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Politics should be the Struggle for the Happiness of All.

José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano was born 20 May 1935 and was the 40th President of Uruguay between 2010 and 2015.

The World’s Poorest President Is Here To Explain Why We Need To Kick Rich People Out Of Politics.
Addicted 2 the chains | December 13, 2015

Do you love money and want to control the world? Then you’re not going to like what former Uruguayan President José Alberto “Pepe” Mujica Cordano has to say about the wealthy in politics.

We invented this thing called representative democracy, where we say the majority is who decides,” President Mujica said in the interview. “So it seems to me that we [heads of state] should live like the majority and not like the minority.”

President Mujica became popular worldwide after the BBC circulated a piece dubbing him the “World’s Poorest President.” The story reported that he donated 90% of his salary to charity during his time as president and, instead of living in a presidential palace, he opted instead to live on his modest farm with his wife and drive his two-door beater of a car.

Now, he’s lashing out at politicians who only care about themselves and their wealthy donors. And he may have a point. Today, the average member of congress has a net worth of a million dollars and corporations give huge amounts of money to Super PACs without having to disclose their donations.

The red carpet, people who play — those things,” Mujica said, mimicking a person playing a cornet. “All those things are feudal leftovers. And the staff that surrounds the president are like the old court.”

I can hear the cries of “socialist” already, but Mujica denies that he has any problems with rich people. He just doesn’t think they do an especially good job of doing the business of a nation.

I’m not against people who have money, who like money, who go crazy for money,” Mujica said. “But in politics we have to separate them. We have to run people who love money too much out of politics, they’re a danger in politics… People who love money should dedicate themselves to industry, to commerce, to multiply wealth. But politics is the struggle for the happiness of all.

When asked why rich people make bad representatives for poor people, Mujica pulled no punches.

They tend to view the world through their perspective, which is the perspective of money. Even when operating with good intentions, the perspective they have of the world, of life, of their decisions, is informed by wealth. If we live in a world where the majority is supposed to govern, we have to try to root our perspective in that of the majority, not the minority.

The tie is a useless rag that constrains your neck,” Mujica said during the interview. “I’m an enemy of consumerism. Because of this hyperconsumerism, we’re forgetting about fundamental things and wasting human strength on frivolities that have little to do with human happiness.”

Today, he continues to live on a farm on the outskirts of Montevideo with his wife, Senator Lucia Topolansky. SOURCE


Uploaded by Al Jazeera English
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A Note From The Gull

Thank you, José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano.

Memorable quotes:

On his being described as being poor.
1:47 - My definition of poor are those who need too much. Because those who need too much are never satisfied. I am frugal, not poor. Frugal, with a light suitcase. I live with little, just what's necessary, not too tied down to material things.

On freedom.
2:30 - Freedom is having time to live.

On the war against drugs. Why enforcement is not enough. Why drug use should not be clandestine.
6:41 - Because worse than drugs is drug trafficking. Drugs are a disease and I don't think that there are good drugs or that marijuana is good, nor cigarettes. No addiction is good. I include alcohol. The only good addiction is love. Forget everything else.

On his eleven years of solitary confinement in prison.
7:41 - I lived many years in solitude and I had to find refuge within myself to resist. Man is a strong animal when he has convictions. Maybe I am a bit primitive. Maybe I have a primitive strength, the product of my ancestors, of my peasant childhood.

On Pope Francis.
12:46 - We have to admit that this Pope is quite something. There is a lot to him and I think he is trying to modernise the last royal court of the modern world: the Church. He talks of returning to basics, of humility, of commitment. So as a person, I have tremendous respect for the Pope. On the other hand, it is true, I am an atheist but I admire the Catholic Church because I am a Latin American and we Latin Americans have two things in common: language and the history of the Church in this continent. So I give it importance, although my country is the most secular in the region. But in the Caribbean, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, people are profoundly Catholic and I don't want to be divorced from my people.

On the power of the Church.
14:45 - Whatever a parish priest says on a Sunday during his sermon is important in the opinions of the people. The Church has ways of communicating things at a popular level that aren't said at the top. It can help develop an attitude of peace in a country made sick by war.

On consumption and waste.
15:59 - I don't oppose consumption, I am against waste....If every powerful person has three, four, five cars and needs 400 square metres to live and a house at the beach and an airplane to go here and there isn't enough for everyone. What does modern science tell us? It tells us indisputable facts. If the current world population aspired to consume like the average American we would need three planet earths.

...because we complain about global warming while we assault nature by producing so much waste. We are mortgaging the futures of the next generations

On what he hopes to accomplish.
19:08 - My goal is to achieve a little less injustice in Uruguay, to help the most vulnerable and to leave behind a political way of thinking, a way of looking at the future that will be passed on and used to move forward. There's nothing short-term, no victory around the corner. I will not achieve paradise or anything like that. What I want is to fight for the common good to progress. Life slips by the way to prolong it is for others to continue your work.

On the reluctance of presidents to leave office.
20:34 - I am a republican. Republics exist to demonstrate that no one is better than anyone else. A president is a high-level official who is elected to carry out a function. He is not a king, not a God. He is not the witch doctor of the tribe who knows everything. He is a civil servant. As such he must leave and be replaced. I am against re-election. There are feudal systems that have survived within our republics so we lay down red carpets, the kind of things used by kings. I don't like those things. I think the ideal way of living is to live like the vast majority of people whom we attempt to serve and represent.

