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Well all, it’s mid-term election night back in the good old USSA and it seems like I’m due to be disappointed in “my fellow Americans” one more time. According to CNN’s latest information, while election results are still being counted, (it is now 04:26 GMT +1 here in Stockholm)  it seems that the Tea Party Fascists are only two seats away from claiming control of the Senate for the first time in eight years and are in the process of boosting their control of the House of Representatives. Obama will continue to be frustrated by a congress that blatantly refuses to give him any respect he may or may not deserve. Nothing will be passed through congress which began in the White House and anything passed by the TP controlled congress will most likely be vetoed or fought bitterly before being forced to the President’s desk. This my friends is called a “stalemate”. In other words, the American voters once again fucked things up.  This is not even considering the state and local elections, a concept that I find, frankly to scary to even begin to think about thinking about.

While I’m one of the least likely to give a great deal of creedence or support to Obama, the idea of the Tea Party continuing to gain in  control of the congress scares me even more. Perhaps it’s the lesser of two very evil evils here. There was a wise man who once said, “Hey, WTF are you  doing?” I’m sure this question has arisen more than once in the erratic and oft confusing history of politics, and voting in America is certainly no exception. It saddens me greatly to think that American voters continue to get the proverbial wool pulled over their eyes and ignore what is so obvious to the rest of the world. When oh when will the great American conscience rising happen? Will the sleeping giant that is the American dream wake up before it’s too late? Will America ever get the hands of the GOP OUT of their wallet and OFF of their freedoms? Will the Bill of Rights ever be what they were intended to be? Will the USSA ever be the beacon of peace instead of the bacon of the GOP breakfast? My doubts continue to grow. I want to believe. I want to say I’m proud of my country, but I just can’t. It seems that in this world, in this lifetime, I never will.

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Ahhhh,, Allen G. It’s hard to think of a poet who had a bigger influence on me than you. Ezra, yes, tiger cage or not, Kenneth Rexroth and Kenneth Patchen both have opened my eyes to the beauty of taking on a social cause and of love, as has Neruda.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, “
 
I was one of those angel headed hipsters, I was one of the frustrated youth, busted without a reason, inclined towards the inevitable decline, ousted with nowhere to go and no way back in, climbing a ladder that I didn’t know didn’t exist, where are the fucking steps? Where am I going? Following a hollow leader, leading nowhere but up and ending up nowhere but down, tearing my clothes in a flagellants rage, whipping my back with all the insipid uninspired rules of the military, the crucifix burnt into my skull, he is risen he is risen, Dylan, no, not Thomas, Bobby, no not Kennedy, a poet for no one but words for all, stuck in my throat, gagging  like a cock at an orgy, a hero running the streets at dawn, now, here in Stockholm luring me into a storm of calmness, denying me my rage until i couldn’t hold it anymore shooting it out into the worlds great gloryhole, with no one on the receiving end,
 
Well, I digress. Allen was simply one of the great minds of our, or any, generation. It is a pleasure to read and share his work. I’ve been planning on writing something for my 60th birthday a few weeks ago and I still hope to do that soon. It would be massively incomplete if it didn’t include this magnificent fountain, this famously censored HOWL.

 

Howl by Allen Ginsberg : The Poetry Foundation.

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I express myself with words

Dunno why, but that’s what I’ve

Always done.  Always wanting

To be heard no matter what but

At other times too timid to speak up. Not

That I fear my words irrelevant, quite

The contrary. (That’s the problem!)

Sometimes the burn to be heard

Is too strong and the words simply fall off

And all that’s left

Is sheer frustration

Other times it’s whatdafuck you obviously don’t

Want to hear so why bother when we both know

I’m right (although in some spot, I know you are)

 

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Thoughts:

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?”
Eve Merriam

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.
– John Lennon

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
– Lao Tzu

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
– Harriet Tubman

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.
– Helen Keller

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
– John F. Kennedy

Most people see things as they are and ask why… i dream things as they could be and i ask why not.”
– George Bernard Shaw

The best soldier does not attack. The superior fighter succeeds without violence. The greatest conqueror wins without struggle. The most successful manager leads without dictating. This is intelligent non aggressiveness.
– Lao Tse (Lao Tzu)

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.
– Buddha (560-483 B.C.)

