Malarky

May 30, 2011

Nice piece by Ed Vuillamy in yesterday’s Observer depicting the Corrib/ Sea to Shell situation.

For generations, the people of Erris have been farming and fishing along the remote coast of County Mayo. When gas was discovered offshore, Shell pounced. But it hadn’t bargained for the unyielding resistance of the community

May 29, 2011

Piped

I should be afloat with considering the implications of indentation on my (novel) sentences instead I remain abuzzed from a documentary The Pipe I saw at today’s Projecting Change Film Festival at SFU Woodwards.

Here at Literature et Folie we’ve been supporting the Rossport 5 for many years with the link on the old sidebar, but The Pipe is quite an extraordinary documentation of the struggle the community of Rossport endured when they took on the govt- enabled – corporate- bully Shell. This film was particularly moving for me being of strong Mayo stock myself and it taking place in a very familiar landscape. Knowing that landscape is also to know the implications of what Shell proposed to inflict on it.  As Pat ‘The Chief’ McDonnell said “You can’t trust the Bog”. I watched the documentary with several other women from rural Ireland and it was a staggering watch and emotional. We talked after of the incredible strength and courage of those who stood up and persisted in the quest of justice. Even though the community is irrevocably damaged by what took place over the 8 years and the divisiveness it inflicted amongst them — it’s still an incredible tribute to the plain person’s determination to speak up and resist the bullying tactics that are employed to put the fear of God into people and suppress their voices.

The most galling and appalling moment in the film is actually the shot of Bertie Ahern talking about people “breaking the law”. It almost sent me out of seat with fury, given what we now know of the damage to the country by successive Fianna Fail governments and the wanker bankers still on the loose and NAMA -itis that continues to closet them from facing the music for the mess they made.

The sheer audacity that the govt enabled corporate bully assumed they could plough in and plant their pipeline any old where that suited, with no regard for the livelihood and safety of the people living there. That those people had to go to the European court to get any sense at all and were thrown in jail and abused by the local Garda force. But still they rose again. And by the sounds of it their struggle continues and is far from over

Here is the trailer for the documentary, I’d highly recommend you try to see the film as its a great reminder of the need to speak up and refuse to be silenced regardless of the personal price & discomfort that comes from that stance. Justice is not a popularity contest, it’s a hard battle and in this case, the people prevailed momentarily at least. (Thanks to the divine intervention of mechanical failure, followed by the courts).

June 23, 2008

Hearts, Lungs and Minds: experimental radio documentary

In the category of groovy ideas that have nothing to do with the weather ..came across this interesting piece…hurry though you’ve only 7 days to hear it.

An experimental documentary by sound artist John Wynne, who spent a year as artist-in-residence with photographer Tim Wainwright at Harefield Hospital, one of the world’s leading centres for heart and lung transplants.

Using recordings of patients, the devices some of them were attached to, and the hospital itself, the piece weaves together intensely personal narratives with the sounds of the hospital environment, exploring the experiences of transplant patients and the important issues raised by this invasive, last-option medical procedure.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/betweentheears/pip/oe1qu/

 

May 12, 2008

Iraqi cultural books article

Here’s a link to an article I wrote about Iraqi cultural books…

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/weekendreview/story.html?id=a6586cbd-01af-4aa4-84b0-47bcd20ede24

Given that Iraq is so topical, it’s remarkable we hear so little about Iraqi writers or aspects of Iraqi life beyond dictator, war, and occupation. We are becoming increasingly fluent on Iraq only in sectarian language and ideas. Words like Shia, Sunni, Moqtada, IED, roll off our tongues but we know little of Iraq’s rivers, soccer players, musicians, visual artists or food.

For those who protested or opposed the invasion of Iraq, a logical follow up could be to support some ongoing cultural life amidst the mayhem that prevails in Iraq. One way to do this is to actively purchase Iraqi books and thus create more publishing opportunities for Iraqi writers.

Click here for the rest.

February 25, 2008

A-wondering

I’ve often wondered about this and finally someone has publicly addressed it. Bravo Edward Mills

Rich Western countries, including Canada, are demolishing African medical systems and destroying African lives by continuing to lure away their health care workers, a group of international medical experts led by a Vancouver doctor said Thursday.

The problem is so bad future active recruitment should be considered a crime in international law, argue the doctors, pharmacists and researchers in a commentary released today by the Lancet.

January 11, 2008

Iraq healthcare botch up

Corp Watch piece on the woeful state of Iraq’s healthcare and the gangsters who’ve benefitted and botched it up while civilians continue to suffer.

October 22, 2007

More prosthetics: International Red Cross link

In my quest for information on prosthetics and Iraq I came across a whole bunch of articles on the International Red Cross website who continue to help civilians in Iraq.

You can also donate directly to their Iraq projects here  you just have to select the area of the world that you want to donate to. So many NGO’s have been forced to withdraw from Iraq because of the violence that it’s critical we support the ones who remain.