On why the USA has been spying on foes and allies.
22:01 - Because it is afraid. Very afraid. Because it has played the role of policeman and has made many enemies in its history. And he who has many enemies naturally is very afraid. All that. It's a mix.

On what is the USA and a prediction.
22:28 - But I don't put all the United States in the same bag. There are many United States. Luckily the number of Latin Americans grows. The United States will become a bilingual nation very quickly. The wombs of Latin American women will conquer it little by little. They are stronger for love.  So they have children and establish changes in the U.S. society. But it will take time.

On the secret for happiness.
23:21 - To live in accordance with how one thinks. To talk to the man you carry inside. It's the companion we carry to our grave. Be yourself and don't try to impose your criteria on the rest. Let's see...I don't expect others to live like me. I want to respect people's freedom but I defend my freedom. And that comes with having the courage to say what you think even if sometimes others don't share those views

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Sayamanda [Song]


 
Uploaded by intercrackamal

SAYAMANDA
By Andre Tanker [25/9/1941- 28/2/2003]

Sayamanda, sayamanda, sayamanda, ring the bell
Sayamanda, sayamanda, sayamanda, ring the bell.

From California to Philadelphia, sweet soul music down Louisiana
Tell yuh Mama, tell yuh Papa, sweet soul music down Louisiana.

From Trinidad to North Carolina [Hold on, hold on]
From Panama to Richmond, Virginia [Hold on, hold on]
Pole to pole and corner to corner [Hold on, hold on]
Behind the bridge and across the border. [Hold on, hold on].

Chain of colours, rhythm and music, yeah
Soul connection, chain of love
Chain of freedom across the world
Give the children a hand to hold
Like a rainbow come to light
Like the sunshine gold and bright.

Sayamanda, sayamanda, sayamanda, ring the bell
Sayamanda, sayamanda, sayamanda, ring the bell.

From Trinidad to North Carolina [Hold on, hold on]
Nigeria to Richmond, Virginia [Hold on, hold on]
Pole to pole and corner to corner [Hold on, hold on]
Behind the bridge and across the border. [Hold on, hold on].

Chain of colours, rhythm and music, yeah
Soul connection, chain of love
Chain of freedom across the world
Give the children a hand to hold
Like a rainbow come to life
Like the sunshine gold and bright.

Sayamanda, sayamanda, sayamanda, ring the bell
Sayamanda, sayamanda, sayamanda, ring the bell
Sayamanda, sayamanda, sayamanda, ring the bell
Sayamanda, sayamanda, sayamanda, ring the bell
Sayamanda, sayamanda, sayamanda, ring the bell...

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!
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A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Andre Tanker.

"Sayamanda was a nonsense word that he [Andre Tanker] improvised while he was composing the tune, planning to replace it with more meaningful lyrics later. But it sounded right, and later he interpreted it to mean “Is I a man there.” It meant, he explains, “We’re all human. We all have a common kind of feeling, we can identify with what’s happening in another place.SOURCE

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

New World in the Morning [Song]


Uploaded by mrwhittakersmusic

NEW WORLD IN THE MORNING
By Roger Whittaker

Everybody talks about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning, so they say
I, myself, don't talk about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning, that's today.

And I can feel a new tomorrow coming on
And I don't know why I have to make a song
Everybody talks about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning takes so long.

I met a man who had a dream he'd had since he was twenty
I met that man when he was eighty-one
He said, "Too many folks just stand and wait until the morning."
"Don't they know tomorrow never comes?"

And he would feel a new tomorrow coming on
And when he'd smile his eyes would twinkle up in fun
Everybody talks about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning never comes.

And I can feel a new tomorrow coming on
And I don't know why I have to make a song
Everybody talks about a new world in the morning
New world in the morning takes so long.

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance! ..............................................................................................................................

A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Roger Whittaker. Another opportunity for renewal is here. Wishing us  all optimism, strength, courage and love. Happy New Year to the world. 

"Terra est communis omnium parens" - Earth is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be all the beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is our world
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Christmas' Digestifs / New Year's Apéritifs: Warm up mih Soul.[Song]


Uploaded by Babytriniangelz

WARM UP MIH SOUL
By Devanand Gattoo

Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul.

Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul.

Put up a pot and make some tea
Put it in a teacup and bring it for me
Put up a pot and make some tea
Put it in a teacup and bring it for me
You know I like it, darling, I like it real hot
So give me it, honey, straight from the pot.

Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul.
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul.

Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul.

When I feel hungry, I always come to you
You does give me so much ah food, I don't know what to do
When I feel hungry, I always come to you
You does give me so much ah food, I don't know what to do
Don't mind you does give me worries to swell up mih head
If I only lose you, I sure to drop dead.

Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul.

Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul.

Every time I go to work, I thinking of you
You have me going mad, darling, all over you
Every time I go to work, I thinking of you
You have me going mad, darling, all over you
Come, darling, come, please come to me
Give me a hug and let us live happily

Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to  warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul.

Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Warm up mih soul, darling, warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul
Darling, look, I feeling cold, I want something to warm up mih soul.

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance! ..............................................................................................................................
 

A Note From The Gull

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Devanand Gattoo.

