October 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm (art, creative writing, culture, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, Independent film, journalism, life, literary fiction, poetry, politics, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: 2013, activists, Al-Ajami, censorship, creative writing, Democracy Now, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, free speech, headlines, history, imprisonment, independent news, jail, literature, media, Mohamed Ibn Ajami Imprisioned, news, October 22, poem, poet, poetry, politics, Qatar, reading, The Guardian, Tunisia, Tunisian Jasmine, Writing
So, you thought poetry was just for fun rhymes and wooing women? Without music poetry is often backhanded as a literary form ignored and disdained as too esoteric or too convoluted for straightforward no nonsense reading. By the way, if you think Mother Goose nursey rhemes are just silly ditties, you’ll think again after going a few rounds with an annotated copy with the darker references to realities. Oh, speaking of reality.
A while back I had an actual face to face conversation with a young woman who insisted no one had never been imprisoned for writing literature. I found her literal ignorance astounding not only for her lack of awareness of the historical contexts in which writers in all genres have run into very serious trouble for expressing their views, but also for what it revealed about her lack of comprehension of some of the works she’d claimed to have read. Hence, this post. I believe it makes my point in a very very contemporary fashion.
From Democracy Now!’s headline news
Democracy Now! Headline News for 22 October 2013
In Qatar, the top court has upheld a 15-year jail sentence for a poet convicted of incitement against the regime. Mohammed al-Ajami was arrested in November 2011 for allegedly disparaging members of Qatar’s ruling family in a poem. But activists say the real motivation was his poem “Tunisian Jasmine,” in which he expressed support for the Arab Spring uprisings, writing, “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites.” Al-Ajami was initially dealt a life term but that was reduced to 15 years in February. His lawyer said he has been held in solitary confinement for two years. Al-Ajami’s only recourse now is to appeal to the emir. Click here to see our interview from Qatar with Mohammed Al-Ajami’s lawyer.
Qatari poet Mohamed Ibn Ajami Imprisioned for Life for Reading a Poem
["Tunisian Jasmine" audio text]
Published on Feb 9, 2013
February 6, 2013 7:23pm PST
From Democracy Now: “Three days after the United Nations Climate Change Conference began here in Doha, a Qatari court sentenced a local poet to life in prison, a move that shocked many activists in the Gulf region and human rights observers. The sentencing of Mohammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami came nearly two years after he wrote a poem titled “Tunisian Jasmine,” supporting the uprisings in the Arab world. “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites!” al-Ajami wrote. “The Arab governments and who rules them are, without exception, thieves. Thieves!” We speak to his attorney and a member of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee.”
From the Guardian “A Qatari poet has been sentenced to life in prison for an Arab-spring-inspired verse that officials claim insults Qatar’s emir and encourages the overthrow of the nation’s ruling system, his defense attorney says.
It was the latest blow in a widening clampdown on perceived dissent across the Gulf Arab states.
The verdict in a state security court is certain to bring a fresh outpouring of denunciations by rights groups, which have repeatedly called for the release of the poet, Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami. It also marks another example of tough measures by judicial and security officials in the Gulf against possible challenges to their rule since the Arab spring revolts began last year.
The poet’s lawyer, Najib al-Nuaimi, said he planned to appeal.
“This judge made the whole trial secret,” said Nuaimi. “Muhammad was not allowed to defend himself, and I was not allowed to plead or defend in court. I told the judge that I need to defend my client in front of an open court, and he stopped me.”
Ajami was jailed in November 2011, months after an internet video was posted of him reciting Tunisian Jasmine, a poem lauding that country’s popular uprising, which touched off the Arab spring rebellions across the Middle East. In the poem, he said: “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive” authorities, and criticized Arab governments that restrict freedoms.
Qatari officials charged Ajami with “insulting” the Gulf nation’s ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and “inciting to overthrow the ruling system”. The latter charge could have brought a death sentence.
Nuaimi said Ajami, a third-year student of literature at Cairo University, had been held in solitary confinement since his arrest.
Gulf regimes have stepped up crackdowns on a range of perceived threats to their rule, including Islamist groups and social media activists. Earlier this month, Kuwaiti authorities arrested four people on charges of insulting the emir with Twitter posts, and the United Arab Emirates imposed sweeping new internet regulations that allow arrests for a wide list of offensives, including insulting leaders or calling for demonstrations.
