Unique book of international poetry available in paperback and Kindle

BLOG LUMINANCE paperbacks

A UNIQUE collection of international poetry, first published as an e-book in 2018 is now available worldwide as a large format paperback.

While global warming, poverty, pollution, homelessness, the refugee crisis and warfare continue to dominate world news, a diverse group of global poets have turned their spotlight on the frailty and hope of humanity.

Their book: LUMINANCE – Words for a World Gone Wrong is now published worldwide by Amazon as a stunning 125 page paperback.

The writers live 11,000 miles apart, across 18 time zones, in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Palestine, Japan, England, Scotland and six different states of the USA.

They include a mum of four, a 17-year-old student, a haiku writer, a freedom fighter, a grandfather, a modern day minstrel, a novelist and a self-proclaimed ‘mystic’.

Their poetry displays the diversity of their home cities and cultures and form the unique nature of the book.

The writers of LUMINANCE are:

Austie M Baird is a 34-year-old mother raising four young children in rural eastern Oregon, USA.

Sophie Bowns, 27, from Cumbria in England, is a teaching assistant, poet and a fiction author, with seven published books to her name.

Hanalee is a widely travelled 18-year-old gardening enthusiast from Phoenix, Arizona, now at university in Iowa.

Bridgford Hashimoko, 54, is an EFL teacher in Tokyo, Japan, who is fascinated by the many forms and variations of Haiku.

Annabel James, from Oklahoma, USA, writes poetry as a positive outlet to manage a chaos of emotions and thoughts into a form that she can share.

Anjali Love is a mystic, poet, writer, storyteller, artist, and tantric yogini, from Melbourne, Australia and is a lover of life with insatiable wanderlust.

Heather Lynn Matthews is a married 32-year-old mother of two, from Ontario, Canada, who loves to write poetry and short stories.

Joseph Nichols lives in Kentucky, USA. By day, he works for the state transportation cabinet and by the weekend he is a minstrel and DJ.

Nic Outterside, from Wolverhampton, England spent 28 years in journalism. He discovered the therapeutic power of poetry following a nervous breakdown in 2013.

Brotibir Roy is a 18-year-old and a 12th standard student in Dhaka, Bangladesh, who writes to pacify his mind and to play with words.

Megan Taylor, 22, is an English and Film graduate from Aberdeen University in Scotland.

Troy Turner was born and raised in Los Angeles, USA. Nothing has captivated him so much as the written word and the interaction between author and reader.

Zanita is a 38-year-old college lecturer from Gaza in Palestine. When not teaching, she publishes books to support the liberation of her country from the control of Israel.

Nic Outterside is the editor and publisher of LUMINANCE and said: “I have edited many publications over the years, but none has been as challenging and exciting as this.

“I was lucky to have so many amazingly talented and beautiful people contributing to this hugely diverse project.

“I hope you enjoy and share their end result… we all think it is quite amazing.”

LUMINANCE – Words for a World Gone Wrong can be purchased via Amazon at:

WORLDWIDE: www.amazon.com/dp/1796270032/  price $9.71

UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1796270032/   price £7.50

FRANCE: www.amazon.fr/LUMINANCE-Words-World-Gone-Wrong/dp/1796270032/   price: 9.05 euros

SPAIN: www.amazon.es/dp/1796270032 price 8.92 euros

JAPAN: www.amazon.co.jp/dp/1796270032/ price 1,150 Yen

ITALY: www.amazon.co.it/dp/1796270032/ price 8.92 euros

GERMANY: www.amazon.co.it/dp/1796270032/ price 9.18 euros

And on Kindle e-book at ALL 13 Amazon international sites

Unique book of international poetry published in paperback today

BLOG LUMINANCE FULL COVER

A UNIQUE collection of international poetry, first published as an e-book almost nine months ago, is released worldwide in paperback today (11 February 2019).

While global warming, poverty, pollution, homelessness, the refugee crisis and warfare continue to dominate world news, a diverse group of global poets have turned their spotlight on the frailty and hope of humanity.

Their book: LUMINANCE – Words for a World Gone Wrong is now published worldwide by Amazon as a stunning 125 page paperback.

The writers live and work 11,000 miles apart, across 18 time zones, in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Palestine, Japan, England, Scotland and six different states of the USA.

They include a mum of four, a 16 year-old school student, a haiku writer, a freedom fighter, a grandfather, a modern day minstrel, a novelist and a self-proclaimed ‘mystic’.

Their poetry displays the diversity of their home cities and cultures and form the unique nature of the book.

The writers of LUMINANCE are:

Austie M Baird is a 33-year-old mother raising four young children in rural eastern Oregon, USA.

Sophie Bowns, 26, from Cumbria in England, is a teaching assistant and a fiction author, with five published books to her name.

Hanalee is a widely travelled 18-year-old American gardening enthusiast from Phoenix, Arizona.

