Archive for books

The Coming War with China a review of last night..John Pilger Documentary

Posted in Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2016 by kathydasilva

Last night I did a thing, unusual to me, and that was putting off going to my poetry unplugged in Farringdon at the Betsie Trotter Pub, usually MC’d by Niall Sullivan, of Poetry Society Café. I for some reason had spent too long, getting ready, and something made me look at the net, and I found John Pilger’s Documentary, The Coming War in China, was programmed for ITV, at 10.40pm. The content of the documentary was a current look at the military machine and planning of the nation of America, the country we have long become use to calling the United States.

I felt recently, that the USA must have been looking at the growing EU economy with a sense of competitive, and possibly invasive perspective, and this kind of proved, that America is on the grow where influence and business, is concerned, it is behaving, as perhaps Britain did during colonial times, trying to influence markets exploiting old friendships and touting for business with offers of investments which would tie effectively nations to their word over complimentary tax deals and savings. I saw this as America on the ‘build’. However, there is a limit I think with which nations would greet or accept the dominance of such a culture, on its own market planning and image. We are independent nations in the EU in terms of our cultures, but, for Europeans, the EU guaranteed some fair trading, which Brexit might not. I do not think in reality that we needed America actually trying to inroad the EU as it was trying to propose new trade deals and tie up businesses over here with the TPP deal which has gone sour and Trump promises to dispose of on taking up his presidency.

The John Pilger documentary, was truly factual, and amazingly shocking in content his expertise from many years as a journalist and activist for peace, glowing throughout. I was very happy that the people of the Marshall Islands finally might get some more help and possibly justice for all the wrong that they have been dealt. But, the most blindingly obvious exposure, of a crime, came with the detailed analysis of radiation poisoning going on with all the nuclear test program of the USA on the islands, and its inhabitants. A conscious effort to prove, the power, and also damage and perhaps to try to control damage to localities in their research, the Americans chose to experiment with a total disregard to natives human rights, as if the natives were of no importance on this earth at all. It showed the efforts of Greenpeace activists at the time helping local inhabitants try to survive the test bombing of the area, evacuating them to nearby but, further away islands in the Pacific. It seems as if America is getting ready for war, and overwhelmingly it shows them planning and scrutinizing China as a potential enemy to combat with. Wherever America placed its military, there seems an effort to dominate and use other countries, in this effort including Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. One of the interviewees, had told that, America used bases owned by Australia, but, put their own USA troops inside, so it looked like they had not maneuvered, into place at all. Or that it kept the knowledge of their presence more secret from the population of that country. One aspect of the documentary also included the massive increase of the creation of nuclear fueled/powered weaponry, and manufacture and sales of, this, had kept or had been keeping the American economy alive during the ‘reign’ of the Obama presidential period. And is it surprising now to have seen America selling arms to the Saudis, during this time as weapons sales bring in millions of dollars. Each of the test bombs on the Marshall Islands cost the USA over something like one hundred million dollars per shot. Fascism can come like a Trojan horse, loaded inside, with something very destructive internally. I have wondered too at the incredible extent of trials with wheat and crops of the company Monsanto, who have devised, new patented seeds as a result of their research and for what purpose?  One of the experimental elements of the bomb tests in the Marshall Islands was to test the effects of radiation on animals and products creams etc., that would help protect skin that was exposed. Just how far this research has gone, will be hopefully the focus for any follow up documentary that John Pilger might manage to pull out of his very wonderful bag of knowledge and journalism.

The Coming War with China ended with  a slide show  of John Pilger photographic stills, an ever flowing fountain of talent to the visual art of documentary photojournalism.

BFI are showing The Coming War with China by John Pilger,I believe  from the 8th December 2016 and in Picture Houses around the town in London.

Why Writing is Important..

Posted in education, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2016 by kathydasilva

I live in  my flat, surrounded by nearly a lifetime’s worth of books spread out around the place even some on shelves in the kitchen. I started to collect and develop, my own taste in authors works, around the time, I came to live here in London. Mostly as a student, I collected second hand novels and the saving, made it possible to read plenty of the classics, that I felt my education up until the age of sixteen, had seemed to ‘leave out’. Bar the fact my mother taught us to read from a young age, and allowed us a choice of books from the school catalogue, she also made sure there was a good enough supply of abridged versions of classics with illustrations, so that as young as we were at the ages of say four to six, there was plenty of stimulus to look at books. And in a way, I am glad to have been her youngest child. I had an absent Godfather who also sent me wonderful books, and dresses.

With e-books becoming popular, I was thinking of cutting down on the scale of the collection, but, to be truthful even the covers, and the secretiveness of the content of a book, make it a mystery. It is like looking round a second hand shop full of curios. I especially like rediscovering tales that have been quite original and different in the backdrop of another culture or far away destination, and possibly time.