I will share with you at another time how I was first introduced to Devanand Gattoo, but at this moment, as driving snow outside is making work for blowers and ploughs, I just want the simple comfort of his song to wash over me.

I cannot think of a more appropriate song to dedicate to the world. Listening to it I am returned to the deep optimism that warms us every time that we recognise our common humanity. For whatever reason, inclement weather or emotional vulnerability/need, the singer is revealing his lack by asking his darling to help him to warm up his soul. My mind returns to Nasio Fonatine's song, "Turn your Hate around" where he acknowledges the power, greater than aggressive force, that one man's positive influence can have on another's life: "Countenance of one man brightens up another." or the song "People" by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world." 

Isolation of the human being can be necessary but only for brief periods and only in very extreme circumstances. Outside of those times, despite the walls that some of us erect to protect ourselves from hurt or to blind ourselves to our ties to our fellow men, we are continuously calling out to one another, continually pinging each other, looking for the assurance of human companionship and acceptance. It is social exclusion of varying decrees which is behind most of the crimes we commit against each other and I am willing to bet that it is social exclusion which is behind most of the acts we label as terrorist. Says the terrorist as she or he unleashes destruction, "In my weakness, you did not acknowledge. respect or accommodate my humanity" and in the case of the imperialist aggressor, I imagine a Cartman-like, "Respect mah authoritah!!!!

And what about divine exclusion? I remember at high school, after asking the Roman Catholic teacher if I should be praying for God, that her answer firmly assured me that there was a certain irreverence in my having entertained the thought of a needy God. He was after all, omnipotent and self-sufficient, she reminded me. I never accepted her answer and continued to argue, if only to myself, that God is in fact deeply affected by divine exclusion, that is, the desecration of His divinity in His Creation. "Hello, Papa God, How are you feeling today?" is how I would begin my prayers because for some reason, I have never been able to assume that God is whistling Dixie when His world is in turmoil.

Devanand Gattoo admits his human need and is not afraid to let the other know their importance in his life: 

"Every time I go to work, I thinking of you
You have me going mad, darling, all over you
Don't mind you does give me worries to swell up mih head
If I only lose you, I sure to drop dead."

Trinbagonians do not have to seek warmth in the chill of winter so Devanand Gattoo is talking about that general warmth of well being that is sought after [or ought to be] by all human beings. The love of his life gives him food and drink and companionship when he is in need. Despite their differences, all he really wants is to enjoy whatever joy their relationship brings.

All the souls all over this world are longing for the same warmth. As I listen, I am asking myself this question and not shielding myself from the harsh judgement which I deserve, "Over my lifetime, how many souls have I callously chased away from my warmth, that warmth which was never mine to withhold, but was given to me by God to share?"

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance! 
..............................................................................................................................

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Christmas' Digestifs / New Year's Apéritifs: WE ARE ALL BROTHERS.


The following text is excerpted from "Thinking through Thomas Merton: Contemplation for Contemporary Times." By Robert Inchausti, SUNY Press, 2014.

pg. 102
"Most people simply fail to comprehend that modern civilization itself - its laws, its economics, even its popular culture - constitutes a form of violence against various excluded individuals and groups. Mystified by the ideology of progress, most first-world citizens have a hard time seeing any suffering as trumping the claims of economic necessity - including wars against other sovereign nations. Such violence is accepted because no one believes that there is any higher order to reality beyond that of the materialist status quo. In this sense, Gandhi, King and even Merton, for that matter, were less political activists than moral teachers - calling for a transformation of the ethical imagination to include the lives and reality of Others, and with that, an end to war. What they stood for hasn't yet been understood, not because it is hard to express, but because the world as currently constituted just doesn't want to hear the message.

Nonviolence - as a call to think differently about history; indeed, to feel differently about thinking - is, by its very nature, hard to fathom because it questions all that we think we know about ourselves and human nature. It is not - as it misnomer implies -

pg. 103
preference for peace at any cost. Rather, it seeks to confront and, thereby, redress injustices caused by objective forms of violence, It does this by challenging the cultural assumptions that give legitimacy to violence built into the system. "Far from being a manifestation of misguided idealism," Merton tells us, "non-violence demands a lucid reason, a profound religious faith, and, above all, an uncompromising and courageous spirit of self-sacrifice."

[It] seeks to "win" not by destroying or even humiliating the adversary, but by convincing him that there is a higher and more certain common good than can be attained by bombs and blood. Non-violence, ideally speaking, does not try to overcome the adversary by winning over him, but to turn him from an adversary into a collaborator by winning him over. Unfortunately, nonviolent resistance as practiced by those who do not understand it and have not been trained in it, is often only a weak and veiled form of psychological aggression.

Nonviolence has a longer history than commonly acknowledged - emerging in the Axial Age as part of a larger critique of the militarized cultures, then emerging throughout the world, and it can be seen in the teachings of Zoroaster, Buddha, Isaiah, Confucius, Lao Tzu and Jesus. Each of these teachers invoked his own version of the Golden Rule as the cournterpoing to the emerging military ethic of might makes right. And although this ideal has been invoked again and again in response to the violence of our new militarized understanding of history, as a criticism of modern industrialization , and as an ideal connecting us to our ancient past, it was not renewed until the nineteenth century in the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy. They advocated popular resistance to oppressive totalitarian structures, such as slavery and economic oppression, given institutional sanction by governments and business cartels.

pg. 109
...As early as 1961, Merton wrote:

There can be no question that unless war is abolished the world will remain constantly in a state of madness and desperation in which, because of the immense destructive power of modern weapons, the danger of catastrophe will be imminent and probably at every moment everywhere. Unless we set ourselves immediately to this task, both as individuals and in our political and religious groups, we tend by our passivity and fatalism to cooperate with the destructive forces that are leading inexorably to war. It is a problem of terrifying complexity and magnitude, for which the Church herself is not fully able to see clear and decisive solutions.

