Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tribute to a Working Class Hero (reprise)

John Winston Ono Lennon (9 October 1940 ~ 8 December 1980)

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) ~ John Lennon/Yoko Ono, 1969




WORKING CLASS HERO (John Lennon, 1970)

As soon as you're born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function you're so full of fear

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me


John Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman outside his New York City apartment on 8 December 1980. He had just celebrated his 40th birthday on 9 October. I shall always be grateful for the tremendous inspiration I received from this great soul during my teens and even into my adult years.

[First posted 8 December 2008]

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

HEY, LEAVE THE KIDS ALONE!









Watch the rest of The Wall on YouTube!


Directed by Alan Parker
Produced by Alan Marshall
Written by Roger Waters
Narrated by Pink Floyd
Starring Bob Geldof
Christine Hargreaves
Eleanor David
Alex McAvoy
Bob Hoskins
Michael Ensign
Music by Pink Floyd
Cinematography Peter Biziou
Editing by Gerry Hambling
Distributed by MGM/UA Entertainment Company (theatrical)
Sony Music Video (SMV) Enterprises
Release date(s) 6 August 1982 (New York City)
Running time 95 minutes

[First posted 6 December 2008, reposted 15 May 2016]

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dusting off some ancient poems (from "Moth Balls")



Whatsapp inspired this post. Sharanya Manivannan - sensuous poet, consummate weaver of enigmatic tales, high priestess of aromatic and erotic prose, and my beloved friend in Chennai - sent me some audio clips of her poetry. My flagging appetite for wordplay aroused by the piquancy & precision of her sultry voice, I was prompted to unearth my 1994 collection of "eschatological & scatological poems" titled Moth Balls (Magick River, 1994, limited edition). Experimentally I recorded a few short ones and sent them over. She responded most encouragingly and magnanimously. I was sufficiently heartened to rummage through the hoary collection and pick out a few for a fresh airing. Thank you, Sharanya!

The first offering is, I believe, my earliest attempt at versifying, written as a Creative Writing class assignment when I was 17...

PAEAN TO THE BRAVE SOLDIER

Is it not quite often thought
(& very often believed)
that the brave men who fought
and died for God & King
(or some other Thing)
are inadequately aggrieved
and cried for,
though inordinately touching
(it is often said)
is their sacrifice of costly life
that must be paid
as patriotism's price?

Anyway no one I know
will go so far
(since the war is won)
as to say we have not mourned.
In truth no tear has been forborne;
no ceremony neglected;
and in good cheer
we'll have erected
a monument of marbled brick,
to be unveiled to the public
while brass bands playing
(the nation's honor portraying)
salute good citizens
(the ones, of course, who are taxpaying).

Altogether it will be
a memorable testimony
of our pride
in the honorable
men who died
sailing against the
Evil Tide:
loyal men, courageous & willing,
who were killed while they were killing
for God & King
(or some other Thing).

1967



WHEN NOTHING CAN POSSIBLY

when nothing can possibly
be more than what the public eye can see
& everything that is believed to be;
when there are no more trees
for sleepy sitting under;
when each & every busy bee
but lives in concrete hives for plunder -
then creation has only been a big bad blunder

when there is not a lot of or
even just a little time
& absolutely no space for
one heart to feel
full of all the love
that is, will be & was -
inadequate space &
insufficient time for love sublime -
then this race of humans is an inhuman crime

1970


IN THE PALACE GARDENS

under mushrooms of vermilion
in a maroon pavilion sits the King
                                          typing this
                                          trifling
                                           thing: the
                                         disting-
                                   uished ring
                                  of the King's Royal machine
                            at each ending
line
reminds me of times
I laid with the Queen
as we played with the genes
of Frank & Stein the Einst (such fine
clients of science) and

under gold & green umbrellas &
masses of gases
our moments of mirth
gave globular birth
to elfin princes & princesses
in new blueprint dresses
peopling a virginal
Earth

1972







[First posted 22 October 2013, reposted 19 November 2015]


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The "Security" Charade ~ by Robert Bowman

Robert Bowman flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam.
He was bishop of the United Catholic Church in Melbourne Beach, Florida.

If deceptions about terrorism go unchallenged, then the threat will continue until it destroys us.

The truth is that none of our thousands of nuclear weapons can protect us from these threats. No Star Wars system no matter how technically advanced, no matter how many trillions of dollars are poured into it, can protect us from a nuclear weapon delivered in a sailboat or a Cessna or a suitcase or a Ryder rental truck. Not one weapon in our vast arsenal, not a penny of the $270 billion a year we spend on so-called defense can defend against a terrorist bomb. That is a military fact. 

As a retired lieutenant colonel and a frequent lecturer on national security issues, I have often quoted Psalm 33: "A king is not saved by his mighty army. A warrior is not saved by his great strength." The obvious reaction is, "Then what can we do?" Is there nothing we can do to provide security for our people?" 

There is. But to understand it requires that we know the truth about the threat. President Clinton did not tell the American people the truth about why we are the targets of terrorism when he explained why we bombed Afghanistan and Sudan. He said that we are a target because we stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world. Nonsense! 

