Monday, December 17, 2018

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I fiori dell'Africa

Un'uomo e morto in Africa ieri sera
Uomo orgoglioso di paese orgoglioso
Tu conocscerai ni l'uno ni l'altro
In questo mondo di dolore
Chi oppure che e Eritrea?

Ho fatto visita alla sua figlia oggi
Colpita come un'uccello spezzato
Piegata in dolore 
Come un fiore rotto allo stilo
Lontana di casa, lontana di casa.
E chi oppure che e Eritrea?

O Eritrea, Eritrea, non smetti
di far l'emoraggia dei tuoi figli
dentro delle due mari.
Il flusso di sangue spande
della Terra Mare Rossa
e si sperde, si sperde 
nelle profundita nere.

I padri e le madri piangiono al paese (agar bet)
I loro figli dormono, se dormono, tutti soli,
e noi, riteniamo i nostri cuori di sasso:

che muoiono sulla mare profunda,
oppure al paese, oppure qua,
che muoiono che le mosche,
i fiori dell'Africa.

Friday, May 06, 2016

response to Daniel Finkelstein

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Jim Holloway"
Date: 5 May 2016 16:34
Subject: West-hating left

I would like to disagree with your article in yesterday's Times.
I don't believe that the left in general holds America to be evil; it is rather that American dominance inevitably multiplies the impact of such "evil" as any country may be given to. There is much to admire in America and much to despair of; much the same as Britain in its time of Empire.

I thought that your examples of the let's errors were ill-chosen. Soviet communism achieved nothing?  How to account for Soviet success against the Nazis,  almost unaided, compared with Russia's collapse in 1914-18, facing a Germany being ground down on the Western front by France and Britain?
Who can doubt the misguided idealism within the Russian revolutionaries?
Stalin undoubtedly carried out monstrous atrocities,  yet it remains the case that in both scale and intent they are hard to compare with Hitler's crimes. In only a few years, he accomplished the destruction of millions of Jews and others; his plans for the future of Poland and Russia are terrifying and chilling. Nazism intended to reduce the world to slavery in the service of the master race; communist ambitions were a flawed attempt to create a New Man who would be naturally free. Nazism,  I would claim, was beyond hope of reform; soviet communism did eventually collapse, faced by its own contradictions.

Malcolm X encouraged black people to think they were victims of colonialism? And was he wrong? They were certainly victims of something,  even in his own time and country.

You say Pan-Africanism adopted. ... as if it was a party or individual. You criticise the statement that 9-11 was perhaps the most successful terrorist attack in history: and was it not? Provoking America into disastrous wars, surely exactly bin Laden's intention?

The left, like any such label, covers many tendancies and groups. I do not feel that your article contributes to making a helpful distinction among them.

If you have read thus far, I thank you for your time.

Jim Holloway

Thursday, May 05, 2016

To leave, or not to leave, that is the question.

What are the reasons I want to stay in the EU?

Boring, but important: the economy. There can be no doubt that there will be tremendous disruption to investment for a prolonged period if we vote to leave.

Free movement: we are free to live work and study across Europe thanks to the EU. We may be trapped on our green and pleasant,  but cold and wet island.

The Union with Scotland: the UK will almost certainly come to an end as Scotland will vote to remain.

Northern Ireland: the hard won precarious peace will be destabilised, as the Irish Republic will certainly remain in.

The diehard outers will say in all sincerity that these are risks worth running to preserve or regain our sovereignty.  But I say that instead, without the UK arguing the case for a the EU to be a free association of sovereign state,  it will become a more and more centralised bloc of countries facing us from a position of strength: exactly what 200 years of British foreign policy as sought to avoid.

But what do the outers want, really? To me it seems clear that the real animus for most outers is about immigration and identity: if only we leave we can reclaim our country.  Anti EU comments slide effortlessly toward hostility to migrants generally, and to Muslims.

Many outers want the Poles to leave: and they will be disappointed.  The Poles will not be kicked out,  because then the million and a half Brits living across the EU would be sent home as well.  Or do the outers believe that we can kick the EU,  and like a beaten dog they will simply whimper and walk away, tail between legs? But the days of Empire are gladly gone.

I fear that disappointment, combined with economic turmoil, andthe collapse of the Union with Scotland,  will turn us into a nasty inward looking country. An out vote would be a triumph of resentment. Instead of believing in a Great Britain, at ease in Europe and the world, we would be choosing a Little England, fearful,  isolated,  out in the cold.

We would survive, no doubt. It's not a country I'd want to stay in. But then, if we leave, I may have no choice.  My freedom to relocate to warmer friendlier parts may be terminated.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear Gerald Kaufman MP

There has been much talk about rising energy bills, the confusing and wasteful marketing tactics of suppliers, etc, and now David Cameron is saying that they will have to offer the "cheapest" tariff, however that is to be worked out.

I would like to see the practice of standing charges outlawed. Standing charges, whether direct or disguised as differing tariffs for the first part of the consumption, amount to a poll tax on consumers. In today's world, no-one is expected to live without, at least, electricity; no matter how economical, consumers are forced to pay for the privilege of having a supply. The consequence is that those who, from poverty or environmental concern, use the least amount of energy, pay the most per unit of consumption. This is not only unjust, but a perverse incentive - those who are profligate users of energy will pay only a minimum tariff for every extra unit they consume - those who use almost no energy will still pay around £4 a week just to have a supply.

I would be obliged if you could raise this with OFGEM and/or the Department for Energy. In my view, the provision and maintenance of infrastructure should be paid for from the profits of the business. Obviously, the basic tariffs would need to be increased to make up for the loss of standing charge income, but this would mainly hit those who use excessive energy. It would give them an added incentive to economise, which should overall be more beneficial to the economy and environment than the minor savings squeezed out of the fuel-poor by the cost of standing charges.

I would add that suppliers should be forced to offer only one tariff for each product, eg dual fuel, economy7, nuclear-free, etc, instead of the current confusion marketing.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Agar baayad khodaahafez begim
khodaahafez-e-shirin begim
va befahm
ke dar har gushe-ye-khiaabun-zendegi
haazer hastam
montazer-e-didanet hastam
taa vaghti ke
dige baaham hastim

If we have to say goodbye
my sweet
then let it be a sweet goodbye
and know
at every corner of life's street
I am ready
I am waiting to catch sight of you
until the time
we are together again
my sweet.