Music, poetry, and a magician in the theater


Frans TerkenOn Tuesday 27 February, there was music, poetry, and a magician in the theater.

The presenter was Egon Snelders.

The music was by Warner van Esch, and Maurice Tomey.

The magician was Tilman Andris.

And the poetry was by Frans Terken from Leiderdorp and Ton Jansen from Leiden.

Ton Jansen was first, with poems including one on refugee children.

Then, Maurice Tomey.

Then, the rope and rings tricks by Tilman Andris.

After the pause, the column by yours truly, about Rembrandt.

Then, the composer Warner van Esch on his new opera, with vocals by Olga van Marion.

Finally, Frans Terken’s poems.

Iraq war: Blair government tries to censor Turner-prize winning artist Steve McQueen


British Military Families Against the War placardFrom British daily The Independent:

Turner-prize winner’s true portrait of war

By Ian Herbert

Published: 27 February 2007

It is an image of war that the Ministry of Defence never wanted to see published: an intimate family photograph of a British soldier killed in Iraq which, taken with nearly 100 others, forms the official portrait of the conflict by the Turner Prize-winning artist Steve McQueen.

As the finished work, For Queen and Country, was unveiled in Manchester last night, McQueen said it had been completed in the face of two years’ opposition from the MoD, which had offered only a limited glimpse of the conflict, refused him access to the families of British casualties and asked why he could not produce “a landscape” portrait instead.

To the astonishment of the 98 bereaved families who have worked on the project with McQueen, the Royal Mail chairman, Allan Leighton has also declined the artist’s personal request that the stamps be turned into a real commemorative issue, to mark the lives laid down in the conflict.

Carol Jones, the mother of Sgt John Jones, whose image is reproduced in The Independent with her permission, said she was astonished that McQueen had been discouraged from approaching her.

“It’s wonderful, such a tribute, and it makes me feel so proud,” she said.

“We will always remember our sons and husbands but I don’t know about the public, once this conflict is over.

How wonderful it would be to receive a letter through the post with John’s face on it.

I wish the Royal Mail would co-operate while the conflict is still remembered.”

McQueen says he was deeply moved by the reaction of 200 families who attended a private view of the piece, a pre-commission for this summer’s Manchester International Festival.

“One little girl came up and said, ‘do you want to see my daddy’ and pulled out the drawer,” he said.

Update, March 2008: here.

Infamous US torture camp Bagram hit by bomb attack as Dick Cheney visits


This video from the USA is called Moazzam Begg on detainment, torture, and civil liberties 1/5.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

From the BBC:

Afghan base hit as Cheney visits

At least 19 people have been killed and 10 injured in a suicide attack outside Afghanistan’s main US base during a visit by US Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Mr Cheney, on an unannounced visit to the region, was staying at the Bagram base, 60km (40 miles) from Kabul. …

Most of the dead were labourers queuing for daily jobs at the base, but at least one US soldier was killed. …

His [Cheney's] visit comes amid increasing concern about insurgent activity in several regions of the country.

But the BBC’s Charles Haviland in Kabul says Bagram is one of the most heavily guarded sites in Afghanistan and such incidents there are extremely rare.

The surrounding territory is heavily mined and people, including children, have frequently been injured by such devices.

See also here.

And here.

Bagram is infamous for torture of civilian prisoners at the base, of which several of them died.

Blair and the Afghanistan war: here.