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

Uploaded by Babytriniangelz

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!

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


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!

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

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

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!

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

Uploaded by TimeToCastAwayStones

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!

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

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

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


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!

The Christ's Message WAS, IS and always WILL BE: LOVE

Make You Feel My Love | By Adele | Uploaded by TALIS4ANGELS

"Nothing that I wouldn't do, go to the ends of the earth for you to make you feel my love."


34 "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. 
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, 
if you have love for one another."

--John 13:34-35 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
"Terra est communis omnium parens" - Our 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 my world
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

Find No Enemy [Rap]

Uploaded by GlobalFaction

By Akala

Apparently I'm second generation black Caribbean
And half white Scottish, whatever that means
See, lately I feel confused with the boxes
'Cause to me, all they do is breed conflict
It's not that I've lost touch with reality
Of racism, sexism and nationality
Just to me, it all seems like insanity
Why must I rob you of your humanity
To feel good about mine?
It's all about crime
Dehumanizing is how I justify it
So I must keep lying 'bout the history of Africa
So I can live with the massacres
And repeat my mantra - Muslim terrorist
So I can sleep at night as bombs take flight
Eyes open wide but I'm blind to the sight
Too busy chasing the perfect life
And the working class, keep them uneducated
Truly educated men could never be a racist
To educate is to draw out what is within
Are we not all not the same under the skin?
I got a heart like yours that pumps blood and oxygen
And insecurities - a whole lot of them
I'm scared like you deep down
I really do care that the world is not fair like you
But I don't even believe my own prayers like you
Chasing career, going nowhere like you
Lost in a fog of my own insecurity
I hold myself up as an image of purity
And I judge everybody else
By the color of their skin or the size of their wealth
But it's not good for my health
As the only one I ever really judge is myself
The oppressor must suffer like the oppressed
Though I pretend I'm in control of this mess
By inflating my ego, puffing my chest
I see our weakness, and need to show strength
Or what we think strong is 'cause if we're honest?
True strength is the strength to be honest
And if I'm honest, I am just tired
If I'm honest, I am just tired
Tired of everyday filling up my car and knowing that
I'm paying for the bombs in Iraq
Tired of pretending it don't hurt my heart
Of wanting change but not knowing where to start
Tired of listening to all the conditioning
And all the forms that they got me filling in
Next time you see what you think is a thug and despise him
Please know I was just like him
'Cause I was like eight first time I saw crack
Same time I first smoked weed, choking on blowbacks
First time I saw knives penetrate flesh
It was meat cleavers to the back of the head
As I grew and teenage years passed
Many more knifes pierced and the shots blast
And I ain't saying I had the worst upbringing
But there's a million young men just like me in prison
We complain about racism, elevate clowns
With their trousers down swinging their dick 'round
Maybe that is not quite literal
But everything they do is just as stereotypical
To my real fans, I feel your pain
And I get the messages, but don't complain
That we ain't got more fame, we're playing our part
They can keep the charts, all I want is your hearts
They can keep the charts, all I want is your hearts
They can keep the charts, all I want is your hearts
Call it black radio, don't make me laugh
So is black music all about tits and arse?
You don't represent nothing, you're just pretending
When was the last time you ever played Hendrix?
Or Miles Davis or John Coltrane?
Or Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday?
We can call it urban, to me that's cool
If urban means street, that includes jazz too
And rock for that matter
Go ask Mick Jagger or Jimmy Page what they were listening to - the blues
Not discrediting, love Zeppelin too,
Just giving credit where credit is due
That blood soaked word rappers still use
All it really shows is we still self abuse
That was the word that was used to kill Kelso Cochrane and Emmett Till
That was the word that the conscience eased
And made people pleased that hung you from trees
That was the word that let the whips crack
No matter what you say, you can't take it back
And I can say they're black so I feel their pain easier
But 1915 look at Armenia
It's the whole world, this human stupidity
That we choke ourselves to death quite literally
And I can talk with my comfortable mouth
With my comfortable clothes and my comfortable house
The tables will turn, we can but stall them
Every empire on this earth has fallen
So unless we can find another way
Maybe not today, but it will come one day
And it may sound like I'm bitter
But in fact, truth be told, I am quite the opposite
I wake everyday and am overwhelmed
Just to be alive and be like no one else
And the sheer weight of the thought of space
Is enough to keep my little ego in place
All that we chase and try to replace
All along it was right in our face
The only way we can ever change anything
Is to look in the mirror and to find no enemy
The only way we can ever change anything
Look in the mirror and to find no enemy.