Bridgford Hashimoko, 53, is an EFL teacher in Tokyo, Japan, who is fascinated by the many forms and variations of Haiku.

Annabel James, from Oklahoma, USA, writes poetry as a positive outlet to manage a chaos of emotions and thoughts into a form that she can share.

Anjali Love is a mystic, poet, writer, storyteller, artist, and tantric yogini, from Melbourne, Australia and is a lover of life with insatiable wanderlust.

Heather Lynn Matthews is a married 31-year-old mother of two, from Ontario, Canada, who loves to write poetry and short stories.

Joseph Nichols lives in Kentucky, USA. By day, he works for the state transportation cabinet and by the weekend he is a minstrel and DJ.

Nic Outterside, from Wolverhampton in England spent almost 30 years in journalism. He discovered the therapeutic power of writing poetry following a nervous breakdown in 2013.

Brotibir Roy is a 17-year-old and a 11th standard student in Dhaka, Bangladesh, who writes to pacify his mind and to play with words.

Megan Taylor, 22, is an English and Film graduate from Aberdeen University in Scotland.

Troy Turner was born and raised in Los Angeles, USA. Nothing has captivated him so much as the written word and the interaction between author and reader.

Zanita is a 37-year-old college lecturer from Gaza in Palestine. When not teaching, she publishes books to support the liberation of her country from the control of Israel.

Nic Outterside is the editor and publisher of LUMINANCE.

“I have edited many publications over the years,” says Nic, “But none has been as challenging and exciting as this.

“I was lucky to have so many amazingly talented and beautiful people contributing to this hugely diverse project.

“I hope you enjoy and share their end result… we all think it has all been worthwhile.”

LUMINANCE – Words for a World Gone Wrong can be purchased via Amazon outlets at:

WORLDWIDE: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1796270032/  price $9.71

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1796270032/   price £7.50

JAPAN: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/1796270032/  price 1,150 Yen

ITALY: https://www.amazon.co.it/dp/1796270032/  price 8.92 euros

GERMANY: https://www.amazon.co.it/dp/1796270032/  price 9.18 euros

And on Kindle e-book at ALL 13 Amazon sites

 

 

 

United Colours of Palestine

palestine flag

Shed a tear

Do not fear

Blood and paint

Are about to run

The children of

Fearless Palestine

Die under the

Desert sun

 

Red, the blood of their loving kin

Black, the colour of evil Zion

White, the truth that is without sin

Green, the grass they are to die on

 

Don’t look away

You must stay

Flesh and soul

Are torn apart

The women of

Fearless Palestine

Are being

Ripped apart

 

Red, the blood of their loving kin

Black, the colour of evil Zion

White, the truth that is without sin

Green, the grass they are to die on

 

Fight their cause

Do not pause

Black and white

Like Raven and Dove

The men of

Fearless Palestine

They too need

Your love
 

Red, the blood of their loving kin

Black, the colour of evil Zion

White, the truth that is without sin

Green, the grass they are to die on

 

Razan

Razan

First of June 20-18

The Gaza border, weather fine

Israeli missiles and white phosphorus

Burned out the Hamas line

Will the world see justice done?

A hundred killed

Innocent blood all spilled

Fearless hands raised to the sky

For peace and Palestine

The martyrs all did die

 

Gentle Razan

Just 21

The eldest of six

Your blood will run

For Freedom

 

Razan al-Najar

Was shot in the chest

Trying to help a wounded man

Her bravery will not see rest

Until the world sees justice done

A white butterfly

With hands held high

Told the IDF sniper

She was a nurse unarmed

Yet they killed this fearless tiger

 

Gentle Razan

Just 21

The eldest of six

Your blood will run

For Freedom

 

When I try to sleep at night

I am haunted by Razan’s face

Zionist bankers paint the murder white

And poison the whole Arab race

The world will now see justice done

Within this devil’s scandal

They can blow out a candle

But they can’t blow out a fire

Once the flames begin to catch

The wind will blow it higher

 

(Inspired by Peter Gabriel’s iconic song Biko)

This isn’t anti-Semitism… this is the reality of the killing fields of Palestine

Pal Flag

LAST Saturday, thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral in Gaza of a volunteer female medic who was killed by Israeli fire during protests near the border with Israel.

Gentle Razan al-Najar, 21, was shot dead as she ran towards the border fence last Friday to help a casualty.

The death of Razan followed weeks of killings and crippling woundings by Israel’s IDF forces on the Gaza-Israel border.

More than 100 men, women and children have been killed by Israeli forces amid protests in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

Israel claims its soldiers have only opened fire on people trying to break through the border under cover of protests, and has blamed the group Hamas for orchestrating the violence.

But UN and human rights officials have accused Israel of using disproportionate force.

At Saturday’s funeral procession, Razan’s body was carried through the streets of Gaza wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

Her father carried her blood-stained medical jacket, while other mourners demanded revenge.

