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ANNUAL VOLUME THREE 2013 JULY - AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


Support Live Encounters. Donate Now and keep the Magazine alive in 2014! Live Encounters is a not-for-profit free online magazine that was started in 2009 in Bali, Indonesia. It showcases some of the best writing from around the world. Civil and human rights activists, animal rights activists, poets, writers, journalists, social workers and more have contributed their time and knowledge for the benefit of the readers of the magazine. We are appealing for donations to pay for the administrative and technical aspects of the publication. Please help spread the free distribution of knowledge with any amount that you feel you want to give for this just cause. BANK DETAILS Sarita Kaul A/C : 0148748640 Swift Code : BNINIDJAXXX PT Bank Negara Indonesia ( Persero ) Tbk Kantor Cabang Utama Denpasar Jl. Gajah Mada Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om markulyseas@liveencounters.net

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013


“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Click on month July August September

Cover design and pic - Mark Ulyseas

All articles and photographs are the copyright of www.liveencounters.net and its contributors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the explicit written permission of www. liveencounters.net. Offenders will be criminally prosecuted to the full extent of the law prevailing in their home country and/or elsewhere. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


CONTRIBUTORS Click on title of article to go to page

Sally Mckenna - Well-known Irish Painter, Sculptor and Sketch Artist - An Exclusive on Her Life and Works

Sculptor, Sally McKenna, relays her life story intertwined with imagery, symbols, politics and the journey back to the ancestral land of Ireland. Life is mirrored in art from her earliest influences to the current day. It is a retrospective look from the vantage point of an age of prosperity and international upheaval. It is an honest reverie of how she made choices and fought the system. Art provided a grounding and creative base to discover and launch her dreams. www.sallymckenna.com Blog sally mckenna FaceBook

Ashis Nandy and The Cultural Politics of Selfhood Christine Deftereos

Dr. Christine Deftereos is a Social Theorist based in Melbourne Australia whose writings explore the relationship between self and society. Her research interests take place at the intersection between contemporary social and political criticism, psychoanalytic theory and the politics of selfhood. With a specialized interest in postcolonial identities, trauma, memory and South Asian politics, her work also explores processes of identification and the limits of identity politics. Christine has taught at The University of Melbourne in Politics, Sociology, Social Theory and Foundation Studies programs. Christine.Deftereos@gmail.com

Graeme Hamilton - Profile of an Artist Musician, Vocalist, Composer and Producer

Graeme has had a long and varied career in the music industry. Playing trumpet and keyboards, touring and recording with bands such as Lee Perry, Au pairs, Carmel, FYC, UB40, Al Green, Special Beat and Andy Hamilton. Writing for short films and producing albums as well as composing. He is currently setting up an online record label and recording new material for independent release. naturalmystix@hotmail.com

Sabbah Haji - A Woman of Substance in a Live Encounter

Sabbah Haji, 31, is the Director of Haji Public School, a small not-for-profit school set up by her family in their ancestral village in the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir. She grew up in Dubai, moved to Bangalore and finally returned to the village to start the school which is now the main focus of her life. Haji lives in the village and spends an unhealthy amount of time online on various social media, talking about the school and her kids. Website Blog FaceBook

Peregrinus

Terry McDonagh

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013

Irish poet and dramatist, Terry McDonagh, taught creative writing at the University of Hamburg and was Drama Director at the Int. School Hamburg for 15 years. He now works freelance; has been writer in residence in Europe, Asia, Australia; published seven poetry collections, book of letters, prose and poetry for young people translated into Indonesian and German, distributed internationally by Syracuse Uni. Press; latest poetry collection Ripple Effect due for publication in May/June 2013, Arlen House; next children’s story, Michel the Merman, illustrated by Marc Barnes (NZ) to be published in September 2013. He lives in Hamburg and Ireland. www.terry-mcdonagh.com


July 2013

Ingrid Storholmen - author of Voices from Chernobyl in an interview with Mark Ulyseas

Storholmen studied literature at the University of Bergen. She was the literature editor of Morgenbladet, a culture newspaper in Norway and started the Trondheim International Literature Festival. Ingrid founded the literary magazine LUJ with two colleagues. She has published 5 books and has received many literary awards and prizes for her work, and her poetry has been translated into 18 languages. Voices from Chernobyl bagged the Sult Prize 2010, and was shortlisted for the 2009 Critics’ Prize, the 2009 Brage Award and the 2009 Youth Critics’ Prize. WEBLINK

Elephant Aid International - Improving Elephant Welfare Carol Buckley

Carol Buckley has been working with elephants for over 38 years. She had set up an elephant haven in the USA for rescued animals from circuses, zoos etc. Carol has won many international awards. She is Founder of Elephant Aid International. To learn more about Elephant Aid International’s work to improve elephant welfare worldwide please visit their Website, Blog and facebook page.

Feel your Feelings! Candess M Campbell

Candess M. Campbell, PhD is an internationally known Intuitive Life Coach, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Seminar leader, Hypnotherapist and Author. She specializes in assisting others to gain their own personal power and to live a life of abundance, happiness and joy. Early 2012 she will be releasing her book 12 Weeks to SelfHealing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine. www.12weekstoselfhealing.com

A Royal Anointing: Not Power But Destiny Natalie Wood

Born in Birmingham, England, U.K., Natalie Wood began working in journalism a month prior to outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. She remained in regional Jewish journalism for over 20 years, leaving full-time writing to help run a family business and then completed a range of general office work. Wood and her husband, Brian Fink emigrated from Manchester to Israel in March 2010 and live in Karmiel, Galilee where she continues to work, concentrating on creative writing. She features in Smith Magazine’s new Six Word Memoirs On Jewish Life and contributes to Technorati, Blogcritics and Live Encounters magazine. Her stories - Website and journalism - Website

Rise Up or Die

Chris Hedges - This article was first published on Truthdig

Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, and his War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction. Hedges is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute, a columnist for Truthdig, and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SALLY MCKENNA

Sally McKenna with Raftery in clay. Pic by Ann O’Mahoney © www.liveencounters.net 2013 july 2013


PROFILE

Sally Mckenna

Well-known Irish Painter, Sculptor and Sketch Artist in a live encounter with Mark Ulyseas

“A society without art is an undocumented society.

All the great civilizations are known through their writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, architects. It is only in retrospect that we know what art will be significant to remember. Much modern art requires a heavy interaction with the intellectual process.

In the past artists had been formative figures in the development of the society they lived in. They were watch dogs and innovators and not just singularly motivated. So much of art chosen by the Arts establishment is just not relatable. The average person just has to shake their head. I call it a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes when I see some of the work chosen today for the big prizes. Art has to have guts and some devotion to an aesthetic. There are many levels that need to be activated when interacting with an art form. If thinking is the main receptor then, to me, it is failed art and relevant to the artist but not necessarily to society.” - Sally

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE

Water colour sketch from 1994 that I did at a B & B on the Aran Islands. Size 8” x 10”. Pic by Sally Mckenna

Why are you an artist? Was it a calling? Or, did you experience an epiphany? Please share your thoughts with us. You might say it was a calling because it just kept coming back. In High School I’d be organizing the games schedule and then I would be doing the bulletin boards. I was in the Glee club but I would end up painting the stage sets. I was very interested in science but I enjoyed most just drawing the cell, and atomic structures. So I just surrendered to the pull and changed my major in my junior year to art. I often tried to leave Art for a period of time doing stints of teaching but I always became despondent, missing the process greatly. I find it fascinating to come up with a concept and then see it to fruition. It is a very compelling way of being in the world and the more time I put in with the it the more I realized just could not get along without that constant lure. I knew I was a better teacher from the experience of studio art. I remember the day I felt secure in calling myself an artist. I was working in a converted garage in Arizona in the seventies and it was in an interview for a local magazine that I integrated in my soul self the calling with a profession. I enjoyed doing art with my children and they watched me grow in my art as they grew. They came to my shows and I was always proud to have them there along with me. I did feel a conflict, on occasion, between my profession, and motherhood. Motherhood is a full time, all encompassing job and it is difficult to try to be both a mother and a professional at anything. The child often suffers but then the child also suffers with an unhappy parent. Making art is a physical process and the drawing, painting; sculpture won’t get done on its own. I was surprised at how all consuming it was. My art has always been very labor intensive and it takes many hours to complete. It is a positive addiction and without it an artist does not survive. I really enjoyed learning the basics and it helped to demystify the process of being an artist. I learned to weld in a vocational technical school and that helped to give me confidence in handling my materials. I learned to spin on my great grandmother Sarah McKenna’s spinning wheel from Ireland and in later years felt that she was behind much of this destiny. That spinning wheel is now on display here at the Glore Mill in Mayo, Ireland. My first sculptures were composed of welded metal shapes with hand spun yarns intertwined in the form. It was an entanglement that I never wanted to or was able to extricate from.

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


SALLY MCKENNA

“St. Nathy’s Oak” Sculpture installation installed in St. Nathy’s chapel 2009. Size 20 ft arc by 5 ft wide, steel, copper, brass commissioned for the 200th year celebration. Pic by Sally McKenna

You are a sketch artist, painter and sculptor. Do you see yourself as all three or primarily a sculptor? I do all three , but I find that drawing and painting eventually inform my sculpture. I keep up with the sketching because it is my starting point.

It was very formative to illustrate Terry McDonagh’s book Cill Aodain and Nowhere else. Since my Nowhere else is also Cill Aodain I felt I was putting together many influences from my own childhood, personal history and the new eyes that saw the subjects Terry wrote about. I always have an empty large canvas with a plan for it in my head. I find painting a very alluring process. It is hard to stop once started. As a mother I found I could leave my sculpture in pieces on a table easier than I could leave an unfinished painting. I spent years painting my dream imagery and I still have four of those in my studio. I recently went back to sketching on a brief holiday and it was like coming home again, settling in. I have over fifty sketchbook of travels , ideas, and free form drawings. I call these my creative doodles. My training stressed keeping active sketchbooks insisted on by both of my drawing and painting professors. Now I am wondering what to do with them all . I am always moving forward with new ideas but I often will look up a reference in my sketch books. Even today, as I write this, a painting I started working on for the Autumn Equinox caught my eye and an element to add to it came to me to bring it through the Spring Equinox and into the Summer Solstice.

When I came to Ireland I enjoyed moving from the bright colours of the American Southwest to the subtler tones of the Irish Iandscape. I love raw umber I never used it much before but it is the colour of the bog and the bog is special to me. So yes it is sculpture but it is more just a life of using what I need to get my ideas out of my head and into the real . I would say reality but my idea of reality is now getting very subjective. There are many forms of reality . When you think we are mostly composed of space and are made of the stuff of stars then why limit reality.

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE

“Eve’s Seed” in size 2.5 ft by 2.5 ft. Steel, and copper. Pic by Sally McKenna

Where does your inspiration come from? Your culture? Your education? Or, sudden streaks of spiritual lightening that lights up your soul? My inspiration is like being tapped on the shoulder by something that stops me in my tracks. Before I became an artist I had not begun to codify these experiences into inspiration. Everyone has this. That intense falling in love with something is part of being human. If I look back on my work I see that I take these ideas and work with them until I feel there is an ending and then something else moves in. I do work in a series, but not intentionally. The first idea often comes from an intense connection with a subject. When I was a child sifting for garnets and iron pyrite in the sand of a desert school yard it was magical for me. What child does not have a rock collection? My weaving that formed the protoplasm of my sculpture reliefs was the layering of rock strata. So yes my sculpture was inspired by my first bucket of rocks. I have always loved the invisible microscopic world. I had a science minor and seeing that drop of water become alive on the glass lens was unbelievable to me. My first sculpture accepted into a show was a pond hydra that had long hanks of my hair issuing from the top as feelers of the hydra. I finally wove them into spirals of tubes issuing from the hour glass of the metal sculpture.

Coming to Ireland was an overwhelming experience of entanglement of everything I loved. I have always been interested in the chronology of human experience. Mythology, ancient philosophies, all seemed to start here in the Neolithic landscape of passage graves, cairns, and bog offerings. It was here that I became less interested in abstraction and more focused on realism. I began to use portrait imagery, a seven foot salmon, a bronze pheasant, flowers, trees, and finally the people. People are the most important aspect of Ireland for me. Without the connection with their emigration struggle and their intense love of their land I would have missed out on a very valuable lesson in life.

Opposite : “Ripe Pomegranate”,1979. Size 3.5 ft x 2.5 ft in steel, copper, hand-woven fiber. Pic by Sally McKenna

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


SALLY MCKENNA

20132013 july Š www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE

First building renovation completed in 2000 - living space, collection of sculpture gallery, classroom, fiber studio. Second building completed in 2006 – sculpture studio, tai chi/seminar space, gallery of paintings. Photo in spring of both buildings, by Sally McKenna, from the moon sculpture garden. Š www.liveencounters.net 2013 july 2013


SALLY MCKENNA

Sally McKenna in studio by Henry Wills

Why did you set up the Glore Mill Follain Art Centre? Kindly share with us your vision of the centre? It was such an adventure to take two ruined buildings and build them back into their original selves. It really was most about the physicality of the stone laying dislodged on the land. It was first and foremost for the community. To give back something to the land of the ancestors. There was something of a completion of a circle between my great grandmother who left Ireland and myself, her namesake.

The Irish word follain means wholeness and it was always the intent to offer holistic courses as well as art courses. The Gardens are being developed as natural environments for wildlife, fish , frogs and bog flowers. There is a special dragonfly that lives by the pond that is truly unique. Over 150 trees have been planted in a design that will gradually evolve over the years. What has evolved the most at the Glore Mill is my own art work. My connection with the land really developed when I inserted myself into this green profuse, rampant eco system. One can almost feel the plants growing in the hedgerows, pushing strongly up and through mats of grass and dead growth from the winter.

When I was asked to illustrate Terry McDonagh’s book of poetry, Cill Aodain and Nowhere Else,I realized this was a shared view we had of our village. It gave me confidence that I could do justice to the poetry. Another component was that I began to use the tree as a symbol of that rampant growth and have made two sculptural trees for the town. One was for the Town Hall Entry way and one was for the Kiltimagh square. It accompanies the Raftery figure. Many of my early paintings were of the tree of life entwined with my totem animals. I also made abstract tree wall reliefs but had not ventured into realism until I moved here. The renovation of the buildings brought me in much greater contact with local people than I would have had If we had bought something ready built. We met many people who had lived with the Mill ruin most of their lives so they were curious about us. It was a great way to meet people and I became fascinated with the history of the town. The bronze figures that were commissioned for the town walk ways came from a genuine affection for the history and residents of Kiltimagh.

2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE

“Tree of Life”, 1989 - amalgamation of the woven fiber, woven strips of painted canvas, steel, copper, brass, acrylic painted strips, shells and fishing net. Size 6 ft x 5”. Pic by Sally McKenna

It appears metal is the preferred medium for your sculptures. Does this reflect your sensitivity to the environment? When I was in art school I tried several mediums but when I first turned on a torch and welded something together I was just hooked. I love the elemental nature of metal. It goes through several states melting and fusing all under control of the fire. Working with the welding torch has always relaxed me. I am intrigued with all metals but I love steel because when it is heated it becomes alive and the molecules race around and when they cool form into another true molecular arrangement. With welding it is not a process of adding something but a process of creating a new something. The sheet steel breathes and moves under the force of the fire. Copper is a heat sink. It cannot be welded because it doesn’t meld together and reform. I still love braising it because I love to watch the braze metal flow onto the copper when it is just the right temperature. So it is not just the end result but the whole transformative alchemy of working with metals that I love. In Ireland there is a whole history of early mining of gold, silver, copper. The smelting of bronze issued in a new age. You can see the iron flow into the bog drains with cloudy wisps of golden brown trails.

Please give us a glimpse of your life and works.

I was born in Wisconsin in the American Midwest in 1943. I was a very solitary child. My mother was widowed when I was five. It was a strange word to grow up with-widow. It seemed to be the cause of all the instances where I was different. Single motherhood was not commonplace then. My mother was a nurse, kept long hours and I was alone a lot. I learned to entertain myself with different creative toys, Lincoln logs, erector sets, coloring books, and paint by number, clay mold making and drawing what I called my designs. We drove across America on route 66 in the mid 50’s and I was entranced with where we ended up in the desert of Tucson, Arizona. It was so different from Wisconsin. I decided to learn all the names of the cactus. That was a turning point in my life. The adjustment was difficult and I had to fall back on my own inner strength. We moved to the West because of my mother’s asthma and she took a time to get back to work. Running away once in tears through the desert I had my first experience of God and that there was something out there that would protect me. I was surrounded by light and peace. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


SALLY MCKENNA

“Unfurling Seed”, 2007. Steel, copper, canvas with acrylic mixed media mastic. Size 3.5ft x 3.5ft. Pic by Sally McKenna

I was able to move forward after that and since then there has always been a sense of protection that I have felt. My mother recovered her health only minimally so four years later it was decided to move to Chicago where an excellent nursing supervisory position awaited her. I finished high school at a wonderful school that stressed academics and sports and the performing arts.

I was at University in Nebraska when President Kennedy was shot and I stood at the ticker tape with my future husband reading the unbelievable words. Students, Faculty and parents were for days frozen with shock. In the next year the Vietnam war intensified and a planned marriage helped my new husband defer the draft and accept a prestigious scholarship in Florida. I started University again in the State of Florida and soon became pregnant. The births of the children guaranteed that he would not be drafted. It was an early introduction to the effect of politics on an individual life. I am spending much time relating these early years because, in retrospect, these influences informed the artist I was to become. For example, living in two climatic zones sensitized me to contrast and I learned to love Nature. I became very involved in the Women’s Movement in the seventies because of my experiences watching my mother struggle in a male dominated system. I stayed an avid Democrat, the party of JFK, and work in many elections and was vice president of the Arizona Women’s Political Caucus. I became an art teacher, part time, after I graduated with an art major in Tempe Arizona. I truly believe that creativity is an essential survival skill.

My children taught me about discovery, joy and the creative process. Plus I experienced a love for them that holds very tight. My work developed along with them. I had my first show in 1976. My art was still very much in the developmental stage and I showed the first of my fiber and steel work along with more traditional work. My signature sculpture came like climbing the rungs of a ladder. Each piece led to the next one and incrementally the work evolved. Eventually I began to trust the process but early on it was fraught with a fever of self questioning. I just trusted the pull of the art and the upper I got from seeing a finished piece realized. The greatest rewards come from sticking with it for as long as you can. It took thirty years for me to receive that sense of an abiding treasure that I have given myself in the evolution of that personal imagery. No one can ever take this away. It is like a life raft.

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE

March 2011 - “The Last Bard”, Anthony Raftery Monument, Kiltimagh by Sally McKenna, who is with Enda Kenny Taoiseach) and violinist, Fiona Lavin. Life size and 7 ft tree in bronze, corten steel, copper and fused glass. Pic by Peter Schmidt.

In your opinion who are the leading Irish sculptors of the day? There are many Irish Sculptors that I admire. So it is difficult to single out a few.

I most admire the work of the partners in the foundry called Bronze Art. They are all artists themselves and are also devoted to helping other artists bring their own visions to life. They did the casting of the Raftery figure and bronze branch he is holding. Ciaran Patterson, David O’Brien, Jason Flood and Jason Crowley have their own work that they are developing and they also work tirelessly getting the commissioned work that needs casting done in an exciting and collaborative way. I loved being in the space of the foundry and developing the figure from clay to ceramic molds, and then to bronze with them Because I am a welder, watching the arc welding step of reassembling the figure by Jason was fascinating. It is a very elemental process from start to finish and it seems to me that these artists are embedded in the earth, fire, water and metal of every aspect of the creation.

My other most admired artist is someone I have met here and dialogued with extensively. Ann O’Mahoney has a doctorate in Art History and is a sculptor and mixed media artist. We are both interested in feminist history and the state of women in the arts and also society today. We share a love of fiber art and the elements of texture that only fiber can give to a work.

My sculpture in America included swaths of hand woven fiber and welded metal that were large wall reliefs. I feel we have a common passion. She is fascinating to talk to and I love to see her new work. She uses stitched text in her work, bits of poetry, words and images intertwined on the surface. The paintings are truly admirable and come from a very deep commitment and an integrated approach to her art.

Do you think an artist should create art without keeping in mind the ‘commercial aspects’?

It is great freedom to create art without thinking about survival issues. There is a place for both kinds of art in an artistic career. The freedom based art that is made helps to make the response to commissioned work one of greater integrity. One is always drawing on that body of developmental work. There is always room for creativity in making money with art.

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


SALLY MCKENNA

“Emerging Seed Pod”, 2006, commission for Hawthrone Village, Castlebar County Mayo by Cantrel Crowley Architects, Dublin. Size 5.5ft x 4ft in corten steel, brass and copper.

If it becomes only about the money, as with everything, then it is soul destroying. There must be some form of patronage in the Arts. Without patrons opportunity is diminished and that is a sterile environment. It takes a lot of art making to even become worried about selling out with selling. So start selling and then see if you can find your own solution. I believe in artists and most will find the balance.

What is your message to those seeking to ‘become’ artists’?

Being an artist is a wonderful filter for life. It is a special way of looking that will always enrich any situation they find themselves in. I would like it if there would be many more artists as it is important to have citizens in society that have an aesthetic and are observant. So many people go around only seeing in a very narrow way. Being an artist opens up so many roads and avenues of thinking. The thought process of the artist is very healing. It puts one beyond the particular and into the universal. It is unfortunate that many artists are threatened by each other. I don’t believe in the jury system for entry into Art groups.

There is elitism in the arts which I would like the next generation of artists to tackle and eliminate. There are many ways to become an artist. Art school often tracks a student within its own way of thinking. Most importantly don’t let criticism by others deter you in discovering your own way. Not getting into shows is a disappointment. It is as hard on the jurors to choose artists as it is on you not to be included. They, more than anyone, know how difficult the choices often are. Don’t succumb to the pressure to do what you know will be accepted. There is no growth there. Your time will come. It is important to learn the fundamentals without the pressure of pleasing design professors. I don’t have very many answers to improve the traditional ways that art degrees are given. It is important to take many Univ. courses outside of Art.

The way the system is set up makes that difficult. Visionary professors are very important, I was very lucky because I had several but I also had ones that even I as a student I was embarrassed by.

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE

“River Dragon” by the Glore river, completed in 2000. Cast off loom and spinning machine parts from Foxford Woollen Mills.

How would you like to be remembered as an artist? When I first started writing statements about my work I was more optimistic about the development of society. I wanted to work intrinsically and extrinsically to develop a balance of masculine and feminine with my materials. The steel and mixed media elements were to work change within myself and in a more esoteric way contribute to the change that I saw happening in the seventies. We went from a concern about the commercial portrayal of women in the media to what is now the sexualization of the culture. I experience a degree of frustration and disappointment with the world that I live in. Because I was always interested in change for the better I have had to re-evaluate my place now in a more singular personal way. The visual arts establishment is part of an old system left over from World War Two artists who were reacting to the darkness of the war years. On every level the way art is perceived will change, but right now it is a stagnant model. So how I want to be remembered within this dying system is a quandary. I would like to be remembered in the town of Kiltimagh as a person who valued their culture and created art to preserve it. I would like to be remembered by the clients and their families who commissioned my art, as it was a very vibrant interaction to create art that mirrored their needs within the context of my work. I have always said that it is not the responsibility of the artist to be remembered as it is a unique combination of events that create artists who move into future generations. The best one can do is to be true to oneself and just keep on working, answer your mail and keep good records.

Opposite - “Eve’s Rib”, 2010. This is an environmental statement about the evolution of the world and society and how time is running short to the save the planet. Enamel work was done in 1972 and 38 years later they came together into a statement. Site,EOM studios Mulranney, County Mayo Ireland. Size 5ft x 1ft. Steel, copper, brass, fossils, copper enamel, fused glass, silver cloisonné, and glass bead. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


SALLY MCKENNA

20132013 july Š www.liveencounters.net


CHRISTINE DEFTEREOS

Pic by Christine Deftereos Š www.liveencounters.net 2013 july 2013


PHILOSOPHY

Christine Deftereos Social Theorist and Author of

Ashis Nandy and the Cultural Politics of Selfhood in an interview with Mark Ulyseas

“Ashis Nandy has been described as ‘bigger than most pop stars in India!’

His voice is synonymous with original critique, with a forty-year presence in public and academic debates. His prolific contributions across a range of topics remain uncompromising. These include Nandy’s consistent critique of western modernity; the political culture of the Indian state; the postcolonial condition; the politics of knowledge production, including the epistemic violence of colonial dispossession; an increasing global and homogenizing ‘culture of commonsense’ and the Indian middle classes who remain complicit in these processes. Widely regarded as one of the most important Indian thinkers of his generation, and internationally recognized with a number of accolades, he is someone who has contributed to a number of important debates. Moreover, Nandy’s work has turned the direction of those debates completely upside down! He presents alternative perspectives that are radically confronting, uncomfortable and very difficult to hear for a number of different reasons. Nandy also takes a number of positions on a range of topics that continue to provoke and remain divisive. These positions can be experienced as a personal assault, as quite literally an assault to our preferred understandings of our selves and our societies. As an assault to our ego ideal, so they can be experienced as a threatening attack to the knowledge we hold dearly about ourselves, for instance, what it means to be ‘Indian’ and to be a ‘modern secular political subject’ and so on. His comments on caste corruption at the Jaipur Literary Festival earlier this year are a case in point.- Christine Published by Sage Publications

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PHILOSOPHY So for me a psychoanalytically informed social theory provides a critical language to develop a more complex understanding of our societies and ourselves, and in the process ‘open’ us up to different ways of living and being in the world. Its impact can be measured in these terms, in its capacity to alter the self other relationship, including our relationship with parts of our selves and our societies that we might prefer to disavow. The role of the social theorist in our society, to paraphrase the late Edward Said, is to function as a ‘counter-memory.’

As a Social Theorist, could you explain what you do and how does it impact society? What is the role of the social theorist in contemporary society today? How can social theory contribute to our understanding of the types of societies that we inhabit? How is modernity understood and what does it mean to live in a modern society, within a modern culture, to be a modern subject? How can social theory expand our understandings of how societies cohere and how sociality operates within them? Can it expand our understanding of cultural and historical differences and continuities? How can social theory contribute to our understandings of the self and individual and collective identities? How can social theory contribute to our understandings of the relationship between self and society? How can it contribute to our understanding of human agency, of ideological and institutional structures and the complexities of human subjectivity? As a social theorist which ‘critical analytic tools’ are available to you and for what purpose? How is the ‘analytic gaze’ formed? What methods are employed that renders the world ‘visible’ or ‘invisible’ to us? Is social theory as its name suggests just about creating, evaluating and critiquing ‘theory’ or is it also a way of bridging theory and praxis? Is its relevance simply delegated to the confines of academic knowledge and debate or can it function as a meaningful explanatory tool? Can it function as a meaningful commentary on the ways in which we create, imagine and negotiate our worlds? What ethical-political function does it or should it serve? And can it function as a deconstructive tool rather than as a positivist theory?

In other words, can social theory and social theorists ultimately ‘open’ up new worlds for us or encourage us to challenge the homogeneity and conformity that dominates and limits the range of human choices available within modern life?

These are the challenging and fascinating questions that preoccupy me as a social theorist for most of the time on most days! But in all seriousness these are the sorts of questions that need to be asked of the discipline (if I can call it that) and also of social theorists committed to contributing to our understandings of our social worlds. I began responding to this interview question with a series of questions quite deliberately, because this is the fundamental tool that we have in our toolbox as social theorists, part of our vocational training and I would add, responsibility is to question and interrogate. To explore not what is known but also how and why it is ‘known’ and ‘knowable’ to us, both individually and collectively within our societies. It is in this sense, at least in its ideal interpretation for me, an area of knowledge committed to the politics of knowledge. It is not enough to simply present the world in all its scholarly and explainable glory without an appreciation for what is for me,

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CHRISTINE DEFTEREOS

India International Centre, New Delhi, India. © Christine Deftereos

an area of knowledge committed to the politics of knowledge. It is not enough to simply present the world in all its scholarly and explainable glory without an appreciation for what is ‘excluded,’ for what is ‘forgotten’ or not ‘visible’ to us. When we construct an interpretation or theory of these complex relationships, of attempting to understand why certain social, cultural, political and ideological dynamics take shape or dominate at specific historical moments, then we also need to be conscious of what is also being repressed, left out or denied from the story.

There is a perception especially within positivist schools of thought that the function of ‘social theory’ is to explain the world for us. This can be a dangerous arrogance if not closely watched, and in effect it can work against you and close you off from other ways of seeing the world. While there is without a doubt an interpretative and explanatory element to our work, I am always dubious of theories that do not simultaneously interrogate and disrupt what is ‘known.’ There needs to be an element of auto-critique in our work, if it is to have the kind of scope and impact that I am suggesting it ought.

In fact I would go so far as to say that the social theorist has an ethical responsibility to disrupt accepted forms of knowledge, especially in our understandings of how the self/other relationship is formed. There is an ethical responsibility to interrogate dominant fantasies, processes of identification, dominant collective memories and so on. So in that sense it is not unreasonable to claim that the social theorist ought to comment on things that may seem unpopular, confronting and disturbing to us. To shed some light on the ‘good, the bad and ugly.’ To comment on things that may even be ‘unspeakable’ and ‘unseen’ to us. Given my own interest in psychoanalytic theory, and largely informed by post-Freudian psychoanalysis, especially the work of the French psychoanalyst and political theorist Julia Kristeva, then social theory needs to account for both conscious and unconscious processes that underpin the formation of individual and collective selves. Psychoanalysis not only offers us a theory of self, but it provides us with a language of critique through which to understand the conscious and unconscious processes that inform our societies and ourselves.

So for me a psychoanalytically informed social theory provides a critical language to develop a more complex understanding of our societies and ourselves, and in the process ‘open’ us up to different ways of living and being in the world. Its impact can be measured in these terms, in its capacity to alter the self other relationship, including our relationship with parts of our selves and our societies that we might prefer to disavow. The role of the social theorist in our society, to paraphrase the late Edward Said, is to function as a ‘counter-memory.’

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PHILOSOPHY Ashis Nandy, the political, provocative and divisive intellectual, Ashis Nandy the intellectual street fighter, Ashis Nandy the political psychologist, Ashis Nandy the ‘true dissenter’ as he is often described, the non-player who resists all dominant frameworks of knowledge, critiquing and reconstituting not only the conditions of dissent, but also the methods used to arrive at such a destination, is a product of Modern India.

What is the purpose of this book? Is it to eulogize Nandy, introduce him to a wider international audience or to place him in the vast field of political and social criticism? Let me begin by saying upfront that I wasn’t interested in writing a hagiography. I accept though that I might have been in places more critical of Nandy’s work, or at least taken Nandy to task for not pushing certain concepts and ideas even further!

For me the starting point was in thinking through the fascination and horror that Nandy’s work elicits, especially his writings on secularism. I wanted to understand not only what Nandy says, but how he says it and why it is so confronting and arresting to people as much as it is appreciated. It seemed to me that there was something in his approach and even method that provoked a reaction. So as a social theorist I was eager to offer a reading of how Nandy generates the social and political criticism that he does, and how he arrives at the kinds of intellectual positions that he does, and has consistently maintained for over forty years. The clues to this were Nandy’s own self-representations as a ‘political psychologist’ and as an ‘intellectual street fighter.’ I was struck that although a number of theorists had commented on his work and intellectual significance, there was no analysis of how political psychology informs his work. There is a very distinctive ‘analytic gaze’ or as I call it ‘an analytic attitude of revolt’ that underpins his writings. This book offers a reading of how this very deliberate and distinctively psychoanalytic approach characterizes his social and political criticism.

Ashis Nandy and the Cultural Politics of Selfhood gives the reader an insight into a novel aspect of Nandy. Ashis Nandy is not merely a self-described political psychologist; he is also an intellectual street fighter who comes face to face with the psychology of politics and the politics of psychology, thus affirming why this intellectual is one of the most original and confronting Indian thinkers of his generation.

The main features of this book are its original reading of Ashis Nandy’s work and the authentic use of the psychoanalytic theory to characterise and demonstrate the importance of psychoanalysis in Nandy’s work. This innovative reading of Nandy’s psychoanalytic approach is explored through his writings on secularism and the rise of Hindu fundamentalism, before looking at how this also operates in The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (1983) Nandy’s best-known book, and across his work more broadly. In doing so it details the way Nandy confronts his own postcolonial identity and the complexities of the cultural politics of selfhood as a feature of his approach.

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CHRISTINE DEFTEREOS

Ashis and Uma Nandy at their home in Delhi, India, with Christine Deftereos, May 2013. © Christine Deftereos

While this is an arresting and confronting task, and can have a disarming effect, it affirms Nandy’s significance as a contemporary chronicler whose social and political criticism resonates beyond India. I was in that sense also interested in the different representations of him and his work.

Ashis Nandy, the political, provocative and divisive intellectual, Ashis Nandy the intellectual street fighter, Ashis Nandy the political psychologist, Ashis Nandy the ‘true dissenter’ as he is often described, the non-player who resists all dominant frameworks of knowledge, critiquing and reconstituting not only the conditions of dissent, but also the methods used to arrive at such a destination, is a product of Modern India. The cultural and political criticism that we find in his work provides us with a distinct language and framework through which to think through the complexities of Modern India, but resonates beyond the Indian context. Characterizing what is distinctive about Nandy’s social and political criticism was then the starting point for this book. What methods does this radical thinker who resists conventional classifications engage in? How can we account for the fascination and horror that his work elicits? And how can we understand his capacity as a critic to challenge and work through the dominant fantasies, cultural resistances, projections and defense mechanisms within our societies?

This book has attempted to offer a response to such questions. In doing so I have also emphasized that Nandy’s approach and his identity as a critic cannot be understood through a prescriptive formula of ‘how best to read Nandy’ or by searching for a locus for his contrarian interventions within a disciplinary method. In thinking through how psychoanalysis informs Nandy’s critique, we find that psychoanalysis functions as a tool for disruption – as social critique and not as a psychotherapeutic technique of normalization arriving on the coat tails of colonialism in India. Nandy’s writings disrupt, bringing with them what we might term a ‘politics of discomfort.’ This discomfort brings with it though an open invitation to think through the complexities of human subjectivity and self-other relations. It is an invitation to enter into a mode of social criticism where the possibilities of alternative political imaginings, begin much closer to home, with the cultural politics of selfhood.

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PHILOSOPHY Nandy’s work has turned the direction of those debates completely upside down! He presents alternative perspectives that are radically confronting, uncomfortable and very difficult to hear for a number of different reasons. Nandy also takes a number of positions on a range of topics that continue to provoke and remain divisive. These positions can be experienced as a personal assault, as quite literally an assault to our preferred understandings of our selves and our societies.

Why do you feel that Ashis Nandy is one of India’s most ‘original thinkers’ of the day? Ashis Nandy has been described as ‘bigger than most pop stars in India!’ And as you say his voice is synonymous with original critique, with a forty-year presence in public and academic debates. His prolific contributions across a range of topics remain uncompromising. These include Nandy’s consistent critique of western modernity; the political culture of the Indian state; the postcolonial condition; the politics of knowledge production, including the epistemic violence of colonial dispossession; an increasing global and homogenizing ‘culture of commonsense’ and the Indian middle classes who remain complicit in these processes. Widely regarded as one of the most important Indian thinkers of his generation, and internationally recognized with a number of accolades, he is someone who has contributed to a number of important debates. Moreover, Nandy’s work has turned the direction of those debates completely upside down! He presents alternative perspectives that are radically confronting, uncomfortable and very difficult to hear for a number of different reasons. Nandy also takes a number of positions on a range of topics that continue to provoke and remain divisive. These positions can be experienced as a personal assault, as quite literally an assault to our preferred understandings of our selves and our societies. As an assault to our ego ideal, so they can be experienced as a threatening attack to the knowledge we hold dearly about ourselves, for instance, what it means to be ‘Indian’ and to be a ‘modern secular political subject’ and so on. His comments on caste corruption at the Jaipur Literary Festival earlier this year are a case in point.

With the exception of a few isolated instances, he is not a thinker who responds to critics, but rather maintains a defiant, if at times unpopular stance. As a ‘true dissenter’ Nandy has always been interested in radically questioning and reconstituting the very conditions of dissent though his work. His position as a writer based at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies for most of his intellectual life, who does not align himself with existing scholarly debates and remains outside of the teaching machine, is appealing. For although formally trained as a political psychologist he is wary of all disciplinary knowledge and his writings are always executed with his characteristic ‘de-professionalized’ gaze. A dissenting child of modernity yet critical of it. A child of Modern India yet interested in reclaiming a dialogue with tradition. A thinker who has radically critiqued secularism leading to his status as an ‘anti-secular’ thinker, yet a critic of the Hindu Right. These contradictions, amongst numerous others, and the seemingly ‘counter-intuitive’ positions that we find in his writings, make Nandy one of the most original and important thinkers of his generation. There is also a distinctive invitation, confronting, as this invitation may be, that we find in Ashis Nandy’s

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CHRISTINE DEFTEREOS

Ashis Nandy and T.N.Madan © Christine Deftereos

work, which I describe at length in the book. This for me captures why he is one of the most original thinkers of our time. In many ways the book can be read as an effort to characterize this originality through its reading of how psychoanalysis informs Nandy’s method and informs his social and political criticism. As I describe the originality of his work can be captured in the invitation that Nandy’s work offers us: to continually regenerate our understandings of the complexities of human subjectivity, self and other relations and what it means to be human.

What role does Nandy play in the minefield of political psychology?

This is a question that I am not sure I am qualified to answer! The reason I say that is because if you read the book you will very quickly discover that I am not interested in ‘reading’ or ‘assessing’ Ashis Nandy’s work for its disciplinary or academic fidelity. So in that sense I have not assessed Nandy’s credentials as a ‘good’ political psychologist, whatever that might mean. In fact in the book I have strongly argued against this, so that even in offering a reading of Nandy’s method as it were, this is not and cannot be a prescriptive undertaking. To do so would be to deny the politics of knowledge that inform Nandy’s work. Rather my own reading of Nandy, and what I argue is evident in his use of psychoanalysis, is a recovery of psychoanalysis itself. Psychoanalysis as both a psychotherapeutic technique and form of social criticism, is recovered as dynamic, disruptive and regenerative, leading us towards a ‘politics of awareness.’

Nandy’s work invites us into a mode of cultural criticism that provides a space for reflexivity and self-reflexivity, to journey into the cultural politics of selfhood and into the complexities of human subjectivity and cultural codes. It is an open invitation into processes of confrontation and of working through that mirror the psychotherapeutic journey of rupturing and regenerating human subjectivity. This is what I term the psychoanalytic mode of revolt that underpins his social and political criticism. This is also an open invitation to journey into Nandy’s alternatives, including ‘other’ cultural and political configurations, ‘other’ selves and ‘other expressions of ‘Indianness’ that exist as our doubles, albeit latent within psychic, cultural, political processes.

So there are a number of critics, widely documented, who maintain that Nandy is nothing more than an ‘ornamental dissenter,’ and whose ‘psychologisms’ are dangerous. In such accounts Nandy’s analytic gaze is seldom commented on because it is not necessarily recognizable in the prescriptive terms that characterize the discipline of political psychology. His use of depth psychology too fails to conform and comply with a particular school of thought, and is not necessarily recognized as ‘psychoanalysis proper.’ So critics will argue that Nandy thus plays a peripheral role in political psychology or in academic scholarship more broadly.