Yet she must lead the way on the road towards nonviolent settlement of difficulties and towards the gradual abolition of war as the way of settling international or civil disputes. Christians must become active in every possible way, mobilizing all their resources for the fight against war. First of all there is much to be studied, much to be learned. Peace is to be preached, nonviolence is to be explained as a practical method, and not left to be mocked as an outlet for crackpots who want to make a show of themselves. Prayers and sacrifice must be used as the most effective spiritual weapons in the war against war, and like all weapons they must be used with deliberate aim; not just with a vague aspiration for peace and security, but against violence and against war. This implies that we are also willing to sacrifice and restrain our own instinct for violence and aggressiveness in our relations with other people. We may never succeed in this campaign, but whether we succeed or not the duty is evident. It is the great Christian task of our

pg. 110

time. Everything else is secondary, for the survival of the human race itself depends upon it. We must at least face this responsibility and do something about it. And the first job of all is to understand the psychological forces at work in ourselves and in society.

In a commencement day address at Williams College in 1984, Joseph Brodsky helped us to see the essence of nonviolence as Merton understood it when he remarked,

The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even - if you will - eccentricity. That is, something that can't be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned imposter couldn't be happy with. Something, in other words, that can't be shared, like your own skin; not even by a minority. Evil is a sucker for solidity. It always goes for big numbers, for confident granite, for ideological purity, for drilled armies and balanced sheets. Its proclivity for such things has to do presumably with its innate insecurity, but this realization, again, is of small comfort when Evil triumphs.

Nonviolence functions as a therapeutic intervention into the life of the body politic only insofar as it injects a note of authenticity into an otherwise bogus social enterprise. And like a psychonalyst looking for the exact moment and image through

pg. 111
which to reveal the repressed, the nonviolent soldier of truth must select the exact scenario and phrase, such as "I am a Man," to reveal the cognitive dysfunctions within the body politic. Only then can the traumatic misperception underpinning the prevailing social mystification can be exposed and, hence, overcome.

One loves one's enemy as one's self not out of any sentimental desire for personal perfection, but in order to gain access to the images necessary for simple sanity. The method of nonviolence, or noncooperation with evil, transforms the misplaced energies too often directed at one's foe into a direct, transparent opposition toward a particular injustice. In this way, one's energies are not wasted fighting appearances or engaging in vendettas. In a letter to Dorothy Day written in 1961, Merton explains the clarifying effect a commitment to nonviolence has in shaping apt responses to social stereotyping and political repression.

To shut out the person and to refuse to consider him as a person, as another self, we resort to the impersonal "law" and to abstract "nature." This is to say we block off the reality of the other, we cut the intercommunication of our nature and his nature, and we consider only our own nature and its rights, its claims, its demands. And we justify the evil we do to our brother because he is no longer a brother, he is merely an adversary, an accused. To restore communication, to see our oneness of nature with him, and to respect his personal rights and his integrity, his worthiness of love, we have to see ourselves as similarly accused along with him... and needing, with him, the ineffable gift of grace and mercy to be saved. Then, instead of pushing him down, trying to climb out by using his head as a stepping-stone for ourselves, we help ourselves to rise by helping him to rise, For when we extend our hand to the enemy who is sinking in the abyss, God reaches out to both of us, for it is He first of all who extends our hand to the enemy. It is He who "saves himself" in the enemy, who makes

pg. 112
use of us to recover the lost groat which is His image in our enemy.


The Jewish Barber's Speech from the movie "The Great Dictator" | Uploaded by CyclopsRevolution

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A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Thomas Merton, Robert Inchausti, Charlie Chaplin and all peacemakers everywhere.  

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Christmas' Digestifs / New Year's Apéritifs: The Lie We Live [Video & Text]


THE LIE WE LIVE | By Spencer Cathcart | Uploaded by Freshtastical
THE LIE WE LIVE
By Stephen Cathcart

At this moment you could be anywhere, doing anything. Instead you sit alone before a screen. So what’s stopping us from doing what we want? Being where we want to be?

Each day we wake up in the same room and follow the same path, to live the same day as yesterday. Yet at one time each day was a new adventure. Along the way something changed. Before our days were timeless, now our days are scheduled.

Is this what it means to be grown up? To be free? But are we really free?

Food, water, land.

The very elements we need to survive are owned by corporations. There’s no food for us on trees, no freshwater in streams, no land to build a home. If you try and take what the Earth provides you’ll be locked away. So we obey their rules.

We discover the world through a textbook. For years we sit and regurgitate what we’re told. Tested and graded like subjects in a lab. Raised not to make a difference in this world, raised to be no different. Smart enough to do our job but not to question why we do it. So we work and work, left with no time to live the life we work for. Until a day comes when we are too old to do our job. It is here we are left to die. Our children take our place in the game.