The Palestinian Medical Relief Society said Razan had been trying to reach an injured protester when she was shot near the city of Khan Younis.

“Shooting at medical personnel is a war crime under the Geneva conventions,” it said in a statement.

UN envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov tweeted that Israel needed to calibrate its use of force.

The UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also said it was “deeply concerned” and called for the protection of medical workers.

Israel’s military claimed its troops along the border had been attacked by militants with gunfire and a grenade on Friday.

It said in a written statement that it would investigate the death of Ms Najar.

The day after Razan al-Najar funeral, Mohammed Naaim Hamada, 30, died on Sunday morning east of the Gaza Strip as a result of wounds inflicted by Israeli security forces on May 14.

Hamada’s death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the protests began to at least 121.

Palestinian health officials say another 10,000 have been seriously injured by Israeli troops over the past six weeks at a series of protests along the border.

Sixty died on one day alone, when 40,000 took part in demonstrations that coincided with the controversial relocation to Jerusalem of the US embassy.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel’s military of carrying out “massacres” of unarmed civilians.

Hamas and other groups organised the protest campaign, dubbed the “Great March of Return“, in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to land they or their ancestors fled from or were forced to leave in the war which followed Israel’s founding in 1948.

The Israeli government, which has long ruled out any right of return, said terrorists wanted to use the protests as cover to cross into its territory and carry out attacks.

Before the protests began, Israeli officials said soldiers would be permitted under certain rules to fire live ammunition at anyone attempting to damage the border fence, and even against people coming within 300m (985ft) of it – a figure that was reportedly later reduced to 100m.

They said Israeli soldiers deployed near the Gaza protests were required to operate according to the international legal framework applicable to police and other law enforcement officials, which is part of international human rights law.

It holds that the “intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life”.

“An attempt to approach or crossing or damaging the fence do not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“This is also the case with regards to stones and Molotov cocktails being thrown from a distance at well-protected security forces located behind defensive positions.”

Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East director, said: “This is a violation of international standards, with Israeli forces in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes.”

Last month, the group documented witness testimony, video and photographic evidence that it said showed Israeli troops were killing and maiming demonstrators who posed no imminent threat to them.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the open-fire orders were “manifestly unlawful” and called on Israeli soldiers in the field to refuse to comply with them.

Last month, six other human rights groups asked the Israeli Supreme Court to revoke the military’s rules of engagement that they said permitted live fire at protesters classified as “key agitators” even when they did not pose an immediate threat to life. The groups said soldiers should instead follow the law enforcement framework. The court’s decision is pending.

Palestinian campaigner Nahida Izzat sets out the ongoing crisis in Gaza in startling black and white: “We the Palestinian Nation have been victims of insanely sadistic cruelty, assassinations of pregnant mothers, torture of children, psycho-terror, loss of land, loss of peace, security and independence, loss of health, destruction of our architectural and archeological cultural heritage, loss of collective and personal property, loss of economic means, all at the hands and policies of a foreign and psychopathic body of Jewish Zionist terrorists and their international network of accomplices, for more than seven decades.

“Myriads of Jewish-Zionist funds and foundations continue to raise and collect sums in the billions from international Jewish communities, to finance (either overtly or covertly) the destruction of our nation and our homeland.”

For the past 85 years there have been four major Intifadas (uprisings) in Palestine in 1929, 1936, 1987, 2000.

For six generations there have been 10 wars of aggression by Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1996, 2006, 2008/9, 2012 and 2014.

Tens of thousands of innocent and peace seeking civilians now lie dead.

Nahida Izzat continues: “Yet, the racist supremacist occupiers Israel still have not learned how to co-exist and live peacefully without violence or aggression.

“Their ideological supremacy and fanaticism is now worsening and spiralling out of control.

Yet, comes those fake “doves” who want to hoodwink Palestinians and the world into believing that “coexistence” and “peace” with violent, nuclear-armed supremacist is not only possible, but only just around the corner!

“I call this behaviour a deception of the highest order.

  • If every single one of us, 11 million Palestinians, agrees to “coexist” with those who raped our land and dispossessed us;
  • If we all become ideological clones of Mahmoud Abbas;
  • If we run with open arms smothering our occupiers with hugs and kisses;
  • If we agree to absolve them of all the century of crimes;
  • If we embrace them under the banner of “equal rights for all”;

“The supremacist occupiers would sneer, turn their heads away in contempt, while plotting for their next expansionist war, for how could a “chosen” ever be “equal” to a “goy”?

“The six million dollar question now is, why on Earth do Jewish supporters ignore the fatal need of Israeli supremacists to learn about equality and co-existence and frenetically chase us, to preach co-existence to us and teach us about equality instead of their own?

“It is time to cut the crap, once and for all, and stop the lie of preaching co-existence to Palestinians when you know fair well that Jewish racism and supremacy lie at the heart of the problem.”

