Thai military dictator condones murdering women


This is a music video by United States punk rock band the Dead Kennedys, live performance of their song called Holiday in Cambodia.

It is about Cambodia during the evil times of the Pol Pot dictatorship.

Now, in 2014, it looks like Thailand, neighbour to Cambodia, is not really a much better holiday destination, with its dictatorship now than Cambodia then.

We already know that, if you plan to spend your holidays in beautiful Thailand, then you can get into big trouble when taking George Orwell’s novel 1984 with you, as the dictatorship hates that novel.

And, no matter how hot Thai beaches can be, it seems very dangerous to bring your swimwear as well.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests ‘attractive’ female tourists cannot expect to be safe in bikinis

In a televised speech on tourist safety, following the murder of two Britons on the island of Koh Tao, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha questioned whether female travellers can be safe in bikinis

Natasha Culzac

Thailand’s military ruler has suggested that “beautiful” female visitors to his country should not expect to be safe in bikinis.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha allegedly made the comments as the investigation into the death of two Britons intensifies.

David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were killed earlier this week after they attended a beach party on the island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand.

Negative attention on the country – to which 800,000 Britons visit each year – appears to have left its leader attempting to offer explanations for why young travellers may run into trouble there.

Speaking in a live broadcast today discussing tourist safety, he said: “There are always problems with tourist safety. They think our country is beautiful and is safe so they can do whatever they want, they can wear bikinis and walk everywhere,” according to the AFP news agency.

He added: “Can they be safe in bikinis… unless they are not beautiful?”

No arrests have yet been made following the murder of Miller and Witheridge, whose bodies were found less than 100 metres from the location of where the gathering was being held on Sunday night. …

The bodies were taken to Bangkok and autopsies have today found that Witheridge died from head wounds while Miller suffered severe blows to the head and then drowned in the surf. …

These comments [by dictator Prayuth Chan-ocha] were rebuffed by Witheridge’s MP, Brandon Lewis, who told the Daily Mail: “I have not seen anything indicating that there should be any blame on the victims, and right now the investigation will hopefully be targeted on finding the perpetrator of the crime.

“I hope the focus will be on bringing whoever committed this barbaric crime to justice.”

Geert Wilders wants mandatory blackface at Dutch festival


This video, by the Daily Telegraph in England, recorded in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, says about itself:

17 November 2013

Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Father Christmas and his blacked-up helpers Zwarte Pieten, or Black Peters, arrive in Amsterdam amid protests claiming the tradition is racist.

Sinterklaas is not really ‘the Dutch version of Father Christmas’. The festival is on 6 December (and mainly on 5 December, the evening before 5 December), remembering the Christian Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop in what is today Turkey. Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, was derived from Sinterklaas later in the USA, and connected to Christmas, not 5 or 6 December.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

The PVV

Geert Wilders‘ xenophobic party in the Netherlands

wil propose a bill which will protect Zwarte Piet.

Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) is a blackface character in the Dutch Saint Nicholas festival, supposed to be the servant of the saintly bishop. Zwarte Piet was added to the festival in the nineteenth century, when there still was slavery in the Dutch colonies. He is depicted as a caricature of nineteenth century house slaves, in servant’s uniform, with big red lips and golden earrings, speaking with a supposedly Surinamese accent.

The new law would require municipalities to keep Zwarte Piet black[face] at the festivities. There would also be a ban on modifying Saint Nicholas songs.

About 1960, a child opened a book of “traditional” Saint Nicholas songs.

One song in that book was Sinterklaas, die goede heer (Saint Nicholas, that good gentleman).

One song line in that song went: “Servant Piet, as black as soot, with a chain around his foot …”

The chain was also depicted in the picture on the same page.

“Mummy, why does Piet have a chain around his foot?”

“Because he is a slave, my child!”

UPDATE: Today, in 2014, that song is still on the Internet, including the “chain” line.

If Wilders wants to ban changing songs’ lyrics, then he will have very much work to do. Throughout history, old songs have been adapted with new lyrics. Protestant churches in the Netherlands and elsewhere have changed the lyrrics of their hymns and psalms frequently. Does Wilders want to jail the Protestant dignitaries responsible for that? He can’t jail all of them, as most are already dead. The Belgian national anthem’s lyrics have changed many times.

Let us take the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus. Its original lyrics were in French. It was a satirical song by Roman Catholic Spanish soldiers mocking their Protestant enemies in 1568, as the Dutch revolt against the king of Spain started. If Wilders hates changing lyrics so much, then he may want to change the Wilhelmus back to its original anti-Protestant lyrics again.