 $240 bucks will  provide prosthetic materials so that four landmine victims can walk again, while $25 can provide first aid care for a war wounded assisted in a first aid post. If you’re lucky enough to be flush then donate $8,000 to  provide surgery and hospital care for 100 war wounded patients until their discharge

Alternatively, if you wish to make an immediate difference to someone by tomorrow morning then support the Rapid Prototyping for Baghdad project (RP4Baghdad)

  • Donate 250$ and help us treat a patient with a head injury.
  • Donate 750$ and help us treat a patient in need of a leg prosthesis. This includes mould making, model making, transport and model fitting.

There’s full disclosure on their financials on the website, this extraordinary organisation have an annual budget of $32,000 dollars and I am very struck by the immediacy of the work they’re doing, as they can help a patient in a week from obtaining a three-dimensional CT scan of the patient in Baghdad then having models made elsewhere that are sent back to Baghdad swiftly and the patient is operated on.

This a very unique and intelligent project delivering essential humanitarian medical support Applaud it by helping finance it. It feels to me that only tangible form of protest against the unbelievable civilian suffering right now is to provide relief.

October 19, 2007

Raise

Now and again, usually infrequently, you come across something that’s so intelligent and progressive that it’s difficult not to slap your head repeatedly and wonder why oh why can’t governments come up with and support such promising and necessary possibilities.

I give you the Open Prosthetics Project. A gang of inventor/industrial designer dudes (Tackle Design) from North Carolina joined forces to collaborate and establish this. Bloody brilliant.

The Open Prosthetics Project is producing useful innovations in the field of prosthetics and giving the designs away for free.

Another interesting project is RP4 Baghdad

Rapid Prototyping for Baghdad supports severely injured people in Iraq by providing Iraqi surgeons with surgery equipment, prosthetic limb sockets and tangible 3D models.

The situation for amputees in Iraq from what I can gather is supremely shite. It’s very difficult to obtain information, so it must be ridiculously difficult for Iraqis to actually get access to prosthetics.

These assertions are supported by the following recent articles:

Interview and slides from photojournalist Farah Nosh: Iraq’s Brutally Wounded

Demand for prosthetic limbs by amputees outpaces supply in Baghdad

If anyone knows anything further about the prosthetics situation in Iraq please comment or email with more links or info.

We, outside Iraq, on central heated sofas, despite our vehement (and unsuccessful) anti war protests need to urgently take this kind of suffering a lot more personally.

September 30, 2007

A man at 4pm

At 4pm today a man, a former US Ambassador to the UN, opened his mouth and suggested bombing a country.

It would make you wonder if a man could not find something far better to think or say at 4pm.

The mighty sock in the cakehole never seemed so promising.

September 30, 2007

Baghdad doctor and MSF

How does the richest nation in the world allow that there is no anaesthetic and no x-ray for this six year old in the clip from the documentary Baghdad Doctor over on The Guardian

Iraq for sale showed and described trucks travelling the country empty. 

In spite of their unfathomable suffering the Iraqi people still demonstrate spirit and resilience.

If those who can affect change would show some basic regard for this unnecessary human suffering one could be hopeful. What does anaesthetic weigh for God’s sake?

Medincin Sans Frontieres have a piece on the struggles of Iraqi health system to provide to victims of violence.

September 17, 2007

Amid Petraeus what’s really happening in Iraq

In a week where all we heard about was Petraeus and “working” Nahlah Ayed is one of the few people reporting the truth about the state of things in Iraq, likely because she’s actually looking and being kept awake at night by it.

Why Baghdad doesn’t care (about Petraeus)

 Violence in Iraq takes no holidays. So even over the weekend there were casualties: On Saturday, at least 15 died in a suicide car bombing in the mostly Shia Sadr City, and at least 45 were injured.

September 8, 2007

There’s only one true Presidential candidate for 2008

I’m supporting the true deserver of the presidential nomination; the glorious Hilton the philosophical horse.

Here’s his first campaign video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=OKsN4sGyVzc

All the videos can be viewed at youtube.com/hiltonphilosophical  Support the campaign to fertilise America.  

August 25, 2007

In sharp contrast

To contrast with our anxious “over the flutter of their cash” Silicon Valley millionaires, here’s someone they could learn much from Zell Kravinsky, who reminds me of Dorothy Day, and far from being barking mad, as is regularly inferred about him, makes pitch perfect sense and has taken the measure of the world very accurately.  And since he’s a Renaissance scholar one hopes he can see the value in buying books and supporting artists.

I’ve often wondered if the acquisition of wealth is just humans collecting comfort, continuous comfort, an insulating quilt of comfort to the point that it merely highlights how uncomfortable they in fact are. That inside a monstrous house, and a massive car and a private jet and an endless swimming pool rings little but the eventual echo of loneliness. People even refer to themselves sometimes as “comfortable”. It’s an odd, blank description.

 I think it was Tennessee Williams who said something like we’re all hurrying towards something, what’s going to happen when we actually get there. Well, it would seem that Mr. Kravinsky found out and he could not look at the blatent injustice that stared back at him.