Nahida is right, the root cause to all the problems in the entire Middle East is the ongoing denial of Palestinian freedom.

Israel has chosen occupation over peace, and used negotiations as a smokescreen to advance its colonial project.

Every government across the globe knows this simple fact and yet so many of them pretend that returning to the failed recipes of the past could achieve freedom and peace.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

There can be no negotiations without a clear Israeli commitment to fully withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; a complete end to all colonial policies; a recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people including their right to self-determination and return; and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.

Maybe it is useful to remind the world that Palestine’s dispossession, forced exile and transfer, and oppression have now lasted for 70 years.

Palestinian Liberation is the only item to have stood on the UN’s agenda since its inception.

The entire world knows that Jerusalem is the flame that can inspire peace and ignite war.

Why then does the world stand still while the Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people in the city and in Muslim and Christian holy sites, notably Al-Haram al-Sharif, continue unabated?

Israel’s actions and crimes not only destroy the two-state solution on 1967 borders and violate international law, they threaten to transform a solvable political conflict into a never-ending religious war that will undermine stability in a region already experiencing unprecedented turmoil.

Israel’s domination of Palestinians makes violence inevitable

The latest round of attacks is shocking, but no anomaly. There will never be quiet as long as one group of citizens are forced to live without rights, and with no way out

No people on the globe would accept to coexist with oppression.

By nature, humans yearn for freedom, struggle for freedom, sacrifice for freedom, and the freedom of the Palestinian people is long overdue.

And in words that would have sat easily with Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King, Nahida Izzat adds: “We the Palestinian people aim to steer our own struggle towards liberation those who want to steer in the same direction are welcome, those who want to steer in a different direction, to protect our killers and secure their future from any upcoming natural justice, are advised to jump across and join the other camp right away, rather than waiting for the future.

“We refuse to grant legitimacy to supremacists, mass-murderers and baby-killers.

“The only fair solution for such chronic grave injustice, to right the wrong of a century of crimes against humanity is the Algerian model of the full Liberation of Palestine.”

Indeed, now is the time to Free Palestine.

Spread the word!

Introducing the poets of Luminance who shine a light on a world gone wrong

 

BLOG WRITERS2A UNIQUE new book has brought together a collection of amazing and diverse poets to shine a light of words on a world gone wrong.

While global warming, poverty, homelessness, the refugee crisis and warfare dominate world news, the poets of LUMINANCE turn a spotlight on the frailty and hope of humanity.

The writers include a 32 year-old mum of four, a 16 year-old school student, a haiku writer, a freedom fighter, a 62-year-old grandfather, a modern day minstrel, a novelist and a self-proclaimed ‘mystic’.

Their poetry is breath-taking in its style, its range and its subject matter, falling nimbly into the categories: Darkness and Light, Heaven and Hell, Love and Theft, and War and Peace.

BLOG COVER

Most of the writers have, until now, only seen their work published on social media.

They live and work 11,000 miles apart, across 18 time zones, in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Palestine, Japan, England, Scotland and six different states of the USA. Their writings display the diversity of their home cities and cultures and form the unique nature of the book.

The writers of LUMINANCE are:

Austie M Baird is a 32-year-old mother raising four young children in rural eastern Oregon, USA.

Sophie Bowns, 25, from Cumbria in England, is a trainee teaching assistant and a fiction author, with four published books to her name.

Hanalee is a 17-year-old American gardening enthusiast from Phoenix, Arizona, who plans on attending college at the University of Iowa in the autumn.

Bridgford Hashimoko, 52, is an EFL teacher in Tokyo, Japan, who is fascinated by the many forms and variations of Haiku.

Annabel James, from Oklahoma, USA, writes poetry as a positive outlet to manage a chaos of emotions and thoughts into a form that she can share.

Anjali Love is a mystic, poet, writer, storyteller, artist, and tantric yogini, from Melbourne, Australia and is a lover of life with insatiable wanderlust.

Heather Lynn Matthews is a married 30-year-old mother of two, from Ontario, Canada, who loves to write poetry and short stories.

Joseph Nichols is a graduate of EKU’s Bluegrass Writers Studio, and lives in Kentucky, USA. By day, he works for the state transportation cabinet; by weekend, he is a minstrel with A to Z Productions Mobile DJ.

Nic Outterside, from Wolverhampton in England spent almost 30 years in newspaper and magazine journalism. He discovered the therapeutic power of writing poetry following a nervous breakdown in 2013.

Brotibir Roy is a 16-year-old and a 10th standard student in Dhaka, Bangladesh, who writes to pacify his mind and to play with words.

Megan Taylor, 21, is an English and Film student currently studying at Aberdeen University in Scotland.

Troy Turner is born and raised in Los Angeles, USA. Nothing has captivated him so much as the written word and the interaction between author and reader.

