German author Georg Büchner bicentenary


This German video is about the exhibition Georg Büchner. Revolutionär mit Feder und Skalpell.

Recently rediscovered portrait of Georg Büchner by Philipp August Joseph Hoffmann, 1833

By Sybille Fuchs in Germany:

German writer Georg Büchner: 200 years since his birth—Part 1

11 January 2014

Georg Büchner: Revolutionary with pen and scalpel [Georg Büchner. Revolutionär mit Feder und Skalpell], an exhibition from October 13, 2013 to February 16, 2014 at the Darmstadium Conference Centre, Darmstadt. The catalogue of the same title is published by Hatje Cantz, 612 pages, €65 (US $89).

“An extraordinarily precocious mind, a political free thinker, who towered above his political contemporaries in Germany.” — Franz Mehring writing about Georg Büchner, 1897

Last year witnessed several celebrations of figures born two hundred years ago, including the composers Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi. In 1813 as well, Napoleon’s army was decisively defeated in the Battle of Leipzig (Völkerschlacht), the largest European battle prior to World War I.

However, 1813 was also the year in which the revolutionary poet and natural scientist Georg Büchner was born. His life is featured in a major current exhibition showing in Darmstadt, Germany, which is well worth seeing.

Büchner was an artistic genius, whose few works, especially the drama of the French Revolution, Danton’s Death (1835), and an important fragment of a play, Woyzeck (1837), along with the novella Lenz (1835), have had a profound influence on modern literature.

This brilliant man died very young, leaving only this handful of works behind, some biographical facts mostly known through letters to and from him, and no personal effects other than a lock of his hair. Büchner’s poetical works amount to no more than three hundred pages. Nevertheless, the Darmstadt exhibition has aroused great public interest, as well as numerous reviews and considerable discussion in the media, which is certainly due to more than the interesting presentation and rich variety of exhibits. It demonstrates the continuing significance of this author, even though he died, unrecognized, at the age of only twenty-three.

Because there are so few physical “remains,” the curators have gone much further than just displaying his manuscripts and printed editions of his works. They present a lively picture of Buchner’s fascinating and multifaceted personality, as well as the political and social controversies that raged in his day. The scientific, political and cultural context of the times is comprehensively represented, together with the manner in which its leading figures and literature influenced the young author. Büchner’s personality and immediate environment are vividly illustrated through the display of a contemporary dissecting table, medical apparatus, printing machine, guillotine, numerous paintings, political caricatures, erotic prints and much more.

Those who take the time to visit this wide-ranging exhibition in Darmstadt will not only see those pre-revolutionary times brought to life, but also understand why Georg Büchner is still able to captivate people today as he did in the 19th and 20th centuries, despite his short creative life. His works are enormously relevant to our times as well.

Büchner was born in the middle of the reactionary era of the German restoration. Following the Battle of Leipzig of 1813 and the final defeat of Napoleon, Germany remained divided into countless small states and principalities. The feudal aristocrats were able to reestablish their rule in all its backwardness. Free thinkers and intellectuals were persecuted and, like the “Göttingen Seven” (who included the Grimm brothers), ejected from their university posts. Constitutional rights introduced by Napoleon were revoked and a conservative, narrow-minded, small-state sovereignty protected itself through political repression, censorship and arbitrary police measures. The peasant population suffered from hunger and misery, while the wealthy bourgeoisie and gentry enjoyed their privileges.

The 1830s and 1840s were years of political and intellectual ferment. The ideas of the French Revolution—freedom, equality and brotherhood—had been taken up by increasingly broad layers of the population.

After years of tyranny and the Napoleonic wars, the privileged and wealthy once again openly embraced reactionary ideologies. The German bourgeois-national movement became increasingly influenced by chauvinistic Francophobia, nostalgia for medieval times and a longing for the resurrection of Barbarossa (1122-1190), the Holy Roman Emperor, as satirised by Heinrich Heine in his Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen [Germany: A Winter´s tale], 1843-44.