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PHILOSOPHY What responsibility do we have in acknowledging colonialism, not only a colonialism that may belong at least historically to the past, but also of continuing colonizing attitudes and policies. So at least in Australia this plays out in a very compromised response. The Australian Governments apology to Indigenous Australia was a very specific apology, an apology for the Stolen Generation. It was symbolically very necessary but has this been enough to ensure that the dialogue and pathway for reconciliation are secured and an ongoing priority – well I am not entirely convinced this is enough.

This becomes grounds to critique or even dismiss his work, and the significance that is attached to his work. What is important here though is Nandy’s conscious commitment to a politics of dissent, to not play the academic games, as we know them. After all, part of the radicalism and arguably appeal of his work is precisely that he is ‘the non-player,’ or as I argue in the book ‘the savage Freud.’ There is openness in his work that is not weighed down by disciplinary constraints and affirms that his ‘deprofessionalized gaze’ is part of a broader political project. In the process Nandy offers us interesting insights into the nature of dissent, and the conditions through which dissent is recognized or as he prefers is ‘audible.’ Nandy is in this sense ‘a true dissenter, as he is often described, who resists all dominant frameworks of knowledge, critiquing and reconstituting the conditions of dissent and the methods used to arrive at such a destination.

In your opinion does the colonial hangover exist in the social fabric of the country or has it merely become a reference point for the present generation of ‘thinkers’?

There is a dangerous perception I think that colonialism is something that belongs to the past. That it belongs to a different generation and that it is not our burden or responsibility. This is a view that is circulated very often in public debates and in Australia’s history and culture wars, for example. You know one of our former Prime Minister’s even came out and said and I am paraphrasing here that, ‘why should we feel guilty for what has happened in the past.’ Why should we be overwhelmed or paralyzed by ’white middle class guilt,’ and moreover, why should we apologize for white settlement. I have never done anything to Indigenous Australians so why should I feel bad for past wrongs, or even try and make those wrongs right, assuming that this is even possible. So you know that is a very common response, obviously an uncritical entitled response that continues to perpetuate violence and subjugation of the ‘other’ and other histories of survival, self-understanding and selfdetermination. This is an intensely fascinating topic for me, the question of what responsibility do we have in acknowledging past wrongs and how we can make sense of the trauma that survives, trans generationally for instance. What responsibility do we have in acknowledging colonialism, not only a colonialism that may belong at least historically to the past, but also of continuing colonizing attitudes and policies. So at least in Australia this plays out in a very compromised response. The Australian Governments apology to Indigenous Australia was a very specific apology, an apology for the Stolen Generation. It was symbolically very necessary but has this been enough to ensure that the dialogue and pathway for reconciliation are

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CHRISTINE DEFTEREOS

Dr. Christine Deftereos, Dr. Alok Sarin and Dr. Ashis Nandy at the Discussion and Book Launch of Ashis Nandy and the Cultural Politics of Selfhood (2013) at The India International Centre held on 22nd May 2013, New Delhi, India. © Christine Deftereos

secured and an ongoing priority – well I am not entirely convinced this is enough. There is so much more that needs to be said and acknowledged and part of the argument is in creating public cultures where this kind of conversation is allowed and encouraged, and not fiercely and defensively shut down.

We cannot forget Frantz Fanon’s warnings of the ‘colonization of the mind.’ There are a number of different colonialisms that we can speak of, including the ways dominant knowledge systems colonize and repress other forms of knowledge. But remembering Fanon is important, because for many of us colonialism is something that survives in psychic life, within our selves and our societies.

It is true to say then that colonialism survives in the fabric of many of our societies in many different guises. We cannot forget Frantz Fanon’s warnings of the ‘colonization of the mind.’ There are a number of different colonialisms that we can speak of, including the ways dominant knowledge systems colonize and repress other forms of knowledge. But remembering Fanon is important, because for many of us colonialism is something that survives in psychic life, within our selves and our societies. Despite all our talk of freedom and living in free democratic societies, there is a distinctive paradox here. For in exercising those freedoms and expressions the modern subject in a supposedly global culture of terror increasingly finds themselves self-policing and even censoring themselves, imposing a colonizing mentality. Now we then need to ask ourselves what happens to the modern self under these conditions? What happens to our expressions of human subjectivity and agency? How are our civil liberties and public debates compromised, and in the name of what kind of collective fantasy or ‘great good?’ Are we perpetually locked in a sadomasochistic relationship with ourselves? And how are modern ideologies, institutions, dominant collective attitudes and fantasies contributing to this kind of relationship with our selves? These are important questions. I think your question also raises an interesting point about the tension between theory and praxis. Is colonialism just an intellectual signifier, which we use to understand oppression today and moreover, our liberation from it? Well no, again this is a dangerous interpretation. This is not the reality for millions of people across the world who continues to suffer at the hands of colonial regimes, and who is economically, socially, culturally, politically subjugated.

Colonialism is not just a popular leftist cause that died when the colonial flag comes down and postcolonial independence is declared. In fact I cannot think of any postcolonial society today in any part of the world, that does not bear the wounds of colonialism in some form. Even if it is silenced by history wars or cultural wars, it is always present lurking beneath the surface, bubbling away and much like unconscious processes finds recourse symptomatically within our selves and our societies.

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PHILOSOPHY My own personal cultural wars of negotiating my ethnic self with my public Australian self, my acculturated modern educated self, of understanding place, roots and the nostalgia of motherland that I witnessed my family suffer from, of what it meant to be trapped in between cultures, were in many ways and still are symptomatic of Australia’s cultural wars.

Could you give us an insight into your life and your work? I had met Ashis Nandy briefly in Melbourne as a young student at The University of Melbourne greatly intrigued and engaged by his writings. I was also greatly impressed that he was an incredibly humble and generous thinker in real life not just on the page, and he was someone who visibly wore his politics on his sleeve as it were. It was a powerful realization for an impressionable young scholar - that what one wrote belonged not just in books and in the lofty realm of the mind, but in the politics of selfhood and self-representation and expression. This knowledge is embodied in the self, and informs all aspects of the self and other relationship, including the kinds of attachments and connections that can be made with the ‘other.’ So how what one believes intellectually is enacted and instituted in their treatment towards others. What kind of ‘openness’ is carried in the self, and reciprocity for others, and other cultures? This of course was not and never is purely an intellectual exercise. Let’s put it this way I was not surprised to find out that Ashis Nandy was a Bengali from a Christian family! There was an ethics that was there in his writing and that was also present when I first met him. This was inspirational for me, having always been a fan of the idea of ‘walking the talk.’ As a young student I was searching to make sense of the world and my place within it, and a number of writers, including Nandy were important in that process. As a child of migrant parents growing up in a postcolonial settler society like Australia in the 1970’s, settling in, or assimilating, as it more fondly referred too wasn’t, and indeed never is, a straightforward enterprise. At the time Australia was moving through a fascinating period in its history of its culture wars. Having abandoned a profoundly racist migration policy in the late 1960s, in the White Australia Policy, (a scheme which ironically was the entry ticket into Australia for my parents), it was on the cusp of an interesting period politically in which Australia’s own ‘whiteness’ was being tested by the influx of economic and political migrants and refugees. It was also being challenged internally by Indigenous Australia and the land rights movement, which really gained political momentum in the 1970s, though has a much longer history.

My own personal cultural wars of negotiating my ethnic self with my public Australian self, my acculturated modern educated self, of understanding place, roots and the nostalgia of motherland that I witnessed my family suffer from, of what it meant to be trapped in between cultures, were in many ways and still are symptomatic of Australia’s cultural wars. A culture that continues to struggle to make sense of what it means to be a migrant nation, that struggles to acknowledge and understand its shadow self, Indigenous Australia, a nation that aggressively polices its borders, territorial and otherwise, and a nation that cannot and will not formally sever its ties and with the

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CHRISTINE DEFTEREOS

Hauz Khas, New Delhi, India. © Christine Deftereos

Commonwealth, fearful of cutting the umbilical cord to Mother England. Ashis Nandy’s writings, his provocative and astute readings of politics, of the complexity of identity of human subjectivity and the postcolonial condition, his concept of the ‘partitioned self’ resonated very strongly with me personally, as they continue to do so, and as a social theorist. Although the historical, political, economic and cultural conditions of colonialism in Australia were vastly different from India’s I was struck by the sensitivity in Nandy’s writings, and the level in which he was exploring these dynamics. The cultural and psychological effects and affects of colonialism and oppression were not external to the self but rather internal (or constitutive) of the self and our societies. His incredible insight into the human cost of colonialism, its impact on processes of identification, how the self is formed, the role of the ego-ideal and the ideal-ego, and in particular, his scathing critique of violence, all these things impacted on me greatly. I could see it in the people around me! I could see these competing loyalties, the partitioned selves, the conflict within identity, and the struggle for self and so on. I could see it not only operating in mainstream Australian society and culture, but amongst the migrant communities through which I came to experience this place called Australia. I don’t want to necessarily privilege the migrant experience (because it is what it is!) but what I will say is that the migrant experience in many ways is a point of forced engagement with these issues. This is an obvious point and many have written about this in creative ways. At least for me in the 1970s and 1980s the Australian culture that I was part of was a racist culture despite its history with multiculturalism and diversity, so the engagement with these tensions of belonging, entitlement, inclusion, exclusion, were alive for me in a different way. Ironically some of the most intense forms of racism that I encountered were not from Ango-Saxon ‘white’ Australia as one might expect, but rather from my own ethnic friends who felt that my acculturation and immersion in Australian culture had ‘gone too far.’ That I had crossed a line; that I had become something and someone else, that I was not one of them anymore. As much as this disturbed me it also fascinated me, that ‘speaking a particular way,’ or moving away from subsidized housing to other suburbs, could be so threatening and unsettling to others. I was also curious by the ‘every day’ forms of racism that had become domesticated and ritualized in daily life. So for me what I was reading in Nandy’s The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Self Under Colonialism, especially the concepts of loss and recovery, was intimate for me. It was intimately tied to my own quest and search for identity and self-understanding.

At that time I was also voraciously reading theorists from the Frankfurt School, Theodore Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, the deconstructionists, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, second and third wave Feminists and Lacanian psychoanalysis, and postcolonial scholarship, both fiction and non-fiction, as much as I could get my hands on. It was literally an epiphany reading these theorists – like a series of fireworks erupting in my head. I found these kind of intellectual interventions exciting and exhilarating.

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PHILOSOPHY As a social theorist I also have to say that I lament the loss of creativity and playfulness in expressions of selfhood. That increasingly within our modern urban existences in order to be recognized and afforded the rights of the ‘entitled subject,’ in being recognized as a subject, whether this be for example, ‘the political subject,’ ‘the citizen,’ ‘a true Australian,’ etc. then that identity must be expressed in pre-determined identifiable, digestible and homogenizing ways.

I was always someone who was intellectually drawn to disruption and critique. I blame my heritagethe Greek protest movements that was my parents’ reality and which has seeped through my veins. Nonetheless, it struck me early, given my own experiences, that there were multiple realities out there and that each individual (as well as societies) experienced the world in a myriad of ways, drawing on their own interpretive methods. This realization was not intellectual necessarily, it came through my personal experiences, so I think from an early age I was drawn to work that explored this idea of ‘other’ selves. I was also a very imaginative child – always imagining other versions of my self and my circumstances.

As a student I also immersed myself in more traditional forms of disciplinary sociology, which didn’t necessarily appeal to me, but for which I am thankful that I persevered with. What intrigued me about this kind of work was that it gave me insight into the intensity of people’s desire to ‘know’ and fix the world in place. Their fears, anxieties, insecurities, their certainties, their sense of entitlement in ‘knowing the other.’ The certainty in which they could pin the world down and quantify and qualify it in ways that perfectly accorded with the patterns of logic and rationality. I respect the function that this kind of work performs and I maintain that it has an important role to play in our society. It gives us insight into dominant forms of thought, dominant fantasies and enables us to think through what is excluded, what is repressed in the telling of this particular story. This is the driving impetus of my work, in making sense of what has been left out of the story, and how telling the story differently opens us up to other perspectives and realities. Whether I am writing about the ideology of secularism, or violence, or trauma or looking at different expressions of selfhood that survive within our collective consciousness, I am always looking for elements of disruption and recovery in the telling of the story.

As a social theorist I also have to say that I lament the loss of creativity and playfulness in expressions of selfhood. That increasingly within our modern urban existences in order to be recognized and afforded the rights of the ‘entitled subject,’ in being recognized as a subject, whether this be for example, ‘the political subject,’ ‘the citizen,’ ‘a true Australian,’ etc. then that identity must be expressed in predetermined identifiable, digestible and homogenizing ways. I am not against the closure of identity, but I object to this process when human agency is compromised, and ideologies and institutions come to police these processes. We live in increasingly sensitized times, in times of constant ‘high alert,’ ‘of crisis,’ and ‘emergency,’ where this need to belong to identifiable and classifiable identity categories is highly political. Being recognized as the ‘right’ kind of subject in many respects is literally a matter of life and death. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


CHRISTINE DEFTEREOS

What are you working on now? I have just commenced working on my second book about Ashis Nandy’s work tentatively titled The Postcolonial Politics of Ashis Nandy. I am not ready to let go yet! This though is a very different project in the sense that my starting point and focus is to offer a reading of the postcolonial politics that we find in Ashis Nandy’s work. I have always been interested in postcolonial theory and criticism and postcolonial politics, though I am also acutely aware of the criticisms that the domestication of postcolonial studies in the Western, especially American academy has rightly attracted. So on the one hand I am curious as to how postcolonial politics and postcolonial critique can resist these tendencies of knowledge to be domesticated. On the other hand, Ashis Nandy like a number of Indian thinkers of his generation, are the children of postcolonial India and have much to contribute to our understanding of what postcolonial politics means and more importantly, how this is experienced as peoples everyday experiences and encounters. Ashis Nandy clearly does not ‘fit’ in the tightly held ‘Holy Trinity’ of Postcolonial Studies - Homi K. Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak and Edward Said (a rather unfair representation of these theorists work) though The Intimate Enemy is essential reading for any one interested in or studying post colonialism. I am of course not interested in making Nandy’s work ‘fit’ into anything. What I am interested in is in offering a reading of the politics that inform the positions he takes on a range of issues, and the ethics that inform Nandy’s postcolonial politics. I also have a number of articles that I am working on at the moment, including a piece on violence and trauma, one on the role of political psychology and psychoanalysis in social and political criticism and one on the divisive Indian politician Narendra Modi for Seminar. I have also just completed a book chapter on the role of psychoanalysis in international relations, and the privileging of a very specific account of the self that we find in that discourse. There is a novel in the works too, but this is taking the place of third fiddle right now.

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GRAEME HAMILTON

Pic © 2011 Sworup Ranjit © www.liveencounters.net 2013 july 2013


JAZZ REGGAE CALYPSO ROCK POP EUROPEAN CLASSICAL P R O F I L E

Graeme

Hamilton

song writer - musician - vocalist - producer in a live encounter with Mark Ulyseas

The following interview gives the reader a ringside view of the world of well known artist, Graeme Hamilton who is the son of the legendary Andy Hamilton.

I met Graeme in a small restaurant at a popular Asian tourist destination. We talked the talk about everything from human rights to pasta to his life and times in the music world – writing, composing, producing and performing with some of the world’s leading bands UB40, Au Pairs, FYC (Fine Young Cannibals), Al Green, The English Beat, Lee Perry, Special Beat, Carmel among others - on international tours. Read on and enjoy the music...

Roy Benson Bb school trumpet, gold colored. © Picture created by PJ,October 16 2006 LINK © Mark Ulyseas 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE In this period UB40 a band with a global name asked if I would be interested in joining forces. They used to come and see us rehearse and play around town and liked our alternative approach. We grew up in the same city and many times I would meet different members at local shows, parties around town and on the road at different shows and festivals. It was quite a natural process that we might work together as it was a pretty tight circle of musicians in the city. Brian Travers, the sax player a good friend, was eager that I record with the band. We recorded the album Geffery Morgan; we had a great time, the band still play shows and are recording, that’s pretty amazing after thirty, plus years.

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How would you define your work as an ‘artist’ – song writer, musician, producer or vocalist? Today, it is rare to find a musical artist

who would only involve themselves with a single aspect of the creative process, for instance, when making a recording. Performers may be considered a musician or vocalist but more than likely, they will, to varying degrees, co-write, co-produce and so on.

Performing on stage or in the studio are worlds apart when it comes to the role you may play. Live performance can be spontaneous, where raw energy plays a large part in the spectacle, that raw energy allows you to throw caution to the wind and maybe do something you have never done before. While the studio, being the laboratory, is where you meddle with a range of ideas, technical equipment, (compressors, phasers, flangers) and a multitude of other devices: Example microphones, which are designed to work best with the particular voice or instrument. Here you can take the time to layer the tracks and build up the sound and feel, as close to how you can imagine it.

Folio Magazine, Nepal. Pic given by Graeme Hamilton

© www.liveencounters.net 2013

Things are changing quickly with the advent of the digital age and within the “music industry” more, than meets the eye. Today most musical artists play multiple roles in their attempts to get the music heard. Making music, can sadly become the least central aspect of that process, certainly, for a while. Social media plays an increasing role in the marketing.


GRAEME HAMILTON

Ash, Arambol, Goa. Pic given by Graeme Hamilton

This is because the record companies have themselves changed how they do business. Much, much more is expected from the artist, it’s no longer enough to just play your songs, you have to involve yourself in many aspects which before were considered too technical for the artist to do. Saying that, the mega stars have teams of people dedicated to promotion and exposure, it’s pretty much based on how much revenue you have at your disposal. Most aspiring artists have very limited budgets and therefore take on various roles to forward the cause. Technology has always played an important role in making music and today that has never been more evident today . Hit albums can now be recorded in modest studios, with computers at the heart. Those computers are packed with software that can emulate expensive hardware, making it possible to achieve a high quality sound at a fraction of the price it was ten years ago. There are unexpected happenings that may blur exactly what your role as an artist is, they may not be so obvious but they are many and very real. I’m content with being called a musician or calling myself a musician but that title today may be misleading.

Does your work fit into any specific genre? I’m sure there are artists who would not

dream of playing other styles of music, they might be purists or just uncomfortable engaging themes they are not familiar with or they cannot relate to other styles and I respect them for that. I suppose for me, because I did study European classical music, working my way through the grading system. Performing exercises and concertos to a high enough standard to get the grade. Playing Jazz, Reggae and Calypso with my father from a young age. Moving on to play with Punk and Rock bands and blending my sound into Pop music. I can work within various genres as I hear the music as language and after all when you see pretty much all music, when written down in musical script, then you see the connection most music has. Reading music scores makes you realise there is a melody and a chord progression a rhythm and emotions. It’s not realistic to place all what I do into a specific genre, though it’s wonderful to play and sing. Reggae for example, for an audience who want to hear only reggae, that’s fine. Playing Jazz and improvising with other musicians, pushing the boundaries and creating alternative melodies spontaneously.

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE

Ash, Arambol, Goa. Pic given by Graeme Hamilton

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Does your work fit into any specific genre? (contd.) I’m more than willing to work

within a specific genre, sticking to its rules and following a certain pattern. For me the most meaningful aspect whilst performing within any genre, singing or playing, is to sound like me, not to try to emulate anybody but to have a unique sound that could only be me. I would have to say no...... My work won’t fit into a specific genre but I try to create a feel, a sound, a pulse that can be recognised as individual.

Which musicians have you played with and were there ‘special’ experiences’?

I suppose I have been lucky to spend all of my life playing music and not much else, a good portion of that time, playing music alone. That might sound strange to some but it’s probably the most crucial time you have to be introspective and study, improve and be your own critic, get angry with yourself and push that little bit harder. That time alone gives you the patience and discipline you might need someday and can be extremely enjoyable or painful, as you have only your own boundaries. It doesn’t beat playing with other musicians though, at least most of the time. When I hear music that allows me to dream whilst awake, that can bring to the surface emotions, then my heart smiles and smiles for ages and that feeling is never lost.

After leaving college I began to branch out into different styles, playing with local rock, punk, alternative and experimenting as well as having my own band playing some of my own compositions. I was approached by band members of a punk band the Au Pairs, they were fairly well known across Europe and it was the first time I was able to tour, travel around to festivals in the UK and the rest of Europe, it was a pretty crazy setup as we were anti -establishment, which reflected the feelings of the youth discontent with the political and social landscape under a conservative government.

The music was full of rage at times and it felt pretty rebellious. It was a lot of fun! Times were changing and we wanted to make new sounds so the guitarist the drummer and I began to play instrumentals, composing and jamming. We lived together and collaborated with any musician that was interested, a good time in my life to take on new influences. African, Asian and South American music was enlightening for us and we tried to incorporate those influences into our sound.

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GRAEME HAMILTON After leaving college I began to branch out into different styles, playing with local rock, punk, alternative and experimenting as well as having my own band playing some of my own compositions. I was approached by band members of a punk band the Au Pairs, they were fairly well known across Europe and it was the first time I was able to tour, travel around to festivals in the UK and the rest of Europe.

We had a great local following and so the shows were always atmospheric, we played around the UK and some alternative festivals in Europe, a great learning period. Carmel were a Manchester based band that fused some “Jazziness” into their catchy pop songs, I’m unsure how they got my phone number but they asked me to play with them and do solo’s and riffs to embellish the music. The band had a couple of hit songs in the British charts and so we would play on television and even performed on Top of the Pops, this show was the number one TV show in the country. It’s amazing by going on popular TV programs how quickly you make a name and a reputation. Also it gave me income so I could continue to experiment with less commercial outfits.

In this period UB40 a band with a global name asked if I would be interested in joining forces. They used to come and see us rehearse and play around town and liked our alternative approach. We grew up in the same city and many times I would meet different members at local shows, parties around town and on the road at different shows and festivals. It was quite a natural process that we might work together as it was a pretty tight circle of musicians in the city. Brian Travers, the sax player a good friend, was eager that I record with the band. We recorded the album Geffery Morgan; we had a great time, the band still play shows and are recording, that’s pretty amazing after thirty, plus years.

Pic by Mira Arad. Pic given by Graeme Hamilton

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE

Graeme with his father, Andy Hamilton. Pic given and owned by Graeme Hamilton

JAZZ REGGAE CALYPSO ROCK POP EUROPEAN CLASSICAL

Which musicians have you played with and were there any ‘special’ experiences’?

(contd.) The English Beat were a well known Ska band who were around at that time, they had reached the end of their time as one band and split into several outfits. Andy Cox and David Steele joined forces with Roland Gift and asked if I would play with them. We soon went to the studio to make a demo tape for the record companies to hear and not much later were signed to London Records. The first single Johnny Come Home was an immediate hit; it featured me quite heavily with a trumpet solo on the intro and another solo, later in the song. Roland had a great voice which was soulful and grating, the audience felt they were hearing something very different to the bands that were around at the time. I pretty much played with the FYC (Fine young Cannibals) for the life time of the band which was quite short, about six years or so. We had global success, Gold and Platinum albums as well as a Grammy Nomination. We shared a tour US tour with UB40 once, which was great fun. During a period of uncertainty, when the band was taking a break for various reasons, we recorded “Tired of Getting Pushed Around” on the same Label London. Roland didn’t sing on that track and it was released under the name, Two Men a Drum Machine and a Trumpet. It was a drastically different sound to FYC as it was house music and more electronic, we actually had some chart success in the UK and Europe but it was more of a temporary project. We did attempt to record a third album with FYC but it was obvious things were over and so a compilation was pieced together featuring some previously unreleased materials, remixes and previous hits. Later I got to record with a very special singer Al Green, it was a great honour to play on his album and still to this day I wonder how special it was. The album titled Your Heart is in Good Hands was sweet, his vocal style is so unique and recognisable. I consider him to be one of the true great legends of our times, he is amazing.

My father, Andy Hamilton, landed his first record contract at the age of 72, a sax player, playing a rare form of Jamaica Calypso, Mento. Though he had quite a name in jazz he had been neglected by the British Jazz scene, partially because he was black and because people were over protective of the British take on jazz. Nick Gold, who ran an independent label saw the potential in Andy’s music. He realised that it was dance music which had all but died out in British Jazz. His first album Silvershine, we recorded partially in Birmingham at UB40’s studio and the rest at the old Decca studios in London. I did a lot of arranging for that album and many musicians were invited to perform, including Mick Hucknall of Simply Red, David Murray, considered by some to be one of the world’s best Tenor players, Jean Toussaint, Jason Robello and many others.

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GRAEME HAMILTON My father, Andy Hamilton, landed his first record contract at the age of 73, a sax player, playing a rare form of Jamaica Calypso, Mento. Though he had quite a name in jazz he had been neglected by the British Jazz scene, partially because he was black and because people were over protective of the British take on jazz. His album, Silvershine, became jazz album of the year and was in Sony’s 50 top most played. I was so happy that Andy, so many years into his life, eventually got the recognition he deserved. We followed up with a second album Jamaica by Night. Andy later went on to receive an honorary Master of Arts degree from Birmingham University and a Member of the British Empire (MBE)

Silvershine became jazz album of the year and was in Sony’s 50 top most played. I was so happy that Andy, so many years into his life, eventually got the recognition he deserved. We followed up with a second album Jamaica by Night. Andy later went on to receive an honorary Master of Arts degree from Birmingham University and a Member of the British Empire (MBE)

What is the message in your music? I

wouldn’t say my music always has a message except to try and be uplifting. It may be a sad song or have no strong theme but you would still want to project a complete balanced picture, the clarity is very important , Instruments add the mood and texture, so to interpret the emotion through instrumentation alone is something I do concentrate on. For me, it all comes from the melody and to build sympathetic responses, supporting the vision you are trying to create. The rhythms, the dynamics, tempo all crafted together to build a complete image. The idea of placing a message within each piece is not really for me as music is more like storytelling, painting sound it may be abstract , free of timing or key.

What were the influences and events that led to you becoming a musician? Through-

out my life there have been many occasions where I was fortunate, by chance ,by design or by the laws of chaos to share some time together, either performing, collaborating or just being in the same room as artists who somehow at that time

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PROFILE Though my father was always there to coach me I also had private tuition, John Saunders would arrive on a Saturday, midday at our house, and the place was pretty quiet until we started to play. He was really into the technical aspects of mastering the instrument. Posture, tone, range and reading. They were lengthy sessions, sometimes five hours. We would enjoy the lesson as he always kept a sense of humour even through the difficult patches.

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What were the influences and events that led to you becoming a musician? (contd.)

were on the same path as myself and sometimes I was inspired, that inspiration doesn’t stop happening later. My parents, initially encouraged me to play music, though my mother was not musical but she was married to a man who lived his music. Together they made it possible for me to study and encouraged me in my early years to get involved with many musical events and projects. I was hearing and playing music from a very young age. Music is therapy, language, philosophy, culture, healing, education and love. That’s what my father clearly guided me towards understanding. Maybe even that collection of words fails to go far enough to really portray how wonderful music can be. He was passionate in his devotion to the power of music and I could feel his emotion when he played. Once you get to a point when you can you can put your own mark upon a piece through your own phrasing and interpretation then it becomes more personalised and you become more recognisable. He taught me the songs he composed and we would play together, sometimes I would harmonise or play counter riffs to his melodies. It was very special for me as I knew what he was about to play even if he didn’t tell me, he would sometimes count the band in without informing us which song he intended, most of the time we got it right but not always, to my father’s surprise. We would laugh and try again. He was tireless and had a wonderful energy and realised through his experiences, that music could break down barriers that divided people. For young people, it could keep them focused on more diverse aspects in life, help them stay out of trouble and form close friendships and teams that you trusted and relied upon. Most of the pupils he would teach never intended to become full time musicians and that wasn’t the objective. The point was to enrich your life!

Though my father was always there to coach me I also had private tuition, John Saunders would arrive on a Saturday, midday at our house, and the place was pretty quiet until we started to play. He was really into the technical aspects of mastering the instrument. Posture, tone, range and reading. They were lengthy sessions, sometimes five hours. We would enjoy the lesson as he always kept a sense of humour even through the difficult patches were I wasn’t performing to the standard he expected. Getting through the grading system and performing concertos during exams was how you climbed the ladder step by step.

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GRAEME HAMILTON

Pic © 2011 Sworup Ranjit. Pic given by Graeme Hamilton

I was aware that it was very useful study, to absorb that knowledge but I also recognised that I had no real future in classical music. When playing jazz you may have to un-learn that clinical delivery and adjust to the subtle difference each style demands.

I never met him, the great Miles Davis; he had a massive influence on me. When I was being lazy and not doing anything in particular, I would listen to Miles. He played, it was as if he was speaking a pure language, his phrasing and use of space was captivating to me. He was very progressive and constantly moved on into new and challenging ideas, that eventually became a cause of concern for more traditional jazz performers and critics they accused him of selling out, to me it was fascinating. Many of the great jazz musicians came up through his bands, when they were young. I feel he has been one of the most influential artists we have had the joy to hear and opened many people’s minds and hearts to new experiences.

Looking back today what do you think you have achieved through your creative pursuit? It’s not something I have thought about before as I can’t really say that I consider

achievement in terms of success. It is a wonderful feeling when you can reach so many people with simple things and that they feel it’s something they want to be a part of, to see others being delighted and kind to each other because they have come together to join a big celebration. The effort people are prepared to make and no doubt sacrifices. I play regular weekly shows at some venues now and it still surprises me that every week the regulars arrive, even though they have seen the show many times before, they come. That makes me feel comfortable onstage, knowing that they are here and I’m a catalyst for that togetherness. Also, it’s fine to work with young performers who need a confidence boost and help guide them through the self doubt and encourage them by sharing the stage or taking time in the studio, to give them as many chances as they want to get the take right. To see their faces, sometimes relief, sometimes a sense of pride is worth a million bucks. Looking back I would never have believed how diverse the whole platform is, how it is interlinked, that I would be involved in so many layers of creativity. All of the arts are essential for humanity to express, it is a chance to escape rational. I realise that you don’t have to be an artist to be an artist, those who can appreciate are very much, part of the process, if they can relate to the idea then they are part of that idea. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PROFILE

Pic by Mira Arad. Pic given by Graeme Hamilton

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What are you working on now? I’m working on an album, it’s mostly complete but i think

i might need another song to get there. I’m singing and it’s mostly reggae, with a little Ska. I love the simplicity of Reggae and how the groove should sit in a certain way. Reggae grew in Jamaica so it’s never been far from me and it seems natural to continue to try new things through Reggae music. I have another album already finished; it’s an instrumental and is based upon my time in Asia. It’s very much influenced by Asian melody and rhythm, more of a chill out session and dreamy.

I am always writing and have much I would like to release but I am taking time as I want to start a modest online record company. Having worked with both major and independent record companies I see that it is now time to move with the times as having the internet allows people to set up without too much problem and expense. Marketing is always challenging and so coming up with new ideas is important. It’s important to maintain some kind of contact to the people who support and like the music. With the internet this is much easier now but i think it can also be too easy just to bombard people with post after post and overload them with information. I am always performing when I can and have places I can do regular shows. It’s important to me as I feel performing is the most integral aspect. Just recording and writing would drive me crazy. Onstage is a great place to learn new things, as many times a new musician will turn up, can learn from them. I incorporate modern sequences as it works well within a dance oriented setting and allows me to be flexible when it comes to the availability of musicians. It’s great when you have a complete band who have a similar vision as it is organic but things are moving quickly, as we see in music today DJ’s are very popular and you won’t see an instrument in sight so sometimes I like to try and meet that half way. As long as things are progressing then it’s fun to do and as long as the audience are coming to check things out and enjoying then so am I.

What makes a musician and can one anyone with a guitar become one? I heard a statistic years ago and it informed me that there were eighteen million guitarists in America alone. If that figure was accurate then it shows that pretty much anybody with the will can play music. I’ve heard people play really well and they just play music for a hobby. Playing music full time is not something most people would want to do; it’s more recreation than career for most. It is important to keep learning and discovering that I believe what makes a musician. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


GRAEME HAMILTON I incorporate modern sequences as it works well within a dance oriented setting and allows me to be flexible when it comes to the availability of musicians. It’s great when you have a complete band who have a similar vision as it is organic but things are moving quickly, as we see in music today DJ’s are very popular and you won’t see an instrument in sight so sometimes I like to try and meet that half way.

Being in the right place at the right time is probably the most significant factor as I’m sure there are more giants of music, who never received recognition simply because it was not their time and place. It’s a myriad of chances and possibilities, a lottery. Your chances are improved if you network as much as possible, then others who have projects underway could possibly invite you along for the ride. It’s not always necessary but having a unique identity is helpful, it doesn’t matter if you sing or play any instrument, being recognised for the sound you produce is important. If you think of any greats in music they couldn’t be confused with other artists as they stand out. There are many bands out there who have a following though they are not that distinctive in their sound, they might have really great songs that people can connect with or their appearance may really be the selling point

Roy Benson Bb school trumpet, gold colored. © Picture created by PJ,October 16 2006 LINK

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SABBAH HAJI

© Sabbah Haji © www.liveencounters.net 2013 july 2013


A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE

Sabbah Haji

Director, Haji Public School, Breswana, Jammu & Kashmir, India

in a candid interview with Mark Ulyseas

As a ‘single’ Muslim woman heading an educational institute in a frontline State that is often subject to terrorist attacks, do you get any threats? How does the community view your work? An abundance of stereotyping that really means nothing here in my world. I’ve answered this same question from so many different people so many times, it’s beyond amusing. First of all, what relevance my being ‘single’ to anything, particularly my work? How does my being a Muslim woman make my working any different than a non-Muslim woman’s? Because Muslim woman in general aren’t allowed? [Echoes of ‘YES, IT IS KNOWN.’]Maybe in some other world because that sort of thinking does not happen in a normal society, as ours is, Muslim though we may be.

Then: My state is as much subject to terrorist attacks as the next. We are no longer in the mid 1990s or early 2000s. This is about a decade after militancy and we’ve had no violence in my village or the vicinity for as long. That there is an overwhelming popular movement/desire for change in Kashmir is undeniable. However, the world needs to understand that Kashmir is not what is made out to be – we are not constantly under threat from terrorists. If anything, the only visible sign of conflict we see is security forces everywhere – the state apparatus, and not bearded gunmen in salwar kameez as people seem to believe. Maybe if the situation was the same today as in the mid-‘90s or the early noughties, my answer might have been different. As things stand, it is not. I couldn’t find a more peaceful spot in the world than our village [the volunteers can corroborate this]and frankly, even when political developments hot up in other parts of the state, tiny villages like ours in the mountain are least affected. We are a bunch f farmers cut off from the world outside and as long as the weather holds, the animals are healthy and the crops look good, we don’t really care for much else.

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE I am a girl from the village who went about life, learnt many things outside and then came back and decided to help out in the village. I like to think the villagers are happy with what I am doing and proud of the way the school is running because that is certainly the way they treat me. With love and respect and complete, utter co-operation. I don’t know what notion the world has of little Muslim villages in Kashmir but it is almost certainly the opposite of regressive, restrictive and oppressive to women.

As a ‘single’ Muslim woman heading an educational institute in a frontline State that is often subject to terrorist attacks, do you get any threats? Furthermore, how does the community view your work? (contd.) As for how the community views my work, why, I am the daughter of Sarpanch Saleem Haji, of the Haji family that belongs to the village. I am a girl from the village who went about life, learnt many things outside and then came back and decided to help out in the village. I like to think the villagers are happy with what I am doing and proud of the way the school is running because that is certainly the way they treat me. With love and respect and complete, utter co-operation. I don’t know what notion the world has of little Muslim villages in Kashmir but it is almost certainly the opposite of regressive, restrictive and oppressive to women. Our women would have a field day, laughing loudly if they ever heard about this.

To summarise: No, my being single or Muslim or a woman has never affected my work, the community does not frown upon it [they would laugh at this line of questioning though] and we certainly have never had threats from anyone for educating kids in the village. That sort of ridiculous behavior happens in Sunny Deol movies, perhaps.

Why was this school set up in Breswana?

Breswana is home for us, the Haji family. My great grandfather founded the village sometime in the early 20th century and moved his family and relations there. Today almost every single person in the village is related to us either through blood or marriage. My father and his siblings spent a lot of time in Breswana as children and have a special bond with it. My father in particular grew up on the farm, learnt things the village way etc. He’s a true son of the soil, loves the mountain life, farming, rearing livestock and the whole village deal. Of the current generation, my siblings and I have visited and stayed in the village the most. We grew up in Dubai but used to head to the Kashmir every summer vacation. Credit to our parents for making us really care for the village, for bringing us up to respect where they came from, and for letting us rough it out with our villagebased cousins and have fun as children. Those attachments have lasted to this day which is why we are so comfortable living there now.

As for the school being set up there, it was the most natural choice for our family. My uncle Nasir Haji [a business man now based in Singapore and the founder of the school] decided we should © www.liveencounters.net 2013


SABBAH HAJI

do some effective work to bring good education to the area. It was decided to start a good school from ground level up. Where else but his roots, the place his family is from? That we have all done well for ourselves in terms of education, career and qualifications should in some way feed back to where they started. And so, it was decided over the winter of 2008 that a school would be established in Breswana and that my mother Tasneem Haji and I would direct its operations on the ground. That is how we started back then and how we continue to this day. Nasir Uncle leads the way in terms of direction and funding, my mother and I administrate the school on the ground, my father Saleem Haji [who is also the Sarpanch of the village today] is in charge of people management, logistics, construction and all peripheral organizing required for the school, and various family members help in organizing and running the school through its parent Trust. Essentially a big, happy family concern. All tied in to the one place we are connected to: Breswana, up at 7,100 feet in the mountains of Doda District, as yet unconnected by motorable roads, and a full day’s travel to any of the big cities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Is this school only for Muslim students?

Not at all. The school is for students. Religion doesn’t enter into it. We have students and teachers from both communities in the region – Hindu and Muslim. In our village Breswana, there are only Muslims, so the students are all Muslims. In the other villages with a mixed population where our schools are, we have a mixed roster.

What is the curriculum? Is it religious in nature or secular?

Like any regular school in any part of the world, we teach academics. We are not a school of religion. We offer mainstream subjects- English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, and Urdu and Hindi as languages. Hindi is a plus we have. Other schools in this region don’t teach Hindi [Urdu is the official language of the Sate], but we’ve kept Hindi as an additional subject so our students have a basic grasp and ability to read Hindi if they go elsewhere to study/work.

In the case of HPS Breswana, with an all-Muslim population, we employ an Arabic master for extra classes outside of school hours. This does not affect the school’s curriculum – it’s just something the parents asked for and we were able to provide. Other than that, we keep everything secular as a rule, from prayers in the assembly, to lessons in the books and general instructions to the staff that religion be left out of regular teaching. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE

What is the curriculum? Is it religious in nature or secular? (contd.) We’ve had situations where we’ve found a particular book had inappropriate lessons or were too focussed on religious teachings and we’ve changed the books entirely. On an ongoing basis we keep reviewing the books and all lessons, and in conjunction with teachers we decide which lessons may be omitted, and which sections can be changed or left out.

The rule at HPS is simple: teach the kids everything – leave out religion and politics because that has nothing to do with general knowledge to be picked up at school.

Kindly give us an overall view of the school’s faculty and activities.

