position:poet

  • France’s class wars, by Serge Halimi & Pierre Rimbert (Le Monde diplomatique - English edition, February 2019)
    https://mondediplo.com/2019/02/02gilets-jaunes-class-war

    In times when social groups crystallise and there is undisguised class struggle, everyone has to choose sides. The centre ground disappears. And even the most liberal, educated and distinguished people drop any pretence of peaceful coexistence. Fear robs them of their composure.

    [...]

    During the Paris Commune in 1871, there was a similar transformation of thought among intellectuals and artists, some of whom had been fair-weather progressives. The poet Leconte de Lisle was infuriated by ‘this league of all the underclass, all the useless people, all the envious, the murderers, the thieves.’ Gustave #Flaubert thought that ‘the first remedy should be to end universal suffrage, the disgrace of the human mind.’ Émile #Zola, reassured by the punishment that had resulted in 20,000 deaths and almost 40,000 arrests, thought it offered a moral for the working class: ‘The bloodbath they have just experienced was perhaps a horrible necessity to calm some of their fevers’

    #peur #gilets_jaunes « #libéral » #France


  • O Poeta do Castelo (1959) [BluRay] [720p] [YTS.AM]
    https://yts.am/movie/o-poeta-do-castelo-1959#720p

    IMDB Rating: 7.3/10Genre: DocumentarySize: 95.2 MBRuntime: 12hr 9 minThe camera follows an ordinary morning of famous Brazilian poet Manuel Bandeira in his small apartment, making breakfast, typewriting in bed, walking through the streets of Castelo, in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

    https://yts.am/torrent/download/77ED39A2049022EAF574D42C8FBBDAD886597926


  • Improvisiert und zielbewusst (1967) [BluRay] [720p] [YTS.AM]
    https://yts.am/movie/improvisiert-und-zielbewusst-1967#720p

    IMDB Rating: 7.3/10Genre: Documentary / HistorySize: 270.88 MBRuntime: 12hr 30 minGerman documentary for TV about the “Cinema Novo” movement (Brazilian New Wave). Director Joaquim Pedro de Andrade focuses on six Cinema Novo filmmakers working in Rio in 1967: Leon Hirszman preparing the script with poet/writer Vinicius de Moraes for “Garota de Ipanema” (1967); Glauber Rocha shooting “Terra em Transe” (1967); Arnaldo Jabor editing “A Opinião Pública” (1967); Nelson Pereira dos Santos shooting “El Justicero” (1967); the rushes and voice-looping sessions of Domingos Oliveira’s “Todas as Mulheres do Mundo” (1967); and the opening of Carlos Diegues’s “A Grande Cidade” (...)

    https://yts.am/torrent/download/7DF33BB2A231E071A22399E1DF8F4D938A8A4EF2


  • FYI France: Tom Paine!

    Une lecture critique du livre «Révolution Paine» (C&F éditions) par Jack Kessler depuis San Francisco.

    A new book which can remind us all, again, of what France and the US have in-common... at a good time for remembering all this, on both similarly-beleaguered sides of The Pond right now...

    Révolution Paine: Thomas Paine penseur et défenseur des droits humains, by Thomas Paine, Peter Linebaugh (pref.), Nicolas Taffin (dir.),

    (C&F éditions, 35 C rue des Rosiers, 14000 Caen, t. 02.31.23.39.48, fx. 01.40.09.72.67, cfedtions@cfeditions.com; août 2018) ISBN: 978-2-915825-85-5

    Tom Paine was British, it must be remembered — but then so were we all, back then, in revolutionary “America”, citizens of an empire which spanned the globe until very recently, our “shots heard round the world” the first of many which ultimately would bring that empire and others to heel and create new ways of thinking about government for the modern world.

    In all that mælstrom we very much needed ideas, and cheerleaders, for encouraging and inspiring ourselves and our fellow citizens, and Tom Paine was that. Whatever his opponents and most severe critics — and there were many — thought of him, and even friends and fans worried about him, but he was encouraging and inspiring, and for careful and conservative American “colonists” like the wealthy plantation-owner George Washington and the gentleman-printer Benjamin Franklin and the Boston lawyer John Adams, Paine’s encouragement and inspiration were enough, and at times they were very badly needed in fact.

    And the French were there for us, very different but close in spirit to the Americans, and always needed, for their spirit & their money & their guns & for many other resources and reasons — at the very least they were enemies of our enemies and so our friends, on whom we could rely for insight, breadth of vision, even occasionally at their own ruinous expense...

    France entertained Paine the rebellious Brit after the excitements of the British colonies had hosted him for a long while — in both places his own exciting language and the clarity of his vision helped citizens greatly, in the great troubles of their times — so now a glimpse of Tom Paine may help again, both to see our current troubles more clearly too, and to remember what we and the French share in-common in all this. When things change, for the US and France, neither of us is ever alone.

    https://cfeditions.com/paine

    The book is a “reader” — not a compendium, but a comfortable and thoughtful armchair-piece to browse-through and then keep handy, as headline-events of current troubled-times pour in, descending upon us daily.

    First comes a preface — avant-propos — by Nicolas Taffin, outlining why and how the idea for the book occurred to him: 2018 saw the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he says, and still we face troubles that first were defined for us by events of 1789 — after such a long time the birthday-celebration required a renewal of the effort, he thought, and who better than Tom Paine who first inspired it, in both the US and France, and the “Human Rights” and “Commons” forms in which the ideas were first presented.

    Then comes an elegant introduction to Paine and his works by historian Peter Linebaugh, translated from l’américain...

    It is a useful thing, to know Paine’s history, as he landed somewhat un-announced upon the Americans with his outrageous views and funny accent (?) and stunning phrasings. That he had a tradition, and a context, back home in also-turbulent England, only makes sense — and that early-on England experimented with many of the ideas the colonists were confronting later in their own contests with the Crown, deserves recalling, many of the same conflicts were heard before in early Industrial Revolution England, as workers and owners confronted one another, and governments moved to tax and otherwise control the new techniques.

    Paine and his East Anglia neighbors had rehearsed many of the confrontations he was to witness and comment upon in his sojourns in the American colonies — the issues were similar, new techniques & how to cope with change & the sharing of burdens and benefits & working conditions & and of course taxes... not exactly “taxation without representation”, there at-home in England, but taxation all-the-same...

    Whether Paine was a Che Guevara, as Linebaugh I-hope-playfully suggests, whether the Introduction successfully demonstrates that Americans of that time, “ambitiously risked class warfare on a global scale”, well, other readers will have to read and judge... Linebaugh, described by Wikipedia as a “Marxist historian”, does weave through initial attributions of Paine’s ideas to his having been, “conscious of classes, sensible to differences in power and wealth” — he describes Paine’s concerns for “Agrarian Justice” as involving “class injustice”.

    It matters that Paine’s life in mid-18th c. England greatly preceded the writings of Marx a century later; but also of course there may have been historical connections, workers’ lives a century earlier were very much what the historicist Marx was interested in and wrote about. Linebaugh carefully outlines that Paine, “lived at the time of an industrial revolution, of commercial expansion & urbanization & population increase” — he grants that Paine’s views did not fall cleanly into any contest between “communism and capitalism”, terms which, apparently per Edmund Burke, were, “still cartilaginous, not yet well defined or formed”.

    But Paine had a good sense for “the commons”, he insists, “and of its long presence in English history”, a matter which he says has not been well considered in previous studies of Paine. “A long anti-capitalist tradition in England”, Linebaugh believes he’s found, through Tom Paine, “one which contributes to our understanding about current notions of ‘revolution’ and ‘constitution’ in modern Britain” — for this suggestion alone, Linebaugh’s Introduction makes for some very interesting reading.

    Beyond this Introduction there are excerpts, then, from Paine’s own “Rights of Man” — fascinating, the differences, between one culture’s “emotive” language and another’s — French easily is the equal of English in this regard...

    And finally a fascinating Post-Script by editor Nicolas Taffin: he takes “Tom Paine of Thetford” several significant steps further than the little local American Revolution — several steps further, even, than the nascent Class Warfare of the Levellers and workers’-revolts of East Anglia which maybe-led to the Marxian revolutions of the 19th century — Taffin going-further finds, in Paine, the freeing of the human imagination, from the illusory securities and comforts and oppressions of the previous era’s religion-controlled philosophies, the emergence of the Enlightenment’s idealisms into a modern world of “real” rights and responsibilities and true-freedom, governed by reason alone...