To us our path is unique, but together we are nothing more than fuel. The fuel that powers the elite. The elite who hide behind the logos of corporations. This is their world. And their most valuable resource is not in the ground. It is us.

We build their cities, we run their machines, we fight their wars. After all, money isn’t what drives them. It’s power. Money is simply the tool they use to control us. Worthless pieces of paper we depend on to feed us, move us, entertain us.


They gave us money and in return we gave them the world. Where there were trees that cleaned our air are now factories that poison it. Where there was water to drink, is toxic waste that stinks. Where animals ran free, are factory farms where they are born and slaughtered endlessly for our satisfaction. Over a billion people are starving, despite us having enough food for everybody. Where does it all go? 70% of the grain we grow is fed to fatten the animals you eat for dinner. Why help the starving? You can’t profit off them.

We are like a plague sweeping the earth, tearing apart the very environment that allows us to live. We see everything as something to be sold, as an object to be owned. But what happens when we have polluted the last river? Poisoned the last breath of air? Have no oil for the trucks that bring us our food? When will we realize money can’t be eaten, that it has no value?

We aren’t destroying the planet. We are destroying all life on it. Every year thousands of species go extinct. And time is running out before we’re next. If you live in America there’s a 41% chance you’ll get cancer. Heart disease will kill one out of three Americans. We take prescription drugs to deal with these problems, but medical care is the third leading cause of death behind cancer and heart disease. We’re told everything can be solved by throwing money at scientists so they can discover a pill to make our problems go away. But the drug companies and cancer societies rely on our suffering to make a profit. We think we’re running for a cure, but really we’re running away from the cause. Our body is a product of what we consume and the food we eat is designed purely for profit. We fill ourselves with toxic chemicals. The bodies of animals infested with drugs and diseases. But we don’t see this. The small group of corporations that own the media don’t want us to. Surrounding us with a fantasy we’re told is reality.


It’s funny to think humans once thought the earth was the center of the universe. But then again, now we see ourselves as the center of the planet. We point to our technology and say we’re the smartest. But do computers, cars, and factories really illustrate how intelligent we are? Or do they show how lazy we’ve become. We put this “civilized” mask on. But when you strip that away what are we?

How quickly we forget only within past hundred years did we allow women to vote; allow blacks to live as equals. We act as if we are all-knowing beings, yet there is much we fail to see. We walk down the street ignoring all the little things. The eyes who stare. The stories they share. Seeing everything as a background to ‘me’.

Perhaps we fear we’re not alone. That we are a part of a much bigger picture. But we fail to make the connection. We’re okay killing pigs, cows, chickens, strangers from foreign lands. But not our neighbours, not our dogs, our cats, those we have come to love and understand. We call other creatures stupid yet we point to them to justify our actions. But does killing simply because we can, because we always have, make it right? Or does it show how little we’ve learned. That we continue to act out of primal aggression rather than thought and compassion.

One day, this sensation we call life will leave us. Our bodies will rot, our valuables recollected. Yesterday’s actions all that remain. Death constantly surrounds us, still it seems so distant from our everyday reality. We live in a world on the verge of collapse. The wars of tomorrow will have no winners. For violence will never be the answer; it will destroy every possible solution.

If we all look at our innermost desire, we will see our dreams are not so different. We share a common goal. Happiness. We tear the world apart looking for joy, without ever looking within ourselves. Many of the happiest people are those who own the least. But are we really so happy with our iPhones, our big houses, our fancy cars?


We’ve become disconnected. Idolizing people we’ve never met. We witness the extraordinary on screens but ordinary everywhere else. We wait for someone to bring change without ever thinking of changing ourselves.

Presidential elections might as well be a coin toss. It’s two sides of the same coin. We choose which face we want and the illusion of choice, of change is created. But the world remains the same. We fail to realize the politicians don’t serve us; they serve those who fund them into power.


We need leaders, not politicians. But in this world of followers, we have forgotten to lead ourselves. Stop waiting for change and be the change you want to see. We didn’t get to this point by sitting on our asses. The human race survived not because we are fastest or the strongest, but because we worked together.

We have mastered the act of killing. Now let’s master the joy of living.

This isn’t about saving the planet. The planet will be here whether we are or not. Earth has been around for billions of years, each of us will be lucky to last eighty. We are a flash in time, but our impact is forever.

I often wished I lived in an age before computers, when we didn’t have screens to distract us. But I realize there's one reason why this is the only time I want to be alive. Because here today, we have an opportunity we never had before. The internet gives us the power to share a message and unite millions around the world. While we still can we must use our screens to bring us closer together, rather than farther apart.

For better or worse, our generation will determine the future of life on this planet. We can either continue to serve this system of destruction until no memory of our existence remains. Or we can wake up. Realize we aren’t evolving upwards, but rather falling down...we just have screens in our faces so we don’t see where we’re heading.

This present moment is what every step, every breath and every death has led to. We are the faces of all who came before us. And now it is our turn. You can choose to carve your own path or follow the road countless others have already taken.


Life is not a movie. The script isn’t already written. We are the writers.

This is Your Story, Their Story, Our Story.