Haji Public School is registered with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and we are a primary school heading into middle school in the years to come. Currently HPS has about 15 full time teachers and a non-teaching staff of five, spread out among our three branches. We employ young men and women from the local area [boys and girls really] who’ve just started college or are recent graduates. We’re always looking for new teachers, especially from outside the area – teachers who may be better qualified or with more experience, but over the years we have found that no one is really willing to come up and teach in this tiny village in Pahari Doda.The local staff we employ consists of very hard-working, earnest and dedicated young men and women, and they are selected only after a probation period. At the time of hiring, they are trained heavily; we provide them with all possible help and guidance to set them up to be competent teachers for primary classes. We have weeks of reading, writing, spoken revision and familiarising of each page of each book that is going to be used at school, and the teachers are prepared for the academic year as well as can be managed.

However, there is only so much they can do after a lifetime of poor education. With the kind of inadequate schooling they have had it leaves them unable to read even kindergarten level books without being taught how to do so. This hurdle is possible to overcome for the very elementary classes, say up to Grade 1 or 2. A few weeks of training and the teachers are readied for teaching lower classes. The problem arises as classes go higher. With local teachers unable to deal with teaching classes 3 and up at a standard we would like, and with no permanent teachers from

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SABBAH HAJI We have an excellent library [stocked up almost entirely by strangers around the world who learnt of our school and sent us books and magazines] and a computer lab with enough laptops to comfortably teach all our classes. We also have movie-watching, TV time, singing and art classes built into the schedule, so every kid can find an activity they may be interested in. We’re planning a range of fun additions to the school, like a Quiz Club, Science Club, Music Club etc.

elsewhere willing to come join this school in a village, Haji Public School has had to come up with a proper Volunteer Programme. [More details on this below.] Apart from academic subjects, we’re very big on extra-curricular activities at school. We love our sports and the kids here are naturally very agile, fit and with impressive stamina. Cricket is of course the reigning popular sport, but we’re introducing them to football, basketball, volleyball, athletics and other sports and games.

We have an excellent library [stocked up almost entirely by strangers around the world who learnt of our school and sent us books and magazines] and a computer lab with enough laptops to comfortably teach all our classes. We also have movie-watching, TV time, singing and art classes built into the schedule, so every kid can find an activity they may be interested in. We’re planning a range of fun additions to the school, like a Quiz Club, Science Club, Music Club etc. If I do say so myself, I find our kids are naturally good at a good variety of things and most pick up new skills very quickly.

What is the ratio of boy/girl students? Do parents in the area prefer to send their boys instead of girls to school?

The ratio of boy/girl students in all our schools is the same as the general sex ratio in the villages. I cannot stress this strongly enough: I have never seen people more keen to educate their children than in my neck of the woods. No matter how poor or from whatever difficult background they may be, the past few years have shown me what a fierce desire to improve their kids’ lives the people here have. There is no ridiculous disparity between boys and girls. All the children go to school. In any case girls are not seen as a burden here although ignorant stereotyping would have the world believe otherwise. Now, interestingly, in Breswana, the number of boys is naturally much higher than girls [currently] and this is reflected in our student makeup. At the same time, the next village has more girls than boys and that school has more female students than make students. So it’s not a case of selectively educating the male child, it’s just the way the demographic happens to be. To reiterate: all the kids in our villages go to school. Whether it is the Haji Public School, or the Government schools that run in each village.

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE Haji Public School is funded almost entirely by Mr. Nasir Haji, the founder of the school and the Haji Amina Charity Trust that is run from Doda. Small donations do come in from time to time from the family or friends or from complete strangers, but those amounts are really nothing compared to what it takes to run the school.

How do you finance your operation? Through school fees? Or entirely through donations? Haji Public School is funded almost entirely by Mr. Nasir Haji, the founder of the school and the Haji Amina Charity Trust that is run from Doda. Small donations do come in from time to time from the family or friends or from complete strangers, but those amounts are really nothing compared to what it takes to run the school. There is big money that goes into construction, staffing, materials and operational expenses of our school. We charge a very basic minimum as school fees because we know what is affordable in the village. At the same time we decided to definitely have a set school fees so that the parents would take an interest in their kids’ education as opposed to just handing them over to the school with no sense of entitlement. The school fees hardly qualify as an income because of how low they are; in any case about a third of our students are registered free because they come from extremely poor households and cannot even afford the basic minimum monthly tuition. FYI, the school fees is INR 100 for LKG/UKG, and INR 150 for Grades 1 to 5. [That’s less than USD 2-USD 3 a month, for those who can afford it.] It is primarily Nasir Uncle that pumps in money to run the school and with every passing year as the school grows, the money that will be required to run it will increase as well.

Do you have a ‘volunteer program’?

The HPS Volunteer Programme invites people to apply for long-term teaching positions at the school. The minimum commitment has to be for three months. Volunteers are housed with the Haji family and are provided all meals in return for their volunteering stint. There is no upper limit to how long a volunteer stays. We are always pleased to have stay on with us permanently is they can. Complete details of the programme are available online as a Google Doc, and are also up on the website. Essentially, we look for young, sincere, non-fussy and emotionally mature applicants with an interest in social work and an understanding of children to apply to us and come and live with us and teach our students in the best way they can for a period of three months or more. Because of where we are geographically, it is also required that the volunteers be physically fit and ready to rough it out. Cultural sensitivity and the ability to interact and live easily with other volunteers will also be something an applicant should be able to handle. The Volunteer Programme has worked very well for us since we started it in 2010 on a very small scale. The past two years in particular have seen us depend completely on teachers from outside Jammu and Kashmir, who have spent months here with us and the children, teaching them their regular

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SABBAH HAJI

subjects and also bringing so much more to the table in terms of exposure, experience and a broadening of minds for the students and the village as a whole.

We have had a mix of Indian and international volunteers, at various stages of their education or careers. One of our first long term volunteers, Mr. Azon Linhares, who was with HPS for several months in 2012 returned this year as a full time employee on Haji Public School’s management. Another volunteer, Ms. Madhuri Vijay from Bangalore, volunteered with us for a few months at the end of the last academic year and she returned to teach at the school for a full year this spring. Each volunteer brings in his/her unique skills and experiences to the school and a good mix of such long-term volunteers really benefits the students a lot in terms of all-round development. We’ve had volunteers proficient in art, music, photography, sports – and all of them pass that on to the students in some form or the other. I guarantee no other school in the State has provided their students with the range of experiences and exposure to different cultures, languages and activities that our tiny school has. It’s quite extraordinary actually and something we are very proud of.

What is your vision for the school? Are you planning to set up more schools in the region?

Our school started on May 4, 2009 with lower and upper kindergartens, which we operated out of two rooms in our own cottage, two teachers and a student strength of 29. Today we have about 200 students in three branches, 15-20 teachers at any point of time, we’ve gone up to Grade 5 [the same kids who were in KG then are now our seniors], we have a very handsome school building and facilities. We intend to take the school up to at least Grade 12 in the village. After this stage a college is planned lower down the mountain, closer to the highway and accessible to a much larger population. We have acquired land for this project already. It is a big plan and we hope we can see it through. Basically the idea is to provide excellent education locally for a significant population that has not had the luxury of being taught decently in the past. By giving the local students skills and learning on par with their city counterparts, we hope to provide them with a window of opportunity to do whatever they please. Because they can. All that was lacking in their lives was good education. With that foot in the door, kids from our pahari region can do anything and be anything they set out to be. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE My family is not especially enlightened. We are regular people, my relations are regular people, all the people I’ve grown up with and around in Kashmir or elsewhere are normal [mostly middle class] people who study, work, try and do better in life for themselves and their families within very reasonable, enjoyable bounds of our culture and traditions.

As a Muslim woman heading an educational institute it is obvious that you belong to an enlightened family. Please share with us your family and educational background, and any other activities that you think would interest aspiring young women like you. Again, this suggestion that a Muslim woman doing something professionally is a sign of obvious enlightenment is quite offensive and condescending. Obviously there are hundreds of thousands of Muslim women, professional and otherwise working as hard and as normally as their male counterparts but for some reason it will not go down well with the Oppressed Muslim Woman narrative that the world laps up. Look, women generally have a tough time in the world across various cultures, irrespective of religion; I don’t see why qualifying ‘MUSLIM WOMEN’ and ‘Muslim families’ as Super Oppressive is a thing.

My family is not especially enlightened. We are regular people, my relations are regular people, all the people I’ve grown up with and around in Kashmir or elsewhere are normal [mostly middle class] people who study, work, try and do better in life for themselves and their families within very reasonable, enjoyable bounds of our culture and traditions. My parents are reasonable, sensible human beings who like their religion and understand it in the sense that all religions are meant to be understood [essentially: be good human beings, do good things, stay away from the Bad Stuff, do so and so rituals]and they brought us up in the same way. I was born and raised in Dubai among a very warm, healthy mixed desi community [Indians, Pakistanis, Kashmiris mostly] and I studied in a bunch of good, solid middle-class Indian Schools. Our parents encouraged us in sports, in all sorts of extra-curricular fun activities, they made sure we were outdoorsy and rough and unspoiled. I left for Bangalore in 1997 after my 10th Grade and completed high school, college and several years of work there before returning to Jammu and Kashmir in 2008, for good. I read a lot, made a lot of friends, learnt a lot from real life experiences in college and outside, grew up and learnt responsibility because I was away from home and fortunately did not lose my way while so doing. All the values my parents taught me growing up have remained with me. We were never ones to be impressed by big money and luxury and glitz. Both my parents are from extremely small towns and villages in Jammu-Kashmir, their stories are extraordinary and this is something we children will never forget. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


SABBAH HAJI

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


POETRY

Friedrichstraße in Hamburg-St. Pauli © Christian Alexander Tietgen LINK

This poem, Peregrinus, stems from a time when my son, Sean and I loved walking the streets of Hamburg. We still talk about those charmed journeys without an end in themselves, but they were a time of bonding when we often talked about Ireland, its tales and our ancestors. The poem tries to depict my struggle with life; with voices from the past that I felt had blocked me. I needed to get away and being away I could look back at the journeys of my forefathers and my own passing time. “I walk this city with my son”…” I have a tale and he will tell it after my feet stop in their age.”

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TERRY MCDONAGH

Peregrinus I’ve been on my feet for a time: walking past madhouses, church railings, alley cats; through years of endless blues and sweating at the wrong receptions, or fear of the dark. I love one shop because I can’t afford its shoes, but I return again and again like a ritual does to old men, or a young man will to a knife.

Put your roots down, before the visitors depart and forget the deep cool shade at the end of the rainbow. When I hear that voice, I know From the colour of leaves that I’ve lost my crop to my hunger for tall buildings. Today, I met a sad man; his landscape had been given over to war. I had a great-grandfather who walked to the boat and

a grandfather who walked from one county to the next. My father walked the land and I walk this city with my son. He is one of them. I will never be. I have a tale and he will tell it

after my feet stop in their age

© Terry McDonagh

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW Voices From Chernobyl is translated from Norwegian by Marietta Taralrud Maddrell

How did innocuous atoms – which make all things, even us – connive to unleash a destruction so vicious that there was little left to be salvaged?

Ingrid Storholmen author of

Voices from Chernobyl in an exclusive interview with Mark Ulyseas “Can one love a mutant? Now and then drips fall on my forehead. It’s chilling but not frightening when you don’t think about it. I raise myself up on my elbows and turn over on my side. My eyes start from below, seeing the toes, the thighs, the strong, long stomach with the cord, the chain – we are bound together by a chain. Something or the other stirs in my throat. The lower part of the baby’s chest lifts, it breathes, the hands box... And then I see it – between the shoulders near the heart, there is a third arm, with fingers. Three hands! The two normal hands go on thrashing about, the third one stretches and grabs hold of me. I am not awake yet, I dare not. But we make a pact, I and that outstretched hand: the next time, I will grasp it, hold it.” © Mark Ulyseas

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Published by Harper Perennial and available at LINK


INGRID STORHOLMEN

20132013 july © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

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INGRID STORHOLMEN The word “becquerel” became a frequently used word when I was growing up: “Ingrid, watch out, there’s too much becquerel in the blueberries. Stay away from them”. When I became older, I realized what the word meant. When I began to write, the word and all its sinister implications engulfed me. My father had the facts, and I was going to have the fiction. Together, this might add up to quite a picture of the accident. The science and poetry of it all. Excerpt

Why did you write this book and what do you hope to achieve with it? I felt I had to. The accident in Chernobyl happened when I was ten years old, and a lot of polluted rain fell over my hometown and both my sisters became ill because of it. The name Chernobyl and the word becquerel (unit of radioactivity) became so important, which was frightening and affected my childhood a lot. When I realized that the disaster could be forgotten I felt that I had to write this book, I wanted to remind people of it… How dangerous it really is with nuclear power.

When you were confronted with disease and death at Chernobyl how could you chronicle for posterity the tales of the survivors?

The thing is that I wrote the whole book before I went to Chernobyl. After being there for two months and meeting so many suffering people I was not able to write about it. It was so distressing meeting children with cancer at the hospitals or knowing about people’s lives that were totally changed by the accident. It took me several years after my trip before I was ready to publish the book. I felt so much anguish for the people near the power plant that I thought I would never publish the book.

However, after the accident in Japan at the Fukushima nuclear plant, I felt it was necessary to remind all of the danger we live with everyday; That no power plant in the world is safe. Something can always happen and the radioactivity will leak out into the environment and poison all living things around.

Saturday, 26 April 1986

REACTOR NUMBER FOUR ON FIRE STOP LARGE QUANTITIES OF RADIOACTIVITY LEAKING OUT STOP WHAT ARE WE TO DO STOP INFORM MOSCOW? STOP USSR never informed the world.

Sweden did...three days later.

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW The plot is not of prime importance to me. As a poet, I am more interested in situations, details, moments, and ‘odd’ uses of language. Even in my prose I try to use rhythm and metaphors and different kinds of language ‘tools’ to create a language that is far from the everyday language, or the language you find in official reports and in the newspapers. In this book, I wanted to create a language that could match the subject and hold the pain of the people of Chernobyl. Excerpt

What did you take back with you from Chernobyl and has it impacted your writing? I brought back a lot of terrible stories, which has scarred me for life. The disaster has affected my writing a lot, for instance I find myself always writing only sad stuff, never any funny stories. All my writing is very serious and totally lacks humour. The book I am presently writing is also about a disaster. This is how my visit to Chernobyl has impacted my writing; I don’t write to entertain people but to wake them up to reality.

Do you keep in touch with any of the survivors that feature in your book?

No. The people in the book are characters, pure fiction. I met a lot of victims when I travelled around in Ukraine and Belarus, so I will say that every character is realistic, but I did not ‘use’ living people’s history and life experience. I do not keep in contact with anyone I met during my stay… many people want to forget… they are tired of telling their stories. Furthermore, it could be dangerous for them as Belarus has a strong dictator in Lukasjenko, and telling the truth might not be safe.

How different is the English version from the original Norwegian?

I find that hard to tell…Norwegian and English are two very different languages. They are of a different ‘colour’ or ‘shade’, as every language is… but I feel that the poetry in the book is well taken care of by the translator, Marietta Taralrud Maddrell. She has done a great job. Presently Marietta is translating my latest poetry collection “To the price of love”. I am very grateful to her.

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INGRID STORHOLMEN I have tried to say things about people’s feelings – that would never be heard in a reportage. I have tried to give the people of Chernobyl a voice that can be heard. I have tried to convey how afraid they are of themselves and their children and their future. I got to know a little about this after spending two months in the areas around the power plant, meeting people in hospitals, at schools and so on. Excerpt

Will you write a follow-up to this book? No, I do not think so, at least not right now… Maybe later… if it feels right, if I find it necessary… if they build more nuclear power plants or if a new disaster occurs… like Fukushima in Japan.

What, in your opinion, is the responsibility of the artist to society?

This is a big and complex topic and I do not know how to answer this question. In one way the only responsibility a poet has is to the ‘self’, to one’s talent and style of writing…to hold on to one’s own idiosyncratic way of seeing the world…this is the only thing that one can do. I also think that if you have a talent for writing…it should be used to focus on important things that relate to ‘self’ and others. For example, today it is important to write about the environment and also about feelings, relationships, beauty, religion and so on. The funny thing is that the more one thinks one’s writing is ‘private’… exclusive to one’s own life… the more it is related to other people’s lives.

Do you agree with this Latin phrase - Poeta nasitur, non fit— Poets are born, not made? Or do you feel there is a poet in all of us?

Both… yes and no. I think you are born with a certain sensibility and a special way to observe the world, but you can also be trained in writing. You have to practice it, almost every day. And it is very important to read A LOT. You have to be open minded and interested in the inner world as well as the outer world. I think one has to be brave…To be able to work on a topic that is hard to write about.

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Ingrid in front of Reactor 4 that exploded

Do you agree with this Latin phrase - Poeta nasitur, non fit— Poets are born, not made? Or do you feel there is a poet in all of us? (contd...) I think it is important to write about personal things, of course not in a private way, but as a poet. I think you have to be where the fire is…You have to get burned to have something to write about… To give your own experiences a literary form that touches the reader. I always try to be brave… It is hard… But who said writing is easy?

What are you working on now?

I am working on a magnum opus based in World War II. It is about the German battleship, Tirpitz, and the over 2000 sailors on board. This ship was anchored in Norway for the most part of the war. It was bombed by the RAF outside the city of Tromsø, in the northern part of Norway. Over 900 young men, mostly sailors were killed. I am writing about almost everything on and about the ship. It is called “faction”…a mix of fact and fiction…Like I did in Voices from Chernobyl. This war is important for Norwegians even though it happened over 70 years ago. I find it interesting to write about something so far removed from myself…Unfortunately war is a universal topic…A reality that is ongoing…Like the one in Syria, for instance. Presently, I have written over 400 pages and read over 500 books on the subject (Tirpitz). This is akin to a PhD! I even travelled to Germany to meet some of the now very old men who were on board the Tirpitz...this was special. I think I will need another year to finish my book, which is my biggest and most ambitious project.

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INGRID STORHOLMEN Farmers in my area still have to feed their sheep, cows and reindeer with clean food because the grass is still very poisonous. The same goes for fish, berries and mushrooms. From my father’s research it is quite clear that the becquerel-levels in all things are still very high...for instance the becquerel per kg in mushroom soil went up from 255 in 1986, soon after the disaster, to 2850 in 2010. Excerpt

Could you share with the readers a glimpse of your life and works? I was born in Verdal, Norway, in 1976. I studied literature at the University of Bergen and spent a year in a creative writing school. I have written six books – poetry, prose and a children’s book. My work is translated into a number of languages and I travel all over the world to read my poetry at literary festivals and fairs. The rest of my time is spent in a quiet and very small village in the countryside in the middle of Norway. I have a boyfriend but no children.

I am a full time writer who spends time with the family.

I also travel a lot and have been to India on two occasions and hope to return someday. I read a lot...many hours a day...and do some physical work out or jogging so that I am able to sit in front of a computer for many hours every day. I like cooking for it relaxes me.

What is your message aspiring artists?

If you know deep down that you are a poet then I say: Go for it! You can make it if you really want to. But you must work hard because talent is one thing but to realize it is something else. You also need a talent for hard work, for focus, for ambition, and faith in yourself, your way of seeing the world. You have to be truly dedicated. Excerpts are from an interview with the author by Teji Grover and Marietta Taralrud Maddrell. Copyright of excerpts, poem and photographs rests with Ingrid Storholmen. Interview copyright Mark Ulyseas. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


POETRY

Pic Š Mark Ulyseas

I hold the face against my eye with warm fingers where is the simple hand The lonely hand The nerves in the hand are full-grown My hand hurts, only you can heal it When you are in your hand The darkness of the palm My hand is tired today between the eye your arm

hands gather water-drops like gifts

the hands hold my name the newborn name

The hands inside me, fingers fill me out

Holding hands it is steep and wet and we hold hands with gloves and without

until the hands throw the gloves skin I take you

let you

be ablaze Fire we might have said

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013

of lips thoughts touched


INGRID STORHOLMEN

English translation by May-Brit Akerholt

but we grew utterly still how still we become when we talk, love one heart in two

The rhythm of the morning heart against a hand you didn’t wake from this put me down there so I can imagine the city alone

We delay the time I wait by your side in the water what is left of the night then I should have left it a long time ago until love is able to touch us who cannot be touched

Something lets you know Something which won’t let go You are not magic to me We are everyday and don’t like it Friday, and it rains It rains all day An orange rain I want to walk alone It is spring, and it rains

I flee. Have already fled

© Ingrid Storholmen

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


ANIMAL RIGHTS

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013 july 2013


CAROL BUCKLEY

Elephant Aid International Improving Elephant Welfare Carol Buckley

Gives us an update on her pioneering work with captive elephants in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Carol with Tarra. Text & Pics © Carol Buckley 20132013 july © www.liveencounters.net


ANIMAL RIGHTS

Over the past three years I have spent much of my time in Asia working for Elephant Aid International, a US-based non-profit organization, to improve captive elephant welfare. My latest project found me in Chitwan National Forest dragging a 100-meter cloth measuring tape through the dense undergrowth, collecting measurement required for the design of a new and innovative captive-held elephant facility. Painful injuries sustained from wild briar thrones, insect bites and even an encounter with a geriatric wild rhino, did nothing to deter me. Within days, I had the measurements I needed.

As the memory of scratches and insect bites quickly faded, I set about designing Asia’s first chainfree hattisar (elephant facility). Compared with collecting the measurements, designing the hattisar was relatively easy; five separate and interconnected corrals, designed to give captive-held elephants the space to move about freely, without chains.

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013


CAROL BUCKLEY

A Shift in Thinking Removing elephants from the chains that have bound them for hundreds of years is a hard concept to sell in Asia. Misconception and unsubstantiated folklore reinforce strongly beliefs, resulting in years of incarceration of these highly intelligent, sensitive, social, soulful animals. Sadly, the tradition that has enslaved elephants has proven harmful, and in many cases deadly, for humans and elephants alike. The concept of chain-free corrals was derived from my previous work creating The Elephant Sanctuary in TN, the nation’s first natural-habitat refuge for captive-held elephants in the United States. The goal of this new project was the same; give elephants freedom of movement, an opportunity for autonomy and to socialize with conspecifics, and for the first time in their lives the freedom to make their own choices. It is a novel concept but one that has proven itself successful in authentic captive-held wildlife sanctuaries around the world.

The mahouts (elephant trainers) were second only to the elephants at being affected by the project. They were cautiously receptive. Lacking experience with or exposure to working elephants living chain-free, the mahouts feared the worst. I found myself spending a great deal of my time calming their fears, knowing clearly that once the project was complete and elephants released from their bondage, all fears would melt away. The elephant needed the opportunity to disprove the unsubstantiated belief held by mahout and management that when elephants are provided a degree of freedom they become unmanageable. Quite the opposite is true, but I could not convince them with words alone, the elephants had to prove the point for me. Creating Change

Once construction started it progressed rapidly. The elephants seemed to sense a change for the positive.

IBEX Gallagher power fence company was brought from India to construct the solar powered fence. The design was unique even to them, a company that had erected miles of fencing to keep wild animals out of villages and human settlements. But the concept was the same; use a humane design to create a barrier that will keep wild elephants out and captive-held elephants in. Solar power fencing does just that.

2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


ANIMAL RIGHTS The elephant needed the opportunity to disprove the unsubstantiated belief held by mahout and management that when elephants are provided a degree of freedom they become unmanageable. Quite the opposite is true, but I could not convince them with words alone, the elephants had to prove the point for me.

On January 10, 2013 after only one month of construction, the project was completed. The result is a three-acre hattisar with five interconnected chain-free corrals, enclosing open and forest land, providing freedom of choice, movement and a semblance of privacy for the elephants.

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013


CAROL BUCKLEY

To ensure the longevity of the forest inside each corral, tree protectors were erected around select trees leaving others for the elephant to use as scratching posts which helps ensure healthy skin.

Custom watering troughs were built providing free-choice water in each corral.

2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


ANIMAL RIGHTS The related family of Man Kali, Prakriti Kali and Hem Gaj are housed together. They bonded immediately when united in the chain-free corral and continue to exhibit healthy elephant behavior, with eight-year-old Prakriti Kali assuming the role of big sister to seven-month-old Hem Gaj.

To provide a greater opportunity for healthy socialization between elephants, the corrals were equipped with interconnecting gates, making it possible to increase the corral size and opportunity for elephants to spend time together.

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CAROL BUCKLEY

Family and Kirti Kali

Family Reunion - The first elephants to be released from chains and introduced to not only freedom from chains but also an opportunity to reunite with related family members was Man Kali, the 50-year-old mother of eight-year-old Prakriti Kali and seven-month-old Hem Gaj.

2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


ANIMAL RIGHTS The introduction to the yard was a success and the reuniting of the family made a deeply profound and lasting impression on all who were lucky enough to witness it.

The reunion was flawless and heart-melting, touching. Within moments of their introduction Prakriti Kali took on the natural role of protective big sister while savoring the attention and affection she craved from her biological mother. Hem Gaj soaked in the loving attention from his big sister, smiling ear to ear as he placed his trunk first in his mother’s and then his sister’s mouth, both giving and receiving the loving reassurance that every baby craves. Man Kali received a well deserved gift as Prakriti Kali took on the babysitting role of the big sister. The introduction to the yard was a success and the reuniting of the family made a deeply profound and lasting impression on all who were lucky enough to witness it.

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


CAROL BUCKLEY

Mel Kali before she was chain free.

Chain-Free at Last - In quick succession Mel Kali the 70-year-old elder, and Kirti Kali and Jun Kali, two of the anti-poaching patrol elephants, were released from the crippling chains that held them in one spot in the dirt for decades. Each calmly, but purposefully, made their way from the seven-meter square stable where they had been confined, to their own personal forest corral.

2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


ANIMAL RIGHTS The goal to eliminate stress from chaining and the resulting stereotypic behavior is realized. Adherence to the new feeding protocol ensures that both Prakriti Kali and Mel Kali do not engage in stereotypic, food anticipatory behavior. Since being introduced into the chain-free corral, all elephants engage in appropriate, beneficial, species-specific behavior; respond favorably to their mahouts; and appear to be calm and comfortable in their new environment, indications that the chain-free corral hattisar project is meeting its goals and objectives.

Mel Kali and Jun Kali explored every inch of their new home while Kirti Kali took the opportunity to find a quiet place in her personal forest to dust contently, covering her body in a nurturing layer of soft dirt which provides protection from the sun and biting insects. A soulful look glowed in her eyes. Her body language said all is well.

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013


CAROL BUCKLEY

Carol trimming Prakriti Kali’s nails and teaching a calf to walk across a weigh scale.

Six fortunate elephants have benefited from this collaborative effort between Elephant Aid International-USA, National Trust for Nature Conservation(NTNC), Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation(DNPWC) of Nepal, and IBEX Gallager. The amazing results of this project have exceeded our expectations and will undoubtedly have a far reaching impact as it is duplicated in other parts of Asia.

To learn more about Elephant Aid International’s work to improve elephant welfare worldwide please visit our website, BLOG and facebook page Text & Pics © Carol Buckley

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HEALTH

Pic © Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net 2013 july 2013


CANDESS M CAMPBELL

Feel your Feelings!

In this series on self-healing, feelings play a large part. Many problems that underlie pain, whether they are physical, emotional, mental, or even spiritual are related to your thoughts and subsequently, your feelings.

Many sources today report that all or most health issues are psychologically rooted. Everything from fever blisters to cancer can be traced to emotions and beliefs. One of my favorite resources is Louise Hay, who has an incredible story about her self-healing from cancer. In her book Heal Your Body, she asserts: No matter what dire their [anyone who is ill] predicament seems to be, I know that if they’re willing to do the mental work of releasing and forgiving, almost anything can be healed. The word incurable, which is so frightening to so many people, really only means that the particular condition cannot be cured by “outer” methods and that we must go within to effect the healing. The condition came from nothing and will go back to nothing. It is becoming clearer that giving our attention to something adds energy to it. If the feelings that you experience and the thoughts you have are negative, full of anger, hate, suffering, loneliness, depression, or failure, your body will hold this information inside and you will feel pain. If what you watch on TV or read in the paper is about war and poverty, pain, anger, or riots, this becomes the metaphorical food that you think about and to which your body responds. On the other hand, when you focus on positive thoughts and feelings such as generosity, sharing, gratitude, loving, and being peaceful, your body responds to this as well. If you choose to watch TV that is positive, read inspirational books, and search out information that is loving and from the heart, you feel better. Remember, whatever you focus on increases. This dynamic is known as the Law of Attraction by those in metaphysical communities.

Sometimes getting information that is not positive is useful, especially if it motivates you to act to do something good. I watched a recorded Oprah Winfrey show on Earth Day. The image I saw continues to haunt me. It was a swirl of garbage sitting between the coast of California and Japan in the Pacific Ocean. The mass is 90 feet deep and the size of Texas. The garbage is killing the ocean animals and fish. This was not a positive image, but it certainly has encouraged me to recycle even more and to gently share this information with others who would be open to helping our beautiful Mother Earth to heal. © Candess M Campbell

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HEALTH

Nevertheless, the feelings, thoughts, and actions that we project outward to the world are also stored in our bodies. Sometimes our bodies may be crippled from anger and fear. We may carry extra weight to protect ourselves from pain or from releasing our old pain. Maybe we have cold sores that come from stress or “burning to bitch.” Once we understand how to read the body, we find we are an open book. The goal is not to criticize ourselves for having an illness, but to bring ourselves into balance. We are not just our bodies; we are physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social beings. As much as we have evolved in our worlds, little is understood about the necessity of and methods for expressing feelings clearly. Most people learn to differentiate between mad, sad, glad, and scared, at best. When I hear people talk about their feelings, it is often expressed as something that happens to them, rather than something they notice they are experiencing from within.

The concept of feelings is often expressed as consisting of either fear or love. The goal is to move continually from fear into love as often as possible. Working on such movement is like developing a muscle that you flex; but I also think this can be a way of polarizing life, of looking at situations as being either good or evil. What I propose is the belief that our experience is a process leading us to the next process, similar to a movie scene, leading us the whole concept of the movie.

Let’s look at feelings being like a muscle you flex. I see this with clients often and remember experiencing it in my own life. It is easy to want to avoid feeling, because all of the sudden you may feel overwhelmed with emotion, and then sadness or depression comes over you and it takes days to get out of the feeling. What you will learn through practice is to feel the feeling and let it go quickly. A sad feeling can last a few minutes, and then you return to joy once you learn to feel the pure feeling and let it go. I know this may sound difficult, but I have experienced this dynamic often, even after having spent my twenties and thirties in bed crying for days. What I like to say to clients is, “Feel your feelings, and they will go away.” Today, most often when I am sad or cry, it comes over me like a wave and I have no idea what has brought it on. I have cleared the stories attached to the feeling, so now when a feeling comes up, usually triggered by a movie or someone else’s story, it comes over me, I cry deeply for a moment, and it is gone. I don’t try to figure out what it was about, why I felt the feelings, none of that. I just say, Thank you Divine for that healing, and go on. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


CANDESS M CAMPBELL

An example of this is when I watched my young granddaughter. We were walking the trail by the Spokane River. She was walking fast, grasping to get her stride on a downward slope of the trail full of small river rocks. I attempted to hold her hand, but she said “no.” Next, she tumbled and was on her knees and little hands. She looked shocked at first, but then carefully lifted one of her hands and looked at it. “Dirty!” she exclaimed as she saw the dirt stuck to her palm. I walked over to her and told her to wipe the dirt on my pants, and she was as happy as could be. Off she went to find the big rock pile. Now, if I ran to her with a reaction, she would have cried. But because I was and just watch her, she assesses the situation and went on. I am sure you have noticed this with your own loved ones. It is important to feel your feelings, release them and go on. What happens if you don’t experience your feelings, if you don’t feel them and let them go away, you go from having an angry feeling to being an angry person.

Thanks to Einstein and other scientists and those who study quantum physics, we know that everything is made of energy. We know that all life forms have energy, and we know that even rocks, plants, and the bed you lie on have energy. We also know that energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be transformed. All of your body is energy, from the follicles in your hair to the nails on your toes; it is all energy in motion. It is also true that your feelings and your thoughts are energy.

Karol Truman in Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, writes that thoughts and feelings are energy; they are atoms which are composed of tiny amounts of pure energy, waves of energy solidified or frozen into the non-movement recognized as matter. Matter is a form of energy that is in very slow or stopped motion (or frequency). Since matter cannot be destroyed, but can be altered, you can change your feeling or thought that is negative matter (energy) into positive matter (energy). She espouses the idea, as does Deepak Chopra that a feeling or thought becomes a negative energy when it obscures the truth of our Being. We are all a reflection of the universe, of universal love. This is what you want to remember and take as your focus. When I was studying religion as an undergraduate student, what I determined for myself was that sin was whatever took us away from our true connection with Spirit, with God, or in this case, with our own perfect Being.

Bruce Lipton in The biology of belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles talks about the two minds we have: the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The programming learned as a young person, the feelings that are “hard-wired,” come from the subconscious mind. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HEALTH

Therefore, although people have free will, in order to change the programming, an individual would need to become fully conscious. It is fascinating that the conscious mind can think forward and backward in time, but the subconscious mind is always in present time. Though you may have great plans for something (conscious mind), you may find yourself doing different behaviors or having different feelings than expected (programmed subconscious mind). This dynamic can show up in the learned behaviors and beliefs that were acquired from others, but no longer support the conscious beliefs you have today. Lipton describes the subconscious as “an emotionless database of stored programs, whose function is strictly concerned with reading environmental signals and engaging in hard-wired behavioral programs.” The problem here is that these “programmed reflexes” have you reacting to a situation the way you did when you first learned this behavior; thus you find yourself “getting your buttons pushed.”

When in Kyoto, I did an intuitive session with a beautiful young woman whose father owns a hospital. She had been working for her family and wanted to do something else, but in Japan, they are most often true to the group and not as individual as we are in the West. She began to cry as she explained that when her mother was pregnant with her, her father was having an affair. Although my agent was translating, it was not hard to see the pain in the young woman’s heart, and I felt the affinity of all women as she shared. When this woman was born, her mother was extremely sad, and the client declared that she remembered this feeling in the womb and that it had resulted in her being born with the following belief: “I should not exist.” Her remembrance is not an isolated case. I find similar memories in myself and most of my clients. Although we may not have rational thoughts at that point in our existence, we do have feelings, and I believe we also have subconscious knowingness.

When we are in our mother’s womb and during the birthing process, we have an experience that sets the stage for our beliefs. Our beliefs then become a filter for our view of the world, and if there is information in the world that does not fit in our belief system, we choose not to allow this information in. Our ego continues to support our belief system, and therefore whatever we believe is what appears to us to be true. We then go on to defend this belief in our need to be right--even if the belief, as in the example above, is painful and self-effacing.

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


CANDESS M CAMPBELL

There is so much more to becoming conscious, feeling our feelings, and accessing the buried feelings that control our daily choices, but now I have a process I have developed for you to use to clear your beliefs and thus feelings. 1. Write out the situation that is painful for you. Allow yourself to be detailed and to use the writing process as a therapeutic tool. This gets the “charge” up on the situation. Then pick out the main issue and list it. 2. Write out the belief related to this situation. The way to determine this is to ask yourself, “What decision did I make about myself regarding this situation?” It usually starts with “I am…” This is your core belief. 3.

Decide upon the new belief you want to create and use as a replacement. Write it down.

4. Now, focus in your heart. Bring your consciousness up into the heavens. Ask to connect with your Source or the being to whom you pray. Ask Source to clear this belief at the core past/present/ future and image this belief dissolving. You may create a screen and see a rose on this screen. Put the belief in the rose and image the rose exploding. Create and destroy this rose (all is energy, so you are just changing the energy from one energy to another), doing this over and over until the belief is gone. Ground yourself and bring this energy down through your body and down your grounding cord. Now, take the new belief you want to create. Bring your consciousness up into the heavens and see yourself living, experiencing, and feeling this new belief. Use all of your senses. Feel yourself swirling in golden-white light and bring this belief down through the top of your head, filling your whole body with this belief. Ground your energy. Focus in your heart and thank your Source for this healing. It is done, it is done, it is done. This is a small sample rewritten from 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine. – Candess M. Campbell, PhD Disclaimer: In the chapter in the book there is an extensive section on trauma and resources for those who suffer from PTSD. For more information : US LINK. UK LINK

© Candess M Campbell

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


GALILEE

Myrrh, Cinnamon & Sweet Cane, Cassia, Olive Oil, Pic provided by Natalie Wood.

A Royal Anointing: Not Power But Destiny

When Queen Elizabeth II concluded her Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a coronation anniversary service, it was instructive to note the similarities that parts of the original sacrament had shared with the anointing of the priests and kings of ancient Israel. It appears that the process evolved to give those being anointed an extra gloss of ‘holiness’, so allowing them an aura of divine authority over ordinary people. It is said that the biblical King Saul, who was chosen by the judge Samuel at God’s behest, found his anointing inspiring and elating; a truly life-changing moment. So it’s no surprise that monarchs in latter years believed they, too, reigned by heavenly decree. Scholars say that the ‘holy anointing oil’ Samuel used on Saul and then King David had originally been made for the ordination of the tabernacle priests and for use on some of its appurtenances. It was created from a blend of myrrh, cinnamon, calamus (sometimes translated as ‘cannabis’), cassia and olive oil.

The traditions surrounding the anointing of a Christian monarch have continued essentially unaltered since bible times, even where they have changed in content. For example, just as Samuel initially consecrated King Saul in private, the Queen’s anointing in 1953 was concealed from immediate view although everything else that occurred that day at Westminster Abbey, London was broadcast worldwide. Beneath a velvet and ermine outer robe, she wore a plain white dress as a symbol of humility over her sumptuous coronation gown. When the outer robe was removed, the sign of the cross was made on her head, breast and hands using an oil blend of jasmine, musk civet, orange blossom, distilled cinnamon and ambergris which had first been concocted for the coronation of King Charles I. So as we are made privy to how Queen Elizabeth accepted her role and the revelation she may believe she was briefly granted, we begin to understand the urges lying at the heart of kingship. They are not merely to satisfy a lust for power, but a sense of destiny. The Queen, a devout Christian, became monarch of the United Kingdom and Supreme Governor of the Church of England because her father was forced to become King George VI after the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


NATALIE WOOD

King Saul, however, was chosen because he was regarded as being both physically and morally head and shoulders above his contemporaries. The Israelites had pestered for a king who would resemble the men leading their hostile neighbours. They wanted someone to help them to wage wars and then win them.

But first, there was a furious argument with Samuel. He was not only a judge and prophet, he was the people’s intermediary with God – the supreme and eternal king. So when he warned them against having an earthly king, he was not merely guarding his judicial position, but that of the Almighty who demanded the Israelites’ exclusive loyalty. Jewish tradition suggests that despite his many fine qualities, Saul was killed after barely two years in power because he had disobeyed God and tried to blame his subjects for what went wrong.

To extend my analogy to the modern world, Queen Elizabeth, in contrast, has reigned for more than 61 years and is possibly more popular now than ever. This is not only because she’s a quiet, steadfast individual caught up in a turbulent technical and cultural revolution. It is also because she represents a tradition of cohesive self-sacrifice and public service in a broken world. She learned from the mistake made by her Uncle David (King Edward VIII) and realised that to have abdicated her throne during the crisis following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, she would effectively have abandoned her responsibilities. It was not only her moral integrity that prevented her doing so. There was also the ‘continuity factor’ to consider. But that should be the subject of another piece!

