Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Broken in

The blue Safire in white gold, the only memento from my grandmother
The white gold Omega Tony bought in a sale, his last present to me
A golden pound my grandparents gave me at my communion.

A Mexican golden chain with the Madonna de Guadeloupe, Tony and I wore both,
Taken off for a bath and waiting to be put on again
My wedding ring from my first marriage

Two Tony rings one gold with a diamond: he called it a Rosicrucian ring
A gold artist made ring with jade and chips of emerald, which Tony added

A little golden ring with a triangle with diamond chip that is mine thanks to you Jim

My privacy, walking through my bathroom, bedroom, taking little gold rings, in Black Hills gold a tiny heart
and the small golden M, I was going to give to my daughter
my privacy
you invaded, desecrated

I find little empty box upon empty box, also in the other room
You took

You left
my memories, my good pen, my turquoise…

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Multilayered justice

A petit café with a view of the sumptuous, awe-inspiring and overpowering Palais de Justice. In the Appelate Court, there was a case involving two young men. First, the judge laid out the facts as they appear from the file, seemingly neutral. He also questioned the two youngsters. Then the lawyer for the victim (3 policemen) spoke, then the Public Prosecutor. Both painted a harsh picture of the facts. Then it was the turn of the two lawyers defending the handbagsnatcher and the cardriver. The layers of meaning, the nuance in facts, the illusive truth. It could be a judgement error, a one-off situation, an initiation, a mistake, an intentional act aiming to drive into the policemen, a non-violent theft and a botched get-away. The street it happened on is one of the grand Boulevards with greenery and with policemen guarding some embassies. I have been walking it twice a day for almost two weeks. I try to immagine it at night, alone, my bag being taken, would I peruse the thief like the lady did? The court retired. We'll never know wetther the non-violent handbag thief will have to go to jail for 24 month or will be liberated. We'll never know whether the driver was blinded by the roadblock and didn't see the policemen or wether he tried to flee and accidently hit one of them. What is the truth? How do we establish it? How then do we behave humanely towards all involved?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Death, God and Fun

Le Cimetière Père-Lachaise is a city for the death.

Two million people have been buried here for generations. What I learn and relearn is history matters. Roots seem to induce different thinking than the more nomadic among us do.

In this cemetery the lanes are as leafy as the boulevards in Paris proper. I saw some writers graves: Apollinaire, Proust. Missed Wilde, Piaff and Jim Morrisson...

I found however the Sacré Coeur on the Butte Montmartre. Seen it was the day of music averywhere in town small bands were performing and a good time was had by all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Beauty and strength

Emile-Antone Bourdelle , architect and sculptor, was student of Rodin and teacher of Giacometti. His Atelier is to be found in the stables of Montparnasse when Montmartre got too expensive. He designed and decorated the 'Theatre des Champs Elysee", Place de l'Alma.

His pre-modern expressionist huge volumes made my hart tremble. The World War horror is well expressed in the screaming heads before Munch. Pain, strength and beauty overwhelming and uplifting.

Through a rainy Paris I ended up at the Trocadero where Anais Nin had an apartment. There international solidarity was
shown the indigenous peoples of Peru defending their land, the Amazon forest against greedy developers of palm groves destroying the forests and livelihood of the Indians. I added my voice: Un peuble unido jamas sara vencido.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Le Fouquet

Sipping a petit café in Le Fouquet in Paris watching the spenders, scam artists and beggars on the Champs Elysee I wonder what makes this country tick. Partly still the French Revolution, I guess. It started right there, from the chair of the President of the Assemblee Nationale, (AN).
Its goals are well know: freedom, egality and fraternity. This means no group has more say or rights, no previledges. It also means that all are free of arbitrary rule and that citizens are formed in public schools to be thinking free agents. The brotherhood is the solidarity needed to keep a society falling appart.
Good values, but you need to be elected in order to help govern the country, for that TV is essentials and French like beauty, so the A.N. has a place to beautify its representatives of the peopple. They also like pomp and circumstance. The President of the AN walks through the Garde while drums roar loudly. The symbolic meaning is that the army protects the representatives of the people. So I watch the high heeled and well heeled, sit and dream of these lofty ideals.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Writing in a world in crises

The empty chair is for the comedian Zargana convicted to 35 years in prison.

Writing in a world in crises is problematic. The freedom of expression is shackled by taboos about certain subjects. In Turkey those are: Kemal Atta Turk, Armenia, the Kurdish issue, political Islam and military in politics. If as a writer you even slightly approach one of these subjects in a way that is perceived to be critical of the official views you can end up up killed like Hrant Dink or in jail like Leyla Zalan.
The other part of the evening was dedicated to Palestinian writers. We know Mourid Barghouti, but who else. Can writers escape politics, I am afraid they cannot: they still need paper and pen, light at night and the safety to live and think in, food for their families and medical care.
There are 700 checkpoints and people cannot go to their fields or visit their family, there is hardly any water. The task of the Palestinian writers is Herculean: to create a new world while being powerless in an occupied country. Peace now, so that children, men and women and poetry can flourish.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quiche and crumble at the WIPC

It is the time of year that the members of the Writers in Prison Committee are invited in summers garden of one of the members.
First the general meeting in Oslo of the Pen was discussed. That entails showing what WIPCs in other regions have done. A Scottish initiative is a board game about the freedom of expression. There are tendencies to exclude religious defamation from the Freedom of expression. One of the new projects is to go to secondary schools (high school) and speak after ample preparation of the students about the subject. Working interactively is smaller classes is an option and talking about one specific author and why what happened to him where could be another approach. After a while two guests of WIPC of the board of Pen joined us: Zeki Ergas, secretary general of Pen of 'Suisse Romande', (the French speaking Swiss) and active for the Writers for Peace Committee and the International Secretary Eugene Schoulgin, who witnessed many trials of accused writers. The food was delicious, the discussion nourishing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Social networks

For a long time a hesitated getting into social networks. I am still hesitant and a novice but have found a useful tool in it. You can share websites and links and help create a momentum for the better. Peace Action West with their citizens diplomats who went to Iraq to talk about peace with the Iraqi people made me realize I could share their works in a slightly wider circle, maybe reaching, informing some people who otherwise wouldn't know. So Tweet for revolution, be in peoples Facebook for peace, Plaxo for love and justice... Non-violence rules, the laptop is mightier than the Uzi!

Monday, June 8, 2009

From behind the scene

There have been European elections in the 27 member states of the European Union. In some countries that fact got snowed under by the results of the simultaneous local elections. Not here.
It is a joy to see election observers from the ACP countries' Pan African Parliament.

Cameras in place, interview spaces organized to tune into Europe, on
offer for the citizens and the networks were the results in pie charts, in bars or as rolling figures.

There was also a roving reporter who would grab anybody who was willing to speak to him... Thus camera men running, lugging their equipment around.

The hemicycle transformed to press room at one moment held almost 600 journalists to get these images to you. There were 36.000.000 first time voters between 18 and 23. 200.000.000 voters decided to vote with there feet and didn't show up. The global turnout was 43,49 %.
There is still a pro-European majority yet except for the Greens the progressive forces in Europe received a harsh beating. The stronghold of the right fringe (not in figures alas) is composed of populist, xenophobe and anti-Islam and anti-European forces. There some joy at the victory of the conservative European People's Party and a lot of sadness and pain among those who lost and kind of lost hope. Europe wakes up a less friendly place.
These are some the images you might have seen...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Views from the gardens

The Garden of Boboli (Giardino di Boboli) is the more formal of the two, maybe the work is grander: Orchards, Versailles like plantations, huge differences in elevation, buildings housing museums and water.

Of course the police keeps an eye on the place and horses are the only option here. So power to is turned into beauty: a dangerous combination!

The views of the city from the Giardino Bardini however are more stunning.

The garden in the foreground also is more intimate. It is a nice climb to get up there, but the reward is beauty. The prize is vision.