The Büchner family

Karl Georg Büchner was born October 17, 1813 in Goddelau, in the former Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt, the son of army physician Ernst Büchner and his wife Caroline, neé Reuss. In 1816 the family moved into the ducal residence in Darmstadt. Georg was the eldest of six children.

His father was a doctor educated in the natural sciences, an atheist and a supporter of Napoleon—a fact that did not endear him to respectable social circles in Darmstadt. However, he remained loyal to Grand Duke Ludwig and was highly respected as a physician. His wife, Büchner’s mother, was interested in literature and was also religious.

All of Buchner’s siblings embarked on literary careers, apart from his sister Mathilde, who devoted herself to social work. His sister Louise became an author and was active in the early women’s rights movement. In her fragment of a novel, A Poet, she depicted numerous episodes from the life of her eldest brother Georg.

His brother Ludwig became a doctor and renowned natural scientist, and took part in the 1848 revolution. As a follower of Charles Darwin and a (vulgar) materialist, he published the well-regarded Kraft und Stoff: Empirisch-naturphilosophische Studien (Force and Matter: Empiricophilosophical Studies, 1855).

Because of his openly materialist views, Ludwig would later lose his post as professor at Tübingen and be forced to make his living as a doctor in Darmstadt. In 1850, Ludwig was responsible for publishing the first collected edition of the neglected works of his brother Georg.

Honoré Daumier. The caricature depicts France’s King Louis Philippe as an insatiable monster

“Gargantua,” by Honoré Daumier. The caricature depicts France’s King Louis Philippe as an insatiable monster

Another brother, Wilhelm, a pharmacist and chemist, was the only one in the family to become wealthy, as the owner of a paint factory. He was also politically active, and published a number of pamphlets as an elected deputy in the Hessian and national parliaments. The youngest brother Alexander was to spend his life in France as an author, after being stripped of his right to practice law by the Hessian courts due to his “anti-state” attitudes.

Georg Büchner’s literary talents were already evident while he was a schoolboy. As a young boy he wrote a story on the occasion of his father’s birthday about the miraculous rescue of some shipwrecked passengers, and also delivered a public speech at school in defence of Julius Caesar’s opponent, Cato of Utica (Cato the Younger). He also set up a literary circle with friends. They were particularly enthusiastic about Shakespeare, but also read philosophical texts by such figures as Voltaire and Rousseau.

In 1831 Georg began to study medicine at the University of Strasbourg, in Alsace in eastern France. He lodged with the priest Johann Jakob Jaeglé, to whose daughter Wilhelmine (Minna) he later became engaged.

France

After the narrow provincialism of the Duchy of Hesse, Büchner enjoyed the more open and liberal atmosphere in France, although this did not prevent him from strongly criticising the new French constitution. It represented no advance whatsoever, he argued, in respect to social equality and reserved voting for parliament only to wealthy citizens. “The whole thing after all is just a comedy. The King and his councils rule, the people applaud and pay.” (Letter to his family, Strasbourg, December 1832—see note)

Büchner attended events organised by the Eugenia student association, and took part in demonstrations and political debates. The current Darmstadt exhibition displays a number of caricatures by the master of political satire, Honoré Daumier, illustrating the social and political situation in France in that time. They could refer just as well to the conditions in the Duchy of Hesse.

Following the Paris uprising of July 1830, the Belgian revolution of 1830-31 and the Polish protest movement, an increasingly insurrectionary mood spread to German intellectual and student circles. The national-democratic Hambach Festival of May 1832 represented the high point of the civic opposition movement against the restoration. Those who took part in the march to Hambach Palace in Pfalz were demanding national unity, freedom and democracy.

Contemporary illustration of the failed uprising of 3 April 1833

The “Frankfurter Wachensturm,” a contemporary illustration of the failed uprising of 3 April 1833

Then in April 1833 the so-called “Frankfurter Wachensturm” [Charge of the Frankfurt guard house] took place. Some fifty insurgents attacked police stations in Frankfurt with the aim of igniting a revolution in all of Germany’s states. The action was a complete failure.