Last year, Bahrain issued a royal pardon for some protest-linked suspects, including a 20-year-old woman sentenced to a year in prison for reciting poetry critical of the government’s effort to crush a Shia-led uprising against the Sunni monarchy.”
I don’t know about you, but this packs a resounding wallop in my book of verses.
September 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm (culture, history, Independent film, journalism, life, movies, politics, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: Citizen Koch, control, culture, education, film, freedom, greed, information, issue, Kansas City, KCPT, Koch, life, media, money, movies, news, PBS, Petition, politics, power, public television, random, television, video
We, your viewers, really want to see “Citizen Koch.” It should not have been pulled off the air. The public has a right to see the documentary and the station should not be fearful of upsetting the Koch brothers.
Public television should be used to inform us; that was the purpose of Independent Lens, was it not?
If you watch PBS, please call for the national showing of this important documentary.
That’s why I signed a petition to KCPT Public Television Station, which says:
“I think the public has a right to view the film “Citizen Koch.” We are requesting you to please show this film. Koch money shouldn’t influence what we can or can’t see aired on our PBS station.”
Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name:
The people of Wisconsin have not given up. Why should the rest of us?
Raise your voice, Tweet, Facebook and reblog at will. Please help fight media control.
August 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm (art, culture, entertainment, environment, exploring interconnectedness, Indigenous People, life, music, nature, politics, random)
Tags: Benjamin West, British Columbia, concert, culture, Enbridge, entertainment, event, Facebook, Indigenous People, Kinder Morgan, life, media, music, news, Salish, Save the Salish Sea, Sea, Sept. 2 2012, Tar Sands, Vancouver, Waterfront Park
On September 2 join us for a free family-friendly concert featuring live music, DJ’s, special guest speakers, local Indigenous artists, interactive art displays, a kids zone, and much more. This is a chance to show your support for the Coast Salish Nations as they take a stand against Kinder Morgan and Enbridge’s proposed tar sands pipelines and the associated oil tankers in traditional Salish waters! SPEAKERS: …
Chief Ian Campbell Rueben George Melina Laboucan-Massimo Naomi Klein Rex Weyler SALISH SEAS MAINSTAGE: The Boom Booms Wayne Lavallee Phyllis Sinclair Spakwus Slulum Helen Duguay BEATS NOT TANKERS STAGE: Maga Bo Skookum Sound Emotionz No Tank Gyal! Ostwelve Eternal Love Ndidi Cascade Kia Kadiri Discreet da Chosen One Eternal Love MukLuk Take 5 and much more…! For those who are into volunteering, definitely drop Jolan Bailey a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Waterfront Park, North Vancouver, British Columbia
Save the Salish Sea Concert event is on Facebook for directions and map.
Just caught this upcoming concert event via news feed on fb so I’m sharing (hint, wink, nudge) it here. Facebook does serve some information gathering purposes indeed. Enjoy if you’re able to attend.
Thanks to Benjamin West for info.
July 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm (culture, education, environment, exploring interconnectedness, food, history, Indigenous People, journalism, life, Native Americans, nature, politics, random)
Tags: "Water", activism, audio, Ben, Dine, Facebook, food, Ganado, history, Kyl, links, McCain, media, Native News Network, Navajo, Navajo language, news, politics, Recall, Recall Ben Shelly Effort, rights, SB 2109, Shelly, survival
Click link above to hear audio information in Navajo regarding the Recall Ben Shelly effort.
Visit the Facebook page for Recall Ben Shelly —>> http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=442546102442841&set=a.100999623264159.2274.100000623652639&type=1&comment_id=1289109#!/RecallBenShelly
Read the Dine’ Recall Ben Shelly statement here –>> http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=442546102442841&set=a.100999623264159.2274.100000623652639&type=1&comment_id=1289109#!/RecallBenShelly/info
Reasons Why Recall Is Underway Revealed–on Native News Network –>> http://www.nativenewsnetwork.com/reasons-why-recall-is-underway-revealed.html
Sorry for all the links folks, but I think it’s best that people looking for information regarding this Recall effort see/hear/read it at places where it can be found online so that they have those sources for the future.
I’ve been following Dine’ water issue and watching to see how this all plays out with much interest in how the Navajo people are working together. There’s only one thing I can contribute to this story. It’s been over 30 years since I spent some time at what was then Ganado Community College in Arizona. While there I learned that many Navajo and Hopi people had to haul water from wells, from natural potholes in the ground that caught rainwater, from 55 gallon drums, and anything else that would serve, set out to catch rainwater or that were filled from natural sources and hauled back home. At that time they’d been doing all this water hauling forever. Thirty years later they’re still doing it in many communities. In a video for SB 2109 Sen. John McCain used a photograph of Navajo people drawing water from a well and he made a comment that they have no infrastructure to deliver water to their homes. McCain did not go on to say that this should not be happening in 2012. He did not say, “These people need infrastructure to get water to their homes.” What he did say is that water can be used effectively by OTHERS and should be!