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, Akala.

"They can keep the charts, all I want is your hearts."

You've got my heart because your consciousness gives me hope.

"The only way we can ever change anything
Is to look in the mirror and to find no enemy."

"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!

Chitti Aayi Hai [Song]

Uploaded by Indian music world

Performed by Pankaj Udhas
Music and lyrics by Laxmikant Pyarela and Anand Bakshi
Movie: Naam

Chitti Aayi Hai Aayi Hai Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come, has come, the letter has come
Chitti Aayi Hai Vatan Se Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come from my homeland, the letter has come

Chitti Aayi Hai Vatan Se Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come from my homeland, the letter has come.

Bade Dinon Ke Baad Hum Bevatnon Ko Yaad
After a long time they remembered us who are away from home
Bade Dinon Ke Baad Hum Bevatnon Ko Yaad
After a long time they remembered us who are away from home
Vatan Ki Mitti Aayi Hai
The soil of the homeland has come.

Chitti Aayi Hai Aayi Hai Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come, has come, the letter has come
Chitti Aayi Hai Vatan Se Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come from homeland, the letter has come.

Upar Mera Naam Likha Hai Andar Ye Paigham Likha Hai
My name is written on the top with this message inside
Oh Pardes Ko Jaanewale Laut Ke Phir Na Aanewale
Oh the one who has gone abroad and who will never return
Saat Samundar Paar Gaya Tu Humko Zinda Maar Gaya Tu
You have crossed seven seas, you have killed me even though I live
Khoon Ke Rishte Todd Gaya Tu Aankh Mein Aansoo Chod Gaya Tu
By breaking the bond of blood and leaving tears in eyes
Kam Khaate Hain Kam Sote Hain Bahut Zyaada Hum Rote Hain
We eat less, sleep less but cry a lot.

Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come
Chitti Aayi Hai Aayi Hai Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter had come, has come, the letter has come.
Chitti Aayi Hai Vatan Se Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come from homeland, the letter has come.

Sooni Ho Gayi Shehar Ki Galiyaan Kaante Ban Gayi Baag Ki Kaliyaan
The streets of the town feel empty, the buds of our garden seem like thorns
Kehte Hain Saawan Ke Jhule Bhool Gaya Tu Hum Nahin Bhoole
The spring tells us you've forgotten us, but we haven't
Tere Bin Jab Aayi Diwali
When the festival of Diwali came without you
Deep Nahin Dil Jale Hain Khaali
Not the lamps, but only our hearts burned
Tere Bin Jab Aayi Holi
When the festival of Holi came without you
Pichkaari Se Chooti Goli
The pichkari shot bullets instead of colours.

Peepal Soona Panghat Soona
The peepal tree is deserted, so is the pond
Peepal Soona Panghat Soona
The peepal tree is deserted, so is the pond
Ghar Shamshaan Ka Bana Namoona
Home feels like grave
Fasal Kati Aayi Baisakhi
Harvest is over, and the festival of Baisakhi came
Tera Aana Reh Gaya Baaki
Awaiting your return now.

Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come
Chitti Aayi Hai Aayi Hai Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come, has come, the letter has come
Chitti Aayi Hai Vatan Se Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come from homeland, the letter has come.

