In Memoriam – Robert Hughes

Blow the Winds

Five years gone since my mate left home
he purchased his ticket to slavery
consigned him to the southern land
to wait for me in purgatory.
His pretty girl cried silken tears
sent to the gallows with cotton in her ears
they said she lied by the Rule of Law
born and bred a gypsy woman.

I’ll be going now, and I’ll see you soon
Sailing beneath the rising moon,
I’ll look for you in Melbourne town,
and there’s never been a heart so torn.

I stole an heiress in a field one morn
My heart’s in tatters and my hopes are gone,
In 1825, cold and wet and barely alive
I miss my woman and the babes she’s borne,
Fated to hang by a weeping judge,
Now sailing on the winds of scorn.

Blow the winds and fill the sails
take us to hell in New South Wales
The hulks are full in England
of many more like me
Bound to be Australians
with ironclad guarantees.

Me life’s not me own, I’m a Government man,
don’t remember when me term began,
the squatter’s chains rattle in me bones
to please the whims of the English throne.

Thrown into the white man’s cell
for laughin’ late and givin’ ‘em hell,
grabbed by the coppers, ripped from the land
no migaloo can understand.
In 1985 another Murri suicides,
There’s plenty more in store
from white settlers such as we,
The land would be far better off
without colonial greed.

[Inspired by Robert Hughes’ master work “The Fatal Shore”, and republished to commemorate his passing over. Hughes is among the few who removed the scales from my eyes painlessly, to reveal beauty and truth.

Robert Hughes 28 July 1938 – 6 August 2012]

The New Shock Of The New

Related Links

Farewell to Robert Hughes: polymath in an age of imbeciles
Robert Hughes, pugnacious art critic, author and TV host, dies at 74

Dervish, Please Don’t Perform in Apartheid Israel – A Call from IPSC

This is the open letter written by Raymond Deane, Cultural Liaison Officer of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) to Irish traditional group Dervish asking them to cancel their dates in apartheid Israel June 2012.

DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel) Facebook page here: Dervish, Don’t Bring Your Travelling Show to Apartheid Israel


Dear members of Dervish (Kathy Jordan, Brian McDonagh, Liam Kelly, Tom Morrow, Shane Mitchell and Michael Holmes):

Many lovers of Irish music have been deeply shocked and disappointed to learn of your plan to tour Israel next June, despite the 2006 Palestinian call for an international cultural and academic boycott of the Israeli state until it abides by international law.

On this tour you will be joined by the Irish band FullSet, which boasts that it has “already shared a stage with some of the hottest names in Celtic music, such as Moya Brennan, Lúnasa…, Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny.”

This is deeply ironic, because Irvine and Lunny – together with Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Damien Dempsey, Ronan Browne, Jimmy McCarthy, and many other giants of Irish music (and over 200 other creative and performing artists) – have signed a pledge “not to avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel… until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”

This means that if you perform in Israel you will be betraying both the Palestinian people and many of your most respected colleagues. You will be manipulated by the state of Israel to whitewash the utter criminality of its occupation and colonisation of Palestinian lands.

In 2005 an Israeli spokesman asserted that “We see culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and…do not differentiate between propaganda and culture.” [Ha’aretz, September 2005]

Here are some examples (among many) of the way that Israel represses the expression and dissemination of Palestinian culture:

  • In 2002, Israel prevented the Palestinian poets Zakaria Mohammed and Ghassan Zaqtan from travelling to Ireland to read their work.
  • In May 2009, Israeli soldiers prevented the opening of the Palestine Festival of Literature in Jerusalem. In April 2011, the venue hosting the final event of that year’s Festival was attacked with tear gas by the Israeli army.
  • In May 2010, the Israeli authorities deported Spain’s most famous clown, Ivan Prado, who was planning to establish a clown festival in Ramallah.
  • In summer 2011, Israeli commandos assaulted the Freedom Theatre in occupied Jenin, arresting several of its members.
  • Also last year, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu suspended Israel’s financial contribution to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation which oversees the protection of the world’s cultural heritage. This was to “punish” the majority of the world’s states for having voted to admit Palestine to the UN agency. This constitutes an Israeli cultural boycott of most of the world. For the same reason, Israel larcenously suspended tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.

