Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Putin Lights Up the Fires – Pussy Riot

August 18, 2012
Pussy Riot in court

Pussy Riot in court

Pussy Riot latest single edited with images of Pussy Riot and support around the world.

State more time in prison
The more arrests – more happiness
And every arrest – with a love of sexist
After swinging his cheeks, as the chest and abdomen

But we can not be resealed in the box
Security officers overthrew the better and more

Putin ignites the fires of revolution
He was bored and frightened people in the silence
Whatever punishment he had – that rotten ash,
With no time in many years – the subject for wet dreams

The country is, the country goes to the streets with audacity
The country is, the country is going to say goodbye to the regime,
The country is, the country is a wedge of feminist
And Putin is Putin goes, leave cattle

Arrested on May 6 the whole city
7 years we have little, give me 18
The ban yelling, slander, and walk,
Take his wife’s dad Lukashenko

Chorus 2 times

Secret trials

June 19, 2012

Everyone has a right to their day in court, to be tried by their peers, to see the evidence laid against them. Basic tenets of justice, of a free society.

All three are denied in secret trials in the UK. Secret trials that are more what one would associate with Stalinist Russia than a free society.

The accused is not allowed to see the evidence against them. Their lawyer is not allowed to see the evidence against them.

Let us assume the accused is charged with being a known associate of terrorists. The evidence they may not see and challenge is that you were seen with a known terrorist on such and such a date in such and such a place. It may well be you have a perfectly valid alibi, but if you are not allowed to know this basic information of who where and when, how can you challenge it?

Some years ago I had a friend who was European spokesperson for the leader of a terrorist group (or what was and still is classed as a terrorist group). He was kidnapped in one country, shipped to another where as far as I know he is still in gaol, probably no trial.

Information I was not aware of until later.

I was once acquainted with a guy who was probably a KGB colonel (though he denied he was). He thought I was an MI6 colonel (which of course I denied).

Do we ask? Er, excuse me, are you a terrorist?

Katia Zatuliveter

Katia Zatuliveter

Katia Zatuliveter was accused of being a Russian spy. She was detained and faced deportation. She denied she was and fought her deportation. The ‘evidence’ against her was a farce. She was accused of meeting a known Russian security official, he was codenamed in court as Boris! This she denied, but even if she had, does she do a background check on all the people she meets from her home country? But the most damning piece of evidence against her was that she spoke fluent English!

If speaking fluent English is the way to recognise Russian spies, then I must know a lot of Russian spies. What of those who speak poor English?

Some of the evidence against Katia Zatuliveter was made available to her and her lawyers, thus she was able to challenge it and show how ridiculous it was. The court thought so too.

Secret trials have already been extended to Employment Tribunals. People have been fired, the only ‘evidence’ against them is that they are Muslim.

Heresy and what can only be termed sheer nonsense is going unchallenged in secret trials.

The ConDem government wants to extend secret trials.

They have already said they wish to extend the surveillance on everyone.

Franz Kafka and George Orwell would have been proud.


May 25, 2012

I fought for the courage to leave my job on the newspaper and launch myself into the adventure of writing a book, knowing full well that in my country no one in my country could make a living as a writer. I gave up after a year, after having written more than a thousand pages – pages of such genius that even I couldn’t understand them.

While I was fighting, I heard other people speaking in the name of freedom, and the more they defended this unique right, the more enslaved they seemed to be to their parent’s wishes, to a marriage in which they had promised to stay with the other person ‘for the rest of their lives, to the bathroom scales, to their diet, to half-finished projects, to lovers to who they were incapable of saying ‘No’ or ‘It’s over;, to weekends when they were obliged to have lunch with people who they didn’t even like. Slaves to luxury, to the appearance luxury, to the appearance of the appearance luxury. Slaves to a life they had not chosen, but which they had decided to live because someone had managed to convince them that it was all for the best. And so their identical days and nights passed, days and nights in which adventure was just a word in a book or an image on the television that was always on, and whenever a door opened they would say:

‘I’m not interested. I’m not in the mood.’

How could they possible know if they were in the mood or not if they had never tried? But there is no point in asking; the truth was they were afraid of any change that would upset the world they were used to.