We are the target of terrorists because, in much of the world, our government stands for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation. We are the target of terrorists because we are hated. And we are hated because our government has done hateful things. 

In how many countries have agents of our government deposed popularly elected leaders and replaced them with puppet military dictators who were willing to sell out their own people to American multinational corporations? 

We did it in Iran when the US Marines and the CIA deposed Mossadegh because he wanted to nationalize the oil industry. We replaced him with the Shah and armed, trained, and paid his hated Savak National Guard, which enslaved and brutalized the people of Iran, all to protect the financial interests of our oil companies. Is it any wonder that there are people in Iran who hate us? 

We did it in Chile. We did it in Vietnam. More recently, we tried to do it in Iraq. And, of course, how many times have we done it in Nicaragua and all the other banana republics of Latin America? Time after time we have ousted popular leaders who wanted the riches of the land to be shared by the people who worked it. We replaced them with murderous tyrants who would sell out their own people so the wealth of the land could be taken out by the likes of Domino Sugar, Folgers, and Chiquita Banana. 

In country after country, our government has thwarted democracy, stifled freedom, and trampled human rights. That's why it is hated around the world. And that's why we're the target of terrorists. 

People in Canada enjoy democracy, freedom, and human rights. So do the people of Norway and Sweden. Have you heard of Canadian embassies being bombed? Or Norwegian, or Swedish? 

We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism and in the future, nuclear terrorism. 

Once the truth about why the threat exists is understood, the solution becomes obvious. We must change our ways. Getting rid of our nuclear weapons unilaterally if necessary will enhance our security. Drastically altering our foreign policy will ensure it.

Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children. Instead of continuing to kill hundreds of Iraqi children every day with our sanctions, we should help Iraqis rebuild their electric power plants, their water treatment facilities, their hospitals, and all the things we have destroyed and prevented them from rebuilding. 

Instead of training terrorists and death squads, we should close the School of the Americas [Ft. Benning, GA.]. Instead of supporting insurrection, destabilization, assassination, and terror around the world, we should abolish the CIA and give money to relief agencies.

In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear.

[Originally published in The National Catholic Reporter, 2 October 1998]

Hang in there, Jibby! Won't be long now....

It's a very long way to the bottom when you're at the very top....
Taib: "I hear she loves blow jobs!"
As I said: "Hang in there, Jibby!"
Do you really think you can get away with murder, Mr Pink Lips?

[First posted 23 May 2013, reposted 11 September 2014]

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Imam's Magical Shoes (revisited)


Lawyers urge review of jail term for shoe-throwing imam
By Shannon TeohThe Malaysian Insider | March 08, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, March — Lawyers stunned by the Federal Court’s one-year jail sentence for contempt of court against an imam who threw his shoes at three senior judges have called for a review of the “excessive” punishment. 
The court decided this morning that Hoslan Hussin’s “act of contempt was very serious” and “if no action is taken, can threaten the powers of the court” before meting out the jail term that several lawyers told The Malaysian Insider was unprecedented for a case of contempt. 
“No, I have never seen such a heavy punishment. Even considering the need for a deterrent, I had expected a custodial sentence but no more than six weeks. Does the punishment really serve justice?” said senior lawyer Karpal Singh, who had pleaded in mitigation for Hoslan. 
Hoslan praying at the court building in Putrajaya before being sentenced to jail
for contempt March 8 2012. — Picture by Choo Choy May (The Malaysian Insider)
 
Human rights lawyer N. Surendran also said “the sentence is excessive and inappropriate”. 
“The circumstances of this case required that justice should be tempered with mercy. This the Federal Court failed to do,” the PKR vice president said. 
Imam Hoslan Hussin: denied his day in court since 1999
Remember Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who enjoyed a brief burst of global fame and popularity in December 2008 for throwing his shoes at George W. Bush during a press conference?

[First posted 15 November 2013]





Imam Hoslan Hussin may or may not have been inspired by Muntadhar's act of raw courage and pure passion, but his act of shoe-throwing was most certainly in the same heroic and noble spirit.

Just as George W. Bush symbolized the hypocrisy and arrogance of power unleashed against the powerless in the interest of greedy corporations and their lunatic desire to dominate the world - economically and militarily - the Malaysian Judiciary since 1988 has become emblematic of everything that has gone wrong in our once blessed and bountiful land.

Zaki Azmi, retired Chief Justice
recently awarded a highway project
The monolithic power of the state apparatus maintains itself through cowing the masses - whether through the sort of colossal architecture you will find in the Kremlin and Putrajaya, or through the threat of physical violence, outsourced to vigilante mobs like Perkasa, Pekida, Rela, Redshirts and Mat Rempit on the Umno Youth payroll.

While those in the political opposition are constrained to operate within the framework of parliamentary debate - using their leverage to expose policy errors and serious wrongdoing - the proverbial man-in-the-street is confined to merely casting a vote every four or five years when a general election is called.

By casting his shoes at the bench of judges who had dismissed his case without due consideration or regard for the imam's growing sense of frustration with the ponderous, impersonal workings of so-called justice, Hoslan Hussin did the only thing possible to reclaim his dignity and sovereignty as a human individual.