He’s interviewed on The World Service program The Interview here

March 9, 2007

And down came the flag

Enjoyed this story:

 Vandals have stolen the huge Olympic flag that has been flying at Vancouver City Hall the past year.

Police say someone broke the lock on the flag pole early Tuesday, cut the rope, brought the flag down to the ground and then ripped it off the cable.

Just a small strip of cloth, about 10 centimetres by a metre, was left behind.

 It must be said that it was quite athletic feat to get the thing down, not entirely sure why they are calling them “vandals” ..they’re obviously activists. The average vandal doesn’t shimmy up a pole to make a point, usually a can of spray paint or a brick suffices. The flag dipped just as some important international crowd was arriving to celebrate it I believe.

February 20, 2007

Take it to the source

Here’s a man who took his feelings to the source (Dick Cheney) and said what many people may have rehearsed to deliver to any number of gobshite politicians. This, however, was the bullseye of all possible recipients. 

this clip features the part of the movie where Ben Marble, M.D. says “Go F*ck Yourself Mr. Cheney”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qij13CVq17E

 This clip is from Spike Lee’s When the levees broke — a four part requiem. If there was any justice a great deal of the people in that documentary would actually be elected representatives for you’d be hard pressed to find a more articulate and dignified group of people. When you see the indifference these people have suffered it would make you wonder if “to have known some kind of real suffering” should be a prerequisite before you can stand up and represent anybody. Just the way you can’t operate a blood pressure cuff without showing you’ve grasped biology. There’s a great soliloquy in one of the final acts from an activist Fred Johnson (?) where he points out who these politicians work for. It’s bang on because even now in the aftermath there’s next to nothing being done to help these people and throughout the film you get little sense of the people through the politicians. You hear the words: business, resources, state guard, federal, city, you even get the mayor describing taking a shower in Air Force 1, (verging on blasphemous in the context of what’s happening outside in the streets), yet very little reference to their people.

February 18, 2007

City in the turbine

So here’s something peculiar, there has been an explosion in the number of place to get your nails attended to. I cannot fathom where all these extra nails are coming from. If there was a population explosion … those nails would not be needing such extreme attention, just a pair of 75 cent scratch mitts. 

Along with the now familiar sight of big pits dug everywhere awaiting the pouring of foundations for half million dollar condominiums (often where rental buildings used to stand –I’ve counted three flattened in a few block radius from here) it’s becoming apparent that folks will only be able to drink coffee, get their nails done and have the choice of fourteen sofa shops. They will be unlikely to be able to buy a loaf of bread or pint of milk because of the way the city is changing. Jane Jacobs warned of the dangers of this.

It’s all part of the turbine that’s decimating the place in advance of the 2010 olympics. I love the luge and the bobsleigh like any other, but the socio-economic inequality and further poverty that’s a byproduct of this turbine is frightening: there’s no mention of plans for social housing, the cost of living is hopping up, the ordinary citizens are dodging swinging cranes and closed pavements while some property developer rubs his tummy. Sport should be for and of the people. They raised a flag to celebrate three years til the event. (To a chorus of nearby protests) The big sweeping brush is getting ready. To dispose of “eyesores”, to push people further to the margins, to create new cycles of poverty. The sport gets lost in all the click of powerpoint presentations, the bidding for marketing contracts, the building of audacious facilities. Yet the actual sport has far more incommon with surviving the adversity of the alleys in the city, gathering up empties. Nobody ever won the bobsleigh clicking on a computer.

November 29, 2006

Nations, Chilly ones.

Any person living in a place where the temperature dips below zero should be paid a “cold person’s allowance” for the miserable, swish sound of plastic rain/snowpants, worn by necessity indoors and out, all bleedin’ day.  How are coherent thoughts managed in these conditions? It’s only -7 to -18 here. The catcall that we aren’t used to it isn’t convincing. It’s unfathomable territory. We shouldn’t get used to it. Give it back to Toronto.

Apparently folks are underwhelmed by Quebec’s trot to nationhood

Outside Quebec, 77 per cent of Canadians rejected the idea the province forms a nation, suggested the Leger Marketing survey …

Among regional, linguistic and Liberal party breakdowns, French-speaking Quebeckers, at 71 per cent, were the only group to “personally consider that Quebeckers form a nation.”

I guess it’s not unusual to be at odds with 70 percent of the populus. Clearly that 70 percent have never tried to learn the bloody subjunctive tense in French because if they had they would immediately appreciate the effort req’d would warrant being rewarded with your own nation.

Besides what’s up with folks… it’s surely more interesting to be journeying to a new nation on your holidays. Consider “I am going on my holidays to Blackpool” or “I am off to visit the nation of Blackpool”.

 The people of North Mayo, many of whom, are trying to stop the Shell gas pipeline proposed to run under their kitchen windows might be wishing they could too could form their own nation, where the Guards don’t batter them every morning and the government actually heeds their anxiety from the comfort of their posh houses in Rathgar.

Prime Time have  a special on both the division and the misery it’s causing:

http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/1123/primetime.html

There’s a link on the right with more information about the campaign.