No It’s Not Hollywood!

Posted in Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2017 by kathydasilva

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I am mindful of the event and the post event news of the Glenfell Tower fire as I speak. My own head did the analysis thing, of weighing the information as it was bled to us the public via news media and television reportage. My heart and mind did the thing of saying so how did the people, above floor twenty think, how did they think they could be rescued? And the sad surreptitious bleed from an off duty fireman to a fellow ‘brother’ revealed a significant detail. The man passed the information privately, but, still it came to be known via a twitter feed uploaded video. The information told us the ordinary public, 42 people had been found dead in just one flat. And amongst the forty two people were young children, and elderly mainly. They had hope of rescue, and were organized, as far as possible, probably sheltering in the least damaged flat, at the outbreak of the whole ordeal. The firemen, never came, the ‘airlift’ possibility never came about. I think of the famous film Towering Inferno, and the reality was and is, there is no Steve McQueen,  or  Paul Newman, let alone some swanky additional, like Harrison Ford to come and do ‘rescue’. Yet and I repeat, yet! They could have thought outside the ‘box’. Why no use of say a helicopter for people on the roof survivors? Why no thought of ropes and pullies, and some sort of bag or stretcher to let people too frail to climb or come down stairs, be rescued? The fire raged for about four hours, from about midnight. And most of the victims, suffered really badly from smoke inhalation. But, too, smoke can make the way ahead so difficult to see, so they tripped and maybe fell and knocked themselves out too. The building housed at least 600 tennants. Someone saw a child on fire, and then they fell out of a window. And we blame it on the time of day. There are people, who can climb with the minimum of equipment the height of one of these towers for sport. The sea rescue crews, are familiar with almost impossible situations, would it have hurt to call upon their skills? Mountain rescue teams similarly, carry ropes, and safety equipment, in the most hazardous conditions. It was also tweeted, from a fireman’s phone, obviously a young fireman, because the whole horror, of what they found, was unlike anything else before that they had seen before, he had captured using the iphone technology, the picture of the tower from floor to roof, in flames and had asked the question, ‘How are we goint to get in there?’ This was uploaded to twitter and maybe youtube but, it made me think how film obsessed we have all become. ‘We’ are being brought up on the wrong architypes. Not everyone is going to be an action hero. If it is hard to contemplate what the need to have the nerve to risk one’s own life is like, then, perhaps, this decision is already something fireman have come up against. I think men have to be the heroes they were destined for to be. And that might be a risky business. Some young muslim men, did go knocking doors all round the tower block vuluntarily. No one paid them. They did it out of the duty of good will, that God teaches us all. It is the sort of situation that Edward De Bono, would have used his ‘lateral’ thinking cap for. How do you get over a hundred people of possibly frail disposition down to ground level, through thick poisonous smoke fumes? The book of ‘how’ needs to be written before the next big tragedy, and maybe it is preventative measures only that will succeed in overcoming our high rise fears.

Assange Five Years in the Ecuadorian Embassy, London.

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2017 by kathydasilva

I was feeling challenged today, as two news items have caught my attention. One the shocking fire at Latimer Road, area of London, and the other, the hard to fathom, wait for the freeing of Julian Assange, as today is the fifth year running, of an anniversary. Julian Assange yet again, postponed appearance at the balcony and live speach, because the British government, had made an assertion of willingness to participate in negotiations toward the goal of freeing him. The cat and mouse of the political gambit. It seems wholly unfair, that Assange should still have to remain, like a fugitive, caged in a foreign embassy, whilst Chelsea Manning, now roams free thanks to a relaxing of the sentence awarded her for whistleblowing. I saw that as a pardon from Obama, though he himself says, she had served enough time for the offence of revealing secret documents.  Whatever, legally bound Britain to his arrest warrent, surely as this is now dropped, it is a matter of pure diplomacy now, between governments. Julian Assange, from the outset of his creation of a whistleblower site, has asserted his anti-war, anti-oppression opinions. His goal, to create perfect anonymity for the whistleblower to enable, the revealing of corruption. He has loyal friends, and associates. His followers, and supporters of the publishing site Wikileaks, have funded and helped, and emotionally stood with him for the nearly ten years of publications. Fellow journalists, have applauded the facility of the Wikileaks site, as a help in their research for items of news. All the major papers including the New York Times and our Guardian, have also benefited from publication of materials originating from Wikileaks website. It seems so turncoat, of them, to turn around, the argument of freedom and transparency, as and when the colour fits, bowing to government influences, and thus curtailing proper criticism of the politics surrounding our generation. It is refreshing to see a surge in youth interest at election time.