This music video is called “O la folle entreprise du Prince de Condé“, song from about 1568. It is the original version of the Dutch national anthem, in French, by Spanish soldiers mocking their Protestant enemies.

Geert Wilders said in the television program Vandaag de Dag by WNL that he “wants to protect our culture.”

Latino eco-festival in Colorado, USA


This video from the USA is called 1st Americas Latino Eco Festival 2013 ALEF.

By Sara Bernard in the USA:

Latino eco-festival hosts big stars, bigger ideas

9 Sep 2014 7:02 AM

Irene Vilar has always felt a strong pull towards social change. In fact, activism is in her blood: In 1954, the book publisher and award-winning author’s grandmother went to jail in the name of Puerto Rican independence. Sixty years later, Vilar wants to tackle the biggest social change campaign on the planet: the one that’s trying to save it.

In 2007, Vilar founded the nonprofit Americas for Conservation + the Arts, a Latin America-focused arts and education network, and last year, she launched Americas Latino Eco Festival, the U.S.’s first-ever Latino-themed enviro fest. The second ALEF kicks off this week, from September 11-16 in Boulder, Colo.

Vilar’s event is nothing if not ambitious. Dubbed a “Latino South by Southwest,” ALEF is “a high-end festival of ideas,” she says, complete with Grammy Award-winning musicians, Broadway actors, documentary filmmakers, Newbery Award-winning illustrators, educators, visual artists, chefs, and activists. But she’s also brought in high-profile environmental leaders of all stripes to talk about everything from fossil fuels to GMOs, environmental justice to water scarcity.

The event’s co-sponsors include the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and Boulder-based The Dairy Center for the Arts. Speakers include Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, actors and environmentalists Edward James Olmos and Ed Begley Jr., Mexican-American climate scientist Patricia Romero Lankao (one of the recipients of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Al Gore), and environmental justice scholar Dorceta Taylor (whom Grist interviewed a few months back). In addition to all the film screenings and art exhibits and discussion panels, there’s an entire art-and-workshop-filled K-12 education component, too — which could have been, Vilar says, “a whole festival in itself” — focused on how climate change affects bird migration.

Gathering the resources for such a monumental showcase is no simple task (Vilar’s team is still a few thousand in the red from last year’s fest, and as of a few weeks ago, was still looking for the last bit of funding for this one), but that has no bearing on its tenacity — or its success. They’ve raised double what they raised last year and have attracted a slew of green- and Latino-minded sponsors, including Whole Foods, Patagonia, Telemundo, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

For Vilar, money is not what’s at stake: It’s our planet, ourselves, and the importance of actively engaging all communities, particularly communities of color, in the conversation about climate change. “I cannot afford to start small,” she says. “It needs to be fast. Super fast. We’ve got to create a precedent, and then see what happens.”

We caught up with Vilar to talk about how the festival got started, why Latinos in particular are concerned about the environment, how talking about climate change can be an umbrella for talking about social change, and why it’s more crucial than ever to include everyone in these discussions. Here’s an edited and condensed version of what she had to say:

On why book publishing is still important — but not enough:

For the last 20 years, I’ve edited a book series that publishes minority writers of the Americas. We publish literature in translation. Less than 1 percent of people in the United States read literature in translation. [*Editor's note: That's tough to quantify, but it's true that less than 1 percent of all fiction and poetry published in the U.S. is in translation.] As a publisher, you’re impacting culture in a very slow way. A book takes about 10 years to penetrate culture. What needs to be done now is raising awareness through bringing people together, creating noise, and gathering once a year to create a platform and raise our voices.

On diversity in the environmental movement:

Being in Colorado, and being in Boulder, one of the greenest cities in America, I wanted to get involved more with the environmental movement. Everywhere you go there’s an organization or a flier. I would go to meetings and show up sometimes, but I felt really disconnected.

There are these campaigns of misinformation that make people believe they’re not qualified to participate. You have this incredible disproportion between the actual multicultural fabric of the country and all these institutions: higher education, conservation organizations, politics, Hollywood. The country has been brown for a long time, but these institutions do not represent the brown face of the country. When that happens, my children grow up feeling like they do not belong.

We all talk about diversity, but diversity and inclusion are two different things.  We have to reach across borders. We have to reconnect with our cultures of origin. Natural resources have no national borders. Our entire future depends on the extent to which we engage communities of color. If we don’t do that, there’s no future.

On Latinos as huge environmentalists:

Over 90 percent of Latinos believe in [human-caused] climate change; that’s compared to about 50 percent of Americans in general.

