Thursday, December 17, 2015

Friday, November 06, 2015

"Je n'ai rien vaillant; je dois beaucoup; je donne le reste aux pauvres.
(I have nothing of value: I owe a great deal: I leave the rest to the poor)

The will of François Rabelais

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What do you know? No mention of negotiating with ISIS. Why am I not surprised.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Another dangerous terrorist captured by the brave warriors of Zion. Medals all round, chavarim.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A couple of weeks ago an online petition was started demanding the arrest of the war criminal Netanyahu when he visits the UK in September. The petition is here.
The UK government is required to acknowledge and respond to such petitions once 10,000 signatures have been collected. It finally responded to this petition after it had garnered more than 60,000 signatures. The response is below.
Although the government has refused to take the action demanded by its signatories, those in agreement should, in my opinion continue to add their signatures as the UK Parliament must discuss the petition once 100,000 signatures have been added.

Here is the government's reply -
The British Government has invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as head of the Israeli Government, to visit the UK in September. Under UK and international law, certain holders of high-ranking office in a State, including Heads of State, Heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs are entitled to immunity, which includes inviolability and complete immunity from criminal jurisdiction.
We recognise that the conflict in Gaza last year took a terrible toll. As the Prime Minister said, we were all deeply saddened by the violence and the UK has been at the forefront of international reconstruction efforts. However the Prime Minister was clear on the UK’s recognition of Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself, within the boundaries of international humanitarian law. We condemn the terrorist tactics of Hamas who fired rockets on Israel, built extensive tunnels to kidnap and murder, and repeatedly refused to accept ceasefires. Israel, like any state, has the right to ensure its own security, as its citizens also have the right to live without fear of attack.
The UK consistently urged Israel to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, to exercise restraint, and to help find ways to bring the situation to an end. The UK continues to urge the parties to give priority to reaching a durable solution for Gaza which addresses the underlying drivers of conflict, and to take the necessary practical steps to ensure Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery.
We welcome the fact that Israel is conducting internal investigations into specific incidents during Operation Protective Edge. Where there is evidence of wrongdoing those responsible must be held accountable whatever their position in society. Both parties must also demonstrate robust and credible internal investigations which are in line with international standards. We have also encouraged the Israeli authorities, as we do all countries, to cooperate with the independent Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the preliminary examination into the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 13 June, 2014, whilst noting that Israel is not a State Party to the ICC.
The UK is a close friend of Israel and we enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship, built on decades of cooperation between our two countries across a range of fields. Our priority for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the achievement of a two-state solution, based on 1967 borders. We continue to believe that negotiations will be necessary in order to achieve this, and that both parties need to focus on steps that are conducive to peace. The UK Government will reinforce this message to Mr Netanyahu during his visit.

This reply contains misleading statements and misinformation that cannot remain unquestioned. It is nothing more than an effort to dampen down the protests against the war crimes and atrocities committed by the UK's ally, Israel.

Examples -
"Israel, like any state, has the right to ensure its own security"
No one disputes that right, but it is obvious that Israel is using this as an excuse to commit genocide against the Palestinian people. Our government is colluding in this crime against humanity by making statements like the following
"We condemn the terrorist tactics of Hamas who fired rockets on Israel, built extensive tunnels to kidnap and murder, and repeatedly refused to accept ceasefires."
Hamas only fired rockets into Israeli territory after rockets were fired into Gaza, an act of provocation to create an excuse for the onslaught that followed. The tunnels were built primarily to break the blockade on essential goods whose entry into Gaza was prevented by the Israeli military. When the Israeli invasion and killing began the tunnels were used by militias resisting the invasion. Had the Israelis not lain siege to Gaza the tunnels would not have been built. Had the Israelis not invaded Gaza their use by the defenders would not have occurred.
Note that our government "condemned" the resistance by "Hamas" (ignoring the fact that other fighters resisted the invaders), but is only "saddened" by the slaughter of over 2,000 Gazans, including hundreds of children. No condemnation needed for non-Israeli deaths. What hypocrisy!
"the UK has been at the forefront of international reconstruction efforts."
Is that so? More information please. The results of your efforts in this area are obvious to no-one. You do know that the Israelis will not allow construction materials into Gaza. There is no international reconstruction in Gaza. If you really cared you would bother to find that out for your selves.
If, as is clear, Netanyahu has immunity from arrest, then correct action would be to disinvite the monster, and to shun a militaristic entity hell-bent on the commission of genocide. Those who have signed the existing petition should prepare a second that will inform the government of our wish to have no truck with the mass murderer Netanyahu.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Nearly two months without a post. I must revive this sleeping pygmy.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"History is a set of lies agreed upon."
("L'histoire est une suite de mensonges sur lesquels on est d'accord")
Napoleon - THE Napoleon