Transcript source
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A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Stephen Cathcart.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Christmas' Digestifs / New Year's Apéritifs: With God on our Side [Song]


Uploaded by TimeToCastAwayStones

WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE
Composed by Bob Dylan [1963]
Performed live in 1966 by Joan Baez

Oh, my name it is nothing, my age it means less
And the country I come from is called the Midwest
I was taught and brought up there, the laws to abide
And that the land that I live in has God on its side.

Ah, the history books tell it, they tell it so well
The cavalries charged, the Indians fell
The cavalries charged, the Indians died
Ah, the country was young with God on its side.

The Spanish-American War had its day
And the Civil War too was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes, I was made to memorize
With guns in their hands and God on their side.

Well, the First World War, boys, it came and it went
And the reason for fighting, I never did get
But I learned to accept it, and accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead when God’s on your side.

And the Second World War, it came to an end
We forgave the Germans and called them our friends
Though they murdered six million, in the ovens they fried
Ah, the Germans now too have God on their side.

Well, I’ve learned to hate Russians all through my whole life
If another war comes, it’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them, to run and to hide
And accept it all bravely with God on my side.

But now we got weapons of the chemical dust
And if fire them we’re forced to, then fire them we must
One push of the button and a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions when God’s on your side.

For many dark hours, I’ve thought about this
That Jesus Christ was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you, you’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side.

And now as I’m leaving, I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feeling, ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head, they fall to the floor
That if God is on our side, He’ll stop the next war.

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance! ..............................................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

"For you don’t count the dead when God’s on your side."

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

Christmas Message from the Office of the President, T&T, 2015


MESSAGE FROM HER EXCELLENCY MS CHRISTINE KANGALOO, ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO ON THE OCCASION OF CHRISTMAS 2015 AND THE NEW YEAR 2016
Published by Caribbean News Media Group | Friday, 25 December 2015 11:02

The story of Christmas is nothing short of magical. It is a story filled with messages and images that teach and inspire. The birth, in the lowliest of circumstances and of places, of an outcast child who would one day redeem the very world which prosecuted him, remains one of the most remarkable stories ever told. For Trinidad and Tobago, it is a story whose relevance is perhaps greatest at this time in our country’s history.

Like the Christ-Child, our country was once the supreme outcast - “a colonial slum” within the Spanish Empire, as V. S. Naipaul once described it. Persecuted by the “Herods” of neglect and of want, our forefathers, too, travelled dark and lonely roads on their way to our birth as a nation in 1962. Facing an uncertain future in the aftermath of our independence, it was the faith of our people that steadied us, much like Mary’s unwavering faith steadied her anxious heart before the Angel Gabriel, inspiring her surrender to the Divine will. Her faith was an affirmation of the supremacy of God - an affirmation echoed by our citizens in the preamble to our 1976 Republican Constitution.

Among the other messages it contains, the story of Christmas, then, is the story of single-minded commitment to a goal (finding a place to give birth to a child); of unwavering faith in the supremacy of God; and of the birth of the work of redemption in the most hostile of circumstances.

That is why the story of Christmas is so relevant to Trinidad and Tobago today. As we continue to commit ourselves single-mindedly to the creation of a society in which fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, and the dignity of the human person are paramount, we are committing ourselves to an important redemptive work. That is the work our forefathers began. That work, when completed, will redound to the benefit not just of our beloved country, but of the whole world.

As we continue that work today, there is understandable anxiety over the future, particularly as unfriendly economic skies gather. Let us not be afraid. The story of Christmas teaches us that that which brings us our salvation sometimes lies in the midst of the storm. As we celebrate Christmas this year, let us drive out fear with the faith which inspired Mary to open herself up to and to face head-on the uncertainties before her.

Trinidad and Tobago is truly a “Christmas nation”: we are a nation of wise men and women, having been abundantly blessed with our share of Magis; throughout our history, there has been a Divinity that has guided us and shaped our ends; and there have been countless guiding stars that have shone and that will continue to shine in whatever is the darkness that might overshadow us from time to time.

May the magic of the Christmas story take root in our hearts this Christmas and in the coming New Year. May our faith be our constant companion and our guiding star. May we join hands and walk assuredly into the future, confident that we will yet create the nation our forefathers dreamed of and, in so doing, redeem our collective aspirations and find our salvation.

On behalf of Their Excellencies President and Mrs. Carmona, and on my own behalf, I wish all of Trinidad and Tobago a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Bright 2016. SOURCE
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A Note From The Gull

I thank Her Excellency,  Acting President Ms Christine Kangaloo, for the trust and generousity displayed in this Christmas message to a nation which has been brought to religious pluralism - just one of the achievements of a hard won and continuously evolving cultural awareness.

Some other societies have not yet travelled this road and the extent to which we are shocked by their distrust and fear reflects how far along the path we have come. Earlier this month, on Friday, December 18, 2015, all the schools and school offices were closed in Augusta County, Virginia, USA. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution and based on recommendations by law enforcement and the Augusta County School Board, after an avalanche of complaints via e-mail messages and phone calls had followed a World Geography lesson and accompanying voluntary homework assignment at one school. Apparently the homework assignment aiming to give students an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy had instructed the students to replicate the Shahada, the Islamic statement of faith. I cannot say with any certainty if the initial protest was made by just one parent but the reports seem to focus on one female who is featured in the video below. This Christian believed that the lesson was a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate the children in the class, although in his response, Augusta County Schools official Eric Bond, stated that "Neither of these lessons, nor any other lessons in the world geography course, are an attempt at indoctrination to Islam or any other religion or a request for students to renounce their own faith or profess any belief," SOURCE  For reasons unknown this issue could not have been discussed and settled in a more dignified and less inflammatory manner between concerned parents and the relevant county authorities.