If you cancel your trip to Israel, thus incidentally saving the members of FullSet from the infamy of breaching the Palestinian cultural boycott so early in their career, you will have joined the likes of Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Cassandra Wilson, and Carlos Santana who, having at first agreed to perform in that country, decided that it was of greater importance to support the just struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli oppression.

The governments of the EU see Israel as “a strategic partner” and offer it generous trading and diplomatic privileges. When governments refuse to take human rights violations seriously, then it is up to civil society to act. Please be on the side of justice: please cancel your tour of Israel!

Raymond Deane

Cultural Liaison Officer

Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Don't Play for Apartheid

Meanwhile, the organiser of the Dervish performance posted on the Facebook page:

Avshalom Farjun

Hello people of Ireland, land me your ear for a moment. My name is Avshalom. I’m a musician and producer and I’m organizing Dervish’s concerts in Israel. I love Irish music & I have close friendly relations with the members of Dervish whom I know for the past 15 years. People who know me will probably say I’m quite a nice and loving person even though I’m Israeli. The story of Israel-Palestine is very sad and tragic one for both sides… please try to remember that. Innocent people are suffering for so many years for terrible mistakes of leaders and politicians from both sides.

I’m certainly not a politician and responding to such attacks is not my cup of tea. I just want to share few things about me and get the right to expose my point of view.
I’m straggling for piece all my life. There are hundreds of thousands like me in my country. My personal way of contribution for piece and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians was not demonstrations of any kind but creating an excellent ensemble consist of Arabs and Jews. We performed for about 15 years all around the globe. The idea was not a political one as we looked for the best musicians in order to make the best music. People have always applauded not only to the music but also to the fact that Israelis and Palestinians can create art together. We have not tried to change anybody in the band. Every one kept his own political ideas…but we shared some incredible love and passion to music and deep friendship. The project survived and gained a lot of success because we really believed music should not be played for political reasons and saw our music as something that brings people together and heals wounds.
I’ve invited Dervish to bring their music over not to support any political idea. Performing in Israel by Dervish does not mean anything about what they think or feel about the conflict. I’m sure that when they will receive an invitation to perform at the Palestinian territory, they will happily accept it.
Please people; try to accept that music transcends barriers. It’s not necessarily meant to support or criticize any political systems.

This is the DPAI response:

Dervish, Don’t Bring Your Travelling Show to Apartheid Israel

Thanks for your post but Palestinian civil society has called for a boycott of apartheid Israel until it abides by international law. The guidelines are very clear and we support the Palestinian BDS call. This is not the story of an equal conflict between “two sides”, it is in fact about the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and the apartheid, war crimes and imprisonment they have been subjected to by Israel for 64 years.

PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) has issued a very strong statement on normalisation and we adhere to that, it’s below if you’d like to read. We are asking Dervish to respect this BDS call, stand with other artists of conscience who have done so, stand with the oppressed Palestinian people in their struggle for justice and stand against Israeli apartheid. The Israeli state uses performances there as a means to whitewash its crimes against humanity, Dervish will be part of that if they play. With respect, the Palestinian call for solidarity has primacy here and we reiterate our call for Dervish NOT to play for apartheid.

PACBI: Debating BDS: On Normalization and Partial Boycotts

Yesterday the unofficial Facebook page of the Israeli embassy in Ireland posted on the official Dervish page, demonstrating to them that any performance in Israel will be used by the state to legitimise apartheid.

Israeli government Dervish propaganda


Infinite Parallel Universes

Blessed with a mother who was an astronomer, I was introduced to the marvellous concept of infinity when very young. ‘Somewhere, there’s someone just like you saying everything you say up to this point in your life, but their next word will be different’, she imagined, and I imagined along with her, determined to trick those mischievous doppelgangers by choosing a random next word. The illusion of self is such that one can escape those paradoxes. Possessed of an eidetic memory and feyness inherited from my scottish grandmothers, I could relate with exactitude future events to an extent which alarmed my scientist parents.

Whilst immersed in a mosaic of Douglas Hofstader and Martin Gardner’s fascinating games in Scientific American, fractals and the mathematical art of Escher, I loved to contemplate the impossible, which felt imminently possible through acts of creation – music, poetry, literature, art and maths – and existential dreams. I longed to discover how inexplicable events occurring to me could be explained through the existence of parallel universes, where future events somehow leaked through to me. Altered states seemed mundane – where was the explanation for my very real experiences?

