anti cuts

wow. so. I don't really know where to start.

since I have tiptoed off to sweden, the past few months have seen some big big changes in the uk due to decisions made by the new coalition 'condem' government. I have been watching from the sidelines, fingers poised, following the events intently, my fervent stare broken only with shouts of disgust against the government and fist pumps in support of the students, trade unions, and all other manner of human beings taking it to the uk streets to demand their voices be heard above the grinding of the corporate wheel screaming of capitalism, ignorance and the newly appointed tory majority house of lords interests.

I have been powdering my fb page (the all omnipotent fb) with little snippets of what has been going on in the past few weeks.

I would like to share two of my favourites.

I came across this guy via some other non-believer.
Mollitas and I have just watched his take on the 9th december protest, all 41 minutes of it, and discussed how we feel the protests have been represented in the media and how clever this guy is.

He knows his rights. damn yes he knows his rights. and I'm starting to feel that this is the major problem with rights. you have them, I have them, we all have them, but nobody actually realizes or exercises them... why? because the government backs (or kettles if you will, keeping on the protest vibe) the public into a corner, telling them that national security and terrorism and other big scary words are all important and that they (the state) are protecting us (the public) from... from... ?
ourselves? each other? because I really don't know who it is we need to be protected from when it comes to legitimate protests on the streets. we have voices and they should be heard. after all, this is a democracy. this is a democracy. this is a democracy. THIS IS A DEMOCRACY.

...oh i'm sorry i forgot that it doesn't matter how much the people speak up, ultimately if what we want is not hand in hand with free market capitalism, the arms trade and consumerism it doesn't really matter. education? not for you mate. especially not if you haven't got a few thousand quid in your pocket. I'll just reserve this university place for someone who can afford it and wants to study economics or business or something 'useful' like that. I have already been notified on application for my student overdraft that i couldn't get a loan because 'human rights is not a useful or practical masters... its not like medicine, or law is it?' by the kind man with a big smile sitting opposite me at the bank.

okay, cynical rant almost over...

another friend pointed me in the direction of this fantastic writer from the new statesman..
Laurie Penny.
Her take on the situation is fascinating and honest and extremely well written:

"Things fall apart. Something fundamental has changed in the relationship between state and citizen over the past month. Increased police violence will not stop our democracy disintegrating: before it's too late, before more children are brutalised at the heart of what once pretended to be a representative democracy, this government needs to consider its position."

and her 15 best slogans from the student rally are absolutely brilliant:

  • 7. Tiny teenager in a tutu with a megaphone: Marx was right! Marx was right all along!
  • 14. London teenager with a placard: Fuck this, I'm moving to Scotland!
  • 15. Polite hand-drawn slogan by Bath university student: I very much regret voting for the Lib Dems!
good job guys. Keep up the fight.


tribute to emily teague

she sat on the steps and looked at the sky. It was still above her as she gently rested her fingertips in the cold strings of her guitar. Her hair hung in front of her eyes as she played, masking her face from the familiar stories she told with each note she sang.

The air was old and soft, and smelt of the city that she had grown up in. The music seemed to spill out of her palms each time she strummed a chord, the sound barely audible and lingering in the warm evening air. Each word spoken held its purpose and read like a poem drifting slowly around her small form nestling in the darkness of the evening.

She never thought when she sang. She just carried the music from her guitar, and let it free into the space around her, as it bounced off the brick walls and iron railings, old cars and rusty bikes crumpled against the neighbouring buildings, making each surface tingle with the new sensation of music.

The street transformed with each song. She sang louder and with more honesty as the guitar seemed to play itself, her movements pushing and pulling the notes until her voice merged with the music and she seemed to disappear into the street scene, as the focus faltered and the music took hold. The sky swam, her words softened and slowly the music created a picture of its own, resting above the harsh forms of the city, colouring them with ideas of love and truth and pain that helped create the rooms behind each door of her street.

The people pushed their ears up against their keyholes, their letterboxes and the cracks in the windowpanes to hear the sound of honesty filling the street in which they lived. The music called to each soul that was lost, confused and yearning for a familiar story to their own. The words filled their eyes and ears and covered their skin with colours they had forgotten existed. Shapes danced in the sky. Light danced on the concrete steps on which the girl sat. People danced behind their curtains, swaying their shoulders, loosening the knots that had tied themselves to the people they had come to believe that they are.

The girl sat on the steps and looked at the sky, her eyes open, her heart full and her notes on their way up to tell the moon a story of their own.

emily teague

Last night the folk house in bristol saw the launch of emily teagues new album.

If you do not know about emily teagues music then you are missing out and have not spent enough time in my company, because my life is lived to an emily teague soundtrack. seriously.

As a best friend of, and unabashed fan of, miss emily teague, I have been on a musical journey that has spanned around ten years now by her side. Ten years of hearing new songs moments after they are written... of receiving emails full of words recorded in kitchens in different cities... songs of friendship, of love, of heartbreak, of growing and learning experiences that have shaped this woman into the well rounded and beautiful individual who stood on the stage of the folk house last night and sang out her soul.

I remember her first show, the nerves, the circle of friends around a girl and her guitar in the local pub, the sing a long that ensued afterwards, the bad flyers that were sent out before hand... I remember us visiting the folk house for the first time to see pindrop, daves collective. I remember being blown away by the musicians, the music, the atmosphere, the sincerity and the smiles in the room that night... and it fills my heart with pride to know that now, emily teague is part of this group. she is part of the world that loves, appreciates and nurtures honest open music like her own.

As a musician emily has blossomed into a skilled artiste. she can mould songs into how she is feeling, she is able to draw in other talented musicians and shape songs to make a completely new moment... And she has never lost her soul. As long as she has a guitar and a voice I honestly don't think she will ever be able to.

congratulations em. I am too proud for words.

You can listen to the album here

And you can purchase the album from itunes...

although I personally would not miss out on the fantastic artwork provided by miss aurelia lange

image above copywrited to aurelia lange

rainbow warrior

Recently I had a reference to the Greenpeace 'Rainbow Warrior' in one of my human rights textbooks.

so i thought i would have a little look at what happened to the boat.

good old nuclear testing.


apartheid :2

pulse (a great little independent media source) brought to my attention a competition to show the comparison between apartheid in South Africa and the apartheid that is happening in the occupied Palestinian territories.

i remember when i was studying my undergraduate degree that there was a lot of contention with using the phrase 'apartheid' when discussing Palestine. critics argue that it is specific to one situation only; the dark period now passed in South Africa's history.

however, some of these short films shown on itisapartheid.tv make this argument very difficult to agree with. the comparisons are stark and many, from freedom of movement to basic civil and political rights, embedded in non/partial citizenship.

take a look at the 10 finalists here and for a look at some of the elements shared between apartheid SA and present day Palestine, take a gander at this excellent short excerpt from the upcoming film 'road map to apartheid' (to be released next year)

there is also a post on the pulse media blog by Robin Yassin-Kassa, detailing how even non-violent resistance is snuffed our by the apartheid like system.
read it here.


a gift

please can i have this for christmas?
for me, it looks like a dvd dream come true....

Elephant Engine High Dive Revival Preview from C.R. Saxton on Vimeo.


last night I read a poem in a book, by buddy wakefield.
it was called gospelstitch.

here are the four seattle based poets performing gospelstitch in really bad quality four years ago at a grand slam.

and here are the words that held me most:

our prayers come
from the ground up.

'cause everybody's got voices
and everybody's got some they can't contain
like my need to be redeemed
at any time
in any place.

So you can bring on your boogieman loading his fuss
and gunning his fattening desire
'cause we've got bees on flowers
with honey on hold
for those made of gold
but wrapped in wires
who keep themselves inspired
by the way they feel their spines
screaming, sparkling gods
who gotta live by the way they shine.

we pray until our words run out,

and Yours,




the invisibles

the beautiful and altruistic acting treat gael garcia bernal and excellent documentary maker marc silver put together these four short and fantastically shot documentary pieces on the experience of migrants from south and central america through mexico to reach the territory of the united states of america in all its glory.

the four shorts look at the different and hideous challenges that these people face, all in the name of hope for a better future for themselves and their children.

it is heartbreaking and angering to see what these people are willing to go through for a better life, due to being born to a certain nation state, at a certain time, with little or no other option but to risk life, limb and innocence for money.

watch them here on amnesty internationals website
or see the first part below- seaworld


slavoj zizek

I have just watched an Al Jazeera show, where zizek is interviewed concerning the question

"are we living in the end times?"

his views on cpaitalism are said to be hugely controversial- but are they?
for me, they seem to be honest and all encompassing, with zizek trying to pull apart each new element of global society that is emerging, how liberal democratic capitalism is changing, and what the future may hold for all of us... what will rise from the ashes?

i think he is inspiring and honest and incredibly interesting.
but you can see for yourself.


go south

Mollitas recommended me this documentary on Latin America.
and i'm so glad she did.
mainly because I am shamefully ignorant when it comes to the current political affairs of an entire continent, that seems to be forgotten in British text books and education systems (probably due to not being a former colony, therefore insignificant in a bullish post-colonial imperial manner)

It is fascinating to see a take on how things are changing in latin america, how leadership is developing, politics moulding and ownership being claimed back.

last night i was discussing with a friend who has been living in Kenya the difference between the development of the African and Latin American continents since decolonization...
it was an interesting comparison, but not at all surprising to think of how much the importance of a country's development depends up on the natural resources that can be found with in the territory.

this major factor of natural resources, combined with manipulative media and the power of money (always about the moneymoney) is presented in this documentary in a new light.
very interesting.
thanks oliver stone.



capitalist neo-liberal consumerism creates consumers who can consume like no one else imaginable.

tv shows, technology, food, clothes, money, cars, houses, music, kitchen appliances, leisure activities, holidays, sports equipment, concerts, drinks, ideas etc etc...

and this seems to create a problem with me. i like to think of myself as an open minded person. i am politically aware on the large part, i am engaged in current affairs, i have a mix of friends and acquaintances, a fairly diverse mix of interests, i enjoy conversations and people and the sharing of experiences and ideas on a daily basis... and yet i am a consumer. i can consume like no one else. perhaps not entirely in the sense of material goods like trainers and clothes and cars... but in the realm of ideas and ideologies and information. and because i am a consumer (this sounds like an excuse) i do not always retain the information I am given. however shocking it may be.

i think this may be due to my desensitization. and perhaps fear. Every day we are told single stories of places and people.. the poor people of the continent of Africa, their plight, the poverty and the HIV/Aids issue... the poor people of the occupied territories of Palestine, their struggle, the violence and the anger... the poor people of the UK, drug addicts, from broken homes and council estates... and although i am an empathetic person, and i feel sympathetic to these causes it does not make me take to the streets in protest. it does not make me throw a shoe at the president of the united states. it makes me angry and frustrated and write some words and perhaps say some words to some other people in heated exchanges... but because these stories are told to me every day by the worlds media, i become desensitized just like the rest of the masses. Oh, another picture of the devastation by a suicide bomber, another dying child of starvation in the Congo, another stabbing on the streets of my home town, Bristol. It is as though these stories are so ingrained in my life, as i look towards my studies in human rights and interest in globalisation and capitalism (or anti capitalism) i am immersed in a world of injustices and inequalities almost every day of my life. and i become complacent with my awareness. not every photograph reduces me to tears anymore... not every account of oppression and violence makes me grab a pen to write letters to my government... it has become mediated by the constant stream of information and naturalization of these issues into my world.

and although this may not appear as a positive thing... it also makes me aware of changes that are happening, perhaps not only to me, but perhaps to all of my generation... with this information boom i am able to choose independently where i get my information from. the bbc or al jazeera? i understand that media is far from neutral, that some sources are more reliable than others, that some certain journalists i respect far more than others... that sometimes a single photograph can tell more than an entire essay written on the same subject. that now we are able to share information, documentaries, tv shows, statements, songs, at the push of a button. i have found this most recently when being surrounded by friends from all over the world, sharing incredibly diverse and relevant information every single day, and the appreciation that comes with these acts of sharing.

with this vast and continuous dissemination of information every second of our lives we find ourselves open to certain information that may have never passed into our hands, or onto our screens and into our minds.

and this, i think, is a truly wonderful thing.



So today, instead of starting my next assignment I watched this documentary concerning water:

blue gold

I have been attempting to do research to find a transnational corporation that has been accused of violating human rights. Of course, i was not lacking in options of cases to study. It seems in the ever expanding global situation the people of the world are routinely being pushed to the bottom of the list of state priorities as the big money and natural resource scramble take precedence.

After a few days of initial research i settled on the case of Bechtel water vs the people of Cochabamba Bolivia in 2000. Bechtel bought the water system and hiked the prices up so high some people were forced to spend almost half their monthly income on water alone. I remember hearing about this situation many years ago and completely disbelieving that a corporation could privatize water. Water is an essential human right. It is the cause of life and a necessity to exist. I remember being shocked at the details of the contract between the Bolivian government and Bechtel, stating that the people may not even collect rain water for private use.

I thought i would get some background information via this documentary that was released last year, highlighting some of the conflicts over water that are occurring around the world right now as i write, and the nature of the transnational beast.

The case in Cochabamba appeals to me personally as it shows the power of the pressure of the people. By rising up against the corporation and government policy (and World Bank debt relief policy) the people won. As noted in blue gold, the people were asking who the government troops and police were protecting... the transnational corporation or the governments contractual interests? Because it certainly was not the people of Bolivia.

At the cost of one 17 year old boys life, and the wounding of many others, the people of Bolivia showed that resistance is possible and effective.


print break

A young and extremely talented young illustrator by the name of verity keniger
(who also happens to be a beautiful and very good friend of mine)
has just sent me some gifts via the wings of the scottish/swedish postal system over the north sea into my gloveless mitts.

in my little package of treats i have:
  • three beautiful prints
  • a lion button
  • and a small pouch of tobacco.
what a dreamy combo.

If you have not heard of this young talent you should check out her website here
and her excellent blog (of which i am an avid fan) here
and get your hands on some prints because i cannot take my eyes of them.

all images copyrighted to miss verity keniger


take take take...

Today i finally got around to watching this British documentary feature film that was released a few years back:

Taking Liberties

A witty (and at some points borderline cheesy) take on the present and historical attack and mutation of the British citizens liberty and freedom. When acts against individuals that when found separately seem slightly harmless, vaguely benign for the greater good and a bit 'over the top' are placed in one documentary together, in quick succession, it strongly highlights how each change in law and legislation affects the next, and it makes you sit back and think...
what happened there?

So much has changed since world war 2 and since 9/11 that it seems our very value system is up for manipulation by the government. god forbid the people taking a stand with their 'freedom of speech' and 'right to protest'... For a couple of minutes before the documentary started I thought that we lived in a participatory democracy, the very same ideology the uk are supposedly slowly spreading via free markets and neo-liberalism to the rest of the world... but again, I am reminded that capitalism rules the roost, the economy and interstate relations come before the people, and that politicians are liars.

long live all the Brian Haws in the world who have the balls to say no.


an arm and a leg

yesterday the government cuts were announced in the uk.
It seemed inevitable with a con-dem government in place that the burden of the problem will fall on those at the bottom of the pile... and voila! don't even pretend to be suprised when in the headlines today the guardian reports an analyst for the Institute for Fiscal Studies stating "Overall families with children seem to be the biggest losers."

i find it incredible that the government will refuse to listen to what the people want, yet when it comes to payouts, they begin with the solidarity talk, the 'we're all in it together' talk.. considering that most top dog MP's have never had a job in their lives (outside of parliament) i cannot imagine they can comprehend what it is to be made redundant in the already shocking climate...

what a suprise.

and further more, the protests happening on the streets of london by those affected by the cuts- amongst them students and the newly unemployed, are not reported in the media. the moment a group of protesters break into a government department there is shock and horror and a little review in the guardian.

the cut will be around £81bn from the state.. including local government, higher education, the welfare state...

reading this article from the children and young people now website makes me despair.

working for human rights on a global scale makes me fully furious that the UK can't get its priorities right... it targets the most vulnerable, protects those at the top and says 'there is no plan B' and expects the people to sit back and drink it up.
which to be honest they probably will do... because even when hundreds of thousands take to the streets to protest (as we saw with the war against Iraq in 2003) we get ignored.

"The UK is still one of the richest countries in the world; we should be ashamed that even one child is living in poverty, let alone almost three million."

- Maggie Jones, chief executive, Children England



this is what democracy looks like

I was going to write something here about the seattle WTO protests in 1999...

but i think you should just watch this instead...
solidarity in action.


el problema

the problem

Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa.

In 1975 Spain left the territory without holding the United Nations recommendation of a referendum.

This resulted in an illegal occupation by Morrocco which is still in place.

The Saharawi people are violently oppressed and not allowed to express any national identity, be it songs, flags, public demonstrations... they are not even able to mention the occupation- it is referred to as 'the problem'


hib & kika

off the map just brought me a big smile and a thought of a girl i know...

" We all have our own borders. On one side is what's easy, what's known, what we've been told is true and have taken for granted; it's comfortable here, it's familiar. But the other side is wider than possibility, it's brilliant with potential, and it looks like our dreams, whatever they are. Maybe for you that means having family or taking up sailing, maybe its poetry in Prague or solitude in Barcelona; maybe it's learning how to be really close to someone. Big or small, they are not the 'dreams' we've had handed to us, goodjob / bighouse / newcar - these are real dreams, real fragile fledgling dreams, which is why they're often so frightening. But they're ours, if we can find them and hold on to them, if we can catapult ourselves across whatever border of fear or doubt or tiredness seems to keep us from them. In the end, the only thing standing between each of us and what we most want, is ourselves. We're our own border guards. And sometimes the crossing is easier than expected..."


sunday blu's

BIG BANG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.


how did i not know about this little gem?
I inadvertently found this collective via a blog of jordan sieler who has written a fantastic little article about community for the papergirl magazine based in berlin.

papergirl has got everything i love in it:
- girls on bikes
- people making art
- giving things out for free

and it all gels together when the girls (and boys) on their bikes give the home made art out for free to people on the streets of the city. genius.

its so simple it rings of choosewhatyouread, another fantastic community project slowy seeping into the bus terminals and train stations of cities around the world...

i cant wait to see if my 2011 london times will bring me some art and bikes and giving of things.

photo from just.ekosystem.org



Coincidentially I have been writing an assignment this week on a clash of rights... concerning the flotilla attack by Israel back in May that resulted in the death of 9.

Today I was sent the following trailer for a documentary to be released concerning a protest staged in Scotland against the Jerusalem Quartet, a group of Israeli musicians.
At the moment there is a massive campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the state of Israel, to express non-compliance and non-legitimisation of the blockade on Gaza and treatment of the Palestinian people. This includes a cultural and academic boycott.

The 5 members of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign protested the Israeli group and were promptly ejected, arrested and set to try for
breaching the peace.

However, this was revoked and replaced with a
racially motivated charge.

This raises questions as to whether this is admissible in law.
To criticise a nation states actions is not to criticise a race of people.
To use strong words to describe situations as genocidal is not to be racist.
And by exercising a right to express their own belief as to what is occurring in Palestine is not to be anti-semetic.

If this charge is passed in an extreme sense it could mean that you are unable to openly criticise Israel in a public arena.

And I wonder if other nations might jump on the bandwagon?


for nanna anna .1

The game show blared from the tv set in the front room – a new flat screen high definition model that Uncle Aleksander had bought Anna on her 80th birthday a few years ago. It jutted from the wall beside the fireplace, silver and alien, the latest addition to the menagerie of out of place items paying tribute to each era past in that large house on Belvoir Road.

Klara paused as she softly closed the front door behind her, catching canned applause trickle from the next room. Holding out her hand she steadied herself on the peeling peach dado rails that used to be train tracks for her toys as a child, kicked off her school shoes and shouted hello to her Nana. Klara dropped her bag to the floor where a small, carpeted suitcase had been propped up against the wall. Today she felt more grown up than 16 and the strange mixture of sadness and guilt collected in a lump in her throat and forced her teeth to clench as she placed her keys quietly on the sideboard at the bottom of the stairs.

The game show soldiered on, all white teeth and toupee’s urging on the middle aged women in bright sweaters and clashing lipstick. Anna stared blankly at the screen, watching the blurry pictures appear and fade in front of her cataracts. Today she couldn’t bring herself to shout back to Klara with her usual gusto and instead she muttered to herself, cursing the game show’s winners, the losers, the tv set and her son Aleksander for ever thinking of giving her such a ridiculously pointless thing. She could barely make out a face from the smudges of colour on the screen. Her body was giving up on her. Thank God her memories worked, even if they were only in Polish these days.

Klara swung around the door to the front room where Anna sat, still mumbling.

“Fancy a cup of tea Nan?”

“Yes darling, that would be wonderful” she replied, not moving her gaze from the tv.

Klara paused and watched her Nan for a moment. The old lady sat hunched in the corner of the beige sofa, smartly dressed, short hair combed, cardigan and slacks perfectly pressed, shoes laced. She looked as though she was about to attend an elderly parent’s evening. Or church on a Sunday. Her hands sat limply in her lap, withered like gnarled branches, almost blue to look at.

“Happy birthday Nan”, Klara said.

Anna looked up and smiled as her granddaughter left the room.


copen haven

I have had a brilliant little mini adventure with mollitas this weekend to copenhagen to meet up with two of my favourite human beings.

amongst lots of walking, beer, laughing, smoking, market shopping and lake sitting we spent some time in christiania on their 39th birthday.

christiania is a freetown haven in the middle of copenhagen city. It is full of all sorts of wonderful people and self built houses and little secret places beside lakes and inside nooks and crannies with none of the forced sheen of perfect society. I had a quick conversation with a danish resident, who was informing me of the beauty of the scilly isles when reached by boat. This was rather lovely and surreal as he told me about the party that was to ensue that night. The food was good, the people friendly, the lakes beautiful, and i generally felt that this was a place where they were trying to being honest with their society... warts and all, it was there, mixed up in between the recycled garbage and hash stalls.

a turbulant history is tied up in violent, theatrical and peaceful struggles for autonomy and independence from Denmark. The squatters and believers in a self ruled community have faced vast political opposition from the day of christianias creation. But I don't really know the ins and outs of the place so i won't pretend to..
i just had a lovely day wandering around the city with my good friends and a bottle of their excellent christiania home brew.


century of selves

I am sat here trying as hard as possible not to stare out of my window and instead do some reading for my assignment due next week...

so i thought i would write a small note about a series a friend of mine has just reintroduced into my life:

the century of the self

I remember watching this is at university.. it was so compelling i saw some of it sat in the library with headphones on, crammed into one of the small wooden boxes stacked with video players from the early 80's. the headphones even had the little foam removable covers. that made me smile.

It made the rounds through my friends, passed from computer to computer, filling our little creative minds with possibilities of what could have been and how it all has ended up. we finished up a little bit angry, and a little bit more confused about the state of the world.

almost 4 years on, some friends and I sat through the second episode of the series and something clicked with me that I hadn't thought of before. the whole documentary is so condemning of capitalism, of freud, of the individual self.. of democracy.
but in such a charming British way it barely seemed to scuff the edges of dissent.

what is democracy? Can democracy exist without capitalism? Is democracy ultimately the best thing for us? With the current climate of financial meltdown and credit crunch situation hitting the people hard every day, no one seems to notice the message written in the skies above all the broken promises that the governments public relations information (aka propaganda) that is asking for change...
but democracy keeps changing with us, following us with new promises of bright futures and change for the better...
i don't know if the word really has any meaning for me anymore.

maybe its time for a new word that holds a new idea inside?



...and so the conflict begins

One week in to my course and we are focusing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The UDHR is a framework which acts as an ideal to which all nations should be striving to accept and enforce in their respective countries. There are some fundamental elements of the UDHR which I believe in completely. The right to life, the right to expression, freedom of movement, special measures to safeguard children and so on. However, the link between law and enforcement of these rights is tenuous and obtrusive - intrinsically by some of the rights themselves.

Today i spent some time describing to some of the Swedish students how instances of direct action have been pardoned in a law of court as acts on behalf of human rights in the UK: The right to life being the most obvious, and a protection of this right. The trident three, the decommissioners. I was asked what the point was of having laws against breaking and entering if they are just going to be broken.

I instantly thought to myself that it was obvious. The right to life is imperative and fundamental- the most important as it is the primary factor that enables human rights: to be able to be alive and live a life. But the right to private property is a capitalist notion... yet it is considered a human right in the UDHR. Surely the two are hugely differential in their importance and their application? You cannot compare the two on the same level.
Are laws created in the vein of the current ideology not there to be tested? Or else how does humanity grow?

As George Bernarnos says:

"Civilization exists precisely so that there may be no masses but rather men alert enough never to constitute masses."

How can law which is supposed to be created by 'the people' in a 'democracy' determine their rights? surely such legal positivism is corrupt in favour of the authorities who create and enforce such 'rights'? Rights are conceptual and idealistic, they are borne from humanity.

The UDHR is a westphalian ideal. It is capitalistic in its shape, form, ideology, economical focus, interstate relations, refusal to address weapons of destruction, ignorance of the arms trade, avoidance of the environment. It imposes the idea of what the capitalist half of the world demands for the rest of the world in order to operate. This is how the world works right now. And I am beginning to wonder if the UDHR perpetuates such a situation or whether it is 'trying to make the best of a bad situation', struggling to enforce the rights of the/a minority within an ideological system which systematically disregards their needs? After all it is the shape of the world today, whether we like it or not. Whilst we protest for change there are still people in need living each day to the next, trying to get by. existing.

This conversation was followed by a statement arguing that nations need weapons. they need defenses because of the way the rest of the world acts- to protect themselves. To which I was shocked. I was shocked on two accounts. firstly because I am a hippy by nature. I believe in peace and the use of force and violence against the person is something I disagree with because it scares me how much power is instilled within a country/person when they have the option to remove the right to life... for another human being or for an entire nation or group of people. I, niavely, presumed that the person i was talking with would also be a hippy, believing in peace through non violence. Perhaps they do believe in peace... But through a 'static' violent presence? I don't know.

Secondly I was shocked with myself. I had just raised a question concerning where the International Covenant for Political and Civil Rights has been drawn from. I used the example of Haiti disbanding their army due to a succession of military coups, ultimately leaving them vulnerable to attack. So the needs of the people as individuals diminished the needs of the nation. Yet the nation is active as a protector of the people. Again 'nation' is another concept, one which operates powerfully in the current world order. But I had not considered that I was myself highlighting the importance of military and armed protection to a nation. ooft.

some food for thought.




This week I stumbled across this group:

combatants for peace

In line with some other inspiring grassroots community orientated reconciliation work happening in the Palestine and Israel, this group is working for a future for Israelis and Palestinians that is free from violence. It began jointly by Israeli's and Palestinian's who were previously active in the violence of the conflict- soldiers, combatants, resistors..

the goals of the group are:
  • To raise the consciousness in both publics regarding the hopes and suffering of the other side, and to create partners in dialogue.
  • To educate towards reconciliation and non-violent struggle in both the Israeli and Palestinian societies.
  • To create political pressure on both Governments to stop the cycle of violence, end the occupation and resume a constructive dialog.
The education is done via an interesting role of narrative- not dissimilar to the narrative of the documentary encounterpoint; based on sharing, empathy, education and awareness. The role of story is something which calls to individuals in a way nothing else is able to. To hear the other side of the story, to hear and experience it yourself is something which cannot be paralleled. I hope they continue their good work in the area...

promotional video is here:


Les 7 doigts de la main

Earlier this year I was whisked away for my birthday to Edinburgh to see this show by someone who knows me better than most. It was the best gift I have ever had.

The show was breathtaking, raw, fluid, interesting, tense and hilarious.
I cannot express how much I enjoyed being in the theatre that ngiht, watching these people throw themselves around in front of me. it was an absolute treat.

They are doing a new show at Sadlers Wells - Psy. it looks to be a good un.

A wonderful show in a wonderful city with a wonderful person.

Les 7 doigts de la main



Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

- Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

Heard of her?
No I haven't either.
Apparently she's a big deal in the anthropology world.
I can understand why.



Erasmus Mundus MA Human Rights Practice starts here:

Göteborg, Sweden.

Things i have found out already:
  • The city is quite small, and quite like a sort of alps-esque version of brooklyn-meets-berlin-meets-amsterdam without the street art...?
  • There is a massive massive park with penguins, seals, deer and a lake on my doorstep
  • The Institute of Global Studies- my academic home, is an old seminary with an orchard
  • The other students on my course are hugely interesting, experienced and from diverse backgrounds
  • I'm going to have to work Hard. Capital H
  • I am a very very lucky young person
exciting times.

*good luck holly bear by the talented ms aurelia lange



On my last weekend in the UK before leaving for Scandinavian shores i went to boom town fair.

I had an amazing weekend full of dancing, reggae, sunshine, smiles and monkey suits. Good friends, good hugs and wellies. i am a lucky girl indeed.

The Old Theatre venue brought me this treat when i was wandering in to see the lovely people working on the site.

The sound that caught in my ears was this little dream.
little did i know she was one fo the inspiring voices behind Barnardo's the teens speech.

Kate Tempest and the sound of rum. enjoy enjoy.



I saw Laura Marling play a few months ago with my beautiful friend Becky P (muchos gracias for the free tick my lover).. and now i have begun to enjoy the sounds of her former band mates, Mumford & Sons.

I feel as though I have let this lot pass my buy in the furore of their first album which did smashingly well...

but in recent days when I have been finding it hard to keep it together, Mumford & Sons have allowed a little bit of uplift to my hours of daylight.

and for this i thank them.

For a video following Mumford & Sons and Miss Marling creating a treat in India with the Rajasthani collective at the Dharohar Project please click here.

For a little treat shaped taster watch this:


no fit state

One week in June I went to see a performance of Tabu by No fit state...

Having seen a fair bit of circus since becoming mildly obsessed with aerial around a year ago, I can categorically say this was THE best contemporary circus experience I have ever had the pleasure to be immersed in...

Bristol is home to many circus oriented escapades, from circomeda, a circus school and training space that provides evening classes for those interested... to the invisible circus, an absolutely amazing collective of inspirational people playing music, dancing steps and swinging in the sky for our entertainment on a frequent basis.

But No fit state had it all. everything. the story lines were not as funny and all encompassing as the invisible circus, but the all round skills of the performers were astounding. the way that they use the stage, adapt new tools to play with and have a fearlessness that is breathtaking, makes it the ultimate in-the-round experience. Just to be witness to some of the aerial acts performed above the audience i felt as though i was almost in tears. the beauty was absolutely wonderful...

but please, watch the trailer below and enjoy a taster of the magical night I had in Bath last month...



A little treat from the spike island open day earlier this summer...


if you love wood and things made out of wood that aren't usually.. you will love the bike from E.T this artist is carving in his studio... feels like home.



what this video shows:

has made me send the following email to my local MP Stephen Williams and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg:

Dear Stephen, Nick,

I am writing to ask you to publicly condemn the actions of Israel this morning against an aid flotilla traveling to Gaza.

As you may know, there are two Bristol residents on board one of the boats that came under the attack, and we are still waiting to hear whether they have been wounded or not.They are Sakir Yildirim from Fishponds and Cliff Hanley from Southville, both members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign who have been raising funds for the flotilla.

I have read varied reports on the attack from various sources, such as;

Al Jazeera:


...and an extremely one sided bbc report:

I am writing as a member of both the national Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and also as a Bristol member of the PSC.

I am in complete shock as to how Israel has managed to get away with attacking a group of boats, who are sailing to Gaza as an aid convoy, in solidarity with the Palestinian people, with such ferocity as to result in death and serious injury.

The attack happened at about 4am Monday morning after was stormed by commandos descending from helicopters. The interception reportedly took place in international waters, more than 150km (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza.

Israel believes it is above international law and it is not. The only way they will ever stop acting with such force, determination and brutality against the Palestinian people and those who stand in solidarity with them, is for you, our government, to acknowledge the wrong doing and stand up in opposition. How many more people need to die? Because the list keeps getting longer.

As quoted in the bbc article above:

As the meeting of the UN Security Council got under way in New York, diplomats said the draft text of a resolution called for condemnation of the operation, the immediate release of the impounded ships and for an international inquiry.

Please ensure that this is the case, as I have a fear that this will be pushed to the bottom of the pile, just like the Goldstone Report of the attack on Gaza. (2008/2009)

for more information:

In hope,

Holly Black



i rate M.I.A

we completely destroyed her album 'kala' at our last house on banner road.

shes one of those rare people who likes to get all up front and controversial with her songs, representing a side of music i usually affiliate with punk or hardcore; politics.

an alternative to all those 'ass ass tittie tittie' songs (in her own words) that popular music is often seemingly concerned with, m.i.a looks to empower those among us who don't usually get representation in music- first generation immigrants with something to say about the state of the world.

...and then a friend pointed me in the direction of this interview of M.I.A with Spike Jonze. (thanks owen) two very excellent people talking about the simple things that make m.i.a tick.

watch and enjoy



When in Palestine we met a wonderful man called Hamed.

Hamed knew a group of wonderful people from Bristol, my home town.
These people are called the 'easton cowboys and girls'

I have stumbled across various members of the group at events and talks around the city and think they are all rather lovely people. The thing that binds them together is sport. and a political conscience.

to find out more about the easton cowboys visit their home page:

easton cowboys and girls

and here is a really bloody good short video about their 2007 tour to the West Bank, Palestine:

and my favourite bit of the website is the Q&A section:

Why Do We Do It?

The point about all this is to realise your dreams. The Cowboys will listen to any idea, however ludicrous it sounds – so don’t be afraid to voice your opinion and try to convince other Cowboys that it should be done. If the Cowboys have a rule it is, if we say we’re going to do something, we do it. We only have a short life, so let’s make the most of it.





Wordle: dissertation

This is what my dissertation looks like in a wordle.
interesting times. try it out here.

in the most simplest of ways it says so much...

Israel is bigger than Palestine
People are smaller than territory
and nation, identity and ideology are all fighting to be bigger than each other...

i just wish understanding wasn't so small in this picture.

no way through

A tiny, 7 minute look at what it is to be palestinian, living in the west bank, today.

It is insane to consider having the same restrictions and implications of our actions on the streets in the UK. Bringing to the forefront the huge abuses of human rights that are interwoven into legal practicialities of every day living for inferioir citizens of an occupied territory of Israel major.

Beautifully shot with a simple message. Don't let the people of Palestine suffer in silence.

what if it were you?


t e a

if you know me well you will be aware i am partial to a nice cup of tea.

this mild obsession has become concrete over the years. my return from China resulted in me taking a green tea every morning before work or university. my return from palestine meant black tea with ample sugars. my new favourite which i cannot get enough of is lady grey (closely followed by orange roibos)

my top 3 tea experiences

- being sat in the oldest tea room in shang hai with one of the best friends you could want for. sipping flowering tea with a side of quails eggs looking over a lake in a park. the quals eggs werent up to much, but the tea was incredible and the experience a delicate magic.

- tea society; a little treat me and my first flatmates alice and bex created at university. it was once a week, or fortnight, or month and was an excuse for all tea drinkers to bring a tea of choice, gather in our kitchen and talk about the world. preferably with biscuits and cakes. even if only one person turned up, it was worth the kettle boiling.

- a good friend come over to my house in brighton with a loose leaf bag of tea and a small spherical strainer. he knew i was sick and wanted to help, and so did it in the best form possible. tea time.
what a gem.

- tea and hot cross buns. anywhere. any time.


robin hood tax

The robin hood tax has been a massive hit in the facebook world.
in fact- its been a massive hit all over, with people like oxfam and my dad endorsing it.

this is the first video that was released which explains the long and short of the idea very simply and sharply through use of the wonderful bill nighy (big fan)

the second video of robin hoodies is an applaudable follow up. featuring that hot guy from kidulthood / adulthood it shows what difference the tax could actually make to banks.

I'm here

my friend Wanda sent me a link to this new spike jonze short which is completely enchanting.

for a start, i bloody love spike and his tweaked take on the little planet we live on... and thoroughly rated the GIRL skateboard film he made- yeah right, alongside absolute classics such as Adaptation and Being John Malkovich.

Expect a similar feeing of bleak america, combined with some serious sentimental storyline.

in the words i seem to use far too much these days: it's lush.

check it up:


lui bolin

just look at
lui bolin's work

just look at it



every little hurts


Last week I went to see an interactive play at the wonderclub in stokes croft.
It was a lovely night, full of brilliant set designs, dramatic lighting and some top notch acting skills.
The play went by the name of 'the lamentable tragedy'
"an extraordinary site specific performance. We make exciting interactive promenade theatre, bringing to life installation art from some of Bristol's leading artists we merge theatre, music and performance art tied together by a narrative that allows you, the audience to find, play with and gossip about."

this kind of unique experience is something i love to get my teeth into ever since i saw a version of Edgar Allen Poe's 'masque of the red death' at the battersea arts centre a couple of years ago. This play was perhaps the most amazing theatre experience i have ever had. The atmosphere was electric- with every member of the audience wearing a plain white grotesque mask, and after a visit to the tailors, a black velvet cloak to match. The music was intense and constantly building making you chase each character around the set, through wardrobes, out of fire places, visiting each room more than once and finding it changed, the action having moved on to another space. It was fantastic.

in close competition was fuerzabruta an intense piece of interactive theatre at the round house in london. The audience spent the entire night watching around them and above them as characters emerged form within us and stages moved around the space. this was accentuated by a constantly running man on a conveyor belt in the centre of the room, coupled with foil walls dropping down around us and people rushing sideways, swooshing and banging against the wall. The water was something i never expected. but it made the night unforgettable.
watch this video on the website to get an idea of the intense experience.

well done wonderclub for such a good show last week.

pictures: fuezabruta and masque of the red death.


a prophet

go and see this.
a prophet



the story of the beast.

the beast came into our lives four years ago when jungen and gregor traveled to the forest to find something to carry us to our dream destinations... They searched for many days, and many times they feared they would fail their appointed task and return to the coombe with heavy hearts and empty hands.

Then one day, they went to an olde hamlet near the dean, that goes by the name of glowscester. Here they found, nestled amongst the trees, a yard, owned by the kindest, most friendliest forest dwellers they did ever come upon. the dwellers took a shine to the two travelers, took stock of their tasks and offered them a creature so vast, it was perhaps the only vehicle possible that could carry so many heady souls to pastures green and new.

jungen and gregor followed the happy foresters to a small pen out of the back of the ramshackle old yard house, and there they saw it.... the beast.

Immediately the two city rouges took stock of the thing, checked it over, touched its cold clammy sides and decided that yes. the beast was exactly what the coombe needed, not only for this journey, but also for the other deeds that may come in the following years. They understood she was reaching an older age and she had had difficulties at times, but they offered something the beast had never dreamed of in her old age- love, purpose and a family to look after her.

the beast came to be loved by the two young travelers and all that rested upon her belly with an open heart and tired toes. She ferryed them over seas, through sand, rain, snow, sleet and sparkling sunsets that seemed as though they would never end. She took a new life of her own, deciding when she liked a place or hastened her pace to move on to find a new spot to explore, snug and safe in the knowledge that when the time did come... she would be transported to an open meadow near the place of thorns and rocks where the men stood wide with arms bred for lifting weight high.

but of all her dreams, she realised she could not give back enough money nor silver to the beauty of unconditional love she felt for those who had released her from her graveyard of doom and returned her to the magic touch of the road.

Ne'er a beast did ever turn a heart so full of stone to golden dust as the best beast of all.