series of visionary albums establishing the band as one of the truly most seminal  group of the period..
Can were described by critic Jason Ankeny as "successfully bridging the gap between pop and the avant-garde," Czukay was one of the pivotal underground figures of his era, over the course of his long, expansive career, he successfully bridged the gap between pop and the avant-garde, pioneering the use of samples and exploring the significance of world music on Western culture.He recorded nine albums with Can , leaving the group after Saw Delight in 1977. Their albums Tago Mago, Ege Banyasi, Future Days for me are timeless masterpieces. Relying heavily on improvisational songwriting  they blended elements of psychedelica and jazz which  has continued to exert a considerable influence on avant-garde, experimental, post-punk, ambient, new wave and electronic music ever since.
Czukay released 15 solo albums over the years, developing recording techniques and pioneering the art of sampling. This was before computers made sampling an effortless practice, as it originally required the sampler to physically cut strips of tape. He also pioneered what he called “radio painting”, using shortwave radios to record random snippets of sound and pasting them collage-style into recordings; “rhythm boxing” was his description of how he used drum machines
Czukay issued his debut solo effort, Movies in 1980. In addition to critical raves, the record won considerable interest throughout the musical community, and Czukkay subsequently began work on a number of outside projects: in addition to playing on Eurythmics' 1981 debut, In the Garden  he teamed with Jaki Liebezeit and bassist Jah Wobble  for the LP Full Circle and the club hit "How Much Are They."
Czukay's next official solo release was 1982's On the way to the peak of normal, another collaboration with Wobble, this was followed by 1984's Der Osten 1st Rot and 1987's Rome Remains Rome .He also  recorded the Balearic disco classic Snake Charmer with New York DJ Francois Kevorkian, U2 guitarist The Edge and again Public Image Limited’s Jah Wobble
His most recent release was 2015′s archival collection, Eleven Years Innerspace. Can's most recent release was this years compilation The Singles.
A true trailblazing visionary,in our oceans of sound R.I .P

Holger Czukay - Cool in the pool



Can - Paperhouse



Can - Vitamin C



Can - Halleluwah

Holger Czukay - Float Space



Holger Czukay - On the way to the peak of normal



Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Roger Waters - Is this the life we really want?



Very grateful to a friend of mine, who recently gifted me for my fiftieth birthday the latest release by the creative force and songwriter of Pink Floyd ,Roger Waters, an astounding conceptual masterpiece entitled : "Is This the Life We Really Want?" his first rock album in 25 years, superbly produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck etc).
At  73-year-old Waters still has not mellowed with age and he's certainly not too pleased, with the current state of the world. In fact, he's downright angry.That's a reason why "Is This the Life We Really Want?" arrives with an explicit lyrics warning.
The record is both a loud protest of current events and a continuation of the themes Waters last explored 25 years ago on "Amused to Death"  which was a prescient study of popular culture, exploring the power of television in the era of the First Gulf War.
Anyone hoping for a bold new direction, or some level of subtlety from Waters is not going to find it on Waters latest release. And I for one am  certainly not complaining. With a strong voice which vibrates with rage and fury over 12 tracks ,Waters paints a picture of a desperate world and issues an angry protest, against the things that make it so, from drone warfare, targeted assassination, “black site” torture, the refugee crisis, global warming, corporate greed, inequality, injustice, lying politicians, brainless leaders and "nincompoop" presidents.
Few musicians dispense political invective quite like Roger Waters. From the social order lambasting found on the Pink Floyd records Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut, plus a string of solo albums, Waters has long spoken out  against what he sees as humanity’s greatest failures, mans inclination towards war and greed.On Is ths the life we really want?  he sticks to his anti-war, and anti-greed rhetoric, with blunt, expletive-soaked verses, that I feel are much needed in the present time.
A song called Picture That sets the tone,  a litany of modern outrage, from prosthetic limbs in Afghanistan to having an idiot for president :
Picture a shithouse with no fucking drains,’ Waters advises ‘Picture a leader with no fucking brains.’
Waters has been a fierce critic of US President Donald Trump and delighted audiences in Mexico City last year with a rendition of the 1977 Ping Floyd song “Pigs”, showing images of Trump with a machine gun outside the White House and giving a Nazi salute. On the day Trump was inaugurated, Waters declared on Facebook that “the resistance begins today.”