Grenfell Holocaust

Posted in Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2017 by kathydasilva

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(picture copyright of publisher K Da Silva 2017)
I continued my journey from Knightsbridge to see for my self, the horror of what has happened in the last week. It was not made easy for, all the surrounding tube stations, and it seems also buses coming into the immediate area of this fire, have been stopped from picking up passengers, and dropping them in the vercinity. I managed to walk from a further tube stop, nearby, I knew this area from a long time ago as an art student, Nottinghill is adjacent. I am grateful too, that on such a sunny day, this route proved, more of a spiritual walk of faith, to attend something so fundamentally right, and acknowledging the scale of the disaster, as a goal. I regarded this afternoon as a prayer walk. I had thought about the whole dilemma of tower block residents. I had too been in a top floor apartment, in Barkingside, but, my block had a fire hydrant point with miles of hose wound round a wheel all ready for when firemen attend to put a flat’s fire out. The one thing I do remember is the stairs in this council block were not that wide, they were narrow and not deep. So if a few hundred people tried through foggy smoke, to make a hurried way downward, you can imagine, the trouble, and accident it might cause. People who survived did describe this inability to see ahead, through the smoke. I did some fire training once with the ferry group Stenna Ferries. Infact, I went for a whole day to the fire training center in Sussex. The firemen, told us bluntly that our catamaran, which was the type of ferry we would be hostessing on, was made of a similar material to aircraft, and mainly aluminium, and it is the only metal that will catch fire. So inevitably all ferries have sprinkler systems onboard. This is the issue being raised it seems by everyone about the panelling in the Glenfell tower block. What an almighty blunder to have placed these panels all over the outside of the building. All the evacuees, needed a guide down the main staircase. They needed some training, previous to a real fire. The smoke, disables everyone’s vision, so you have to learn to descend feeling your way down (like a blind person), usually touching the left hand wall, and get everyone to put their right hand on the person infronts right shoulder. I can imagine sheer panic, because of no guide being there and it seems lessons yes, will be learned. Why no advice on the phone from the fire brigade other than placing a wet towel around shoulders?
The pictures tell their own story. People have lost homes, and loved ones, and there is no solace.

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The Grief Experience

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2017 by kathydasilva

I went yesterday to visit my child’s grave in Southampton. He, my two year old bar three weeks off his second birthday, is buried near to my grandmother and grandfather. The two people in my life, that managed to stay faithful in their marriage, and believed that the sacred vows of love until the end, were the expectation.  They, my grandparents had married first in the Church of England, and after a while, my grandfather, had grown, more and more concerned over the fact that his faith really had belonged to his origins at birth, the Roman Catholic Church.  He talked this over with his wife, my mother’s mother, and she agreed to become a Roman Catholic, with him, and they married, a second time, in the Catholic Church. Hence, all my family are now Roman Catholic at least in origin.

It meant of course that buriel was the chosen formal end ceremony. I had not expected any part of the grievance, and trauma, that came, when I had had to leave, my little baby in the coffin box, at least four feet beneath soil filled with stones. Visiting the cemetary became a frequent event for the first year after he passed. But, my head was filled with so many strange voices. I would wake believing he was talking to me, saying things like, ‘You haven’t changed my nappy’. I kept thinking, that this was real, or possibly real, and did that mean he was alive and feeling wet, from a wet nappy, and also, that it could mean he was ‘alive’. Repeatedly the trauma kept producing this kind of thought, in me, and I was in quite a bad state. It was like a glass wall between me and the people around me, for a long while. I could see people enjoying themselves, but, for me the world was never going to be the same ever again.