Zanita is a 36-year-old college lecturer from Gaza in Palestine. When not teaching, she publishes books and leaflets to support the liberation of her country from the control of Israel.

Nic Outterside is the publisher of LUMINANCE.

“I have edited many publications over the years,” says Nic, “But none has been as challenging and exciting as this.

“I was lucky to have so many amazingly talented and beautiful people contributing to this hugely diverse project.

“Their writing alone is breath-taking, but it doesn’t stop there… they were all brimming with ideas about the book, its publicity and ways to reach more readers than I ever believed possible.

“And we all hope you enjoy and share their end result… we think it has all been worthwhile.”

Stay tuned for more news about LUMINANCE in the run-up to publication on Monday 30 April 2018.

 

New book unites 14 poets to shine a light on a world gone wrong

BLOG COVER

A UNIQUE new book has brought together 14 diverse poets to shine a light on a world gone wrong.

While global warming, poverty, homelessness, the refugee crisis and warfare dominate world news, the poets of LUMINANCE shine a blinding light on the frailty and hope of humanity.

The writers include a 32 year-old mum of four from Oregon, USA, a 16 year-old school student from Bangladesh, a haiku writer in Japan, a freedom fighter from Palestine, a 62-year-old grandfather, a novelist living in England’s Lake District and a self-proclaimed ‘mystic’ from Melbourne, Australia.

The project has been pulled together by a retired newspaper editor.

Most of the writers have, until now, only seen their work published on social media.

Now, LUMINANCE is providing a professionally produced anthology of their poetry and prose for worldwide publication at the end of April.

This “family” of contributors live and work up to 11,000 miles apart, across 18 time zones, in Melbourne, Dhaka, Ontario, Gaza, Hong Kong, Tokyo, England, Scotland and six different states of the USA. Their writings display the diversity of their home cities and cultures and form the unique nature of the book.

“As individuals we are all so very different; different cultures, ages, races, genders, but as writers we have been able to form an incredible bond that reflects the many ways that, as humans we have common needs, hopes, dreams and hearts,” says mum Austie Baird from Oregon.

“This project has provided an incredible opportunity to see the way that different voices can come together from around the world to carry forth unified sentiments of hope, hurt, suffering and support.

“Together, I believe our words are shining a blinding light on the reality of being human, in a world of seeming chaos.”

Zanita, 36, a college lecturer in occupied Palestine is effusive about the project. “We are all voices in the dark until others react and in doing so shine a light on our words,” she says.

“I think of myself as a poet and a freedom fighter for my beloved country… but we are all freedom fighters for our own faith for a better world.”

Retired newspaper and magazine editor Nic Outterside from Wolverhampton, England is the editor and publisher of LUMINANCE.

“I have edited many publications over the years,” says Nic, “But none has been as challenging and exciting as this.

“I am so lucky to have so many amazingly talented and beautiful people contributing to this hugely diverse project.

“Their writing alone is breath-taking, but it doesn’t stop there… they are all brimming with ideas about the book, its publicity and ways to reach more readers than I ever believed possible. Their excitement is palpable.

“My working day is unlike anything I have ever known… one minute I can be chatting with a writer who is eating sushi in Tokyo, the next I am swapping emails with another in Oklahoma or taking a voice message from a poet in war torn Gaza.”

  • Stay tuned for more news about LUMINANCE in the run-up to publication on Monday 30 April 2018.

Words for Friends #5

This is part of a new series of blogs entitled Words for Friends, in which I will try to acknowledge some people in my life for whom words of thanks are not nearly enough.

These living epitaphs to my true and lovely friends are published in a random order as fancy takes me.

#5 Louise

Louise is a fairly new friend who I met through social media, but someone I already regard as a close and kindred spirit.

Emotionally we are similar souls, and we also tick all the boxes that makes someone a close friend.

She comes from my home area of Sussex, supports my beloved Brighton and Hove Albion, lives for music and books, is a former English teacher and now an editor, an ardent socialist and activist for Jeremy Corbyn, and a campaigner for Palestine.

And like me, for a lifetime she has battled deep anxiety and depression and the curve balls that life throws our way. She expresses those struggles with refreshing honesty.

But of all the qualities of friendship I admire the most, is her care for fellow human beings.

More than once she has been the first to ask how I am feeling, and more than once volunteered practical support. Thank you.

I am so glad we met Louise, I can see this friendship lasting a long time.

Tears Won’t Wash Out a Word

Bad night

Woke in a deep depression

So bleak

Life is in a sad recession

Too many memories

Too many loved ones

Gone

Need to write myself out of it today

What do you say?

Guess I’m just human

And I’ll get by

I suppose

Remember it is true

Loyalty is valuable

But our lives are valuable too

 

The right words make you listen

In this cruel world

Any change of values I have got to write it down

They are destroying the Welfare State

I have got to write it down

It must not be forgotten

As long as I write it down

 

Bad day

Dealing with this depression

So bleak

Life is in a sad recession

Too many memories

Too many mistakes

Made

Need to write myself out of it today

What do you say?