© Natalie Wood

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


COLUMN

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013 july 2013


CHRIS HEDGES

Rise Up or Die This article was first published on Truthdig

Parrot fish killed in rip tide, Kuta beach, Bali, Indonesia. Pic © Mark Ulyseas © Chris Hedges

20132013 july © www.liveencounters.net


COLUMN What has taken place in these sacrifice zones—in postindustrial cities such as Camden, N.J., and Detroit, in coalfields of southern West Virginia where mining companies blast off mountaintops, in Indian reservations where the demented project of limitless economic expansion and exploitation worked some of its earliest evil, and in produce fields where laborers often endure conditions that replicate slavery—is now happening to much of the rest of the country. These sacrifice zones succumbed first. You and I are next.

Joe Sacco and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones”—the first areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace—to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world. We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and governmental institutions that once made reform possible, institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check the assault of corporate power.

What has taken place in these sacrifice zones—in postindustrial cities such as Camden, N.J., and Detroit, in coalfields of southern West Virginia where mining companies blast off mountaintops, in Indian reservations where the demented project of limitless economic expansion and exploitation worked some of its earliest evil, and in produce fields where laborers often endure conditions that replicate slavery—is now happening to much of the rest of the country. These sacrifice zones succumbed first. You and I are next. Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform—the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions—we are left defenseless against corporate power.

The Department of Justice seizure of two months of records of phone calls to and from editors and reporters at The Associated Press is the latest in a series of dramatic assaults against our civil liberties. The DOJ move is part of an effort to hunt down the government official or officials who leaked information to the AP about the foiling of a plot to blow up a passenger jet. Information concerning phones of Associated Press bureaus in New York, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Conn., as well as the home and mobile phones of editors and reporters, was secretly confiscated. This, along with measures such as the use of the Espionage Act against whistle-blowers, will put a deep freeze on all independent investigations into abuses of government and corporate power. Seizing the AP phone logs is part of the corporate state’s broader efforts to silence all voices that defy the official narrative, the state’s Newspeak, and hide from public view the inner workings, lies © www.liveencounters.net 2013


CHRIS HEDGES We stand helpless before the corporate onslaught. There is no way to vote against corporate power. Citizens have no way to bring about the prosecution of Wall Street bankers and financiers for fraud, military and intelligence officials for torture and war crimes, or security and surveillance officers for human rights abuses. The Federal Reserve is reduced to printing money for banks and financiers and lending it to them at almost zero percent interest; corporate officers then lend it to us at usurious rates as high as 30 percent.

and crimes of empire. The person or persons who provided the classified information to the AP will, if arrested, mostly likely be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. That law was never intended when it was instituted in 1917 to silence whistle-blowers. And from 1917 until Barack Obama took office in 2009 it was employed against whistle-blowers only three times, the first time against Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The Espionage Act has been used six times by the Obama administration against government whistle-blowers, including Thomas Drake. The government’s fierce persecution of the press—an attack pressed by many of the governmental agencies that are arrayed against WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and activists such as Jeremy Hammond—dovetails with the government’s use of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force to carry out the assassination of U.S. citizens; of the FISA Amendments Act, which retroactively makes legal what under our Constitution was once illegal—the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of tens of millions of U.S. citizens; and of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the government to have the military seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them in indefinite detention. These measures, taken together, mean there are almost no civil liberties left.

A handful of corporate oligarchs around the globe have everything—wealth, power and privilege— and the rest of us struggle as part of a vast underclass, increasingly impoverished and ruthlessly repressed. There is one set of laws and regulations for us; there is another set of laws and regulations for a power elite that functions as a global mafia.

We stand helpless before the corporate onslaught. There is no way to vote against corporate power. Citizens have no way to bring about the prosecution of Wall Street bankers and financiers for fraud, military and intelligence officials for torture and war crimes, or security and surveillance officers for human rights abuses. The Federal Reserve is reduced to printing money for banks and financiers and lending it to them at almost zero percent interest; corporate officers then lend it to us at usurious rates as high as 30 percent. I do not know what to call this system. It is certainly not capitalism. Extortion might be a better word. The fossil fuel industry, meanwhile, relentlessly trashes the ecosystem for profit. The melting of 40 percent of the summer Arctic sea ice is, to corporations, a business opportunity. Companies rush to the Arctic and extract the last vestiges of oil, natural gas, minerals and fish stocks, indifferent to the death pangs of the planet. The same corporate forces that give us endless soap operas that pass for news, from the latest court proceedings surrounding O.J. Simpson to the tawdry details of the Jodi Arias murder trial, also give us atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide that surpass 400 parts per million. They entrance us with their electronic hallucinations as we waiver, as paralyzed with fear as Odysseus’ sailors, between Scylla and Charybdis. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


COLUMN More than 100 million Americans—one-third of the population—live in poverty or a category called “near poverty.” Yet the stories of the poor and the near poor, the hardships they endure, are rarely told by a media that is owned by a handful of corporations—Viacom, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Clear Channel and Disney. The suffering of the underclass, like the crimes of the power elite, has been rendered invisible.

There is nothing in 5,000 years of economic history to justify the belief that human societies should structure their behavior around the demands of the marketplace. This is an absurd, utopian ideology. The airy promises of the market economy have, by now, all been exposed as lies. The ability of corporations to migrate overseas has decimated our manufacturing base. It has driven down wages, impoverishing our working class and ravaging our middle class. It has forced huge segments of the population—including those burdened by student loans—into decades of debt peonage. It has also opened the way to massive tax shelters that allow companies such as General Electric to pay no income tax. Corporations employ virtual slave labor in Bangladesh and China, making obscene profits. As corporations suck the last resources from communities and the natural world, they leave behind, as Joe Sacco and I saw in the sacrifice zones we wrote about, horrific human suffering and dead landscapes. The greater the destruction, the greater the apparatus crushes dissent. More than 100 million Americans—one-third of the population—live in poverty or a category called “near poverty.” Yet the stories of the poor and the near poor, the hardships they endure, are rarely told by a media that is owned by a handful of corporations—Viacom, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Clear Channel and Disney. The suffering of the underclass, like the crimes of the power elite, has been rendered invisible.

In the Lakota Indian reservation at Pine Ridge, S.D., in the United States’ second poorest county, the average life expectancy for a male is 48. This is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti. About 60 percent of the Pine Ridge dwellings, many of which are sod huts, lack electricity, running water, adequate insulation or sewage systems. In the old coal camps of southern West Virginia, amid poisoned air, soil and water, cancer is an epidemic. There are few jobs. And the Appalachian Mountains, which provide the headwaters for much of the Eastern Seaboard, are dotted with enormous impoundment ponds filled with heavy metals and toxic sludge. In order to breathe, children go to school in southern West Virginia clutching inhalers. Residents trapped in the internal colonies of our blighted cities endure levels of poverty and violence, as well as mass incarceration, that leave them psychologically and emotionally shattered. And the nation’s agricultural workers, denied legal protection, are often forced to labor in conditions of unpaid bondage. This is the terrible algebra of corporate domination. This is where we are all headed. And in this accelerated race to the bottom we will end up as serfs or slaves. Rebel. Even if you fail, even if we all fail, we will have asserted against the corporate forces of exploitation and death our ultimate dignity as human beings. We will have defended what is sacred. Rebellion means steadfast defiance. It means resisting just as have Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, just as has Mumia Abu-Jamal, the radical journalist whom Cornel West, James Cone and I visited in prison last week in Frackville, Pa. It means refusing to succumb to fear. It means refusing to surrender,

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


CHRIS HEDGES Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” grasps the dark soul of global capitalism. We are all aboard the doomed ship Pequod, a name connected to an Indian tribe eradicated by genocide, and Ahab is in charge. “All my means are sane,” Ahab says, “my motive and my object mad.” We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is willing or able to stop it.

even if you find yourself, like Manning and Abu-Jamal, caged like an animal. It means saying no. To remain safe, to remain “innocent” in the eyes of the law in this moment in history is to be complicit in a monstrous evil. In his poem of resistance, “If We Must Die,”Claude McKay knew that the odds were stacked against African-Americans who resisted white supremacy. But he also knew that resistance to tyranny saves our souls. McKay wrote: If we must die, let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursèd lot. If we must die, O let us nobly die So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters we defy Shall be constrained to honor us though dead! O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe! Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one death blow! What though before us lies the open grave? Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none. It is time to employ the harsh language of open rebellion and class warfare. It is time to march to the beat of our own drum. The law historically has been a very imperfect tool for justice, as African-Americans know, but now it is exclusively the handmaiden of our corporate oppressors; now it is a mechanism of injustice. It was our corporate overlords who launched this war. Not us. Revolt will see us branded as criminals. Revolt will push us into the shadows. And yet, if we do not revolt we can no longer use the word “hope.”

Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” grasps the dark soul of global capitalism. We are all aboard the doomed ship Pequod, a name connected to an Indian tribe eradicated by genocide, and Ahab is in charge. “All my means are sane,” Ahab says, “my motive and my object mad.” We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is willing or able to stop it. Those on the Pequod who had a conscience, including Starbuck, did not have the courage to defy Ahab. The ship and its crew were doomed by habit, cowardice and hubris. Melville’s warning must become ours. Rise up or die. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


CONTRIBUTORS Click on title of article to go to page

Whose swastika is it anyway? Mark Ulyseas

After wading through historical evidence of the origins of the swastika one is left with continuity; Continuity of purpose – the uninterrupted use of the swastika across millennia to the 21st century CE. And here is where the Hindu/Buddhist/Jain swastika remains constant. Thus, this confirms that the swastika is an integral part, a crucial ‘element’ in the spiritual world of these three religions. And therefore the present attempt to criminalise its usage amounts to nothing short of racism spiced with regional bigotry, which emanates from Europe and North America.

Photo Gallery - Bali Swastika Joo Peter

Aka Joachim Peter is a Visual artist and writer based in Southwest Germany, presently working on documentary & travel photography in Asia right. He loves to explore and combine all arts in his work. Joo has studied Arts; painting and graphics, worked for theatre ( designing stage, costume and light) , did some work for television and film, went into teaching. He writes essays and a blog in his native tongue, German, for he feels his language combines philosophy and humour. www.joo-peter.photoshelter.com

Singing The Sea Randhir Khare

Khare is an award winning author of twenty one volumes of non-fiction, fiction, translation and poetry. Executive Editor of Heritage India, the International Culture Journal, a Director of The Rewachand Bhojwani Academy and Visiting Professor to the Dept Of English, Pune University. Recently he was given The Residency Award by The Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters) for his contribution to Indian Literature and the Human Rights Award for his efforts to preserve and celebrate marginal and minority cultures. www.randhirkhare.in

Prophet of Love

Farrukh Dhondy in an exclusive interview Dhondy is a screenwriter, playwright and bestselling novelist. Born in Pune, India in 1944 he went to school and college in Pune and then to Pembroke College, Cambridge. He graduated in ’67 having read Natural Sciences and English. He went on to do a thesis on Rudyard Kipling at Leicester University and then taught in various London schools. He has written several books including The Bikini Murders which was on top of the Indian bestseller lists for three weeks, Bombay Duck,Poona Company and the screenplay of Split Wide Open among others. Published by Harper Perennial

In the end... Terry McDonagh

© www.liveencounters.net 2013

Irish poet and dramatist, Terry McDonagh, taught creative writing at the University of Hamburg and was Drama Director at the Int. School Hamburg for 15 years. He now works freelance; has been writer in residence in Europe, Asia, Australia; published seven poetry collections, book of letters, prose and poetry for young people translated into Indonesian and German, distributed internationally by Syracuse Uni. Press; latest poetry collection Ripple Effect due for publication in May/June 2013, Arlen House; next children’s story, Michel the Merman, illustrated by Marc Barnes (NZ) to be published in September 2013. He lives in Hamburg and Ireland. www.terry-mcdonagh.com


August 2013

Indigenous Festivals in Australia: Performing

cultural survival Peter Phipps

Phipps is a senior lecturer in Global Studies at RMIT University; post-graduate training in cultural anthropology at the University of California Berkeley; PhD on the cultural politics of postcolonial theory at Melbourne University. He has published on Indigenous festivals, tourism and the politics of cultural globalization; founding member of the Globalism Research Centre and has consulted to a number of organizations and government bodies including the City of Melbourne, Victorian Multicultural Commission, the PNG Department for Community Development, ATSIC, ATSIAB (Australia Council), UNDP (Sarajevo), Yothu Yindi Foundation.

Being Muslim and Working For Peace -Ambivalence

and Ambiguity in Gujarat Raphael Susewind

Susewind is a Doctoral Candidate in Social Anthropology (Universität Bielefeld) and Associate of the Contemporary South Asia Studies Programme (University of Oxford). In his research and teaching, he explores Muslim belonging, the ambivalence of the sacred and electoral politics in India; he also sometimes writes on Indian diplomacy. Recently, Sage published his monograph on Muslim peace activists in Gujarat; he currently conducts research on the poetics and politics of Muslim belonging in contemporary Lucknow. Website Published by Sage Publications

We Are All Aboard the Pequod

Chris Hedges - This article was first published on Truthdig

Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, and his War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction. Hedges is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute, a columnist for Truthdig, and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Israel’s Stumbling Block Before The Blind Natalie Wood

Born in Birmingham, England, U.K., Natalie Wood began working in journalism a month prior to outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. She remained in regional Jewish journalism for over 20 years, leaving full-time writing to help run a family business and then completed a range of general office work. Wood and her husband, Brian Fink emigrated from Manchester to Israel in March 2010 and live in Karmiel, Galilee where she continues to work, concentrating on creative writing. She features in Smith Magazine’s new Six Word Memoirs On Jewish Life and contributes to Technorati, Blogcritics and Live Encounters magazine. Her stories - Website and journalism - Website

Prayer and Meditation Candess M Campbell

Candess M. Campbell, PhD is an internationally known Intuitive Life Coach, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Seminar leader, Hypnotherapist and Author. She specializes in assisting others to gain their own personal power and to live a life of abundance, happiness and joy. Early 2012 she will be releasing her book 12 Weeks to SelfHealing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine. www.12weekstoselfhealing.com 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


MARK ULYSEAS

Pic © Joo Peter © www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


SWASTIKA

Preface

Whose Swastika is it anyway?

Whose swastika is it anyway is a question I asked myself sometime ago. It was prompted by an encounter with a German journalist in his thirties, who quizzed me about the Hindu swastika above my door mistaking it for the hated Nazi symbol. In the same year I met two Germans from Hamburg: one, a retired international corporate lawyer and the other a former German Law maker still advising the government administration in his area. Both were appalled when confronted with the images of the swastika on homes, shops, restaurants, vehicles etc. After so many decades the brainwashing continues...that the swastika was/is/will always be the symbol of evil incarnate because it represents all that Hitler and the hated Nazis did – the torture, incarceration and gassing of millions of Jews and others. To reject the Nazi symbol and what it stood for is to rightly honour those that suffered and died in inhuman conditions during WW11.

But should we deliberately confuse the distorted symbol of the Nazis with the sacred swastika... a symbol intrinsic to the spiritual life of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for millennia? Entrance arch to a temple in South India pic by Mark Ulyseas

2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


MARK ULYSEAS

Pic © Joo Peter © www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


SWASTIKA

Hindu

Nazi

Whose swastika is it anyway? An overview by Mark Ulyseas

For millennia the swastika has been and continues to be the sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The desecration by Hitler is compounded by Western countries that continue the fraud by associating it solely with the Nazis thereby ‘socially’ banning it. In some cases laws have been enacted to jail those displaying the swastika. The resultant effect has been devastating: Westerners viewing the swastika in their homeland and/or while travelling in Asia instantly associate it with the Nazi symbol. The brainwashing is complete. I have written this article in an attempt to bring a vestige of enlightenment however small to those that are ignorant of or prejudiced towards the swastika by showing the profound significance of this symbol in the ancient Asian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. We must ask ourselves this question: How do we sift truth from faction (fact + fiction) when propaganda turns us into bigots? May I humbly suggest a solution: Let us promote people-to-people dialogue on this subject through the sharing of ideas, views and cultural exchanges involving poets, writers, artists of all hues, school children, rights activists et al.

And while we tread this peaceful path towards greater enlightenment we must be aware of the ever present danger of puerile politics, insidious racism and rancid fundamentalism lurking in our societies.

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA

“Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.” Mahatma Gandhi, when asked if he was a Hindu.

We asked a few people to respond to the title of this article prior to publication. Natalie Irene Wood, Journalist and Flash Fiction Writer, Galilee, Israel - Today, because so many people are woefully ignorant, the origins of the swastika are not generally known. I once possessed a copy of Kipling’s ‘Just So Stories’, whose cover was emblazoned with a swastika motif. The remarkable thing about the book was that it arrived in our family during the 1930s as a barmitzvah gift for my maternal uncle, Sidney Saltman. That such a book could be given for such an occasion shows how much social attitudes and values have changed. That aside, you may know Kipling was a rank racist anti-Semite, as is evident from the many snide anti-Jewish, anti-non-white references in his stories, but I don’t believe the use of the swastika on his book fronts meant he necessarily had Nazi sympathies. I think it was purely because of his love of India, knowledge of Hinduism, etc. LINK Terry McDonagh, Irish writer, poet and playwright, Kiltimagh Mayo County, Ireland - I remember being shocked at seeing the swastika for the first time in Indonesia. It was only then that I grasped its history. LINK Rainer Tormin, former student activist and Law Maker, Hamburg, Germany - When I saw a swastika in India for the first time, I was more than confused. You must know that to show the swastika in Germany is not only forbidden by law but also threatened with jail. But my second thought was that it was the other way round. The Nazis - as a right wing political organization - of course used it turning right. (A common mistake many people make. The swastika is in the same direction as the Hindu swastika but at a 45° angle. It is the Buddhist swastika in countries other than India which is anti-clockwise. The Hindu Swastika anti-clockwise is used in tantra in India – MU). With my third thought I remembered having read about the swastika being a traditional Hindu symbol. That calms me down. But I am still a little bit confused, whenever I see the swastika in India. LINK Joachim Peter, International Photographer, Berlin, Germany - First time I saw the swastika outside Germany was in Bali. In Germany, the symbol is closely connected with killing of 50 million people in WW11. The symbol is prohibited in my country. Police and attorneys get active immediately, when this sign is displayed in public. Most Germans know very little about the origins of the swastika in Hindu and Buddhist culture. Hitler chose the sign simply for propaganda purpose; he and his followers had little to no education about the origins of the swastika or Hindu culture. Swastika is not called ‘swastika’ in Germany, but ‘Hakenkreuz’, meaning ‘cross with hooks’ – for most people in Europe those hooks were stabbing knifes. Some Germans think, swastika is an Indian symbol of the sun, the turning wheel of the sun, however, this is also just one of the limited interpretations of early 20th century German popular myths. In Asia, I have encountered different versions of the swastika - Buddhism from Nepal to Japan; Hinduism in India or Bali where it is a symbol of Shiva and Dharma, symbol of cosmic law. LINK © www.liveencounters.net 2013


MARK ULYSEAS

Hindu Swastika c. 3000 BCE +

The word Swastika came from the Sanskrit word Svastika, meaning lucky or auspicious object. It is composed of su meaning good, well and asti meaning to be - ‘svasti’. The ka is probably added to intensify the meaning. It means that which is associated with well being. The shape represents a monogram formed by interlacing of the letters of the auspicious words su-asti written in Brahmi which predates Sanskrit. It is one of the 108 symbols of Lord Vishnu of the Hindu Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh - which signifies the rays of the sun: four directions NSEW, and four elements earth, wind, fire, water etc. This auspicious symbol is used in all Hindu Yantras, religious ceremonies etc. In Buddhism it represents resignation. Usually found in the images of Buddha on his chest, palms, soles of feet, it originally symbolised the footsteps of the Buddha. And in Jainism the Swastika represents Jainism’s seventh Trithankara (saint) and the four arms placed clockwise also stand for the four possible places of rebirth: the animal or plant world, hell, earth, or the spirit world. (Detailed explanation in following pages)

Nazi - Hakenkreuz 20th Century CE

The Germans never called this symbol a Swastika. It is believed that the major European colonial powers in Asia at that time viewed the swastika as an exotic good luck charm from the East but quickly rejected it when the Nazis arrived on the scene and preferred to call it a swastika because of its similarity with the Asian religious symbol instead of using the same term as the Germans - Cross with hooks. In the 1870s the swastika was popularized by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who found many examples of it during his diggings at ancient Troy and Mycenae. He deliberately referred to it as an Aryan religious symbol. Hitler was greatly influenced by the work of the fanatical Aryan supremacist Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels, who used the swastika as the symbol of his cult as early as 1907. Anti-Semitic/ militarist groups had adopted it as well by the time Hitler appropriated it for the Nazis around 1920. The swastika soon became a symbol of hate, anti-semitism, violence, death, and murder in the West. © Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA It was after the destruction of the Jewish settlement at Cranganore (associated with the ancient port of Miziris, near Cochin, in modern day Kerala), that they (Jews) sought shelter with the Hindu Rajah of Cochin, who in the words of an English historian, “with a liberality that can hardly be understood” granted them a site for a town by the side of his own palace and temple. Jew Town was built in 1567 and the synagogue in 1568 (it still functions today).

Prior to publishing this article I mailed it to an Indian Jew in Israel for his valued comment (the Jews settled in India over 2500 years ago). This is what he had to say: “This article, especially the cover of the magazine, is disturbing because I as a Jew am faced with a reality that cannot be brushed aside. However, I cannot be disrespectful to a billion Hindus’ religious feelings. As an Indian Jew I grew up among Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis etc. There was never a moment when I felt different or made to feel different. We were one community. And yes I saw how the swastika was used by my Hindu friends but it never struck me to associate it with the Nazi symbol...for me they were both very different objects...I can’t explain it in words...it was with great religious reverence that Hindus drew it for ceremonies, at the entrance of their homes and even on their clothes. It was for them what the Star of David means to us Jews. And to think after so many years, now we are in a new millennium, people in the West and even in Israel have rejected any form of the swastika...in a manner that makes even the Hindu swastika a symbol of evil. This is very sad, very sad indeed. How can I as a Jew disrespect the religious feelings of my Hindu friends...people I grew up with...people who have used the swastika for thousands of years? I think the time has come to openly discuss this issue...I am too old now to be actively involved but this I say we have to find a way...we must find a way. Maybe the time has come to honour the Hindus who gave us a home when we had none thousands of years ago. Shalom.”

Here is an instance of how Hindus have given shelter to the Jews from persecution by Europeans, in particular the Portuguese: In the year 1500 CE the Portuguese arrived in Malabar, and soon began persecuting and torturing the Jews. The 160 years of Portuguese occupation of Cochin were the darkest period in the history of the Jews of Malabar. In a letter written by Albuquerque he brought to the attention of the King of Portugal that there were at that time a large influx of Portuguese and Castilian Jews and enquired of His Majesty whether permission would be given to exterminate them one by one as he came across them. LINK

Interestingly, it was after the destruction of the Jewish settlement at Cranganore (associated with the ancient port of Miziris, near Cochin, in modern day Kerala), that they (Jews) sought shelter with the Hindu Rajah of Cochin, who in the words of an English historian, “with a liberality that can hardly be understood” granted them a site for a town by the side of his own palace and temple. Jew Town was built in 1567 and the synagogue in 1568 (it still functions today).

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MARK ULYSEAS Europe and USA have accepted the swastika as solely a Nazi emblem. They have all but done away with the knowledge that the Swastika is an Asian religious symbol for millennia. So for generations now the truth has been converted to a lie and in effect Hitler has won. The Third Reich didn’t last for a 1000 years but its insidious appropriation of the swastika apparently will, thanks to the jaundiced views of Western governments.

In 2005, Germany proposed the banning of the swastika in Europe. This caused outrage in the Hindu community across the world. Fortunately, the Member States did not go along and the proposal was dropped. (In July 2012, Germany banned male circumcision. It had to retract this law after protests by Jewish and Muslim communities). Here’s what the media had to say:

A ban on the swastika would not in itself remove racism or silence those who wish to express such views. For many in the world a ban on the swastika would be quite bewildering - the equivalent of banning the cross or the crescent. And, in ignoring the sensitivities of people in the East, such a ban would itself be an act of Western arrogance - the very kind of attitude Hitler encouraged. LINK What we are witnessing is a despicable form of transnational racism that is deliberately/permanently brainwashing Westerners. The laws enacted in Europe and USA have been made to perpetuate this fraud. The whole system of ‘education’ appears to be aimed at completely obliterating the true origin and sanctity of the swastika and replacing it with its misuse by an European megalomaniac of the previous century. In the USA for instance the prevailing ignorance of the swastika as an ancient religious symbol is evident in this news report:

N.J. school criticized for counselling kid who drew swastika - OLD BRIDGE, N.J. — A group that promotes the swastika criticized a New Jersey school district for requiring counseling for an 8-year-old student of Hindu heritage who included the symbol in a holiday drawing. The International Raelian Movement, which believes humans were created by extraterrestrials, said the swastika is actually a symbol of peace and beauty that was corrupted by Nazis. The group said the unidentified child was “subjected to traumatic reprimand and racial bias counseling without parental approval.” School officials have since apologized to the third-grader at James McDivitt Elementary School and his parents. LINK Another example: the Federation of Jain Associations in North America uses a modified version of the standard Jain symbol. It replaces the Swastika with the Om, because the Swastika is not considered a pious symbol in the Western world.

Europe and USA have accepted the swastika as solely a Nazi emblem. They have all but done away with the knowledge that the Swastika is an Asian religious symbol for millennia. So for generations now the truth has been converted to a lie and in effect Hitler has won. The Third Reich didn’t last for a 1000 years but its insidious appropriation of the swastika apparently will, thanks to the jaundiced views of Western governments.

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA

Pic © Joo Peter © www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


MARK ULYSEAS

.. . .. . . .

The Hindu Swastika explained: 4 Vedas – Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda - Symbolizing auspiciousness 4 goals of life - Dharma (virtue), Artha (success), Kama (pleasure) and Moksha (release) - denoting prosperity in each area. 4 stages of life – Brahmacharya(Student), Grihasta (Householder), Vanaprastha (Retired person) and Sanyasa (Ascetic) - signifying good fortune for each stage 4 directions – North, South, East and West - symbolizing the Divine omnipresence 4 seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - symbolizing the cyclic nature of time 4 Yugas (era) of the world-cycle - Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga - symbolizing the natural evolution of the universe 4 Varnas (social classes) – Brahmans (Priests, Teachers, and Intellectuals), Kshatriyas (Warriors, Police, and Administrators), Vaishyas (Farmers, Merchants, and Business People) and Shudras (Artisans and Workers) – symbolizing the progress and synergy among social classes. 4 paths of Yoga – Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga - symbolizing union with the divine. Clockwise Swastika is used in all the Hindu rituals like opening new account books, marriage, Mundan ceremony and other religious rituals. 4

7

1 2

3

2

5

1 6

1. Devi Parvati 2. Lord Shiva 3. Lord Ganesha 4. Lord Brahma 5. Devi Saraswati 6. Lord Vishnu 7. Devi Mahalakshmi

Anti-clockwise or feminine Swastika is rarely used and is considered inauspicious. Tantrics following the Vamamarga (left handed path or sexually oriented Tantra) use this feminine Swastika to invoke Goddess Kali for getting the best results of the Chakra-puja. None in whole of the three cosmos can handle Shakti once awakened except Lord Shiva in the Ugra rupa.- Mamsadayini Tantra 4 1 2

5

3

7 2

1 6

1. Devi Chinnamasta 2. Devi Kakalmalini 3. Devi Kali 4. Devi Sodasi 5. Devi Matangi 6. Devi Astibakshi 7. Devi Mamsapriya

Reference - INDIA, Known things Unknown secrets by R. VENUGOPALAN. ISBN: 81-8056-373-1 Book Code: BV-5725 © Mark Ulyseas Publisher: Health Harmony, New Delhi, India 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA Regional Distribution of Hindus

Population by region as of 2010 Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life Global Religious Landscape, December 2012 LINK 99.3% of Hindus worldwide are in Asia-Pacific Region Europe

1,290,000

North America

2,250,000

M.East - North Africa

1,720,000

Latin America Caribbean

660,000

Asia - Pacific

1,025,470,00

Sub-Saharan Africa

1,670,000

Total world population of Hindus - 1,033,080,000 as of 2010

In India, the Hindu swastika appears with the dots and without the dots depending upon the usage. For rituals/homes etc. it is with the dots; for signage on temples it is without the dots. It is claimed the dots are for invoking the powers of the elements. That’s why the swastika on a temple does not have the dots, in most cases. However, the usage differs according to religious practices/interpretations across the country. The swastika is applied on different bases and so there is no fixed background colour. I have given an auspicious saffron background colour (on the cover and elsewhere in this article) as the Hindu swastika is never drawn on a black background for religious ceremonies etc. but can be drawn, for instance, on a new black coloured car! The swastika anti-clockwise is used in Indian Tantra.

Buddhism in India uses the swastika clockwise without the dots whereas elsewhere in Asia it is anti-clockwise without the dots. For Jainism please refer to the separate section in the following pages.

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MARK ULYSEAS Regional Distribution of Buddhists

Population by region as of 2010 Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life Global Religious Landscape, December 2012 LINK 98.7% of Buddhists worldwide are in Asia-Pacific Region Europe

1,330,000

North America

3,860,000

M.East - North Africa

500,000

Latin America Caribbean

410,000

Asia - Pacific

481,290,000

Sub-Saharan Africa

150,000

Total world population of Buddhists - 487,540,000 as of 2010

Hindus 1.034 billion + Buddhists 0.488 + Jains 0.007 = 1.529 billion*

Data for the regional distribution of Jains worldwide is unavailable. It is estimated that the population should not exceed approximately 7 million worldwide with the maximum being in India. However, this figure is hotly disputed. The symbol of the swastika has significant meaning in cultures across continents and is not exclusive to one country. The swastika is also known as ; China – wan, England – fylfot, Germany – Hakenkreuz, Greece – tetraskelion/gammadion etc. LINK. It is claimed that Australia is the only continent where the swastika has not been found (artefacts/archeology) till date.

From the Hindu and Buddhist population maps one can observe the majority of followers are in the Asia-Pacific region. Coupled with this is the fact that the swastika is an intrinsic part of the spiritual life of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for millennia. Therefore, the insult to 1.5 billion Hindus/Buddhists/Jains by the West due to its continuing insistence that the swastika is solely the symbol of the Nazi regime is untenable, and further smacks of deep seated racism. * Total rounded off

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA Aum bhoohr bhuwah swaha; Tat savitar varenyam Bhargo devasaya dheemahi; Dhiyo yonaha prachodayat The lord of water, earth and heaven; Oh sun, the great god, We worship your glory; Give us insight into the secret of your creation.

- Gayatri Mantra, Rigveda c.2500 BCE (?)

Evolution of the swastika from the Sun circle. This is an informal telephone discussion (paraphrased below) I had with an Indian professor lecturing in a Western university who has put forth his view on the swastika. He wishes his name to be withheld because of the perceived ‘negative’ reaction he may receive from sources known and unknown. “Take a close look at the swastika. What do you see? How did this sign come about? How has it become a powerful spiritual symbol for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, in particular? To understand this complex subject you have to go back in time to the beginnings of Man on earth. When he ‘discovered’ fire and what impact this made on humanity as a whole. How was ‘fire’ invented? How do we answer this question without stepping on the toes of those who follow religion? Some say with flint stones... others by divine intervention. As Man progressed through the ages the symbol of the Sun became the symbol of fire (Agni). The sun emitted light, gave warmth and nurtured life. The sun became the focal point in man’s spiritual development. You had ‘fire worshipper’, sun worshippers etc. The symbol of the sun was then gradually translated into drawing...drawing of a circle. This circle morphed into the four points of the compass, four seasons and even the four elements. As cultures developed the sign took on different meanings in different cultures. This is best depicted in artefacts and architecture across the world... in different cultures, religious beliefs. The circle was divided into four parts (seasons/NSEW etc.) and in some cultures an extension was added probably to denote a religious sentiment at that prevailing time. For instance the swastika (anti-clockwise in Tantra) is considered by some to be the dance of Shiva, arms and legs rotating like the sun rays, Shiva’s Tandava dance...the dance of creation, the dance of destruction and rebirth of the Universe...the eternal celestial cycle of existence...it is also viewed as the feminine energy... in the form of Kali. And by others it is a symbol (swastika clockwise) of Lord Vishnu for auspicious ceremonies, also a symbol of Ganesha, son of Shiva...shakti...

It is believed that the sacred fire was started by rubbing two sticks together. The wooden sticks were taken from the Banyan and Pipal trees. These trees have deep spiritual significance in all three religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism). These two sticks were incorporated into the sun circle and it was probably then that the Hindu swastika in its present form came into being. Prior to any auspicious/religious event/ceremony the swastika is drawn...a representation of the ancient symbol of lighting the holy fire that represents Surya (sun), Brahma, the Creator...seeking his blessings. This is my hypothesis.

And as the swastika was born so did its religious interpretations, permutations and combinations. I do not recall the Hindus, Buddhists or Jains ever using it as a symbol of hate, violence and destruction. However, fundamentalists exist in all religions and one must discount such provocations as these are usually motivated by extraneous elements other than of a religious nature. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


MARK ULYSEAS

Summer

Fall

North Star

Spring

Winter

Big Dipper

(Its position in the firmament according to the seasons. Not to scale)

There is also an interesting theory which I believe is closer to the Truth. I read this somewhere but can’t recall the exact reference link: Swami Vivekananda, a well known Vedic scholar, made a reference to the Big Dipper. He explained that the Dipper was shaped like a plough and was used to determine agrarian planting and harvesting seasons. Therefore, it may be the reason why the swastika symbolized “Good Harvest” and “Good Health,” or “Svasta” in Sanskrit. Even today, farm implements in India have the Swastika drawn on them, with a prayer “May your good harvest be as regular as the rotation of stars.” The swastika could represent the Big Dipper and not the Sun as is the popular belief.

As for your question about the reaction to the swastika in Europe and America...well it is merely a case of lack of application of mind. However, racism too is an issue here because Westerners have banned/ or maligned the swastika purely on the basis of the Nazi misuse overlooking evidence that it is an integral part of Eastern religions for millennia. And I presume this could be deliberate because it acts as a leverage to keep people ignorant for this ignorance can then be put to ‘use’ whenever the need arises. Finally we come to the Aryan theory...this is nonsense. In science Man evolved from Africa and he was not a tall super human but probably someone who was short, dark and apish. And for the religious minded, Man was created by God. Either way this talk of the Master race is mere propaganda. Wherever Man is there will always be conflict because of ignorance. If it is not colour then it is religion. If it is not religion then it is business.”

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA

315. Faience button seal (H99-3814/8756-01) with swastika motif found on the floor of Room 202 (Trench 43). LINK Indus Valley Civilisation c 3000 BCE - 1300 BCE

Archeologists reveal that the first known swastika was discovered in the remains of the Indus Valley Civilisation (Bronze Age 3300-1300 BCE) in the form of seals. There are some who believe that this actually post dates the find in Mezine, Ukraine – a swastika carved on late paleolithic figurine of mammoth ivory (dated about 10,000 BCE). However, this has been refuted by some as the stylized figure of a stork in flight! Bronze Age stone carvings were also found on IIkley Moor, England. Swastikas have also been found on pottery in archaeological digs in Africa, in the area of Kush and on pottery at the Jebel Barkal temples, in Iron Age designs of the northern Caucasus (Koban culture), and in Neolithic China in the Majiabang, Dawenkou and Xiaoheyan cultures. Other Iron Age attestations of the swastika can be associated with Indo-European cultures such as the Indo-Iranians, Celts, Greeks, Germanic peoples and Slavs. The swastika is also seen in Egypt during the Coptic period. Textile number T.231-1923 held at the V&A Museum in London includes small swastikas in its design. This piece was found at Qau-el-Kebir, near Asyut, and is dated between AD300-600. The Tierwirbel (the German for “animal whorl” or “whirl of animals” is a characteristic motive in Bronze Age Central Asia, the Eurasian Steppe, and later also in Iron Age Scythian and European (Baltic and Germanic) culture, showing rotational symmetric arrangement of an animal motive, often four birds’ heads. Even wider diffusion of this “Asiatic” theme has been proposed, to the Pacific and even North America. LINK So how has the confusion come about that it is the symbol of the Master Race as claimed by white supremacists? This dubious claim can be traced to the following developments: In the 1870s the swastika was popularized by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who found many examples of it during his diggings at ancient Troy and Mycenae. Schliemann was fascinated by the swastika and publicized it in his books, referring to it as an Aryan religious symbol. Schliemann himself wasn’t a racist, but the swastika was soon taken up by less principled writers, who were attracted by the Aryan connection as well as by the symbol’s strangely compelling appearance. In the early 20th century, Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels,a former monk and founder of magazine Ostara, in which he published antisemitic and völkisch theories (ethnicity, racial purity) used this discovery as the emblem of the Aryan connection. The first time the swastika was used with an “Aryan” meaning was on 25 December 1907, when the self-named Order of the New Templars, a secret society founded by Lanz von Liebenfels, hoisted at Werfenstein Castle (Austria) a yellow flag with a swastika and four fleurs-de-lys. Hitler in his youth had met Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels and was deeply influenced by his Aryan theory of white supremacy. He wrote in Mein Kampf (My Struggle): “the basic ideas of the National-Socialist movement are populist (völkisch) and the populist (völkisch) ideas are National-Socialist.” Nazi racial pseudo-science was couched in Völkisch terms, as when Eugen Fischer delivered his inaugural address as Nazi rector, The Conception of the Völkisch State in the view of Biology (29 July 1933). LINK The Nazis believed that the swastika was the symbol used by the Aryans as a sign of domination of the indigenous people. Therefore, the symbol was always placed at the entrance of every home. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


MARK ULYSEAS This study (inter-continental research in cellular molecular biology) effectively puts to rest the argument that south Indians are Dravidians and were driven to the peninsula by Aryans who invaded North India by proving that people all over India have common genetic traits/origins with the same DNA structure. No foreign genes or DNA has entered the Indian mainstream in the last 60,000 years. Africans came to India through Central Asia between 80,000 to 60,000 BCE. They moved to Europe sometime around 30,000 BCE (The American Journal of Human Genetics - 9 December 2011 Volume 89, Issue 6). This evidence exposes the colonial powers’ subjective history of the Aryans - a people that never existed and furthermore demolishes the ‘story of the Vedas and the swastika having been brought to India’. Hitler was a product of this historical travesty, a travesty scripted by Eurocentrics with the intention of creating a history of racial superiority. Incidentally, the term Aryan in Sanskrit means ‘Noble’ not Race or language.

The Aryan Invasion Theory debunked: The Aryan Invasion Theory that was postulated in the 19th century by Europeans and Late Prof. Max Müller, in particular, claimed that the Aryans invaded India in around 1500 BCE. Apparently they brought with them a more advanced civilisation (including the Vedas) to the Dravidians...the indigenous people of India who were considered to be short, dark and backward in comparison to the Aryans in question who were said to be tall, fair, blonde and originating from Eastern Persia. These mythical people were called Indo-Aryans. And after conquering India and bringing civilisation to the indigenous people they travelled across Asia to Europe...thus the link in the languages of Sanskrit, Greek and Latin (Indo-European Languages). Since the 19th century this theory has been finely crafted into history books. In 2011 this Aryan Invasion Theory was debunked by inter-continental research in cellular molecular biology. It has conclusively proved that there never existed any Aryans or Dravidians on the Indian sub continent. The findings of a three-year research by a team of scientists from various countries, has been published by The American Journal of Human Genetics - 9 December 2011 Volume 89, Issue 6 (Shared and Unique Components of Human Population Structure and Genome-Wide Signals of Positive Selection in South Asia p731). This study effectively puts to rest the argument that south Indians are Dravidians and were driven to the peninsula by Aryans who invaded North India by proving that people all over India have common genetic traits and origin. All Indians have the same DNA structure. No foreign genes or DNA has entered the Indian mainstream in the last 60,000 years.