    Paine may have had a glimmer. The American Founders who fought our little revolution here certainly had some glimpse as well... Certainly the young Virginia lawyer who boldly wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident” and then chafed as the elders to whom he submitted that draft picked it apart... Jefferson had read much of what the young Paine had read as well — in 1776, when arguably they both were at their most-inspired, Jefferson was age 33, Tom Paine was age 37 — as Wordsworth observed of youth in a slightly-later revolution, “Bliss was it in that Dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven”.

    But the true significance of what they all were doing did not emerge until much, much later... as late as the 1820s the two then very elderly American patriots Jefferson and Adams, both preparing for death and fondly reminiscing in their dotage-correspondance, could recall what they had done for the little United States, and for Britain, but only the more daring Jefferson seriously considered what they may have done ‘way back then to, “free the human spirit in general”...

    Taffin gives Paine the greater credit. Well, history has benefit of hindsight... Whether Paine himself, or truly his contemporaries, really understood what he was accomplishing with his amazing writings, back then, seems questionable. There are crackpots writing this sort of thing about The Future today — just as there were in East Anglia long before Paine’s birth there, which later he read, a few of them, in the Old School at Thetford — so qua-dreamer Paine’s contribution may well have been fortuitous, simply a matter of good timing... The poet appears to have felt this about his own contribution to the French Revolution, and others have suggested Paine contributed little there too...

    But ideas have lives of their own, and History has control of this. Taffin doubtless is correct that if we are “free” today — universally — then some part of that is due to the writings of Tom Paine, almost regardless of how exactly that happened and what agencies promoted it and why, Marxist or Liberal or French, English, American, or other... Mao Tse Tung and Ho Chi Minh both are said to have read Tom Paine, I expect Steve Bannon has as well, and Marion (Le Pen) Maréchal (age 29) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (age 29) are reading Paine now...

    So the mystery of origins and influences continues, but so do the ideas. Read Taffin’s fascinating rendition here of Tom Paine’s context and continuing influence, and see what you yourself think... it is what many of us are worrying about in both the US and France, now, & that particular “common-concern” coincidence has made vast historical waves before...

    —oOo—

    And now a Note:

    Tom Paine in epigrams, 1737-1809: & now I understand better why Ben Franklin must have enjoyed his company so much... —

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Paine

    “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

    “I love the man that can smile in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”

    “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

    “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

    “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

    “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

    “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

    “’Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”

    “Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”

    “Reason obeys itself, and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”

    “Moderation in temper is a virtue, but moderation in principle is a vice.”

    “Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”

    “The most formidable weapon against errors is reason.”

    — and the following three Tom Paine épigrammes seem of particular relevance to our present Franco & américain mutual Times-of-Troubles —

    “Character is much easier kept than recovered.”

    “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

    “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

    Jack Kessler
    kessler@well.com
    fyifrance.com

    #Révolution_Paine #C&F_éditions #Peter_Linebaugh #Droits_humains



  • The Kaiser goes : the generals remain - Theodor Plivier
    https://libcom.org/history/kaiser-goes-generals-remain-theodor-plivier-1932

    Text entier en anglais : https://libcom.org/files/TheKaiserGoesTheGeneralsRemain.pdf https://libcom.org/files/TheKaiserGoesTheGeneralsRemain.mobi

    Du même auteur : Stalingrad (1945), Moskau (1952), Berlin (1954), une trilogie sur la guerre contre les nazis. Je n’ai pas encore trouvé de version en ligne.

    This is an amazing novel about the German Revolution, written by a participant. Republished here in PDF and Kindle formats.

    I’m republishing a novel about the German Revolution called The Kaiser Goes: the Generals Remain, written by a participant in the naval mutinies which kicked the whole thing off. But the novel doesn’t just concern rebellion in the armed forces, there’s all kinds of other exciting events covered too!

    I first became aware of the novel when I noticed some quotations from it in Working Class Politics in the German Revolution1, Ralf Hoffrogge’s wonderful book about the revolutionary shop stewards’ movement in Germany during and just after World War I.

    I set about finding a copy of The Kaiser goes..., read it, and immediately wanted to make it more widely available by scanning it. The results are here.

    Below I’ve gathered together all the most readily accessible information about the novel’s author, Theodor Plivier, that I can find. Hopefully, the sources referenced will provide a useful basis for anybody who wants to do further research.

    Dan Radnika

    October 2015

    THEODOR Otto Richard PLIVIER – Some biographical details

    Theodor Plivier (called Plievier after 1933) was born on 12 February 1892 in Berlin and died on 12 March 1955 in Tessin, Switzerland.

    Since his death Plivier/Plievier has been mostly known in his native Germany as a novelist, particularly for his trilogy of novels about the fighting on the Eastern Front in WWII, made up of the works Moscow, Stalingrad and Berlin.

    He was the son of an artisan file-maker (Feilenhauer in German) and spent his childhood in the Gesundbrunnen district in Berlin. There is still a plaque dedicated to him on the house where he was born at 29 Wiesenstraße. He was interested in literature from an early age. He began an apprenticeship at 17 with a plasterer and left his family home shortly after. For his apprenticeship he traveled across the German Empire, in Austria-Hungary and in the Netherlands. After briefly returning to his parents, he joined up as a sailor in the merchant navy. He first visited South America in 1910, and worked in the sodium nitrate (saltpetre) mines in 1913 in Chile. This period of his life seems to have provided much of the material for the novel The World’s Last Corner (see below).

    He returned to Germany, Hamburg, in 1914, when he was still only 22. He was arrested by the police for a brawl in a sailors’ pub, and was thus “recruited” into the imperial navy just as the First World War broke out. He spent his time in service on the auxiliary cruiser SMS Wolf, commanded by the famous Commander Karl August Nerger. It was he who led a victorious war of patriotic piracy in the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, seizing enemy ships and their cargo, taking their crews prisoner, and returning in glory to Kiel in February 1918. The activities of SMS Wolf are described in fictional form in the final chapter of Plivier’s The Kaiser’s Coolies (see below). The young Plivier didn’t set foot on land for 451 days, but while at sea he became converted to revolutionary ideas, like thousands of other German sailors. Nevertheless, he never joined a political party. In November 1918, he was in Wilhelmshaven and participated in the strikes, uprisings and revolts accompanying the fall of the German Empire, including the Kiel Mutiny. He also played a small role in the November Revolution in Berlin.

    He left the navy after the armistice (11 November 1918) and, with Karl Raichle and Gregor Gog (both sailor veterans of the Wilmhelmshaven revolt), founded the “Green Way Commune”, near Bad Urach. It was a sort of commune of revolutionaries, artists, poets, proto-hippies, and whoever turned up. Two early participants were the anarchist Erich Mühsam and Johannes Becher (see below), who was a member of the German Communist Party (KPD). At this time several communes were set up around Germany, with Urach being one of three vegetarian communes set up in the Swabia region2.

    It was the beginning of the anarchist-oriented “Edition of the 12” publishing house. Plivier was certainly influenced by the ideas of Bakunin, but also Nietzsche. Later he took on some kind of “individualist anarchism”, ensuring that he didn’t join any party or formal political organisation.

    In Berlin in 1920 he married the actress Maria Stoz3. He belonged to the circle of friends of Käthe Kollwitz4, the radical painter and sculptor, who painted his portrait. On Christmas Day 1920 he showed a delegation from the American IWW to the grave of Karl Liebknecht5. In the early ‘20s he seems to have associated with the anarcho-syndicalist union, the FAUD (Free Workers’ Union of Germany), and addressed its public meetings6.

    Plivier underwent a “personal crisis” and began to follow the example of the “back to nature” poet Gusto Gräser7, another regular resident of “Green Way” and a man seen as the leading figure in the subculture of poets and wandering mystics known (disparagingly at the time) as the “Inflation Saints” (Inflationsheilige)8. In the words of the historian Ulrich Linse, “When the revolutionaries were killed, were in prison or had given up, the hour of the wandering prophets came. As the outer revolution had fizzled out, they found its continuation in the consciousness-being-revolution, in a spiritual change”9. Plivier began wearing sandals and robes…10 According to the Mountain of Truth book (see footnote), in 1922, in Weimar, Plivier was preaching a neo-Tolstoyan gospel of peace and anarchism, much influenced by Gräser. That year he published Anarchy, advocating a “masterless order, built up out of the moral power of free individuals”. Supposedly, “he was a religious anarchist, frequently quoting from the Bible”11. This was not unusual amongst the Inflationsheilige.

