Jul. 18th, 2009 10:35 pm
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Penny Red wrote a really interesting post about Torchwood, which is something I want to talk about in another post, but what really jumped out at me from her post was:

Because a British state ready to abandon its own people to pain, loss and hardship is not science fiction. It's happening right now, today. In the 20th century alone, the government sacrificed not 335,000 but millions and millions of its own citizens, mostly boys, some barely more than children, when faced with an enemy armed only with machine guns and lots of mud.

This is something i think about a lot, I am not a fan of the military at all, I don’t think we should have a military, I am mostly pacifist but I do get absolutely furious about the way we treat our troops and ex troops. I was so angry that the Ghurkhas had to fight so hard for British citizenship when they had fought for Britain and recently there was a nationwide charity drive to raise money to build a rehabilitation centre for injured soldiers and that made me really angry, not because people were raising money but because they shouldn’t have had to be. Why in the hell wasn't the government paying for it?

I strongly believe that if people join the army, if someone signs up to risk their life for their government then their government damn well provides them with citizenship, housing, healthcare and education for ever

Also something that pissed me of in a month where lots of British soldiers died in Afghanistan was the disproportionate amount of news coverage given to one solider because he was a lieutenant colonel, and many of the news reports felt the need to tell us that he was the highest ranking officer to be killed since the Falkland’s without examining the class politics of that. I don't know how it works elsewhere in the world but in the uk the army officers are overwhelmingly middle to uperclass and have middle to upper class educations and clearly they don't get put in the frontline, because working class solders are the ones who are used for cannon fodder.
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If you are reading this right now, you have more luxury than someone in Iran could ever hope for right now. If you are watching TV or a video on youtube, updating your status on Facebook, Tweeting, or even texting your friend, you are lucky. If you are safe in your home, and were able to sleep last night without the sounds of screaming from the rooftops, you need to know and understand what is happening to people just like you in Iran right now.

They are not the enemy. They are a people whose election has been stolen. For the first time in a long time, a voice for change struck the youth of Iran, just as it did for many people in the United States only seven months ago. Hossein Mousavi gained the support of millions of people in Iran as a Presidential candidate. He stands for progressiveness. He supports good relations with the West, and the rest of the world. He is supported with fervor as he challenges the oppressive regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

On Friday, millions of people waited for hours in line to vote in Iran's Presidential election. Later that night, as votes came in, Mousavi was alerted that he was winning by a two-thirds margin. Then there was a change. Suddenly, it was Ahmadinejad who had 68% of the vote - in areas which have been firmly against his political party, he overwhelmingly won. Within three hours, millions of votes were supposedly counted - the victor was Ahmadinejad. Immediately fraud was suspected - there was no way he could have won by this great a margin with such oppposition. Since then, reports have been coming in of burned ballots, or in some cases numbers being given without any being counted at all. None of this is confirmed, but what happened next seems to do the trick.

The people of Iran took the streets and rooftops. They shout "Death to the dictator" and "Allah o akbar." They join together to protest. Peacefully. The police attack some, but they stay strong. Riots happen, and the shouting continues all night. Text messaging was disabled, as was satellite, and websites which can spread information such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and the BBC are blocked in the country. At five in the morning, Arabic speaking soldiers (the people of Iran speak Farsi) stormed a university in the capital city of Tehran. While sleeping in their dormitories, five students were killed. Others were wounded. These soldiers are thought to have been brought in by Ahmadinejad from Lebanon. Today, 192 of the university's faculty have resigned in protest.

Mousavi requested that the government allow a peaceful rally to occur this morning - the request was denied. Many thought that it would not happen. Nevertheless, first a few thousand people showed up in the streets of Tehran. At this point, it is estimated that 1 to 2 million people were there. Mousavi spoke on the top of a car. The police stood by. For a few hours, everything was peaceful. Right now, the same cannot be said. Reports of injuries, shootings, and killings are flooding the internet. Twitter has been an invaluable source - those in Iran who still know how to access it are updating regularly with picture evidence. People are being brutally beaten. Tonight will be another night without rest for so many in Iran no older than I am. Tonight there is a Green Revolution.

For more information:
here and here
Here - near constant updates
Here - ONTD_political live post
@StopAhmadi, @ProtesterHelp

دنیارابگوییدچطورآنهاانتخاباتمان دزدیده اند
Tell the world how they have stolen our election

- original post by [livejournal.com profile] one_hoopy_frood
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when Adrian Mitchell died, I was far, far sadder than I would have expected myself to have been

I've only read one of his collections, The Shadow Knows and it left me pretty much unmoved, I walked away from it with a kind of "oh okay then" feeling as if nothing had been lost or gained in the reading of it. To me his words are flat and motionless on the page.

And though I didn't like his poetry much or often I did like him because as Michael Kustow says:

He was a natural pacifist, a playful, deeply serious peacemonger and an instinctive democrat.

I bought The Shadow Knows on a whim bceuse the dedication reads
To all those who work for peace...
And all those who took part
on February 15 2003,
in the greatest demonstration against war
that the world has ever known
so far

And I was there that day, I was a part of that history

But he also said
of course poetry's important to the revolution
why else would they spend so much time in schools
teaching you to hate it?

The teaching of poetry in schools is something that I am frequently passionate and angry about because it is usually done so badly as to be worse than useless (literally worse than useless, it more often than not puts people of poetry rather than tunes them in to it.)

So I loved his sentiment and his politics and how important poetry was to him, and how he thought about poetry in very much the same way I do, that it could be, when utilised properly, a revolutionary, thought changing, life changing, important endeavour.

but also I loved that he was deeply aware that he was part of a history that matters, to me at least, that he knew he was an inheritor of Blake an Shelley (if there are any poets today arguing for unacknowledged legislator status Mitchell was definitely one of the loudest)

Also his work has the push/pull anxiety of influences of Keats and Harrison, who all wanted to be published poets but who didn't want to be part of the establishment and underlying that seems the fear that the establishment wouldn't want them. And that's a whole bundle of issues that I am just beginning to unpack with my own writing.

And having written this post I think now that If I hadn't read his poetry I would have known these things about him so clearly there are things I took from his poetry, they just weren't things that I was expecting.


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