Dr Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Estonian Biocentre, Tartu, Estonia, who was an Indian member of the international team said, “This time we have used autosomes, which means all major 23 chromosomes, for our studies. The decoding of human genome and other advances in this area helped us in unraveling the ancestry in 60,000 years.” The findings disprove the caste theory prevailing in India. Interestingly, the team found that instead of Aryan invasion, it was Indians who moved from the subcontinent to Europe. That’s the reason behind the findings of the same genetic traits in Eurasian regions. “Africans came to India through Central Asia between 80,000 to 60,000 BCE and they moved to Europe sometime around 30,000 BCE. Indian Vedic literature and the epics are all silent about the Aryan-Dravidian conflict,” said Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, a proponent of the Saraswathi civilization (Indus Valley Civilisation?), which developed along the banks of the now defunct River Saraswathi.

This evidence exposes the colonial powers’ subjective history of the Aryans - a people that never existed and furthermore demolishes the ‘story of the Vedas and the swastika having been brought to India’. It appears that racism is the motive…to perpetuate the myth of white supremacy. Hitler was a product of this historical travesty, a travesty scripted by Eurocentrics with the intention of creating a history of racial superiority. © Mark Ulyseas 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA

Ahimsa Parmo Dharma Nonviolence is the Supreme Religion Know other creatures’ love for life, for they are like you. Kill them not; save their life from fear and enmity. All creatures desire to live, not to die. Hence to kill is to sin. A godly man does not kill. Therefore, kill not yourself, consciously or unconsciously, living organisms which move or move not, nor cause slaughter of them.

- Words of Lord Mahavira as found in A Source Book for Earth’s Community of Religions, p. 63. Opposite Pic: Idol of Lord Mahavir LINK

Jainism began in India and is one of the oldest religions of the world. Jain history can be viewed as a cycle. A period of rising called an Utsarpini in which human and natural conditions improve followed by a period of decline or Avasarpini in which things gradually get worse, weaken and corrupt. During the period of decline twenty-four persons are born who are unlike others of their time. When they see the suffering and misery in the world they renounce it and lead a path to perfection. They are called Crossing Makers or Tirthankaras and are born for the improvement of all living things. Their job as Jinas or Conquerors is to teach people how to follow the noble path of the Three Jewels or Triranta --right faith, right conduct and right knowledge.” Jains do not believe in god but rather use the Tirthankaras as guides for their daily lives. Mahavira (born c.599 BCE) is perhaps the most important figure of Jainism. He is the last Crossing Maker of the present declining era. He was born in India to the warrior caste but he left home as a young man to become a monk. He fasted and meditated for twelve years. gradually he feed himself from the concerns of the world. In doing so he gained enlightenment. From this point on, as a Jina or Conqueror, he began preaching and teaching. This process of first gaining enlightenment then teaching is the process by which the twenty-four spiritual guides have helped Jainism evolve. Mahavira gained many followers. This is how Jainism spread.

The Jains believe in rebirth of the soul. That means they believe that when a living being dies the soul is born in another body. Eventually Jains hope to break free of the cycle of birth and rebirth and gain salvation. By leading a good life, Jains believe they will have a better rebirth and move closer to salvation. The code of conduct for leading a good life is truthfulness, not stealing, not being possessive, non-violence, and chastity. From the beginning, Jainism has been based on the concept of non-violence or ahimsa. Jains believe that every living thing, no matter how small, has a soul and should not be harmed. This is why Jains are strict vegetarians. This is also why you might see a very devout Jain sweeping the ground in front of him to avoid stepping on insects and wearing a mask of fabric over his/her mouth to avoid swallowing them. May I always have a friendly feeling towards all living beings of the world and may the stream of compassion always flow from my heart towards distressed and afflicted living beings. - A Jain

prayer (taken from p. 64 of A Source Book for Earth’s Community of Religions)

Link: www.uri.org © www.liveencounters.net 2013


MARK ULYSEAS

1 1 2

3

4

Heaven 5

Human 6

Hell7

8 Animal

LEGEND 1 – Siddha Loka – Abode of the liberated soul 2 – Samyak Darshan – Right Faith 3 – Samyak Gyan – Right Knowledge 4 – Samyak Charita – Right Conduct Four States the soul may live in Heaven Human Hell Animal

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA

L to R: Buddha Statue/news.palyul.org, Monk/Jill Gocher, Dalai Lama/reclaimtheswastikasymbol.tumblr.com

Gautama Buddha,(between 6th and 4th centuries BCE) also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni, or simply the Buddha, was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. A native of the ancient Shakya republic in the Himalayan foothills, Gautama Buddha taught primarily in northeastern India.

Buddha means “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.” He taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the Sramana (renunciation) movement common in his region. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kośala. Accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later. Buddhists explicitly rejected the usefulness of the elaborate Vedic rites and refused to accept the caste system as authoritative. Despite these differences, however, Buddhism shares many fundamental beliefs with Hinduism, including the concepts of reincarnation, karma, and entering Nirvana, or absolute liberation. Buddhism spread across Asia. LINK The Buddha laid out the Four Noble Truths, which believers could follow to avoid the obstacles that prevent them from understanding their true nature.

1. Life is suffering: The very nature of human existence is inherently painful. Because of the cyclical nature of death and rebirth, death does not bring an end to suffering. 2. Suffering has a cause: craving and attachment. Suffering is the result of our selfish craving and clinging. This in turn reflects our ignorance of reality. 3. Craving and attachment can be overcome: When one completely transcends selfish craving, one enters the state of Nirvana, and suffering ceases. 4.

The path toward the cessation of craving and attachment is an Eightfold Path: 1. Right understanding 2. Right purpose 3. Right speech 4. Right conduct 5. Right livelihood 6. Right effort 7. Right alertness 8. Right concentration

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


MARK ULYSEAS

L to R: Tibetan Bon swastika (gyung-drung bon), Manji sign on Saisen box/ Dr. H. Sulzer, Senso-ji Temple/openplac.es

The Buddhist swastika in India is clockwise whilst elsewhere across Asia it is anti-clockwise. In ancient China the swastika (wan) was originally Taoist symbol of eternity, and as the ‘wan-tzu’ or ‘ten thousand character sign’ it represented the ten thousand things under heaven.

In Tibetan Bon tradition the swastika (gyung-drung bon) rotates anti-clockwise. For this reason the practitioners of Bon tradition circumambulate sacred buildings or pilgrimage sites anti-clockwise. In Vajrayana Buddhism the swastika symbolises the element of earth and its indestructible stability.

The swastika used in Buddhist art and scripture is known as a Manji (whirlwind/character of eternity), and represents Dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites. It is derived from the Hindu religious swastika, but it is not identical in meaning. The Manji is made up of several elements- a vertical axis representing the joining of heaven and earth, a horizontal axis representing the connection of yin and yang, and the four arms, representing movement- the whirling force created by the interaction of these elements. When facing left, it is the Omote (front facing) Manji, representing love and mercy. Facing right, it represents strength and intelligence, and is called the Ura (rear facing) Manji. In Zen Buddhism, the Manji represents an ideal harmony between love and intellect. Spiritual Movement - Falun Gong or Falun Dafa (Dharma Wheel Practice – work/power/energy) is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 through public lectures by its founder, Li Hongzhi. The configuration of Falun is a miniature of the universe. The swastika symbol represents the Buddha School and Taiji (Yin-Yang) symbols represent the Tao School. LINK

Falun Gong

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA

Mosaic antique swastikas in ancient synagogue, Israel. (Yana Falik/The Epoch Times) LINK Here is a news report by Yana Falik, Epoch Times Israel Staff, Feb. 16, 2007 LINK - In 1974, the kibbutz founder Avshalom Yakobi lied to the soldiers who were about to commence construction of a military project on this land. They had accidentally come across some archeological treasures of antiquity and he told them that it was a synagogue. One of the officers replied, “When guns roar, muses become silent.” But in the end, the construction work was cancelled. After his work day was over, he would go and dig out the ancient relics. It was thus that he labored for 3 additional hours every day. One day he had dug no more than 8 inches, and discovered a red ornament depicting a menorah. Avshalom informed the Department of Archeology about “the underground miracle,” and since then, archeologists have unearthed the entire synagogue. What Avshalom had originally believed to be a lie turned out to be true! During further scientific inspection and analysis, it was found that there were 3 synagogues. Originally, it was just a simple structure, but later some Roman basilica-style structures with windows that were traditionally pointed towards Jerusalem were added. The floors were paved with small stones of about 70 different hues depicting Itzhak’s sacrifice, the Ark of the Covenant, inscriptions in Hebrew and Aramaic, traditional Jewish symbols, such as the menorah, customary national ornaments, and many different swastikas. Avshalom, who is 91, has an excellent memory and possesses a detailed historical knowledge of this place, which dates back to 400-600 A.D. He relayed his fascinating story over the course of 3 hours. As it turned out, there was an ancient Bedouin cemetery and an ancient Arabian village under the base of the synagogue. In the next layer of the excavation, they found the 3rd century Jewish settlement named Baala, where Jews had lived for more than 300 years (the settlement of Baala is mentioned in 1 of the 3 parts of the Old Testament).

Avshalom Yakobi. (Yana Falik/The Epoch Times) © www.liveencounters.net 2013

When asked about how swastikas found their way into a synagogue, Avshalom answered, "All Jewish archeologists that had been working here did not pay any attention to swastikas. People all over the world have been using this ancient symbol of happiness for millennia. This swastika is hundreds of years old. At that time, Hitler was not born yet, how could this fiend be more powerful than the world's history, world's art, and world's culture? I think now it is a right time for all of mankind to put in order some acquired erroneous concepts regarding the swastika symbol."


MARK ULYSEAS

The Jewish Swastika ? ----------------------------

A mandala-like swastika, composed of Hebrew letters and surrounded by a circle and a mystical hymn in Aramaic. Appears in the Kabbalistic work “Parashat Eliezer” by Rabbi Eliezer ben Isaac Fischel of Strizhov, a commentary on the ancient eschatological book “Karnayim”, ascribed to Rabbi Aharon of Kardina. The shape of the symbol and the contents of the hymn show strong solar symbolism. (c. 18 century CE) LINK The book was republished in Jerusalem by Avraham Yaakov Bombach.

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA

Native American Indians relinquish the use of their sacred swastika.

Four tribes of Arizona Indians, the Navajos, Papagos, Apaches, and Hopis, through their head men at an Indian conclave have banned the use of the traditional swastika symbol from all designs in their basket weaving and blanket making as a protest against Nazi "acts of oppression." Fred Kaboti, Hopi (left), and Miguel Flores, Apache, are about to sign a parchment document proclaiming the ban in 1940. The declaration reads - “Because the above ornament, which has been a symbol of friendship among our forefathers for many centuries, has been desecrated recently by another nation of peoples, therefore it is resolved that henceforth from this date on and forever more our tribes renounce the use of the emblem commonly known today as the swastika . . . on our blankets, baskets, art objects, sand paintings and clothing.� Š www.liveencounters.net 2013


MARK ULYSEAS

Kindly click on the above photographs for the photo credit.

The Hopi legends say that the swastika describes the pattern the ancestors followed when they journeyed outward from Oraibi, the center of the universe. The Hopi and Navaho use the swastika in their healing ceremonies and sand paintings. They refer to it as the Whirling Logs of Healing. With colored sand a Navaho singer forms the cross of the Whirling Logs on the ground. Painstakingly he draws the eight Holy People who ride on the ends of the logs forming the feet of the swastika. They whirl in a pattern of holy power which this most ancient of symbols represents. Spirit and matter become one causing healing to occur through integration. The sand painting is then destroyed! LINK Following the Civil War, the United States began a military campaign to confine all Indians to reservations. By the 1880s it had largely achieved this goal. The more settled tribes, such as the Pueblos, fared the best during this period, retaining at least part of their traditional lands and largely avoiding the starvation, mass deportations, and attendant suffering that were the fate of the more nomadic and defiant tribes such as the Apaches and Navajos. Loss of land and liberty was almost always accompanied by new religious persecution, this time at the hands of Protestant missionaries. LINK Is there any difference between the events of the last century and those of the 19th century? The photograph (opposite) is evidence of the prevailing mindset of those that continue to enforce their warped perception of the swastika, which originates from stunning ignorance coupled with racism that appears to be exclusive to Western sensibilities in the case of the swastika. And this is best reflected in the following news reports:

- Local authorities requested a store in a New York borough to stop selling swastika-shaped earrings because they deemed them offensive. “Let me be clear – a swastika is not a fashion statement. It is the most hateful symbol in our culture, and an insult to any civilized person,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said in a statement, adding that selling the earrings amounted to a “hate crime.” Arguing that the sale of the swastika earrings was “shocking to the sensibilities of all New Yorkers.” LINK ( “an insult to any civilized person” ? - MU). - Three McDonald’s workers have been charged with hate crimes after allegedly carrying out a gruesome attack on a mentally disabled customer. William Hatch, 29, Paul Beebe, 26 and Jesse Sanford, 25, are said to have branded a swastika on the 22-year-old Navajo man’s arm in April using a coat hanger heated on a stove. Prosecutors say the men then shaved another swastika on the back of the victim’s head and used marker pens to scrawl on his body, including ‘KKK’, ‘White Power’, a pentagram and a sexually graphic image. LINK (Isn’t this ironic that right wing supremacists are using the swastika which is the sacred symbol of the Navajos? This is ignorance personified - MU).

- Controversy flared up at Pretend City, a children’s museum in Irvine, when a few visitors recently complained about a Hindu swastika woven on a tapestry in one of the museum’s exhibits. The offended visitors apparently were unaware that the swastika is an old religious symbol in Hinduism and that members of many other cultures around the globe revere it, among them some Native Americans. LINK (This confirms that the education system is at best, suspect - MU).

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


SWASTIKA

Prior to the 1920s the swastika was considered a God Luck Charm adopted by immigrants from the indigenous people of America and by the European colonial powers from the East. For the ignorant it was an exotic symbol. It was very popular with aviators. So when the Nazi’s began using the symbol “Westerners” quickly dropped it and banned its use. For them it was nothing more than an exotic Good Luck Charm.

American volunteer pilots used the swastika on their planes when they fought for the French in WW1. The emblem of the Lafayette Escadrille (little squadron) was of a Native American Chief whose headgear had the sacred swastika emblazoned on it.

L to R - The Edmonton Swastikas, a Canadian womens’ ice hockey team, c.1916., Original insignia of the US 45th Infantry Division, Coca-cola watch fob. Photographs/Credit

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


MARK ULYSEAS

Pura (temple) Tuluk Biyu Batur, Kintamani, Bali. Pic by Mark Ulyseas

It is time we stop dishonouring the religious symbol of over one billion five hundred million Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Civil and Human Rights extends to the Rights of an individual to peacefully follow one’s religion and its attendant practices, including venerating the respective religious symbols. A State that proclaims to follow these basic rules cannot enforce its diktat by unilaterally, either ‘socially’ and/or ‘legally’, outlawing a religious symbol based merely on the fact that one of their own had misused it in the Past. Sadly, this is the case with the swastika in most Western countries. They continue to remain aloof from educating their citizens and thereby not ensuring that the rights of the religious minorities are protected. The act of the Native American Indians in 1940 to give up their spiritual symbol, the swastika, because it was misused by Hitler was an act of submission to the immigrant culture. Those who write history are the ones that decide the fate of a culture and all its appendages. Any government can brainwash its citizens by projecting its policies through education. And what better way to do this than by creatively writing history? Colonial powers and immigrant countries have played a significant role in writing the history of the colonies, interpreting and recording for posterity a jaundiced view of socio-political events. The hangover from the heady days of colonising a country and then making it one’s own continues even today in world politics with the jousting for eco-political power in foreign countries.

The ‘fate’ of the swastika in the West has been decided by these very powers that apparently exhibit a spectacular ignorance of the deep religious significance that the symbol has in the ancient religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. One suspects that this is a deliberate attempt to enforce a benign form of cultural genocide through a deliberate campaign of misinformation...don’t ask, don’t tell, on a need to know basis etc.

It is time we stop dishonouring the religious sensitivities of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. And if we don’t, it is conceivable that we could pay the price sooner rather than later.

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


BALI - SWASTIKA

Children carry the effigy, near Bangli, of a protecting spirit to ward off bad spirits at a cremation ceremony, similar to the Ogoh-Ogoh effigies that are paraded on the night before the day of silence (Nyepi - Bali New Year).

Cremation, Tampak Siring; Relatives set up a symbolic hut for the deceased as a next step in the circle of life where the purified soul takes shelter and will be taken to the sea and holy mountain later only to return to the ancestral shrine in the family compound after several days of ceremony.

Pics Š Joo Peter

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


JOO PETER

Padmasana (shrine), Lovina.

Joo Peter Website

2013 august 2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


POETRY

SINGING THE SEA IV - Illustration by Randhir Khare Š www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


RANDHIR KHARE This is an exclusive for Live Encounters Magazine. Here is a poem series from Randhir Khare’s new volume MEMORY LAND: New & Selected Poems (1970 to 2013) which is due out by the end of this year.

The Sea At Night The raw sea rolls restlessly all night Burning the windswept dark with flames of foam, A fever rises in my drunken blood Pores beading sweat that smells of home… A lost home long ago when I lay ill Torn by the wrench of life and death And mother’s voice falling like cool rain To soothe the parched skin of my sickly breath. So many fevered nights have filled my life That I have learned to cherish every day Reach out and touch the angel wings of light And celebrate my dreams that fade away.

Along The Shore

Walking the shore, against the wind and rain, Hand holding hand and water spearing skin, We move between the folds of dark and light, One with the gurgling sea that bursts within.

We do not speak and let our silence taste The fervour of the growing waves that crack, Dreams bursting in a spray of muddy foam, So many lives now lived, death rides each back

We breathe into the heavy monsoon air The lightness of our beings, our hopes and love, Then draw the turgid grey into our lungs, With worlds dripping like rain from wombs above.

Lover, companion, fellow traveller, Share the bread of dark and wine of light with me Caught between worlds that close from either side, And walk the waves we thought would set us free.

© Randhir Khare

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


POETRY

SINGING THE SEA I - Illustration by Randhir Khare Š www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


RANDHIR KHARE

The Sea Took You Camilla You gave your heart to the sea one day Camilla; Heavy thighed, broad shouldered, heaving through Flesh of waves you stroked your way – Towards a warm red sun squatting on the skyline Throbbing with dolphins, Your lungs thrusting bubbles into the darkening air Crying with evening birds; You gave your heart to the sea one day Camilla And only your body returned, broken and cold; Your void was filled with shells and weeds and brine, Face down on the sand, you lay, Exposed to unfamiliar eyes. You gave your heart to the sea one day Camilla With the holy passion of a lover, Wind singing in your ears the songs of the drowned And the quiet lament of the living.

Waterline

Along the waterline the rain flew low like gulls, Skimming the skin of sea and sand, Dissolving with the fading light, Smell of feathers rising from the land.

I walked into the dark and trailed the cry Of curlews stalking up the empty shore, Until I reached the place where rocks turned mist And dreams in waves exploded with a roar. My feet sank in the sand and I went down Until I felt the foam about my ears, Crabs floated in and filled my void And snails inhabited my world of fears.

© Randhir Khare

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


POETRY

SINGING THE SEA II - Illustration by Randhir Khare Š www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


RANDHIR KHARE

Sea Song Sing me the song that only shadows know As clouds drift over a sun licked blue, Dance me a dance that only dolphins play, Touch me a touch with wind that sets me free. Kiss me a kiss that waves do with the land Nibbling their way up with a rising tide, Hug me a hug as salt air wraps my skin, Cry me a cry that only seagulls can.

Love me with love that only loss can give Sucking the heart out with its last dear breath, Wish me a wish that shells ask of the sand The fellowship of oneness in the end.

Morning Sea

I am the morning sea Mouth full with gulls Dolphin dreams flood my heart, Sun-ground sand rests in my veins – Lost souls waiting for freedom. Above me hangs a kite Floating in spirals, Fish-watching, diving, Tearing my blue skin In a flash of light.

And when silver Rises in its claws Yanked from my flesh I feel my world expand, One with the wind, One with the sun-shot sky.

© Randhir Khare

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Farrukh Dhondy

Author - Prophet of Love

in an interview with Mark Ulyseas

Published by Harper Perennial Š www.liveencounters.net 2013


FARRUKH DHONDY

The title and setting in an ashram is reminiscent of the ‘heyday’ of the 70s when Westerners flocked to the Ashram of Bhagwan Rajneesh, a self styled Godman, in Pune (then Poona) in search of the guru who spoke of Love...uninhibited spontaneous universal love. It is believed that many such ‘followers’ often referred to him as the Guru of Love...the media called him the Sex Guru. Did you derive your inspiration from this and thus the title reads as “Prophet of Love”? But why Prophet and not Guru? I have never read any work of Rajneesh apart from stray quotations in newspapers etc. Yes, the story is about a Godman who plagiarises from and simplifies the work of several traditions so those who don’t want to do any serious study can relate stray ideas to the mundane circumstance of their lives. A guru imparts wisdom that has been gained and tested. A false guru talks nonsense. A prophet prophecies and since love and the future are uncertain it was the most appropriate title. It could have been called the Prophet of Sex but my publishers thought it would put off potential readers who think they are in the love rather than sex camp.

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


FARRUKH DHONDY

Is this novel an honest mix of fact and fiction? I ask this question because it is said that your novel The Bikini Murders was loosely based on the ‘murderous activities’ of Charles Sobhraj?

As with most fiction, Prophet of Love has its origin in my experience. I did go on a journalistic mission to research the activities and proclivities of an ashram and I did have aunts and friends in Pune. I did meet several characters there and have now; years later twisted them imaginatively into fiction. None of the characters are actual portraits and none of the action is a factually accurate account of real events. It is also believed that many followers fell afoul of Bhagwan Rajneesh aka Osho and his coterie and thus paid the price by being banned from the ashram...in a sense being derobed (the followers wore the uniform of the ashram– maroon colour robes similar to Buddhist monks). Is the story of Diamond aka Ma Vidhyadhari representative of this reality? I have met people who dissented from one cult or the other and were expelled and even punished for it and yes, Diamond is such an one Why did it have to be a young journalist that Diamond approached to help rescue her daughter from the ashram and not her embassy or another Westerner?

The novel doesn’t give the reader any certainty about Diamond’s nationality. Does she have American or Israeli citizenship? Would she appeal to an embassy rather than a journalist boyfriend who had befriended her? Is her story true? Does she have a child held by the ashram. The prophet says she doesn’t and in the end she doesn’t mention the child. Did you write this novel because you wanted to expose the seedy underbelly of the goings-on in some ashrams that everybody knows about but refuses to acknowledge because it has to do with a portent concoction of faith, spirituality and sex? Yes. I wanted to tackle a universally known reality about contemporary India. And yes, I remain unconvinced by the spiritual quest and by godmen, but that needn’t apply to the reader. I didn’t write it to convert anyone spiritually, only to convert my publishers into greater generosity with advances and percentages.

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

The role of the guru in your novel appears similar to the role of a guru in reality...an unquestionable power that he exerts even on politicians and business folk, in general. Was this intentional? And what do you hope to achieve with this depiction? To set the record straight?

I haven’t directly incorporated politicians and business folk in the story. I do strongly believe that those who are elected in a democracy ought to follow discernible laws and accountable disciplines and not the ramblings of irrational cultists. I don’t know if fiction can ever ‘achieve’ anything apart from imparting the possibilities of life and thought to the reader and entertaining him or her through the force of narrative or drama or even accuracy of ear such as Kipling has or twists of invention such as Salman exhibits. Why in your opinion do Westerners still flock to gurus in India? Have their cultures failed them or are they attempting to escape from their own inadequacies to seek shelter in ashrams, far from the madding crowd?

I have met Western Buddhists who ignore the fact that Buddhism is atheistic and non-material and believe that chanting will bring them worldly goods (lots!) and prosperity and power. Very many victims of cults want to be controlled by a ‘philosophy’ and assume the disciplines of a religion or a cult which gets them away from the indiscipline or even chaos of their own lives. Think of Malcolm X who was a self-confessed thief and pimp before he found the discipline of Islam which made him abandon his criminal existence and pray five times a day – of course he grew out of it and came as close to Marxism as a very practical American leader can.

Would you agree that gurus of the Hindu persuasion always appear to be in the majority and one never seems to hear about gurus from other faiths? Why is this? Has this got to do with the perceived ‘exotic’ spirituality that does not have a formal organisational structure and relies solely on a guru to dispense spirituality in a subjective manner that is palatable to those seeking emancipation from a material world – one on one with a godman? © www.liveencounters.net 2013


FARRUKH DHONDY

In Britain the ‘godmen’ one hears about are Islamic preachers who get a following of would-be jihadis. The Hindu cults exist but they are quieter and go about their business without bombing people or slaughtering soldiers on the streets of London. There are of course gurus of the internet age who are amateur philosophers and sometimes open frauds who charge you money to tell you to stay silent for ten minutes a day and breathe deeply or concoct more complicated formulae to convince you that you are being redeemed. Hindu ideas and stray terms such as Yoga assist them in convincing people that their prescriptions have tradition and ancient wisdom behind them. Why do you write?

Four anwers: To earn a living To find out what I think To win the respect of people I respect Why do bees make honey? What are you working on now?

Two screenplays, a stage play and I have two prose manuscripts drafted and waiting to be published. What is your message to aspiring writers?

Don’t imitate any modern writing and don’t write ‘for yourself’- that, like blogging, is for amateurs.

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


POETRY

Pic © Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


TERRY MCDONAGH This poem, In the End, was commissioned by Tuam Cancer Care in County Galway, Ireland. Being such a sensitive subject, it took me a long time to write. I was aware that people who come to this centre don’t usually survive cancer. I imagined a person coming to terms with their destiny, waiting for their spirit to float out through the ‘open window’.

In the End… maybe it was your picture of a boatman on a lake and the shadow of a child along an autumn horizon

that made me look inwards and not out to galaxies

where dreams are stars – eclipses are closer to home.

I need more twilight now to shut down on bustle, and a place to lie down with kin next to an open window.

Commissioned by Tuam Cancer Care

© Terry McDonagh

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

Indigenous Festivals in Australia Performing cultural survival

Dr Peter Phipps

RMIT Globalism Research Centre Melbourne

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013


PETER PHIPPS

Innovation and tradition: Chooky Dancers from Elcho Island, Arnhem Land, dancing Zorba the Greek at the 'Festival of the Dreaming, Woodford, Qld', 2007. Š Peter Phipps

Indigenous festivals are booming. There are well over 100 Indigenous festivals in Australia annually; from small, one-day events with a focus on sport, music, culture, history or a mix of these, to a smaller number of large, complex tourism-arts events such as Garma or The Dreaming. The vast majority of Indigenous festivals are small, locally oriented events held primarily for their local Indigenous communities without dedicated festival administration or support, but pulled together by local communities and organisations often on short timeframes. While being framed very differently by the destructive experiences of colonialism and cultural repression, many of the features of the Indigenous festival scene are similar to the mainstream non-Indigenous community. The broad range of demonstrated community benefits generated through festivals from the most intangible aspects of identity and wellbeing, through to a significant local economic impact (estimated in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania alone to be nearly $10 billion annually). While economic and social impacts vary, these positive outcomes particularly important for generating hope in disadvantaged Indigenous communities. Š Peter Phipps

2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

Galpu clan bunggul, Garma, NE Arnhem Land, 2008. © Yothu Yindi Foundation

Corroborees to Festivals Celebrations and rituals are a key dimension of human cultures. Indigenous peoples have been conducting ceremonies and rituals on this country for an extremely long time. Among of the functions of Aboriginal ceremonial life is to bring together different clan groups to perform and renew the law at significant times and places in the presence of related peoples. It is common for people entering one another’s country to engage in ritual and ceremonial exchanges, frequently exchanging songs, dances and stories with people from far away. In the early and later colonial periods non-Indigenous settlers were drawn in to witness these performative exchanges between Aboriginal people, which came to be widely known and popularised as the ‘corroboree’.

In the early colonial period corroborees were a highly regarded hybrid entertainment performed widely in south-eastern Australia to large, enthusiastic audiences in the first part of the nineteenth century, and then spreading from South Australia into what is now the Northern Territory. Regular entertainments in Melbourne and Adelaide from the 1830s to 1840s were large, lucrative entrepreneurial events run by Aboriginal, and later in partnership with non-Indigenous promoters and sporting clubs as pioneers of modern ‘leisure culture’. It was only the intervention of colonial governments banning these events, and policies driving Aboriginal people out of the cities (and labour markets) and into controlled reserves and missions that dampened this thriving market. Mission and government authorities tried to regulate Indigenous performance on their own terms: for important visitors to reserves, or in cities and towns on significant national occasions such as settlement centenaries, royal jubilees, coronation celebrations and so on. Despite this control Aboriginal people kept running their own corroborees on the fringes of rural fairs and sporting events, some exclusively as traditional ceremonial business, others as public events drawing in a broad audience, and sometimes a complex combination of these.

The cultural assertiveness of Aboriginal communities following the 1967 referendum has found many outlets in sports, the visual and performing arts, popular music, film and festivals. Festivals are just one of these expressive spaces, but one with the broadest range of purposes, forms of participation and opportunities. This period in which many of the controls were being lifted on Aboriginal people’s lives coincided with significant social transformations in the Australian mainstream. This period has seen the strengthening of movements for human rights and specifically Indigenous rights as part of that struggle, and a media and migration-driven cultural transformation involving greater openness to cultural diversity at home and abroad.

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PETER PHIPPS In the early colonial period corroborees were a highly regarded hybrid entertainment performed widely in south-eastern Australia to large, enthusiastic audiences in the first part of the nineteenth century, and then spreading from South Australia into what is now the Northern Territory. Regular entertainments in Melbourne and Adelaide from the 1830s to 1840s were large, lucrative entrepreneurial events run by Aboriginal, and later in partnership with nonIndigenous promoters and sporting clubs as pioneers of modern ‘leisure culture’.

Throughout the leisure societies of the world ‘festivals’ have become ubiquitous spaces: the extension of music festivals, cultural festivals, sport and lifestyle festivals as an established, substantial industry and part of the cultural landscape. This ‘training’ has produced a very large market of experienced festival-goers familiar with the rituals of tickets and passes, tent cities, portable toilets and food stalls. As with the earlier corroborees, Indigenous festivals are a potent site for cross-cultural negotiations of meaning and spaces where Indigenous people can actively represent themselves and their culture in a positive light, as well as providing opportunities for economic participation on Indigenous terms.

Indigenous Festivals now

The Indigenous visual arts story is now legendary: a relatively marginal art practice largely situated as ‘tourist crafts’ boomed over a thirty year period to the point where it became a major cultural industry and an international art phenomenon with multiple benefits to Indigenous communities. Along with the visual arts, cultural festivals are one of the few consistently positive spaces for Indigenous communities to show their kids, and the world, a more positive view of their culture. Cultural festivals involve intercultural negotiation and learning on Indigenous terms, and actually do provide the multiple benefits of employment, economic development and cultural renewal that governments say they want. Indigenous communities maintain some of the oldest and most vulnerable precious cultural assets of humanity. They have a well-spring of ‘story’ - cultural creativity- the world is eager to see, hear and experience. Despite this richness Aboriginal people are represented as always failing in key mainstream indicators: not healthy, educated, employed, etcetera. Festivals are a space that pushes this discussion beyond the ‘deficit model’ in Indigenous affairs to recognise the enormous wealth of cultural creativity and individual talent that resides in Indigenous Australia.

Two of the most prominent of these festivals are Garma, held annually on Yolngu land in Arnhem land, and the Dreaming Festival, on Jinibara land at Woodford in Queensland. Garma is a gathering of national political, cultural and academic significance, and yet remains a very local gathering of Yolngu clans on Yolngu land for Yolngu purposes. Garma is also a national academic and policy forum on Indigenous issues, a local employment initiative, a youth music development and industry training opportunity for young people from Indigenous communities across the Top End, a local youth forum, and most importantly a celebration of Yolngu song, dance traditions in daily bunggul performances, among many other things.

© Peter Phipps

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INDIGENOUS RIGHTS There is clear evidence throughout my 2010 report on Indigenous Festivals (see LINK) in Australia that they are already contributing significantly to Indigenous community wellbeing from the less tangible areas of cultural maintenance to direct economic benefits. It is clear that with more systematic policy and program support this contribution could be much greater still.

Running since 1999, Garma has accumulated a remarkable array of community development initiatives that run outside of the festival timeframe, including a women’s healing initiative, a men’s alcohol diversionary program and a cultural services business providing cultural inductions to new Rio Tinto mine employees.

The Dreaming Festival is very different again, having more of a national and international Indigenous arts showcase emphasis, the impact of which is much more broadly dispersed amongst participating artists (both professional and community-based) and audiences (Indigenous and non-Indigenous). By promoting the best of local and international Indigenous performance the Dreaming Festival promotes Indigenous creativity, identity and wellbeing.

Policy Context

There are obvious, pressing social and demographic reasons to support, engage and deploy any and all areas of Indigenous social and economic strength in the broader project of Indigenous community development. In the knowledge and service-oriented economy of contemporary Australia (not to mention the mining boom on Aboriginal lands) there has never been a firmer economic foundation from which to support and cultivate this talent. Yet remarkably, policy and programs in this area are severely neglected in terms of attention and funding. While Commonwealth Indigenous policy and programs remain adrift, and in some instances (such as housing or health outcomes in the NT ‘Intervention’) notoriously ineffective, this is one area where some coordination and even a modest doubling of existing funding could make a huge difference to communities.

There is clear evidence throughout my 2010 report on Indigenous Festivals (see http://mams.rmit. edu.au/ufwg124fk6adz.pdf) in Australia that they are already contributing significantly to Indigenous community wellbeing from the less tangible areas of cultural maintenance to direct economic benefits. It is clear that with more systematic policy and program support this contribution could be much greater still. Understood as an industry sector, Indigenous festivals are both extremely dynamic, with enormous development potential, and at the same time they are very vulnerable in a number of ways. The key strength in the sector is the cultural expression that has been long-repressed, and the talented and creative individuals and communities who want to share that culture both among themselves, and with others. The key risk factor for individual festivals, and reflected in the sector generally, are the vulnerable, limited and inconsistent resource bases they draw on for their success: human resources, organisational infrastructure and funding. The first and most crucial of these is the human and cultural resources in Indigenous communities which are too often in crisis; dealing with

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PETER PHIPPS

Witiana Marika oversees smoking ceremony for youth forum participants at Garma Festival, 2007. © Yothu Yindi Foundation

the loss of key organisers and knowledge holders to premature death, disability or other pressing responsibilities; ‘too much sorry business’ as is often reported by Indigenous people and borne out in much-quoted mortality figures. In relation to some of these festivals there is an immediate employment and training opportunity for Indigenous cultural specialists and others, ‘at home’ in their own communities or region. As just one example, the Garma festival in Arnhem Land employs 130 Yolngu during the festival in roles ranging from cultural tourism services, to the women’s healing program, to festival site security. In the case of regional festivals this transforms some of the limitations of remote and rural locality into an advantage, and presents positive models and networks for Indigenous people to further develop their entrepreneurship and work skills in the cultural, tourism and other service sectors.

The cultivation of local Indigenous community management has tended to borrow talent from other organisations out of necessity, rather than the festival sector building its own capacity. Training and mentorship in organising a festival and other events requires, firstly, having long-term organisational capacity which most festivals cannot afford. Secondly it requires sustained, long-term partnerships with government agencies, funders and education providers to support the training process, fund traineeships and then ensure that there are real jobs to move into from those training positions. Up to this point there is little evidence of government or other agencies providing this kind of longterm support.

Governments look for a simple, short-term ‘fix’ in ‘Indigenous affairs’ leading to inconsistent policy made on the run (like the NT intervention) in defiance of the evidence. In the 1990s ‘Indigenous affairs’ became a destructively politicised object in a broader ideological contestation going on in Australian politics, to the detriment of Indigenous Australians and the policies and programs that frame their opportunities. But by listening carefully to Indigenous communities and properly resourcing sustained programs and genuine, respectful partnerships, incremental, long-term benefits can happen. Festivals are organised by a wide variety of institutions with varied capacities. Of the festivals we studied they are variously run by an Indigenous cultural foundation (Garma), a non-Indigenous company (CrocFest), a local government (Yalukit Willam Ngargee) and a folk music festival foundation (The Dreaming Festival). Added to this are education providers, sports clubs, individual philanthropists, health centres, media organisations and others. Some of these organisations are able to absorb much of the organisational costs of festivals into their general operating expenses, while others rely heavily on volunteer labour, external funding and gate revenues to make them viable.

© Peter Phipps

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

Funding

Gunditjmara dancers ceremonial exchange with Cape York Wik dancers with whale art installation behind them, on the beach at Tarerer Festival, 2011 Š Peter Phipps

Festival managers repeat a dilemma common to other small arts and cultural organisations: their organisations are structured for cultural purposes but in order to produce cultural events they have to mobilise themselves for rounds of competitive funding applications with long lead times, uncertain outcomes and demanding reporting requirements. The three main programs that support Indigenous festivals are: the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council (ATSIAB) Celebrations program; Festivals Australia (one-off grants of less than $10,000); and the Indigenous Culture Support (ICS) program which supports the maintenance and continued development of Indigenous culture at the community level.

There is no coordination of these sources of Commonwealth funding or other levels of government. The Federal department responsible for Indigenous affairs (FaHCSIA) does not have identifiable programs supporting Indigenous community festivals. Government priorities for festivals can be summed up by then Education Minister Gillard in 2008,

The festivals will promote contemporary and traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, with activities including access to role models, and workshops focusing on literacy, numeracy, confidence building, teamwork, sustainability and tolerance. There will also be information and advice on health and well being, careers and educational opportunities. The philanthropic sector varies widely in its interests and approach, from a close partnership model with a particular community or organisation to a more generic funding model focused on the arts or Indigenous community development.

Corporate sponsorship can range from small to medium-scale local businesses supplying goods or services for free or at cost or making donations, to very large national or multinational corporations contributing to communities in their region of operations, with an interest in being identified with iconic events. Most of these events also depend on large numbers of volunteers drawn from the local community and sometimes elsewhere providing a lot of the logistical services from parking to toilet cleaning required to keep an event running.

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PETER PHIPPS

Conclusion

Gunditjmara dancers at Tarerer Festival, Kilarney (near Port Fairy), Victoria, 2011. © Peter Phipps

Indigenous people around the world face daily struggles for survival: in disputes about land-use; resource allocation; language; religious and cultural freedoms and education; health; employment and livelihoods. They are up against multinational mining companies, loggers, ranchers, assimilationist, corrupt or indifferent governments, armies and militias, the pressures of demography and poverty, everyday racism and exclusion; all of which conspire against the sustainability of Indigenous cultures and their communities. Through all these circumstances it is remarkable that many communities continue to offer up rich treasuries of cultural wealth as a gift to share with anyone willing to learn.

In the first decades of the twenty-first century, Indigenous peoples in Australia and across the AsiaPacific are loudly asserting that they and their distinctive cultures are very much alive. Despite the pressures on them, these communities are using cultural festivals as a space to celebrate, renew and reinvent their cultural traditions.