Picture That


While this record is  firmly rooted in the present, there are echoes of the past, ticking clocks, ghostly (and sometimes angry) disembodied voices, barking dogs and a passing reference to the guitar riff of "Wish You Were Here" all serving as  echoes of Pink Floyd's past without being a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
His track Smell the Roses draws on Animals, setting a melodic vocal line over a steamroller guitar riff evoking the classic Pink Floyd sound.  The lyrics, however, have a decisively modern edge; Waters is clearly taking aim at the turbulence of our contemporary era with lines like:

“This is the room where they make the explosives/ Where they put your name on the bomb/ Here’s where they bury the buts and the ifs/ And scratch out words like right and wrong”

Smell the Roses


As on “Amused To Death,” Waters is angry with God, too, or perhaps the idea of God, in “Deja Vu”:

Deja Vu


If I had been God

I would have sired many sons, and I would not have suffered the Romans to kill even one of them



If I had been God

With my staff and my rod

If I had been given the nod

I believe I could have done a better job

The song then segues to one of the album’s finest lyrical moments, adding to its clear attacks on Trump a swipe at Obama era militarism:

If I were a drone

Patrolling foreign skies

With my electronic eyes for guidance

And the element of surprise

I would be afraid to find someone home

Maybe a woman at a stove

Baking bread, making rice, or just boiling down some bones

If I were a drone.

His powerful imagination reaffirms him as a great songwriter, capable of awakening consciousness and moving the world.His track Broken Bones delves into the torturing of innocents and other horrible acts carried out in freedoms name. It serves to point to a familiar Water's cry :

We cannot turn back the clock / We cannot go back in time/ But  we can say  Fuck you, we will not listen to your bullshit and lies, your bullshit and lies.

Broken Bones



One of the my personal favourites is a  moving track is based on a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. The song ' Wait for her ' was inspired by an English translation of  Lesson from the Kama Sutra (Wait for her by Darwish.as well as the tragic death of three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, whose body was discovered on the shores of Turkey in 2015.
Darwish , who died in 2008, is considered a Palestinian national symbol who was a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation .He is known as one of the great influential poets of the Islamic and Arab world. Born in a village  in a village that later became part of northern Israel and a resident of countries including Lebanon, France and Jordan, he spent part of the last years of his life in the West Bank city of Ramallah
The poet was critical of Israel as well as of terror group Hamas, which currently rules the Gaza Strip.
The love poem that inspired Waters begins with the lines “Wait for her with an azure cup. Wait for her in the evening at the spring, among perfumed roses.” But it ends with the lines “There is no one alive but the two of you. So take her gently to the death you so desire, and wait.”
You can find a translation of poem on previous post on Mahmoud Darwish here :- https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/mahmoud-darwish-poet-of-resistance.html
The video features footage of Waters and his touring band performing in a studio, interspersed with scenes of a woman in a dressing room preparing for some kind of performance. That woman, Azurra is the same actress/dancer featured in the video for Roger's new tune "The Last Refugee."
The Last Refugee  shows all the mixed emotions a woman who's been displaced from her homeland might feel. The 4:14 minute clip opens with a close up of an old transistor radio broadcasting a BBC Radio sign off.  The  musical intro gradually fades in with drums, as well as piano accompaniment,
The camera pans away from the radio to show a young woman dancing in a parka inside an old abandoned brick warehouse. As it pulls back further to show the squalor of the woman's living conditions, the scene briefly transitions to her dancing in a ballroom, wearing a glamorous black dress and then reverts back to the ramshackle warehouse, as Waters sings,  “Lie with me now/Under the lemon tree skies/Show me the shy slow smile/You keep hidden by warm brown eyes.”
The video is co-credited to Waters and longtime associate Sean Evans. Evans previously directed the concert film “Roger Waters: The Wall,” which premiered in 2014 at the Toronto Film Festival. Fans can check out the “Last Refugee” video above.

The Last Refugee




In the "Wait for Her" video, Azzura is shown sitting at a theatrical mirror as she applies makeup and nail polish. She also places two crumpled photos of a young girl, apparently her daughter, on the mirror and gazes sadly at them.
As the clip continues, a large scar is visible on the woman's neck, and she begins to cry. After changing into a new outfit, she leaves the dressing room and apparently heads toward a stage as the video ends. As for the woman's scar the video director Sean Evans explained that "it is a symbol of the physical torment refugees endure."