Guess I’m just human

And I’ll get by

I suppose

Remember it is true

Honesty is valuable

But our lives are valuable too

 

The right words make you listen

In this cruel world

Any change of values I have got to write it down

They are destroying Palestine

I have got to write it down

It must not be forgotten

As long as I write it down

 

Bad month

Coping with this depression

So bleak

Life is in a sad recession

Too many memories

Too many bridges

Burned

Need to write myself out of it today

What do you say?

Guess I’m just human

And I’ll get by

I suppose

Remember it is true

Dignity is valuable

But our lives are valuable too

 

The right words make you listen

In this cruel world

Any change of values I have got to write it down

They are destroying the working class

I have got to write it down

It must not be forgotten

As long as I write it down

 

Bad year

Struggling with this depression

So bleak

Life is in a sad recession

Too many memories

Too many lovers

Lost

Need to write myself out of it today

What do you say?

Guess I’m just human

And I’ll get by

I suppose

Remember it is true

Sanctity is valuable

But our lives are valuable too

 

The right words make you listen

In this cruel world

Any change of values I have got to write it down

They are destroying the news agenda

I have got to write it down

It must not be forgotten

As long as I write it down

 

(Inspired by Nicola Young and David Bowie’s Fantastic Voyage)

Terrorism – The Common Worry of Everyone, Including Iran

IRAN has been the bogey country of the West since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and its public demonization by the USA.

Anyone of a certain age will remember the portrayal of its then leader Ayatollah Khomeini in Western media as all that was “wrong with Islam”.

Matters weren’t improved in 1989 by the publication of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.

Many Muslims accused Rushdie of blasphemy and in 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie.

Numerous killings, attempted killings, and bombings resulted from Muslim anger over the novel.

The Iranian government backed the fatwa against Rushdie until 1998, when the succeeding government of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said it no longer supported the killing of Rushdie.

But all is never as it seems, particularly when the US and UK’s right wing press is involved, and by 1991 Iraq had replaced Iran as the West’s Bête Noire.

Comical in all of this was that many Americans believed Iraq and Iran were actually the same country!

The fact that today the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia all want to either bomb or control Iran, speaks volumes for its power and status in the Middle East.

Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979, when the monarchy was overthrown and clerics assumed political control under supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Iranian revolution put an end to the rule of the Shah, who had alienated powerful religious, political and popular forces with a programme of modernization and Westernization coupled with heavy repression of dissent.

Persia, as Iran was known before 1935, was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world, and the country has long maintained a distinct cultural identity within the Islamic world by retaining its own language and adhering to the Shia interpretation of Islam.

A brief political history of modern Iran is perhaps warranted.

In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected as the prime minister. He became enormously popular after he nationalized Iran’s petroleum industry and oil reserves.

But he was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first (and not the last) time the US had overthrown a foreign government during the Cold War.

After the coup, the Shah became increasingly autocratic and Iran entered a decades’ long period of close relations with the USA.

While the Shah increasingly modernised Iran and claimed to retain it as a fully secular state, arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, the SAVAK, were used to crush all forms of political opposition.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah’s White Revolution, and publicly denounced the government. In 1963 Khomeini was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months.

After his release in 1964, Khomeini publicly criticized the United States government. The Shah sent him into exile.

In 1974, the economy of Iran was experiencing double digit inflation, and despite many large projects to modernize the country, corruption was rampant and caused large amounts of waste.

By 1976, an economic recession led to increased unemployment, especially among millions of young people who had migrated to the cities of Iran looking for construction jobs during the boom years of the early 1970s.

By the late 1970s, many of these people opposed the Shah’s regime and began to organize and join the protests against it.

An Islamic Revolution began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations against the Shah.

After a year of strikes and demonstrations paralyzing the country and its economy, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled the country and Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran in February 1979, forming a new government. After holding a referendum, in April 1979, Iran officially became an Islamic Republic.

Then on November 4, 1979, a group of students seized the United States Embassy in Tehran and took 52 personnel and citizens hostage, after the US refused to return Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to Iran to face trial in the court of the new regime.

Attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate for the release of the hostages, and a failed rescue attempt, helped force Carter out of office and brought Ronald Reagan to power. On Carter’s final day in office, the last hostages were finally set free as a result of the Algiers Accords.

Following the Iran–Iraq War, in 1989, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his administration concentrated on a pragmatic pro-business policy of rebuilding and strengthening the economy without making any dramatic break with the ideology of the revolution.

In 1997, Rafsanjani was succeeded by the reformist Mohammad Khatami, whose government attempted to make the country more democratic.

Hassan Rouhani was elected as President of Iran on June 15, 2013, and his victory improved the relations of Iran with many other countries.

Now with warfare raging across the Middle East, most neutral observers view Iran as a necessary bulwark against ISIS and the dirty tricks of the USA, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Against that background Iran’s constitutional Leader of the Revolution Sayyid Ali Khamenei has now written an unprecedented second open letter to young people in the West.

Entitled: Today Terrorism is Our Common Worry, he speaks clearly and with a hand of friendship to the West, but is also openly critical in the role the USA has played in the creation of ISIS and the brutality of Zionist Israel.

The letter, a condemnation of terrorism, can also be seen as a plea for self-reflection and clarification of misreported facts at a time of heightened tensions, bloodshed, war, occupation, hate.

Here is his unedited letter in full. I recommend you read it at least twice!

“The bitter events brought about by blind terrorism in France have once again, moved me to speak to you young people.

The bitter events brought about by blind terrorism in France have once again, moved me to speak to you young people.  

For me, it is unfortunate that such incidents would have to create the framework for a conversation, however the truth is that if painful matters do not create the grounds for finding solutions and mutual consultation, then the damage caused will be multiplied.

The pain of any human being anywhere in the world causes sorrow for a fellow human being.  The sight of a child losing his life in the presence of his loved ones, a mother whose joy for her family turns into mourning, a husband who is rushing the lifeless body of his spouse to some place and the spectator who does not know whether he will be seeing the final scene of life- these are scenes that rouse the emotions and feelings of any human being. 

Anyone who has benefited from affection and humanity is affected and disturbed by witnessing these scenes- whether it occurs in France or in Palestine or Iraq or Lebanon or Syria. 

Without a doubt, the one-and-a-half billion Muslims also have these feelings and abhor and are revolted by the perpetrators and those responsible for these calamities. 

The issue, however, is that if today’s pain is not used to build a better and safer future, then it will just turn into bitter and fruitless memories. I genuinely believe that it is only you the youth who by learning the lessons of today’s hardship, have the power to discover new means for building the future and who can be barriers in the misguided path that has brought the west to its current impasse.  

Anyone who has benefited from affection and humanity is affected and disturbed by witnessing these scenes- whether it occurs in France or in Palestine or Iraq or Lebanon or Syria.  

It is correct that today terrorism is our common worry.  However, it is necessary for you to know that the insecurity and strain that you experienced during the recent events, differs from the pain that the people of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan have been experiencing for many years, in two significant ways. 

First, the Islamic world has been the victim of terror and brutality to a larger extent territorially, to greater amount quantitatively and for a longer period in terms of time. Second, that unfortunately this violence has been supported by certain great powers through various methods and effective means. 

Today, there are very few people who are uninformed about the role of the United States of America in creating, nurturing and arming al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their inauspicious successors. 

Besides this direct support, the overt and well-known supporters of takfiri terrorism- despite having the most backward political systems – are standing arrayed as allies of the west while the most pioneering, brightest and most dynamic democrats in the region are suppressed mercilessly. The prejudiced response of the west to the awakening movement in the Islamic world is an illustrative example of the contradictory western policies.

I genuinely believe that it is only you the youth who by learning the lessons of today’s hardship can be barriers in the misguided path that has brought the west to its current impasse.  

The other side of these contradictory policies is seen in supporting the state terrorism of Israel. 

The oppressed people of Palestine have experienced the worst kind of terrorism for the last 60 years. 

If the people of Europe have now taken refuge in their homes for a few days and refrain from being present in busy places- it is decades that a Palestinian family is not secure even in its own home from the Zionist regime’s death and destruction machinery.

What kind of atrocious violence today is comparable to that of the settlement constructions of the Zionist regime?

This regime- without ever being seriously and significantly censured by its influential allies or even by the so-called independent international organizations- everyday demolishes the homes of Palestinians and destroys their orchards and farms. 

This is done without even giving them time to gather their belongings or agricultural products and usually it is done in front of the terrified and tear-filled eyes of women and children who witness the brutal beatings of their family members who in some cases are being dragged away to gruesome torture chambers.  

In today’s world, do we know of any other violence on this scale and scope and for such an extended period of time?

Shooting down a woman in the middle of the street for the crime of protesting against a soldier who is armed to the teeth- if this is not terrorism, what is? This barbarism, because it is being done by the armed forces of an occupying government, should not be called extremism? Or maybe only because these scenes have been seen repeatedly on television screens for 60 years, they should no longer stir our consciences.

The military invasions of the Islamic world in recent years- with countless victims- are another example of the contradictory logic of the west. The assaulted countries, in addition to the human damage caused, have lost their economic and industrial infrastructure, their movement towards growth and development has been stopped or delayed and in some cases, has been thrown back decades. 

Despite all this, they are rudely being asked not to see themselves as oppressed.  How can a country be turned into ruins, have its cities and towns covered in dust and then be told that it should please not view itself as oppressed? Instead of enticements to not understand and to not mention disasters, would not an honest apology be better? 