Gunditjmara dancers, Tarerer Festival, 20011. © Peter Phipps

© Peter Phipps

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


RAPHAEL SUSEWIND

Pic © Raphael Susewind © www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


INTERVIEW

Raphael Susewind author of

Being Muslim and Working for Peace Ambivalence and Ambiguity in Gujarat speaks to Mark Ulyseas

What does it mean to be Muslim and working for peace? And what is this peace? And how is it defined? What came out most clearly from my research in Gujarat is that there is no single way in which religion and politics relate to each other if one takes individual lives seriously. Muslims work for peace in a variety of ways. Some will draw strength from a strong sense of community and be inspired by religious sources, perhaps even consider peace activism their moral duty. Such "faith-based actors" are perhaps the most well known kind of Muslim activist. Other Muslims, however, do not care much for religious sources or community. As "secular technocrats", they are not necessarily opposed to these dimensions of life, but experience themselves as "religiously unmusical", as Max Weber famously coined it. In a world where many believe that Muslims are religious by default it is important not to forget that this is not true for everybody, perhaps not even for most. Still another kind of Muslim peace activists are the "emancipating women" whom I encountered in Gujarat: victims of the pogrom, who regain their agency through activism in a challenging struggle with the ambivalence of religion. "Doubting professionals", finally, discovered the complexity and ambiguity of religion in conflict after 2002, and began to question their own previous certainties about development as well as about their own identities.

Like there are many ways in which Muslims work for peace, there are also many ideas of what exactly it is that they are fighting for. This begins with the term "peace" itself; alongside the English word, activists in Gujarat spoke of shanti, sukun, aman or nyay: peace can be personal healing and reconciliation, basic absence of violence, or a comprehensive pursuit of social justice. Peace activists not only argue about peace, but also about the best way of reaching it. Some for instance work in conflict, systematically including people from different groups in programs that otherwise don't specifically address the riots (for example in micro-credit schemes where both Muslims and non-Muslims participate). Other activists argue this would not be enough, that one should work directly on conflict (for instance in religious education, or inter-communal celebration of religious festivals). Unfortunately, the various kinds of activists do not always recognize each other, a tension particularly pronounced between expressly Islamic charitable organizations and traditional NGOs.” Published by Sage Publications © Mark Ulyseas 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


RAPHAEL SUSEWIND Most Muslim victims of the Gujarat riots had nothing to do with the Godhra incident, either – even if one were to see revenge as an acceptable medium of justice, it is hard to see why such “revenge” had to target innocent people. But contemporary Muslims are neither allowed to be individual people, nor to be people for whom being Muslim isn’t all that important. They are not allowed to be innocent, either. While such “groupism” isn’t confined to India – we find it in Germany, too – the ignorance towards individuals even among some of the peace activists I spoke with is very widespread still. I frankly find it very problematic.

In your opinion, are Indian Muslims generally considered ‘aliens’ by the dominant Hindu culture and therefore ‘viewed’ with some degree of suspicion? And has this acted as fuel to ignite areas of disagreement across India, Gujarat being a case in point? I have done research in India since more than five years now, and came across many Hindu friends who do not consider Muslim Indians ‘alien’ or suspicious. One should not let Hindutva define Hindu culture, as one should not reduce Islam to a narrow set of moral commandments or a specific theological position.

This is not to deny that many people, in India as much as elsewhere, strive hard to clearly classify people and to collapse various contextual ways of being in the world (being Muslim or Hindu, being religious or not, being Indian or German, being nationalistic or cosmopolitan, to name just a few) into narrow sets of acceptable “cultures”. Such intolerance of ambiguity is, however, more a characteristic of modernity than one of religious tradition. Modern people, or more specifically those aspiring to a specific kind of modernity (often those in India’s “rising middle classes”), often find it hard to tolerate differences, particularly if these differences are muddled and ambiguous. In the case of Muslim Indians being reduced to ‘aliens’ in their own country, however, another, wider tendency is very troublesome – a tendency which the sociologist Rogers Brubaker called “groupism”. Often, Muslim Indians are not only reduced to being Muslims, but also conflated with each other and collectively made responsible for acts that might have nothing to do with them in the first place. Nobody living today is responsible for the partition of the subcontinent, nor for the historic role of Moghul emperors (who often ruled in collusion with Hindu kings, but this is another debate). Most Muslim victims of the Gujarat riots had nothing to do with the Godhra incident, either – even if one were to see revenge as an acceptable medium of justice, it is hard to see why such “revenge” had to target innocent people. But contemporary Muslims are neither allowed to be individual people, nor to be people for whom being Muslim isn’t all that important. They are not allowed to be innocent, either.

While such “groupism” isn’t confined to India – we find it in Germany, too – the ignorance towards individuals even among some of the peace activists I spoke with is very widespread still. I frankly find it very problematic. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


INTERVIEW

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW I also believe that it is important to widen the debate beyond a focus on the state, or a focus on Narendra Modi as an individual who might become the next Indian Prime Minister. I do not want to release the state from its responsibility, but think it equally important to unpack the complicity of large sections of Gujarati society which sustains the state’s culture of impunity – and enabled the pogrom in the first place.

What do you hope to achieve by writing this book? I want to shed light on the diversity of Muslim civil society and Muslims in civil society, and through this example to better understand the role of religion in contemporary India. On an academic level, I also wish to contribute to an ongoing debate on the “ambivalence of the sacred”. With this, conflict researchers sum up their insight that religion and religions are not per se violent or per se peaceful – they bear the potential for both. Religion has produced terrorists and peace makers. I think this is an important step beyond perspectives that declare religion either irrelevant (which it is not) or inherently violent (which it is neither). But most scholars still attribute this ambivalence neatly to specific people: terrorists versus peace makers, this-worldly versus other-worldly religion, spiritualism versus political involvement, etc. My research demonstrates that such neat categories overlook how the ambivalence of the sacred is experienced on an individual level. One need not contrast terrorists with peace makers to discover ambivalence; ambivalence is felt by either kind of activist. Furthermore, I argue that scholars should more carefully distinguish between ambivalence and ambiguity. Ambivalence is a relation of either-or: religion is experienced as either good or bad. Ambiguity in contrast is a relation of neither-nor: religion is experienced as both good and bad, or more precisely: as neither clearly good nor clearly bad. My book explores the implication of this distinction for the personal lives and political projects of Muslim peace activists in Gujarat. I argue that the transformation of ambivalence into ambiguity, in fact the recovery of an ambiguity which has long been celebrated in Islam (and perhaps in India at large), but is increasingly under threat, might be a central requirement of our time.

What is the difference between the Gujarat riots and those in other parts of the country, if any?

The key difference for me was not the involvement of the state, as many argue – but more specifically the fact that the state never made even a shallow attempt to acknowledge this involvement, acknowledge wrongdoing on the part of politicians, police, and the judicial system. While I do believe that the non-apologetic involvement of the state sets the Gujarat riots apart, however, I also believe that it is important to widen the debate beyond a focus on the state, or a focus on Narendra Modi as an individual who might become the next Indian Prime Minister. I do not want to release the state from its responsibility, but think it equally important to unpack the complicity of large sections of Gujarati society which sustains the state’s culture of impunity – and enabled the pogrom in the first place. It is too easy to blame it all on politics, or the politicians, avoiding to ask more uncomfortable questions: what is the relationship between aspirations to a specific kind of neoliberal development and hatred for ‘alien’ Muslims?

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


RAPHAEL SUSEWIND For the “secular technocrats” I encountered, for instance, secularism as an ideology isn’t very important. They live by what I call a “secularized secularism”, a secularism devoid of quasi-religious zeal, a relaxed everyday practice. This need not be the only way in which one can live a secular life, but it shows that secularism has made deep inroads into Indian society despite heated ideological debate, and can even be found in such unexpected circles as among Muslim peace activists.

Communalism is a byword in India and in a way defines the relationship between Hindus and Muslims. Why does this conflict arise? Does it have its roots in history from the time of the first Muslim invasions? Or, is it a potent mix of religious fundamentalism, political septicaemia, matters to do with land or commerce? I think decades of research have clearly demonstrated that communalism is a fairly modern phenomenon. This is not to deny earlier conflicts between different sections of society – but the idea that Muslims and Hindus constitute two mutually exclusive groups, that each Indian (and not just the rulers or religious elite) have to belong to one of these groups, and that they are naturally opposed is a fairly new thought.

Such emphasis on the modern character of communalism should, however, not be confused with instrumental explanations. While politics, land, etc all play a role in explaining communal riots (as foremost the research of Paul Brass has shown), it is wrong to release religion of the hook too easily: as I argued earlier, and more comprehensively in my book, religion is an ambivalent force – and it is an independent factor, which cannot be fully reduced to an instrumental front for political ends. But importantly it is modern religion that struggles to come to grips with ambivalence, including with its own ambivalence.

Does true secularism exist in India or is it a catch phrase for votes?

Can’t it be both? I think with such “catch phrases”, it is always instructive to look at lived realities, which by default are more diverse, complex, and ambiguous than ideology suggests. Clearly, secularism as an ideology is a potent rhetoric tool in the political arena, both for those promoting it and for those opposing it (or propagating different versions thereof).

But my research in Gujarat – particularly the experience of those activists whom I called “secular technocrats” – is instructive to see how secularism is experienced in everyday lives. Unfortunately, scholars only now start to examine lived secularism with the same earnesty that they examine lived religion.

For the “secular technocrats” I encountered, for instance, secularism as an ideology isn’t very important. They live by what I call a “secularized secularism”, a secularism devoid of quasi-religious zeal, a relaxed everyday practice. This need not be the only way in which one can live a secular life, but it shows that secularism has made deep inroads into Indian society despite heated ideological debate, and can even be found in such unexpected circles as among Muslim peace activists. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW While my book unpacked four various ways of “being Muslim and working for peace” – those which I encountered in Gujarat – one should not forget that most terrorists, too, claim to work for peace. Once you start to think about it: people who claim they do not want to live in peace are very rare indeed. But once one begins to look into the specifics, into what people actually mean when they say “peace”, into how peace comes to life, reality becomes more complex, more ambivalent, and more ambiguous.

Violence does erupt between Shia and Sunni in India. How can a Muslim peace maker work effectively without identifying oneself as either Shia or Sunni? Or for that matter violence between two different castes – how does a Muslim working for peace operate? I can only reiterate what I said earlier: there are many ways. In 2011-12, I lived in Lucknow for my next project – a city well-known for sectarian tension. In fact, my own neighbourhood witnessed a particularly violent episode when family members of the local (Sunni) corporator opened fire on a (Shia) religious assembly in January this year. Some people argue that it is important to emphasize one’s Muslim identity over one’s being Shia or Sunni in order to mediate in such situations.

Other activist claim the opposite, and argue that it is precisely their sectarian identity which makes them oppose sectarianism; many Shia in Lucknow for instance use the emphasis that their tradition places on solidarity with all human suffering to work for better Shia-Sunni relations. And others still argue that one should not stress religion too much in the first place, let alone sectarian identity – and highlight, for instance, that both the corporator mentioned earlier and his victim have been locked into a business rivalry for years. On what ground are we treating this incident as an instance of sectarian rather than, say, economic conflict? Again, it is perhaps both – only that we unlearned how to accept that, sometimes, neither one explanation nor the other are sufficient in themselves. This complexity of social life also automatically means that there are multiple ways in which one should deal with conflict – and I think my work both in Gujarat and in Lucknow demonstrates this complexity fairly well.

Did you have any encounter with people in Gujarat which reflects the truth – that people wherever they maybe want to live in peace?

Obviously – but the question is what people mean by that word, and how they want to achieve it. While my book unpacked four various ways of “being Muslim and working for peace” – those which I encountered in Gujarat – one should not forget that most terrorists, too, claim to work for peace. Once you start to think about it: people who claim they do not want to live in peace are very rare indeed. But once one begins to look into the specifics, into what people actually mean when they say “peace”, into how peace comes to life, reality becomes more complex, more ambivalent, and more ambiguous. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


RAPHAEL SUSEWIND I am a practicing, liberal, islamophile Catholic Christian, a happily married husband, a young aspiring scholar in the multidisciplinary social sciences, someone privileged to be born in the richer part of our world. I try to not reconcile the ambivalences between and within these conflicting identities while navigating my life – but to embrace their ambiguity.

Could you give us a glimpse of your own life and works? What are you working on now? I was born and raised in Germany, and later studied in Germany, India and the UK. I am a practicing, liberal, islamophile Catholic Christian, a happily married husband, a young aspiring scholar in the multidisciplinary social sciences, someone privileged to be born in the richer part of our world. I try to not reconcile the ambivalences between and within these conflicting identities while navigating my life – but to embrace their ambiguity. I also try to ensure that this appreciation of ambiguity does not prevent me from taking a stance when it matters: to highlight injustice, to broaden freedom, to encourage deeper enquiry.

As an academic, I am intrigued by the resilience of the individual in groupist contexts, and by India in particular, where East and West met for centuries, and where both the problems as well as chances of living with diversity are very apparent. After my book on Gujarat, I am now more broadly interested in what it means to be Muslim and belong as Muslim in contemporary North India; as mentioned earlier, I currently explore this theme with a case study of Lucknow. I am especially curious to see in which various ways different Muslims with their respective personal biographies navigate, combine and ignore normative discourses on Muslimness. This project also included quite a bit of mapping, which has been fun – generally much of my academic work is multi-disciplinary and employs whatever method appears best suited for the task at hand. A few months ago, for instance, I became the first anthropologist who was granted access to the Oxford Supercomputing Centre – for an analysis of Muslim politics in the last elections in Uttar Pradesh... More on this and on my different academic projects – as well as a more detailed introduction to the book and an interactive way to explore the typology of “being Muslim and working for peace” in contemporary Gujarat – can be found on my Website and . If you are interested to engage with my work, or just read what I am up to, you can also follow me on Twitter – and if you do find time to read my book, I am curious to hear what you have to say...

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


COLUMN

Pics © Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


CHRIS HEDGES

We Are All Aboard the Pequod This article was first published on Truthdig

© Chris Hedges

2013 august 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


COLUMN Our country (USA) is given shape in the form of the ship, the Pequod, named after the Indian tribe exterminated in 1638 by the Puritans and their Native American allies.

The most prescient portrait of the American character and our ultimate fate as a species is found in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Melville makes our murderous obsessions, our hubris, violent impulses, moral weakness and inevitable self-destruction visible in his chronicle of a whaling voyage. He is our foremost oracle. He is to us what William Shakespeare was to Elizabethan England or Fyodor Dostoyevsky to czarist Russia.

Our country is given shape in the form of the ship, the Pequod, named after the Indian tribe exterminated in 1638 by the Puritans and their Native American allies. The ship’s 30-man crew—there were 30 states in the Union when Melville wrote the novel—is a mixture of races and creeds. The object of the hunt is a massive white whale, Moby Dick, which, in a previous encounter, maimed the ship’s captain, Ahab, by biting off one of his legs. The self-destructive fury of the quest, much like that of the one we are on, assures the Pequod’s destruction. And those on the ship, on some level, know they are doomed—just as many of us know that a consumer culture based on corporate profit, limitless exploitation and the continued extraction of fossil fuels is doomed. “If I had been downright honest with myself,” Ishmael admits, “I would have seen very plainly in my heart that I did but half fancy being committed this way to so long a voyage, without once laying my eyes on the man who was to be the absolute dictator of it, so soon as the ship sailed out upon the open sea. But when a man suspects any wrong, it sometimes happens that if he be already involved in the matter, he insensibly strives to cover up his suspicions even from himself. And much this way it was with me. I said nothing, and tried to think nothing.”

We, like Ahab and his crew, rationalize madness. All calls for prudence, for halting the march toward environmental catastrophe, for sane limits on carbon emissions, are ignored or ridiculed. Even with the flashing red lights before us, the increased droughts, rapid melting of glaciers and Arctic ice, monster tornadoes, vast hurricanes, crop failures, floods, raging wildfires and soaring temperatures, we bow slavishly before hedonism and greed and the enticing illusion of limitless power, intelligence and prowess. We believe in the eternal wellspring of material progress. We are our own idols. Nothing will halt our voyage; it seems to us to have been decreed by natural law. “The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run,” Ahab declares. We have surrendered our lives to corporate forces that ultimately serve systems of death. Microbes will inherit the earth.

In our decline, hatred becomes our primary lust, our highest form of patriotism and a form of eroticism. We are made supine by hatred and fear. We deploy vast resources to hunt down jihadists and terrorists, real and phantom. We destroy our civil society in the name of a war on terror. We persecute those, from Julian Assange to Bradley Manning to Edward Snowden, who expose the dark machinations © www.liveencounters.net 2013


CHRIS HEDGES After the attacks of 9/11, Edward Said saw the parallel with “Moby Dick” and wrote in the London newspaper The Observer: Osama bin Laden’s name and face have become so numbingly familiar to Americans as in effect to obliterate any history he and his shadowy followers might have had before they became stock symbols of everything loathsome and hateful to the collective imagination. Inevitably, then, collective passions are being funneled into a drive for war that uncannily resembles Captain Ahab in pursuit of Moby Dick, rather than what is going on, an imperial power injured for the first time, pursuing its interests systematically in what has become a suddenly reconfigured geography of conflict.

of power. We believe, because we have externalized evil, that we can purify the earth. We are blind to the evil within us. Melville’s description of Ahab is a description of the bankers, corporate boards, politicians, television personalities and generals who through the power of propaganda fill our heads with seductive images of glory and lust for wealth and power. We are consumed with selfinduced obsessions that spur us toward self-annihilation. After the attacks of 9/11, Edward Said saw the parallel with “Moby Dick” and wrote in the London newspaper The Observer:

Osama bin Laden’s name and face have become so numbingly familiar to Americans as in effect to obliterate any history he and his shadowy followers might have had before they became stock symbols of everything loathsome and hateful to the collective imagination. Inevitably, then, collective passions are being funneled into a drive for war that uncannily resembles Captain Ahab in pursuit of Moby Dick, rather than what is going on, an imperial power injured for the first time, pursuing its interests systematically in what has become a suddenly reconfigured geography of conflict.

Ahab, as the historian Richard Slotkin points out in his book “Regeneration Through Violence,” is “the true American hero, worthy to be captain of a ship whose ‘wood could only be American.’ ” Melville offers us a vision, one that D.H. Lawrence later understood, of the inevitable fatality of white civilization brought about by our ceaseless lust for material progress, imperial expansion, white supremacy and exploitation of nature. Melville, who had been a sailor on clipper ships and whalers, was keenly aware that the wealth of industrialized societies came from the exploited of the earth. “Yes; all these brave houses and flowery gardens came from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans,” Ishmael says of New England’s prosperity. “One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up hither from the bottom of the sea.” All the authority figures on the ship are white men—Ahab, Starbuck, Flask and Stubb. The hard, dirty work, from harpooning to gutting the carcasses of the whales, is the task of the poor, mostly men of color.

Ahab, when he first appears on the quarterdeck after being in his cabin for the first few days of the voyage, holds up a doubloon, an extravagant gold coin, and promises it to the crew member who first spots the white whale. He knows that “the permanent constitutional condition of the manufactured man … is sordidness.” And he plays to this sordidness. The whale becomes a commodity, a source of personal profit. A murderous greed, one that Starbuck denounces as “blasphemous,” grips the crew. Ahab’s obsession infects the ship. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


COLUMN Ahab’s secret, private whale boat crew, which has a feral lust for blood, keeps the rest of the ship in abject submission. The art of propaganda and the use of brutal coercion, the mark of tyranny, define our lives just as they mark those on Melville’s ship. C.L.R. James, for this reason, describes “Moby Dick” as “the biography of the last days of Adolf Hitler.”

“I see in him [Moby Dick] outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it,” Ahab tells Starbuck. “That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.”

Ahab conducts a dark Mass, a Eucharist of violence and blood, on the deck with the crew. He orders the men to circle around him. He makes them drink from a flagon that is passed from man to man, filled with draughts “hot as Satan’s hoof.” Ahab tells the harpooners to cross their lances before him. The captain grasps the harpoons and anoints the ships’ harpooners—Queequeg, Tashtego and Daggoo—his “three pagan kinsmen.” He orders them to detach the iron sections of their harpoons and fills the sockets “with the fiery waters from the pewter.” “Drink, ye harpooneers! Drink and swear, ye men that man the deathful whaleboat’s bow—Death to Moby Dick! God hunt us all, if we do not hunt Moby Dick to his death!” And with the crew bonded to him in his infernal quest he knows that Starbuck is helpless “amid the general hurricane.” “Starbuck now is mine,” Ahab says, “cannot oppose me now, without rebellion.” “The honest eye of Starbuck,” Melville writes, “fell downright.”

The ship, described by Melville as a hearse, was painted black. It was adorned with gruesome trophies of the hunt, festooned with the huge teeth and bones of sperm whales. It was, Melville writes, a “cannibal of a craft, tricking herself forth in the chased bones of her enemies.” The fires used to melt the whale blubber at night turned the Pequod into a “red hell.” Our own raging fires, leaping up from our oil refineries and the explosions of our ordinance across the Middle East, bespeak our Stygian heart. And in our mad pursuit we ignore the suffering of others, just as Ahab does when he refuses to help the captain of a passing ship who is frantically searching for his son who has fallen overboard. Ahab is described by Melville’s biographer Andrew Delbanco as “a suicidal charismatic who denounced as a blasphemer anyone who would deflect him from his purpose—an invention that shows no sign of becoming obsolete anytime soon.” Ahab has not only the heated rhetoric of persuasion; he is master of a terrifying internal security force on the ship, the five “dusky phantoms that seemed fresh formed out of air.” Ahab’s secret, private whale boat crew, which has a feral lust for blood, keeps the rest of the ship in abject submission. The art of propaganda and the use of brutal coercion, the mark of tyranny, define our lives just as they mark those on Melville’s ship. C.L.R. James, for this reason, describes “Moby Dick” as “the biography of the last days of Adolf Hitler.”

And yet Ahab is no simple tyrant. Melville toward the end of the novel gives us two glimpses into the internal battle between Ahab’s maniacal hubris and his humanity. Ahab, too, has a yearning for love. He harbors regrets over his deformed life. The black cabin boy Pip is the only crew member who © www.liveencounters.net 2013


CHRIS HEDGES And so we plunge forward in our doomed quest to master the forces that will finally smite us. Those who see where we are going lack the fortitude to rebel. Mutiny was the only salvation for the Pequod’s crew. It is our only salvation. But moral cowardice turns us into hostages.

evokes any tenderness in the captain. Ahab is aware of this tenderness. He fears its power. Pip functions as the Fool did in Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” Ahab warns Pip of Ahab. “Lad, lad,” says Ahab, “I tell thee thou must not follow Ahab now. The hour is coming when Ahab would not scare thee from him, yet would not have thee by him. There is that in thee, poor lad, which I feel too curing to my malady. Like cures like; and for this hunt, my malady becomes my most desired health. … If thou speakest thus to me much more, Ahab’s purpose keels up in him. I tell thee no; it cannot be.” A few pages later, “untottering Ahab stood forth in the clearness of the morn; lifting his splintered helmet of a brow to the fair girl’s forehead of heaven. … From beneath his slouched hat Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop.” Starbuck approaches him. Ahab, for the only time in the book, is vulnerable. He speaks to Starbuck of his “forty years on the pitiless sea! … the desolation of solitude it has been. … Why this strife of the chase? why weary, and palsy the arm at the oar, and the iron, and the lance? How the richer or better is Ahab now?” He thinks of his young wife—“I widowed that poor girl when I married her, Starbuck”—and of his little boy: “About this time—yes, it is his noon nap now—the boy vivaciously wakes; sits up in bed; and his mother tells him of me, of cannibal old me; how I am abroad upon the deep, but will yet come back to dance him again.” Ahab’s thirst for dominance, vengeance and destruction, however, overpowers these faint regrets of lost love and thwarted compassion. Hatred wins. “What is it,” Ahab finally asks, “what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time. …”

Melville knew that physical courage and moral courage are distinct. One can be brave on a whaling ship or a battlefield, yet a coward when called on to stand up to human evil. Starbuck elucidates this peculiar division. The first mate is tormented by his complicity in what he foresees as Ahab’s “impious end.” Starbuck, “while generally abiding firm in the conflict with seas, or winds, or whales, or any of the ordinary irrational horrors of the world, yet cannot withstand those more terrific, because spiritual terrors, which sometimes menace you from the concentrating brow of an enraged and mighty man.” And so we plunge forward in our doomed quest to master the forces that will finally smite us. Those who see where we are going lack the fortitude to rebel. Mutiny was the only salvation for the Pequod’s crew. It is our only salvation. But moral cowardice turns us into hostages.

Moby Dick rams and sinks the Pequod. The waves swallow up Ahab and all who followed him, except one. A vortex formed by the ship’s descent collapses, “and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.”

© Chris Hedges

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


GALILEE

Israel’s Stumbling Block Before The Blind

Our crowd is now of an age when body parts drop off at a rate of knots.

Coping with illness can be especially difficult for older Karmielis as the city has no full-scale hospital and travelling out of town for treatment can be arduous for the many pensioners who have disposed of their vehicles due to atrociously high petrol and maintenance costs.

Further, as Israel is such a small country, the number of senior surgeons is limited, resulting in a dearth of skilled individuals in various fields. Some complex heart or eye surgery, for example, may be accomplished by only one expert based, most often, at a hospital in Tel Aviv.

In very rough terms, this may enforce a Karmieli patient to take a round trip of almost 132 miles to T.A., while similar visits to nearer hospitals in Nahariya, Tzfat or Haifa would be about 35 miles or 50 miles respectively. So imagine the distress of someone who has bussed to Haifa at an ungodly hour only to discover his appointment has been cancelled; or the anger of another individual when she learns too late that her consultation has been rescheduled, as staff claim that they did not have her contact details.

It is not surprising, therefore, that we’re all a mite cynical and that expat-Brits like me say that despite Israel’s much-lauded bio-medical and scientific advances, grassroots patient care is on a par with the U.K.’s troubled National Health Service. Indeed when someone quipped that I was becoming a ‘professional’ patient, I decided to take instant ‘retirement’! I don’t want to spend my time in Israel hanging about in waiting rooms for the length of a working day – precious hours in which I’d be better employed writing and researching. Much more seriously, barely months after I arrived here, two of my new friends died quite suddenly in hospital. I am sure even now that they would both have had a much better chance of survival if they had not been forced to travel out of town for treatment and that, in one particular instance, post-operative care could have been markedly improved.

It’s considered unprofessional to personalise these issues, but here I will ignore convention. I suffer a © www.liveencounters.net 2013


NATALIE WOOD

very high myopia and am convinced that ‘computer vision syndrome’ – an umbrella term for a wide range of problems - has exacerbated several related conditions.

Ideally, I would have written this piece in long-hand before typing a fair copy for publication. But it’s not that easy. I need the Web for research, so it’s easier to remain seated at the screen for everything – and simply use the ‘20/20’ technique – twenty second breaks every twenty minutes. Heavy computer use was linked with glaucoma among people with a high myopia almost ten years ago. Now I challenge ophthalmologists to examine a possible link between ‘CVS’ and conditions including macular degeneration and the development of ‘epiretinal membranes’ (‘macular pucker’).

I understand that juvenile macular degeneration has a genetic cause while my own condition is most probably age-related. Further, although I have never smoked, both my parents were heavy smokers and I spent much of my working life in smoky offices, before the current laws were enforced. This almost certainly contributed to my present problems.

But it also seems too much of a coincidence that matters became worse when I stopped using an old-fashioned typewriter and then a word processor in favour of a computer. Furthermore, in the past two years I have been diagnosed with epiretinal membranes. These seem to have ‘shed’ occasionally when I have not used a computer for some days and have instead read an ordinary print book without using my spectacles.

I have refused surgery to remove the membranes because the present technique appears to be a hazardous business with a fairly high risk of infection and even a detached retina. I am not prepared to take the challenge! Instead, I will conclude with a story about a surgeon I met recently in Haifa who, I believe, enjoys sparring with his patients. “You don’t want surgery?” he said. “Well, we could always talk about the weather.”

© Natalie Wood

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HEALTH

Pic ©Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net 2013 august 2013


CANDESS M CAMPBELL

Prayer and Meditation

In this series on self-healing and transformation, prayer and meditation play an important part. Given these writings are from the book 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine, this Live Encounters article will not be a overview of world wide prayer and meditation practices, but rather some of my own experiences and some tools for developing a practice. When you have experienced pain or illness for a long period, I would imagine you turned to prayer. In exploring how important prayer is, let’s examine and revisit the way in which you pray.

Prayer

A verse in the Christian New Testament Bible assures that, “You will receive all that you pray for, provided you have faith” (Matthew 21:22). The way your parents and grandparents prayed may be different from how you pray today. Dr. Larry Dossey writes extensively about the power of prayer and healing in his 1993 book, Healing Words. In it, he cites a study by Herbert Benson of Harvard University Medical School.

Working with his fellow researcher and physiologist, Robert Keith Wallace, Benson showed that when subjects meditated with a mantra that consisted of an Asian word containing no meaning for the meditator, with use it became charged with ritualistic value, and healthful body changes occurred. These included lower blood pressure, slower heart rate, and lower metabolic rates. Benson believed there was no magic in the mantra. To test this suspicion, he taught people to meditate using the word one or any other phrase they found comfortable. He then studied Christians and Jews who prayed regularly. He asked Catholics to use mantra phrases such as “Hail Mary, full of grace,” or “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me.” Jews mainly used either the peace greeting of shalom or echad, which means “one.” Protestants frequently chose the first line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven,” or “The Lord is my shepherd,” which is the opening of the Twenty-third Psalm. All of the mantras worked, and all were equally effective in stimulating the healthful physiological changes in the body that Benson called the “relaxation response.” But Benson also found that those who used the word one, or similar simple phrases, didn’t stick with the program. Conversely, those who used prayers rather than meaningless phrases continued. © Candess M Campbell

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HEALTH

Prayer (contd...)

One way to pray is to be repetitive and this study shows using a word or words that are meaningful to you, affect your consistency. If you have ever used prayer beads or the rosary, you know this. Recital is another form of prayer. Many people use scripture from their religion as prayer. They may do this repetitively, or they may read scripture and then reflect on what it means. Others talk to God, Buddha, Allah, or their Higher Power as they would to a friend. I have often heard it said that prayer is talking to God, and meditation is listening. Journaling is another way to connect with the Divine. “Dear God” letters are often effective in clarifying where you have become stuck. Having a heart full of gratitude is another way of praying. When you expand your view of prayer this way, you may find that you pray often through the day. I am a believer in the notion that whatever we focus on becomes greater and grander in our lives, so take some time to focus on gratitude and love. See how this affects your pain.

Meditation

Before I share with you about meditation, I want to acknowledge that you may experience resistance to meditation at first. You may be fearful to sit and really experience what you are thinking or feeling, or you may not want to become aware of the sensations in your body. Even this morning as I awoke, I quickly shifted my thoughts from meditation to something else. Why did I do that? Why was I so afraid to listen to what my mind was saying? Usually I awake with new ideas and plans and creative ventures. This morning I didn’t want to hear what I was thinking. I went back to catch the thought, and it was gone. When I sat up to read on my Kindle, I felt good. I looked at the calendar in my iPhone, and my day was set to write. It was a good day. What was I afraid to think about? I am sure it will surface in my meditation.

You may have this same experience. You may think there is just too much information in your mind, and you would never be able to quiet yourself, but it’s really not so difficult. Take a moment and just sit with your eyes open. Look at what is in front of you. Look at whatever you see and focus on the detail. Experience your senses. Feel the chair under you. Notice how your breath changes. You are becoming more aware, more awake, more alive, and you are beginning to come to a meditative state. Another way to do this is to close your eyes and listen. Listen to the sounds that are far away. Now listen to the sounds that are close by. Allow yourself to become more aware and more meditative! Here are a few choices to begin a meditation practice.

Concentration Meditation

When practicing concentration meditation, you focus your attention on your breath, an image, or a sound (mantra) in order to still your mind and allow a greater awareness and clarity to emerge. This is similar to zooming in and narrowing the focus to a particular object or field. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


CANDESS M CAMPBELL

Here are a few choices to begin a meditation practice. Concentration Meditation When practicing concentration meditation, you focus your attention on your breath, an image, or a sound (mantra) in order to still your mind and allow a greater awareness and clarity to emerge. This is similar to zooming in and narrowing the focus to a particular object or field.

Breathing Meditation

The most common meditation practice is focusing on your breath. Through this continued focus, the “mind clutter” begins to quiet, and you gain a sense of calmness and relaxation. Over time and with practice, the thoughts that were once racing or popping into your mind calm down, and a sense of peace takes over. As you focus on the breath, the rhythmic inhalation and exhalation deepens the breathing, and your mind and body become tranquil.

A more intense practice of focusing on the breath is pranayama breathing, which is a yogic practice. According to Swami Sivananda Rhada, this is a process of breath control. She says the purpose of this type of meditation is to connect with the cosmos and gain control over your central nervous system and mind. It is best practiced with character building and to learn to manage the lower physical self. This is a practice of alternate nostril breathing. “Character building” and “managing your lower physical self” means taking control over your thoughts and behaviors that no longer serve you, while creating new, positive, healthy thoughts and behaviors. I first became aware of pranayama breathing when I traveled to India with a friend of mine who has a home in India but currently lives in the United States. He said that his uncle taught him this practice. When we were at his home in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), he sat cross-legged on the floor every morning and practiced this breathing for twenty to thirty minutes. This practice increases the alpha waves, and the benefits if executed correctly are to calm the mind, gain control over the emotions, refine the senses, and remove all selfish desires while gaining a sense of peace and harmony. It has also been said to balance the right and left brain.

Various teachers may instruct you to do this differently, but a simple method follows: 1. Close the right nostril with your right thumb, and inhale through the left nostril to the count of four seconds.

2. Then close the left nostril with your right ring finger and little finger. At the same time, remove your thumb from the right nostril. Exhale through this nostril to the count of eight seconds. 3. Next, inhale through the right nostril to the count of four seconds. Close your right nostril with your right thumb, and exhale through the left nostril to the count of eight seconds. 4.

This is one round. It is recommended to start slowly with a few rounds and build up.

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HEALTH

Focusing on an Object Focusing on an object is another choice for concentration meditation. There are several objects you can use, but I suggest you find one that is pleasing to you. You could focus on an external object such as a candle flame, a bowl, a flower, or a photo of someone you love. You could also choose a photo of Jesus, Buddha, or an angel. Another method is to focus in the center of your head—the space above and behind your eyes, in the middle of your head. This is a place of neutrality. You may instead choose to focus either between your eyes or in the center of your heart. Another commonplace to practice focus is in your belly, three fingers below your belly button and inside a few inches. The conscious focus in the above examples is on the candle, photo, or particular body part. However, in focusing on those literal objects, you become aware of the breathing as well, and you experience a calm, relaxed, tranquil state of being.

Using a Mantra

A third concentration meditation involves using a mantra. A mantra is a short phrase with an easy rhythm used to increase results. A mantra is used to suggest a favorable state of being. My favorite walking mantra is, “I am strong, healthy, and fit.” Mantras originated in the Vedic tradition of enlightenment in India and have since been incorporated by many traditions.

According to “The Power of Mantra Chanting,” an article by Gyan Rajhans, “The sacred utterances or chanting of Sanskrit Mantras provide us with the power to attain our goals and lift ourselves from the ordinary to the higher level of consciousness.” This is believed to be so because “different sounds have different effects on the human psyche.” Repeating a mantra is a spiritual technique that calms the mind and makes one more attuned to Spirit.

Mindfulness Meditation

The practice of mindfulness meditation comes from Buddhism and has been also been taught by many in the West. In mindfulness meditation, you focus on the present moment and not the past or the future. While you notice your thoughts, you realize that they are just thoughts and let them go by. This is done with awareness that your thoughts are simply your thoughts, and that you are not your thoughts. This meditation can be done at any time. It is a daily practice of awareness in the present moment.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness meditation. One that I particularly enjoy is to focus on the sounds close by and then the sounds that are far away. This takes me into a state of meditation that I enjoy, which is just being present.

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


CANDESS M CAMPBELL

Guided Meditation Guided meditation is similar to hypnotherapy. In guided meditation, a person or a recorded script guides you into a meditative state. You can also take yourself through guided imagery with a script or with awareness of the images you would like to create.

As with hypnotherapy, guided imagery uses all of your senses, yet guided imagery is different in that it focuses and directs your imagination. When your mind is imagining, your body responds as if what it sees is true. An example of this might include imagining a vacation. Let’s pick a beach resort. As you are sitting at your desk at work, you find yourself drifting to the beach, feeling the sun on your face, smelling the sea, and imaging the taste of a fresh, cold lemonade next to you. Your body may relax as your breathing slows down and time speeds up. This is an example of going into trance and experiencing whatever you imagine. Guided imagery is used for many purposes, and the imagery selected will depend on your goal. For instance, if you want to manage your pain, the imagery may be full of metaphors that help you to connect with your subconscious mind. For example, when I awake in the morning with pain in my neck from sleeping, during meditation I image a blue light coming down from the top of my head into the painful areas of my neck and shoulders. As I do this, I see the blue light cooling off the inflammation in my neck and shoulders. Within a minute or so, the pain is gone. (Remember that I have been practicing for quite some time, and this technique is a result of the practice. Do not be discouraged if you try this and it does not work for you immediately. Keep practicing!)

If you are interested in learning a guided meditation that teaches you self-healing tools and takes you through a process of clearing your chakras, you can use my CD, Chakra Clearing. (Mark please link) Make no mistake, whether prayer or meditation, the process stills the chatter and voices within so you can hear your own inner guidance—the voice of the Divine, God, the Goddess or your Guides. Prayer and meditation allow you to open yourself to wisdom and healing beyond what your Ego dictates or allows. No matter what you call it, when you achieve inner peace, you affect the world around you by increasing the peace of others. You can find more information about the book 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine

© Candess M Campbell

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


CONTRIBUTORS Click on title of article to go to page

Human Trafficking - The Stakeholders’ Perspective Veerendra Mishra in an exclusive interview

Mishra is Assistant Inspector General of Police (CID), Madhya Pradesh, India, with a PhD on ‘Changing Image of Police: An Empirical Study’ from Barkatullah University, Bhopal (2004) and a recipient of the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship under Fulbright Scholarship. He has served on two UN Missions in Bosnia and Kosovo and worked in East Timor. He has published a short story book, stories in “Chicken Soup Soul” series and a book entitled, Community Policing: Misnomer or Fact. Sage Publications

Do we have to be religious in order to be moral? Ivo Coelho

Coelho earned his PhD in philosophy from the Gregorian University, Rome. He is Reader in Gnoseology and Metaphysics at Divyadaan: Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Nashik, India, and editor of Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy and Education. Born in 1958 at Mumbai, he specialized in the hermeneutical thought of the Canadian philosopher, theologian and economist Bernard Lonergan. He is the author of Hermeneutics and Method: The ‘Universal Viewpoint’ in Bernard Lonergan and editor of Brahman and Person: Essays by Richard De Smet. www.divyadaan.in

Regional resettlement - solving the ‘refugee problem’ at any price? Emma Larking

Emma is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for International Governance and Justice at the Australian National University, working with Ben Authers and Hilary Charlesworth on Professor Charlesworth’s ARC Laureate Fellowship project, ‘Strengthening the international human rights system: rights, regulation and ritualism’. Her research background is in legal, political, and applied philosophy. She has extensive teaching experience in the University of Melbourne’s School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, and of Social and Political Sciences. First published in Regarding Rights.