The following statement was also issued to inform the public that in the future, a non-religious sample of Arabic calligraphy will be used by the schools.

Statement from Augusta County Public Schools:

"Augusta County Schools and all administrative offices will be closed Friday, December 18, 2015.

Following parental objections to the World Geography curriculum and ensuing related media coverage, the school division began receiving voluminous phone calls and electronic mail locally and from outside the area. As a result of those communications, the Sheriff's Office and the school division coordinated to increase police presence at Augusta County schools and to monitor those communications. The communications have significantly increased in volume today and based on concerns regarding the tone and content of those communications, Sheriff Fisher and Dr. Bond mutually decided schools and school offices will be closed on Friday, December 18, 2015. While there has been no specific threat of harm to students, schools and school offices will be closed Friday, December 18, 2015. All extra-curricular activities are likewise cancelled for tonight, Thursday, December 17, through the weekend. We regret having to take this action, but we are doing so based on the recommendations of law enforcement and the Augusta County School Board out of an abundance of caution.

Finally, the Augusta County School Board and Dr. Bond appreciate parents bringing concerns directly to our attention, and a constructive and respectful dialogue between school and community is always welcome. As we have emphasized, no lesson was designed to promote a religious viewpoint or change any student's religious belief. Although students will continue to learn about world religions as required by the state Board of Education and the Commonwealth's Standards of Learning, a different, non-religious sample of Arabic calligraphy will be used in the future..." SOURCE

Knowing her society and the current climate which makes it problematic to discuss any religions in schools and even more "uncomfortable" to be Muslim in America, I'd say that the teacher was either very courageous or very reckless to have bypassed vanilla pablum and chosen the example of a statement of faith. I haven't yet seen the results of any polls that can tell me if these protesters had the support of the majority in that county or country but maybe that is inconsequential. I have noticed that the majority's opinions mean very little when involving real life and death issues [for example, anti-war protests, anti-police brutality protests, anti-austerity protests] but are given prominence and opportunistic concern when folly and ignorance hold sway. Irony is king these days.

It is already difficult to view with sympathy the evidence of emotional/intellectual malformation as a result of socialization but an even greater cause for concern is the suspicion that neurosis is also involved. My attention was detained by a fleeting event at position 1:34 in the video. Notice that throughout the video the eyes maintain an unblinking bulge but then when she has to say the word Islam, the muscles around the left eye alone pinch with a sphincter-like action. Forgive me for extrapolating but I was left imagining similarly pinching left eyes among the members of lynch mobs.

When I saw the language, the Arabic language, immediately I had a bad feeling come over me,” said Kimberly Herndon," SOURCE


Uploaded by YOURFIRSTNEWS

Some opinions from Kimberly Herndon of Good News Ministries:

She felt her rights as a parent had been violated...

She felt the assignment tried to indoctrinate her child into the Islamic religion.

"There was no trying about it. The sheet that she gave out was pure doctrine in its origin."

"I will not have my children sit under a woman who indoctrinates them with the Islam religion when I am a Christian and I want to stand behind Christ."

Regarding the assignment on Facebook, Riverheads parent, Kimberly Herndon, wrote on December 11:

"I am preparing to confront the county on this issue of the Muslim indoctrination taking place here in an Augusta County school. This evil has been cloaked in the form of multiculturalism."

In the same post, she added:

"Christian girls in this class were called to volunteer to adorn the apparel of Muslim women. Unknowingly these children did so. Also unknowingly they were instructed to denounce our Lord by copying this creed of Islam."

The entire post has been shared over 700 times." SOURCE

"That's why we need to join together," Herndon told other parents. "If my truth cannot be spoken in schools, I don't want false doctrine spoken in schools. That's what keeps it even across the board." SOURCE  

This last statement by Kimberly Herndon is the only one which makes any sense to me - the argument that if Christianity cannot be mentioned in schools, then the same should apply to other religions. But was this assignment teaching religion or teaching about religion as part of culture. As a parent I would have raised this with the School Board to be discussed with other concerned parents with at least a modicum of temperance.

In response, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights published the following statement made by their president, Bill Donohue:
"At the same time that schools are censoring “Silent Night” from being sung at their annual “holiday” concerts, others are forcing students to pay homage to Muhammad. Regarding the latter, when a teacher at Riverheads High School in Virginia assigned students to practice calligraphy by writing, “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,” the school district defended the decision. Many parents strongly disagreed and the ensuing ruckus led officials to close the school today. It should stay closed until sanity prevails.

If a public school teacher were to assign students to write, “Jesus is the Son of God,” here’s what would happen: (a) the teacher would be fired (b) administrators would hold a press conference condemning the indoctrination (c) all teachers in the school district would be ordered to undergo sensitivity training (d) grief counselors, accompanied by dogs, would be summoned to deal with emotionally torn students (e) an ACLU attorney would lecture the community on church and state issues, and (f) the national media would give this incident top billing.

But, of course, no one was fired and administrators defended the assignment. There will be no sensitivity programs, no grief counselors, no dogs, and no ACLU lawyer. And most of the big media have ignored this story.