"Both countries [Britain and France] persist in believing that Waterloo was a British – or even an 'English' – victory."
"More than half of Wellington’s own force consisted of Hannoverians, Saxons, Dutch and Belgians. About a quarter of the 120,000 soldiers who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo were 'British' – and maybe one in eight were English.
"Of the 32 infantry regiments in Wellington’s army of about 70,000, only 18 were British, of which seven were from Scotland. Modern historians estimate that one in three of the soldiers in the “English” regiments were from Ireland. Of the 12 cavalry brigades, seven were British and many of their regiments were German. Half the 29 batteries of guns were Hannoverian, Dutch or Belgian.
"None of these numbers include the 53,000 Prussians who turned up eventually and swung the battle Wellington’s way, just when the French were pushing for a late victory."
(John Lichfield, The Independent, 12.6.15)

The anti-French force was a European coalition commanded by an Irishman who persisted in calling himself English, in spite of his family's residence in Ireland since 1174. Wellington hated Catholics, though a large number of his troops were of that faith. It is claimed that the other ranks of his army in the Peninsular War were 100% Irish Catholic, and the officer class was made up of Scots and Anglo-Irish Protestants like himself.
Ironic then that it was Wellington, as British Prime Minister, who oversaw the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act. His speech to the House of Lords on the subject suggests that he did this with a good grace.

"My Lords, if on the eve of any of those hard-fought days, on which I had the honour to command them, I had thus addressed my Roman Catholic troops; 'You well know that your country so suspects your loyalty, or so dislikes your religion, that she has not thought proper to admit you amongst the ranks of her citizens; if on that account you deem it an act of injustice on her part to require you to shed your blood in her defence, you are at liberty to withdraw.'
"- I am quite sure, My Lords, that, however bitter the recollections which it awakened, they would have spurned the alternative with indignation; for the hour of danger and glory is the hour in which the gallant, the generous-hearted Irishman best knows his duty, and is most determined to perform it. But if, My Lords it had been otherwise; if they had chosen to desert the cause in which they were embarked, though the remainder of the troops would undoubtedly have maintained the honour of the British arms, yet, as I have just said, no effort of theirs could ever have crowned us with victory. Yes, My Lords, it is mainly to the Irish Catholics that we all owe our proud pre-eminence in our military career ..."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"Steel then tries to excuse Montague’s appalling silence as Israel’s defense minister took over the BBC airwaves by claiming that Montague was badly briefed by researchers and didn’t have much time to make the recording."
Amena Saleem, Electronic Intifada

Monday, May 18, 2015

Israeli army takes on five-year-old child. What do you know? It wins.
Medals? Promotions?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

“…there is another tendency equally dangerous as it affects non-Jews, and that is to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. This really amounts to making anti-Semites, by appointment, of everybody who either does not believe in Zionism or criticizes any phase of Zionist and Israeli policy.”
This lady had her finger on the pulse while the most of us were still hung up on the "David and Goliath" fairy tale peddled by the Zionists and their cheerleaders in Europe.
I confess I'd never heard of her. But now Obama is using her as a means of criticising the US media in its subservience to the apartheid state, subservience which was his unfailing position until the US legislative body showed him its arse as it licked the boots of King Bibi.
Now the name of Dorothy Thompson will be dragged through the mud once more as defenders of genocide attack the messenger, having no answer to the message.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

From Ireland to Greece to Ireland, solidarity

Oh, how they laughed.
I'm reminded of an old Chinese proverb, "You don't use good iron to make nails, or good men to make soldiers".