When brane theory emerged, I was ecstatic – here at last might be an answer to the peculiar prophecies which infest my existence. For the next challenge is how to vacate to another, better universe, where human rights and the environment are respected, where capitalism is regarded as a wrong turn and imperialism, exploitation and racism are regarded with the contempt they deserve and have been eradicated. Does one have to displace a gestalt me to do it? or can I rescue all my associated ‘selves’? If all universes are infinitely close to each other, the jump to my/our preferred destination might be infinitely close.

Here’s the poem I wrote for my mother.

The Physicist’s Dream

Elusive electron, quantum leap,
For I have only six hours to sleep,
Be improbable as quick as you can –
To the outer shell and back again.

Let’s fly on a fabulous photon trip,
To the edge of this universe we’ll joyfully slip,
On a heady black hole chase
Through the spires of hyper-space.

Tachyon, tachon, take me away
On a cosmic caravanserai,
And if we leave before the dawn,
We’ll be home by yesterday’s morn.

Related Links

Parallel Universes BBC transcript

Palestine / Israel Links

Dame Kiri asked to boycott Israel
Tunisia condemns Israeli calls for Jews to emigrate : denounces ‘ill-disposed’ call, which it warns amount to ‘meddling’ in Tunisia’s domestic affairs.
Kiri Te Kanawa asked to campaign against Israeli apartheid
UK: Festival rejects grant amid threats from anti-Israel groups
Another intensive bout of genocide against Palestinians coming up? Israel eases steps to revoke citizenship
‘Quartet ‘parameters’ must address our needs’
Israel threatens to take action if UN recognizes Palestinian statehood
The single demand that can unite the Palestinian people
Gaza health ministry devises ‘emergency plan’ to counter Israeli provocations
10 days after Itamar murders, 100 residents of neighboring Awarta remain in jail. 60 arrested last night
Poll: Nearly 50% of Hispanic Americans believe U.S. too supportive of Israel

Strangely, the press release announcing the survey made no mention of appraising the existence of anti-Hispanic sentiment in the Jewish community. But 54% of American Jews surveyed reported that they support new anti-immigration laws passed in the U.S. state of Arizona, which are widely considered to be anti-Hispanic in nature.

Illegal Arrests by Israeli Army in South Hebron Hills
David Cronin: Israeli Apartheid & Beyond.
Rogue State: Israeli Violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions
How the 2008/09 Gaza “war” should’ve happened
28 March ’11: B’Tselem Announces Formation of Public Council of Prominent Figures from Israeli Public, Intellectual, and Cultural Life :

A struggle is being waged in Israeli society over commitment to human dignity – whether it should be to the dignity of every person or to the dignity of Jews alone. In this struggle, it is imperative to stand with those who protect human dignity as a universal value.

Beit Ommar blockaded after settler attacks : The apartheid entity outsources its terror and land theft programme to its illegal ziocolonists.
McGill should cut ties with the Hebrew University : ‘The University itself has expanded onto occupied land in East Jerusalem and provided scholarships for those who participated in Operation Defensive Shield during the Second Intifada in 2002. The University also removed South African judge Richard Goldstone as an honorary member of its Board of Governors in 2010 after the release of his UN report, which found the Israeli military’s actions in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in violation of international law. In a direct tie with the Israel Defence Force, the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus includes a military base on its land.’
Haneen Zoabi : “Any racist law will succeed within this Zionist and right-wing Knesset. Any law which any fool or any crazy or any hysterical and racist person could imagine, anything, he can pass it within this racist Knesset’.
Homes destroyed by Israeli Army in Amnyir, South Hebron Hills
More citizens of Awarta arrested in night raid
Seven Injured, 12 Huts Destroyed as Troops Attack Hebron Hills Village
The ‘Judaization’ of Palestine – Occupation, Theft and Racism Re-defined! – it’s apartheid!
IOF assaults six senior citizens during demolitions east of Yatta, raids Gaza
Israeli parliament passes citizenship/loyalty law
Interview: Mapping the disappearance of a nation
Palestinian ‘abducted’ in Ukraine due in Israel court
ATLAS OF THE CONFLICT : Israel – Palestine
Israel passes law revoking citizenship for spying : Lieberman: “Without loyalty, there can be no citizenship.” I have news for you, ziofascist. When government doesn’t serve the people, there is tyranny.