Here I sit where with the twist of a wrist I can turn on a flow of water into a kitchen sink and fill a glass with clean drinking water at will. Another twist and I can send water through a hose at a drip to the local heat exhausted birds foraging in the front yard. I can flush an indoor toilet all day long. Hot and cold showers are available on demand. The laundry machine is just a few steps away for washing clothes. The only water I haul is in a plastic two gallon pail to the little bird beach in the backyard under the trees beyond the reach of the hose. Can you imagine having to haul ALL your drinking, cooking, bathing, gardening water all the time? Think about it. I suggest Shelly, McCain and Kyl think about it too. Furthermore, I suggest they DO it themselves. Yes, I suggest those fellows all get dropped off at the Navajo community furthest from any water whatsoever and be left to their own devices to get their water supply in order to survive. All on their own with no one to help them carry a single drop.
Some general information about the Navajo Nation http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Le-Pa/Navajos.html
February 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm (culture, education, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, Independent film, Indigenous People, journalism, life, nature, politics, random)
Tags: "Water", B.C., businesss, Canada, Chevron, climate, culture, Durban, Earth, Ecuador, environment, ethics, history, Indigenous, interconnectedness, Ireland, Issues, journalism, Keystone, love, media, nature, news, Nigeria, Oil, Pipeline, pollution, poltics, Prince Rupert, Shell, Tar Sands, Texaco, videos
On February 14 people everywhere express their love with actions, flowers, cards, gifts and more. Some people express their love for Earth by protesting its ongoing destruction by our continuing dependence on oil for meeting our energy needs. Some write these lovers off as foolish hippies and idealistic tree huggers but they are neither foolish nor idealists. These are the hardcore realists of our world. Today there is another effort underway to stop the Keystone XL pipeline development yet again in spite of the public outcry. If you’ve signed any petition for this effort previously I’m sure your email box is currently awash in urgent requests for your signature again because big oil and its supporters don’t give up. Their intention is to wear everyone down until big oil gets its way AGAIN. Apparently the American government has learned nothing from the BP oil spill and its continuing consequences in the Gulf of Mexico. There is an upside to all this lobbying for more pipelines and greater development of an oil project that is already the size of Great Britain–more people are learning about the Tar Sands. And more people are saying NO to it and to big oil. Change makes many uncomfortable but change we must–or kill the only planet that supports us with air to breathe, water to drink, and soil for food. Nature is not dependent upon us. We are dependent upon nature for our survival. As you drive along in your car fueled by oil you may feel far removed from the heartbeat of the world. Everything except your next chore of the day may be far from your mind. But consider how different your daily life would be if there was no clean air to breath, no clean water to drink, and no fresh food in your grocery store. Shall we all live on little purple pills popped into our mouths while we breathe through gas masks? Shall we? Isn’t it time to write your own “love letter” to Earth? Folks–big oil has to ”go.” It’s literally killing people and the Earth. It will kill you and your loved ones–make no mistake about it. And the people who own and operate big oil will also die by their own actions. Denial will not prevent their demise. So, take some time and figure how you can show some love.
Indigenous protest at Durban. Climate Conference
Prince Rupert, B.C.
The People of Erris – Ireland
February 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm (culture, drama, education, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, Independent film, life, music, politics, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: Australia, business, Economy, education, environment, Ireland, Issues, life, media, nature, news, Oil, people, politics, protest, random, Rossport, Shell, Shell to Sea, videos
For many the mention of Ireland conjures thoughts of W.B. Yeats, lush green grass and dark guiness beer freely flowing in crowded pubs. Who thinks of Ireland being the battleground for a war against the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell being waged by young people, fathers, mothers, grandparents. For over 11 years Irish people have taken action against the destruction of their land and communities by Shell. Yes there is much more in Ireland than pubs and poetry.
The first FAQ on the Shell to Sea list. More FAQs and information at http://www.shelltosea.com/content/faqs
- Why is Shell’s Corrib gas project unsafe?