When I was doing research for the festival, my first impression was to buy the story we are sold — that there is no Latino leader in the environmental movement. What I discovered is that the supply is there. I realized that it’s not about educating our communities, but the white communities! It’s more about educating them and validating us. There are a few issues; one of them is that the environmental movement is looking for PhDs. Our community is underserved. Many of my friends have grandfathers and fathers and mothers that have not even high school degrees, but we’re great conservation leaders.

By 2050, 30 percent of this country will be Hispanic. In Colorado, 52 percent of the high schoolers will be Hispanic. And in the last two years, amazing things have been happening. Things are moving very fast. Green LatinosNRDC, the League of Conservation Voters (it has wonderful Spanish language outreach), HECHO, the Hispanic Access FoundationVoces VerdesLatino Outdoors: We’re bringing them all to the festival.

On why Latinos are huge environmentalists:

Because we are living it in our skin, because we suffer from it. Latin Americans and African Americans are disproportionately affected by pollution, especially clean air. They suffer more than whites from asthma. They live in the most polluted cities. The big bulk of these communities, especially Latin Americans, are working outdoors, in agriculture. They’re exposed to sun, to climate change, to pesticides and chemicals.

And we come from societies that have a huge respect for science. In Latin America, science is huge. We look up to science. We want our children to be scientists.

Latin Americans also come from a very ecological tradition. Indigenous elements survive in our cultures, in our crafts, in our extended families. We have a legacy of recycle, reuse, upcycle because we cannot afford to dispose of anything or anyone.

On social justice and climate change:

Racism, social justice, human rights: climate change is something that unites all these platforms.  The reality of climate change made me sensitive to the fact that this gathering has to be framed around the environment. It’s the issue of the moment — and of the future. It’s also a wonderful platform to talk about these other issues.

When we talk about social justice, we need to be framing it in ways that don’t create fear, create walls. We’re all mothers, no matter what. Immigrant or no immigrant, we want our children to breathe good air, eat real food, and have access to clean water. We can talk about social justice, immigration, and all these issues that are very important, but the environmental platform will kind of dilute the defenses.

On the fact that people do care:

Last year was wonderful. We were able to rely on human capital, which proved to me that the product that we were launching — the multicultural Latino eco-festival — was filling a huge void. We saw a lot of excitement from people.

And the most inspiring thing is to really have an experience of what social capital is. The festival happened in its first year and is happening now only because of the power of people, of social capital. You have to stick by that because the element of disbelief can be so big in enterprises of this nature. As a mother of two Latina girls, I ask myself, how is the world going to be for them when they’re my age? Sometimes I feel hopeless. But I’ve discovered that there is hope.

Tom Morello’s new song about Ferguson


From Green Left Weekly in Australia. about this music video:

Tom Morello debuts song for Ferguson

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

“Tom Morello, as his alter ego the Nightwatchman, performed a new cut called ‘Marching on Ferguson’ at the Jail Guitar Doors’ Rock Out! benefit concert September 5th at Los Angeles’ Ford Theatre,” Rolling Stone said on September 7.

The article said the bluesy track, which it called “scorching”, was inspired by murder of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. The town has been hit by sustained protests demanding justice.

Morello, who first found success as a ground-breaking guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, sings: “Carving up that golden calf with a blowtorch and gas mask, I’m marching on Ferguson, I’m marching tonight.”

Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner poem on stage


This video from Britain says about itself:

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge ~ Full Version

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (originally The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere) is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads.

By Indianna Purcell in England:

Memorable rebranding of Coleridge

Saturday 13th September 2014

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
South Bank Centre, London SE1

5/5

IT WOULD seem that there’s nothing too ambitious for Britain’s darkest warbling cult trio The Tiger Lillies. And thank goodness for that as their latest project — premiered in France over two years ago — is one of their most spellbinding shows in recent times.

Having embarked on projects such as transforming WWI poetry into songs or a macabre classic German children’s book into an even more sinister musical, The Tiger Lillies now take on Samuel Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Along with Mark Holthusen’s stunning visual effects, they transform it into a unique, haunting and effortlessly graceful stage production.

Coleridge’s eerie crime-and-punishment classic recounts the tale of a mariner who narrates his nightmare sea voyage where, having shot an albatross, he’s forced to wear it round his neck in penance by his fellow sailors, who ultimately all perish.

In bringing that morbid tale to life, lead singer and accordionist extraordinaire Jacques grimaces through his usual glass-breaking vocal range, with many of the 20 seductive songs sounding sombre in comparison to the Lillies’ usual circus-style cabaret tracks.

In contrast with many of their shows where the group perform on a stage with minimal visual effects, relying more on their own startling stage presence, this time they perform behind a screen of animated handmade puppets. It’s a puppet theatre which they memorably transform into a work of nightmarish art.