Monthly Archives: January 2010

Big Boots for Crushed Lives

A = US military

B = Mercenary

C = Humanitarian Aid

A + B = C

Duh?

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Howard Zinn: A Thousand Possibilities

Howard Zinn, 1922-2010

“We’ve got to rethink this question of war and come to the conclusion that war cannot be accepted, no matter what. No matter what the reasons given, or the excuse: liberty, democracy; this, that. War is by definition the indiscriminate killing of huge numbers of people for ends that are uncertain. Think about means and ends, and apply it to war. The means are horrible, certainly. The ends, uncertain. That alone should make you hesitate. . . . We are smart in so many ways. Surely, we should be able to understand that in between war and passivity, there are a thousand possibilities.”

From The Progressive, July 2009


Paalam Daisy

It was the day before Christmas Eve and I was busy in the front garden, trying to save what the scorching sun hadn’t singed, putting new plants in that the kids had chosen from the nursery.  The ground was dry.  It gave way easily, but also filled up what I tried to dig.  This land remains sandy a few centimetres beneath the artificial lushness we struggle to keep.

The kids asked me if they could go and feed our chickens and the last remaining goat, Daisy.  I gave them permission, with the usual “Be careful” that I might as well not say.  They were off in a flash.

A few moments later they came running back.

“Daddy, there are dogs!  Daddy, there are dogs with Daisy!”

I jumped up and grabbed the closest big thing – which was a patio broom with a green brush, not really the most threatening of weapons.

In the goat’s pen were two very large dogs.  One was a rottweiler and the other was just as big but I didn’t know the breed.

(I have very bad memories of rottweilers, having rented a house once next to a neighbour who had two of them.  Vicious greetings every time I stepped out of my own gate.  Drool sizzled on the ground beneath them as they gnashed their teeth and barked at anyone who passed the thick black grills of their gates.)

I nearly froze.  The dogs were barking madly at all three of us.  I scanned the pen for Daisy and saw her on the ground, motionless.  The dogs seemed trapped in the pen for the moment, but the fence does not even reach my shoulder.

I shouted at the kids to run back to the house.

“But Daddy, where’s Daisy?  What about Daisy?”

“Just run back to the house!  Run!”  I shouted at them both as I walked backwards, keeping my eye on the vicious dogs.  If they managed to get into the pen it was likely they could eventually get out and go after us.

When we got into the house I was breathless.  It took me a while to explain to my wife what was going on.  We phoned the Dog Control Unit and were told it is a matter for the cops since the dogs had broken into our property.  We got passed around for a couple of hours from one police station to some animal welfare group or another.

Every hour I foolishly stepped out of the house to try and see if the dogs were still in the pen.  Waiting for the authorities seemed like forever.  Three hours later a van came to a screech outside our gate.  It wasn’t any of the people we were expecting.

An elderly man stepped out.   He said he was there to read the electricity metre.  I told him about the situation and he went back to his van to fetch a stick with a whip at the end.

“I’ve learned how to deal with dogs like them.”  I opened the gate for him and he had a good look at the dogs in the distance.  “Rottweiler, the one,” he mumbled.

I led him to the metre and then he was gone as soon as he arrived, with the parting words  “They’re not coming, the cops.  If they do they take their time!”

It was so close to Christmas, why would anyone even bother about a family with two invading dogs in a semi-rural area?  There were holiday robberies to deal with.  Drunk driving.  Petty crime.  Domestic violence involving alcohol and home made weapons.

The dogs would growl at each other every now and again.  A nasty fight would break out between them, and the victor gets to feast on one more of our chickens that had been trapped in the pen by pure stupidity (or curiosity at these intruders, you might say).  Bloody feathers flew, not at all like in a harmless pillow fight.  There was nothing I could do but watch.

A couple more hours passed.  Then when we had given up for the day, a police van finally came.  The cop got out of his vehicle and introduced himself.  I felt a sense of relief.  In the same breath he said he was coming back in a few minutes to fetch a colleague.  My face dropped as his tyres kicked up dust backing up.

Another half an hour went by.  The sky was beginning to gather up the gloom usually reserved for Christmas Eve this end of Africa.  At last two vehicles pulled up at the front gate: the cop and someone called Mark from the Animal Anti-Cruelty League.  They brought out long sticks with loops at the end.

Knowing the extent of my ability to deal with strange vicious dogs, I told them “I think I’m just going to stay here with the kids, if that’s ok.”  They smiled and understood my level of bravery.  It took them over half an hour to catch both dogs.  The rottweiler, probably full with the chickens it had devoured, was easier to catch.  The other one, just as big, proved more of a challenge.  Eventually both dogs had stiff leads on, but both men struggled to get them in their separate vans.

I walked with the men to the goat’s pen, now quiet and in a bigger mess than I thought.  The wooden gate was ripped off, and there was a mound of sand in the middle.

“Where’s the goat?”  I asked.  We went in the pen and searched.  Not a trace of Daisy.  I noticed the mound and went for it, Mark started digging as well.  The cop stood there watching us.  I stopped for a moment, taken aback by the feeling of dusty fur.  “She’s here.  They buried her,” I said.  It was then that I remembered the same thoughts that were running in my head the whole day – I wished the worst on those dogs.  A nasty thought that should really be directed at the careless people who raised them.

When the men were preparing to leave, we got the kids out to see them off and to hand a small bag of Christmas chocolates.  They were kind people, thanking the kids and telling us of their own little kids back home waiting for them.

They drove off with big smiles.