    His son Peter and his daughter Thora died from malnutrition during the terrible times of crisis and hyper-inflation in 1923. A year later he began to find work as a journalist and translator. He then worked for some time in South America as a cattle trader and as secretary to the German consul in Pisagua, Chile. On his return to Germany he wrote Des Kaisers Kulis (“The Kaiser’s Coolies”) in 1929, which was published the following year. It was a story based on his days in the Imperial Navy, denouncing the imperialist war in no uncertain terms. At the front of the book is a dedication to two sailors who were executed for participation in a strike and demonstration by hundreds of sailors from the Prinzregent Luitpold12. Erwin Piscator put on a play of his novel at the Lessingtheater in Berlin, with the first showing on 30 August 1930. Der Kaiser ging, die Generälen blieben (“The Kaiser Goes: The Generals Remain”) was published in 1932. In both novels Plivier did an enormous amount of research, as well as drawing on his own memories of important historical events. In the original edition of Der Kaiser ging… there is a citations section at the end with fifty book titles and a list of newspapers and magazines consulted. This attention to historical fact was to become a hallmark of Plivier’s method as a novelist. The postscript to Der Kaiser ging… clearly states what he was trying to do:

    “I have cast this history in the form of a novel, because it is my belief that events which are brought about not by any exchange of diplomatic notes, but by the sudden collision of opposed forces, do not lend themselves to a purely scientific treatment. By that method one can merely assemble a selection of facts belonging to any particular period – only artistic re-fashioning can yield a living picture of the whole. As in my former book, The Kaiser’s Coolies, so I have tried here to preserve strict historic truth, and in so far as exact material was available I have used it as the basis of my work. All the events described, all the persons introduced, are drawn to the life and their words reproduced verbatim. Occasional statements which the sources preserve only in indirect speech are here given direct form. But in no instance has the sense been altered.”

    His second marriage (which didn’t produce any children) was to the Jewish actress Hildegard Piscator in 1931. When Hitler came to power as Chancellor in 1933, his books were banned and publically burnt. He changed his name to Plievier. That year he decided to emigrate, and at the end of a long journey which led him to Prague, Zurich, Paris and Oslo, he ended up in the Soviet Union.

    He was initially not subject to much censorship in Moscow and published accounts of his adventures and political commentaries. When Operation Barbarossa was launched he was evacuated to Tashkent along with other foreigners. Here, for example, he met up (again?) with Johannes Robert Becher, the future Culture Minister of the DDR! In September 1943 he became a member of the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD), which gathered anti-Nazi German exiles living in the USSR – not just Communist Party members, although there were a fair number of them involved. In 1945 he wrote Stalingrad, based on testimonies which he collected, with official permission, from German prisoners of war in camps around Moscow. This novel was initially published in occupied Berlin and Mexico, but ended up being translated into 14 languages and being adapted for the theatre and TV13. It describes in unflinching and pitiless detail the German military defeat and its roots in the megalomania of Hitler and the incompetence of the High Command. It is the only novel by Plievier that was written specifically as a work of state propaganda. It is certainly “defeatist”, but only on the German side – it is certainly not “revolutionary defeatist” like Plievier’s writings about WWI. The French writer Pierre Vaydat (in the French-language magazine of German culture, Germanica14) even suggests that it was clearly aimed at “the new military class which was the officer corps of the Wehrmacht” in an effort to encourage them to rise up against Hitler and save the honour of the German military. The novel nevertheless only appeared in a censored form in the USSR.

    He returned to Weimar at the end of 1945, as an official of the Red Army! For two years he worked as a delegate of the regional assembly, as director of publications and had a leading position in the “Cultural Association [Kulturbund] for German Democratic Renewal” which was a Soviet organisation devoted to changing attitudes in Germany and preparing its inclusion into the USSR’s economic and political empire. As with so much else in Plievier’s life, this episode was partly fictionalised in a novel, in this case his last ever novel, Berlin.

    Plievier ended up breaking with the Soviet system in 1948, and made an announcement to this effect to a gathering of German writers in Frankfurt in May of that year15. However, Plievier had taken a long and tortuous political path since his days as a revolutionary sailor in 1918… He clearly ended up supporting the Cold War – seeing the struggle against “Communist” totalitarianism as a continuation of the struggle against fascism (logically enough). What’s more, his views had taken on a somewhat religious tinge, talking of a “spiritual rebirth” whose foundations “begin with the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai and end with the theses of the Atlantic Charter”! Although it can be read as a denunciation of the horrors of war in general, it’s clear that Berlin, his description of the collapse of Nazi Germany in 1945, is far more of a denunciation of Soviet Russia than anything else. The character Colonel Zecke, obviously a mouthpiece for Plievier’s views, even claims that Churchill and Roosevelt only bombed Dresden because they wanted to please Stalin. If you say so, Theo…! One virtue of Plievier’s single-minded attack on the Russian side is that he draws attention to the mass rape of German women by Russian soldiers. This was a war crime which it was not at all fashionable to mention at the time he was writing, despite the existence of perhaps as many as two million victims16.

    Berlin ends with one of the recurring characters in Plievier’s war novels being killed while participating in the East German worker’s revolt in 195317. Despite his conservative turn, Plievier obviously still has some of the spirit of Wilhelmshaven and can’t restrain himself from giving the rebellious workers some advice about how to organise a proletarian insurrection – seize the means of production! Another character says:

    “What use was it raising one’s fists against tanks, fighting with the Vopos [Volkspolizei – People’s Police], trampling down propaganda posters – one has to get into the vital works, to get busy at the waterworks, the power stations, the metropolitan railway! But the workers are without organisation, without leadership or a plan –the revolt has broken out like a steppes fire and is flickering away uncoordinated, in all directions at once.”

    He went to live in the British Zone of Occupation. He got married for a third time, in 1950, to Margarete Grote, and went to live next to Lake Constance. He published Moscow (Moskau) in 1952 and Berlin in 1954. He moved to Tessin in Switzerland in 1953, and died from a heart attack there in 1955, at the age of 63.

    His works – particularly the pro-revolutionary ones – are almost unknown in the English-speaking world (or anywhere else) today. The republication of The Kaiser Goes: The Generals Remain in electronic form is a modest attempt to remedy this!

    Finally, please read Plivier’s novels! Even the reactionary ones…

    #Allemagne #histoire #révolution #littérature


  • Behind a Saudi Prince’s Rise, Two Loyal Enforcers - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/14/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-crown-prince-loyalists.html

    When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia convened an outdoor banquet this spring for his fellow Arab rulers, seated among the kings, princes and presidents were two friends with few qualifications other than their closeness to the young prince himself: a poet who has become known for orchestrating ferocious social media campaigns, and a former security guard who runs the Saudi sports commission.

    The two men had each played pivotal roles in many of the brazen power plays that have marked Prince Mohammed’s sprint to dominance of the kingdom — the ouster of the previous crown prince, the detentions of royals and businessmen in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, the kidnapping of the Lebanese prime minister, and the kingdom’s diplomatic spats with Qatar and Canada. Even Saudi royals have come to fear the prince’s two friends — Saud el-Qahtani, 40, and Turki al-Sheikh, 37 — and the Arab potentates around the table could scarcely object to their presence.

    Lampistes ? #mbs #khashoggi


  • Premature Postcolonialists: the Afro-Asian Writers Association and Soviet Engagement with Africa | Lefteast
    http://www.criticatac.ro/lefteast/premature-postcolonialists-the-afro-asian-writers-association-and-soviet-

    In October 1958, over two hundred writers from Asia and the emerging African nations descended onto Tashkent, the capital of the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. Among the participants was W. E. B. Du Bois, who at age 90 had just flown in from Moscow (where he persuaded Nikita Khrushchev to found an Institute for the Study of Africa). Alongside leading Soviet writers and cultural bureaucrats, some of the major figures of the 1930s literary left outside of Europe or the Americas were in attendance: the Turkish modernist poet Nazim Hikmet and his Pakistani counterpart Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the Chinese novelist Mao Dun and Mulk Raj Anand. Though poorly known at the time, some of the younger delegates at that meeting would go on to become the leading literary figures of their countries: the Senegalese novelist-cum-filmmaker Sembene Ousmane, the Indonesian writer Pramoedya Toer, the poet and founder of Angola’s Communist Party Mario Pinto de Andrade, and the Mozambican poet and FRELIMO politician Marcelino dos Santos. By all accounts, Tashkent impressed visitors with its mixture of Western modernity and familiar “eastern-ness,”—an effect carefully curated by the Soviet hosts who sought to make it a showcase city for Third-World delegations.