The pain that the Islamic world has suffered in these years from the hypocrisy and duplicity of the invaders is not less than the pain from the material damage.

Dear youth! I have the hope that you- now or in the future- can change this mentality corrupted by duplicity, a mentality whose highest skill is hiding long-term goals and adorning malevolent objectives.

Dear youth! I have the hope that you – now or in the future – can change this mentality corrupted by duplicity, a mentality whose highest skill is hiding long-term goals and adorning malevolent objectives.  In my opinion, the first step in creating security and peace is reforming this violence-breeding mentality. 

Until double-standards dominate western policies, until terrorism- in the view of its powerful supporters- is divided into “good” and “bad” types, and until governmental interests are given precedence over human values and ethics, the roots of violence should not be searched for in other places.

Unfortunately, these roots have taken hold in the depths of western cultural policies over the course of many years and they have caused a soft and silent invasion. 

Many countries of the world take pride in their local and national cultures, cultures which through development and regeneration have soundly nurtured human societies for centuries.  The Islamic world is not an exception to this. 

However in the current era, the western world with the use of advanced tools is insisting on the cloning and replication of its culture on a global scale.  I consider the imposition of western culture upon other peoples and the trivialization of independent cultures as a form of silent violence and extreme harmfulness. 

Humiliating rich cultures and insulting the most honoured parts of these, is occurring while the alternative culture being offered in no way has any qualification for being a replacement.  For example, the two elements of “aggression” and “moral promiscuity” which unfortunately have become the main elements of western culture, have even degraded the position and acceptability of its source region.      

So now the question is: are we “sinners” for not wanting an aggressive, vulgar and fatuous culture? Are we to be blamed for blocking the flood of impropriety that is directed towards our youth in the shape of various forms of quasi-art? 

I do not deny the importance and value of cultural interaction.  Whenever these interactions are conducted in natural circumstances and with respect for the receiving culture, they result in growth, development and richness. 

On the contrary, inharmonious interactions have been unsuccessful and harmful impositions.

We have to state with full regret that vile groups such as DAESH are the spawn of such ill-fated pairings with imported cultures. 

If the matter was simply theological, we would have had to witness such phenomena before the colonialist era, yet history shows the contrary.  Authoritative historical records clearly show how colonialist confluence of extremist and rejected thoughts in the heart of a Bedouin tribe, planted the seed of extremism in this region. 

How then is it possible that such garbage as DAESH comes out of one of the most ethical and humane religious schools which as part of its inner core, includes the notion that taking the life of one human being is equivalent to killing the whole humanity?

One has to ask why people who are born in Europe and who have been intellectually and mentally nurtured in that environment are attracted to such groups?  Can we really believe that people with only one or two trips to war zones, suddenly become so extreme that they can riddle the bodies of their compatriots with bullets? 

On this matter, we certainly cannot forget about the effects of a life nurtured in a pathologic culture in a corrupt environment borne out of violence.  On this matter, we need complete analyses, analyses that see the hidden and apparent corruptions. 

Maybe a deep hate – planted in the years of economic and industrial growth and borne out of inequality and possibly legal and structural prejudice – created ideas that every few years appear in a sickening manner. 

Any rushed and emotional reaction which would isolate, intimidate and create more anxiety for the Muslim communities living in Europe and America not only will not solve the problem but will increase the chasms and resentments.

In any case, you are the ones that have to uncover the apparent layers of your own society and untie and disentangle the knots and resentments. Fissures have to be sealed, not deepened.

Hasty reactions is a major mistake when fighting terrorism which only widens the chasms.

Any rushed and emotional reaction which would isolate, intimidate and create more anxiety for the Muslim communities living in Europe and America- which are comprised of millions of active and responsible human beings- and which would deprive them of their basic rights more than has already happened and which would drive them away from society- not only will not solve the problem but will increase the chasms and resentments.

Superficial measures and reactions, especially if they take legal forms, will do nothing but increase the current polarizations, open the way for future crises and will result in nothing else.  

According to reports received, some countries in Europe have issued guidelines encouraging citizens to spy on Muslims.  This behaviour is unjust and we all know that pursuing injustice has the characteristic of unwanted reversibility.  Besides, the Muslims do not deserve such ill-treatment. 

For centuries, the western world has known Muslims well- the day that westerners were guests in Islamic lands and were attracted to the riches of their hosts and on another day when they were hosts and benefitted from the efforts and thoughts of Muslims- they generally experienced nothing but kindness and forbearance.

Therefore I want you youth to lay the foundations for a correct and honourable interaction with the Islamic world based on correct understanding, deep insight and lessons learned from horrible experiences. 

In such a case and in the not too distant future, you will witness the edifice built on these firm foundations which creates a shade of confidence and trust which cools the crown of its architect, a warmth of security and peace that it bequests on them and a blaze of hope in a bright future which illuminates the canvass of the earth.”