Pehle Jab Tu Khat Likhta Tha Kaagaz Mein Chehra Dikhta Tha
When you first used to write I could see your face on the paper
Bandh Hua Yeh Mel Bhi Ab To Khatam Hua Yeh Khel Bhi Ab To
It has stopped now, this game is over now
Doli Mein Jab Baitti Behna Rasta Dekh Rahe The Naina
At her wedding your sister's eyes were searching the road for you
Mein To Baap Hoon Mera Kya Hai Teri Maa Ka Haal Bura Hai
I am father, don't bother about me but your mother is disappointed
Teri Biwi Karti Hai Seva Soorat Se Lagti Hai Bewa
Your wife does her duty, she looks like a widow now
Tune Paisa Bahut Kamaaya Iss Paise Ne Desh Chudaaya
You have earned a lot of money, this money has taken you away from home
Desh Paraayaa Chhod Ke Aajaa Panchhi Pinjra Todh Ke Aaja
Break the cage and come home, leave the strange country and come home.
Desh Paraayaa Chhod Ke Aajaa Panchhi Pinjra Todh Ke Aaja
Break the cage and come home, leave the strange country and come home.

Aajaa Umar Bahut Hai Chotti
Come back, you are still young
Apane Ghar Mein Bhi Hain Roti
We are doing good at home too.

Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come
Chitti Aayi Hai Vatan Se Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come from homeland.

Bade Dinon Ke Baad Hum Bevatnon Ko Yaad
After a long time they remembered us who are away from home
Vatan Ki Mitti Aayi Hai Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come with the soil of homeland.

Chitti Aayi Hai Aayi Hai Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come
Chitti Aayi Hai Vatan Se Chitti Aayi Hai
The letter has come from homeland....

Translation sources: 1 and 2


A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Pankaj Udhas and outstanding musicians for this divine performance. Thanks also to the composers who were inspired to create this song.

Man is lonely by birth but it helps to have an earthly home. And if nothing is separating you from that home, cling to it and treasure every moment you have there with the ones who love you.

But what if all your life, you have been receiving letters from a home before/beyond/after this world? You cannot return of your own volition so even though you will not admit it, you know that you are just marking time here, learning whatever you can while you wait for the moment, expected or not, when mortality will finally place your boarding pass into your trembling hand. How does this happen? Is it that your trans-life memory is far from recessive? Is there a loved one in another life who mourned your loss too deeply, who continued to pray too earnestly to be reunited with you, who too often visited and left pebbles or flowers on your grave?

This is why I am perhaps the least qualified to be so critical about how people allow the things of this world to burden them. I myself am burdened by the unshakeable memory of another world which has been asking me all my life, quietly, insistently, Ke ghar kab aaoge? When will you come home?

Sandese aate hain | Messages arrive;
Humein tadpaate hain | they trouble us.
To chitthi aati hai | Then letters come;
To poochh jaati hai | they ask,
Ke ghar kab aaoge | "When will you come home?"
Likho kab aaoge | "Write and tell us when you’ll come home.",
Ki tum bin ye ghar soona soona hai | "For without you, this house is empty, empty.".

Spirit, guide and save those of our countrymen at home and abroad, in their mansions and shacks, in gangs, governments, armies [sanctioned or not] who bring terror of any sort to their fellow human beings, who separate others from physical, emotional, spiritual well-being. Homelessness is hell.

"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!

Buena suerte a Venezuela | Good luck to Venezuela.

Uploaded by Warner Music Germany

A victory is announced for Venezuela's Opposition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática [MUD] in the parliamentary elections winning 99 seats out of 145.

08/12/2015- Updated results: MUD 109, GPP 55

The People will choose what is coming to them.

I have just begun reading "Haunting Legacies: Violent histories and transgenerational trauma." by Gabriele Schwab who grew up in post WWII Germany. I will share excerpts as I go along. It is my belief that we have become too comfortable in this world with our sickness and we have made too many accommodations with violence, horror and the prison of denial. Quite apart from the discoveries which authors like Gabriele share, they also give me hope because their work implies that despite the mind-blowing apathy and dumbing down that is evident everywhere, Yeats' "the best lack all conviction" comes to mind, there are hearts and minds where honesty and courage do persist.