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Yesterday morning I am listening to music on the radio when the programme's host announces that the next recording is the work of Shostakovich. Not my favourite composer, so I have the remote control ready to switch stations if necessary, but the introduction has my attention.
The music is from the soundtrack of a Russian film called "The Gadfly" which is based on a novel by one Ethel Lilian Voynich. Strange name, I'm thinking - and haven't I heard that surname before?
I learn that Ethel was born in Cork, the daughter of a philosopher and mathematician named George Boole who developed a system known as Boolean logic. I'd heard that expression before, without having a clue what it was about, and I was left wondering about the surname and its connection to Ireland. Later I found out that George was English, born in Lincoln, and appointed Professor of Mathematics at Queen's University, Cork, in 1849. So Ethel's Irishness was of birth, not of ancestry.
Ethel took an interest in Russian politics and became an associated with the Narodnik movement. She met Michael Voynich through the movement and they set up home together in 1895, and she became Ethel Voynich. "The Gadfly" was published in 1897. It became very popular in Soviet Russia, though she only learned of this much later in a conversation with a Russian diplomat. She was then able to collect the royalties on the Russian edition.
Now, Michael Voynich; he was actually Polish not Russian, real name Michał Wojnicz. After settling in Britain he gave up revolutionary politics and became a bookseller. He was naturalised and adopted the forename Wilfrid. Bookseller - when I learned this I remembered where I'd heard the name, on a TV programme about a mysterious text called the Voynich Manuscript.
The manuscript, Ethel, George Boole, and Mary Everest, Ethel's mother, are all subjects of articles in Wikipedia. Boolean Algebra has its own article.

Shostakovich's "Gadfly" music wasn't so bad after all.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Whatever happened to my poetry season? I've been negligent, distracted.
I'll round it off with this affecting - for me anyway - poem by Padraig Ó hÉigeartaigh*. It is a lament for his drowned son. The English is by Thomas Kinsella.

My sorrow, Donncha, my thousand-cherished,
under this sod stretched,
this mean sod lying on your little body
-- my utter fright!
If the sleep were on you in Cill na Dromad
or some grave in the West
it would ease my sorrow, though great the affliction,
and I'd not complain.

Spent and withered are the flowers scattered
on your narrow bed.
They were fair a while but their brightness faded,
they've no gloss or life.
And my brightest flower that in soil grew ever
or will ever grow
rots in the ground, and will come no more
to lift my heart.

Alas, beloved, is it not a great pity
how the water rocked you,
your pulses powerless and no one near you
to bring relief?
No news was brought to me of my child in peril
or his cruel hardship
--O, I'd go, and eager, to Hell's deep flag-stones
if I could save you.

The moon is dark and I cannot sleep.
All ease has left me.
The candid Gaelic seems harsh and gloomy
--an evil omen.
I hate the time that I pass with friends,
their wit torments me.
Since the day I saw you on the sands so lifeless
no sun has shone.

Alas my sorrow, what can I do now?
The world grinds me
--your slight white hand, like a tree-breeze, gone from
my frowning brows,
and your little honeymouth, like angels' music
sweet in my ears
saying to me softly: "Dear heart, poor father,
do not be troubled."

And O, my dear one! I little thought
in my time of hope
this child would never be a brave swift hero
in the midst of glory
with deeds of daring and lively thoughts
for the sake of Fódla
--but the One who framed us of clay on earth
not so has ordered.

*Or Patrick O'Hegarty in its English version. Fódla, or Fódhla, is one of many poetic names for Ireland.The original Irish can be found here.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

I like this entry in Neil MacAlpine's "Pronouncing Gaelic Dictionary", first published in 1832 -
"H, h, this letter is not acknowledged in our Alphabet; but to keep the Gaelic in character with us, who are the BRAVEST and most singular people in the WHOLE WORLD, (as the SCOTS TIMES says,) it is used, not only in every word, but almost in every syllable expressed or understood."

Another entry begins -
"TAPADH ... heroic feat, achievement; thanks, success; tapadh leat thank you, Sir, or Madam - literally may you be a hero or heroine, (the thing uppermost in Donald's noddle) ..."

Saturday, February 21, 2015

.. and on.
Another one for the paedophiles.

Friday, February 20, 2015

I don't know if anyone else would be interested in this but I'm posting it here so that I have it to hand. It's about some oddities of the French language. I believe it is the work of one Laurent Develle, though I came to it via Christian Vancau, a friend.