Extract from The Zahir by Paulo Coelho.

For my lovely Russian friend Lena.

Children lead the anti-Mubarak chants

February 8, 2011

Last Wednesday and Thursday Mubarak Rent-a-Thugs tried to reclaim Tahrir Square. They were beaten back and Tahrir Square was held. With the arrest of journalists, lawyers and human rights activists, there was the fear the ground was being prepared for a bloodbath. Friday the Muslim Brotherhood mobilised their supporters and Tahrir Square was secured.

Sunday, the Day of Martyrs, Muslims and Christians embraced in Tahrir Square. It has once again taken on a carnival atmopshere, men, women and children.

A media centre has been established. People are encouraged to download their footage. This is then uploaded to the wider world. Lampposts are tapped into, power points for people to charge their mobile phones.

We have seen Frank Wisner, the Mubarak bagman in action. He has argued against democracy in the Arab World. His father, also Frank Wisner, when at the CIA organised at least three coups, including the coup in Iran against a democratic government which brought in the Shah – Arbenz of Guatemala (1954) and Mossadeq of Iran (1953).

Wisner the Mubarak Bagman is regarded as the architect of the torture and extraordinary rendition with the help of Torturers R US in Egypt.

The dominoes fall. Who next, the craven Palestinian Authority, the evil ayatollahs and mullahs in Iran, the corrupt House of Saud?

Egypt in revolt
Suleiman: The CIA’s man in Cairo
For Israel in Egypt, A Delicate Balancing Act
US envoy’s business link to Egypt
The Empire’s Bagman
Egypt’s military-industrial complex
Media Crackdown
The Empire’s Bagman
Protests Demanding Mubarak’s Resignation Grow Stronger
Rebel Diaz – Which Side Are You On?
Egypt: A New Spirit of National Pride
Egyptian people give Obama and US a lesson in democracy
Thirteen Senses – Into The Fire
Today we are all Egyptians
Middle East Peace Process
A million Egyptians take to the streets
We lost our fear
US urges reform in Egypt?
Egypt: One by one the dominoes fall

Rebel Diaz – Which Side Are You On?

February 6, 2011

The world only gets better because people risk something to make it better. — Paulo Coelho

‘Which Side Are You On?’ was written by Florence Reece in 1931. She was the wife of a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky. In 1931 the miners of that region were locked in a bitter and violent struggle with the mine owners. In an attempt to intimidate the Reece family, deputies hired by the mining company illegally entered and searched the Reece family home. Sam Reece had been warned in advance and escaped, but Florence and their children were terrorized in his place. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to “Which Side Are You On?” on a calendar that hung in the kitchen of her home. She took the melody from a traditional Baptist hymn, ‘Lay the Lily Low”‘, or the traditional ballad ‘Jack Munro’. Florence recorded the song and it can be heard on the CD Coal Mining Women.

Reece supported a second wave of miner strikes circa 1973, as recounted in the documentary Harlan County USA. She and others perform ‘Which Side Are You On?’ a number of times throughout.

Bob Dylan refers to ‘Which Side Are You On?’ in ‘Desolation Row’.

Rebel Diaz made a remix of ‘Which Side are You On?’

I first heard Rebel Diaz ‘Which Side are You On?’ during a break on the excellent Democracy Now two-hour special on the Egyptian uprising broadcast Saturday 5 February 2011.

Democracy Now coverage of the Egyptian revolution has put mainstream brodacasters to shame. Their journalists are well-informed and ask intelligent questions, they have people on the show who actually know what they are talking about. Particurly noteworthy has been the on-the-ground reports from their senior producer American-Egyptian Sharif Abdel Kouddous (@sharifkouddous), especialy his video report in the immediate aftermath of Mubarak Rent-a-Thugs attacking peaceful protesters in Tahrir Square on Wednesday.

The mainsteam coverage and debate has too often been in terms of riots, chaos, descent into anarchy, rise of Muslim fundamentalism, collapse of Middle East Peace Process.