Peace today to the Venezuelan people in their parliamentary elections. External interference and internal weaknesses and the sometimes cruel passions that they can inflame have been their constant companions. These are facts that have been documented and have had to be continuously controlled to retain some sort of stability. But if the majority of the people are not united and committed and courageous and sturdy enough to walk a rough path into smoothness, then they are the ones who will continue to invite destabilisation. In the end it is the weakest link that breaks the chain, not so much the force that is being applied by any hostile factor pretending to offer deliverance. Within an imperfect system of representation, a decision will be made. The people will choose what is coming to them.

Talking about imperfect representation, I recommend Muammar Gaddafi's "Green Book" to those who have been questioning the systems of government which they have inherited and which are proving to be increasingly problematic, if not persistent obstacles in the way of achieving truly participatory democracy. 

Narrated by Harold Hudson Channer | Uploaded by ArthurLoveForLife
Excerpt from "The Green Book" by Muammar Al Gaddafi.


The instrument of government is the prime political problem confronting human communities (The problem of the instrument of government entails questions of the following kind. What form should the exercise of authority assume? How ought societies to organize themselves politically in the modern world?)

Even conflict within the family is often the result of the failure to resolve this problem of authority. It has clearly become more serious with the emergence of modern societies.

People today face this persistent question in new and pressing ways. Communities are exposed to the risks of uncertainty, and suffer the grave consequences of wrong answers.Yet none has succeeded in answering it conclusively and democratically. THE GREEN BOOK presents the ultimate solution to the problem of the proper instrument of government.

All political systems in the world today are a product of the struggle for power between alternative instruments of government. This struggle may be peaceful or armed, as is evidenced among classes, sects, tribes, parties or individuals. The outcome is always the victory of a particular governing structure - be it that of an individual, group, party or class - and the defeat of the people; the defeat of genuine democracy.

Political struggle that results in the victory of a candidate with, for example, 51 per cent of the votes leads to a dictatorial governing body in the guise of a false democracy, since 49 per cent of the electorate is ruled by an instrument of government they did not vote for, but which has been imposed upon them. Such is dictatorship. Besides, this political conflict may produce a governing body that represents only a minority. For when votes are distributed among several candidates, though one polls more than any other, the sum of the votes received by those who received fewer votes might well constitute an overwhelming majority. However, the candidate with fewer votes wins and his success is regarded as legitimate and democratic! In actual fact, dictatorship is established under the


cover of false democracy. This is the reality of the political systems prevailing in the world today. They are dictatorial systems and it is evident that they falsify genuine democracy.


Parliaments are the backbone of that conventional democracy prevailing in the world today. Parliament is a misrepresentation of the people, and parliamentary systems are a false solution to the problem of democracy. A parliament is originally founded to represent the people, but this in itself is undemocratic as democracy means the authority of the people and not an authority acting on their behalf. The mere existence of a parliament means the absence of the people. True democracy exists only through the direct participation of the people, and not through the activity of their representatives. Parliaments have been a legal barrier between the people and the exercise of authority, excluding the masses from meaningful politics and monopolizing sovereignty in their place. People are left with only a facade of democracy, manifested in long queues to cast their election ballots.

To lay bare the character of parliaments, one has to examine their origin. They are either elected from constituencies, a party, or a coalition of parties, or are appointed. But all of these procedures are undemocratic, for dividing the population into constituencies means that one member of parliament represents thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of people, depending on the size of the population. It also means that a member keeps few popular organizational links with the electors since he, like other members, is considered a representative of the whole people. This is what the prevailing traditional democracy requires. The masses are completely isolated from the representative and he, in turn, is totally removed from them. Immediately after winning the electors' votes the representative takes over the people's sovereignty and acts on their behalf. The prevailing traditional democracy endows the member of parliament with a sacredness and immunity which are denied to the rest of the people. Parliaments, therefore, have become a means of plundering and usurping the authority of the people. It has thus become the right of the people to struggle, through popular revolution, to destroy such instruments - the so-called parliamentary assemblies which usurp democracy and sovereignty, and which stifle the will of the people. The masses have the right to proclaim reverberantly the new principle: no representation in lieu of the people.