In a letter to his parents dated April 5, 1833, Büchner writes about these events in Frankfurt:

“My opinion is this: if anything can help in this age of ours, it is violence. We know what to expect from our princes. Every concession they have made they were driven to by necessity. And even their concessions were flung down like favours granted to a cringing petitioner, like some miserable toy aimed at making that gawping idiot the people forget how tightly swaddled it is… These young people are condemned for using violence. But are we not constantly subjected to violence? Because we are born and bred in a dungeon we no longer even notice that we are stuck in a hellhole chained hand and foot and with gags in our mouths. What on earth do you mean by ‘lawful state of affairs’? A ‘law’ that turns the great mass of citizens into beast-like slaves in order to satisfy the unnatural requirements of an insignificant and degenerate minority? And this law, sustained by brute force through the military and by the mindless cunning of its spies—this law is violence, constantly and brutally perpetrated against justice and common sense, and I shall fight it with word and deed wherever I can.”

Nevertheless he distanced himself from the Frankfurter insurrectionists, because he regarded “revolutionary activity of any kind to be a futile undertaking in present circumstances.” (The same letter to his family, April 5, 1833) He added that he did “not share the delusion of those who see in the Germans a people ready to fight for their rights.” Whether this final comment was really his point of view, or whether he just wanted to calm the fears of his parents, is a matter for conjecture. In any case, Büchner very soon involved himself in the developing events.

Later in 1833 he wrote to his family: “Although I shall always act according to my principles, I have recently come to realize that only the imperative needs of the great mass of the people can bring about change, and that all the beavering and bellowing of individuals is futile and foolish. They write: no one reads them; they shout: no one hears them; they act: no one helps them. You can well imagine that I won’t be getting myself involved in Giessen’s back-room politics and childish revolutionary antics.” (Letter to his family, Strasbourg, June 1833)

These “back-room politics and childish revolutionary antics” probably refer to the student activists in Giessen in Hesse, whose anti-French attitudes, German chauvinism and skill at backpedaling were certainly not appealing to him.

In this same year, Büchner transferred his studies to the Faculty of Medicine in the University at Gießen, in order to matriculate in exams recognised in his homeland. Here he made the acquaintance of student theologian August Becker, called “red Becker” because of his red hair. Through the latter, Büchner got to know the rector and theologian Friedrich Ludwig Weidig, the leading figure in the Hessian opposition movement and the initiator of the failed insurrection in Frankfurt.

Together with these individuals, Büchner expressed outrage at the terrible conditions of the poverty-stricken masses in the Grand Duchy, and he began intensively to study the history of the French Revolution. He took part in the founding conference of a conspiratorial organisation, the “Pressverein,” which demanded freedom of the press.

Notes:

All quotes from: Georg Büchner, Complete Plays, Lenz and Other Writings (Penguin Classics), Penguin Books (first published 1993).

The sequels of this article are here. And here. And here. And here.

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African American poet and activist Amiri Baraka dies


This video from the USA says about itself:

8 Nov 2012

Poet E. Ethelbert Miller introduces Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) as one of the most prolific writers of the century in this 1998 edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life.

They talk about the writers that influenced his work: Charlie Olson, the Black Mountain Group, Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg.

Baraka reads his first published poem, “Preface to a 20 Volume Suicide Note.” A discussion on the link between his poetry and music precedes a reading of a section of the poem “In the Tradition,” which touches on the heritage of African-American music.

The conversation concludes with Baraka‘s greatest hope for American poetry — that the great poets will find their voices in a collective way in order to discover literature that speaks against the rules.

From National Public Radio in the USA:

Writer And Activist Amiri Baraka Dies At Age 79

by January 09, 2014 4:38 PM

Amiri Baraka, the writer who was born LeRoi Jones, has died at age 79. Baraka’s career spanned art and activism: He was an influential poet and an award-winning playwright who didn’t shy away from social criticism and politics.

“Baraka had long struggled with diabetes, but it was not immediately clear what the cause of death was,” reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger. The author and activist was a native of Newark.

One of Baraka’s crowning achievements stands as the cataloguing of black culture and history in Blues People, “a panoramic sociocultural history of African-American music,” as Eugene Holley, Jr., wrote for NPR last year.

The book was published in 1963. “In the 50 years since, it has never been out of print,” Holley wrote.

“The book was originally titled Blues: Black and White,” Baraka told Holley. “But I changed it because I wanted to focus on the people that created the blues. And that was the real intent of that title: I wanted to focus on them — us — the creators of the blues, which is still, I think, the predominate music under all American music. It cannot be dismissed, even though you might give it to some pop singer, they change it around. But it will come out. It will be heard.”

As the Los Angeles Times reports: “Baraka led the Black Arts Movement, an aesthetic sibling to the Black Panthers. Although the movement was fractious and short-lived, it involved significant authors such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Eldridge Cleaver, Gil-Scott Heron, Nikki Giovanni, Ishmael Reed and Quincy Troupe.”

A more complete look at Baraka’s life and career is forthcoming, from NPR’s Neda Ulaby.

See also here.

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Antarctic poetry


This video is called PENGUINS, the Antarctic Wildlife.

From Slate in the USA:

Antarctica’s Poet-in-Residence

What endures and what does not?

By Jynne Dilling Martin

Jan. 2 2014 1:51 PM

The National Science Foundation sent Jynne Dilling Martin to Antarctica this winter (the austral summer) as an artist-in-residence. Below are two poems she wrote from there.

“Am Going South, Amundsen”

An oil painting of a jaguar eating an emperor penguin
is the start of a daydream in the Royal Society library.

Nineteen ponies wedged in narrow wooden stalls
sail south; they will soon go blind from miles of radiant snow,

lap at volcanic ash for a last smack of salt, be shot
and fed to dogs. For now they sway this way, sway that.

The magnetic needle dips. Only afterwards we ask if it cost
too much. Will this species be here tomorrow or not?

says the scientist to her assembled team. The ponies eat oats
in silence, the instruments keep ticking, the icy water

washes on and off the deck. A bell abruptly rings a warning:
oxidative stress, methane concentrations, too much heat.

The dragonfish lays her pearlescent eggs beneath the ice
and for ten months stands guard. The sea-stars sway this way,

sway that. We all hope for the best. The adaptive might survive,
the needy will not. Then again, the adaptive likely won’t either.

Sorry we realized too late: we wipe reindeer hair from our eyes,
the glaciated passages too dazzling to quite see clearly.

Soon this ship will be crushed in a polar storm; below deck,
pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica are read aloud,

shredded and used to light pipes. A century later
the preservationist draining antique food tins

sneaks a taste of raspberry jam. That night he’ll dream
he digs out a tomb on a glacier filled with bay leaves

still fragrant and green. The emperor penguin egg
tucked warm in the explorer’s pocket is delivered intact

to the receptionist desk at the Royal Geographic Society;
the robbery victim nestles a stone between his feet

and rocks back and forth at the bottom of the world.
Enough seal blubber can keep a single lamp burning

for a thousand years; enough knowledge exists to fill
twenty thousand encyclopedia pages. Lost friends

return to us in dreams, but come morning we can’t recall
what they wanted. Snakes, Snell’s law, Snowblind

curl up into hazy tobacco smoke. The amphipods
in test tubes begin to faint from next century’s

simulated heat; falling leaves fill the air of our dreams.
The biologist drills a hole in the sea snail’s shell

and slides a miniature stethoscope inside, listens
for the heartbeat: it’s beating, still beating, still beating.

Read Jynne Dilling Martin’s dispatches from Antarctica on the gorgeous and bizarre life under the sea ice; adorable, googly-eyed penguins; and stunning and dangerous ice formations.

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Music and poetry against celebrating World War I, other wars


This video from Britain says about itself:

Concert with Billy Bragg, Elvis McGonagall, many more. Remembering World War One in Music and Words. St James’s Church, London, 25 October 2013. Filmed by Fourman Films.

For more info on the No Glory in War campaign see http://noglory.org.

PROGRAMME:

1 Introduction by Lindsey German, convenor of Stop the War Coalition

2 The Lark Ascending, played by i Maestri, conducted by John Landor. Solo violin George Hlawiczka

3 Kika Markham reads Last Post by Carol Ann Duffy and A War Film by Teresa Hooley

4 Elvis McGonigle reads Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen and Matey by Patrick MacGill

5 Music by Sally Davies, Matthew Crampton, Abbie Coppard and Tim Coppard

6 Jeremy Corbyn MP

7 Elvis McGonaggall

8 Kate Hudson, chair of CND

9 Music by Sally Davies, Matthew Crampton, Abbie Coppard and Tim Coppard

10 Matthew Crampton reads My Dad and My Uncle were in World War One by Heathcote Williams

11 Kika and Jehane Markham

12 Billy Bragg sings: Last Night I had the Strangest Dream, My Youngest Son Came Home Today, Like Soldiers Do, The Man He Killed, Between the Wars, Where Have All the Flowers Gone

The Man He Killed has its words from a Thomas Hardy poem.

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Saudi Arabian regime imprisons poet


This video says about itself:

Saudi Man Beats Servant

This painful to watch video clearly demonstrates the plight of domestic staff in Saudi Arabia and shows that these servants are treated inhumanely.

From the BBC:

23 December 2013 Last updated at 17:18 GMT

Saudi security court jails poet Habib al-Maatiq

A security court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a Shia poet and journalist to a year in prison in connection with protests in Eastern Province.

Habib al-Maatiq has already been in detention for more than a year, and it is reported that he has been released.

It is not clear what he was charged with, but he was involved in a website that reported on pro-reform protests by Eastern Province‘s Shia minority.

His detention prompted a petition on Twitter for his release, #FreeHabibNow.

According to the campaign group PEN International, Mr Maatiq was arrested in February 2012 at the offices of the Al-Fajr Cultural Network website in the eastern city of Jubail.

A colleague, Hussein Malik al-Salam, was arrested the next day, as was Jalal Mohammed al-Jamal, the manager of another news website.

They were subsequently held at a prison in Dammam.

Al-Fajr Cultural Network was shut down after Mr Maatiq’s arrest.

Since protests erupted in 2011 in Eastern Province, hundreds of people have been arrested and dozens remain in custody.

The security forces are also alleged to have used excessive force against demonstrators, with about 10 reportedly shot dead.

(CNN) — A judge in Saudi Arabia has recommended that imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi go before a high court on a charge of apostasy, which would carry the death penalty upon conviction, according to Badawi’s wife: here.

Greek governmental xenophobic violence


This video from Greece says about itself:

Golden Dawn, immigration and police violence in Greece – Truthloader speaks to Into The Fire

22 April 2013

Into the Fire is an independent film entirely crowd-funded and crowd-distributed online, looking into the treatment of immigrants in Greece as the country’s politics shift to the far right Golden Dawn Party. We caught up with Kate Mara and Guy Smallman, who were involved in producing the film.

Check out their website and videos:

http://intothefire.org/

http://vimeo.com/64230453

From I Can’t Relax in Greece blog:

“We must make their lives unbearable”

Posted on 20/12/2013 by icantrelaxingreece

Hot Doc magazine reveals that the head of the Greek Police induced violent acts against immigrants in one of his speeches. Amnesty International intervened by demanding the investigation of the case by the government.

The audio file with the statements of the Police Chief [in Greek]

Amnesty International issued a statement demanding the prompt investigation of Hot Doc’s report in which Nikos Papagiannopoulos, Head of Greek Police, appears to be ordering the extension of immigrants’ detention, while declaring that “we must make their lives unbearable”.

Amnesty International asks from the government to check the statements that became known recently and to comply with the laws relating to the protection of migrants and refugees coming to the European Union.

In an audio file played on radio station “105.5 – Sto Kokkino” by journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, the leader of the Greek Police is heard saying (referring to immigrants who come to Greece): “They [immigrants] should know that if they get in the country they will remain detained; [...] they will not be let free after three months or so, because otherwise we are achieving nothing, we just appear as an appealing place to illegal immigrants”.

Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Papagiannopoulos refers to the immigrants’ detention period saying that when this is over the immigrants are free to steal and rob.

According to the report, many police officials that attended the meeting where the Police chief gave his speech found what he said illegal and racist.

It was just yesterday that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg condemned Greece for the unacceptable and inhumane detention conditions for asylum seekers and political refugees, ordering the country to pay compensations to the plaintiffs.

Translated from ‘Efimerida ton Syntakton’ newspaper, 20/12/2013, online at: http://www.efsyn.gr/?p=160671

Translated from the ancient Greek poem, the Odyssey:

To a man of any intelligence, a stranger, a suppliant, is dear as a brother.

The Greek parliament has voted by a large majority to suspend all state funding to the neonazi Golden Dawn party: here.

Golden Dawn receives support from the United States nazis of the Free America Rally, which says it is opposed to ‘government, media, genocide, liberalism, rationalism, pacifism, consumerism, capitalism, marxism, degeneracy, brigandage, egalitarianism, democracy, usury, & whatever else comes up’: here.

British cartoonist’s limericks, about Byron, Baudelaire, etc.


This video from Britain says about itself:

Martin Rowson – The Power of the Political Cartoon

10 March 2010

As Parliament reconvenes, controversial political cartoonist Martin Rowson looks at political satire.

A book review in verse, by James Eagle in Britain:

Wednesday 4th November 2013

Panegyric on the genius uncanny of Mr Rowson’s poetical hat-trick

The Limerickiad Volume III: Byron To Baudelaire

by Martin Rowson
(Smokestack Books, £9.99)

When our cartoonist tires of satire, he —
A bizarre form, you may say, of flattery —
Boils the great works of lit
Down to five lines of wit
Less a tribute, more assault and battery
On the icons of literary fiction.
But Rowson has ducked a conviction
For his versified crimes, al-
though some of his rhymes are
More barbarous than crucifixion.

On its journey to Baudelaire from Byron
This, the third in a series aspirin’
To go merrily trolling
From Homer to Rowling,
Runs no risk of its author acquirin’

The name of a mere poetaster
For this is the work of a master
Though his rhyming’s coerced
And his scansion’s the worst
That you’ve heard since The Tay Bridge Disaster.

(No McGonagall crops up in these verses;
Perhaps there’s no way to make worse his
Tin-eared abuse
Of the poetic muse
Or provoke half the volume of curses.)

He makes “Bronte sore arse” puns, quite shameless,
Reckons Thoreau’s an old ignoramus
Takes in Shelley — what larks! —
Plus old Engels and Marx
As a nod to proles both chained and chainless.

In short, it’s a real tour de force —
If oft’ner than not far too coarse
To read to your granny —
It’s of genius uncanny.
So buy it! I heartily endorse.

Qatar dictatorship’s ‘free’ press


This video says about itself:

Qatar Human Rights Official Defends Life Sentence For Poet Who Praised Arab Spring Uprisings

7 Dec 2012

Visit http://www.democracynow.org for the complete transcript, additional reports on this topic, and more information. Watch the independent, global news hour live weekdays 8-9am ET.

Three days after the United Nations climate change conference began here in Doha, a Qatari court sentenced a local poet to life in prison, a move that shocked many activists in the Gulf region and human rights observers. The sentencing of Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami came nearly two years after he wrote a poem titled, “Tunisian Jasmine,” supporting the uprisings in the Arab world. “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites!” al-Ajami wrote. “The Arab governments and who rules them are without exception thieves, thieves!” We speak to his attorney and a member of Qatar‘s National Human Rights Committee.

Qatar. Where thousands of workers die because of slavery-like labour conditions. Where the government jails poets for “insulting the emir” in poems not even mentioning the emir.

Qatar. Where the government has its own “Centre for Press Freedom”.

Translated from ANP news agency in the Netherlands:

Dutchman sacked prematurely at Freedom of the Press Centre Doha

12/03/13, 08:22

Dutchman Jan Cologne was dismissed as head of the Doha Centre for Press Freedom in Qatar, an officially independent institution for promoting press freedom in the Gulf state. Cologne is the second European boss of the media center departing early, local media reported.

His predecessor, the Frenchman Robert Menard, left in 2009, complaining that “he was suffocated by the lack of freedom and independence.”

Qatar is an absolute monarchy in the Gulf of Persia, which is ruled by the al-Thani family. Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Masnad, the mother of the current emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, founded the Centre for Press Freedom in 2007.

This reminds me of George Orwell’s novel 1984. Where there is a Ministry of Love administering torture. And a Ministry of Truth, producing lies in the “Newspeak” language. And a Ministry of Plenty presiding over poverty for most people. And a Ministry of Peace, presiding over perpetual war.

Most real governments today are not as blatantly hypocritical as Orwell’s fictional government of Oceania. They have renamed their Departments of War; not to Department of Peace, too obvious to fool people, but to Department of “Defense”. In the USA; in the UK; in the Netherlands; in Qatar. Qatar‘s Ministry of “Defense” “defends” the Qatari monarchy and supposedly “brings democracy” by bloody wars in Libya and in Syria.

In order to compare the government of Qatar‘s absolute monarchy, we don’t even have to go back in time from 2013 to 1948, when Orwell wrote his novel. We don’t have to go from Qatar all the way to England. Now, today, not far from Qatar, there is the absolute kingdom of Bahrain. This dictatorship which keeps violating human rights, has its own Ministry of Human Rights.

Maybe, the Qatar dynasty wil now make Rupert Murdoch its boss of the Centre for Press Freedom. Murdoch considers Bahrain a model of “freedom”. Murdoch practices absolute freedom for burglary, hacking phones, computers, etc. of the British royal family, murdered English girls, rival journalists, etc. etc. for big corporate media, especially Murdoch’s media, and for Big Government spying agencies.

However, I should warn the Qatari princely family about one thing. Rupert Murdoch tends to quarrel sooner or later with his friends. Like with Silvio Berlusconi. And with Tony Blair.

Egyptian anti-dictatorship poet dies


This is a video about Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm, at a demonstration against the Mubarak dictatorship in 2007.

From Al Jazeera:

Egypt’s veteran poet Ahmed Negm passes away

Negm, whose songs were iconic of the 2011 revolution, was an outspoken critic of Egypt’s former regimes.

Last updated: 03 Dec 2013 08:41

Ahmed Fouad Negm, Egypt’s famous poet, died early on Tuesday in Cairo at the age of 84 after a long battle with illness, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported, citing publisher Mohamed Hashem.

Hashem said Negm’s funeral ceremony will take place at Old Cairo’s famous mosque Al-Hussien, after noon prayers.

Known for his sarcasm and sharp tongue, Negm was a vocal critic of deposed president Hosni Mubarak‘s regime.

His poems had also gotten him jailed by Egypt‘s late president Anwar Sadat, and were banned off state-owned media.

However, the songs he wrote were prevalent in the 2011 uprising.

Revolutionary Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm died yesterday at the age of 84. Netizens from across the Arab world mourn his death: here.

Roque Dalton was the major literary figure and an important political architect of the revolutionary movement in El Salvador and a new film on his life pays due tribute to his creative inspiration, says JOHN GREEN: here.