    The gathering that brought all these writers together—the inaugural congress of what would later become known as the Afro-Asian Writers Association—represented the literary front of the Soviet Union’s return to the colonial question after a two-decade-long lapse. The Stalinist state’s geopolitical zigzags and the rumors, confirmed in Khrushchev’s 1956 Secret Speech, of oppressive practices at home had considerably dimmed the flame of the Russian Revolution by the mid-1950s. African and Asian intellectuals’ doubts over the Soviet state’s emancipatory promises were now partly made up by the resources of a world super-power, which interwar Soviet anti-imperialism had lacked. These resources exercised a powerful, if ambiguous, effect on black political life worldwide, resulting, on the one hand, in devastating proxy wars in Angola and Mozambique and, on the other, fueling emancipatory struggles against apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crowe in the US.1

    This article will be particularly interested in the cultural consequences of the Soviet engagement with the postcolonial world, namely, in its effect on African letters. As a heir to the literature-centrism of the revolutionary Russian intelligentsia of the late nineteenth century, the Soviet state, down to its very bureaucracy, believed in the capacity of literature to transform society and invested heavily in literary engagements even with societies very different from its own. By the reciprocal logic of the Cold War, the U.S. State Department and CIA, institutions not known as patrons of literature before or after the Cold War had to match those investments. The real beneficiaries of this competition were African writers, interest in whose work significantly increased, as well as readers in the first, second, and third worlds, who were given greater access to those writers.


  • Grandville, Visions, and Dreams – The Public Domain Review
    https://publicdomainreview.org/2018/09/26/grandville-visions-and-dreams

    The poet Charles Baudelaire greatly admired the graphic arts, writing several essays about the major caricaturists and illustrators of his day. He found something positive to say about each of them with one exception, the artist Jean-Ignace-Isidore Gérard, known simply as Grandville (1803–1847). And yet, despite Baudelaire’s antipathy, Grandville is arguably the most imaginative graphic artist of the nineteenth century, as well as the most influential on subsequent generations. Baudelaire was well aware of Grandville’s gifts, but his aversion was that of a true classicist:

    There are superficial people whom Grandville amuses, but as for me, he frightens me. When I enter into Grandville’s work, I feel a certain discomfort, like in an apartment where disorder is systematically organized, where bizarre cornices rest on the floor, where paintings seem distorted by an optic lens, where objects are deformed by being shoved together at odd angles, where furniture has its feet in the air, and where drawers push in instead of pulling out.1

    Baudelaire’s comments were perceptive: these are the very characteristics that, while making him uncomfortable, appealed to the next century’s surrealist artists and writers who saw in Grandville a kindred spirit who shared their interest in the uncanny, in the dream state, and in the world of imagination.

    The work of a graphic artist was always collaborative, undertaken at the behest of a publisher. Graphic artists worked mostly on commission; paid by the piece, they considered themselves fortunate if contracted to produce all the drawings for one of the richly illustrated editions that were so popular with nineteenth-century audiences. The standard procedure was that the artist provided the drawing, which would then be translated into an incised wood engraving, printed and hand-colored by specialists. Grandville did his share of these commissioned works, producing illustrations for Don Quixote, Gulliver’s Travels, and Robinson Crusoe, among others, but because of this expensive and time-consuming production process, graphic artists were rarely allowed to follow their own inclinations. Nonetheless, Grandville’s most inventive work did just that, departing from the conventional understanding of illustration as subservient to text; Grandville’s drawings stand alone.

    #Domaine_public #Grandville #Illustration


  • Israel releases Palestinian poet from prison
    Sept. 20, 2018 12:44 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 20, 2018 3:46 P.M.)
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=781140

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli authorities released Palestinian poet, Darin Tatour, on Thursday after she completed two months out of her original five month sentence.

    The Israeli authorities reduced Tatour’s five month sentence by three months, during which she was held in detention.

    Following the decision, Tatour was released from the Israeli Damun prison, in the Haifa district in northern Isarel, where she completed the two month sentence.

    Upon her release, Tatour said “After three years of suffering, imprisonment and house arrest, I finally feel happy.”

    She added “I have gained my freedom and I will continue to write. All my suffering was due to a poem I wrote and it saddens me that they (Israeli authorities) imprisoned me for writing the poem.”

    In July, the Israeli Magistrate Court of Nazareth sentenced Tatour to prison after the Israeli prosecution accused her of “incitement and supporting a terrorist organization” for writing a poem criticizing the Israeli occupation and posting it on her personal page on Facebook.


  • Plus de 140 artistes (dont une vingtaine de français) de 18 pays, dont des participants à l’Eurovision signent une lettre appelant au boycott de l’Eurovision 2019 si elle a lieu en israel:

    Eurovision, ne blanchissez pas l’occupation militaire et les violations des droits humains par Israël
    The Guardian, le 7 septembre 2018
    https://www.bdsfrance.org/plus-de-140-artistes-signent-une-lettre-appelant-au-boycott-de-leurovisio

    Boycott Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Israel
    The Guardian, le 7 septembre 2018
    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/sep/07/boycott-eurovision-song-contest-hosted-by-israel

    L-FRESH The LION, musician, Eurovision 2018 national judge (Australia)
    Helen Razer, broadcaster, writer (Australia)
    Candy Bowers, actor, writer, theatre director (Australia)
    Blak Douglas, artist (Australia)
    Nick Seymour, musician, producer (Australia)
    DAAN, musician, songwriter (Belgium)
    Daan Hugaert, actor (Belgium)
    Alain Platel, choreographer, theatre director (Belgium)
    Marijke Pinoy, actor (Belgium)
    Code Rouge, band (Belgium)
    DJ Murdock, DJ (Belgium)
    Helmut Lotti, singer (Belgium)
    Raymond Van het Groenewoud, musician (Belgium)
    Stef Kamil Carlens, musician, composer (Belgium)
    Charles Ducal, poet, writer (Belgium)
    Fikry El Azzouzi, novelist, playwright (Belgium)
    Erik Vlaminck, novelist, playwright (Belgium)
    Rachida Lamrabet, writer (Belgium)
    Slongs Dievanongs, musician (Belgium)
    Chokri Ben Chikha, actor, theatre director (Belgium)
    Yann Martel, novelist (Canada)
    Karina Willumsen, musician, composer (Denmark)
    Kirsten Thorup, novelist, poet (Denmark)
    Arne Würgler, musician (Denmark)
    Jesper Christensen, actor (Denmark)
    Tove Bornhoeft, actor, theatre director (Denmark)
    Anne Marie Helger, actor (Denmark)
    Tina Enghoff, visual artist (Denmark)
    Nassim Al Dogom, musician (Denmark)
    Patchanka, band (Denmark)
    Raske Penge, songwriter, singer (Denmark)
    Oktoberkoret, choir (Denmark)
    Nils Vest, film director (Denmark)
    Britta Lillesoe, actor (Denmark)
    Kaija Kärkinen, singer, Eurovision 1991 finalist (Finland)
    Kyösti Laihi, musician, Eurovision 1988 finalist (Finland)
    Kimmo Pohjonen, musician (Finland)
    Paleface, musician (Finland)
    Manuela Bosco, actor, novelist, artist (Finland)
    Noora Dadu, actor (Finland)
    Pirjo Honkasalo, film-maker (Finland)
    Ria Kataja, actor (Finland)
    Tommi Korpela, actor (Finland)
    Krista Kosonen, actor (Finland)
    Elsa Saisio, actor (Finland)
    Martti Suosalo, actor, singer (Finland)
    Virpi Suutari, film director (Finland)
    Aki Kaurismäki, film director, screenwriter (Finland)
    Pekka Strang, actor, artistic director (Finland)
    HK, singer (France)
    Dominique Grange, singer (France)
    Imhotep, DJ, producer (France)
    Francesca Solleville, singer (France)
    Elli Medeiros, singer, actor (France)
    Mouss & Hakim, band (France)
    Alain Guiraudie, film director, screenwriter (France)
    Tardi, comics artist (France)
    Gérard Mordillat, novelist, filmmaker (France)
    Eyal Sivan, film-maker (France)
    Rémo Gary, singer (France)
    Dominique Delahaye, novelist, musician (France)
    Philippe Delaigue, author, theatre director (France)
    Michel Kemper, online newspaper editor-in-chief (France)
    Michèle Bernard, singer-songwriter (France)
    Gérard Morel, theatre actor, director, singer (France)
    Daði Freyr, musician, Eurovision 2017 national selection finalist (Iceland)
    Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir, musician, Eurovision 2017 national selection finalist (Iceland)
    Mike Murphy, broadcaster, eight-time Eurovision commentator (Ireland)
    Mary Black, singer (Ireland)
    Christy Moore, singer, musician (Ireland)
    Charlie McGettigan, musician, songwriter, Eurovision 1994 winner (Ireland)
    Mary Coughlan, singer (Ireland)
    Luka Bloom, singer (Ireland)
    Robert Ballagh, artist, Riverdance set designer (Ireland)
    Aviad Albert, musician (Israel)
    Michal Sapir, musician, writer (Israel)
    Ohal Grietzer, musician (Israel)
    Yonatan Shapira, musician (Israel)
    Danielle Ravitzki, musician, visual artist (Israel)
    David Opp, artist (Israel)
    Assalti Frontali, band (Italy)
    Radiodervish, band (Italy)
    Moni Ovadia, actor, singer, playwright (Italy)
    Vauro, journalist, cartoonist (Italy)
    Pinko Tomažič Partisan Choir, choir (Italy)
    Jorit, street artist (Italy)
    Marthe Valle, singer (Norway)
    Mari Boine, musician, composer (Norway)
    Aslak Heika Hætta Bjørn, singer (Norway)
    Nils Petter Molvær, musician, composer (Norway)
    Moddi, singer (Norway)
    Jørn Simen Øverli, singer (Norway)
    Nosizwe, musician, actor (Norway)
    Bugge Wesseltoft, musician, composer (Norway)
    Lars Klevstrand, musician, composer, actor (Norway)
    Trond Ingebretsen, musician (Norway)
    José Mário Branco, musician, composer (Portugal)
    Francisco Fanhais, singer (Portugal)
    Tiago Rodrigues, artistic director, Portuguese national theatre (Portugal)
    Patrícia Portela, playwright, author (Portugal)
    Chullage, musician (Portugal)
    António Pedro Vasconcelos, film director (Portugal)
    José Luis Peixoto, novelist (Portugal)
    N’toko, musician (Slovenia)
    ŽPZ Kombinat, choir (Slovenia)
    Lluís Llach, composer, singer-songwriter (Spanish state)
    Marinah, singer (Spanish state)
    Riot Propaganda, band (Spanish state)
    Fermin Muguruza, musician (Spanish state)
    Kase.O, musician (Spanish state)
    Soweto, band (Spanish state)
    Itaca Band, band (Spanish state)
    Tremenda Jauría, band (Spanish state)
    Teresa Aranguren, journalist (Spanish state)
    Julio Perez del Campo, film director (Spanish state)
    Nicky Triphook, singer (Spanish state)
    Pau Alabajos, singer-songwriter (Spanish state)
    Mafalda, band (Spanish state)
    Zoo, band (Spanish state)
    Smoking Souls, band (Spanish state)
    Olof Dreijer, DJ, producer (Sweden)
    Karin Dreijer, singer, producer (Sweden)
    Dror Feiler, musician, composer (Sweden)
    Michel Bühler, singer, playwright, novelist (Switzerland)
    Wolf Alice, band (UK)
    Carmen Callil, publisher, writer (UK)
    Julie Christie, actor (UK)
    Caryl Churchill, playwright (UK)
    Brian Eno, composer, producer (UK)
    AL Kennedy, writer (UK)
    Peter Kosminsky, writer, film director (UK)
    Paul Laverty, scriptwriter (UK)
    Mike Leigh, writer, film and theatre director (UK)
    Ken Loach, film director (UK)
    Alexei Sayle, writer, comedian (UK)
    Roger Waters, musician (UK)
    Penny Woolcock, film-maker, opera director (UK)
    Leon Rosselson, songwriter (UK)
    Sabrina Mahfouz, writer, poet (UK)
    Eve Ensler, playwright (US)
    Alia Shawkat, actor (US)

