Archive for June, 2014

The Full Stop Story

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2014 by kathydasilva

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The Full Stop Story

I begin my story with a full stop. Most people will associate this with a grammatical symbol that finishes a sentence. For my purpose of telling the story, I am using its size and comparison with the vast space of a page. You might say a page in the history of a life. A full stop is generally round in shape, when printed and filled with ink, so that a mark is defined clearly on the whiteness of its expanse, at the end of a string of words that might loosely describe an event.

The full stop mark on a horizon line, marks a defining moment of realization. When reached it ceases to be this end statement, for it was, and has been the goal of two very brave children. They are a boy and a girl, in terms of character, and still in their infancy, as the story begins. I describe them as two children abandoned in a desert. You may wish to ask which rogue in this world would choose to abandon two children in the middle of a desert. Keep asking this question as you read and you may begin to understand, that you too are part of their journey. Their journey has already begun, and survival of course is the goal. Now a desert is not a hospitable place to many creatures and certainly most people would only spend a very small portion of any life examining the concept or landscape of this word and place. called desert, geographers and nomads excepted.

The desert I speak of is a fairly dry, sandy, flat space, where the sun dominates the day and the aridity renders the soil, or what would be soil, into a dry consistency generally. A fine soft and at the same time gritty, beige granular substance. We use sand in an hour-glass to measure time. My first experience of this was seeing coloured sand in an egg timer, as a child. The sand drops through a small glass vessel with an even tinier aperture at the bottom into another similar vessel, until three minutes of time is marked. And of course you can turn an egg timer over and start again should you wish for your egg to be well cooked. Sand can vary in texture and colour, and frequently fascinates people when put under glass, in a decorative ornament, the type they sell at beach resorts. I believe also that Elizabethans discovered that sand when burned at a high enough temperature formed the beginnings of the discovery of glass. Would you say humans are naturally inventive? How useful is this substance glass. Glass through which we can see, but that cuts out the harsher weather of winter, the wind and rain in particular, but that still lets in light, by which we can see to get around in an indoors situation. Glass when shattered, is a more spiteful experience of sharp shards, that can cut and splinter, but that’s another story. Glass through which we see, and perceive things. A microscope uses glass and enables us to see smaller less visible to the eye objects and substances. It has the ability to magnify and enables us to see what is secret. Our imagination is further encouraged by these discoveries and knowledge of the finer elements of the universe around. The opposite of this experience though similar in nature, is being able to see miles into the distance, through a telescope. So vast to the human scale is even say the distance of ten miles, that to perceive what lies in the distance in advance of getting there is seen as an advantage. To scientists of space, of course magnification has meant even more discovery, and perception of what surrounds our world, in the form of galaxies.

Back to our children, who have clung together in a brave move of defiance against all the odds. They start their journey in just the clothes they stand in. Like most creatures, hunger and the need for shelter, the need for company, and a home, defines the plan for their day. I shall call them Thomas and Mary. Are they the ‘Jack and Jill’ of the modern world? ‘Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill …’ If you remember this very famous children’s story, they climb a hill, and while they play, and, or ‘fetch a pale of water’, an accident occurs. Jack falls down and is wounded, but not defeated. ‘Up Jack got and away did trot as fast as he could caper, went to bed to mend his head with vinegar and brown paper.’ I examined the details of this tale. Even to an average person this seems the poor man’s solution to a sore head. Rest and you will grow strong. Vinegar must have been a kind of antiseptic, something to clean the wound with. Brown paper, poor Jack. The famous two clearly struggled and were not from a wealthy family, but indeed were resourceful.

I cannot say there is a likeness exactly. Thomas and Mary enjoy an enduring relationship, and they are not burdened by life. On the day they start their journey, they see this as play. They see in the distance something which breaks the flatness of the land around them. Something that could be more exciting, and which gives them the spirit of adventure. Their sorry circumstance forgotten in an instance, as the goal becomes the climbing of what appears to be a pile of rocks. From the distance they saw it as a refuge. On closer inspection it becomes their playground. There was no incentive to go anywhere else, and as all children do they play and explore, and through some clever but deliberate climbing, they start to rebuild their own confidence. Indeed a ‘miracle’ occurs. The mild to real fear of abandonment is replaced by play, and each other’s company. The climb and activity of reaching a higher place, gives them more sight and, what appears to be a desert place with very little growing that is green, verdant, and or living, turns into a paradisiacal landscape, as they climb, creatures begin to appear, colourful birds, and four legged mammals, and all manner of flora and fauna surround them. The sun’s intensity, becomes like the joy of summer. There is rain, and sunshine, and a better world. All things become new. It is at the end, like the hope of spring after a harsh winter. A little hope in what may have been a dismal situation. A rainbow, an invisible ark. Oh to see just a glimpse of paradise, would be the most beautiful, rejuvenating experience for every soul. I often wonder why so much is hidden. I believe a little courage to go forward in life is needed sometimes, and it is true that when parents die, we may feel a little orphaned, and, awareness of our own existence and power, seems to be more evident. There is such a thing as a clear day. Somehow you can look on the world with the new eyes in the same sense of your youth, when all prospects seem ahead.

Human Rights and Human Wrongs..Middle East in Upheaval

Posted in Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2014 by kathydasilva

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I remember going along to do some reporting last year outside the American Embassy in London. I was expecting the anti-drone  march from Central London, but found to my surprise the establishment of a number of tents and beds, with about seven or so mainly women, on hunger strike protesting on behalf of dissident Iranian men and women, some of whom were murdered and a few who seem to have simply disappeared. Particularly noxious in the scheme of things, this event seems to echo the same kind of resonance of symbolic timing. The date of the massacre, and abduction of seven hostages, appeared to be 1st September 2013.  Amongst the hostages just one woman.  The poster accuses the prime minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki of collusion with the Iranian prime minister over the wilful murder, and planning of the attack on camp Ashraf. This for the Iranian’s fleeing the oppressive regime of the Ayatollah, had been their bid for ‘freedom’. Farzuneh Majidi, one of the hunger strikers, had lost family of her own under the current Ayatollah.  She expressly asked for the intervention to be a re-establishment of a monitoring, international army, which she called ‘the blue hats’, I took this to be the United Nations Troops.  And then the question remains too, why has nothing been done to help these people?  Hilary Clinton now seems to be admitting that voting for the invasion of Iraq may have been folly. And I remember at a certain time in Iraq’s past that Saddam Hussain, had been America’s friendly ally and had actually been funded to bolster the borders with Iran, as Iran had a nuclear capability which was of concern to the West.

The Ed Snowden Story

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2014 by kathydasilva

I am reading the book No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald, and indeed it is the story within the story of how Edward Snowden made a decision to tell the world about the NSA and it’s current surveillance techniques. It is astonishing even a few pages in, to see the power that the internet has given to learn secretively the details of people’s lives without informing them of any intrusion. The point being, before a house search would require a warrent. Well today, the USA is not even bothering to ask. The NSA have a computer site which will gather literally everything that is trafficked through the system of the internet. So yes I say ‘oh hail’, the inventors who can manage to create software in opposition to this type of offensive collection of information. Jacob Appelbaum and his project with Tor can be assured of interminable support and encouragement. Well done Snowden! What a whistleblow! No Place to Hide. And everyone who thought they were of some consequence in the USA meaning they thought they were important enough to be immune to the interest of the NSA will be in for a very big surprise.

On another level, enjoyment of the internet now is sadly damaged. Because unless you mean a thing to be public, then people are going to have to leave the toy of the internet alone, until encryption is good enough or easy enough for joe public. I am personally sad. It’s as if a friendship is over. It’s as if our friends the Americans, cannot even understand why and what is wrong with a leadership that allows this. I am sad for Michael Kinsley that he spoke against the whistleblow effort of Ed Snowden. He is a lesser man for doing so. The story of Ed Snowden, his background the intention to meet and speak with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, is explained in detail. I can completely and wholly see into the situation Ed Snowden found himself in. It must be heart rendering to have to live outside of the USA, almost indefinetly. Name calling by the media, is not going to help Ed Snowden. But, it is this effort people make in the absence of real knowledge, to chant a thing, to make a threat, to raise their own voice loudly in their own confusion, or worry about the need for ‘security’. They will call Edward a traitor. But, it’s the NSA who have betrayed the people’s trust. The whole thing reminds me of the story of the Cuban revolution. The book written by Reinaldo Arenas spoke of when neighbours would inform on eachother to authorities, but also manipulate the law to benefit themselves. I just wonder at how trustworthy the employees of the NSA are at this time. Way too much power is given to the hands of the few. For the current President to be seen to manipulate the law to his own ends seems an inherent error. He will be criticized if not at this time when people will reflect on the passing of laws and changing of what seemed a solid constitution, that everyone could rely upon. Oh, America! I saw by  virtual reality of a slide show (through the internet) the palatial rooms and scenic views of Catherine Hepburn’s house, which is for sale. The whole design of her house with large windows looking out upon seascapes, and rolling grassland. But, it had lost value, due to the many hurricanes now in this area.  Stormy weather for ‘you folks’, over there. I wonder how soon the population will wake up to HAARP? I wonder how soon, you will understand that you have all been virtually ‘burgalarised’? By your own government. By your own government. Comments welcome. Love to you all.