Wait for her


With a glass inlaid with gemstones
On a pool around the evening
Among the perfumed roses
Wait for her

With the patience of a packhorse loaded for the mountains
Like a stoic, noble prince
Wait for her

With seven pillows laid out on the stair
The scent of womens' incense fills the air
Be calm, and wait for her

And do not flush the sparrows that are nesting in her braids
All along the barricades
Wait for her

And if she comes soon
Wait for her
And if she comes late
Wait

Let her be still as a summer afternoon
A garden in full bloom

Let her breathe in the air that is foreign to her heart
Let her lips part
Wait for her


Waters has long been known for his vocal defence of the Palestinian people.So I am glad ,that Roger is still not sitting back in silence, still releasing his raw honesty. As an activist and human rights defender, he has never rested on his laurels, an individual who has continually used his voice to speak out, against  abusers of power, whilst at same time issuing a plea for sanity. Using his talents.in the service of bringing people together and insisting they make themselves aware of the dire circumstances that we all face. His art inspires and enables us to keep up  the struggle for a peaceful and just planet.
If you don't like politics, then stay away from this album. if not, listen to it, and bask in an old man's  unrelenting rage.It is important to commend Waters and his strong stance and beliefs. There aren’t many celebrities who publicly take a pro-Palestinian stance. Waters is shaking the world with his new album a powerful and poignant statement for our times that simply should not be ignored. This record is exactly what the world needs to hear, it rips the greedy flesh right off of its bones, exposing the world and its leaders as inflated anti-humanitarians; leaving us disgraced at the cruelty we allowed to happen for the sake of currency and power. Stirling stuff. And as for comparisons with Pink Floyds last effort Endless River it beats it by miles. Another world is fucking possible.After all, is this the life we really want?
The musicians playing on the record, besides Waters himself who takes care of vocals, acoustic guitar and bass, are: Nigel Godrich (arrangement, sound collages, keyboards, guitar), Gus Seyffert (bass, guitar, keyboards), Jonathan Wilson (guitar, keyboards), Joey Waronker (drums), Roger Manning (keyboards), Lee Pardini (keyboards), and Lucius (vocals) with Jessica Wolfe and Holly Proctor.

Roger Waters Poem - Is this the life we really want?



Sunday, 3 September 2017

To be hopeful in bad times - Howard Zinn (24/8/1922 - 27/1/ 2010).


Howard Zinn passed away seven  years ago, a  truly remarkable historian, and passionate activist.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, into a working-class family he began his working life as a shipfitter. He flew as a bomber in World War II during which time he learned to hate war itself.  When he returned home he put his medals in an envelope and sealed it with the words “never again.”
After his military service he went to college under the GI bill, earning a doctorate in history at Columbia University.  He went on to teaching at Spelman College in Georgia where he was active in the Civil Rights movement. In 1963 he moved to Boston University and became a prominent, outspoken critic of the Vietnam War
He wrote more than twenty books, including his best-selling and influential A People’s History of the United Statesa history of America through the perspective of“those outside of the political and economic establishment. He was the first historian to write about American history from a perspective of indigenous people, from a perspective of the working class, people who worked in the steel mills, people who worked in the mines, people who worked on the railroads. He told the stories of immigrants, and presented all the rough hands and tortured faces that built the country we know as America. Ordinary people who joined popular struggles for a better country.
In his 2002 autobiography You can't be neutral on a moving Train he wrote the following, reminding me to remain hopeful , hope gets us through the good days and especially the bad ones.Many of us sit in wait of something miraculous  to take place and get so very discouraged when all that keeps flowing are disappointments. At the end of the day it  is we who are the avenues of change in our own lives :

" There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment we will continue to see. We forget how often in this century we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -- and there are so many -- where people behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."— Howard Zinn

There was nothing naive or sentimental about Zinn’s positions. He had seen first hand the worst that humanity was capable of, and simply chose to confront it as a challenge rather than accept it as our final destiny.
In this excerpt from the 2004 documentary also called Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, Zinn describes his experiences as an Air Force bombadier in World War II, which helped inspire his life’s work. The “great question of our time,” he later wrote, is “how to achieve justice with struggle, but without war.”