Please post “I Declare World Peace” on the wall of your favorite social medium.

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I read this today,on the Nobel Peace Prize website after it was read at the ceremony today by Liv Ulman. Iit’s brilliant, and this paticular part made me think of my home country and the politics of fear that Dubya used so successfully and people like Sarah Palin are taking advantage of now, this is a part of his speech:

“Hatred can rot away at a person’s intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy”

Here is a link to his full speech

http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/laureates/laureates-2010/statement-2010/

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Necessity

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There is something cruel about starting work at 06:30, need a huge latte or double cappuccino just to think about it

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Dateline Sarajevo 29/05-10 Beginning in the year of my birth and continuing throughout my youth, America was involved in what can best be described as a controversial war, perhaps the first truly “controversial” war in its history, Vietnam. The advent of television brought to moms and dads and the families back home the harsh reality of war right into their living rooms and dinner parties. Over the years, as the war dragged on and on, and the death toll continued to climb, the youth, pressed into compulsory service, began to question what they were dying for. This was the dilemma staring me directly in the face as I approached my 18th birthday. I was literally only one week away from being drafted into military service, or more likely forced into an illegal flight to either Canada or Sweden when the draft was finally stopped. America had lost the war, peace with honor was only a dream (or a lie depending on your perception) and the soldiers who did fight and survive came home to much less than a heroes welcome. Until today, this was as close as I had ever come to war. Now we move to Sarajevo, a beautiful, culturally diverse jewel in central Europe, and the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city, formed as we know it by the Ottoman empire in 1450 but with origins dating as far back as the Neolithic Age, is flanked by the Dinaric Alps on both the North and South sides, and the Miljacka river which flows through it winding like a snake. The city lies in a deep valley, the Alps rising like beautiful lush green monoliths on either side. When you see it from the plane it’s wondrously beautiful. Lush greens accompanied by tile rooftops looking down on a tranquil oasis of cooperation and community. When you ask the residents about their city one of the first things they point out is the broad cultural diversity. Religious diversity is especially important to these people with adherents of Muslim, Catholic, Judaism and Orthodox faiths peacefully coexisting for centuries. The minarets rise up joyfully proclaiming the presence and devotion. On our first day here, after checking in, my wife, Inger and I left our hotel to begin to explore the city. We hear the chants wafting down in multiple directions, surrounding us and calling to all. The cab ride from the airport is very revealing. New buildings flank ancient ones as the city continues to grow. The diversity, that word pops up again and again, of the architecture is striking. For this observer, however, my eyes are drawn to something else, something moving, something echoing a painful past. Sarajevo is also a city torn apart and almost destroyed by a dreadful war. The damage to the buildings is still painfully visible, although you don’t see as many buildings lying in rubble as you would have 10 or 15 years ago, there remains still many buildings that reveal their scars from mortar fire or shrapnel from the mountains around them. You realize immediately that you can’t escape the war, not yet, not easily. After the breakup of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbian forces, which had aligned themselves with the Yugoslav Peoples Army which was made up of members of the army of the former Republic and very well armed, had begun a build up to capture part of Bosnia and combine it into Serbia, including Sarajevo. They fortified positions in the mountains on both sides and waited. In Sarajevo at this time there were peace demonstrations, which were quite large, and it was during one such demonstration that the siege began. Serbian militants, guards of a Serbian politician, opened fire on a peace demonstration from the top of the Holiday Inn, killing 3 and wounding 50. Thus began one of Europe’s darkest times. The Serbian forces had total control of most of the mountains on either side of the city traffic in and out was impossible. The residents were helpless and easy targets for artillery, mortars, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, heavy machine-guns, multiple rocket launchers, rocket-launched aircraft bombs, and sniper rifles. The roads in and out were cut off and the airport was closed down. About 450,000 residents were helpless and cut off from the world. If they needed to shop food or go outside