Commemorated Thus Beautifully Natalie Wood

Born in Birmingham, England, U.K., Natalie Wood began working in journalism a month prior to outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. She remained in regional Jewish journalism for over 20 years, leaving full-time writing to help run a family business and then completed a range of general office work. Wood and her husband, Brian Fink emigrated from Manchester to Israel in March 2010 and live in Karmiel, Galilee where she continues to work, concentrating on creative writing. She features in Smith Magazine’s new Six Word Memoirs On Jewish Life and contributes to Technorati, Blogcritics and Live Encounters magazine. Her stories - Website and journalism - Website

Ripple Effect Terry McDonagh

© www.liveencounters.net 2013

Irish poet and dramatist, Terry McDonagh, taught creative writing at the University of Hamburg and was Drama Director at the Int. School Hamburg for 15 years. He now works freelance; has been writer in residence in Europe, Asia, Australia; published seven poetry collections, book of letters, prose and poetry for young people translated into Indonesian and German, distributed internationally by Syracuse Uni. Press; latest poetry collection Ripple Effect due for publication in May/June 2013, Arlen House; next children’s story, Michel the Merman, illustrated by Marc Barnes (NZ) to be published in September 2013. He lives in Hamburg and Ireland. www.terry-mcdonagh.com


September 2013

The Fall of Arthur

Foreword by Christopher Tolkien Originally composed by J.R.R. Tolkien in the 1930s, this work was set aside for The Hobbit and lay untouched for 80 years. Now it has been edited for publication by Tolkien’s son, Christopher, who contributes three illuminating essays that explore the literary world of King Arthur. Foreword from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur by Christopher Tolkien © C.R. Tolkien 2013, reproduced by kind permission of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Website

Book Review - The Fall of Arthur Mark Ulyseas

Ulyseas has served time in Advertising as copywriter and creative director selling people things they didn’t need, a ghost writer for some years, columnist of a newspaper, a free lance journalist and photographer. End 2009 he created Live Encounters for the free sharing of knowledge hoping that the ‘humane’ in humanity still remained albeit scattered around the globe. Poets, writers, journalists, activists, doctors etc. from across continents have continued to contribute to Live Encounters. This has become a celebration of Life by people of village earth. What more can one ask for?

Gender Segregation in Israel Anat Hoffman

She is a major leader for social justice in Israel best known for never giving-up, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Born and raised in Jerusalem, she served in its City Council for 14 years, leading the opposition to the right wing and ultra-Orthodox administration. She is a founding member of Women of the Wall and continues to be a tireless advocate for freedom of religion and women’s rights. From 2002, Hoffman is Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel. www.irac.org

The Long Way from Rome to Jakarta Christoph Sperfeldt

Sperfeldt is Regional Program Coordinator at the Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI), a collaborative program of the East-West Center and the University of California, Berkeley’s War Crimes Studies Center. He worked from 2007 to 2010 as an Advisor to the Secretariat of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) and from 2010 to 2011 as Reparations Advisor to the Victims Support Section of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). First published in Regarding Rights

Healing Trauma Candess M Campbell

Candess M. Campbell, PhD is an internationally known Intuitive Life Coach, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Seminar leader, Hypnotherapist and Author. She specializes in assisting others to gain their own personal power and to live a life of abundance, happiness and joy. Early 2012 she will be releasing her book 12 Weeks to SelfHealing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine. www.12weekstoselfhealing.com 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


VEERENDRA MISHRA

Pic © Veerandra Mishra © www.liveencounters.net 2013 september 2013


INTERVIEW

Veerendra Mishra

Assistant Inspector General of Police (CID) Madhya Pradesh, India

Editor of

Human Trafficking - The Stakeholders’ Perspective in an exclusive interview with Mark Ulyseas

Would bonded labourers in India be considered victims of human trafficking or are they categorised under slavery? There is no doubt that bonded labourers are victims of human trafficking. Slavery is a term mostly used in the West. It was interesting to hear US President Obama speaking at Clinton Global Foundation reiterating and officially stamping human trafficking as ‘modern day slavery’. By synonymising slavery and human trafficking western protagonists have tried to emphatically underline the degree of exploitation in trafficking.

However, I personally feel that by generalizing the act of human trafficking as slavery, more harm is done than good. The less knowledgeable service providers and law enforcers have started measuring degree of exploitation against their perception of overt exploitation of slaves, which they have gained by reading history books, films or stories heard. This ultimately restricts them in understanding the subtle and hidden exploitative mechanisms involved in highly complicated present day human trafficking. Eventually, they fail to address the problem resulting in its growth. Human trafficking is a highly specialized and complicated issue and generalization of the term for publicity will confuse and jeopardize the specialized intervention. This must be avoided as far as possible.

Published by Sage Publications

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HUMAN TRAFFICKING A study estimated that more than fifty percent of child labour is in agriculture, which is an outcome of family involvement. There are hundred of thousands of children across the country that are recruited as domestic help living in exploitative conditions with no time off. These figures do not feature in the ‘estimates’.

It is claimed that human trafficking is second only to drug trafficking in the world in terms of revenue. Is this true? It is very true. There are many reasons to believe this claim.

What we know about human trafficking is actually the tip of the iceberg. I know this would invite a lot of flak from international agencies, which have been shooting estimates convincingly on the basis of scientific evaluation. I have my own reservation about their estimates and those are based on my personal research and experience in the field from various parts of globe, and my opinion will find many takers cutting across borders. To highlight a few points: We overlook exploitation of children and other members for labour, sex, organ, adoption, forced marriage etc. when there is parent’s (guardian’s) consent. For example, in India we have almost completely overlooked the labour trafficking of human beings in the agriculture sector. A study estimated that more than fifty percent of child labour is in agriculture, which is an outcome of family involvement. There are hundred of thousands of children across the country that are recruited as domestic help living in exploitative conditions with no time off. These figures do not feature in the ‘estimates’.

Similarly, the trafficking of children for labour in Africa as traditional skill enhancement, forced as child soldiers etc. do not make it into estimates, and whatever numbers pop up are conservative speculations. In the US thousands of girls are runaways and a study says that a trafficker contacts them within 48 hours. No government report would include them as victims unless they have evidence of exploitation and due to failure of proper victim identification mechanism it would remain a far cry. In Europe, with dissolution of borders traffickers are having a field day and they recruit victims from vulnerable areas for exploitation. We are still struggling to measure the extent of exploitation in disturbed areas and war torn countries. There are reports of human trafficking in UN Mission areas but there are fewer attempts to unearth the degree of exploitation. Moreover, due to lack of understanding of subject, variance in accepted definition of human trafficking and gaps in considering all facets of human trafficking, like adoption, bride trafficking, medical trafficking etc. ‘n’ number of trafficking cases are neglected or go unreported. It is high time that the UN revisit its Palermo protocol definition of human trafficking and make it more inclusive and far reaching. A decade has passed since the definition was conceived and understanding on the subject has grown manifold, bringing to fore the shortcomings of the definition.

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VEERENDRA MISHRA Community based sexual exploitation of Bedia and Bachda community is more than a century old. It started as survival and protection sex to ward off the atrocities of landlords, a cost paid for stability to a nomadic tribe. The compulsive survival instinct became a tradition and the exploitation became normalized over the years.

Have you had hands on experience in tackling human trafficking and if so, could you kindly give us details of a case in point? Yes, I did.

Currently, I am working on a very peculiar form of human trafficking i.e. community based sexual exploitation (CBSE) in some communities in India.

Community based sexual exploitation of Bedia and Bachda community is more than a century old. It started as survival and protection sex to ward off the atrocities of landlords, a cost paid for stability to a nomadic tribe. The compulsive survival instinct became a tradition and the exploitation became normalized over the years.

Bedia and Bachda community is spread over four states in India with a population of more than one lakh (hundred thousand) community members. In 1913, during British rule the Bedia and Bachda community were notified as criminal tribes under the Criminal Tribe Act (1871). After independence CT Act was repealed in 1952 and these communities were de-notified and currently are recognised as scheduled caste (castes identified in Indian constitution wanting special privileges). They are in double jeopardy, one for carrying the stigma of being community of prostitutes and second for being treated at the lowest rung of caste hierarchy.

Community based sexual exploitation is a peculiar form of sex trafficking. A community accepts prostitution as part of their culture and it is practiced in society, dwelling with other communities. It varies from sexual exploitation in brothels mainly in three ways: The sexual exploitation is of members of one particular community; second, they do not have to dislocate from their home for exploitation, it happens in the place of their living “ their Homes�, in villages and thirdly, the exploitation is accepted within and by outside society as traditional norm and is passed on to generations as tradition. The normalization of exploitation leads to negligence by service providers. There is debate on if traditionally accepted, culturally sanctioned prostitution should be tagged as sexual exploitation or sex trafficking. There should be no doubt or any conflict that the exploitation of the girls/women of Bedia and Bachda community comes under the purview of human trafficking.

UN Convention on Organized Crime (Palermo Protocol) clearly mentions that the consent of a child has no validity. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines child as any person less than eighteen years of age. India has ratified both these conventions. 2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


HUMAN TRAFFICKING Girls of these communities are forced into sexual exploitation at the age of 13-14 years. Obviously it becomes trafficking and not a case of willing prostitution. Secondly, when they grow up and mature in age as adult, they are left with no choice but to be perpetually exploited. The customary societal tradition does not allow them to get married once they are sexually exploited. The community believes in chaste wives and one once prostituted has to live and die as a prostitute. Only relationship allowed is concubinage relationship, which in itself is an exploitative relationship where the women have no conjugal rights.

Have you had hands on experience in tackling human trafficking and if so, could you kindly give us details of a case in point? contd... Both these UN Conventions read and applied together proves beyond doubt as to how the exploitation of Bedia and Bachda community is human trafficking. Girls of these communities are forced into sexual exploitation at the age of 13-14 years. Obviously it becomes trafficking and not a case of willing prostitution. Secondly, when they grow up and mature in age as adult, they are left with no choice but to be perpetually exploited. The customary societal tradition does not allow them to get married once they are sexually exploited. The community believes in chaste wives and one once prostituted has to live and die as a prostitute. Only relationship allowed is concubinage relationship, which in itself is an exploitative relationship where the women have no conjugal rights.

In association with an organisation that works with the Bedia community, I am working to change the age-old customary exploitative mindset. We have achieved great success and work has spread from one village to four villages and two enclaves. Children are enrolled in schools and one of the girls of a CSE mother has scored extremely well. For the first time in the history of the village one boy has graduated from school and started attending college. More than 30 students are enrolled in schools with the organization’s support. Similarly, women are being trained to start their own enterprises. We are working on sustainable development so that the community members, particularly children have more options to explore.

In some countries/cultures human trafficking is considered a legitimate business. How can the international community embark upon changing this cultural distortion/ mindset?

Above example is a case to prove the point. The problem lies in the failure of social policies. There is a gap in access to justice and the social justice system has failed to deliver. Mindset of a community is cultural impression developed over years. To change mindset through external intervention is fraught with danger of backlash. The only possibility is through inclusive social justice mechanism, which would comprise participatory advocacy, providing of alternate opportunities and equal access to justice. Values should not be imposed; instead change should be brought through consistent participatory effort. Efforts should be towards making change attempts by instilling in them the confidence of inclusiveness and ownership.

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VEERENDRA MISHRA To prevent human trafficking at origin level there is a need to check fresh recruitment and re-recruitment of rescued victims. This will require creating an environment negating the vulnerability of potential victims and that is possible only if the factors causing vulnerability are addressed. Those factors have roots in socio-cultural, economic and political situation of the place they live in. The role of the government agencies entrusted with development, civil society organizations, community based organizations and other stakeholders become important. Law enforcement agencies are responsible to partner in the whole process as one of the stakeholders and not as the only one.

You advocate a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach to combating human trafficking. Could you kindly explain this in some detail? Most of the time combating human trafficking is looked upon as a problem of law enforcers. Effectively combating human trafficking is possible only through participation of all stakeholders, which can be construed as multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach. Combating human trafficking would involve prevention, prosecution and protection. Human trafficking has three spatial phases - recruitment at origin, transit and destination.

Let us understand the importance of multi-agency approach for one aspect of combating trafficking, say prevention. To prevent human trafficking at origin level there is need to check fresh recruitment and re-recruitment of rescued victims. This will require creating an environment negating the vulnerability of potential victims and that is possible only if the factors causing vulnerability are addressed. Those factors have roots in socio-cultural, economic and political situation of the place they live in.

The role of the government agencies entrusted with development, civil society organizations, community based organizations and other stakeholders become important. Similarly, prevention by countering demand at destination would require many agencies to collaborate. Law enforcement agencies are responsible to partner in the whole process as one of the stakeholders and not as the only one. This reasoning holds for prosecution and protection as well.

To further clarify let me give you an example of multi agency and multi disciplinary approach through a case study of a girl trafficked from Bangladesh to India. She was being transported to Mumbai after crossing the border in West Bengal. She was rescued by railway police from train on the tip off of other co-passengers close to district Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. After rescue she found shelter in protection home run by State Department of Women and Child. Medical practitioners looked after her health aspect. Police coordinated her repatriation in coordination with Ministry of External Affairs. All through social workers from local NGO helped in communication as she spoke Bengali dialect. The lady trafficker who was arrested during rescue was prosecuted with the help of prosecutors and judgement, of course, passed by a judge.

Now if we look at this incident we find many agencies coordinating and collaborating in rescuing and rehabilitating the victim and arresting and prosecuting the offender. 2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


HUMAN TRAFFICKING Policing is one of the most challenging jobs in India. The potential to serve people through policing is immense and I wanted to capitalize on that opportunity. Practically, the police has some role to play in every walk of life, particularly in developing countries, and its service providing capacity is unmatched. I found in police a window to understand the socio-cultural, economic and political dynamics of society from close quarters and that helped me over the years to grow professionally and personally.

In your opinion what is the root cause of human trafficking? It is not possible to pinpoint one cause as the root cause of human trafficking. Many factors may interplay facilitating victimization.

To generalize we can always say that potential victims vulnerability is the root cause of human trafficking, however the challenge is to figure out the causes behind vulnerability. They can be socio-cultural, economic, political or environmental factors or all together having their share in exacerbating the situation enabling traffickers to exploit. On further analysis these factors could be categorised as pull and push factors. Push factors are those factors that make the victims vulnerable at place of origin (recruitment), and Pull factors are alluring factors that create an illusion to salvage from push factors at place of destination, but actually leave them exposed to exploitation. And if I were asked how could it be addressed, I would say spreading awareness aggressively could certainly bring some desired change.

Please give us an overview of your book, Human Trafficking – The Stakeholders’ Perspective?

Human Trafficking-The Stakeholders’ Perspective is unique because of mainly three reasons. One it covers different dimensions of human trafficking; second it includes diverse opinions, which introduces the readers to different schools of thought on same issues and thirdly it covers the viewpoint of academicians, field activists, state agencies and legal practitioners enabling holistic view of the subject. This book is an attempt to exhaustively cover the subject of human trafficking and will be very useful to readers from different sections of society.

Why did you join the police?

Policing is one of the most challenging jobs in India. The potential to serve people through policing is immense and I wanted to capitalize on that opportunity. Practically, police has some role to play in every walk of life, particularly in developing countries, and its service providing capacity is unmatched. I found in police a window to understand the socio-cultural, economic and political dynamics of society from close quarters and that helped me over the years to grow professionally and personally.

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VEERENDRA MISHRA In Bosnia and Kosovo the Gypsies, Romas’, were trafficked. These areas were also conduit for eastern Europeans to be trafficked to Western Europe and also the locals suffered at the hands of local and external traffickers. Though I was not directly involved in anti-human trafficking, I grabbed opportunities to discuss and engage with concerned officers. In East Timor I was a visitor and studied human trafficking there.

I always had the desire to interact with community members, understand them and envisage mechanism to increase reach of social justice. Working as a police officer helped me fulfil the desire to a great extent. In countries like India the role of police in ensuring justice is phenomenal. The influence that law enforcers wield in society is significant and they can be role models. In the true sense policing provides an opportunity to understand social structure and comprehend human behaviour governed by this construction. The factual perception prepares one on how to address the societal problems more pragmatically. I am a strong propagator of community policing. I call it as policing for the community, with the community and by the community; Through community policing by ensuring partnership and participation the widening gap between police and community can be bridged and eventually become an effective and efficient police system. I used my community-policing model to increase partnership between the community and police in India, during UN Mission in Bosnia (as trainer), in Kosovo (as regional chief of community policing) and East Timor (my book - Community Policing: Misnomer or Fact? Sage Publications, 2011) My passion to work in the field of human trafficking also came from my experiences as police officer, which provided me with opportunity to explore and also give back to the community.

What was your role in UN Missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor?

I served in UN Missions as CIVPOL (Civilian Police Officer). Disturbance and conflict exposes the citizens to vagaries of exploitation and escalates vulnerability. I had great opportunity to understand the societal dynamics in war torn areas. In fact, to a great extent, my passion to work in the field of human trafficking was reinforced while serving in United Nation Missions.

In Bosnia and Kosovo the Gypsies, Romas’, were trafficked. These areas were also conduit for eastern Europeans to be trafficked to Western Europe and also the locals suffered at the hands of local and external traffickers. Though I was not directly involved in anti-human trafficking, I grabbed opportunities to discuss and engage with concerned officers. In East Timor I was a visitor and studied human trafficking there. I also created my own action plan to combat human trafficking and shared with IOM, unofficially. I do not know the fate of the draft plan. I also pro-bono created the training module on community policing training to community members for Asia Foundation. In fact, I am writing a novel on my experience of a case of child sex trafficking, which I would be glad to share with the world readers. I am looking for a good publisher for the book. 2013 Š www.liveencounters.net


HUMAN TRAFFICKING My wife and I created a documentary ‘Do I Have A Choice: A Saga of Socially Sanctioned Sexual Servitude’. This documentary film reflects the plight of the Bedia community, which is victim of CBSE (Community Based Sexual Exploitation).

Could you share with us a glimpse of your life and works? I am married to my batch mate who is also a police officer. We have two sons, 15 and 8 years old. I have two brothers and both are in police, one at higher management level and other at middle management level. I currently live in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. I am passionate about working on the subject of human trafficking with intention to contribute at international level.

I joined police service in January 1995. Since then I am working in the organization. I got an opportunity to serve in two UN Missions (Bosnia and Kosovo) and visited UN Mission area in East Timor as a visitor to my wife who was serving as CIVPOL with the UN Mission. I did my masters in Sociology and PhD in Psychology by a couple of human rights courses from Indira Gandhi National Open University and HREA (Human Rights Education Associates). I was a Humphrey fellow (Fullbright scholarship) to USA 2012-2013 and area of focus was Human Trafficking. I was associated with University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Georgemason University, Virginia (Washington DC). I also had a chance to affiliate with reputed organizations like Ramsey county’s Attorney’s office, St Paul (twin cities), Advocates for Human Rights, Minneapolis, National District Attorneys Association, Alexandria, Virginia (Washington DC). I taught as Co-instructor for six weeks - HREA (Human Rights Education Associates) online Course E07513: Human Trafficking and Smuggling LINK

My first book was a women centric short story book ‘Cracking of Dawn’ (Selective and Scientific Books: 2009). The stories dramatized version of real stories picked from experience as police officer. My second book was ‘Community Policing: Misnomer or Fact?’ (Sage Publications: 2011). I was co-editor in my third book ‘Human Trafficking in India’ (Women’s Studies Department, Barkatullah University, Bhopal, 2012) and this book ‘Human Trafficking: The Stakeholders Perspective’ is my latest effort (Sage Publication, 2013).

My wife and I created a documentary ‘Do I Have A Choice: A Saga of Socially Sanctioned Sexual Servitude’. This documentary film reflects the plight of the Bedia community, which is victim of CBSE (Community Based Sexual Exploitation). http://www.youtube.com/watch https://testschool149.eduvision.tv/ I intermittently write on various issues on my blog LINK

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VEERENDRA MISHRA

What are you working on now? Currently, I am working on CBSE with the Bedia community. With a highly motivated group we are trying to make a dent on the exploitative mindset of the community and provide options for progress. Attempt is also to engage other stakeholders to facilitate the process of social justice through inclusive method. www.samvednaindia.org

In a team we are working for education of children, livelihood programs for the adults (women and male both as they create equal pressure for exploitation of children), advocacy, increase the reach of justice and empower them to claim their rights and entitlement. I am also writing two books on Human Trafficking. One is co-authored with my wife on the CBSE. The second book will reflect on the subject of human trafficking from a totally different perspective. It will look into trafficking from social justice angle. This book will also question and challenge many of the approaches that are adopted globally and acclaimed as successful models. I am sure the forthcoming books will force us to rethink on our strategy to combat human trafficking.

If I get support I would like to make another documentary on trafficking for labour from Tribal districts in State of Madhya Pradesh. This is a problem - victimization of thousands of naïve young tribal girls and boys, which needs immediate attention. In the capacity as police officer my immediate attention would be on child rights issues with special focus on child trafficking.

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PHILOSOPHY

Do we have to be religious in order to be moral? Ivo Coelho

Philosopher and Rector of Ratisbonne Monastery Jerusalem, Israel

The question proposed to me by the Editor of Live Encounters is: How does one define right from wrong? Does it have to be religious based or is there any other yardstick?

© Ivo Coelho

Let me begin by noting that every one of us is capable of making moral judgments, distinguishing right from wrong. How exactly we make such judgments is, however, the question. I believe we have what Aristotle called physis, which is translated as ‘nature,’ but which really means inbuilt principles of motion and of rest. One such principle is our desire to know: this desire, which manifests itself in questions, keeps us moving till we attain a satisfactory answer, and rests only when that answer is attained. The other familiar principle is what we call conscience. We are hopefully all familiar with good conscience and bad conscience; where the desire to know deals with matters of fact, conscience deals with right and wrong, good and bad. The good conscience is the conscience at rest, whereas the bad conscience is the conscience that is restless. When our conscience is at rest, we feel we have done something that is good, or that we have reached a decision that is good, that we have hit upon a good course of action. When instead our conscience is restless, we know that we have either not arrived at a good course of action or a decision, or that we have decided or done something that is bad. This is conscience as physis, as inbuilt principle of motion and of rest.

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IVO COELHO

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

2013 september 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PHILOSOPHY So in the case of the moral judgment: if one does not yet have the virtue or the wisdom to make a correct moral judgment, one always has the possibility of borrowing. Borrowing here is learning, being willing to learn, from one’s neighbours, from one’s family, friends and society, from one’s tradition, religious or otherwise. And we learn till such time as we ourselves have become masters. This is a common phenomenon which we do not have to argue about: there is a continuum that leads from learning to mastery, and we all have experience of it in different fields.

The smart person will, however, be quick to point out the utterly subjective character of conscience as described here. Are we to rely merely on the restfulness or restlessness of our conscience? Will not each one of us, and each of the different traditions that have formed us, arrive at different moral judgments? And this is true, which is why the Catholic tradition defines the criterion of moral judgment not just as conscience, but as the well-formed conscience. At this many will be tempted to cry foul. Is not the Catholic Church subtly inserting itself into the picture here? Is it not pushing itself inside as the teacher of conscience, as the one who forms conscience? Perhaps. But it might give us pause to remember that it was Aristotle who defined the criterion of the moral judgment as the good conscience of a virtuous man. Not just ‘good conscience,’ but the good conscience of a virtuous man. This, as Bernard Lonergan liked to say, is infuriatingly circular. For how is one to become a virtuous person, if not by making good moral judgments? And how is one to make a good moral judgment, if one is not already a virtuous person?

Like most vicious circles, however, this one also, insoluble on the logical plane, is easily broken on the practical plane. Solvitur ambulando. In the old days, when one did not have sugar in the house, one could borrow it from the neighbours. So in the case of the moral judgment: if one does not yet have the virtue or the wisdom to make a correct moral judgment, one always has the possibility of borrowing. Borrowing here is learning, being willing to learn, from one’s neighbours, from one’s family, friends and society, from one’s tradition, religious or otherwise. And we learn till such time as we ourselves have become masters. This is a common phenomenon which we do not have to argue about: there is a continuum that leads from learning to mastery, and we all have experience of it in different fields. But here rises another question. If, in order to make moral judgments, we are in a very vital way dependent on the formation of conscience provided by our societies and our traditions, what guarantee do we have about the soundness of those cultures and traditions themselves? This is a much larger question, one that cannot be solved simply by appealing to the inbuilt principles of movement and of rest that we are endowed with. There is a way, however, something that has been called, by Etienne Gilson and others, the experiment of history. The theory is that traditions that have become bankrupt lead in the direction of self-destruction – not necessarily in the short term, but certainly in the long term. Sound moral choices, in other words, have healthy long term consequences, whereas unsound choices have unhealthy and destructive consequences. Does this sound too pragmatic? I will certainly have to think about that. But for the time being, for more on this phenomenon, one could look up Lonergan’s book, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, especially chapter 7 where he discusses the shorter and longer cycles of decline rooted in what he

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IVO COELHO There is a deep truth in the postmodern recognition of fissure, brokenness, difference. But governing all this, I believe, is the providence of a loving God. Non-theists might not be comfortable with this kind of language; but I have found non-theists also willing to believe that at the heart of the universe there is something that works for good.

calls ‘group bias’ and ‘general bias,’ group bias being what we usually call the prejudices accumulated by social groups, and general bias being the inbuilt tendency of common sense to concentrate on the short term to the detriment of the long term.

But there is also another way worked out by Lonergan, a way that he calls dialectic. Dialectic recognizes that radical differences in opinions and conflicts, including those in the moral area, are rooted not so much in the area of logic and argument as in basic options that we either inherit or drift into, or else make deliberately. Dialectic encourages conflicting parties to recognize this fact, and to engage in steps that will bring these basic options to light. And when these roots have come to light, there opens up the moment of dialogue. Dialogue here presupposes deep mutual respect and peaceful feelings. Friendship, as Aristotle pointed out so long ago, is the condition for doing philosophy. Within such an atmosphere of friendship, parties might make bold to gently invite one another to change. I might be able to say to you: you know, I think your basic option is problematic. Why don’t you have a look at this other possibility? And you might be able to say the same or something similar to me. This kind of procedure seems to be dealing with individuals in conflict, but, as might easily be imagined, individuals operate inevitably from the womb of the traditions that have formed them. And so it is traditions themselves that are called into question, the deep roots of traditions in philosophical, moral and religious choices that are brought to light.

Is this a foolproof solution? No, certainly not. At the heart of the human condition there lies a mystery, which is the mystery of option, of choice. There is a deep truth in the postmodern recognition of fissure, brokenness, difference. But governing all this, I believe, is the providence of a loving God. Non-theists might not be comfortable with this kind of language; but I have found non-theists also willing to believe that at the heart of the universe there is something that works for good.

The universe works for those who are in deep harmony with it. Whatever: I believe, with Lonergan, that authenticity is a prized human possession. The method of dialectic is built upon this premise. None of us in our saner moments wants to be deliberately unauthentic. Often it is a question of expanding horizons beyond oneself, beyond the narrow confines of one’s group, beyond also short term needs and concerns. Under the guidance of a provident God, in a world that has been basically redeemed, I believe there is hope for humankind. And signs of this hope are not lacking. Human beings have made great strides in recognizing mutual humanity across cultures and traditions over the last several hundred years, and this despite the very real wounds, wars, genocides and conflicts. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


PHILOSOPHY The myth of the self-enclosed atomic individual was born in the modern period of the West, with roots perhaps stretching back, according to some like Richard De Smet, to Duns Scotus. This atomic individual replaced a very much more organic conception of the human person that is found in thinkers like Thomas Aquinas, and also, for that matter, in the ancient reaches of the Indian tradition. The atomic individual is a myth, and it is high time that it be recognized as such. In reality, it is impossible to grow up without constant interaction with a tradition. We grow up into the persons that we are in what has been called by Lonergan a process of mutual self-mediation through a tradition or traditions.

So back our initial question: is it possible to make moral judgments without being dependent on religious traditions? My answer is: there is really no such thing as a self-enclosed individual. The myth of the self-enclosed atomic individual was born in the modern period of the West, with roots perhaps stretching back, according to some like Richard De Smet, to Duns Scotus. This atomic individual replaced a very much more organic conception of the human person that is found in thinkers like Thomas Aquinas, and also, for that matter, in the ancient reaches of the Indian tradition. The atomic individual is a myth, and it is high time that it be recognized as such. In reality, it is impossible to grow up without constant interaction with a tradition. We grow up into the persons that we are in what has been called by Lonergan a process of mutual self-mediation through a tradition or traditions.

Our traditions, in other words, are not to be seen as obstacles, hindrances, prejudices. They can of course become such, and history is full of examples that they have in fact been such. They need not. More to the point, it is quite impossible for anyone to get rid of all influence of traditions. The best we can do – and here we have the backing of greats like Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer – is to become aware of the fact that we are constituted by our traditions, and that the only possible way of rising somewhat ‘above’ them lies in such irenic and humble recognition of our historicality, our situatedness. This is not to say that we should each one of us indulge in blind worship of the tradition or traditions that have formed us historically. I am merely making a plea for serene recognition of their inevitability. There is place for being critical: that is the prerogative of the human spirit. Only, criticism cannot be done on the basis of a pretended access to a non-existent Pure Reason.

So yes, our moral judgments are inevitably coloured by our religious traditions. I would go further to say that these traditions can often be a positive help in the formation of our consciences, though they have also sometimes been dreadful scourges. Perhaps the mutual interaction of traditions over the last several hundred years has itself been part of the experiment of history. The experiment of history is Lonergan’s dialectic worked out in history. Or perhaps it might be truer to say that Lonergan’s dialectic is method that is worked out on the basic of the inbuilt dialectic of history. And what if one does not lay claim to any particular religious tradition? Obviously conscience still functions, and can function well, even very well. All of us have experiences of non-theistic persons who are deeply moral and utterly committed to the welfare of human beings. Only, I believe it is incumbent on the non-religious or a-religious person to recognize that she is still not exempt from the human condition. She does not and cannot lay claim to Pure Reason. She is as conditioned as

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IVO COELHO In the end, I would like to believe that life is not all that complicated. In most cases, our conscience serves us quite well in the making of moral choices. What Gandhi called the ‘inner voice’ mostly speaks loud and clear, especially when confronted with the Face of the Other. Then of course there are cases that are not quite as clear, cases where there are endless disputes. That is where, I guess, all that I have been saying kicks in.

anyone else – not, perhaps, by religious traditions, but by some traditions nonetheless, secular or civil or philosophical or whatever. And it might be good here to keep in mind something that I think the Italian philosopher Croce used to say: We are not Christian, but we certainly cannot call ourselves non-Christian. Croce was alluding to the fact that religious traditions have played large roles in the shaping of what we today regard as secular traditions. Meaning is constitutive of reality. It cannot be simply wished away. Integrity, therefore, demands recognition of the contribution of the religions to secular traditions, just as it demands also that religious traditions freely recognize the way they have themselves been challenged towards growth and purification by non-religious, rational, or secular traditions. So the Christian tradition is not wrong when it holds that the criterion of moral judgment is the well-formed conscience, and when it lays claim to the formation of conscience. It will, however, recognize today that it is far from being the sole agent in that formation, and that it is called upon to recognize the positive role of both religious and secular traditions in this regard. The formation of conscience, in other words, is itself on the way to becoming pluricultural, with all the traps and pitfalls that this involves. So once again we are back to the need for something like Lonergan’s dialectic, or simply intercultural and interreligious dialogue. We need, in other words, to talk. We need conversation. If there are no self-enclosed individuals, there are no self-enclosed traditions anymore either. We are in this together.  

In the end, I would like to believe that life is not all that complicated. In most cases, our conscience serves us quite well in the making of moral choices. What Gandhi called the ‘inner voice’ mostly speaks loud and clear, especially when confronted with the Face of the Other. Then of course there are cases that are not quite as clear, cases where there are endless disputes. That is where, I guess, all that I have been saying kicks in.

© Ivo Coelho

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


REFUGEES

If you come here by boat without a visa

Australian Government – Department of Immigration and Citizenship Link

If you come here by boat without a visa you won't be settled in Australia.

Australia's migration policy has changed. From 19 July 2013 if you travel to Australia by boat with no visa, you will not be settled here. You will be sent to Papua New Guinea for processing. If found to be a refugee, you'll be settled in Papua New Guinea, or another participating regional state, not Australia. This includes women and children. These changes have been introduced to stop people smugglers and stop further loss of life at sea. If you are not found to be in need of protection, you will stay in Papua New Guinea until you can be sent to your home country.

There will be no cap on the number of people who can be transferred or resettled in Papua New Guinea. Don't risk your family's safety. Don't waste your money.

Don't risk your life or waste your time or money by paying people smugglers. If you pay a people smuggler you are buying a ticket to another country.

Arriving in Australia by boat means: • being sent straight to Papua New Guinea for processing • being settled in Papua New Guinea, not Australia, even if you are found to be a refugee • not being reunited with family and friends in Australia. © www.liveencounters.net 2013


EMMA LARKING

Let’s be clear about what is involved here. Rudd is claiming that we are complying with our moral obligations by sending people who seek refugee protection from Australia to Papua New Guinea. But we are not just sending people to PNG so they can have their protection claims considered in accordance with the Refugee Convention, we are sending people to PNG to be incarcerated, and then at some point to have their protection claims considered.

Regional resettlement solving the ‘refugee problem’ at any price? First published in Regarding Rights. Special permission by Emma Larking.

Is there anything money can’t buy? It buys most things, apparently. A list compiled recently by American philosopher Michael Sandel includes a prison cell upgrade, the services of a surrogate mother, the right to shoot an endangered black rhino, and admission to a prestigious university. Sandel’s list is a prelude to his investigation of what he calls ‘the moral limits of markets,’ and to his claim that ‘there are some things money should not buy.’ [1] Here I want to ask if money can buy us out of our moral obligations. Kevin Rudd would like us to think it can. He maintains that the ‘Regional Resettlement Arrangement’ (RRA) he signed last Friday (July 19, 2013) with Papua New Guinea PM Peter O’Neill will ‘ensure that we have a robust system of border security and orderly migration, on the one hand, as well as fulfilling our legal and compassionate obligations under the refugees convention on the other.’ I personally disagree with how Rudd frames the issue. I think we have obligations to refugees that go well beyond the UN Refugee Convention, whose provisions are extremely narrow. But for the moment, I want to address Rudd’s claims on his terms.

Rudd may be right about our legal obligations under the Refugee Convention, although the issue is contentious. Michelle Foster, director of Melbourne University Law School’s International Refugee Law Research Program, argues the deal is ‘in clear violation of international law,’ but acknowledges it may be consistent with Australian law.

© Emma Larking

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


REFUGEES The Australian government is now ‘racing’ to expand the capacity of the Manus Island detention centre, and the RRA envisages the construction of more such facilities. So we need to think about the morality of buying an off-shore detention regime before we consider whether it’s ok to pay another country to discharge our compassionate obligations.

Alex Reilly, of the University of Adelaide’s Law School, agrees with Foster that Rudd’s deal is likely to survive a challenge in the Australian High Court, although he cautions that ‘statutory interpretation is not a science’ (see Reilly’s discussion on ‘The Conversation’) I think it’s likely that the plan will be deemed lawful by the High Court, which has historically been excessively deferential to the Executive in matters related to immigration.

So much for our legal obligations. What about what Rudd calls our ‘compassionate obligations’? Is it ok to ‘off-shore’ these obligations, for a price? Let’s be clear about what is involved here. Rudd is claiming that we are complying with our moral obligations by sending people who seek refugee protection from Australia to Papua New Guinea. But we are not just sending people to PNG so they can have their protection claims considered in accordance with the Refugee Convention, we are sending people to PNG to be incarcerated, and then at some point to have their protection claims considered. The Australian government is now ‘racing’ to expand the capacity of the Manus Island detention centre, and the RRA envisages the construction of more such facilities. So we need to think about the morality of buying an off-shore detention regime before we consider whether it’s ok to pay another country to discharge our compassionate obligations. Because detention involves the deprivation of a person’s liberty, it’s usually considered an extremely serious form of punishment, worthy of concerted efforts to ensure access to justice for those detained. For many years governments of various stripes in Australia have argued – and the High Court has accepted – that the detention of asylum seekers is an exercise of the government’s administrative powers over immigration, so people in immigration detention have been denied access to the criminal justice system and the procedural protections it affords.

By detaining people in other countries, we also deprive them of access to the oversight and protections that might – however inadequately – be provided by other Australian institutions, such as the Australian Human Rights Commission. We already have experience of what conditions are like for asylum seekers in camps on Nauru and Manus Island. When people are deprived of their liberty, when they are herded together in squalid conditions and they don’t know when, or if, their circumstances will change, when they have no control over their fate, and no one is interested in listening to their experience, it’s surprising how many respond with dignity and courage. Nevertheless, the conditions in immigration detention eventually grind people down. Some become angry, violent, and abusive.

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


EMMA LARKING Money may buy us an off-shore detention regime, but it doesn’t absolve us of responsibility for that regime. Would things be any better if PNG agreed to house asylum seekers in the community while their protection applications are considered, and then to re-settle all those found to be refugees? (Note that this is not what is provided for in the RRA, which specifically states that ‘transferees’ will be housed in ‘regional processing centres,’ in the ‘first instance’ on Manus. A ‘regional processing centre’ is a locked detention facility.)

Rather than abusing others, many resort to self-harm. The majority become depressed, horrifying numbers become suicidal. If we pay another country to do the detaining on our behalf, are we responsible for the suffering inflicted? Clearly we are.

What about if we pay the other country to detain people, but we ask that country to ensure the conditions in detention are humane? (According to the RRA, ‘Australia and Papua New Guinea take seriously their obligations for the welfare and safety of any person transferred by Australia to Papua New Guinea under this Arrangement.’) Given the likelihood of abuse associated with any detention facility operating in the absence of rigorous oversight, we would be obliged to provide that oversight, and to do whatever else is necessary to guarantee humane conditions. We haven’t chosen to do this in relation to detention facilities within Australia, where abuse and self-harm are rife, and a recent death didn’t even warrant a mention in the Australian media; is it likely we will do it in relation to PNG?

The political genius of the RRA is that our government has no desire to monitor the conditions in the camps (it wouldn’t provide the Australian Human Rights Commission with access to Nauru – I see no reason for it changing its tune now). The government reasons that if Australians don’t know what’s going on in the camps, they won’t care about the people detained there. There are certainly grounds for thinking this, but it doesn’t mean we’re not responsible. We put the people there. We will continue to pay for and to service the detention facilities (see article 9 of the RRA). We are responsible. Money may buy us an off-shore detention regime, but it doesn’t absolve us of responsibility for that regime. Would things be any better if PNG agreed to house asylum seekers in the community while their protection applications are considered, and then to re-settle all those found to be refugees? (Note that this is not what is provided for in the RRA, which specifically states that ‘transferees’ will be housed in ‘regional processing centres,’ in the ‘first instance’ on Manus. A ‘regional processing centre’ is a locked detention facility.) Would this be an acceptable means of buying our way out of our obligations of compassion? This question needs to be considered from two perspectives. One perspective relates to the kind of people, or country, we are. The other perspective relates to the people who are the objects of our compassion. From the first perspective, there seems to be something wrong with paying someone else to do our good deeds. It’s likely to make us nastier, more self-serving people (a nastier, more self-serving country). Certainly we lose the chance to be enriched by the experience of giving directly to and engaging with others. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


REFUGEES According to the Australian Government’s current ‘Travel Advisory’ for PNG, anyone visiting the country should exercise a ‘high degree of caution’ given the high levels of serious crime; the likelihood of ethnic disputes escalating into violent clashes and general lawlessness; and the increase in reported incidents of sexual assault, including gang rape and the targeting of foreigners. The travel advisory adds that cholera is now considered endemic in PNG. As University of Sydney’s Ben Saul pointed out recently in the Age, PNG is ‘one of the poorest countries in the world’ – if it ‘can’t provide basic rights for its own people’, is it really likely to be able to accord such rights to asylum seekers?