 You can read Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States online. You can also visit the website dedicated to Zinn’s work, offering a great archive of his articles and interviews, bibliography and video & audio material.
As the legendary activist and author discussed in one of his final interviews, he wanted to be remembered for “introducing a different way of thinking about the world,” and as “somebody who gave people a feeling of hope and power that they didn’t have before.” We need this now more than ever  we can't afford to be "neutral on a moving train."


Friday, 1 September 2017

Israel frees Palestinian clown Mohammed Abu Sakha after 20 months held without charge in Israeli prison


Palestinian clowns hold portraits of their colleague Mohammed Abu Sakha during a demonstration in solidarity with him in February 2016 in Gaza

A Palestinian clown accused by Israel's Ben Bet security agency of membership of a banned leftist group called the Popular Front for th liberation of Palestine and held without charge for 20 months has been released. On Thursday, 26 years old Mohammed Abu Sakha was released from Administration detention, the controversial measure in which Israel detains suspects without trial.
The procedure allows Israel to keep suspects in prison for very long stretches of time without needing to begin a legal procedure or even informing the arrested people why they are being held.
 Abu Sakha returned to the Northern West Bank city of Jenin , where friends and family were waiting to welcome him.
Abu had been part of the Palestinian Circus School. in Bin Ziet in the West Bank since 2008,first as a student, and later as a clown and teacher. To the children with mental disabilities that he had taught before his imprisonment, who attach a lot of importance to their emotions, his arrest and subsequent imprisonment must have been incredibly hurtful
He says he will return to the circus, which is a constant source of hope for the oppressed population. He wants to devote his life to improving the lives of children and young people in the West Bank.
His imprisonment had sparked a high-profile campaign for his release, with support from circus performers and activists around the world.During street performances of pogo stick jumping or other acrobatic routines, they have all been raising signs that say, “Free Abu Sakha!” Some of them have also posted video clips from their own circuses. American recording artist David Rovics wrote a song about him, too: “He could have been a fighter, as so many others did. … Instead he joined a circus troupe to warm the aching hearts. Sometimes the hula hoop is the best way to play your part. And his only crime was making children happy.” 
Amnesty International also strongly condemned his detention calling for him to be “charged with a crime or released”. Saying that  they opposed administrative detention, “because it violates the right to liberty and to a fair trial”.
 “Amnesty International also considers that Israel’s use of administrative detention itself may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, given the detainee’s inability to know why they are being detained or when they will be released,” the group said in a statement.
Abu Sakha, 26, told Middle East Eye that he had mixed feelings about being released from administrative detention, a controversial measure under which Israel detains suspects without trial for periods of several months.
“I’m happy to be released … but I know that there are many people in the same position as me still inside, so I’m sad at the same time,” said Abu Sakha :http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-frees-palestinian-clown-after-nearly-two-year-detention-without-charge-310587888
Palestinian human rights activist groups report that to date there are at least 6200 Palestinians detained in Israeli jails; of these, approximately 450 are held on the basis of an administrative detention order.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

War Starts Here - Let's Stop it



War, injustice, and repression starts here. Thousands of people are coming together to stop it. Be part of it! Join the protests and add your name to the call to Stop the Arms Fair 
On 12 September, the international weapons industry plans to set up shop in  East London at a huge arms fair DSEI, the weapons sold here fuel the death and destruction duel the and injustice perpetrated by militaries, police forces and at borders around the world. For one week every two years, arms companies like BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Airbus etc etc display their weapons to buyers from around the world, including  countries in conflict, authoritarian regimes and countries with serious human rights problems. Weapons that have been used to crush pro-democracy movements around the world. Many of the biggest companies at DSEI are central to the Trident replacement and the nuclear arms race – spending billions to kill millions.
In 2015, hundreds of people took part in a week of action - the biggest ever protests against the DSEI. For six days entrances were blocked, disrupting the set up o the fair. 2017 is set to be even bigger. Join actions at the gates every day from 4-11 September, stopping the arms fair before it starts. If you can't be there in person, you can still make sure the opposition is the biggest ever.  As the September 4th start date edges closer, early actions to draw attention to protests against this annual gathering of the merchants of death have begun to filter in.
Posters have been put up around London by activists using the increasingly popular method of hijacked bus hoardings.