My family decided to get supper from out to get a break from the whole tragic experience.  I stayed behind to deal with what the dogs had done to Daisy.  Small blessing that we have such sandy ground.


Ctrl Alt Shift Film Competition Winner : “No Way Through”


Look at Me, Look at Me! I am Fabulously Kind and Generous!

The tragedy in Haiti will slowly be eased out of the news to make room for other newsmakers, say like Israel.  Magicians abound, it seems, even in such dark circumstances.  Or so says this article from The Telegraph:

-o-

Israel builds a field hospital in Haiti. Anti-Zionists not fooled!
by Stephanie Guttman

Clever people the Jews… oops, I mean the Israelis. Look at the lengths to which they have gone to distract the world from their daily ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The latest trick is an Israeli field hospital, rushed into Haiti last Friday and erected in a soccer field.

The US, with all its resources, hasn’t yet managed to set up a field hospital in Haiti (undoubtedly the State Department is still drafting the crucial legal papers needed) but the Israelis, operating with their usual disregard to the niceties of law, slapped one up and have already delivered a baby there. The father, obviously paid off by the Mossad, rapturously declared that the baby would be named “Israel”.

According to Israeli government sources the hospital includes 10 tons of medical equipment, 40 doctors, 24 nurses, medics, paramedics, x-ray equipment and personnel, a pharmacy, an emergency room, two surgery rooms, an incubation ward, a children’s ward and a maternity ward.

Information from Israeli government sources should, of course, be taken with a grain of salt, but footage of this tent-city/hospital has now been seen on SKY, Fox and CNN, ABC and CBS and the video seems to confirm (Mossad video fabricators are tricky) at least that the facility is large, clean, and full of modern equipment. CBS’s piece called the hospital the “Rolls Royce of medicine in Haiti”.

Thankfully, the BBC has kept its head and is not colluding with the Israeli government’s attempt to make the world forget its sins.  However, that has not stopped Jewish…er…Zionist propagandists, who are already triumphantly calling the field hospital “Israel’s Disproportionate response”, a reference to the charge last year that Israel reacted to Hamas rocket fire with “disproportionate” military force.  The word “disproportionate” in this case refers to the fact that this country of 7.5 million has sent 220 people, compared to say, China, which as of last week had sent 60.

Read the rest of the article.


Lives in Ruins

Surgical teams of the international medical charity Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) are continuing to work round the clock to treat victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Avaaz has started a campaign to raise funds for the victims.  These funds are meant to go directly to particular organizations that have been working in Haiti for over 20 years.


Ang Liwanag ng Iba / The Light of Another

I only found out a few days ago about the quiet passing of a friend from my old high school.  He wrote a rather confessional play back in those student days and asked me to try out the lead role.  It was an odd feeling to read someone else’s words on a page while he and another classmate waited for some emotion to gush out of me as if on cue.  I have to admit that I read so badly they couldn’t quite understand why they asked me in the first place.  I was just as puzzled.  I suppose they saw in me some tormented soul who might be able to portray a character on a dimly lit stage. 😉

They say he died in his sleep. Written in 1994, I now look at the words in this piece and sense that someone else had written them.  I have to admit the failures of the translation.  Perhaps it comes from the weakness of the original, too.  In any case, the friend I originally wrote it for never had the chance to laugh at this psuedo-religious-philosophical-milkshake.  What luck.

-o-

Ang Liwanag ng Iba
kay RJ Leyran

Parang dinurog na rosas
ang Kanyang mga palad
pumipintig sa dahas
pero payapang-payapa.

May tao noong gumagapang
sa dingding ng hangin
naghuhugas ng kamay sa bangungot
pero lubid na magaspang

Ang mabilis na pinadadaloy
sa mga daliri pahulagpos,
pahigpit.  Pinakakaway
ng kawag ang mga sanga

Hanggang humupa ang mga paa.
Tinanong ako ng kaibigan dati
tungkol sa mga detalyeng ito
na taun-taong sinasariwa

Sa gunitang kay daling malanta.
Pipiliin mo bang maging traydor
kung may kalayaan ka talaga?
Sapat bang ialay ang sariling dilim

Upang patingkarin
ang liwanag ng iba?

-o-

The Light of Another
for RJ Leyran

His hands
were crushed roses
beating at the violence
yet floating in peace

Someone else was crawling
the wall of air
washing his hands in a nightmare
but the roughness of a rope

Slowly flowed
through his fingers, releasing,
tightening.  Flailings
made the branches wave

Until feet ceased.
A friend had asked me before
about these details
we call back to mind

Every year, and forget.
Would you choose to be a traitor
if you had real freedom?
Would you offer your own darkness

To unleash the burning
light of another?

-o-

I lost touch with RJ after graduation.  I didn’t even know that he went on to perform in major stage and film productions.

Ang Liwanag ng Iba

kay RJ Leyran

Parang dinurog na rosas

ang Kanyang mga palad

pumipintig sa dahas

pero payapang-payapa.

May tao noong gumagapang

sa dingding ng hangin

naghuhugas ng kamay sa bangungot

pero lubid na magaspang

Ang mabilis na pinadadaloy

sa mga daliri pahulagpos,

pahigpit.  Pinakakaway

ng kawag ang mga sanga

Hanggang humupa ang mga paa.

Tinanong ako ng kaibigan dati

tungkol sa mga detalyeng ito

na taun-taong sinasariwa

Sa gunitang kay daling malanta.

Pipiliin mo bang maging traydor

kung may kalayaan ka talaga?

Sapat bang ialay ang sariling dilim

Upang patingkarin

ang liwanag ng iba?

-o-