Pour les férus de la langue française, un petit bijou que vous ne connaissiez peut-être pas.

· Le plus long mot palindrome de la langue française est « ressasser ». C'est-à-dire qu’il se lit dans les deux sens.

· « Institutionnalisation » est le plus long lipogramme en « e ». C'est-à-dire qu'il ne comporte aucun « e ».

· L'anagramme de « guérison » est « soigneur » C'est-à-dire que le mot comprend les mêmes lettres.

· « Endolori » est l'anagramme de son antonyme « indolore », ce qui est paradoxal.

· « Squelette » est le seul mot masculin qui se finit en « ette ».

· « Où » est le seul mot contenant un « u » avec un accent grave. Il a aussi une touche de clavier à lui tout seul !

· Le mot « simple » ne rime avec aucun autre mot. Tout comme « triomphe », « quatorze », « quinze », « pauvre », « meurtre , « monstre », « belge », « goinfre » ou « larve ».

· « Délice », « amour » et « orgue » ont la particularité d'être de genre masculin et deviennent féminin à la forme plurielle. Toutefois, peu sont ceux qui acceptent l'amour au pluriel.

C'est ainsi !

· « Oiseaux » est, avec 7 lettres, le plus long mot dont on ne prononce aucune des lettres : [o], [i], [s], [e], [a], [u], [x] .

« oiseau » est aussi le plus petit mot de langue française contenant toutes les voyelles. Eh oui !

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I just learned of the death, on Saturday at the age of 87, of Philip Levine, who was Poet Laureate of the USA in 2011 and 2012.
Now I make a confession; I had never heard of Philip Levine, and I wasn't aware that the USA appointed poets to the office of laureate. Reading about the gent I learn that he was "a champion of the working class". That'll do for me. I looked on line for his verse, and the title of this one aroused my curiosity. The named poets hardly feature in the poem, which is really about one Arthur Lieberman, cousin of Levine.

(Philip Levine)

Brooklyn, 1929. Of course Crane's
been drinking and has no idea who
this curious Andalusian is, unable
even to speak the language of poetry.
The young man who brought them
together knows both Spanish and English,
but he has a headache from jumping
back and forth from one language
to another. For a moment's relief
he goes to the window to look
down on the East River, darkening
below as the early night comes on.
Something flashes across his sight,
a double vision of such horror
he has to slap both his hands across
his mouth to keep from screaming.
Let's not be frivolous, let's
not pretend the two poets gave
each other wisdom or love or
even a good time, let's not
invent a dialogue of such eloquence
that even the ants in your own
house won't forget it. The two
greatest poetic geniuses alive
meet, and what happens? A vision
comes to an ordinary man staring
at a filthy river. Have you ever
had a vision? Have you ever shaken
your head to pieces and jerked back
at the image of your young son
falling through open space, not
from the stern of a ship bound
from Vera Cruz to New York but from
the roof of the building he works on?
have you risen from bed to pace
until dawn to beg a merciless god
to take these pictures away? Oh, yes,
let's bless the imagination. It gives
us the myths we live by. Let's bless
the visionary power of the human--
the only animal that's got it--,
bless the exact image of your father
dead and mine dead, bless the images
that stalk the corners of our sight
and will not let go. The young man
was my cousin, Arthur Lieberman,
then a language student at Columbia,
who told me all this before he died
quietly in his sleep in 1983
in a hotel in Perugia. A good man,
Arthur, he survived graduate school,
later came home to Detroit and sold
pianos right through the Depression.
He loaned my brother a used one
to compose his hideous songs on,
which Arthur thought were genius.
What an imagination Arthur had!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Amiri Baraka, formerly Leroi Jones; under which identity he wrote this I can't say at the moment, so I'll give him his chosen name.

(Amiri Baraka)

I can pray
all day
& God
wont come.

But if I call
The Devil
Be here

in a minute!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Have I remarked on it before? I hate that word 'cool', so annoyingly middle class.

"Have you got a loyalty card?"
"No, and I don't want one, thank you."
"That's cool."
(Is it really? Is that what passes for cool in your strange world?)