Stop the Arms Fair is regularly updating  on social media in advance of the event and has been putting up useful tips such as on knowing your rights on its website. A full schedule off events has also been published of what's going on during the week, see below

September 4th-10th
All day
Occupy the Arms Fair! Stop DSEI campt
ExCeL east entrance, London
Monday September 4th
All day
Stop Arming Israel! Stop The Arms Fair!
ExCeL east entrance, London
Tuesday September 5th
9am-6pm
No Faith in War
ExCeL east entrance, London
Wednesday September 6th
All day
No to Nuclear Weapons: No to the Arms Fair
ExCeL Centre, London
10am-6pmArms to Renewables
ExCeL east entrance, London
Thursday September 7th
All day
Free Movement for People, not Weapons!
ExCeL east entrance, London
Friday September 8th
9.30am-5.30pm
Conference at the Gates: Academics Against the Arms Fair
ExCeL Centre, London
10am-2pmSuper-Villains Picket the Arms Fair
ExCeL Centre, London
Saturday September 9th
10am-6pm
Art the Arms Fair at the Big Day of Action
ExCeL east entrance, London
10am-6pmBig Day of Action
East Entrance, Victoria Dock Road

Spread the word, share the above video and please sign the following petition :- https://www.caat.org.uk/get-involved/act-now/petition/shut-it-

Find out more ways to get involved at :-

https://www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk


The latest annual report from the government’s Defence and Security Organisation shows that the UK won £6bn of arms deals in 2016 – representing 9% of the global market. Half of the total value was to the Middle East.Over 10 years, the report ranks Britain as the second biggest arms dealer in the world behind the US.
A telling example of the blood money and lucrative profits to be made by the revolving door between  government departments and arms companies is the case of Elbit Systems and former British army General Dick Applegate who went on to become chairman of Israel arms company Elbit Systems IK branch in 2011.
According to Campaigm Against Arms Trade:"In 2012 the Sunday Times exposed Applegate, ewcording him boasting of how he lobbied to secure 500m of government money or Elbit. Appleton  was filmed admitting he'd applied pressure by 'infecting; the system at every level."
Lets remember that the UK government helps to organise this arms fair, and invites these military buyers from around the world, and helps arms companies to make deals, at taxpayer expense.Theresa May’s Government  also exports weapons to 22 out of 30 countries on their own human rights watchlist. A vicar’s daughter should know better.
The arms industry's influence is all pervasive at every level of government influencing both foreign policy and public spending. It means that instead of criticising abuses committed by regimes such as Saudi Arabia, the British government  goes out of it's way to sell them more weapons.
Deals  hatched and made at the DSEI Arms Fair destroy lives, create  mayhem and destruction. This has to stop, and together we can stop it. These profiteers of human misery should be given no welcome.

P.P.S. Are you in the Labour Party? If so, please take urgent action to ask your Constituency Labour Party to support a Stop Arming Saudi contemporary motion for Conference.

