Thursday, 29 January 2009

Memories...

I have been really fortunate to have travelled and lived in lots of places. My mum was in the horse racing business and it was through her work that my childhood and teenage years took me to wonderful, new countries. A love that stays with me and moves me too often for my daughter’s sanity! When aged about 9, she sweetly asked where ’home’ was – I answered that if the dog and I were there….then we were clearly at home.

Anyway, these are a few of my favourite images, because sharing them makes me smile and remember…

Luxembourg for Christmas because of the pure white snow that neatens everything. The mood is infectious, everybody is your long lost friend and large European hugging and kissing rituals assault you at every turn – enhanced moods possibly down to the mini Swiss chalets about the square; selling lakes of clove scented, warm mulled wine. How businesses get through December with a drunken workforce escapes me.

Mallorca (an island off Spain) during the celebration of the Three Kings around Christmas. Camels are ridden down from the hills and riders throw sweets at the hoards of children gathered in eager anticipation. There is absolutely no concept of the danger involved when throwing small, hard candy into a sea of soft, fleshy children. The locals accept the risk and then hold their babies skyward in the hope that they too may catch the candy gently between their eyelashes.

Australia at anybody’s bar-be-que, even if I have become a vegetarian since the last time I went to one. I just want to feel that comfort of being in a crowd of people with no ego, at their leisurely best. No-one does leisurely like an Australian.

The southern Belgian countryside to stay again in a village unchanged by two world wars; where bullet holes pock mark the buildings like aged teenage acne. The people sit silently outside their homes in a surreal setting amidst excitable dogs, children, chickens, tractors and field after extensive field of deep red poppies; atop the fertile land fed by seas of soldiers’ blood.

Blackpool seafront on the tram travelling North toward the fishing village of Fleetwood; with a shimmering ocean travelling at my left for a full 25 minutes. It is a Twilight Zone journey. The conductors are still listening to big band sounds in their heads and cracking saucy sexist jokes from days gone by. Just seeing a heavy, metal ticket machine about their waists makes me wonder at how the tram and its employees have escaped everything that happened in the last 60 years.

Hong Kong’s Peak. Hong Kong is an island and the peak offers a near 360 degree view of the thriving humanity beneath. We would have to run cross country for school up there; probably as it is the only bit of grass on this densely populated little island. Rather than fuss with the running, I would sit, have a cigarette and admire the beauty of the elderly Chinese as they practiced Tai Chi. Their moves were pure soul ballet energising old skinned limbs. A chorus line of gymnastic pensioners silhouetted against a backdrop of 6 million stressed people – a priceless image.

Needless to say, I failed Physical Education.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Of Facebook & peace...

Today on the net:

I was getting involved in forwarding videos about peace and was asked to join a group seeking justice for Palestine - I didn't join but felt I should explain why...
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Thanks so much for including me in your wonderful postings x

I feel I should explain why I rarely join groups that are one 'side' or another... I refuse to accept that human beings have 'sides' - we are all one thing. The children of Gaza, the children of Iraq, the children of Israel, the children of Africa - have my dedication to ending the wars that take or ruin their lives.

Only politicians/governments place dividing lines between us and make us choose - I don't.

I see countries at war but am acutely aware that I am mis-informed by media and mis-informed by government - so I cannot KNOW who to support and so choose only to support life... and a better way of living it.

I run 'Arms Against War' which seeks specifically an end to the war in Iraq - I choose to defend this particular issue (more actively) because I KNOW the facts of this - I KNOW my tax buys bullets and pays for young Iraqi and coalition soldiers to risk their lives and sanity - I KNOW the facts of this because I watched it erupt – it happened in my time.

Israel/Palestine is an ages old conflict that has wrong and right at differing stages in history - I don't understand the history of it and I don't KNOW any truths - I just KNOW that children should not be dying for an adult argument. Proportionately Gaza has suffered so much more loss so proportionately my efforts are theirs - but I would feel the same pain for an Israeli child... or any other.

...sorry I rambled on a bit there, I think I was sorting my thoughts with this and used you as my 'muse' - thank you again x

This 'Blogging' thing...

Having got so curious I simply had to investigate 'Twitter' ,,,and then ended up with a Blog as well. No idea why Ikept following the little links, but I did and I'm here in Blogland, lost yet unwilling to admit defeat.

Not that I have time for this. With Facebook, two websites, a literary site. political sites, activists sites and all sorts of other online/community activities - my fingers are in a permanent, never-ending marathon.

However... I have a plan! I interact online and those interactions are in the form of comments and responses - so I will some how mush these elements together in order to make some-sort of Blog out of it. It will save my fingers from exhaustion and the need to be wrapped in little tinfoil blankets.

I have one from this evening's Facebook activity so will post it next and see how it goes.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Is it 'WE' or Obama who is the one?

Written in the run up to an historic election...
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Political parties tempt the voters - 'we the people' - with lip service that pulls at our individual heart strings and plays to the masses. They say the words they know will pull us, sway us to them – without completing any pictures that would lead us to the realisation that what they are offering, is small change compared to the status quo they wish to impose.

Throughout history our parties have made offerings to the people that would make fools of our ideals and hopes, our dreams and faith in their ability to actually be honest for once and make a clear promise, then carry it out without caveat. They make a right move in our eyes in the right direction – we follow because it feels like they are doing what we wanted all along – and before long we discover that the one step on the right road is accompanied by diversions that will keep us from a right solution for as long as the term dictates.

Then next elections we aim to find a voice that will make a promise that we can believe in, that will take more than one step in the right direction, that will have a map with no diversions. The next elections deja vu the last and over time we lose belief, cling to hope and go with what looks like the least diversions-to-right-step ratio – or we stop voting.

Obama has promised change, has offered to step in the right direction and take us down his path of right if only we will follow. He has pushed the right buttons, said the right words, sweated the right passion and he has moved us. Is he 'the one'?

I don't think that it matters if he is or he isn't.

Maybe this time it isn't about the politicians, it's about us.
Maybe this time it isn't about politics, it's about the movement.

The fact that we have watched a woman and a black man battle for supremacy on a traditionally white male stage, the fact that passion played a role, the fact that the internet meant politics found its way further, faster and more varied than ever before and the fact that I feel impassioned and compelled to write these things about a stale and often evil subject – are facts that attach true hope to my belief that there is a better way to manage ourselves than the way politics has.

In all I have digested of the Obama that is presented, I still don't know how I feel about him or what I believe about him. There is much to choose from on the media menu of Obamas; much unpalatable, some tempting and others simply a mash of confusion with something-for-everyone flavours infused.

But the media menu of political choices offers something more than before, it offers unexpected extras that include a whole swathe of people finding points of agreement despite their backgrounds, other opinions or differences. If finds people finding a sameness of desire – we want anything other than the usual. We don't want to play it safe, we want to play it different. Turn us around, switch direction, stuff the assumed right ways and lets blunder into an uncharted wilderness of it-can't-be-as-bad-as-where-we've-been.

Obama is whatever it is we wanted him to be – he is not one thing, one direction or one party – he is the reflection of our longing for change. Who he becomes as a leader is a different subject. What he stirred in us is powerful and if we can find a way to harness that power, maybe 'we the people' can start to realise just how much we can change - regardless of the politicians.