Libya Links

Obama Strongly Defends US Military Action in Libya – well he would, wouldn’t he, with an election coming on.
Tariq Ali : Libya is another case of selective vigilantism by the west

Iraq Links

The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq’s Water Supply

Papua New Guinea Links

The Observatory: Indonesia: Brutal attack against journalist Banjir Ambarita

Australia Links

Andrew Bolt offended by lawyer who linked Nazi race laws to his column
The extraordinary assault on Andrew Bolt

Bolt’s articles, Merkel suggested, could lead to genocide. Possibly Merkel didn’t mean genocide in the accurate sense of the term but in the more contemporary sense in which its original connotation of mass murder has been replaced with other, more postmodern forms such as cultural destruction, which has debauched the proper, devastating meaning of the word. But Merkel’s Holocaust reference seemed to suggest he was pretty directly linking Bolt to mass murder.

Andrew Bolt attacks ‘false, offensive’ claims
I will defend to the death Bolt’s right to wallow in the mire
Andrew Bolt on trial: ‘everyone makes mistakes’

After an extended back and forth, Bolt conceded his articles had caused offense to Behrendt: ”If you want me to concede that these articles would offend Ms Behrendt, then I will concede that.” …
The court also heard Bolt’s postmodern take on the idea of race, despite his suggestions in one article that the successful light-skinned Aborgines had chafed with “racial reality”.

“I have problems with the notion of race in that I don’t know that there’s much beyond a human race. I just think it’s a very fluid concept, it means different things to different people,” the Herald Sun associate editor opined.

“The notion of race is difficult and I find it uncomfortable; race was one this drop of blood thing and quadroons and octoroons and all these things that I’ve been accused of saying.” He said he found the concept of race “yuck”.

According to Bolt, “the central concern” of the four articles at the centre of the case was not a denigration of his subjects but a broader issue with “the stressing of race in terms of identity but also of positions of a kind that tends to stress what divides us rather than what unites us as human beings”. ”They hold positions on the public platform or race-based positions, so there are consequences to that … [and that] makes it more a matter of the public interest,” he said.

The Herald Sun scribe would prefer some self-identified Aborigines focus more on their commonalities with others. In one of the articles, Bolt said sartist Bindi Cole has a “distressingly white face”.

NT intervention violates human rights: UN
UN draft UPR recommendations to Australia [pdf] See 86.23=86.26 re racial discrimination. Also see Australia’s voluntary commitments at the end: 88.

88. The delegation took the opportunity to announce a number of new commitments from the Australian Government, including funding for the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Asia Pacific Forum, the establishment of a full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, a commitment to tabling in Parliament concluding observations from treaty bodies and UPR recommendations, and instituting a systematic process for review of Australia’s reservations to human rights treaties.

Know your rights: Racial discrimination and vilification
What is genocide?: Don’t call it ethnic cleansing
Australia PM urged to meet indigenous people
NT elders condemn intervention
Police break Aboriginal picket line

The Whitewash Apartheid Orchestra

Adalah-NY and supporters creatively protest the performance of the “Brand Israel” Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on February 22. In the background, celebrated Irish composer and prominent activist for Palestinian rights, Raymond Deane, appreciates the innovative music of The Whitewash Apartheid Orchestra*.

The Whitewash Apartheid Orchestra
Credit: Ellen Rachel Davidson
The Whitewash Apartheid Orchestra
Credit: Ellen Rachel Davidson

Noelle Ghoussaini from Adalah-NY explains:

“Tonight we sent a clear message to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” campaign that their music cannot drown out Palestinians’ calls for justice.” The US protests respond to the call from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) to boycott cultural institutions like the IPO that work to normalize Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and whitewash the oppression of Palestinians in Israel, the occupied territories, and in exile.

Hundreds of well-dressed concert-goers paused on the edge of the sidewalk in front of Carnegie Hall, and looked across the street at the protesters’ signs, and listened to their chants and songs. Many were handed a mock IPO program that featured a cover photo of a past IPO performance in front of Israeli tanks for the Israeli army, and, on the inside, the PACBI’s call for an international boycott of the IPO.

Protesters held signs saying, “Israel Fiddles while Palestine Burns,” “Justice Presto not Lento,” “Without Justice There’s No Harmony,” and “Boycott the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra;” and they carried a banner with the words “Don’t Harmonize with Israeli Apartheid,” surrounded on each side by a violin with a rifle barrel as its neck. Protesters chanted, “We love Gustav, we love Mahler, but occupation makes us holler;” “For liberation take a stand, don’t let Is-ra-el rebrand;” and “Muslims, Jews, Atheists and Christians, stand for justice like Egyptians.”

In a street theater skit, a protester­­-turned-IPO conductor asked the crowd, “How can apartheid continue without us promoting the new, positive, aesthetically vibrant and civilized Israel? Don’t forget, there is “art” in “apartheid.” The conductor instructed three violinists to play progressively louder in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to drown out and cover up Israeli crimes against Palestinians that kept welling up behind the orchestra.

View the complete photo collection.

* Raymond Deane’s work “March Oubliee” will feature at a concert with Irish ensemble, the ‘Fidelio Trio’, in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia on the 24th February at 7.30pm.

The Fidelios Trio will also conduct a residency at the University of Illinois on the 27/28 February playing “March Oubliee”.

Other Current BDS Actions to Support

Support BDS in Marrickville – send a Marrickville Councillor a note of encouragement for their important stand for human rights.
CJPP Carry Bags – An environmentally-friendly, Palestine-friendly, ecosilk shopping bag. Strong, light and compact, to fit in your handbag or pocket. A stylish alternative to plastic bags!

Palestine / Israel Links

Fox reverses poll results to portray public as anti-union
This is the occupation: A letter from a reasonable woman
PFLP condemns Gaddafi regime’s massacres against the Libyan people | Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Israeli airstrikes injure 16 Gazans
Army, Settlers, Destroy Palestinian Olive Trees in Al-Jab’a
Netanyahu: Mideast instability could last for years – dreaming of regional conquent still
The emergence of a new Arab world?
Obama’s folly: the human cost of the West Bank settlements

Libya Links

If the tide turns: some pros and cons of military intervention in Libya

Saudia Links

Saudi’s $36bn bid to beat unrest

Other Links

Dozens slaughtered by US forces in Afghanistan-Pakistan air attacks

One village resident told Pajhwok Afghan News that foreign forces intercepted a vehicle taking the wounded father to hospital, halting it for two hours. “The troops beat us and tied our hands,” the man, Psarlay, said. “Meanwhile, Patang died because of excessive bleeding.”

Another resident, 26-year-old Ezatullah, told the Wall Street Journal: “The house was completely destroyed by the strike. Only two children [aged] four and six survived.” He added that “thousands of people attended the funeral of the slain family Monday and are planning a protest against coalition forces Tuesday”.

Deputy AG loses job after tweet drama
Dept. Attorney General Jeff Cox is now Former Dept. Attorney General Jeff Cox and no longer is part of the Indiana AG’s office.
Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama & Neo-Liberalism are the Daleys’ Gifts to Chicago and the Nation. Thanks.
Fox reverses poll results to portray public as anti-union
Ruling on Assange’s Extradition Is Due on Thursday
The origins of the ALP
Egypt May End the ‘Obama Arms Bazaar’ – NOT!
Military budget of the United States

For the 2010 fiscal year, the president’s base budget of the Department of Defense rose to $533.8 billion. Adding spending on “overseas contingency operations” brings the sum to $663.8 billion.[1][2]

When the budget was signed into law on October 28, 2009, the final size of the Department of Defense’s budget was $680 billion, $16 billion more than President Obama had requested.[3] An additional $37 billion supplemental bill to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was expected to pass in the spring of 2010, but has been delayed by the House of Representatives after passing the Senate.[4][5] Defense-related expenditures outside of the Department of Defense constitute between $319 billion and $654 billion in additional spending, bringing the total for defense spending to between $1.01 and $1.35 trillion in fiscal year 2010.[6]