Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category


In Ad Astra per Ardua, Apartheid, Loss, Music, Peter Gabriel, Politics, Protest Songs, Steve Biko, Tributes, Ugh on September 12, 2012 at 12:41 am

Bantu Stephen Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977)

Graphic: Creative Corner


The man is dead. The man is dead.

Stephen Biko, political activist and ideological leader of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), was only thirty years old when he died in detention under mysterious circumstances on 12 September, 1977. His political career was brief, but had a profound impact on the liberation struggle. He espoused the philosophy of black consciousness, linking identity politics and social action.

Biko first became involved in liberation politics through the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) while attending medical school. His views on black identity and pride led to the formation and expansion of the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) in the late 1960s. Biko served as both the president and publicity secretary for this body, which served as the nucleus of the BCM. He founded the Black People’s Convention (BPC) and was banned by the South African State in 1973. This new movement empowered a generation of young black South Africans, fuelling revolutionary events, including the 16 June 1976 Soweto Uprising.

Biko’s prolific writings, political lobbying, and his community activism drew the attention of the Security Police, and he was detained on numerous occasions. His life was adversely affected in many ways, including expulsion from the University of Natal in 1972, his first banning in 1973, and, ultimately, his death in detention on 12 September, 1977. He is regarded as a martyr of the liberation struggle. His 18 August 1977 detainment included severe torture at the hands of security police. He was interrogated for twenty two hours, and beaten until he suffered brain damage. He was chained to a window grille and denied medical attention for his injuries. His injuries did not improve, but it was only on 11 September that he was taken to Pretoria for medical attention, but he died shortly after his arrival.

J.T. Kruger, then-Minister of Justice, denied that police had abused their internationally renowned detainee, arguing that his death was the result of hunger strike. An autopsy conducted by the late pathologist Jonathan Gluckman at the request of Biko’s family found that he had died of brain damage as a result of blows inflicted upon him during his detention. Gluckman’s report led to an inquest: no policemen were charged, but Biko’s family eventually received a settlement from the state. The cover-up of Biko’s death in detention was exposed by then-journalist Helen Zille in the Rand Daily Mail, edited by Allister Sparks. Zille had received evidence from Biko’s doctors, including Gluckman. Biko’s death sent shockwaves around the world, and his funeral, attended by ten thousand, resulted in nationwide incidents of social unrest. During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) proceedings, four of the surviving policemen involved in Biko’s death were refused amnesty.


Mourners gather to pay their last respects at Steve Biko’s funeral in King William’s Town, 25 September 1977. Well over 10, 000 people attended β€” thousands more were prevented from attending by police roadblocks.

β€œThe most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

~ Steve Biko

1987’s Cry Freedom, a Richard Attenborough film


Ad Astra per Ardua



When the Levee Breaks

In Indifference, Led Zepplin, Music, New Orleans, Places, Politics, Rock, Ugh on August 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Sending this one out to the good folks of New Orleans. Here we go again. ’Round and ’round. Spin it.

Seven years to the day, New Orleans is under water again and we’re not engaged in some cyclical insanity? This never should have happened. There should be infrastructure in place by now. And if it were inevitable then might it be a good time to consider abandoning ship? Moving to higher ground? I dunno?


When the Levee Breaks is a blues song written and first recorded by husband and wife Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929. The song is in reaction to the upheaval caused by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 (Shucks, another flood? Who knew?). It was famously re-worked by English rock group Led Zeppelin as the last song on their fourth album, released in 1971. The lyrics in Led Zeppelin’s version were partially based on the original recording. Many other artists have also recorded versions of the song or played it live. While the Led Zeppelin version is still under copyright by the band, the original song by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie is currently in the public domain.

How Hard Can it Be?

In Peace, Philosophy, Poetry, Politics, Syria, Ugh, War on August 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

How hard can it be

Why fight and disagree

When I hurt you

It hurts me

And vice versa

Can’t you see

It’s not that hard


We could turn the world around

You and me

If we really wanted to

It should be that easy



In Indifference, Life, Love, Madness, Music, Peace, Philosophy, Places, Politics, Syria, The Beatles, Ugh, War on August 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Demonstrations in Idlib. These are the people being slaughtered.


I don’t think you’re going to like this but it needs saying…

Sorry. But I’m genuinely choked.

β€’ β€’ β€’

I know I’m a ‘grown-up’ and I should be able to wrap my head around things such as war, political unrest, poverty, inequities…


But, I can’t. I won’t. I don’t understand. I refuse to accept that this is just the way things are, have to be.

I don’t have anything to say except: Why?

Why? Why? Why?




Just when I thought Syria could not possibly get any worse? It has descended into complete, total, utter madness and chaos. I mean, you have got to be kidding me, right? What gives? This isn’t really going on is it? And no one is doing anything? Humanity is letting itself down again. Selling itself short. Again? Yeah. Just like we let down Rwanda and RomΓ©o Dallaire. Darfur

Do you see a pattern emerging?

We keep failing ourselves, each other.