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I picked up Albert Camus’ Exile and the Kingdom, from the shelf this evening, to find the story The Renegade.  It is a story of extremes, both in the condition of the characters, and the landscape of the  hot desert of West Africa. The narrator mentions Taghasa, and wikipedia informs me it is a region of saltmines. The story is about a missionary who has encountered a tribe of ‘savage people’, who cut out his tongue. He had gone to the desert people to take them the message of Christ, but, had been made to bow before their Fetish of a god, and was entrapped and beaten down.

‘What a jumble! What a jumble! I must tidy up my mind, Since they cut out my tongue, another tongue, it seems, has been wagging somewhere in my skull, somthing has been talking, or someone, that suddenly falls silent and then it all begins again – oh, I hear too many things, I never utter, what a jumble, and if I open my mouth it’s like pebbles rattling together.’ The Renegade, Albert Camus.

He ends up hating the people who had encouraged him to go out there, and wanting to prevent the humiliation of another missionary by intending to shoot him before he arrives in the city of salt. The entire story is unique, I have never read anything quite so extreme, and the only other author whose story The Immortals, Jorges Louis Borges, is there to make comparison.

And writing like this  is something that belongs to deep felt emotion and experience.

‘Squatting, as I am today in the shelter of the rock and the fire above my head pierces the rock’s thickness, I spent several days within the dark of the House of the Fetish, somewhat higher than the others, surrounded by a wall of salt, but without windows, full of sparkling night. Several days, and I was given a basin of brackish water and some grain that was thrown to me the way that chickens are fed, I picked it up.’

Yes that is why I collected books! I think story telling is important, and all cultures tend to write or story tell, and that is true throughout history. If we as humans should stop, what would there be to hand to the next generation? And then that image of H. G. Wells out of the Time Machine, of spinning discs, and books that disintegrated, as the man from our age, sees the future, through his travel. The books had been archived, it would seem in a library rarely visited, as the future inhabitants had become slaves of the Morlocks. The Morlocks, looked like savage ape-men, with no hint of intellect left, who had become cannibals! That was Wells’s  view of the post-nuclear war world. I see something different. And I hope for something different. We must make something different!

Writing…memoire/novel..Happy Days..

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Stories and reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2016 by kathydasilva

bookcoverimageabcIt’s funny and not, that at the moment I seem to be choosing humour to lighten what was traumatic at the time of something happening. But, I am not sure it will actually add to the ‘drama’ effect of real life being retold or for that matter remade, in the effort to fictionalize part of the story. I might be understating some of what happened if I add too much humour but humour is part of my personality, and some of that humour came from my father. At the time of a funeral the strangest things can happen. The people you have not seen for a while, can turn up looking completely different to when you last saw them, and in some way this can produce quite surprising elements to a scene. I am just remembering that famous film story, Four Weddings and a Funeral. Well that was something of a combined element of happy and sad moments in the lives of friends who had been quite close.

So to add to my dilemma, I will have to add something of what I read, or rely on for strength. Books are like old friends. My copy of Ulysses by James Joyce is thirty years old! The glue is dry and now not able to keep the pages together, it was paperback. The centenary that was being celebrated was the hundred years from his birth into this world. And that was back some years ago! I had read Stephen Hero and The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. When I recently went through the trauma of loss, I was privileged to view a newly written play, performed by Theatre of Eternal Values. They were Yogics, and multi national in terms of the cast who performed. So English, Italian, Finnish, Dutch, and Spanish actors took part in the story of William Blake’s life story. They did the whole lifestory, from birth to death and interwove the story of Job from the Christian bible inbetween scene changes to depict this. Blake  was someone who spoke about social injustice, and was also accused of sedition and ‘uttering treasonable expressions’, and he was quite a good craft person with regard to artistic drawing and print making.

A man who received visions from God, and saw angels in the fields amongst workers, as a child looking through a window. It is indeed amazing how one or two writers can impact a person, thoughout their life. So perhaps I am on the right track, with regard to my story after all!  It is like being in the river of life, the spiritual river if you can imagine a little of something of the mystery, it helps. My friend Michael’s poem, ‘in whose vortex I am caught up..’ Michael is a Brighton poet. The Blake play, showed the devil as a two character part representing his ‘tongue’ or two faced deceptions. It was well done. I thought this play needed to be in the Barbican. I think everyone should see this wonderful version of the life of William Blake. And now back to where I left off…..

New Release ‘Driftwood’ is out now!

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2016 by kathydasilva

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‘Streaks of sunlight separated and shone strong rays of white light onto the stone floor, and as people passed through they interrupted the light, and momentarily fell under the spot light effects of the beams.’

It’s a novel about two people, who write comic satire for a magazine. Their work is full of witticism and humor about politics of the times.

My latest novel, Driftwood is now available on Amazon.co.uk as an e-book, and in the next few days as a hard copy paperback. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Driftwood-Katherine-Da-Silva-ebook/dp/B01LYQQCVP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475673195&sr=8-1&keywords=driftwood+by+Katherine+Da+Silva

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.