The reality is there has been no riots nor descent into chaos. The only violence has been from the agents of repression of the state, the Mubarak Rent-a-Thugs. We have seen real democracy, participatory democracy, not the sham democracy we see in the West where the people are election fodder used to elect crooks who do not represent them them or act in their interest. The Egyptian have shown civic pride, they have organised to protect their neighbourhoods, have distributed food and water, have set up make-shift field hospitals, have cleaned the streets. There is no Middle East Peace Proccess, there is a sham forced on the region from outside which shores up Israel as a US-UK client state and which turns a blind eye to ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. If Egypt rips up the Middle East Peace Agreements, Israel will have no friends left in the Middle East. Israel wil be forced to enter into dialogue with its neighbours, accept the right of refugees to return, end the occupation of Palestine, end the Siege of Gaza. People on the streets say no way to Muslim Brotherhood taking over or Egypt turning into another Iran. In spite of the lack of Statemanship by the Coward in the White House, there is not anti-US feeling on the streets, no burning of American flags.

A breathe of fresh air to have experts on a programme who know what they are talking about, not the same old ignorant establishment pundits who insult our intelligence when wheeled out by the mainstream media.

People are beaten, bandaged and go back on the street. People have smelt, tasted freedom. They will not give up.

People are openly discussing politics. They are discussing models of governance, how they wish to see the country develop. Those hovering on the fringe of a group are invited in to join the group. If a consensus emerges, this consensus is passed on to other groups to discuss.

The Peace Treaty betwen Egypt and Israel limits the size of the Egyptian Army, it bars the Egyptian Army from entering the Sinai Desert. There are no such limits on Israel, Israel is not prevented from entering the Negev Desert.

The Muslim Brotherhood are part of Egyptian society. They have the right to be repesented as do all other sectors of society.

Compare the peaceful protesters with the regime which has attacked jornalists, lawyers and human rights activists. The state TV and the vice-president have become laughing stocks claiming the protests are organised by foreign elements – Hezbollah, Iran, Hamas, Israel, US,

On 18 January, a young female Egyptian placed a video on youtube calling on fellow Egyptians to join her in protest in Tahrir Square on 25 January against the repressive regime. She was willing to stand alone. She called on others to join her, to stand up as men, to protect her honour. The rest as they say, was history.

On 27 January she posted another video saying it was the first time in her life that she had been on the street and not been sexually harased by men, the first time in her life treated with dignity as a human being.

If your satellite or cable is not showing Democracy Now or Al Jazeera, ask why?

Egypt: A New Spirit of National Pride
Egyptian people give Obama and US a lesson in democracy
Thirteen Senses – Into The Fire
Today we are all Egyptians
Middle East Peace Process
A million Egyptians take to the streets
We lost our fear
US urges reform in Egypt?
Egypt: One by one the dominoes fall

A million Egyptians take to the streets

February 2, 2011
Christians, Women, Men, Muslims... all protesting in one accord in Cairo

Christians, Women, Men, Muslims... all protesting in one accord in Cairo

To people in Tahrir Square: We are all Egyptians today! — Paulo Coelho

Our weapon is not AlJazeera or Facebook or all that—our main weapon is the change we want, our focus, our peacefulness and the shoes on our feet. — Omar in Cairo

In Alice through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll there is a conversation between Alice and the Queen where the Queen tells Alice she imagines several impossible things every day.

Only fools imagine impossible things. Only fools and Tunisians and Egyptians.

Who a week ago, let alone a year ago, would have imagined a million Egyptians take to the streets to tell Hosni Mubarak, the hated Eyptian president, to go? But that is what we saw on Tuesday. A million Egyptians took to the street demanding freedom, liberty, dignity. But above all that Hosni Mubrak must go.

Young and old, rich and poor, Christian and Muslim, men, women and children, all united in their call for Hosni Mubarak to go. Last Friday we saw Christians guarding their Muslim brothers at prayer.

Unarmed protesters faced down the forces of the repressive regime and won. They faced down the forces of repression and the forces of repression fled with their tails between their legs.

Tear gas was fired. Tear gas with Made in USA on the side of the cannisters. A repressive regime paid for with US dollars.

Our hearts go out to the brave Egyptian people. Once they lost their fear, anything was possible, even the impossible.

Enduring images are of a girl on her father’s shoulders, calling for Mubarak to go, of a former policeman beating his uniform with the soles of his shoe, of an eight-year-old girl giving wise advice to Mubarak to go.

Tuesday even an Egyptian cat joined the million Egyptians on the street calling for Mubarak to go!

A butterfly flapped its wings …

A young unemployed man set fire to himself in protest at not being allowed to set up a fruit and vegetable stall, his only way of earning a living. The Jasmine Revolution was born, the most enduring image was that of a Tunisian woman singing in the street of the martyrs. Ben Ali fled Tunisia like a rat up a drainpipe.

The revolution will spread across the Arab World and the Middle East. One by one the dominoes will fall.

Who next? The corrupt House of Saud? The evil Mullahs and Ayatollahs in Iran?

There is not a crisis in the Middle East. The people are getting off their knees and overthrowing repressive regimes. Repressive regimes which the US-UK have kept in power. The same US-UK that waged an illegal war in Iraq. Think what a difference in Iraq if regime change had been brought about peacefully, not an illegal war waged by war criminals.

Real change comes from below, not imposed from above or from outside.

My heart goes out to the brave Egyptians who shed their fear, got off their knees and faced down a repressive regime.

Unarmed protesters in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King faced down the forces of repression. The forces of repression fled with their tales between their legs.

The people of Egypt have displayed amazing community spirit. They are all working together and helping each other. They have shared food and water. They have manned checkpoints, directed the traffic. They have swept the streets and picked up the rubbish. The sense of community pride, that the whole world is watching is palpable. They are an inspiration to us all.

Tonight we are all Egyptians!

Protesters flood Egypt streets
Tears, chants and hope as crowds fill Cairo square
It’s time for Obama to say Kefaya!
Millions Against Mubarak: Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous Reports Live from Tahrir Amid Massive Protest
“Mubarak is Our Berlin Wall”
Media Blackout in Egypt and the U.S.
Digital Darkness: U.S., U.K. Companies Help Egyptian Regime Shut Down Telecommunications and Identify Dissident Voices
Juju’s message to Mubarak
When Isis Wept for Egypt
We lost our fear
US urges reform in Egypt?
Egypt: One by one the dominoes fall

Juju’s message to Mubarak

February 1, 2011

Wonderful advice from an eight-year-old Egyptian girl to Hosni Mubrak. What a pity leaders of the Western world seem incapable of giving the same advice.

Of the coverage today on the streets of Egypt, the most enduring image was a girl of about this age on her father’s shoulders shouting Mubarak go.

When Isis Wept for Egypt
We lost our fear
US urges reform in Egypt?
Egypt: One by one the dominoes fall

Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia

January 16, 2011
After 23 years of iron-fisted rule, Tunisia's president was driven from power by 29 days of violent protests

After 23 years of iron-fisted rule, Tunisia's president was driven from power by 29 days of violent protests

Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you. — Paulo Coelho

The world only gets better because people risk something to make it better. — Paulo Coelho

If the people one day decide to live, fate must answer and the chains must break.– Abolkacim Ashabi

Violence in Tunisia now is a product of decades of repression. Regime in Egypt must understand that peaceful change is only way out. — Mohamed ElBaradei

When people take to the streets and totalitarian regimes fall, it happens very quickly. When it happens it takes everyone by surprise, even the participants.

Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall? One totalitarian regime after another fell. That was Eastern Europe and the former communist Bloc.

I remember Romania, when Nicolae Ceausescu addressed a square full of people. They booed, they slow hand-clapped, they heckled, the collapse was then extremely rapid.

Now it is the turn of the Arab world. One dictator ousted, forced to flee the country. Tunisia has fallen. Now having seen it can be done, people across the Arab World, across the Middle East, including Iran, must take to the streets and liberate their countries.

Arab leaders watch Tunisia with fear. The people of the Middle East watch with delight. [see Mid-East bloggers hail change in Tunisia]

The BBC tried to interview people on the street in Egypt to ask them their opinion of events in Tunisia. Within minutes the police moved in.

Tunisia has sparked the flame which will sweep clean the Arab world and Iran of corrupt despots. Social media is fanning the flames.

The Mullahs and Ayatollas in Iran are jittery. The Green Revolution summer 2009 almost succeeded, had more people taken to the streets it would have done. Earlier this week, books by Paulo CoelhoPaulo Coelho were banned. These are now flooding Iran free to download from the net in farsi. Those who dare to openly criticise the regime are imprisoned and tortured. [see Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books]

Where the Green Revolution in Iran failed, the Jasmin Revolution in Tunisia has succeeeded. The despot has gone, forced to flee the country, the regime though is still in place but for how long?

As we saw with the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, once started, it is unstopable. [see The Shape of the Table]

Summer 2009 the Green Revolution in Iran made extensive use of social media and in particular twitter. The death of Neda was posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog (the doctor who went to her aid was a close personal friend), it was re-posted and reported by his followers and then went viral. UK Uncut has made use of twitter to report and coordinate actions as has the student protests against the hike in student fees. The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia has made extensive use of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Social networking has come of age.

Shame on Barack Obama. Not a beep from the Coward in the White House when protesters were being killed on the streets of Tunisia. Not a beep from the Coward in the White House until Ben Ali fled the country like a rat up a drain pipe. It is not that he does not know as the wikileaks diplomatic cables shows that he knows. Hilary Clinton knows as that is why she is on what she calls her Apology Tour of the Arab World.

The prisons in Egypt are full to bursting with political prisoners. The biggest recipient of US largesse after the Zionist Sate of Israel is Egypt.

Who will be next, the evil Mullahs and Ayatollas in Iran, the corrupt House of Saud? The flame of freedom has been lit, it will continue to burn until all despots in the Middle East are removed.

As Benazir Bhutto wrote in Reconciliation, democracy and Islam are not contrary or in oposition to each other. The Koran calls for tolerance, pluralism, listening to and heeding all opinion.

According to reports on twitter, YouTube has been blocked in Libya, top level meetings are taking place, an internal state of emergency declared.

The repressive regime in Iran, hated by the people, must be very very worried.

We are all Tunisians now!

Also see

Tunisia: The fall of President Ben Ali

Dedicated To The Liberators Across Our Globe

Tunisian Revolution can inspire the world

Mid-East bloggers hail change in Tunisia

Amidst Violence, Thousands in Tunisia Protest for Democratic Reforms, Demand Ben Ali’s Resignation

Tunisia Leader Flees and Prime Minister Claims Power

Tunisian swears in interim president amid chaos

Tunisia seeks to form unity cabinet after Ben Ali fall

Three questions for Marwan Bishara

Tunisia: A Moment Of Destiny For The Tunisian People And Beyond?

Could other Arab countries follow Tunisia’s example?

The ‘bin Laden’ of marginalisation

Tonight We Are All Tunisians

Why Tunisia’s Revolution Is Islamist-Free

Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books

The Shape of the Table

Cables From American Diplomats Portray U.S. Ambivalence on Tunisia

Social Media Made Tunisian Uprising Possible

Tunisia unrest a wake-up call for the region

Could other Arab countries follow Tunisia’s example?

In Peril: The Arab Status Quo

To the tyrants of the Arab world …

Tunisia Special: What Happens When an Uprising is Ignored? (Shahryar)

Arab Activism: Brought to you by a White Man

Should twitter receive the Nobel Peace Prize?

The First Twitter Revolution?

Tunisia: A media led revolution?

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

My Life as a Traitor



August 2, 2010

Somewhere in the midst of madness lays the truth
Tangled up with matter
Perhaps nonexistent.

Through the first seconds of time
The unexpected evil arises with magical spells,
Binding us in unholy land,
Suspended in traveling time
Light is thrown upon our eyes,
Perception changes itself
To cast yet a new dilemma.

Transformation craves to be believed,
It growls and yearns to be wanted
To occupy us
Helpless creatures.

Thunder rolls inside us,
Darkening the shadows in our believing souls,
Nourishing them with feverish bolts.

We helplessly wait and wait
Crawl around deepen our wounds
Our hunger keeps filling our sorrow
Like a drug,
While innocent crystallized tears are
Imposed in a lifeless life…
And we wait
Expect to be taken
Who knows where?
With our wrongly classified sins
Unaware of true existence
To be freed forever.

— Carolena Sabah

Carolena Sabah starred as Athena in The Witch of Portobello based on the book of the same name by Paulo Coelho.

The Shape of the Table

November 16, 2009

Loosely based on the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, The Shape of the Table by David Edgar is set in a fictional Communist country in 1989 as the system collapses. First performed at the National Theatre in London in 1990, it was broadcast as a radio play on BBC Radio 4 as part of their 1989 season.

We start with protests on the streets as party and government officials meet to decide how to handle the next wave of protests: let peaceful protest go ahead, send in the thugs to beat them up, give the thugs live ammunition, call upon their fraternal neighbours to put down the street protests.

No option is to everyones liking. Riffraff and hooligans cannot be allowed to take to the streets, beating up the protesters will be picked up by the BBC, likewise shooting them down and it is possible the thugs will not obey orders, calling upon fraternal neighbours is no longer an option as they have made it clear they will not intervene.

It all goes badly wrong, bloody clashes with peaceful protesters, calls for investigations and reform. Party and government officials meet again. First Secretary says he cannot push through the reforms. This is agreed, and without realising it he has backed himself into a corner and is forced to resign.

A dissident writer is brought out of prison and cast as a go-between. Although the government and party has brought forward what for them is radical reform, the people on the street are demanding more, those for whom power is slipping away cannot keep up.

The play ends with the former First Secretary now in prison and facing charges of treason, corruption and misuse of office, telling the reformists that they are no different to him, that in a few years time the people will look over the barbed wire and will not be able to tell the difference.

Has anything changed?

The alternatives played out as the people took to the streets were played out in Iran this summer. The authorities chose repression and bludgeoned the people into submission, or at least cleared them off the streets, all played out to a world audience on twitter and facebook.

Neda became the face of the Iranian revolution. Slaughtered by the state, an innocent victim, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Twenty years ago, China chose the third option, the media was cleared off the streets, the People’s Liberation Army rolled into Tiananmen Square and pro-democracy demonstrators were massacred.

In Chicago in 1968, riot police clubbed protesters at the Democrat Party Convention.

A decade ago in Seattle the police attacked protesters on the streets.

Last summer, police brutally attacked Climate Camp protesters at Kingsnorth Power Station in Kent.

At G20 in London earlier this year, police were heavy handed resulting in one man killed. Eight months after his death, mystery still surrounds the death of Ian Tomlinson, an innocent man who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A candlelit vigil will be held in his memory on 1 December 2009 outside the Royal Exchange by Threadneedle Street.

At Climate Camp this summer on Blackheath Common, the police changed tack, a softly-softly approach was taken.

COP15 climate change talks in Copenhagen next month will be a measure of how far democracy has travelled. If Seattle was the coming-out party, Copenhagen is the coming of age. A diverse group of activists will converge on Copenhagen with one single demand, cutting of carbon emissions. One demand, many solutions. The aim at Copenhagen will not be as was successfully achieved at Seattle to shut down the proceedings but to open them up. As with the fall of the Berlin Wall, change will come from below, not be imposed from above. World leaders would be wise to listen.

When world leaders meet they travel to the venue in armoured vehicles, hide behind 12-foot high razor wire barricades, police club the people on the street. Terrorism is used as the flimsiest of excuses to authorise repression and lock people away.

Former Eastern Bloc countries who threw off the shackles of Communism are now under the EU yoke, they wanted freedom, to be sovereign countries, they have a long way yet to travel.

At the end of Animal Farm by George Orwell we have the pigs sitting down to dinner with men from outside. Animals looking in from outside look from man to pig and from pig to man and they cannot see the difference.

The Wall may have fallen in 1989, Communism may have collapsed, but we do not as yet have democracy. Politicians are puppets with global corporations pulling the strings.

Also see

1989 Day by Day

The day the wall came down

A sense of the masses – a manifesto for the new revolution

Civil disobedience

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