    #Palestine #BDS #Boycott_culturel #Eurovision


  • Activist Arrests in India Are Part of a Dangerous Global Trend to Stifle Dissent | Alternet
    https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/activist-arrests-india-are-part-dangerous-global-trend-stifle-dissent

    On Tuesday morning, the police from the Indian city of Pune (in the state of Maharashtra) raided the homes of lawyers and social activists across India and arrested five of them. Many of them are not household names around the world, since they are people who work silently on behalf of the poor and oppressed in a country where half the population does not eat sufficiently. Their names are Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao. What unites these people is their commitment to the working class and peasantry, to those who are treated as marginal to India’s state. They are also united by their opposition, which they share with millions of Indians, to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The “raw numbers of this terror” are best counted from Turkey. Since the failed coup of July 15, 2016, the government has arrested, detained or dismissed about 160,000 government officials, dismissing 12,000 Kurdish teachers, destroying the livelihood of thousands of people. The editor of Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar, called this the “biggest witch-hunt in Turkey’s history.” In the name of the war on terror and in the name of sedition, the government has arrested and intimidated its political opponents. The normality of this is astounding—leaders of the opposition HDP party remain in prison on the flimsiest of charges, with little international condemnation. They suffer a fate comparable to Brazil’s Lula, also incarcerated with no evidence.

    Governments do not typically like dissent. In Bangladesh, the photographer Shahidul Alam remains in detention for his views on the massive protests in Dhaka for traffic reform and against government corruption. Condemnation of the arrest has come from all quarters, including a British Member of Parliament—Tulip Siddiq—who is the niece of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The avalanche of criticism has not moved the government. Alam is accused of inciting violence, a charge that is equal parts of ridiculous and absurd.

    Incitement to violence is a common charge. It is what has taken the Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour to an Israeli prison. Tatour’s poem, “Resist, my people, resist them” (Qawim ya sha’abi, qawimhum), was the reason given by the Israeli government to lock her up. The Egyptian government has taken in the poet Galal El-Behairy for the lyrics he wrote for the song “Balaha”—the name a reference to a character in a 1980s film who sees the world in a topsy-turvy manner, a name now used colloquially in Egypt for President Sisi. The Ugandan government has arrested the radio show host Samuel Kyambadde, who merely allowed his talk show to become a forum for a conversation that included items labeled by the government as seditious—such as the arrest of journalists and the arrest of the opposition MP Robert Kyagulanyi (also known as Bobi Wine).

    All of them—photographers, poets, radio show hosts—are treated as voices of sedition, dangerous people who can be locked up under regulations that would make any fair-minded person wince. But there is not even any public debate in most of our societies about such measures, no genuine discussion about the slide into the worst kind of authoritarianism, little public outcry.

    #Néo_fascisme #Inde #Turquie #Liberté_expression


  • The History of Civilization Is a History of Border Walls

    When I joined my first archaeological dig at a site near Hadrian’s Wall in 2002, walls never appeared in the nightly news. Britain was still many years away from planning a barrier near the opening of the Chunnel in Calais. Saudi Arabia hadn’t yet encircled itself with high-tech barricades. Israel hadn’t started reinforcing its Gaza border fence with concrete. Kenya wasn’t seeking Israel’s help in the construction of a 440-mile barrier against Somalia. And the idea that India might someday send workers high into the Himalayas to construct border walls that look down on clouds still seemed as preposterous as the notion that Ecuador might commence construction on a 950-mile concrete wall along its border with Peru.

    No one chatted about walls while we cut through sod to expose the buried remains of an ancient fortress in northern Britain. I doubt that anyone was chatting about walls anywhere. The old fortress, on the other hand, was generally considered the crown jewel of British archaeology. For more than 30 years, sharp-eyed excavators at the Roman fort of Vindolanda had been finding writing tablets — thin slivers of wood upon which Roman soldiers had written letters, duty rosters, inventories, and other assorted jottings. At first, the tablets had represented something of a technical challenge; their spectral writing faded almost immediately upon exposure to air, almost as if written in invisible ink. But when the writings were recovered through infrared photography, a tremendous satisfaction came from the discovery that Roman soldiers complained about shortages of beer while the wives of their commanders planned birthday parties. The Romans, it turned out, were a lot like us.

    Archaeology, even at such a special place, was tiring business, but after work I enjoyed taking hikes along the wall. It was beautiful countryside — well lit by an evening sun that lingered late during the Northumbrian summer — and as I ambled over the grassy hills, occasionally enjoying the company of sheep, I sometimes imagined I was a lonely Roman soldier, stationed at the end of the world, scanning the horizon for barbarians while I awaited a resupply of beer. I’m ashamed to say that I took no detailed notes on the wall itself. It made for beautiful photographs, the way it stretched languidly over the countryside, but my real interest lay in other things: the Roman soldiers, the barbarians, the letters. If anything I saw in Britain was to hold any significance for my research, it seemed obvious that I would find it in the wet gray clay of Vindolanda. There I hoped only to discern tiny clues about a particular period of Roman history. Such are the modest goals of the academic. For the duration of my stay, my focus was on the clay. All the while, I was standing right next to a piece of a much bigger story, a fragment of the past that was about to rise up from its ancient slumber to dominate contemporary politics on two continents. I was leaning against it, resting my hand on it, posing for pictures by it. I just didn’t see it.