If parliament is formed from one party as a result of its winning an election, it becomes a parliament of the winning party and not of the people. It represents the party and not the people, and the executive power of the parliament becomes that of the victorious party and not of the people. The same is true of the parliament of proportional representation in which each party holds a number of seats proportional to their success in the popular vote. The members of the parliament represent their respective parties and not the people, and the power established by such a coalition is the power of the combined parties and not that of the people. Under such systems, the people are the victims whose votes are vied for by exploitative competing factions who dupe the people into political circuses that are outwardly noisy and frantic, but inwardly powerless and irrelevant. Alternatively, the people are seduced into standing in long, apathetic, silent queues to cast their ballots in the same way that they throw waste paper into dustbins. This is the traditional democracy prevalent in the whole world, whether it is represented by a one-party, two-party, multiparty or non-party system. Thus it is clear that representation is a fraud.

Moreover, since the system of elected parliaments is based on propaganda to win votes, it is a demagogic system in the real sense of the word. Votes can be bought and falsified. Poor people are unable to compete in the election campaigns, and the result is that only the rich get elected. Assemblies constituted by appointment or hereditary succession do not fall under any form of democracy.


Philosophers, thinkers, and writers advocated the theory of representative parliaments at a time when peoples were unconsciously herded like sheep by kings, sultans and conquerors. The ultimate aspiration of the people of those times was to have someone to represent them before such rulers. When even this aspiration was rejected, people waged bitter and protracted struggle to attain this goal.

After the successful establishment of the age of the republics and the beginning of the era of the masses, it is unthinkable that democracy should mean the electing of only a few representatives to act on behalf of great masses. This is an obsolete structure. Authority must be in the hands of all of the people.

The most tyrannical dictatorships the world has known have existed under the aegis of parliaments.


The party is a contemporary form of dictatorship. It is the modern instrument of dictatorial government. The party is the rule of a part over the whole. As a party is not an individual, it creates a superficial democracy by establishing assemblies, committees, and propaganda through its members. The party is not a democratic instrument because it is composed only of those people who have common interests, a common perception or a shared culture; or those who belong to the same region or share the same belief. They form a party to achieve their ends, impose their will, or extend the dominion of their beliefs, values, and interests to the society as a whole. A party's aim is to achieve power under the pretext of carrying out its program. Democratically, none of these parties should govern a whole people who constitute a diversity of interests, ideas, temperaments, regions and beliefs. The party is a dictatorial instrument of government that enables those with common outlooks or interests to rule the people as a whole. Within the community, the party represents a minority.

The purpose of forming a party is to create an instrument to rule the people, i.e., to rule over non-members of the party. The party is, fundamentally, based on an arbitrary authoritarian concept - the domination of the members of the party over the rest of the people. The party presupposes that its accession to power is the way to attain its ends, and assumes that its objectives are also those of the people. This is the theory justifying party dictatorship, and is the basis of any dictatorship. No matter how many parties exist, the theory remains valid.

The existence of many parties intensifies the struggle for power, and this results in the neglect of any achievements for the people and of any socially beneficial plans. Such actions are presented as a justification to undermine the position of the ruling party so that an opposing party can replace it. The parties very seldom resort to arms in their struggle but, rather, denounce and denigrate the actions of each other. This is a battle which is inevitably waged at the expense of the higher, vital interests of the society. Some, if not all, of those higher interests will fall prey to the struggle for power between instruments of government, for the destruction of those interests supports the opposition in their argument against the ruling party or parties. In order to rule, the opposition party has to defeat the existing instrument of government.

