Monthly Archives: November 2011

END IMPUNITY

 

 

English translation attempt. Original Filipino follows – for those who are interested in seeing the random rhymes that got lost in translation.

November 23: No One Can Bury Shadows
remembering those slain in Maguindanao and other places

1
The door is a gaping mouth,
the afternoon’s final gasp
before it goes dark.

Those footsteps
that left this morning
will never again
come knocking. In their place
news of violence
drags the weight
of darkness encroaching.

2
Is it a miracle, a blessing, or a ghastly
burden to escape
the piercing of bullets?

How heavy the echoes of silence
in pursuit of the last
drop of lead?

Pretending to be dead
in order to live.

3
What kind of joy
was set free
by those who pulled the trigger?

Whose voice unleashed
the dogs?

4
Dear President,
I presume you feel
loss such as this?

Your clan bears the stain
of those who usher darkness.

5
Tomorrow, as we turn
the day’s paper,
new names will darken
the pages, our fingers.

-o-

Nobyembre 23: Walang Makapaglilibing sa mga Anino
paggunita sa mga pinaslang sa Maguindanao at iba pang bayan

1
Bukang bibig ang pintuan,
nasa bingit ang huling hininga
ng hapon bago dumilim.

Hindi na kailanman papalapit
ang mga hakbang na pumalayo
kaninang umaga. Sa halip
kaladkad ng marahas na balita
ang mabigat at papalaganap
na karimlan.

2
Himala, biyaya, o malagim
na pasanin kaya ang makaligtas
sa pagtagos ng mga bala?

Gaano kabigat ang alingawngaw ng katahimikan
kasunod ng pagbagsak sa lupa
ng huling tingga?

Pagkukunwaring bangkay
upang mabuhay.

3
Anong uri ng ligaya
ang pinalaya ng mga pumisil
sa gatilyo?

Kaninong tinig ang nagpakawala
sa mga aso?

4
Kagalang-galang na Pangulo,
inaasahan kong dama mo
ang mga ganitong pagyao.

Maging ang iyong angkan
may bahid
ng tagahatid ng karimlan.

5
Bukas, pagbuklat ng pahayagan
iba na namang mga pangalan
ang magpapadilim
sa mga pahina, sa ating mga daliri.

-o-

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Maguindanao_massacre

Please tell me if the translation works? Or if the poem itself works? The date has been declared International Day to End Impunity – after this massacre.

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Random and Not-so-Random

A few months ago I was invited to be part of a small group of writers from different parts of the world who freely share valuable critiques on each other’s poetry online, in a private forum so our work could remain “unpublished.”  Discussions are very stimulating – not just about poetry or creative writing but pretty much anything under the sun.

Every week or so a prompt is posted and each member gets to write a poem out of it.  The prompt could be a photograph or a series of photographs, a word, a piece of music, etc.  I’ve managed to come up with new work from this exercise and have become rather addicted to this practice. Recently a new prompt was posted that I continue to struggle with. It’s a beautiful photograph of a sunset against what looks to me as pine tree branches. Mostly red, yellow, orange and black.

Before this time I had told myself I would like to write something about the Maguindanao Massacre of 2009.  I have tried to incorporate the photograph with the massacre, but so far nothing feels right.  The other day I accidentally stumbled upon an old poem that needed to be revised. So for the meantime I dealt with that.  Here is version 2.

Oh, before the poem… Hillary Clinton is visiting the Philippines to “strengthen ties.”  I think she means “shackles” or something worse.  There’s a mathematical explanation to the saying about keeping your friends and enemies – the distance and equivalent value. When I figure it out I’ll share it with the rest of the world.

-o-

Random Thoughts on the Haditha Massacre on Valentine’s Day

On Nov. 19, 2005, U.S. Marines allegedly killed 24 people in revenge for the death of one of their own, caused by an improvised exploding device (IED). The 24 individuals, six of whom were aged 10 and under, were shot at point blank range.
United for Peace and Justice

Abdullah Walid, 4

Here is a photograph of a room, familiar
as an aunt’s house. How can I like
the colour red now after seeing this?

Those bursts are not flowers
or abstract art. They are echoes
forcing me to hear doors being broken,
cries, pleas, gunfire, explosions.

The weight of boots
over silence. An eye
for each bullet hole.

I know your name and age
from scraps of stories handed down
by sources who never knew you.

Do I add one more violation
by imagining you surviving?
How your index finger might have felt

the fine edges of each bullet hole,
an odd sensation rising
between horror and laughter.

-o-

Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, 76 – grandfather, father and husband,
who used a wheelchair, due to a leg amputation
following complications with diabetes.  Died with nine rounds
in the chest and abdomen.

Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66 – wife of Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali.

Wisdom does not go
freely with age.
Yet we know there is something
worth hearing from somone

older than us.  They have seen
more lives, more deaths perhaps
than our eyes can bear.
Here is one of them.

And another.  Together.
They once spoke
in a language
unfamiliar to us.

They once spoke
to each other
as they held hands
at the end of another day.

Facing a new day
again in each other’s arms.
For who knows how many years?
For who knows how many more years?

And then that suddden
unexpected
goodbye
void of an embrace.

-o-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haditha_killings

Aftermath of US raid - photo from "The War Profiteers" taken from a video shot by Taher Thabet.


Gibson Guitar Plucks Tropical Trees

 

 

 

 

From RAINFOREST RESCUE:

On August 24th, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal government agency, raided Gibson guitar’s offices and factories in Nashville and Memphis – for the second time in a two-year period. The federal authorities confiscated guitars made of tropical hardwoods, pallets of wood from endangered trees and delivery documents. Gibson is accused of having twelve deliveries of ebony and rosewood illegally imported from India in the course of two years. In November 2009, federal agents had already paid Gibson a visit and their search had been a success: Back then, Gibson had imported illegally logged rosewood from Madagascar.


A Question of Blood and Asphalt

There’s a question that’s been bothering me for a few years now. I’ve asked friends about it, and so far I’ve only gotten “Why?” and “Don’t throw this question out there on the internet, people will think you’re crazy.”

A few years ago I saw a number of accidents on the highway on the way home. They were spaced about a week or so apart. Each time it was the car in front of me or just a few meters ahead that was involved. So I saw but barely heard the impact.

Years later I still know exactly where one particular accident took place, where the person was struck by a speeding car, where his body lay for a few minutes under the midday sun, the way his lips were moving but there was no sound.

My question goes sideways from this terrible series of accidents.

What chemical reaction takes place when blood spreads on asphalt and the noon day sun strikes at its harshest?

I’ve had this poem in draft mode for many years and I can never finish it.

-o-

To Be Haunted
version 2

The car in front
two seconds ahead of mine
struck him head on.

Two years since the day
the sun scorched his blood
onto the asphalt,
a trapped ghost.

It is still there, close to the island
on the highway, a dark shape
stretched on a darker surface.
Invisible to other drivers.

Now think of a calculated kill,
the intentional randomness
of bombs raining.

How many ghosts will there be
in cramped school halls, in homes
of huddled children? Fear and grief
systematically torched.

Beyond the chemistry of blood
reacting with asphalt
in the midday sun,
there is something I’d like explained.

-o-


Vampires that do not Fear the Light

Read two articles from the Mail & Guardian online that should scare all those who think international law can protect sovereign countries and their population from a special breed of Vampires.

-o-

Mbeki: We should learn from Libya’s experiences

Recent events in Libya should raise alarm bells about the threat to Africa’s hard won right to self-determination, former president Thabo Mbeki said on Saturday.

Addressing the Law Society of the Northern Provinces in Sun City, Mbeki said it “seemed obvious” that a few powerful countries were seeking to use the council to pursue their selfish interests.

They were also determined to behave according to the principle and practice that “might is right” and to sideline the principle of self-determination.

“I must state this categorically that those who have sought to manufacture a particular outcome out of the conflict in Libya have propagated a poisonous canard aimed at discrediting African and African Union (AU) opposition to the Libyan debacle.”

He said this was done on the basis that the AU and the rest of “us” had been “bought by Colonel Gadaffi with petro-dollars”, and felt obliged to defend his continued misrule.

He said all known means of disinformation was being bandied about, included an argument that Gadaffi’s Libya had supported the ANC during the apartheid struggle.

“The incontrovertible fact is that during this whole period, Libya did not give the ANC [African National Congress] even one cent, did not train even one of our military combatants and did not supply us with even one bullet…

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE.

-o-

West rushes to grab its Libya reward

Britain’s new defence secretary, Philip Hammon, announced that British companies should “pack their suitcases” and head to Libya to snap up lucrative reconstruction contracts.

It all sounds disturbingly familiar. Think of the American companies streaming into Iraq to aid the “reconstruction effort” after the invasion. If there was any doubt, this modus operandi may soon define what seems no more than a new form of neocolonialism in the Middle East. American, Nato (or both) armies will destroy your country under the guise of ushering in democracy, and Western companies will assume the lion’s share of contracts to build it up again.

And with Libya’s National Transitional Council having already announced it would “reward” those countries that were in its corner during the “revolution”, it’s anyone’s guess who will be the biggest of the war profiteers.

Whereas in the past Gaddafi’s Libya was only dealing with China, Russia and Italy, the playing field has now been levelled, in a manner of speaking. Though it has portrayed itself as having had only a “back-room” role in toppling Gaddafi, the United States wants to be the number-one oil buyer from Libya, to compensate for its decades of deprivation of Libyan oil. There can be no doubt that in due course we will see that the US will want a far bigger cut of Libyan oil supplies than it is currently letting on.

It will be said in the future that the end justified the means: the removal of a hated dictator who terrorised his own people for four decades. This may be so, and nobody in their right mind could endorse what the colonel did to Libya. But there are some questions to be asked about the selective morality at play here.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE.

-o-

Please proceed to the nearest toilet to throw up.  Now pull yourself together and fight the propaganda machine of these Vampires.


From William Blum’s Anti-Empire Report

One day I’m going to write something about the idiotic SMART POWER bandied around by HAILary CLINGON… err… what’s that transmogrified creature’s name again????

For now, here’s something from William Blum.

-o-

It doesn’t matter to them if it’s untrue. It’s a higher truth.

“We came, we saw, he died.”
— US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton,
giggling, as she spoke of the depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi

Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of 9-11: “We came, we saw, 3,000 died … ha- ha.”

Clinton and her partners-in-crime in NATO can also have a good laugh at how they deceived the world. The destruction of Libya, the reduction of a modern welfare state to piles of rubble, to ghost towns, the murder of thousands … this tragedy was the culmination of a series of falsehoods spread by the Libyan rebels, the Western powers, and Qatar (through its television station, al-Jazeera) — from the declared imminence of a “bloodbath” in rebel-held Benghazi if the West didn’t intervene to stories of government helicopter-gunships and airplanes spraying gunfire onto large numbers of civilians to tales of Viagra-induced mass rapes by Gaddafi’s army. (This last fable was proclaimed at the United Nations by the American Ambassador, as if young soldiers needed Viagra to get it up!)1

The New York Times (March 22) observed:

… the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior.

The Los Angeles Times (April 7) added this about the rebels’ media operation:

It’s not exactly fair and balanced media. In fact, as [its editor] helpfully pointed out, there are four inviolate rules of coverage on the two rebel radio stations, TV station and newspaper:

The Libyan government undoubtedly spouted its share of misinformation, but it was the rebels’ trail of lies, both of omission and commission, which was used by the UN Security Council to justify its vote for “humanitarian” intervention; followed in Act Three by unrelenting NATO/US bombs and drone missiles, day after day, week after week, month after month; you can’t get much more humanitarian than that. If the people of Libya prior to the NATO/US bombardment had been offered a referendum on it, can it be imagined that they would have endorsed it?