    It was my interest in the barbarians that finally opened my eyes to the historical importance of walls. The barbarians were, in the main, inhabitants of every North African or Eurasian wasteland — the steppes, the deserts, the mountains. Civilized folk had erected barriers to exclude them in an astonishing array of countries: Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Britain, Algeria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Peru, China, and Korea, to give only a partial list. Yet somehow this fact had entirely escaped the notice of historians. Not a single textbook observed the nearly universal correlation between civilization and walls. It remained standard even for specialists to remark that walls were somehow unique to Chinese history, if not unique to Chinese culture — a stereotype that couldn’t possibly be any less true.

    By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone.

    The reemergence of border walls in contemporary political debates made for an even more surprising revelation. Like most people my age, I had watched the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 with great excitement. To many of us, it looked like the beginning of a new era, heralded by no less towering an international figure than David Hasselhoff, whose concert united both halves of Berlin in inexplicable rapture. More than a quarter-century has passed since then, and if it had once seemed that walls had become a thing of the past, that belief has proven sorely wrong.

    Border walls have experienced a conspicuous revival in the 21st century. Worldwide, some 70 barriers of various sorts currently stand guard. Some exist to prevent terrorism, others as obstacles to mass migration or the flow of illegal drugs. Nearly all mark national borders. By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone. For every person who sees a wall as an act of oppression, there is always another urging the construction of newer, higher, and longer barriers. The two sides hardly speak to each other.

    As things turned out, it was the not the beer or the birthday parties that connected the past to the present in northern England. It was the wall. We can almost imagine it now as a great stone timeline, inhabited on one end by ancients, on the other by moderns, but with both always residing on the same side facing off against an unseen enemy. If I couldn’t see that in 2002, it was only because we were then still living in an anomalous stage in history and had somehow lost our instinct for something that has nearly always been a part of our world.

    How important have walls been in the history of civilization? Few civilized peoples have ever lived outside them. As early as the 10th millennium BC, the builders of Jericho encircled their city, the world’s first, with a rampart. Over time, urbanism and agriculture spread from Jericho and the Levant into new territories: Anatolia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Balkans, and beyond. Walls inevitably followed. Everywhere farmers settled, they fortified their villages. They chose elevated sites and dug ditches to enclose their homes. Entire communities pitched in to make their villages secure. A survey of prehistoric Transylvanian farming villages determined that some 1,400 to 1,500 cubic meters of earth typically had to be moved just to create an encircling ditch — an effort that would have required the labor of 60 men for 40 days. Subsequently, those ditches were lined with stone and bolstered by palisades. If a community survived long enough, it might add flanking towers. These were the first steps toward walls.

    The creators of the first civilizations descended from generations of wall builders. They used their newfound advantages in organization and numbers to build bigger walls. More than a few still survive. We can estimate their heights, their thicknesses, their volumes, and their lengths. But the numbers can only tell us so much. We will always learn more by examining the people who built the walls or the fear that led to their construction.

    And what about these fears? Were civilizations — and walls — created only by unusually fearful peoples? Or did creating civilization cause people to become fearful? Such questions turn out to be far more important than we’ve ever realized.

    Since 2002, I’ve had ample time to reflect on the Roman soldiers who once guarded Hadrian’s Wall. They certainly never struck me as afraid of anything. Then again, they weren’t exactly Roman, either. They came chiefly from foreign lands, principally Belgium and Holland, which were in those days still as uncivilized as the regions north of the wall. Everything they knew of building and writing, they had learned in the service of Rome.

    As for the Romans, they preferred to let others fight their battles. They had become the definitive bearers of civilization and as such were the target of a familiar complaint: that they had lost their edge. Comfortable behind their city walls and their foreign guards, they had grown soft. They were politicians and philosophers, bread makers and blacksmiths, anything but fighters.

    The Roman poet Ovid knew a thing or two about the soft life, but he also had the unusual experience of learning what life was like for Rome’s frontier troops. The latter misfortune came as a consequence of his having offended the emperor Augustus. The offense was some peccadillo — Ovid never divulges the details — compounded by his having penned a rather scandalous book on the art of seduction. “What is the theme of my song?” he asked puckishly, in verse. “Nothing that’s very far wrong.” Augustus disagreed. Reading Ovid’s little love manual, the moralistic emperor saw plenty of wrong. He probably never even made it to the section where Ovid raved about what a great ruler he was. Augustus banished the poet from Rome, exiling him to Tomis, a doomed city on the coast of the Black Sea, 60-odd miles south of the Danube.

    Tomis was a hardscrabble sort of place, a former Greek colony already some 600 years old by the time of Ovid’s exile in the first century AD and no shinier for the wear. Its distinguishing characteristics were exactly two: First, it was about as far from Rome as one could be sent. Second, it lay perilously close to some of Rome’s fiercest enemies, in an area that didn’t yet have a border wall. Like northern Britain, the region of Tomis would one day receive its share of border walls, but in Ovid’s day, the only barriers to invasion were the fortifications around the city itself.

    Ovid suffered in his new home. It was one thing to live in a walled city, but quite another to be completely confined within those walls. In his letters to Rome, Ovid complained that the farmers of Tomis couldn’t even venture out onto their fields. On the rare occasion when a peasant dared to visit his plot, he guided the plow with one hand while carrying weapons in another. Even the shepherds wore helmets.

    Fear permeated everyday life in Tomis. Even in times of peace, wrote Ovid, the dread of war loomed. The city was, for all intents and purposes, under perpetual siege. Ovid likened the townspeople to a timid stag caught by bears or a lamb surrounded by wolves.

    Occasionally, Ovid reminisced on his former life in the capital, where he’d lived free from fear. He wistfully recalled the amenities of Rome — the forums, the temples, and the marble theaters; the porticoes, gardens, pools, and canals; above all, the cornucopia of literature at hand. The contrast with his new circumstances was complete. At Tomis, there was nothing but the clash and clang of weapons. Ovid imagined that he might at least content himself with gardening, if only he weren’t afraid to step outside. The enemy was quite literally at the gates, separated only by the thickness of the city’s wall. Barbarian horsemen circled Tomis. Their deadly arrows, which Ovid unfailingly reminds us had been dipped in snake venom, made pincushions of the roofs in the city.

    The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism.

    There remained a final indignity for Ovid: the feeble, middle-aged author was pressed into service in defense of Tomis. As a youth, Ovid had avoided military service. There was no shame for shirkers back in Rome, a city replete with peaceniks and civilians. Now aging, Ovid had finally been forced to carry a sword, shield, and helmet. When the guard from the lookout signaled a raid, the poet donned his armor with shaking hands. Here was a true Roman, afraid to step out from behind his fortifications and hopelessly overwhelmed by the responsibility of defending them.

    From time to time, a Chinese poet would find himself in a situation much like Ovid’s. Stationed at some lonely outpost on the farthest reaches of the empire, the Chinese, too, longed for home while dreading the nearness of the barbarians. “In the frontier towns, you will have sad dreams at night,” wrote one. “Who wants to hear the barbarian pipe played to the moon?” Sometimes they meditated on the story of the Chinese princess who drowned herself in a river rather than cross beyond the wall. Even Chinese generals lamented the frontier life.

    Oddly, none of these sentiments appear in the letters written by the Roman soldiers at Vindolanda. Transplanted to a rainy land far from home, they grumbled at times about the beer supply but had nothing to say about shaky hands or sad dreams. It was as if these barbarian-turned-Roman auxiliaries had come from another world, where homesickness and fear had been banished. Perhaps they had.

    Almost anytime we examine the past and seek out the people most like us — those such as Ovid or the Chinese poets; people who built cities, knew how to read, and generally carried out civilian labor — we find them enclosed behind walls of their own making. Civilization and walls seem to have gone hand in hand. Beyond the walls, we find little with which we can identify — warriors mostly, of the sort we might hire to patrol the walls. The outsiders are mostly anonymous, except when they become notorious.

    The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism. But the first path also pointed to much more — science, mathematics, theater, art — while the other brought its followers only to a dead end, where a man was nothing except a warrior and all labor devolved upon the women.

    No invention in human history played a greater role in creating and shaping civilization than walls. Without walls, there could never have been an Ovid, and the same can be said for Chinese scholars, Babylonian mathematicians, or Greek philosophers. Moreover, the impact of walls wasn’t limited to the early phases of civilization. Wall building persisted for most of history, climaxing spectacularly during a 1,000-year period when three large empires — Rome, China, and Sasanid Persia — erected barriers that made the geopolitical divisions of the Old World all but permanent.