(Adrian Mitchell)

cool is a pose
hip is a gift
cool is a mask
hip is perfect pitch
cool is closed twenty-two hours a day
hip is open all round the clock
cool is a suit of armour made of ice
hip strolls naked on the bay of the dock
cool pretends it doesn't go to an analyst
hip is Just William at Prince Charming's Ball
cool is the super-sarcastic panellist
hip's the green lizard on the workhouse wall
cool is a sniper on the hills
keeping going on those mean green pills
hip is a joke
weightless as smoke
or Hamlet stalking
in his Spiderman cloak

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Albert Young was an IWW member from Glasgow who was active in the North London branch of the union. He was too old to be conscripted into the armed forces during World War 1, but the poem suggests that, like many Fellow Wobs, he would have resisted conscription. "The Deserter" was published in the Daily Herald in 1915, and later in a collection of Albert's verse entitled "The Red Dawn".

(Albert Young)

I refuse to murder or maim this man, my brother,
Or soil my soul in the smoke of war’s red smother.
I refuse to kindle the flame that shall burn this city,
So my heart be murder-stained and dead to pity.

I refuse to obey your command. I have no duty
Other than love of Life and love of Beauty.
Tho’ you riddle my body with lead still I’ll be grateful.
But I’m gone – and you’re left behind, pursuing and hateful.

I fly with the wings of the wind and a hope surprising,
And reach a haven at last, as the sun is rising.
And here till the night-shades fall I sleep in gladness,
Then up, on the dark, rough road, to my home of sadness.

Hard on my track snarl the hounds of Hell’s own breeding;
But again I’m gone and roadway’s ‘neath me speeding.
Soon my garb of shame’s sunk to the depths of the river,
And dressed in the clothes of a man I offer thanks to the giver.

For I will not murder or maim this man, my brother,
Or sink my soul in the slime of war’s red smother.
I’ll get away if I can and in more peaceful regions
I’ll live and love and forget War and its murdering smother.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Joe Corrie's a regular visitor to my poetry seasons. Here he is again.

(Joe Corrie)

We have borne good sons to broken men
Nurtured them on our hungry breast
And given them to our masters when
Their day of life was at its best

We have dried their clammy clothes by the fire
Solaced them, tended them, cheered them well
Watched the wheels raising them from the mire
Watched the wheels lowering them to Hell

We have prayed for them in a Godless way
(We never could fathom the ways of God)
We have sung with them on their wedding day
Knowing the journey and the road

We have stood through the naked night to watch
The silent wheels that raised the dead
We have gone before to raise the latch
And lay the pillow beneath their head

We have done all this for our masters' sake
Did it in rags and did not mind
What more do they want? what more can they take?
Unless our eyes and leave us blind

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Green Surge effect, local Labour MP caught telling fibs.
It's clear that Labour sees the Greens as their biggest threat, in spite of the jackal press nudging Labour supporters towards UKIP. We proles are all racists you know, and love a politician who pretends to like beer*.
I'm not a Green, or even a fan, but anti-austerity, anti-racism, pro-NHS, will get my support. Which of the parties with a realistic chance of winning seats is talking that kind of talk?

*Has anyone ever seen that posh git Farage finish a pint?

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Video Israel Doesn't Want You to See

More heroics from "the most moral army in the world".

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A verse from Apollinaire's "Bestiaire" that I like, with an English language version by the great Edwin Morgan.


Je souhaite dans ma maison:
Une femme ayant sa raison,
Un chat passant parmi les livres,
Des amis en toute saison
Sans lesquels je ne peux pas vivre.


Mine be the house where you would find:
A woman in her right mind,
A cat to walk among the books,
And friends about at any time –
I bear no fruit without these roots.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Time, I think, for a poetry season.
Idris Davies has appeared here before, and no doubt will do so again.

(Idris Davies)

You stood behind your Bible
And thundered lie on lie,
And your roaring shook your beard
And the brow above your eye.

There was squalor all around you
And disaster far ahead,
And you roared the fall of Adam
To the dying and the dead.

You built your slums, and fastened
Your hand upon your heart
And warned the drab illiterate
Against all useless art.

And you died upon the Sabbath
In bitterness and gloom,
And your lies were all repeated
Above your gaudy tomb.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cloned from Raymond Deane's facebook thingie.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Back again. The blog police are playing cat and mouse with me. I may stop playing their games and go over to wordpress.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

I've been locked out of this blog for several days, but the blog police have let me back in.