Another World is Possible - Stop the Arms Fair 2017




Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Captain Swing Riots


The Captain Swing riots occurred in England during 1830-31 across a whole swathe of Southern England, following years of war, high taxes and low wages, farm labourers, especially in the south and east of England, finally snapped These farm labourers had faced progressive impoverishment and unemployment over the previous fifty years due to the widespread introduction of the threshing machine and the policy of enclosing fields. No longer were thousands of men needed to tend the crops, a few would suffice. The anger of the rioters was directed at three targets that were seen as the prime source of their misery: the Tithe system, the Poor Law guardians, and the rich tenant farmers who had been progressively lowering wages while introducing agricultural machinery With fewer jobs, lower wages and no prospects of things improving for these workers the threshing machine was the final straw, the object that was to place them on the brink of starvation. The Swing Rioters smashed the threshing machines and threatened farmers who had them.was due to modern threshing machines being introduced into agriculture, the result of which was low wages paid by farmers  which led to the starvation of farm workers where many died as a result of not earning money to buy food for themselves and their families.
Between 1770 and 1830 ,in the Enclosure Acts of rural England no less than a million acres (24,000 km2) of common land were enclosed by rich landowners depriving the common people of ancient rights to use common ground.For centuries this common land had been used by the poor of the countryside to graze their animals and grow their own produce. This land was now divided up among the large local landowners, leaving the landless farm workers dependent upon working for their richer neighbours for a cash wage.
After the Napoleonic wars in 1815 grain prices plummeted. Many farm workers were thrown out of work and at home they faced poverty and the prospect of the workhouse. Farmers would pay their workers as little as possible, knowing that the parish fund would top up wages. Echoes of working tax credits of today.
Another burden was the tithe demanded by the Church of England of a 10th of the harvest to pay the parson a generous wage and the Swing movement demanded a large reduction in these taxes. In parliament Lord Carnarvon had said that ‘The English labourer was reduced to a plight more abject than that of any race in Europe’ Generally the lot of an agricultural labourer was a pretty miserable one.
Social tensions  increased and the labourers naturally rose up, demanding a minimum wage, the end of rural unemployment, tithe and rent reductions. and an end to the threshing machine which destroyed their winter employment. They reinforced their demands with rick-burning, the destruction of the threshing machines and cattle-maiming among other things. The major landowners were concerned for their own farms and due to their influence were able to get military assistance in putting down the riots.
In many places hay ricks were set alight, in some places the protests took on none-violent forms such as church boycotts and walk outs. In Wroughton in Wiltshire the protest amounted to people smoking pipes in the cemetery as a means of getting their point across.
As well as the attacks on the threshing machines the protesters reinforced their demands with wage and tithe riots and by the destruction of objects of their oppression, such as workhouses and agricultural tithe barns During these riots many threshing machines were either dismantled or destroyed entirely.
On the night of August 28 in 1830 in Kent, England a threshing machine was destroyed by angry labourers - the start of the Swing rebellion. Typically a farmer would receive an anonymous note  often signed by "Captain Swing", telling him that unless he destroyed his threshing machine then his barns, haystacks and house would be burned down, and if they did not cave in, mobs would attack the farms, set them a flame and smash the machines. By the third week of October, over one hundred threshing machines had been destroyed in East Kent.
There was no centralised organising committee but such was the deep seated feeling of oppression that as news of the troubles spread, there was no shortage of local volunteers to lead or "Captain" his fellow workers. Night after night fires started by roving mobs lit up the countryside. For many farmers, danger and destruction was a matter of when, not if. Understandably,  farmers were frightened by the initial wave of attacks and generally gave in to the demands of the rioting farm workers.This only made the rioters bolder.
Farm workers now started confronting farmers asking for higher wages and other improvements to their conditions. Rectors were told to lower tithes by armed gangs. Often their demands were met.
There are many stories of confrontations from all over the county. One at Halnaker near Chisester ended peacefully when the Duke of Richmond told the mob that they should return home and talk later. Another such confrontation in Lancing ended up less happily with the local landowner taking a severe beating.
The riots continued sporadically until 1831 when those arrested were sent or trial. The recriminations were savage and harsh.In all 19 were executed, and 9 were hanged, 500 were transported to the colonies for various offences, and 600 were imprisoned for varying periods.
The 'Swing' riots were the first large-scale demonstration of agricultural labourers' strength, an expression of their fear and anger by the poorest people in the land.who saw their meagre way of life threatened by new technology. Agitation continued, especially after the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. There were no agricultural trade unions because jobs and therefore homes were at stake.Some of the landowners were  actually sympathetic to the plight of the poor, and raised wages or  offered more employment but in general nothing changed until the advent of prosperity in the mid 1850's when manufacturing started to provide employment and draw the population away from rural areas.
. The 'Swing' riots did influence the passing of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act and the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act,  but wages and conditions did not improve overall or a long time to come. But the Captain Swing Riots served to encourage a wider demand for political reform culminating in a huge step forward for democracy in Britain with the advent of the Representation of the People Act 1832. This act increased the electorate from about 500,000 to 813,000 by allowing almost one in five adult males to vote  but still no women.
Demonised at the time as thugs and enemies to progress the Captain Swing protestors had justifiable grievances and were in fact only protesting or a fairer and more prosperous Britain.
This is a great short history of the riots: https://libcom.org/history/captain-swing-was-here



Further reading :- 

Captain Swing - Eric Hobsbawn , 1969

Pictured: one of the letters

Captain Swing - Robb Johnson, live Tolpuddle, 2010