    The collapse of those walls influenced world history almost as profoundly as their creation, by leading to the eclipse of one region, the stagnation of another, and the rise of a third. When the great border walls were gone, leaving only faint traces on the landscape, they left indelible lines on our maps — lines that have even today not yet been obscured by modern wars or the jockeying of nations for resources. Today, a newer set of walls, rising up on four continents, has the potential to remake the world yet again.


    https://medium.com/s/greatescape/the-history-of-civilization-is-a-history-of-border-walls-24e837246fb8
    #civilisation #histoire #murs #murs_frontaliers #histoire #frontières #livre #David_Frye


  • Galal El-Behairy - PEN America
    https://pen.org/advocacy-case/galal-el-behairy

    Galal El-Behairy is an Egyptian poet, lyricist, and activist who has been in detention in Tora Prison in Cairo since March 2018. Early this year he collaborated with musician Ramy Essam on the song “Balaha” and was planning to publish a book of poetry, both of which caused him to be detained, tortured, and imprisoned unjustly for several months awaiting a court indictment. El-Behairy was arrested five days after the release of “Balaha,” disappeared for a week, and exhibited signs of torture when he appeared before the High State Security Prosecution. El-Behairy is currently being held in detention under the High State Security’s charges of terrorist affiliation, dissemination of false news, abuse of social media networks, blasphemy, contempt of religion, and insulting the military. The verdict in his case was expected on May 16, but was then rescheduled to June 27, 2018, and again to July 28, 2018.

    En définitive, c’est 3 ans de prison.

    https://www.raialyoum.com/index.php/%d8%ad%d8%a8%d8%b3-%d8%b4%d8%a7%d8%b9%d8%b1-%d9%85%d8%b5%d8%b1%d9%8a-%d8%

    #poésie_arabe #égypte


  • Palestinian poet sentenced to 5 months of prison
    July 31, 2018 4:41 P.M. (Updated: July 31, 2018 4:48 P.M.)
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=780562

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli Magistrate Court of Nazareth sentenced Palestinian poet Darin Tatour, from the al-Reineh village in northern Israel, to five months of prison and 6 months of suspended sentence on Tuesday.

    The Israeli prosecution accuses Tatour of “incitement and supporting a terrorist organization” for writing a poem criticizing the Israeli occupation and posting it on her personal page on Facebook.

    The Israeli prosecution demanded that Tatour be imprisoned for periods between 15 and 26 months.

    Tatour had previously spent more than 2 years and 8 months between prison and house arrest for writing the poem.

    She said that the decision was “unjust” and that there was no reason for the court to place her under trial in the first place. However, she added that she was not surprised by the ruling.

    She added that she does not trust the Israeli court system, pointing out that the her detention was politically motivated; “democracy is confined to one type of people in this country,” Tatour said pointing out to the discrimination against Palestinian citizens in Israel.

    Tatour was previously detained in October 2015, she was indicted in November 2015 on charges of “incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organization.”

    • La poétesse palestinienne Dareen Tatour condamnée à 5 mois de prison en Israël : Agissez pour la faire libérer
      2 août | Samidoun |Traduction J.Ch. pour l’AURDIP
      http://www.aurdip.fr/la-poetesse-palestinienne-dareen.html

      La poétesse palestinienne Dareen Tatour a été condamnée le 31 juillet 2018 à cinq mois de prison en Israël, apogée d’une saga de presque trois ans d’emprisonnement et de résidence surveillée à la suite de la publication en octobre 2015 d’une vidéo présentant son poème « Résiste mon peuple, résiste leur ». Tatour, 36 ans, a déjà passé trois mois en prison avant de passer les deux années et demie suivantes en résidence surveillée. Le traitement infligé à Tatour en tant que citoyenne palestinienne d’Israël a clairement mis en lumière les conditions racistes, discriminatoires et d’apartheid réservées aux Palestiniens de ‘48, tout en dévoilant la réalité qui se cache derrière les prétentions d’Israël à la démocratie et à la liberté académique.

      Tatour sera le 8 août dans la prison israélienne où elle purgera une peine deux mois de prison, reste de sa condamnation. Elle a été accusée d’incitation il y a plusieurs mois par un tribunal de Nazareth pour ses poèmes et écrits sur les réseaux sociaux. Un certain nombre de dirigeants politiques en Palestine de ‘48 occupée ont assisté à l’audience et des écrivains du monde entier ont exprimé leur soutien à Tatour. PEN International a identifié ce cas comme l’un de ceux qui visent la liberté d’expression.


  • 180 writers call on Netanyahu to cancel Nationality Law, amend Surrogacy Law
    Amir Alon|Published: 07.28.18 , 20:23
    https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5318575,00.html

    Some 180 novelists, poets, playwrights, screenwriters and other literary figures on Saturday evening called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel the Nationality Law and amend the Surrogacy Law, which discriminates against gay couples.

    “We ask to express the great shock and heartache we’ve experienced in light of the recent laws passed by the Knesset under your leadership,” they wrote in a letter to the prime minister.

    Among the signatories on the letter, which is an initiative of poet Ilan Sheinfeld, are: Amos Oz, David Grossman, A. B. Yehoshua, Hana Azoulay-Hasfari and Edna Mazia.


  • The Greatest Crimes Against Humanity Are Perpetrated by People Just Doing Their Jobs
    https://truthout.org/articles/the-careerists

    The greatest crimes of human history are made possible by the most colorless human beings. They are the careerists. The bureaucrats. The cynics. They do the little chores that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death a reality. They collect and read the personal data gathered on tens of millions of us by the security and surveillance state. They keep the accounts of ExxonMobil, BP and Goldman Sachs. They build or pilot aerial drones. They work in corporate advertising and public relations. They issue the forms. They process the papers. They deny food stamps to some and unemployment benefits or medical coverage to others. They enforce the laws and the regulations. And they do not ask questions.

    Good. Evil. These words do not mean anything to them. They are beyond morality. They are there to make corporate systems function. If insurance companies abandon tens of millions of sick to suffer and die, so be it. If banks and sheriff departments toss families out of their homes, so be it. If financial firms rob citizens of their savings, so be it. If the government shuts down schools and libraries, so be it. If the military murders children in Pakistan or Afghanistan, so be it. If commodity speculators drive up the cost of rice and corn and wheat so that they are unaffordable for hundreds of millions of poor across the planet, so be it. If Congress and the courts strip citizens of basic civil liberties, so be it. If the fossil fuel industry turns the earth into a broiler of greenhouse gases that doom us, so be it. They serve the system. The god of profit and exploitation. The most dangerous force in the industrialized world does not come from those who wield radical creeds, whether Islamic radicalism or Christian fundamentalism, but from legions of faceless bureaucrats who claw their way up layered corporate and governmental machines. They serve any system that meets their pathetic quota of needs.

    These systems managers believe nothing. They have no loyalty. They are rootless. They do not think beyond their tiny, insignificant roles. They are blind and deaf. They are, at least regarding the great ideas and patterns of human civilization and history, utterly illiterate. And we churn them out of universities. Lawyers. Technocrats. Business majors. Financial managers. IT specialists. Consultants. Petroleum engineers. “Positive psychologists.” Communications majors. Cadets. Sales representatives. Computer programmers. Men and women who know no history, know no ideas. They live and think in an intellectual vacuum, a world of stultifying minutia. They are T.S. Eliot’s “the hollow men,” “the stuffed men.” “Shape without form, shade without colour,” the poet wrote. “Paralysed force, gesture without motion.”

    It was the careerists who made possible the genocides, from the extermination of Native Americans to the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians to the Nazi Holocaust to Stalin’s liquidations. They were the ones who kept the trains running. They filled out the forms and presided over the property confiscations. They rationed the food while children starved. They manufactured the guns. They ran the prisons. They enforced travel bans, confiscated passports, seized bank accounts and carried out segregation. They enforced the law. They did their jobs.

    Political and military careerists, backed by war profiteers, have led us into useless wars, including World War I, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. And millions followed them. Duty. Honor. Country. Carnivals of death. They sacrifice us all. In the futile battles of Verdun and the Somme in World War I, 1.8 million on both sides were killed, wounded or never found. In July of 1917 British Field Marshal Douglas Haig, despite the seas of dead, doomed even more in the mud of Passchendaele. By November, when it was clear his promised breakthrough at Passchendaele had failed, he jettisoned the initial goal—as we did in Iraq when it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and in Afghanistan when al-Qaida left the country—and opted for a simple war of attrition. Haig “won” if more Germans than allied troops died. Death as score card. Passchendaele took 600,000 more lives on both sides of the line before it ended. It is not a new story. Generals are almost always buffoons. Soldiers followed John the Blind, who had lost his eyesight a decade earlier, to resounding defeat at the Battle of Crécy in 1337 during the Hundred Years War. We discover that leaders are mediocrities only when it is too late.