We checked to see how the most prominent atheist organizations, as well as the most influential church-and-state groups, have dealt with this abuse of power. None have said a word, even though this story was first reported on December 15. They are too busy censoring Christmas celebrations to worry about Islamic indoctrination.

We can thank multiculturalism for this condition. Its goal is to denigrate Christianity and elevate challenges to it. That’s why Muhammad is okay and Jesus is taboo.

Thank God parents are smarter than the educators. We need more of these kinds of revolts." SOURCE

We need more of these kinds of revolts? Revolts against what exactly? Systemic injustice, economic oppression, racism, military aggression, the things that the Christ would have wanted us to address? Is Christianity so weak and threatened in the homes of your countrymen that any reference to another religion sends it into a tailspin. I remained Roman Catholic from childhood into adulthood and I grew up surrounded by Muslims, Hindus and Baptists. My parents never denigrated their beliefs, never screamed bloody murder when their children learned about those other religions or took part in their celebrations.

The lessons are many but the one that stands out for me is that it is the character of the adherent that presents his/her religion to the world. It is said that all will know that we are Christians by our love. But if we continuously boast that we are Christians and yet have no tolerance, or realising that we have no tolerance, we do not demonstrate that we are actively seeking to cultivate some by toning down the rabidity, others will not see Christianity. They will see instead something that is selfish, bloodthirsty, cold and irrational. They can be forgiven for concluding that Christianity is not a religion of peace just like people who are are judging Islam by the actions of a minority and concluding that Muslims are wired to be fanatical or violent.

But I will only speak for Christianity and I believe that Christianity needs at the very least, a year of reflection, a year for adherents to follow a programme through which they will guided by intelligent and honest religious teachers to examine their consciences. We will be assisted in uncovering our own monumental failures and avowing the centuries of active and silent complicity that our three fingers are pointing back at when we point the one accusingly at Islam or whatever scapegoat is in vogue.

In 1979, Muammar Gaddafi, may he rest in peace, was interviewed by John Simpson and these words stuck with me:

"John Simpson: But what about Islam in its social role? Will Islam as a religion, as a structure, play the kind of part that it has perhaps played in other Islamic countries?

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi: I believe it is written in the Qur'an and in the Bible also, the social justice is one of the main goals of these religions. As Jesus calls for, or called for, social justice and equality between all human beings, also Qur'an calls for this and as I said, there is no contradiction between political regime, Jamahiriya, and so on and the Islam. Also there is no contradiction between Socialism and Islam and there is no contradiction between Socialism and Christianity and Jews and so on.

...I wish for all the world, especially the Catholic world, must go back to the words of Jesus and the words of God and read the Bible again and again because now they are acting against the Bible, against the words of Jesus, against the words of God. That I want, and that my wish for all the Catholic world and all the world peoples in the world in this new year."


If you are among those who shake their heads with disbelief and regret whenever confronted by the rope slingers and pitchfork rattlers of this world, then you must understand that more is expected of you. There is a reason why you have been brought to a place where you have been freed of some of the baggage that makes it difficult for many other human beings to evolve, to heal, to realise their original perfection and common humanity. We still have a long way to go but I do believe that we have many blessings.



Sea glass is beautiful. There are some beaches in the world that are treasure troves, where broken bottles finding themselves in the turbulent water have had their sharp dangerous edges ground smooth by the attrition of water driven sand and pebbles. You walk along these beaches and if you are lucky you can collect many pieces of beautiful translucent polished bits of glass of the various but more subdued hues of the original discarded bottles.

Life is not easy but our struggles can put a glow on us like sea glass in the sunshine if we allow ourselves to be instructed and improved by our trials and experiences. Our ancestors suffered like broken bottles at the mercy of forces that threw them where they did not belong, did not at first love and did not all choose to be. We are the products of centuries of different cultures rubbing up against each other in this place that we inhabit, centuries of challenges to integrity - racial, credal, class, many times succumbing to challenges to physical integrity; centuries of grinding off the harsh edges of separateness; centuries of slow realisation that we are all in this life and place together and that it is only in the finding of commonalities that we can establish a home that is truly ours.

When we sing about every creed and race finding an equal place here, there are different levels at which we can actualise this.  Maybe it is not just that the place physically admits a plurality, but that it is only in the plurality that a place will be made. The replacement in 2008 of the Trinity Cross by the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago comes to mind. On one level, I do understand the arguments that were made about the perception of exclusion and imposition/domination that could be triggered by what was originally an overtly Christian symbol lingering in a nation of various religions, but I sometimes find myself wondering if a more courageous and generous spirit would have arrived at a solution where room for all could have been made.

Even if not effected by a simple name change, couldn't the cross which is actually pre-Christian have recognised itself in the sacred geometry of the ancient Swastika, or wouldn't the Trinity have found echoes in Trimurti/Tridevi/Trikuta/Triquetra or some more universally acceptable meaning based on the symbolism of three or Triad? Even if after such an examination, we had arrived at the same conclusion, that the symbol had to be discarded because it could not and would not accommodate us all, we might have been far better off for having sat together and tried to make each other feel at home. Was this one of the times when in selectively discarding some of the bathwater of the past, another baby of opportunity was lost?

The Trinity Cross [above]
The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago [below]

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare