Tag Archives: UK

From Switzerland

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In my early years of writing, I started to wonder when the next letter of acceptance or rejection might arrive. We had a dog, and often this creature would bark wildly at the postman – the arch enemy of dogs, apparently, followed by the newspaper man and the pandesal delivery boy. Those stories about a pet chewing one’s homework are only true if you had a dog like ours. This dog jumped for anything that got placed in the postbox or stuck between the topmost metal spikes of our gate. So I had to know when the postman arrived, usually around three in the afternoon. A chewed up letter is not easy to read, let alone retrieve.

These days I live on a semi-rural area where no postman comes around. We have to drive to a small shopping centre where they have postboxes. A bit of a trip, so I go once a week, usually on a Friday. Today, though, I felt something was calling me. I went, and sure enough there was something, posted all the way from… Switzerland?!?

I’d never received a parcel that had been posted from Switzerland. Odd, since as far as I know Modern Poetry in Translation is published in the UK. Here then, to share with friends and readers, my bit of excitement for the day!

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When You Can’t Let the Truth Out

You need to silence those who seek to expose all those dark deeds. You trust nothing but your fist, the barrel of a gun, the whisperers of deceit. You surround yourself with others who either share your fear or who fear you enough to stay in line. Those who show they have a mind of their own are easy targets for your venom. You sit on your throne of bones. You tell yourself you are just because you are mighty. You need not explain your actions. They speak for themselves.

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Ecuador grants asylum to Wikileaks founder.

THANK YOU, ECUADOR!


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.

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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.

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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.

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


“The Disneyfication of War” – George Monbiot

I read this article years ago and just recently bumped into it again.  Thought it was a good read then and hopefully it still is  now.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE

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The Disneyfication of war allows us to ignore its real savagery

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 24th October 2006.

Most of our memorials sentimentalise war. Few commemorate the horror. But now we have a new category, whose purpose seems to be to trivialise it.

Last week a vast bronze sculpture was unveiled in Montrose on the east coast of Scotland by Prince Andrew. It depicts a hero of the second world war, wearing a seaman’s cap, who was decorated with “the equivalent of the George Cross”. It’s a bit late, perhaps, but otherwise unsurprising – until I tell you that the hero was a dog. The statue depicts a St Bernard called Bamse, which reputedly rescued two Norwegian sailors. It is the latest manifestation of the new Cult of the Heroic Animal.

The Imperial War Museum is currently running an exhibition called “The Animals’ War”. It features stuffed mascots, tales of the “desperate plight” of 200 animals trapped by the fighting in Iraq, and photos of dogs wearing gas masks. It tells us about the “PDSA Dicken Medal – the Animals’ Victoria Cross”, which has been awarded to 23 dogs, 32 pigeons, three horses and one cat for “acts of conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in wartime.” The museum resounds with cries of “aaah!” and “how sweet!”. War is now cute.

Last year, Disney released an animation called Valiant, about the heroics of a group of messenger pigeons in World War Two. In 2004, a vast sculpture was unveiled by Princes Anne in Park Lane in London, called “Animals at War”. It cost £1.5 million, and it is dedicated “to all the animals that served and died alongside British and Allied Forces in wars and campaigns throughout time … From the pigeon to the elephant they all played a vital role in every region of the world in the cause of human freedom. Their contribution must never be forgotten.” In Liverpool there are now two statues commemorating a dog – Jet – used to find victims of air raids in the Second World War.

I have no objection to remembering the suffering of animals. If someone started a subscription for a statue of a battery pig or a broiler chicken (conveniently forgotten by almost everyone) I might even contribute. But the emphasis given to animals’ suffering in war suggests a failure to acknowledge the suffering of human beings. The tableau in Park Lane carries the justifying motto “They had no choice”. Nor did the civilians killed in Iraq, the millions of women raped over the centuries by soldiers, or the colonial subjects who died of famine or disease in British concentration camps. You would scour this country in vain for a monument to any of them.

Bamse has been dead for 62 years. Both the Park Lane memorial and the exhibition at the Imperial War Museum were inspired by a book by Jilly Cooper – the patron saint of English bourgeois sentiment – called Animals in War(4,5). But it was first published in 1983. It is only since the invasion of Iraq that this disneyfication of war seems to have become a major industry.

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