In fact, it appears rather likely that a majority of Libyans supported Gaddafi. How else could the government have held off the most powerful military forces in the world for more than seven months? Before NATO and the US laid waste to the land, Libya had the highest life expectancy, lowest infant mortality, and highest UN Human Development Index in Africa. During the first few months of the civil war, giant rallies were held in support of the Libyan leader.2

For further discussion of why Libyans may have been motivated to support Gaddafi, have a look at this video.

If Gaddafi had been less oppressive of his political opposition over the years and had made some gestures of accommodation to them during the Arab Spring, the benevolent side of his regime might still be keeping him in power, although the world has plentiful evidence making it plain that the Western powers are not particularly concerned about political oppression except to use as an excuse for intervention when they want to; indeed, government files seized in Tripoli during the fighting show that the CIA and British intelligence worked with the Libyan government in tracking down dissidents, turning them over to Libya, and taking part in interrogations.3

In any event, many of the rebels had a religious motive for opposing the government and played dominant roles within the rebel army; previously a number of them had fought against the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.4 The new Libyan regime promptly announced that Islamic sharia law would be the “basic source” of legislation, and laws that contradict “the teachings of Islam” would be nullified; there would also be a reinstitution of polygamy; the Muslim holy book, the Quran, allows men up to four wives.5

Thus, just as in Afghanistan in the 1980-90s, the United States has supported Islamic militants fighting against a secular government. The American government has imprisoned many people as “terrorists” in the United States for a lot less.

What began in Libya as “normal” civil war violence from both sides — repeated before and since by the governments of Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria without any Western military intervention at all (the US actually continues to arm the Bahrain and Yemen regimes) — was transformed by the Western propaganda machine into a serious Gaddafi genocide of innocent Libyans. Addressing the validity of this very key issue is another video, “Humanitarian War in Libya: There is no evidence”. The main feature of the film is an interview with Soliman Bouchuiguir, Secretary-General, and one of the founders in 1989, of the Libyan League for Human Rights, perhaps the leading Libyan dissident group, in exile in Switzerland.

Bouchuiguir is asked several times if he can document various charges made against the Libyan leader. Where is the proof of the many rapes? The many other alleged atrocities? The more than 6,000 civilians alleged killed by Gaddafi’s planes? Again and again Bouchuiguir cites the National Transitional Council as the source. Yes, that’s the rebels who carried out the civil war in conjunction with the NATO/US forces. At other times Bouchuiguir speaks of “eyewitnesses”: “little girls, boys who were there, whose families we know personally”. After awhile, he declares that “there is no way” to document these things. This is probably true to some extent, but why, then, the UN Security Council resolution for a military intervention in Libya? Why almost eight months of bombing?

Bouchuiguir also mentions his organization’s working with the National Endowment for Democracy in their effort against Gaddafi, and one has to wonder if the man has any idea that the NED was founded to be a front for the CIA. Literally.

Another source of charges against Gaddafi and his sons has been the International Criminal Court. The Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is shown in this film at a news conference discussing the same question of proof of the charges. He refers to an ICC document of 77 pages which he says contains the evidence. The film displays the document’s Table of Contents, which shows that pages 17-71 are not available to the public; these pages, apparently the ones containing the testimony and evidence, are marked as “redacted”. In an appendix, the ICC report lists its news sources; these include Fox News, CNN, the CIA, Soliman Bouchuiguir, and the Libyan League for Human Rights. Earlier, the film had presented Bouchuiguir citing the ICC as one of his sources. The documentation is thus a closed circle.

Historical footnote: “Aerial bombing of civilians was pioneered by the Italians in Libya in 1911, perfected by the British in Iraq in 1920 and used by the French in 1925 to level whole quarters of Syrian cities. Home demolitions, collective punishment, summary execution, detention without trial, routine torture — these were the weapons of Europe’s takeover” in the Mideast.6