Nobody, as far as I know, has ever been killed or even injured by a flying shoe. Indeed, if modern warfare consisted of squadrons of planes dropping a million pairs of shoes on a deeply insulted populace, the only casualty would be the local shoe industry - notwithstanding the hypothetical possibility that somebody gawping at the sight of shoes raining down from the skies might find himself with a set of fractured dentures, should one of these missiles land directly in his mouth.




In any case, if someone was extremely angry with me, I would much rather he or she lob a shoe at me - than a rock, for instance, or an empty bottle or a grenade. I would view this act of hostility as extremely negative feedback. Obviously, I must have said or done something to deeply hurt or annoy my assailant. It would present an opportunity to make amends by quietly returning the attacker's footwear with a sincere apology and a renewed effort to resolve the issue amicably.

What the Malaysian judiciary has done, in this instance, is utterly unpardonable. By imposing the harshest possible sentence on the imam - a one-year  imprisonment - they have only revealed their immaturity and vindictiveness. Those who sit in judgement of us, with their somber robes and deadpan expressions, were clearly handpicked for their jobs on account of their subservience to Mahathirist principles - essentially, might makes right.

I feel far more respect for the funky imam's shoes than any of the judges who have denied him justice. I'm sure many will support my suggestion that the imam's shoes be displayed in a glass case as a symbol of honorable resistance to injustice - and that Hoslan Hussin be declared a national hero for making such a bold statement on behalf of all justice-loving, but justice-denied, Malaysians.

As for the judges, their names and images deserve to be assigned to the ever-growing judicial Hall of Shame.

[First posted 9 March 2012]

Arrogance and the Art of Political Shadow Boxing (revisited)

This post was inspired by a journalist friend who left the following comment on my Facebook wall: "I've met [Anwar Ibrahim] in person and he looked right through me, although I had to personally escort him. He makes my skin crawl. A couple of reporters I know who have interviewed him also say that this kind of arrogance was pretty normal even when he was DPM." Anwar had just been acquitted when I posted this in January 2012. Then AG Abdul Gani Patail immediately appealed the verdict, to the disgust of those who can't imagine ever being so viciously vindictive and venomous.

At 19 I met a fortune teller who read my palms and told me I will never have a boss. And that has held true my entire life. I don't regard anybody or any spirit as my "superior."

All political leaders, including Anwar Ibrahim, must ultimately bow to the rakyat as their boss. Others may bow before some concept of God or Devil. I don't.

In effect, other people's arrogance is just a joke to me. Arrogance, I know, is only a front - a form of ego armoring required for warfare. Just as Muhammad Ali used arrogance and conceit as a psychological weapon to inject apprehension and anxiety into his opponents, every successful politician learns to talk big and scare his adversaries. In the animal kingdom, puffer fish and peacocks inflate various parts of their anatomy to scare off rivals and attract potential mates.

Anwar Ibrahim addresses a rapt audience at Kelana Jaya Stadium (photo: TV Smith)

Anwar is good at that - and he is used to being in the limelight. Every rockstar knows what it's like to have thousands clamoring for you to appear on stage - it's addictive and scary at the same time. It takes a special kind of temperament to thrive under those high-pressure circumstances. Anwar has got it in abundance - he has trained himself all his life to become a political icon.

Have you ever had to escort Mahathir or Najib anywhere? Would they have looked right through you too... or looked straight into your eyes and noticed what a beautiful human being you are and suggested you add them on Facebook? The point I'm making is simply this: in a primitive culture where politics holds sway and policemen obey only those they deem their superiors, we desperately require regime change.

Anas Zubedy,
corporate wunderkind
If you remove Anwar Ibrahim from the equation at this juncture, what you're asking for is that the status quo remain unchanged. Look at the ego conflicts amongst activists and opinion makers - people like Haris Ibrahim, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Lim Chee Wee, Art Harun, Azmi Sharom, Malik Imtiaz... and let's toss in a few from the murky side, like RPK, Anas Zubedy, Chandra Muzaffar, Ezam Mohd Nor. Do you honestly think the ship of state will sail smoothly on course if it was left to a committee of debaters, public masturbators and would-be emancipators?

Until there are enough enlightened souls in our midst - ones who have internalized God and no longer regard external authority as real or legitimate - we will need some sort of political structure. And the best one I have seen thus far is the Pakatan Rakyat coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim.

I'm seriously tired of apparently intelligent people putting the brakes on the change by misapplyng their skepticism at what is, to me, a critical juncture in our political evolution. So, who do you wish to see in Anwar's place? I'm really interested to know....

[First published 18 January 2012, reposted 22 October 2012]


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

John Lash: Archons, Sophia and Gnosticism



Published 25 January 2016

John Lash explores the "high strangeness" of the Gnostic materials, the strangest factor of all is certainly the presence of the Archons. Here we confront an enigma of cosmic proportions. Where do we situate these weird entities in the evolutionary plot of the Gaia Mythos? Are they to be regarded as real entities, a species in their own right, albeit a non-terrestrial one? What is their relation to Gaia, the intelligence of the biosphere? And how do the Archons in turn relate to humanity?