    #politique #pouvoir #carrièrisme


  • Israel convicts Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour of incitement to violence, supporting terror
    Tatour, 36, was arrested in October 2015 for three social media publications
    Noa Shpigel May 03, 2018 11:41 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-convicts-palestinian-poet-dareen-tatour-of-incitement-1.605

    The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court convicted Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour of incitement to violence and supporting a terror organization Thursday because of three publications on social media.

    Tatour, 36, a resident of the Galilee village of Reineh near Nazareth, was arrested in October 2015 after publishing, among others, a poem titled “Resist, my people, resist them." The indictment against her includes a translation of the poem, which includes the lines: “I will not succumb to the ’peaceful solution’ / Never lower my flags / Until I evict them from my land.”

    She was charged in November 2015 with incitement to violence and support for a terror organization. According to the indictment, one video shows masked men throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces. In the background, Tatour is heard reading a poem she wrote, whose English title is “Resist, my people, resist them.”

    The day after uploading the video, she wrote in a post: “The Islamic Jihad movement hereby declares the continuation of the intifada throughout the West Bank. ... Continuation means expansion ... which means all of Palestine. ... And we must begin within the Green Line ...for the victory of Al-Aqsa, and we shall declare a general intifada. #Resist.”

    The State Prosecutor’s Office interpreted this text as support for Islamic Jihad and a new intifada.

    The third, allegedly criminal, post was uploaded five days later. It was a photograph of Asra’a Abed, a 30-year-old Israeli Arab woman who was shot and wounded by police after waving a knife at officers in the bus station in Afula in October 2015. Tatour captioned the image, “I am the next shahid,” or martyr.

    The police arrested Tatour at her home two days later.

    In January 2016 Tatour was released, after being fitted with an ankle monitor, to house arrest at the home of her brother in Kiryat Ono.

    At the time of her house arrest, more than 150 literary figures, including nine Pulitzer Prize winners, called for Israel to free Tatour.



  • African Solutions for African Problems | Warscapes
    http://www.warscapes.com/opinion/african-solutions-african-problems

    The transcript of the speech titled “African Solutions for African Problems: Limning the Contours of a New Form of Connectivity” delivered by poet and scholar Ali Jimale Ahmed at the 10th anniversary of the Hargeysa International Book Fair in July 2017.

    Let me first thank Dr. Jama Musse Jama and his colleagues for inviting me to the 10th anniversary of the Hargeysa International Book Fair. Ten years is a long time to observe and gauge the development, consistency and staying power of a new idea. It is gratifying to know that the book fair, a fledgling project ten years ago, is now a full-fledged institution. But that is not all. Dr. Jama and his colleagues have succeeded in teaching by example: Thanks to him, we now have the Mogadishu Book Fair and Garoowe Book Fair, with many more book fairs cropping up on the horizon, and coming soon to a city near you. What this shows, then, is that people in Somalia are now emulating the good deeds of Jama and Co. He has shown that institutions can be built and sustained over the years. And for that, we give our thanks.

    Now let us turn to the matter at hand.

    We live in interesting and challenging times, to quote from a purportedly age-old Chinese adage that never ceases to be relevant. Our time is the best of times and the worst of times. It is the worst of times in that history has mercilessly deposited us at a crossroads; and crossroads, by nature, baffle the traveler. This is the time when old ideas unmitigated by wit cannot help; it is also a moment in time when the future is still in its inchoate or embryonic stage. But our times also represent the best of times, for there are two ways to look at calamities or apocalyptic events. We could view the apocalyptic as a ground for despair, to paraphrase Gerald Graff. You could also see it—and seeing is an act of interpretation—as “a ground for celebration” (a ground for hope, that is). In short, the apocalyptic could be interpreted through its antiphony, the visionary. Apocalypse, as you know, signifies rebirth, renewal. It is the end of the world as we knew it or have known it. And the end, as in all endings, is a prelude to a new beginning. And while it is painful to be living in a time when self—both communal and individual— and history collide, it is also a moment of immense opportunity, as truth, to paraphrase a Somali proverb, is born or created at the dissolution of another truth. I have mentioned elsewhere that all forms of crisis should be seen and embraced as challenges. The Chinese word for “crisis” is weiji, which consists of two characters: danger and opportunity. So in the midst of crises, one finds opportunities. But to find opportunity in the bosom of crisis, one must be willing to think outside the box.


  • Al Gore Does His Best Ralph Waldo Emerson - Issue 58 : Self
    http://nautil.us/issue/58/self/al-gore-does-his-best-ralph-waldo-emerson

    There was no single job title for those who practiced science prior to 1834. Naturalists, philosophers, and savans tramped around collecting specimens, recorded astral activity, or combusted chemicals in labs, but not as “scientists.” When William Whewell proposed this term, he hoped it would consolidate science, which he worried otherwise lacked “all traces of unity.” Whewell saw scientists as analogous to artists. Just “as a Musician, Painter, or Poet,” are united in pursuit of a common goal—the beautiful—Whewell believed a botanist, physicist, or chemist should be united in their common pursuit of understanding nature. Built into his concept of what it means to be a scientist was a relation between what the poet and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, a contemporary of Whewell, called “Each (...)



  • Keorapetse Kgositsile was a feminist
    http://africasacountry.com/2018/03/keorapetse-kgositsile-was-a-feminist

    I was raised blue-black by hip hop #CULTURE, imbibing the legend of a South African poet who christened the grandfathers of rap with a name: The Last Poets   We rocked Karl Kani jeans back-to-front like Kriss Kross, strapped Timberland boots in the scorching sun of Lebowa townships. We crafted a way of life that was our own: Made with our beats, our…

    #South_Africa


  • Monuments to the work of Bangladeshi migrants

    An estimated 9.4m Bangladeshis have left the country to seek employment abroad. Their experiences are being chronicled in poetry and art.

    Diana Campbell Betancourt, the artistic director and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit, says that “one cannot understand Bangladesh without considering these workers.” All too often, they are abused and overworked, treated as slaves or indentured servants. “These workers give so much with their labour, and they need to be seen as more than just bodies,” she says. The Dhaka summit shows that they are not only more than bodies, fully human, but artists, too.

    Kamruzzaman Shadhin, a Bangladeshi artist, collected the abandoned clothes of Bangladeshis who were illegally trafficked into Malaysia and Thailand, tapping an internal migrant community in Thakurgaon to stitch them together into a giant patchwork quilt (pictured, top). Liu Xiaodong, a Chinese artist, paints portraits of migrant workers in a medium often reserved for powerful patrons. In one, a bearded man looks over his shoulder with a wary face and a cigarette in his mouth against a blue background (pictured). In another, a gaunt man with sunken cheeks is a picture of exhaustion, his eyes bloodshot from working long hours. Mr Liu’s work humanises these workers, but does not glamourise their suffering.

    Et de la #poésie :

    Mr Khokan never strayed from his writing roots, and needed a way to express his experiences in a creative manner. He founded Amrakajona (“We Are” in Bengali) as a group for Bengali migrant workers interested in poetry, as well as another poetry group, Singapore Bengali Literature. The Dhaka Art Summit, which ran from February 2nd-10th in the dusty, congested Bangladeshi capital, showcased poetry from members of Singapore Bengali Literature. Mr Khokon read “Pocket 2”, a lament for his wife and their forced separation:

    I remember when I returned this time
    my heart dissolved in your tears
    The pocket of my shirt was wet
    Reaching the end of my memories
    I wear that shirt every night
    and write love poems to you

    MD Sharrif Uddin, another poet, addressed the invisibility of the migrant worker directly:

    Though my tears satisfy the thirst of the city,
    It will forget me by and by!
    But like the waters on the high waves of the river,
    I’ll survive and I’ll be there.
    The sweat of my tired body has
    Become the moisture of the city,
    and in this moisture, I’ll survive.
    I live forever.

    https://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2018/02/constructing-identities?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/monumentstotheworkofbangladeshimigrantsconstructingidentities
    #migrants_bangladais #migrations #travailleurs_étrangers #monument #art #esclavage_moderne (ping @reka) #exploitation #exil #poésie
    cc @isskein



  • VENITMIGLIA, IMPERIA, ITALY - 2017/12/14
    Lines from a poem by famous Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish is plastered on the walls of an underpass that offers shelter to well over a hundred migrants and refugees in Ventimiglia, Italy. Refugees and migrants stay here in between attempts to cross into France, which is just a few kilometres away. Italy is a country hit hard by the European refugee/migrant crisis. Unlike Greece where most of the migrants are from the war torn middle east, most of the migrants in Italy are from African nations heading to Europe for economical reasons.(Photo by John Owens/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)