Monthly Archives: January 2009

Myths and Bloodstains


“I am deeply alarmed by the current escalation of violence
in and around Gaza. This is unacceptable.”
Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General
30 December 2008

“Israel has been supplying comprehensive humanitarian aid
to the Gaza Strip and has even been stepping this up by the day.”
Tzipi Livni, Israeli Foreign Minister
31 December 2008

It may be hard for anyone to imagine
I was once a little girl,
filling a small pot with handfuls
of moist soil, making room
for a fragile seedling.

Now I can’t remember
the last time I planted
something that took time
to grow.

Today I had someone do my fingers
after a cleansing.
The faintest hint
of pink, nothing darker.

Soon three more ministers
and a president will try
to give me a squeeze.
Like all others, their hands
will grow weak as I stand
on burgundy heels.
My firm smile alone
will make them squirm.

I wonder if I should put on
that elegant black suit
worn only once, next to Condee
Rice, a string of pearls
tracing the lines on my neck.
I would have preferred
a choker. Even so, I made her look
even smaller.

This pair of earrings,
twisted “O”s,
will make my hair seem
less stiff and straight.

Details are forever crucial.
I know.

-o-
Land Theft

Photo

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Israel Needs Shoes


New moon dimmed by flares
Shoes scatter on rubbled streets
Not one matching pair

news item


Magicians and Bunnies in the Newsroom

Magicians are in a trade. They satisfy an audience’s craving for the fantastic, the impossible, the breathtaking. They know the best contraptions to use, the best colours of smoke to release, the slightest gesture to reveal and conceal at the precise moment. They suck you in a narrative of sorts, preparing and priming you for that special moment, and then a quick flourish and VOILA!

They know the tricks of the trade, so to speak.

Mainstream corporate media is in a trade. They are run with the intent to sell texts and images and, unlike the distant origins of journalism that strives to reveal the uncompromising truth, mainstream media aims to keep the status quo and not rock the boat of complacency. There are exceptions, of course, but in more recent times there have been fewer and fewer brave media people willing to risk their jobs and even their own lives by going against approved storylines and perspectives.

Those who put out “news” have many ways of revealing and concealing things. Some tricks are easy to spot as outright lies and fabrications. Some “news reports” are mere repetitions or muffled Amens to greater powers – political, corporate, religious, military, etc. – and, by mere repetition, are assumed to be facts by the less critical reader or “consumer” of news, details not meant to be questioned.

These types of media people view their readers as uncritical and feed them the same information from the same sources but spiced up or slightly changed to add some variety. Their positions remain the same.

It would be quite easy to pinpoint outright lies in a news article. Some tricks are more subtle and so we shall reveal just one of them for now.

In the aftermath of the historic “Throwing of the Shoes at Outgoing President Bush” – which to some people may seem a mundane and totally irrelevant event in world affairs – there has been an unprecedented flurry of activities from protest rallies in various parts of the world to show support for the reporter, proliferation of internet-based games depicting alternate scenarios, and numerous articles full of accurate or fictional information.


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At the River Crossing

Rocks and boulders
smoothed to roundness by the relentless
rushing of cold mountain waters,
please keep my daughters’
little feet on your firm backs.

Please do not budge as they move
among you, they mean no harm.
They are enchanted
by the river’s song.

They have forgotten
fragility of bone,
softness of flesh,
flow of blood
in their tender bodies.

Please do not betray
their trust in you.
My voice is drowned
by the river’s song.

They are on their own
until they reach shore.
-o-

nina-kiara-rivercrossing-cederberg-2009


Matangmanok. Chicken-eyes.

Matangmanok literally means chicken-eyes.

Chickens — those creatures that often end up in KFC buckets or whose claws and day-old offspring are served as delicacies in some cultures — have eyes that are more used to seeing in daylight than in darkness. They struggle to make out the shape of things when there is little light.

The free ones scratch the ground for the possibility of finding something to peck at, some sustenance. They also look up at the sky every now and then to watch out for predators that could swoop down on their kind at any moment. They seem forever nervous, sensing the world around them with eyes that rarely stay still.

And then there are the caged chickens whose lives have been reduced to being fed in the smallest space possible, for human consumption. Human economic practices are often vicious on other species. Chickens that are stuffed in communal cages for their eggs have beaks cut off to keep them from venting their frustrated instincts on one another. Their eggs plop on metal surfaces, rolling away onto a conveyor belt for efficient packaging. These chickens have an existence that are good only while they can keep on supplying a targeted number of eggs. Otherwise they end up meeting the fate of other non-laying chickens.

Of course there are other cases, the in-between freedom and the chopping block.

I digress. This is my first blog and already it has taken on a different direction from what I had intended.

I meant to say welcome to this little realm. I might wander into strange territories and you, dear reader, are most welcome to wander along.