There are major health and safety issues with the high pressure raw gas pipeline planned so close to people’s homes – regarding an earlier pipeline route Shell admitted that homes would be put within a kill-zone from heat radiation in the event of a pipe failure. The refinery itself is in the catchment area of the local drinking water supply which would be forbidden in most other European countries.
Where there are profits to be made who gives a damn about tourism, fishing, swimming and the safety of the local residents? Clearly not Shell nor the corrupt politicians who made this deal which offers no benefits to the Irish people at large nor in the communities affected by the pipeline or refinery.
Resistance in Mayo 2008
Solidarity from Australia to Ireland–yes, Australia.
January 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm (culture, education, ethics, history, Independent film, journalism, life, photography, politics, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: Bloomberg, cultre, dog, education, events, Greece, history, independent, Issues, journalism, life, livestreams, Mayor, media, Melbourne, news, Oakland, Occupy, people, police, politics, protest, random, riot dog, videos
Since the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement the police have emerged in a certain negative light around the world. From Athens to New York City to Melbourne and beyond Police have faced off with protestors in ways that have nothing to do with the images commonly seen on American crime drama television shows. Some have a penchant for pepper spray, others for smashing people into the ground, and some for teargas. It’s been ugly in Oakland, Boston, New York, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, London, Liverpool and other cities around the world. If you haven’t seen the police in action then blame your mainstream television stations and newspapers. Much can be found on youtube and on the sites of the occupy camps. Oakland now has a weekly Saturday night protest against police brutality. Get the feeling something has gone a bit wrong somewhere along the line? When did the police become the private army of the mayor of New York City–or any city? Who do the police now protect and serve? Here are just a few examples of police actions which were originally seen live via livestreams online—yes, livestreams not via your television screens.
Bloomberg “I have my own private army in the NYPD which is the seventh biggest army in the world.” Olbermann segment.
Now famous Pepper Spray at UC Davis
Occupy Oakland’s media site http://hellaoccupyoakland.org/
Occupy Oakland’s information site http://occupyoakland.org/
January 3, 2012 at 9:18 pm (creative writing, culture, education, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, history, humor, journalism, life, poetry, politics, random, Writing)
Tags: Bill of Rights, blogs, chat, creative writing, culture, Democracy Now, funeral, Greenwald, history, humor, independent, language, life, livestream, media, Nashville, NDAA, news, Occupy, people, politics, random, satire, video, words, Writing
Hello everyone to whom I’ve been AWOL for so long. Just have been pre-occupied with streams of Occupy online and other things offline. Hope everyone is well and is surviving whatever winter is throwing your way weatherwise. It’s COLD here but nothing to complain about. Looking forward to visiting many blogcasas very soon. Something that came up in a recent occupy livestream chat was the lack of comprehension of word ‘play’ on the part of many Americans. Apparently our educational system offers NO appreciation of the finer points of the English language and hence our sense of humor is stunted by our lack of appreciation for clever turns of phrases. Some of you poets will probably beg to differ on this account. But–believe me it is a valid a concern time and time again in many occupy chats where random segments of the global population consort daily. Some humor simply does not come across well in text. Others fail to comprehend multiple meanings of words. And there are many forms of self-expression from individual communities that take time and patience to decipher. This goes beyond the texting genre. Though that also comes into play in the chat stream in various incarnations. Best thing to do when at a loss is to ask for definitions–some are obvious, some bewildering and others very enlightening and useful. It’s an ongoing exercise in communication on a global level. So–when I use the word “wicked” to herald the new year –I have a variety of meanings and associations with “wicked” that vary from slang to formal dictionary traditional meanings–very cool and wonderful to downright evil. While hoping 2012 is indeed a wonderful and exciting new year for everyone in all the possible positive ways this is tempered with the awareness of the president signing the National Defence Authorization Act on New Years Eve when many people were paying NO attention to this potentially evil little legislative ‘delight’. So–while every ‘new’ year brims with creative positive potential it also brims with all sorts of new negative hatchings as well. And so it goes…..
For the moment–Chocolate truffles for everyone! But don’t you dare fall asleep under the table this new year or there may be hell to pay……. Mic Check!
Links regarding NDAA:
A piece by Mother Jones http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/12/white-house-caves-veto-threat
Montanans launch recall of senators who approved NDAA http://salem-news.com/articles/december252011/ndaa-recall.php
Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2011/12/19/obama_prepares_to_authorize_indefinite_detention
Doing an internet search of NDAA ought to bring you up to speed fairly quickly. You might want to have your favorite libations or comfort foods handy while discovering what’s happened.
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