tirsdag 24. mars 2009

15 de Marzo 2009- The battle of the dead!

15 de Marzo 2009- The battle of the dead!
It was the night of the living dead,
From all around the zombie like hordes,
Converged upon the voting centres,
ARENA, vampyric, needed its’ infusion of blood!

Across the frontiers streamed,
The psuedosalvadorans,
The paid vassals of the ruling elite,
ARENA needed its’ infusion of foreign aid!

From the halls of Congress in Washington,
The comfortable cowards of reaction,
Threatened the poor and opressed salvadorans,
ARENA needed its’ infusion of Uncle Sam!

In the voting booths of El Salvador,
The hardly audible click of cellular phones,
Anounced the arrival of 21st century slaves,
ARENA needed its’ infusion of fear!

But the living and heroic dead persevered,
The ghosts of Anastasio Aquino, Farabundo Martí,
Feliciano Ama, Roque Dalton, Monseñor Romero,
The six jesuits priests, their houskeeper and daughter,

The 75 000 killed, the tortured and disapeared,
The ghosts of El Mozote, Rio Sumpul and Rio Lempa,
Gave strength to the Salvadoran people,
ARENA got its’ infusion of defeat!

50 years of military dictatorship,
12 years of cruel and bloody civil war,
And 20 years of savage neoliberal pillage,
This poem was inspired by the recent elections in El Salvador where I was an electoral observer (March 15).

It probably needs some explaining for those not acquainted with the so called “democratisation” process that has taken place since the Peace accords in 1992 ended a 12 year long civil war which killed 75 000 people (most of them killed by government forces and their associated death squadrons – as verified by the UN truth commission report).

The extreme right wing, neoliberal government, ARENA, has been in power for 20 years. Its’ founder, Roberto D’aubuisson, was a death squadron leader, who was held responsible by the UN for the murder of the country’s Archbishop Oscar Romero.

The verses of the poem show how little has been achieved after 17 years of “democratisation”.

The “living dead” of the first verse refers to the thousands of dead people who remain on the electoral register and actually vote for the ruling ARENA party. This is achieved by giving their voting cards to foreigners who are paid to come into El Salvador from the neighbouring countries of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The ruling party has been delaying a thorough review of the electoral register for two decades!

The “cowards of reaction” in the third verse are the Republican Congressmen who in the run up to the elections threatened to deport hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans and restrict the sending of money to relatives from legal Salvadoran immigrants in the USA, if the left wing FMLN were to be elected into government. There are around 2 million Salvadorans resident in the USA, about 300 000 of them have only a temporary residence status.
They send home around $40 billion every year, which is El Salvador’s biggest foreign income and a lifeline for the desperately poor Salvadoran population.

The “click of the cellular phones” in the fourth verse refers to the thousands of employees who were forced to take a photograph of their voting ballot marked for the ruling ARENA party with their cell phones and show it to their employers on the morning after the election, if not they would be dismissed. When most people in El Salvador have no proper, steady work, and earn their money in the informal sector, selling wares on the streets or washing car windscreens at traffic lights, this is not an idle threat.

The final verses refer to the many thousands who have died trying to change this terrible situation. “El cambio ha venido” is Spanish for “the change has come”. "Change is comming!" was the slogan of the left wing FMLN and the popular movement in these elections which they won by a narrow margin.

Please remember this when you next read a bigoted newspaper report on Venezuela, Bolivia or Ecuador, other countries where left wing governments are working for change to benefit the poor majorities, and ask why do they never report on the real abusers of liberty and democratic rights, The US friendly governments that cling to power by whatever means possible.
The picture is by the Salvadoran artist R. Huezo that hangs in the chapel dedicated to the murdered Archbishop Oscar Romero in the Central American University.

tirsdag 13. januar 2009

Eyeless in Gaza...Once again!

Eyeless in Gaza,
The deaf look on
With the blank glaze
Of diplomatic deceit.

A murderous storm passes over
and shakes the homes of Gaza,
The child huddles in the corner,
Hiccups of fear at every thud of a mortar, every incendiary flash
Every rocket tearing into the heart of the city.

Eyeless in Gaza,
The deaf look on
With the blank glaze
Of diplomatic deceit

Our concerned leaders are making
Herculean efforts,
The Blairs, the Sarkozys, the Condoleezza Rices;
We are so near to a solution….
But there remains so much to be done.

Eyeless in Gaza,
The deaf look on
With the blank glaze
Of diplomatic deceit.

There remains so much to be done
The child no longer huddles in the corner,
She is dripping blood and flesh running off the walls
Of the ruins of Gaza City

Eyeless in Gaza,
The deaf look on
With the blank glaze
Of diplomatic deceit.

We are so near to a solution….
The child no longer huddles in the corner,
She is the charred cinders rising into the sky
Over Gaza City.

Eyeless in Gaza,
The deaf look on
With the blank glaze
Of diplomatic deceit.

We are in the final phases of an agreement,
The child no longer huddles in the corner,
She is a heap of mangled remains
In the morgues of Gaza City.

Eyeless in Gaza,
The deaf look on
With the blank glaze
Of diplomatic deceit.

The vengeful Samson stands once again
Over the smouldering ruins of Gaza City.
Eyeless, deaf and dumb,
Together with our concerned leaders
We have reached our solution!

lørdag 3. januar 2009

A Xmas Wish

A poverty stricken, barefoot boy in a Third World slum was asked what his Xmas wish would be.
“I wish I was George W. Bush.” He replied.
“Is that because you want to be the most powerful person in the whole wide world?” retorted the interviewer.
“No,” replied the boy, looking down at his naked and scarred feet,
“It’s just that somebody might hopefully throw a pair of shoes at me!”


torsdag 1. januar 2009

The Ghost of Xmas Past

Well now we’re finished with the idiotic revelling in consumerist overindulgence, based on the thin excuse of the birthday of an, as it were, man god, who had he ever existed as a real human being (basically no valid historical evidence for this alas) was by all the biblical (you know that book written several thousand years ago to convince a wandering Bronze age tribe in North Africa and Asia Minor that they were the top dogs/chosen people) references born in March.
Luckily for us Pope Julius 1, in the fourth century AD (400 years after a probably fictitious person) decided that the date would be 25 December. This was an attempt to reign in the pagans who insisted on the continued celebration of heathen religious festivals such as Saturnalia around the date of the mid winter solstice.

Religion is the worst thought system we humans have, it in no way represents knowledge. Atheism and religion are not two equal but different philosophies of life meriting equal respect.

The former stands for the removal of superstition allowing one to remain with a foundation of valid knowledge to build ones understanding on, the latter stands for obfuscation and the nurturing of ignorance.