When I was teenager I worked at the mall. One of the shopkeepers was Syrian. He confided in me stories of the horrors of a dark, shadowy land in the clutches of oppression. He said that he missed it, the land. It was his home. But, he was very grateful to be free of the oppression. There was no mistaking the look in his eyes when he told me Syria was a very bad place. I believed him then. I believe him now. The evidence has become irrefutable. These things don’t just happen overnight. They simmer under the surface before they boil over. And this one had been stewing in a crockpot forever. I’m surprised it hasn’t just evaporated the heat has been on so long.


This has been going on for a long time, people. Decades. Fifty years. It just wasn’t newsworthy. I’m not blaming the ‘liberal’ media here, there are many other factors at play. It’s been blown wide-open now. Those in the ‘know’ saw this one coming and chose to look away. Chose to do nothing while they dazzled and distracted us with stories of WMD and the like. You know, the usual muddled hodgepodge of obfuscations that would keep us from the issues of the day, the glaring inequities with which we should really concern ourselves.

β€œIf they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

~ Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow


We’ve been asking the wrong questions. We’ve been fooled, are fools.

There’s cataclysmic suffering being endured on a grand scale. Grand. It’s not just Syria, either. It’s global. Universal. It’s in our towns and cities, too, this suffering. These great divides, chasms that prevent us from attaining utopia, Universal Bliss.

We keep telling each other we’re wrong. We keep arguing and warring over what? What?!? That one’s world view should take precedence over another’s? There’s room. There’s plenty of room. Room for us all. For all our perspectives.

β€’ β€’ β€’

According to the Law of Physics no two people may physically occupy the exact same Space at the exact same Time. Every event that has been ever been witnessed in the entire history of Time and Space, the Universe, has as many versions as spectators present. Because to have an identical perspective would mean you would have to see it from identical physical locations with an identical set of ‘controls’ which we know is impossible. Right, cats and kittens? Even though we may share similar beliefs, ideas, opinions, etc. they are never exactly the same. We have arrived by different paths, means, circumstances. It’s all relative.

β€’ β€’ β€’

So how can we all adhere to one doctrine, world view, then? We can’t. It’s not going to happen. We’ve got to let go. Stop trying to control one another. It’s not working. It’s not. You know it. You do. And if you don’t, please, take a step back and consider what I propose here today.

β€œThe most important trip you may take in life is meeting someone halfway.”

~ Henry Boye, Publisher


I’ve been watching the world turn my whole life. At this juncture it would seem the species has done the same things over and over again engaged in a some cyclical insanity anticipating a different outcome? At what point do we say “enough” and try something different? Or, at least stop what we are doing until we figure out how to do it right?

How hard can it be?

Live and let live not Live and Let Die. I don’t wanna give the other fellow hell. I want to Love him, gift him the Heavens. That’s what I wanna do. Please, join me? Let’s gift each other the the Heavens, hey?


September 11th is the 35th anniversary of the murder of South African anti-apartheid opponent Stephen Biko while in police custody. (But you only know about the other September 11, right? Right.) Pussy Riot has been charged wth hooliganism and detained in Russia? Really? A bunch of girls in a band? And Wikileaks? C’mon. They’re going to kill the messenger? The messenger? Really? Arab Springs across a continent and it’s the Syrian people who must endure the retribution?

Dissent is not disloyalty. Massacring civilians is.

Dissenters are being silenced with impunity and civilians are being massacred while the planet watches from the sidelines. The game, the locations, keep changing but it’s the same story Time and again. The very definition of insanity from where I stand.

In 2012? Tsk.

Nothing ever changes? I swear they’d revisit the Spanish Inquisition if they could and burn the lot of us at the stake β€” or, at least, me.

I’m discouraged. Disillusioned. I need a Revolution. WE need a Revolution. It has to be us. There’s no one else. It’s our problem. Our’s. Not someone else’s. If we don’t stand for the Syrians, the downtrodden, who will stand when they come for us?

Stand and be counted. Please? Please?



My ‘Dads’ will tell you how it is. Revolution. 1968. It’s still relevant today.

It’s gonna be alright, isn’t it? Please, tell me it will?

Or, might there be an underlying $inister human element at work in all of this β€” undermining our prospects for peace in the name of power and profit β€” of which we’re all blissfully unaware? Just sayin’ is all.

Related: The Great Song of Indifference

The Great Song of Indifference

In Bob Geldof KBE, Politics, Protest Songs, Syria, Ugh on July 24, 2012 at 12:21 am


What gives with Syria? Maybe if they had as much black gold as Libya someone would have intervened by now? Ya think? Or was the Libya ‘thing’ just a personal grudge-match masquerading as liberation? Hey, I’m not a fan of Gadhafi’s work, either. Just sayin’, is all…

What gives? Why has this scenario been allowed to deteriorate to such a degree? I mean, do I have to ask? Will someone please make it stop? Please?

They’re killing people indiscriminately. They have been for quite some time. They’ve proven they won’t stop. Can’t?

Please, make them stop…? Now. Right now…

Or have we become that indifferent…?