To do so, the opposition must minimize the government's achievements and cast doubt on its plans, even though those plans may be beneficial to the society. Consequently, the interests and programs of the society become the victims of the parties' struggle for power. Such struggle is, therefore, politically, socially, and economically destructive to the society, despite the fact that it creates political activity.


Thus, the struggle results in the victory of another instrument of government; the fall of one party, and the rise of another. It is, in fact, a defeat for the people, i.e., a defeat for democracy. Furthermore, parties can be bribed and corrupted either from inside or outside.

Originally, the party is formed ostensibly to represent the people. Subsequently, the party leadership becomes representative of the membership, and the leader represents the party elite. It becomes clear that this partisan game is a deceitful farce based on a false form of democracy. It has a selfish authoritarian character based on maneuvres, intrigues and political games. This confirms the fact that the party system is a modern instrument of dictatorship. The party system is an outright, unconvincing dictatorship, one which the world has not yet surpassed. It is, in fact, the dictatorship of the modern age.

The parliament of the winning party is indeed a parliament of the party, for the executive power formed by this parliament is the power of the party over the people. Party power, which is supposedly for the good of the whole people, is actually the arch-enemy of a fraction of the people, namely, the opposition party or parties and their supporters. The opposition is, therefore, not a popular check on the ruling party but, rather, is itself opportunistically seeking to replace the ruling party. According to modern democracy, the legitimate check on the ruling party is the parliament, the majority of whose members are from that ruling party. That is to say, control is in the hands of the ruling party, and power is in the hands of the controlling party. Thus the deception, falseness and invalidity of the political theories dominant in the world today become obvious. From these emerge contemporary conventional democracy.

"The party represents a segment of the people, but the sovereignty of the people is indivisible."

"The party allegedly governs on behalf of the people, but in reality the true principle of democracy is based upon the notion that there can be no representation in lieu of the people."

The party system is the modern equivalent of the tribal or sectarian system. A society governed by one party is similar to one which is governed by one tribe or one sect. The party, as shown, represents the perception of a certain group of people, or the interests of one group in society, or one belief, or one region. Such a party is a minority compared with the whole people, just as the tribe and the sect are. The minority has narrow, common sectarian interests and beliefs, from which a common outlook is formed. Only the blood relationship distinguishes a tribe from a party, and, indeed, a tribe might also be the basis for the foundation of a party. There is no difference between party struggle and tribal or sectarian struggles for power. Just as tribal and sectarian rule is politically unacceptable and inappropriate, likewise the rule under a party system. Both follow the same path and lead to the same end. The negative and destructive effects of the tribal or sectarian struggle on society is identical to the negative and destructive effects of the party struggle.


The political class system is the same as a party, tribal, or sectarian system since a class dominates society in the same way that a party, tribe or sect would. Classes, like parties, sects or tribes, are groups of people within society who share common interests. Common interests arise from the existence of a group of people bound together by blood relationship, belief, culture, locality or standard of living. Classes, parties, sects and tribes emerge because blood-relationship, social rank, economic interest, standard of living,


belief, culture and locality create a common outlook to achieve a common end. Thus, social structures, in the form of classes, parties, tribes or sects, emerge. These eventually develop into political entities directed toward the realization of the goals of that group. In all cases, the people are neither the class, the party, the tribe, nor the sect, for these are no more than a segment of the people and constitute a minority. If a class, a party, a tribe, or a sect dominates a society, then the dominant system becomes a dictatorship. However, a class or a tribal coalition is preferable to a party coalition since societies originally consisted of tribal communities. One seldom finds a group of people who do not belong to a tribe, and all people belong to a specific class. But no party or parties embrace all of the people, and therefore the party or party coalition represents a minority compared to the masses outside their membership. Under genuine democracy, there can be no justification for any one class to subdue other classes for its interests. Similarly, no party, tribe or sect can crush others for their own interests.

To allow such actions abandons the logic of democracy and justifies resort to the use of force. Such policies of suppression are dictatorial because they are not in the interest of the whole society, which consists of more than one class, tribe or sect, or the members of one party. There is no justification for such actions, though the dictatorial argument is that society actually consists of numerous segments, one of which must undertake the liquidation of others in order to remain solely in power. This exercise is not, accordingly, in the interests of the whole society but, rather, in the interests of a specific class, tribe, sect, party, or those who claim to speak for the society. Such an act is basically aimed at the member of the society who does not belong to the party, class, tribe or sect which carries out the liquidation.

A society torn apart by party feud is similar to one which is torn apart by tribal or sectarian conflicts.

A party that is formed in the name of a class inevitably becomes a substitute for that class and continues in the process of spontaneous transformation until it becomes hostile to the class that it replaces.

Any class which inherits a society also inherits its characteristics. If the working class, for example, subdues all other classes of a particular society, it then becomes its only heir and forms its material and social base. The heir acquires the traits of those from whom it inherits, though this may not be evident all at once. With the passage of time, characteristics of the other eliminated classes will emerge within the ranks of the working class itself. The members of the new society will assume the attitudes and perspectives appropriate to their newly evolved characteristics. Thus, the working class will develop a separate society possessing all of the contradictions of the old society. In the first stage, the material standard and importance of the members become unequal. Thereafter, groups emerge which automatically become classes that are the same as the classes that were eliminated. Thus, the struggle for domination of the society begins again. Each group of people, each faction, and each new class will all vie to become the instrument of government.

Being social in nature, the material base of any society is changeable. The instrument of government of this material base may be sustained for some time, but it will eventual become obsolete as new material and social standards evolve to form a new material base. Any society which undergoes a class conflict may at one time have been a one-class society but, through evolution, inevitably becomes a multi-class society.

The class that expropriates and acquires the possession of others to maintain power for itself will soon find that, through evolution, it will be itself subject to change as though it were the society as a whole.


In summary, all attempts at unifying the material base of a society in order to solve the problem of government, or at putting an end to the struggle in favour of a party, class, sector tribe have failed. All endeavours aimed at appeasing the masses through the election of representatives or through parliaments have equally failed. To continue such practices would be a waste of time and a mockery of the people.


Plebiscites are a fraud against democracy. Those who vote "yes" or "no" do not, in fact, express their free will but, rather, are silenced by the modern conception of democracy as they are not allowed to say more than "yes" or "no". Such a system is oppressive and tyrannical. Those who vote "no" should express their reasons and why they did not say"yes", and those who say "yes" should verify such agreement and why they did not vote"no". Both should state their wishes and be able to justify their "yes" or "no" vote.

What then, is the path to be taken by humanity in order to conclusively rid itself of the elements of dictatorship and tyranny?

The intricate problem in the case of democracy is reflected in the nature of the instrument of government, which is demonstrated by conflicts of classes, parties and individuals. The elections and plebiscites were invented to cover the failure of these unsuccessful experiments to solve this problem. The solution lies in finding an instrument of government other than those which are subject to conflict and which represent only one faction of society; that is to say, an instrument of government which is not a party class, sect or a tribe, but an instrument of government which is the people as a whole. In other words, we seek an instrument of government which neither represents the people nor speaks in their name.

There can be no representation in lieu of the people and representation is fraud. If such an instrument can be found, then the problem is solved and true popular democracy is realized. Thus, humankind would have terminated the eras of tyranny and dictatorships,and replaced them with the authority of the people.

THE GREEN BOOK presents the ultimate solution to the problem of the instrument of government, and indicates for the masses the path upon which they can advance from the age of dictatorship to that of genuine democracy.

This new theory is based on the authority of the people, without representation or deputation. It achieves direct democracy in an orderly and effective form. It is superior to the older attempts at direct democracy which were impractical because they lacked popular organizations at base levels.