I did the usual counselling sessions for bereaved people. It did help a bit, and I still worried if he was alive and starving in the grave for a long time. It may sound strange, but, my hope has always been on the optimistic side of everything. I could not believe he had gone.  The counsellor gave me the model for this type of trauma, calling it the Whirl Pool of Grief, and showing me, that at times, I might feel I was getting over the loss, and then sometimes, there would be something, that would drag me back to the middle, the core of the crisis, and it would all feel momentarily bad again. And she advised me to be kind to myself, and on those days, ‘Wear your pyjammas, and relax, allow yourself time.’  I still have not written the book on grief, that in my head, I thought might help others who suffer. Many, many of the mothers, whose children died young, would talk with me at the cemetary, and share their own experiences. Some of them had had breakdowns, through trying to carry on as normal, but, of course not giving time for the grieving process to occur. Some of them, had panic attacks, sudden palpatations, and sweats, that caused one woman to stop her range rover vehicle at the side of a round about, and use the dew on the grass to wake herself up from the panic and shaking, she was experiencing. One of them, had simply gone to take her children out for the day, and had sat in her car, with her hands on the wheel, and then could not move, not one single muscle. She had been carried to the ambulance, and hospitalized for over a week. They had told her that her body had completely siezed up due to the stress of the grief.  The way a child had died, varied, from illness, dying at birth, or accident. And like any news, of loss, this weighs heavily, in the minds of those closest to the individual who has passed. I still prefer to use the word ‘passed’, because even the nature of the whole cycle of life from birth to death,  it is the later, that is so extreme, in emotion felt. I know I prefer being alive for example. God has often showed me, what the peace of heaven is. I have often had the experience of being ‘taken up in the spirit’. It is a hard thing to describe, but every ounce of anxiety vanishes, and you experience a complete sense of belonging and peace. So I just wish I could remember this when, I get to feeling so full of grief.

The worst thing about my recent visit was being watched by someone with a camera. I have been involved with the IPCC investigating, the accident I was involved in as a pedestrian a year ago. I felt completely vulnerable to the person who had a camera, and it made me a little angry. The whole solace of visiting is to remember and to feel close to where my child lays. I pray, talk to the air around me, and generally, acknowledge his passing, my missing him, and a whole host of feelings.  The thought that someone thought they had the right to photograph myself in this most intimate of situations, is vile.

The dilemma of my own child’s death, which incidentally happened in Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children, on 7th July 2005, was to leave me forever, with a memory, a tragedy within, a day of tragedy, the day of the London Bombings. The wards, in intensive care, had been cleared, but for my own baby. The reason being,  to make way for casualties. However, the babies, who were in need of intensive care, got mostly moved but for mine. And the only ‘child’ casualty that appeared to be a boy of around twelve or thirteen, in pyjammas, though no visible wounds or bandages. You hear tell of faux flags and faux dramatized events through YouTube.com but, I cannot tell if this singular boy was an actor. We the parents were instructed not to go downstairs food would be brought up if necessary as the canteen was going to be used as some sort of ‘mash’ first assessment centre.  My child had had a fibril fit, and the cause of which was in part due to cardio myopathy, and other complications.

The graveyard people, the gravediggers had made the form of a question mark with the flowers left by people, noticing the date, and possibly thinking he was a victim of the bombing attacks. The hospital had been behind with all his medication on that day. I had been told by quite a few of the doctors that my boy Marcos had had every chance of recovery.

My elderly parents, came to help me back to my town of birth, with the body of my baby, we were allowed to do this, with some special permission. Marcos was wrapped up in a large hospital blanket. We rather dramatically drove through the night to Southampton. On arrival everyone went to bed, and I with my son beside, me in my mother’s living room on her sofa bed. And the next day too, I had laid him on the sofa cushions, as if asleep. And I too, had seen what I thought was his chest rise and fall. But, people say it is an illusion. I had visited the funeral parlour where he was prepared for his funeral day. The chapel of rest, was low lit with candles, and rather sombre. But, right until the day of buriel, I had visited daily, kissed his forehead, and hoped, he would jump alive some how. I had repeatedly said, ‘Marcos, Marcos, mummy needs you’, in between sobs, and the general unreality of the whole loss. And I felt I was betraying him, somehow, if I left his side.  It is terrible, losing someone, and there is no advice to how to grieve, or for how long to grieve. I guess, I grew like the other souls around me who miss someone, learning to live with the hole that the loss creates. So in life, as much as the joy of the birth and my son’s two years of life, gave, me, in equal doses, now there is sorrow, too. I do believe in heaven, I do believe, I will see him again, and I do visit the grave not so often but, whenever, I hear his little voice, somewhere in the air. And hopefully, we will be together, when I come to the end of my own days.

It is twelve years on from that day.

If any of the above helps, at all I will feel happy, and also the counselling was a good support service that I was told about by my doctor/GP.

 

 

Housman’s Bookshop Throw a Party For Chelsea Manning

Posted in Current affairs, education, Poetry, politics, Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2017 by kathydasilva

At 7 pm this evening Housman’s Bookshop, opened its doors and celebrated the news of Chelsea Manning’s first day of freedom. All supporters, who had travelled to London for the party took part in the evening of entertainment and mirth. Poets and activists for peace stood with beer and wine in hand with a tremendous feeling of worth. Such a wonderful day for Chelsea Manning seeing her sentence of more than 35 years commuted to the six she has served with clemency from Obama as he left the Whitehouse for the last time.

Attendees, are as follows: Jim Radford, campaigner and activist for peace a veteran of WW2; Kirsten Bayes, from C.A.A.T. Campaign Against Arms Trade; Rod Langlands, activist and anti-aparteid campainer in Israel for the Palestinians; Susan Johns, who read the statement from Chelsea Manning on what had kept her strong whilst in prison; Pauline Sewards, activist and poet, who also read tonight her own poem thanking Chelsea for her bravery( she says she writes mainly for activism on the site ‘I am not a silent poet’;  the staff of Housmans including manager Catherine Barter. The whole shop was filled with the most amazing warmth, and feeling of purpose. I looked around and found titles of grand inspiration, including Naom Chomsky’s titles. The main purpose was to celebrate the victory of Chelsea Manning’s freedom, and the wonderful feeling of perhaps being part of it.

The shop aims to send to Chelsea Manning the photograph of everyone who came with the signatures and well wishes of the many who came to support this brave whistleblower. Thank you Chelsea Manning for standing for PEACE and TRUTH!

 

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I have now uploaded the small snack bites of video from the party you can hear some of the speakers to the above event on YouTube.com  …

 

The Winepress of God’s Anger

Posted in Poetry, reviews, poetry, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , on May 16, 2017 by kathydasilva

The winepress of God’s anger

Was created long ago

Our land our lives,  and now our living

Made the G_ A_ P grow

One night in the autumn in a  dark, dark dream

I saw the state of the present stream

The light over all things was grey like a cloud

The people in bondage the world in a shroud

In a shop down town, in the front of the store

I was like a  future bride  coming through the door

Escalators going up, were going to all floors

Well stocked and overflowing, the devil applauds

I couldn’t hear my footsteps, I couldn’t change the light,

There didn’t seem to be a way out  to join the BLESSED fight

I couldn’t find the exit

Which seemed miles away

I was praying for the dawn, I was praying for the Day

The clothes and carpet muffled every step

The giant padded cell,  that was playing with my head

And here’s the real mad house, not the way we’re led

If people can’t see the dark they are in

And turn away from their eternal sin

Stop all their magic, stop all the gain,

Start to live righteous, stop all the pain

Call in the debt the debt to Man

The God of Love can’t stop the plan.

(This and other poems of mine can be found in Life Dance, on Amazon sites globally..)

A Society that Could Care

Posted in Current affairs, politics, Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2017 by kathydasilva

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I picked up on some of the headlines this morning in the newspapers, as I went for a shop in my local supermarket. I was just popping in to a Tesco near my flat, for cat food, milk and oh a paper, well, I could not ignore the spread from left to right of the ‘media’ lynching of Jeremy Corbyn. Why? Well the Tories who own most of the papers albeit via Rupert Murdoch, are resplendant in their attack, as and when they choose. You or I, will see in the next few weeks the most abusive system of communication at work that I can possibly have imagined might have come into being. And perhaps this needs some sort of legislation adjustment, and still no debate via TV live platform, for Jeremy Corbyn to answer questions alongside Theresa May. Why?

I have been focused today, on trying to get to grips with online marketing potential for my published books which have been enabled by createspace.com the company with affiliations with Amazon.com so far so good, the product, my books, are there online and being sold by different online agencies. However, the problems with marketing are far harder for an individual with no money set aside for advertising, than through established publishers who do offer authors pay in advance sometimes for the work they do. As I have no advance, there is very little I can do other than small scale advertising to further the knowledge of my book creations.

Alongside my efforts this day to follow up and find, where people can buy one of my books, I also started to reflect on books I had read in the last year, and books that I looked at for style, technique and skill. My mind chose to focus first on a favorite of mine from a long time ago, John Steinbeck, who had the talent to put down in words all the characteristics of an individual, no matter how common or bizarre. He is so skilled in making focus on human suffering and economic dilemmas. And he does so with warmth integrity and incredible durability of image. I still like to browse over the old texts of the novels, of his era. The most remarkable thought came to me today, with also the need to deeply reflect on the politics that do exist today in England, and the thoughts were specifically of the society we are building for future generations. Are we all so sure, that building wealth is the goal and the only goal, that a person should be about?

I have made myself read or re-read Psycho this year by Robert Bloch, with the well known character or villain Norman Bates, a vulnerable mentally ill adult, who had put up with quite a coarse upbringing. And also, having digested this classic decided to read the more up-to-date, subsequent book of our own era, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I managed to read Psycho cover to cover. However, when it got to trying to be as thorough in my approach to American Psycho, my stomach for the ‘detail’ or catalogue of ‘sins’, that the new psycho character of Patrick Bateman, is blamed for, well, I had to put it down for another time, when I have recovered from the dark images. I will detail that Ellis’ psycho is a modern man walking amongst us. He with the million dollar lifestyle, wears the highest costing designer cloth money could buy.  He gets away with ‘murder’. He is so violent to a homeless man, and tears at his flesh in such a fashion, having torn at the man verbally, he fulfills his angry desires, on the weakest of individuals. He is presented in the book as a cannibal. He eats and cooks to eat parts of his victims. He destroys the women he takes home to his flat,  by luring them in for sexual encounter, and then tying them up, ready for torture. Eventually he kills them, having given them, a nightmare of the worst kind. And hence, I could not really say, that I enjoyed the detail. However, the worst part, of the story is how this could happen? How, could this evil exist, move around people in society, slip in and out of normality, sit at tables in expensive restaurants, pretend such calm control?

I was looking recently at the stats of people who had been on disability in Britain, who had had their benefit or disability pension revised, by the new rules under the present day Conservative Party. Apparently, 30,000 individual souls or more, perished within weeks of being put back onto the dole queue for ‘able bodied’ persons who were ‘fit for work’, in the last year or so. Some of the ‘victims’ were people who had had major surgery, and that included double organ transplanted individuals, who died within weeks of the start of a new job, or for that matter, in the effort to fulfill and not starve, the regulations of the new government.

I am not sure what I am more shocked by, American Psycho or the politics of our era, set to reinstall the same ‘madness’, that this country has been enduring for a that last few years. I just hope that the public become more greatly informed and choose to read more independent media articles. We use to call it reading around the subject, in order to get a balanced view.

When I visited my friend Bruno in France last summer well it was nearly autumn, I became utterly amazed at the feeling of sheer, ‘freedom’, that was experienced, once in the country of France. I was there only for a short four day break, as he had offered the holiday for free. I could not have gone away without the charity of a friend. I had had an accident in the April, where my ankle had been crushed by a vehicle in Ilford. I had been in the news, but not named. The car had run over my foot too in the process.

When and if you do read American Psycho, so much of what obsesses the man, the main character is to do with position in life. The clothes people are wearing and which designer shoes are being worn by who. Where they would eat, and would it be good to be seen eating in these haute couture, stylish places. The grubby, hungry, and homeless seen as a nuissance like the rubbish strewn and ready for collection.

I photographed, the student protest a year or so back, and within the hour of the demonstration finishing, and not even making the evening news, the borough of Westminster, had the street cleaning vehicles and people to broom away the abandoned placards, out in number. Who could have told that the students had even been there.

What worries me more is if we follow suit with America in ‘all things’. We seem to have allowed the grant system to fall foul of the capitalist system, in a major way. This in turn, will also mean less equality generally. Fewer people will seek an education if it also means living with a life long debt attached to their ankles like a ball and chain.

The delight in which Tories hold the ‘fort’ of Westminster, is a worrying sign. You could almost hear the laughter, from Theresa May’s cabinet ministers, at the Corbyn, dilemma of having by accident? Run over a BBC journalists foot. He will live another day, no doubt, and the NHS will put his foot back together. I just wonder if the BBC could manage to not show bias?