Think for Yourself

In Music, Philosophy, Politics, The Beatles, Ugh on July 16, 2012 at 12:36 am

How ’bout we give our Rubber Souls another good scrub, hey?

From one of my most favourite albums of all Time and Space: Think for Yourself. The Beatles…

Playing by the Rules

In Canada, Life, Peace, Philosophy, Politics, The Who, Ugh, Uncategorized, Westminster Parliamentary System on July 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm


I’ll try to keep this simple. If you’re interested you’ll look it up. But, I doubt you care. If anyone did we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with. It’s awfully convoluted, in any case.

Canada is governed by the Multi Party Westminster Parliamentary System. Within the confines of that system we experienced successive conservative minority governments in recent history. That means, the governing party possesses a minority of seats in the House of Commons. The opposition parties combined comprise the majority.

Minority governments are actually a pretty good scenario. All things considered. It’s government by consensus. Everyone must to work together. No one can pull any really hard punches. Some of the best democracy this country has ever witnessed was practiced in that fold. An election may be called through a vote of non-confidence. So, the powers that be usually walk a reasonable middle ground unable to push anything too, terribly radical through.

Then, the minority government was found in contempt of parliament by the Speaker of the House β€” the ‘ref’ for all intents and purposes. They weren’t playing by the rules? In contempt? Yes. For the VERY first time in the history of the system. Ever. No Commonwealth nation’s government has ever been found in contempt prior to this incident. None. Ever. Not in the WHOLE history of the system, cats and kittens!

The bulk of the public didn’t seem to care? La-di-da…

According to the rules of the parliamentary system it was incumbent upon the majority opposition to move for a vote of non-confidence. They HAD to. It’s just the rules. The rules, people.

They held the non-confidence vote in the House. Non-confidence won the day. An election was called. Another election may not have been what everyone wanted but we arrived there by way of the democratic rules of our parliamentary system. It is what it is. All pretty cut and dried, right?


Somehow the spin doctors and money bags convinced the electorate that the opposition was bad, nay evil. That they’d started the whole debacle. We know it was the Speaker who found them in contempt β€” it was his job to do so β€” not the opposition, right? Canada didn’t want this election and it was all their fault. Especially, that egg-head Harvard professor. I mean, who would want a prime minister that had taught at the second best school on the planet? Who was worldly, educated, reasonable? Not us, hey? No way. Not a chance. He didn’t stand a hope in heck.

I find myself wondering if the whole scenario wasn’t orchestrated by the minority government to force the opposition to play the non-confidence card? Forcing an unwanted election they could then blame on the opposition, thus, garnering the votes needed for a majority government so they may advance their totalitarian agendas? Phew!

The fine people of this once great land believed them and saw fit to return the minority government to Parliament Hill with a resounding majority? It was a phenomenal power play, a farce, a game that paid off big time. Big. Time.

Uh, what? You’re kidding, right?

No. Not so much. Wish I was.

This government who had previously proven to the populace they cannot play by the rules was given a free mandate. Carte blanche. They’re the majority. They can do whatever they want. Whatever. They are. And how!

They’re ramming through omnibus legislation β€” which I believe is unconstitutional, in itself. They have so many bills attached to that ‘bus’ it just makes your head spin. Spin, I tell ya. That’s but the tip of the iceberg… Environment, healthcare, research…


I’m saddened to say I suspect they think it’s all a game. The joke’s on us. I’m not sure they’re even playing their game by any rules, at all. I can’t fathom why people can’t see through them. I fear my countrymen have become sheep. Or, worse yet, blinded by the avarice of the conglomerate ‘Church of Fundamentalism, Free Market Capitalism, The Bottom Line and The Almighty Buck, Ltd’. Oh! And, punish, punish, punish, too!


I’m not sure how it all got this way? It seems like some bad fiction to me. I’m quite rather disillusioned, to say the very least. Politics really is a vicious game. Everyone’s a ‘playa’.

I find that, unfortunately, oftentimes people are incapable of governing themselves accordingly. We need governments. Good, transparent governments with the people’s β€” both the individual’s and the collective’s β€” best interests at heart. But, how, Batman? Who? What? Where? Systems are failing us from here to there. It would seem governments can’t govern themselves accordingly, either?

And taxes? Everyone is down on them, but, everything we have together is due to the concerted power of taxpayer dollars. Roads, schools, libraries, hospitals. You name it. The infrastructure we create together brings amenities and opportunities to our communities. We’re just so much better, can accomplish so much more together than apart. United. In this context taxes would appear to be fair and efficient? No? I’m not buying privatisation. I think fair, equitable taxation and administration the far superior, impartial model.

So… ahem… I’m no political scientist or economist by any stretch of the imagination, that is most certain. I’m just sayin’, is all…

I’m just hoping I… Won’t Get Fooled Again…? Oh, by the way, here come my favourite hooligans…

Awwwww, Shucks, Baby, Ya Think?

In Comic Relief, Geek, Groovy, Hey Girl, Life, Love, Nifty, Politics, Ryan Gosling, Silly on July 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm