Thursday, 29 October 2020

Part One

Those of you who know me -who perhaps read what I write on facebook, or who have heard or seek out my music, will know that I am a passionate supporter/advocate/activist/ commentator on the subject of the injustice, to put it mildly, of what is happening in Palestine.  There will be those who wonder why the subject so obsesses me. Let me prevail upon your patience and try to explain:

 For years I wondered why there was this antipathy, this animosity, between Palestinians and the government of Israel.  Many people may think there is a simple explanation but, of course no such conflict between peoples is ever simple.  Where to begin? I wondered. So I put into practice what my wonderful partner, Pauline, always says in such instances- "Google is your friend," she says.  Coincidentally, it happened to be, at that time, some sort of anniversay of what is called "The Balfour Declaration".  I then found out that this very simply entitled document, or letter, as it turned out to be,  was the published, internationally recognised, paper, issued by the UK Parliament under whose aegis it had been drafted, declaring the establishment of what we now call Israel, or, to put it another way, a homeland for the Jewish people.  The reason it was produced by the UK was because, at the time, the region of Palestine was under the mandated administration of Britain, under international agreements following WW1,  these agreements having been produced by the League of Nations, which later bcame the UN.  Just why it was Britain that had this mandate is the result of conditions and outcomes of the war and the various nations/forces involved in it but I have to admit that I do not- did not- fully understand those processes.

Nor, I must admit, do I understand why (a) it was decided that the Jewish people should be provided with a "homeland" or (b) why it was Palestine that was decided upon.

As regards the former, I have assumed (and I accept that assumptions are risky) that the Jewishpeople, the Zionist diaspora, especially after the trauma of WW2, will have longed for a homeland.  Secondly, of course, there are aspects of Judaism which cause them to believe that their homeland in the land of Palestine is their god-given right.

Palestine, as history scholars will know, has long been and Arab land, peopled by the Palestinian Arabs for centuries.  The Palestinians have occupied, built on, lived and worked in their land for a very long time indeed so people will readily understand their- to put it mildly- resentment at the occupation of Palestine by Israel.

So, this (to my mind) contorted series of events and circumstances has resulted in Jewish people in large numbers emigrating to the middle east- to Palestine- and establishing their settlements and state in what Palestinians are adamant  is their land.  If you, reader, could imagine someone- a stranger- cimbing over the back fence of your garden without your consent, building a house on it and a fence across it and denying you access to it, you might begin to understand how the average Palestinian feels about the Israeli occupation and annexation of Palestinian land.

Sunday, 25 October 2020

 -couple of new songs:

first,  "The Burden"

(The idea for this one came from watching live football broadcasts and feeling really bad when some of the fans made racist noises whenever a black player did something noticeable.  Needless to say,  they were white fans,  and eventually I began to feel a strong sense of shame every time I heard it - to the extent that I could no longer enjoy watching the game.  It made me ashamed to also belong to a white-skinned race, to the extent that I felt that for me, being white (like the racist fans) was an affliction, hence the title.)  I am so glad that football has reformed - it now "takes the knee" and openly opposes racism.

I bear the burden of a white man's skin so I have to share the shame,
For the slurs and the curses of my racist kin I guess I have to bear the blame;
As black and white together we're all in this place
But richer for the diff'rences in ev'ry face;
Just a part of the Rainbow of the human race
And, skin-deep, all just the same;

chorus: instr. then- "Black lives matter, black lives matter
                                 Black lives matter- yes they do"

From the dawn of creation we have come so far
But we've still got so far to go;
And the unity of nations's such a distant star
And our progress is so slow;
We're all just big old brances on the same old tree
And we've got to hang together, so it seems to me
North and south and east and west,  all hanging free;
Blowing together to and fro;  (-cho)

I don't want to be a part of the racist crowd
My brothers and my sisters, I'm a cryin';
And if you cannot hear me I will shout it loud-
The Rainbow Nation crowd is flyin';
The fascists and the bullies may have all the guns
But we have to keep on telling them their race is run-
Their change of heart is coming slowly, one-by-one-
If we all just keep on tryin'; (-cho)

-and 2nd,  "Refugee Song" 
Unfortunately there are some people who feel resentment about the refugees who are trying to make their way to UK shores to live somewhere with peace and safety.  We heed to open our hearts - homes even, perhaps, and imagine ourselves living in countries with unrelenting warfare, poverty, disease, destruction - and understand that sacrificing everything, even life itself,  to make such perilous journeys is something we would probably resort to ourselves, as well.  We here, are so lucky- we have so much and are all more or less pretty safe and would probably still be just as lucky and happy if we were to
share it with refugees, who would all have their diverse cultures and gifts to bring.

Comes the time when we have to leave
Just can't stay by the graves and grieve;
Some where there's a safer land
So take your loved ones by the hand

All my clothes are on my back
Friends and neighbours on the track
Never knowing what's to find
But soon the guns are far behind

(Cho)  Won't you let me through your door
            Just a pallet on your floor
            Just a weary heart to rest
            Just a stranger for your guest

The babes and children, as they grow
All they see and all they know-
Bombs and rubble, every day
Nowhere safe to run and play

Ev'ry night in dreams we're free-
The dawn it breaks with the urge to flee,
Ev'ry hillside, every slope
Ev'ry border brings new hope;  (cho)

They say that if we travel far-
We'll find a land with a brighter star
Where people smile with open arms
With peaceful days and safe from harm; (cho)

and, finally,  "We're gone".
Two things have sparked this 'climate change' themed song.  Firstly a quote from the (deceased) Sarah Parkin, a former leader of the Green Party in Germany, I believe, who said that humans could be said  to be the only species who were "minutely monitoring their own extinction", and secondly,  the recent  UK govt. announcement of plans to open a new coal mine in NW Cumbria.  In light of a climate crisis,  that beggars belief!

They say we're creating
Our own demise,
Just sitting and waiting,
Hands over our eyes,
There's whales in the ocean
Now hunting is banned,
But with a gutful of plastic-
They die on the strand

chorus: Turn a deaf ear
             And just carry on
             Turn a blind eye, turn around-
             And we're gone,
             Yes, we're gone

Will the circle be broken?
So goes that song,
Will the hard words be spoken-
And will it take long?
Will we turn a blind eye-
As the climate declines?
Will we bury our future-
In more and more mines?    (cho)

There's stories of stormwinds
And sea-level rise,
Tsunamis like mountains
Touching the skies,
Rumours of deluge,
Predictions of floods,
And hills with no trees
And landslides of mud     (cho)


 Pictures From The Heart- revised version  June 2018

How come you're not famous
And known around the world?
Your images of deep surreal
Behind my eyes they swirl
They flow through all the places
We all so long to see
And yet they leave the spaces
Where dreams may roam for free

Perhaps you just don't realise
How it makes me feel
To hold them - and behold them
So dreamy, yet so real
They stun me with their beauty
Their captivating claims
And still, you trust them to me
To shield them in their frames

And, when I saw the whale
Within his crowded sea
I feared his breath would fail him
And feared the fault was me
So, bless you, daughter-painter
For all your loving art
For fantasy of shade and light
For paintings from the heart.....