Popular Conferences are the only means to achieve popular democracy. Any system of government contrary to this method, the method of Popular Conferences, is undemocratic. All the prevailing systems of government in the world today will remain undemocratic, unless they adopt this method. Popular Conferences are the end of the journey of the masses in quest of democracy. Popular Conferences and People's Committees are the fruition of the people's struggle for democracy. Popular Conferences and People's Committees are not creations of the


imagination; they are the product of thought which has absorbed all human experiments to achieve democracy.

Direct democracy, if put into practice, is indisputably the ideal method of government.Because it is impossible to gather all people, however small the population, in one place so that they can discuss, discern and decide policies, nations departed from direct democracy, which became an utopian idea detached from reality. It was replaced by various theories of government, such as representative councils, party-coalitions and plebiscites, all of which isolated the masses and prevented them from managing their political affairs.

These instruments of government - the individual, the class, the sect, the tribe, the parliament and the party struggling to achieve power have plundered the sovereignty of the masses and monopolized politics and authority for themselves.

THE GREEN BOOK guides the masses to an unprecedented practical system of direct democracy. No two intelligent people can dispute the fact that direct democracy is the ideal, but until now no practical method for its implementation has been devised. The Third Universal Theory, however, now provides us with a practical approach to direct democracy. The problem of democracy in the world will finally be solved. All that is left before the masses now is the struggle to eliminate all prevailing forms of dictatorial governments, be they parliament, sect, tribe, class, one-party system, two-party system or multi-party system, which falsely call themselves democracies.


True democracy has but one method and one theory. The dissimilarity and diversity of the systems claiming to be democratic do, in fact, provide evidence that they are not so.Authority of the people has but one face which can only be realized through Popular Conferences and People's Committees. There can be no democracy without Popular Conferences and Committees everywhere.

First, the people are divided into Basic Popular Conferences. Each Basic Popular Conference chooses its secretariat. The secretariats of all Popular Conferences together form Non-Basic Popular Conferences. Subsequently, the masses of the Basic Popular Conferences select administrative People's Committees to replace government administration. All public institutions are run by People's Committees which will be accountable to the Basic Popular Conferences which dictate the policy and supervise its execution. Thus, both the administration and the supervision become the people's and the outdated definition of democracy - democracy is the supervision of the government by the people - becomes obsolete. It will be replaced by the true definition: Democracy is the supervision of the people by the people.

All citizens who are members of these Popular Conferences belong, vocationally and functionally, to various sectors and have, therefore, to form themselves into their own professional Popular Conferences in addition to being, by virtue of citizenship, members of the Basic Popular Conferences or People's Committees. Subjects dealt with by the Popular Conferences and People's Committees will eventually take their final shape in the General People's Congress, which brings together the Secretariats of the Popular Conferences and People's Committees. Resolutions of the General People's Congress,which meets annually or periodically, are passed on to the Popular Conferences and People's Committees, which undertake the execution of those resolutions through the responsible committees, which are, in turn, accountable to the Basic Popular Conferences.

The General People's Congress is not a gathering of persons or members such as those of parliaments but, rather, a gathering of the Popular Conferences and People's Committees.

Thus, the problem of the instrument of government is naturally solved, and all dictatorial instruments disappear. The people become the instrument of government, and the dilemma of democracy in the world is conclusively solved."

To read more of The Green Book by Muammar al Gaddafi.

Yes, I know that you have been instructed by your betters to dismiss Muammar Gaddafi and to erase his life and legacy from the planet, but some souls and their ideas are like crab grass. They will appear to be vanquished but sooner or later they will resurface, through cracks in the strangest of environments and ready to green every concrete pavement. If Libyans could have predicted the situation today, would they have done more to protect their country from some of their own countrymen? I have no idea but I am seeing that there are Libyans who, against all odds, are still fighting for their country. Certainly, there are those inside and outside of Libya who are benefiting from the mayhem and continuing plunder but for the majority, what exists now is hell, made worse I imagine by the memory of what they have lost. If you doubt me, bypass the mainstream and question the wreckage today of the dream that was Libya.

The people will choose what is coming to them.

"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!