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