But perhaps we are merely prioritising our good deeds – choosing to do more for others we know, in the neighbourhood, or down the road? If that’s really so, it might make our moral outsourcing more acceptable, and less worrying, for our national character. But what of the second perspective – the people who are the objects of our out-sourced compassion? From the first perspective, there seems to be something wrong with paying someone else to do our good deeds. It’s likely to make us nastier, more self-serving people (a nastier, more self-serving country). Certainly we lose the chance to be enriched by the experience of giving directly to and engaging with others. But perhaps we are merely prioritising our good deeds – choosing to do more for others we know, in the neighbourhood, or down the road? If that’s really so, it might make our moral out-sourcing more acceptable, and less worrying, for our national character. But what of the second perspective – the people who are the objects of our out-sourced compassion? From this perspective, our sole concern is with ensuring that asylum seekers are treated with humanity and dignity; that they are not expelled to countries in which they may be persecuted or killed; and that they are re-settled in a safe environment if there is genuine reason to fear that expulsion will lead to them being persecuted or killed. Could we be assured of this if the RRA was amended to rule out detention and to provide for community settlement?

According to the Australian Government’s current ‘Travel Advisory’ for PNG, anyone visiting the country should exercise a ‘high degree of caution’ given the high levels of serious crime; the likelihood of ethnic disputes escalating into violent clashes and general lawlessness; and the increase in reported incidents of sexual assault, including gang rape and the targeting of foreigners. The travel advisory adds that cholera is now considered endemic in PNG. As University of Sydney’s Ben Saul pointed out recently in the Age, PNG is ‘one of the poorest countries in the world’ – if it ‘can’t provide basic rights for its own people’, is it really likely to be able to accord such rights to asylum seekers? What about PNG’s ability and willingness to assess asylum seekers’ protection claims under the Refugee Convention? Although PNG has signed the Convention, it did so with significant reservations, so it is not bound by some of the Convention’s most important provisions, including art.26 (freedom of movement); art.31 (right not to be penalised for unlawful presence or entry); art.32 (right not to be expelled); and art.34 (assimilation and naturalisation of refugees) (the other exclusions are articles 17(1), 21, & 22(1)). © www.liveencounters.net 2013


EMMA LARKING The political genius of the RRA is that our government has no desire to monitor the conditions in the camps (it wouldn’t provide the Australian Human Rights Commission with access to Nauru – I see no reason for it changing its tune now). The government reasons that if Australians don’t know what’s going on in the camps, they won’t care about the people detained there. There are certainly grounds for thinking this, but it doesn’t mean we’re not responsible. We put the people there. We will continue to pay for and to service the detention facilities (see article 9 of the RRA). We are responsible.

The RRA specifies that PNG will ‘immediately take steps to withdraw its reservations to the Convention with respect to persons transferred by Australia to PNG’. Great. But does that mean it will fairly assess individuals’ protection claims? The UN High Commissioner for Refugees points out that while the country’s migration legislation allows its Minister for Foreign Affairs to ‘determine’ a person is a refugee, it ‘does not provide any details about how this determination is to be made’. The Commissioner concludes that the country’s national legislation ‘does not provide an adequate framework to deal with asylum seekers and refugees’. So even if we’re not worried about the kind of people, or country, we will become if we off-shore our moral obligations to asylum seekers, we are not justified in doing so in this case because those obligations will not be met. We will be shipping vulnerable, traumatised people out of sight and possibly out of mind, but they won’t be being cared for, and we won’t have bought the right to call ourselves ‘compassionate’.

[1] Michael J. Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012, pp3-4. Thanks to Regarding Rights contributor Ned Dobos for referring me to this book. © Emma Larking

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


BOOK REVIEW

Commemorated Thus Beautifully "Lines written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin" -------O commemorate me where there is water canal water preferably, so stilly greeny at the heart of summer. Brother commemorate me thus beautifully. (Patrick Kavanagh)

Terry McDonagh is an Irish poet who lives mostly in Germany. I am a U.K.-born scribbler who emigrated to Israel. As we met through Live Encounters magazine, produced by Mark Ulyseas, an Indian travelling writer based in Bali, it’s no surprise that we empathise hugely about exile, dislocation and loss.

Such themes are staple fair in the wistful world of wandering writers. It takes a fine craftsman with a painfully hewn imagination to make them fresh. But we expect no less from McDonagh. Surely the first Irish poet to be translated into Indonesian, he pays gracious tribute to his famous countryman, Patrick Kavanagh in this, his own verse.

Š www.liveencounters.net 2013


NATALIE WOOD

Whose Life Was It! he muses in Grounds For Burial, the concluding eight-parter in his new collection.* He then answers himself: …. especially after a day among wet ridges and drills. When his parents died, he was captured by the poet, Kavanagh, and trapped between his lines: for all to sneer at, for all to pity, for all to scoff at as he faced into a fence when desire became urgent.

McDonagh also treats us to several endearingly funny micro stories. How else to describe Body Language with its brief sketch played out on a Hamburg street, near his home in exile?

“A story fell ping into my lap as birds / continued singing for me / and for people I didn’t grow up with”.

Or let’s try A Perfect Family In Arles, where, avoiding a clichéd spin on the city’s associations with rakish artists, he opts for a look at four unlovely tourists en famille, emptying restaurant tables, entire streets even with their noise, while the raucous daughters scream “‘we’ve had enough of culture and vulture!’”.

I suppose it’s natural for a man from County Mayo to dwell, after Kavanagh, on rural small town life. But to be forced to select one of McDonagh’s poems on this theme is like being invited to dip a paw into a chocolate box. So for now it’s a case of ‘ooh, go on then’ and I’ll choose the hilarious Police and Donkey In a Hit and Run, in which the police “countrywide, / would be alerted and no money or manpower spared / in satisfying the courts that everything in police power had been done to show the donkey up in a bad light”. For all that, even better are the quieter poems, like the title piece, Ripple Effect or its companion Journey of a Pebble, where McDonagh confesses to losing a much cherished stone picked up at the graveside of the blind Irish balladeer, Anthony Raftery. Initially, he’s saddened by the loss but concludes “Later I was satisfied – I had passed it on”. * Ripple Effect was published in August 2013 by Arlen House.

© Natalie Wood

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


TERRY MCDONAGH

Ripple Effect This short poem, Ripple Effect, is the title poem in my latest poetry collection, Ripple Effect, and I feel it says a lot about the swings and roundabouts of human fortune. I have always felt decisions get made for us…as young people, we set out to create ripples with a plethora of ideas and expectations and later we wonder at the outcome of these choices – this, at least, has been my experience.

As a boy in the west of Ireland, I would spend hours casting stones of different shapes and weights out on to the flat surfaces of lakes and rivers. I would try to adjust my style to get an extra bounce out of my stone…and I would try to count the ripples when my stone fell plop.

Ripple Effect

When you throw a stone into a pond you can’t predict the ripples for so much depends on the cut of the stone, the way you throw it the water and the wind.

Book available at LINK Pic © Terry McDonagh © www.liveencounters.net 2013


POETRY

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

2013 september 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


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J R R TOLKIEN

Foreword by

Christopher Tolkien It is well known that a prominent strain in my father’s poetry was his abiding love for the old ‘Northern’ alliterative verse, which extended from the world of Middle-Earth (notably in the long but unfinished Lay of the Children of Húrin) to the dramatic dialogue The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth (arising from the Old English poem The Battle of Maldon) and to his ‘Old Norse’ poems The New Lay of the Völsung and The New Lay of Gudrún (to which he referred in a letter of 1967 as ‘a thing I did many years ago when trying to learn the art of writing alliterative poetry’). In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight he displayed his skill in rendering of the alliterative verse of the fourteenth century into the same metre in modern English. To these is now added his unfinished and unpublished poem The Fall of Arthur. Foreword from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur by Christopher Tolkien © C.R. Tolkien 2013, reproduced by kind permission of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. The Fall of Arthur published by HarperCollins : LINK

© C.R. Tolkien 2013

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


THE FALL OF ARTHUR One might surmise also that the very nature of this last, elaborate poem made it peculiarly vulnerable to interruption or disturbance. The astonishing amount of surviving draft material for The Fall of Arthur reveals the difficulties inherent in such use of the metrical form that my father found so profoundly congenial, and his exacting and perfectionist concern to find, in an intricate and subtle narrative, fitting expression within the patterns of rhythm and alliteration of the Old English verse-form. To change the metaphor, The Fall of Arthur was a work of art to be built slowly: it could not withstand the rising of new imaginative horizons.

I have been able to discover no more than a single reference of any kind by my father to this poem, and that is in a letter of 1955, in which he said: ‘I write alliterative verse with pleasure, though I have published little beyond the fragments in The Lord of the Rings, except ‘The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth’...I still hope to finish a long poem on The Fall of Arthur in the same measure’ (The Letters of J.R.R.Tolkien, no.165). Nowhere among his papers is there any indication of when it was begun or when it was abandoned; but fortunately he preserved a letter written to him by R.W.Chambers on 9 December 1934. Chambers (Professor of English at University College, London), eighteen years his senior, was an old friend and strong supporter of my father, and in that letter he described how he had read Arthur on a train journey to Cambridge, and on the way back ‘took advantage of an empty compartment to declaim him as he deserves’. He praised the poem with high praise: ‘It is very great indeed...really heroic, quite apart from its value in showing how the Beowulf metre can be used in modern English’. And he ended the letter ‘You simply must finish it’.

But that my father did not do; and yet another of his long narrative poems was abandoned. It seems all but certain that he had ceased to work on the Lay of the Children of Húrin before he left the University of Leeds for Oxford in 1925, and he recorded that he began the Lay of Leithian (the legend of Beren and Lúthien), not in alliterative verse ut in rhyming couplets, in the summer of that year (The Lays of Beleriand, p.3). In addition, while at Leeds he began an alliterative poem on The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor, and another even briefer that was clearly the beginning of a Lay of Eärendel (The Lays of Beleriand, §II, Poems Early Abandoned). I have suggested in The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún (p.5) ‘as a mere guess, since there is no evidence whatsoever to confirm it, that my father turned to the Norse poems as a new poetic enterprise [and a return to alliterative verse] after he abandoned the Lay of Leithian near the end of 1931.’ If this were so, he must have begun work on The Fall of Arthur, which was still far from completion at the end of 1934, when the Norse poems had been brought to a conclusion.

I seeking some explanation of his abandonment of these ambitious poems when each was already far advanced, one might look to the circumstances of his life after his election to the Professorship of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford in 1925: the demands of his position and his scholarship and the needs and concerns and expenses of his family. As through so much of his life, he never had enough time, and it may be, as I incline to believe, that the breath of inspiration, endlessly impeded, could wither away; yet it would emerge again, when an opening appeared amid hid duties and obligations – and his other interests, but now with a changed narrative impulse.

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


J R R TOLKIEN

No doubt there were in fact specific reasons in each case, not now to be with any discerned; but in that of The Fall of Arthur I have suggested (pp.149-55) that it was driven into the shallows by the great sea-changes that were taking place in my father’s conceptions at that, arising from his work on The Lost Road and the publication of The Hobbit: the emergence of Númenor, the myth of the World Made Round and the Straight Path, and the approach of The Lord of the Rings.

One might surmise also that the very nature of this last, elaborate poem made it peculiarly vulnerable to interruption or disturbance. The astonishing amount of surviving draft material for The Fall of Arthur reveals the difficulties inherent in such use of the metrical form that my father found so profoundly congenial, and his exacting and perfectionist concern to find, in an intricate and subtle narrative, fitting expression within the patterns of rhythm and alliteration of the Old English verse-form. To change the metaphor, The Fall of Arthur was a work of art to be built slowly: it could not withstand the rising of new imaginative horizons.

Whatever may be thought of these speculations, The Fall of Arthur necessarily entailed problems of presentation to the editor. It may be that some who take up this book would have been content with no more than the text of the poem as printed here, and perhaps a brief statement of the stages of its development, as attested by the abundant draft manuscripts. On the other hand, there may well be many others who, drawn to the poem by the attraction of its author but with little knowledge of ‘the Arthurian legend’, would wish, and expect, to find some indications of how this ‘version’ stands inr elation to the mediaeval tradition from which it rose. As I have said, my father left no indication even of the briefest kind, as he did of the ‘Norse’ poems published as The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, of his thought or intention that lay behind his very original treatment of ‘The Legend of Lancelot and Guinevere’. But in the present case there is clearly no reason to enter the labyrinth in an editorial attempt to write a wide-ranging account of ‘Arthurian’ legend, which would very likely appear a forbidding rampart raised up as if it were a necessary preliminary to the reading of The Fall of Arthur. I have therefore dispensed with any ‘Introduction’ properly so-called, but following the text of the poem I have contributed several commentaries, of a decidedly optional nature. The brief notes that follow the poem are largely confined to very concise explanations of names and words, and to references to the commentaries. Each of these, for those who want such explorations, is concerned with a fairly distinct aspect of © C.R. Tolkien 2013

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


THE FALL OF ARTHUR After much deliberation I have thought it best, because much less confusing, to write this account as if the latest form of the poem (as printed in this book) were all that we could know of it, and the strange evolution of that form revealed by the analysis of the draft texts had therefore been lost. I have seen no need to enter into the shadowy origins of the Arthurian legend and the early centuries of its history, and I will only say here that it is essential to the understanding of The Fall of Arthur to recognize that the roots of the legend derive from the fifth century, after the final end of the Roman rule in rule in Britain with the withdrawal of the legions in 410.

The Fall of Arthur and its special interest. The first of these, ‘The Poem in Arthurian Tradition’, simple in intent, avoiding speculative interpretation, and very limited in range, if somewhat lengthy, is an account of the derivation of my father’s poem from particular narrative traditions and its divergences from them. For this purpose I have chiefly drawn upon two works in English, the mediaeval poem known as ‘The Alliterative Morte Arthure’, and the relevant tales of Sir Thomas Malory, with some reference to his sources.Not wishing to provide a mere dry précis, I have cited verbatim a number of passages from these works, as exemplifying those traditions in manner and mode that differ profoundly from this ‘Alliterative Fall of Arthur’ of another day.

After much deliberation I have thought it best, because much less confusing, to write this account as if the latest form of the poem (as printed in this book) were all that we could know of it, and the strange evolution of that form revealed by the analysis of the draft texts had therefore been lost. I have seen no need to enter into the shadowy origins of the Arthurian legend and the early centuries of its history, and I will only say here that it is essential to the understanding of The Fall of Arthur to recognize that the roots of the legend derive from the fifth century, after the final end of the Roman rule in rule in Britain with the withdrawal of the legions in 410 and from memories of battles fought by Britons in resistance to the ruinous raids and encroachments of the barbarian invaders, Angles and Saxons, spreading from the eastern regions of this land. It is to be borne in mind that throughout this book the names Britons and British refer specifically and exclusively to the Celtic inhabitants and their language. Following ‘The Poem in Arthurian Tradition’ is a discussion of ‘The Unwritten Poem and its relation to The Silmarillion’, an account of the various writings that give some indication of my father’s thoughts for the continuation of the poem; and then an account of ‘The Evolution of the Poem’, primarily an attempt to show as clearly as I could, granting the extremely complex textual history, the major changes of structure that I have referred to, together with much exemplification of his mode of composition. Note. Throughout this book references to the text of the poem are given in the form canto number (Roman numeral) + line number, e.g. II.7.

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


J R R TOLKIEN

Of the setting of the sun at Romeril Excerpt P.55-56 Thus Arthur abode on the ebb riding, At his land he looked and longed sorely on the grass again there green swaying, to walk at his will, while the world lasted; the sweet to savour of salt mingled with wine-scented waft of clover over sunlit turf seaward leaning, in kindly Christendom the clear ringing of bells to hear on the breeze swaying, a king of peace kingdom wielding in a holy realm beside heaven’s gateway.

On the land he looked lofty shining Treason trod there trumpets sounding in power and pride, Princes faithless on shore their shields shameless marshalled their king betraying Christ forsaking, to heathen might their hope turning. Men were mustering marching southward, from the East hurried evil horsemen as plague of fire pouring ruinous; white towers were burned, wheat was trampled, the ground groaning and the world faded; bells were silent, blades were ringing hell’s gate was wide and heaven distant.

Special thanks to Katie Moss of HarperCollins.co.uk and Iti Khurana of harpercollins-india.com for arranging a copy of the book as well as the required permissions to reprint the Foreword. © C.R. Tolkien 2013

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


BOOK REVIEW

J R R Tolkien - The Fall of Arthur book review by Mark Ulyseas

Amidst the ruins of Hampi. Amidst the fallen rocks and mangled sculptured torsos of gods and goddesses rests a fragment of history woven with myths and legends of an enchanted era of chivalry and betrayal, of valour and cowardice, of victory and defeat...what better place than this to read the poem...The Fall of Arthur...an unfinished masterpiece set aside eighty years ago by a pensive poet just before he embarked upon The Hobbit. The Fall of Arthur is written in the language of old English...words sewn together with a synergy that stretches the imagination beyond the horizon of hedonism into the realms of free fall fantasy festooned with striking imagery blanched by the foreboding imagery of Arthur returning home to confront the traitor, Mordred.

Lurking between the lines, the words, the legend, lies nestled in the spirit of a time long gone when knights in shining armour rode forth to fight injustice, when word was honour and faithfulness meant everything. J.R.R. Tolkien’s mastery over the Old English alliterative metre is the canvas on which he has deftly drawn and coloured with passion pinioned to the senses, The Fall of Arthur. This is why I find the poem so embracing, so complete in form. How Arthur returned at morn and by Sir Gwain’s hand won the passage of the sea. Excerpt p.45-46

Wolves were howling on the wood’s border; the windy trees wailed and trembled, and wandering leaves wild and homeless drifted dying in the deep hollows Dark lay the road through dank valleys among the mounting hills mist-encircled to the walls of Wales in the west frowning brownfaced and bare. To the black mountains horsemen hastened, on the houseless stones no track leaving. Tumbling waters from the fells falling, foaming in darkness, they heard as they passed to the hidden kingdom. Night fell behind. The noise of hooves was lost in silence in a land of shadow.

© www.liveencounters.net 2013


MARK ULYSEAS

Hampi, Karnataka, India. Pic by Mark Ulyseas

This reminds me of my days in school when learning poems by heart was the only way to survive the gruelling encounters with the English teacher who insisted elocution was the key to unlocking the beauty of poetry. Looking back, he was right. The art of recitation has been lost to our hand held electronic devices...a disconnection from this wonderful art form. However, in this latest publication of Tolkien one is drawn, once again, into the captivating world of poetry with its embroidered words winding their way through stanzas and pausing at commas. I have read a number of reviews of The Fall of Arthur and they have struck me as too clinical, too explanatory...dry...attempting to correlate its lyricism to other literary works of Tolkien. What a pity. Why can’t readers simply move with the metre, embrace the narration and rejoice in the imagery. For this is what poetry and poetry reading is all about. One doesn’t need to explain the words, to dissect and bisect the poet’s thoughts. One has only to feel it through a process of osmosis, thereby joining in the journey that the poet takes, becoming a fellow traveller.

Unfortunately in this day and age spoon feeding is essential in conveying the lyricism of life. Poems now appear in the electronic media accompanied by photographs. The photographs speak for the words and thus the message being conveyed by the poet is crippled without them. Memorising and reciting poems have all but disappeared into the labyrinth of bytes and megabytes. Many among us are at loss for verse when reminded of a poem we once knew and therefore we seek refuge in the hand held electronic device for an answer to what is elementary wisdom. And so dear readers get your copy of The Fall of Arthur and hit the road. Stop where a river flows or mountains reach out to the sky, sit down under a tree and read the poem. Read it aloud and feel the rhythm of the ages rise from the font. Read about an era of truth twisted by fate and valour vanquished in vain. You don’t need photographs or films to tell you where you’re at or how to feel, for the words will be your guide down winding pathways strewn with events that led to the fall of Arthur. Christopher Tolkien is his father’s son, a son who, with a missionary zeal, has faithfully edited and published many of Tolkien’s works, posthumously. Though The Fall of Arthur is presumably the last of unpublished manuscripts of Tolkien one hopes that there is, tucked away, somewhere between the sheets of scribbled notes, another poem waiting with bated breath to see the light of day. The Fall of Arthur published by HarperCollins : LINK

© Mark Ulyseas

2013 © www.liveencounters.net


L E T T E R F R OM I S R A E L

Gender Segregation in Israel

Anat Hoffman Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center

The debate on how to balance Israel as a Jewish State and Israel as a democratic State is a work in progress. As the world’s only country with a Jewish majority, we have challenges and opportunities that are truly unique. We are the only country in the world running its public calendar in concert with the Jewish calendar. We are the only country that ensures that food served in government buildings is kosher. The goal is to make Israel a place where being Jewish would never limit someone’s options for enjoying all that life in this country could offer. The question is, how do we draw the line between protecting Jewish life for its citizens and imposing Jewish life on its citizens? Religious Israelis make up a minority of the country’s Jewish population, and the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) are a minority inside a minority. Haredim amount to a little over 9% of the total population. They are a significant part of Israeli society, but in recent years their influence over how we are able to use public spaces has grown exponentially. This is due in large part to the reality of coalition politics, but there has been a steady move to the right. This can be seen clearly on many of Israel’s public buses, where extreme elements of the Haredi community are still trying to force women to sit at the back of the bus. I have been asked many times why don’t we just leave the poor Haredi Jews alone. It bothers them to sit next to women so why can’t we just let them be? It is important to understand that we at IRAC are not trying to destroy the ultra-Orthodox way of life. As an organization that fights for pluralism, we believe that all forms of Jewish practice should be treated with respect. We are not trying to change their homes or their synagogues, but rather we are protecting the rights of all Israelis to use public services that function in shared spaces in a way that is inclusive of everyone. The buses are a service for all Israelis just like the public airways, or public health clinics. Being a Jewish state does not mean that all Jews are forced to live a certain way.

Gender segregation in Israel is not new, and IRAC and our volunteer Freedom Riders have been monitoring the buses for several years. We have seen a huge decrease in both the number of lines that are segregated and the number of incidents where men try to intimidate women to move to the back of the bus. Israelis have become aware of this issue from the street to the highest levels of government. Why can’t we simply claim victory and move on from here?

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ANAT HOFFMAN

In the years since our initial lawsuit forcing Egged (the state bus company) to put up signs declaring it illegal to force someone to move because of gender, we have seen the phenomenon rise and fall and rise again. That is the real challenge of gender segregation in Israel. Once we defeat it in one area it pops up again someplace else. When the buses are calm we find grocery stores or health clinics segregating between the genders. When we shine a light on those places, it stops there but pops up at radio stations. Fighting gender segregation is like a game of whack a mole, but instead of winning tickets at a fair we are trying to win equality and dignity for Israeli women.

Our biggest success in the struggle against gender segregation has been convincing Israelis how serious this issue really is, and how religious coercion affects everyone. It is easy for Israelis to look at Jerusalem or other cities with high numbers of ultra-Orthodox Jews and say that what happens there does not affect them in Tel Aiviv or Be’er Sheva—that segregation is just something odd that happens in Jerusalem or Beit Shemesh. This mindset has changed thanks to our advocacy. When people hear about women being intimidated into sitting in the back of the bus Israelis take notice. I am proud of the successes we have had combating gender segregation on buses, on the radio, in the army, in health clinics, and in the minds of the average Israeli. This is an example of voices from abroad playing a very constructive part in social change in Israel. If we had not had consistent support from Jewish and non-Jewish organizations and individuals abroad, Israeli lawmakers would have simply ignored this issue in favor of keeping the Haredi political parties happy and in line.

© Anat Hoffman

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HUMAN RIGHTS

The Long Way from Rome to Jakarta

Prospects of Ending Impunity for International Crimes in Southeast Asia Reprinted by special permission of Benjamin Authers, Regarding Rights

Photograph - Main Courtroom of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Source: Public Affairs Section / ECCC.

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CHRISTOPH SPERFELDT

More than ten years after its entry into force, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is enjoying wide-spread global support. Despite this progress, states in Asia generally remain reluctant to join the Rome Statute. Nevertheless, the global dynamic of the past years has also left its mark on the attitudes among states in the region. In Southeast Asia in particular, the promotion of human rights norms and principles at the regional level is gaining momentum, most visibly manifested in the creation of an ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the adoption of an ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights. Although this development has not yet advanced the issue of accountability for breaches of norms of international human rights and humanitarian law, individual states have taken steps that indicate an increased recognition of the need to prosecute those responsible for mass atrocities.

Cambodia and Timor Leste were among the founding members of the ICC, but had remained exceptions until recently. Thailand has signed, but hesitates to ratify the Rome Statute. However, with the accession of the Philippines to the ICC Statute in 2011, a decade long stalemate in Southeast Asia seems to be broken. Current discussions among policy-makers and legislators in Indonesia and Malaysia are signs of a slow but steady shift in attitudes. As one of the world’s most populous countries, Indonesia’s accession in particular would tip the balance in the region towards a position more amenable to the norms of the Rome Statute. Southeast Asia is no stranger to mass violence and large-scale human rights abuses. The impact of international crimes, including crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes, on countries’ development, including the perpetuation of weak governance, is visible throughout the region. As the World Development Report 2011 observed, vicious cycles of conflict place security and justice under stress, and impunity creates volatile political frameworks. The report also concludes that human rights abuses are associated with higher risks of future conflict.[1] To break the repeated cycle of violence, there is a need to recognise the inherent link between conflict, peace, and justice and to formulate holistic policy responses to prevent the recurrence of violence. Supporting accountability for international crimes, as outlined through the Rome Statute, can be one element of such a comprehensive approach.

Countries in Southeast Asia that have experienced mass atrocities now appear to have positions more amenable to supporting the Rome Statute’s norms. Cambodia and Timor Leste have both experienced mass violence to such a degree that their development has fallen far behind that of their regional peers. Both countries were signatories to the Rome Statute from the beginning, and both countries have initiated, with international assistance, accountability processes to prosecute alleged perpetrators. The experiences of the Serious Crimes Process in Timor Leste and the hybrid Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have been mixed, but they have set important precedents for ending impunity for international crimes in Southeast Asia.[2] To date, while the region is no stranger to prosecuting international crimes, there has been little cross-border sharing of this experience.

© Christoph Sperfeldt 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HUMAN RIGHTS The Indonesian government has on a number of occasions indicated that it is willing to accede to the Rome Statute. The National Action Plan on Human Rights, adopted in 2004 under President Megawati, mandated that Indonesia would ratify the Statute before the end of 2008. Although Indonesia has not yet realised this intention, its government accepted recommendations with regards to the accession to the Rome Statute made during its Universal Periodic Review at the 13th session of the Human Rights Council.

Interestingly, some states that are not parties to the Rome Statute have taken steps to enhance their domestic legal frameworks so as to allow for national-level prosecution of international crimes. When adopting Law No. 26 of 2000 of the Human Rights Court (Law 26/2000)—at a time when the ICC was not yet established—Indonesia after the fall of Suharto’s regime demonstrated that it is willing to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of crimes, similar to those enshrined in the Rome Statute, notably for crimes against humanity and genocide. The Law empowers Indonesia’s national human rights commission, Komnas HAM, to conduct initial investigations into alleged cases of crimes against humanity and genocide and to make recommendations for prosecution to the Attorney General’s Office. The case of Komnas HAM highlights the important role national human rights institutions in the region can play in investigating breaches of international criminal law. Despite these commendable efforts, Indonesia’s Attorney General’s Office has been reluctant to follow up Komnas HAM’s findings and recommendations, often rendering the commission’s work and the implementation of its novel mandate futile. Likewise, the proceedings in the ad hoc human rights court in Jakarta dealing with crimes committed by agents of the state in the former Indonesian province of East Timor failed to provide an example for accountability—most of the accused were eventually acquitted.[3] The experiences in Indonesia, but also more recent allegations of political interference at the ECCC in Cambodia, demonstrate that states in the region are increasingly willing to prosecute international crimes, but that national-level prosecutions remain contested and often fail to live up to international standards of justice. Thus, implementing the principle of complementarity “to enhance the capacity of national jurisdictions to prosecute the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern in accordance with internationally-recognised fair trial standards,” as called for by the ICC State Parties in the 2010 Kampala Declaration, will not come about without challenges.

Nevertheless, the Indonesian government has on a number of occasions indicated that it is willing to accede to the Rome Statute. The National Action Plan on Human Rights, adopted in 2004 under President Megawati, mandated that Indonesia would ratify the Statute before the end of 2008. Although Indonesia has not yet realised this intention, its government accepted recommendations with regards to the accession to the Rome Statute made during its Universal Periodic Review at the 13th session of the Human Rights Council. Similarly, in 2011, the government of Malaysia affirmed its commitment to endorse the instrument of accession to the Statute, and the parliament has been considering implementing legislation for this purpose. Although the government cites specific challenges arising from the special standing of the Malay Royalty, the Malaysian Bar Council and Parliamentarians for Global Action have called on the government to accelerate the process of accession.

The most significant development, in 2011, was the Philippines’ accession to the Rome Statute. The Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against

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CHRISTOPH SPERFELDT At a time when the ECCC in Cambodia will soon end its operations, Morten Bergsmo argues that “the era of international institution building for war crimes accountability is over; a new era of national capacity building has begun”.

Humanity (RA 9851), enacted in December 2009, provided the basis for national implementing legislation. Furthermore, a working group on ICC implementation consisting of representatives from relevant government agencies and civil society was convened in 2012 to consider further steps on domestic legislative implementation, including on enforced disappearance, conscription of children in armed conflict and the effective protection of witnesses and victims. Importantly, a Philippine Judge is now ensuring a visible presence for Southeast Asia at the seat of the ICC in The Hague. Beyond a narrow focus on ratification, there is now also a need for more awareness-raising among key stakeholders in the region as well as more focus on building capacities for prosecuting international crimes through national jurisdictions. For this purpose, attention should be directed to two specific aspects: (i) the fact that Southeast Asia comprises both parties and non-parties to the Rome Statute with an important potential for intra-regional dialogue, and (ii) the past experiences and capacities available within the region in prosecuting international crimes. These two factors have not as yet been mobilised to enhance regional exchanges. Such intra-regional exchanges could raise awareness and correct wide-spread misunderstanding among key stakeholders about the ICC’s purpose and mandate, and deflect an often-held opinion that these are ideas and values foreign to the region. Moreover, new demands for justice may arise in the near future, such as from Myanmar, requiring neighbouring states and ASEAN as a whole to develop appropriate responses that ensure long-term peace and stability in the region.

At a time when the ECCC in Cambodia will soon end its operations, Morten Bergsmo argues that “the era of international institution building for war crimes accountability is over; a new era of national capacity building has begun”.[4] As this paradigm change slowly takes place in Southeast Asia, the time is ripe for more systematic efforts to identify, analyse and share experiences and expertise within the region in order to build and further expand domestic capacities to deal with international crimes. This in turn could provide a much stronger foundation for an emerging regional consensus on the need to hold accountable those responsible for international crimes. [1] World Bank, 2011, World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development, Washington, DC: The World Bank. [2] Kent, L, 2012, ‘Interrogating the “Gap” Between Law and Justice: East Timor’s Serious Crimes Process’, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 34, pp 1021-1044. [3] Cohen, D, 2003, Intended to Fail: The Trials Before the Ad Hoc Human Rights Court in Jakarta, International Center for Transitional Justice, Occasional Paper Series. [4] Bergsmo, M, 2011, ‘Complementarity and the Challenges of Equality and Empowerment’,FICHL Policy Brief Series, Vol. 8, p 1. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HEALTH

Pic © Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net 2013 september 2013


CANDESS M CAMPBELL

Healing Trauma

The next step in this series on self-healing and transformation is to understand and heal the pain from past trauma. Although many of us think about trauma in terms of combat situations or something tantamount to seeing a murder on the street, nearly all people have experienced some kind of trauma. You may still have symptoms, whether you remember the original incident or not. This has been evident when working with clients over the years. Whether it is compulsive behaviors such as constant cleaning or shopping, or depressive symptoms such as no longer feeling enjoyment when engaged in activities or sleeping all day; there is a traumatic event underneath. Different individuals respond differently to situations, so one person can become traumatized by a specific instance while another is not. Some common traumas are loss of a parent or family member, physical or sexual abuse, witnessing violence, a parent who is inconsistently in a child’s life, illness, physical injury, medical and dental procedures and more. It is interesting that so many traumas come from routine medical procedures. In session, when I intuitively read clients’ chakras, I often see major damage to the first chakra from birth trauma. When I ask what happened when they are born, I often get answers like “my mother died,” “my mom was depressed,” “my mother was abused by my father,” and such. This affects the person from infancy on. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

There is a high correlation between physical pain and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You may even be suffering from PTSD without knowing it. As I describe the symptoms, take some time to assess yourself and whether or not the symptoms match your own experience. The DSM-IV-TR, the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of disorders, explains that a diagnosis of PTSD is likely when a person has “experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others,” or that “the person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.”

Francine Shapiro, the author and originator of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), refers to trauma as being either big T’s (big traumas) or little t’s (little traumas). For instance, when my house nearly burned down, it was definitely a big T. A memory of losing a pet when I was a child is a little t. Whether a situation is one or the other is subjective and dependent on the experience of each person. © Candess M Campbell

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HEALTH

Pics by Mark Ulyseas

Symptoms of Trauma When you experience trauma, your nervous system compensates for being in a continual state of high-level alertness by adapting. These adaptations then become symptoms. Initially, the physical symptoms of trauma can include a hyper-aroused state in which your heartbeat increases, your muscles tense, and you have difficulty breathing. Emotional symptoms of trauma can initially include shock, denial, and disbelief. Your system is not ready to process the information, and this denial is a helpful response.

The above responses happen immediately, while other symptoms begin to show up later and may last for years. Those symptoms may include the following:

– Hypervigilance (being on guard at all times) – Anger, irritability, and mood swings – Feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame – Feeling sad, hopeless, and helpless – Confusion and difficulty concentrating – Withdrawing from others and activities – Feeling disconnected from others – Feeling numb – Intrusive images or flashbacks – Extreme sensitivity to light and sound – Hyperactivity – Exaggerated emotional and startle responses – Fatigue – Aches and pains – Muscle tension – Difficulty sleeping – Nightmares and night terrors

Let’s look more closely at some of the symptoms of trauma. You may be aware of these in yourself or others.

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CANDESS M CAMPBELL

Hypervigilance A definition of hypervigilance that I endorse can be found in the open source online encyclopedia, Wikipedia:

Hypervigilance is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats. Hypervigilance is also accompanied by a state of increased anxiety, which can cause exhaustion. Other symptoms include: abnormally increased arousal, a high responsiveness to stimuli and a constant scanning of the environment for threats. If you are hypervigilant, it may be that when you walk into a room you take in all aspects of it. You immediately assess who is there, where they are standing, whether they are familiar to you or not, and where the exits are. For the most part, you don’t even realize you are doing all of this. Some people who have experienced trauma develop a stronger sixth sense, and this becomes a form of protection. Others become numb and are in denial of what is around them.

Dissociation

Another sign of trauma you may experience is dissociation. The dissociation continuum can range from mild spaciness to dissociative identity disorder. When trauma happens and you dissociate, you may not remember the original trauma, but you will recognize symptoms that alert you to the existence of trauma in your past.

Some of the symptoms of dissociation are feelings of intense fear and helplessness, which may become chronic helplessness. You may continue to re-experience the traumatic event or have physical and emotional reactions to situations that are triggered by the original event, regardless of whether you have any conscious memory of it. You may also avoid situations—knowingly or not—that are associated with it. There may be a denial of the experience. There may be feelings of arousal or of numbing. You may experience traumatic anxiety and, in severe cases, hallucinations or paranoid ideation. Disassociation together with hypervigilance can create an inability to learn new behaviors and leave the person helpless. Rather than continuing to move into new behaviors, the person withdraws into immobility, especially when they feel aroused. There may be an adrenaline response, but the person just freezes. This happens often in relationships. The person knows the relationship is not healthy, but is unable to move out of the relationship, even if there are other opportunities. The same dynamic applies to jobs. 2013 © www.liveencounters.net


HEALTH

Pics by Mark Ulyseas

Given my counseling experience, it would be remiss of me not to explore childhood sexual abuse at this point. Again, there is a high correlation between chronic pain and trauma. In my experience, there is also a high correlation between childhood sexual abuse and pain. I see a similar correlation between childhood sexual abuse and obesity. Denial is a part of dissociation. Underneath denial may be what is referred to as psychosomatic symptoms. Psychosomatic symptoms refer to physiological and physical symptoms that are related to a mental or emotional response. When a person goes to a physician for pain, the doctor may not find any conclusive medical reason for the pain. In other words, we may express our pain through our bodies, despite the lack of any physical causation for the pain.

Traumatic anxiety is another symptom of trauma. Traumatic anxiety can include a continual sense that something is wrong. It can show itself as nervousness and worry. The person frequently experiences panic and dread and can be reactive to trivial events. These behaviors are not part of the personality, but rather are reactions to previous trauma. The focus of this series of articles and my book 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine is on self-healing and I show that our bodies naturally move into self-healing. It is also important to remember that self-healing does not mean doing everything yourself. It is important to access those with the training and appropriate modalities to help you in your own self-healing process.

As we discussed earlier, you may not be aware of how these symptoms affect you until you are triggered by a current situation in which your “buttons get pushed” or you have a strong reaction to something that does not seem to merit that kind of emotional or physiological response. Whenever you have an exaggerated response to something in the current moment, it is attached to a memory (conscious or unconscious) from the past. When you think about traumas that may be underlying your pain, you may want to finish these statements in your mind or in your journal. I prefer the journal, and I will suggest again that if you truly want to experience a deep healing, you will do well with the assistance of journaling. You may have reoccurring thoughts, images, or flashbacks to a situation. List them with regard to the following:

I have reoccurring thoughts about … I keep dreaming about …

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CANDESS M CAMPBELL

I go into a daze when I think about … I often drink to forget … I feel fear and anxiety when I remember … My heart races when I remember … I have a hard time breathing when I think about … I am so sad when I remember …

You may also find yourself trying to avoid situations that have to do with the trauma. Complete these sentence stems:

I try to avoid thinking about … I don’t talk to people who remind me of … I leave or feel numb when others bring up … Whenever I can, I avoid … I sense something happened when I was … I don’t feel much anymore, since the time that … I am not happy any longer, since the time that …

Other symptoms may arise after a traumatic incident. Complete these sentence stems as well:

Sleep is difficult for me, since the time that … I feel so angry now that … I can’t seem to concentrate since … I am so reactive to … I am startled more often now that …

All of the trauma symptoms I have listed can be treated effectively with EMDR. In my practice I have seen clients who have healed memories of war trauma, rape, torture, being held at gunpoint, sexual abuse and more. There are practitioners who can help you worldwide. LINK

You can find more information about the book 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine LINK

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Live Encounters Volume Three 2013