at all, they were a target for sniper fire from the hills. Their buildings, offices, hotels, churches, markets, homes, hospitals, schools were targets and most buildings were either damaged or destroyed. Electricity and water were cut off, for days or weeks on end, making even preparation of food or heating their house almost impossible. Most of the trees in the city were cut down for firewood. Parks, of which there were many here, were used for cemeteries, with fast services done at night so that the snipers didn’t see them and open fire. The main cemetery lies on a lovely hillside overlooking the Olympic Stadium, however it was in the Serb controlled hills. Access was, of course, impossible. Over the course of almost 4 years, the residents of Bosnia were subject to almost every abomination imaginable, ranging from ethnic cleansing to mass executions, rape and starvation. Residents in Sarajevo came very close to complete starvation, and their only chance for survival weighed in the balance on the success of UN airlifts from the Sarajevo airport that was opened in late June of 1992. On June 1, 1993, at least fifteen people were killed and 80 more were wounded as a result of a mortar attack during a soccer game. Red Cross trucks, which were given clearance to enter Sarajevo, were raided and destroyed, and maternity wards were hit killing mothers and newborns alike. On July 12, 1993, twelve people were killed while in line for water, and on February 5 of the following year mortar shells killed 68, and wounding 200 others in the Sarajevo market place. The ONLY way the city and its residents survived, quite literally was via a tunnel, some 800 meters long running from Bosnian controlled territory to the airport, which even though it was controlled by the UN was still under attack. The tunnel became known as the “tunnel of life” and indeed it was. The more I hear about life here during that time the more I admire the people for their bravery. They are strong people, who have been through something so horrible that I simply can not even begin to comprehend and yet they welcome strangers with a smile. Obviously I am deeply moved by what I have found here. I look out my window now, I see the minaret, hear the chanting, and see the lush green hills. About 2 minutes walk from here is a large cemetery filled with graves, directly outside my hotel window is a small cemetery sitting next to the mosque filled with graves, all of them from the war and I realize that land may have been a park or a garden or a place where children played. In this city almost all of the parks are now cemeteries filled with names of the 11,000 people who died, around 1,400 of them were children. One of the joys of life, for me is to run up into the hills, kick off my shoes and feel the grass on my feet, but here in the hills of Sarajevo that could be deadly as the hills are, to this day, filled with land mines and no one has any idea of how many. There is of course work going on to find them, but it’s painfully slow and dangerous. Obviously the citizens of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina have a very painful legacy. The Serbs who once lived within the city are now living outside it in a separate area “Republika Srbska” with their own police force, schools a separate nation almost and there is little social or personal contact between them and the rest of the Sarajevans, as our tour guide said on Monday as we drove through a part of their territory “ There is no contact, it would be too dangerous, no social contact and if one were to get out of the car and attempt it that would be very tense”. The wonderful diversity is almost gone in the aftermath. There are 5,000 euro forces (EU peacekeeping forces) here still and our guide expressed the hope that they remain indefinitely. The Dayton Agreement, which while it brought an end to the violence, is weak and there have been no further negotiations to ease the situation or bring any attempt at unity. This is the city which I find myself so drawn to. Is it because of the war or despite it? Perhaps I’ll never know, but I do know that I am taken by it, by the warmth, my wife and I have experienced almost the beginning, the friendliness of the people we met, by the beauty of the city itself. It is with some sense of sadness, that I start to pack my suitcase and head to Mostar tomorrow, eager for another new city, but very sad to say goodbye to Sarajevo. So it won’t be goodbye, it can’t be. It will be vidimo se, see you!

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Written December 10, 2010—

I read this today,on the Nobel Peace Prize website after  it was read at the ceremony today by Liv Ulman. Iit’s brilliant, and this paticular part made me think of my home country and the politics of fear that Dubya used so successfully and people like Sarah Palin are taking advantage of now, this is a part of his speech:

 

“Hatred can rot away at a person’s intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy”

 

Here is a link to his full speech

 

 

 

http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/laureates/laureates-2010/statement-2010

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