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ANNUAL 2012

Free Online Magazine from Village Earth

Presenting the Crème de la Crème of Live Encounters 2012

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An unforgettable wedding for your daughter in paradise!

Shaadi-Bali Specialist in arranging Indian Hindu weddings in Bali Phone: + 62 361 3097813 Email : info@shaadi-bali.org

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December 2012

Dear Readers,

The Live Encounters Annual 2012 showcases the crème de la crème of contributions from leading poets, writers, photographers, civil & human rights activists, indigenous rights activists, artists and more all wrapped up in 428 pages!

A very special Thank You to my sisters Ela and Sarita who have been of great support in helping keep this dream of Live Encounters alive and kicking. Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to all our readers and contributors. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om Mark Ulyseas Publisher/Editor

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. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


An Appeal for Donations 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

Every donor will have his/her name published (if they so desire) in following issues. Also, we will email you every issue. Kindly email us your name and the amount donated so that we can add you to our mailing list. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Mark Ulyseas Publisher/Editor Live Encounters Magazine markulyseas@liveencounters.net

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December 2012

Click on title to go to page Poets & Writers

006

Music-Theatre-Art

172

International Journalist 206 Civil & Human Rights

218

Animal Rights

302

Photographers

324

Indigenous Rights

380

Health

396

Food

406

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Poets & Writers 006

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December 2012

Click on title to go to page

Antje Missbach Arjun Bagga Barnita Bagchi Harish Nambiar Jemma Purdey John Chester Lewis Marcus Mietzner Mark Ulyseas Matthew Van Orttton Natalie Wood Peter Gonsalves Philip Casey Randhir Khare Romit Bagchi Robin Marchesi Sue Healy Terry McDongh annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Antje Missbach author of Separatist Conflict in Indonesia: The long-distance politics of the Acehnese diaspora speaks to Mark Ulyseas in an exclusive interview “This book is the outcome of the fieldwork that I conducted for more than 14 months within my PhD project. I had the privilege to travel around the globe and talk to Acehnese people living overseas in order to find out more about how they perceived the conflict back in Aceh and what they did in order to sustain the conflict or, in some cases, what they did in order to resolve the conflict.

Diasporas are often understood solely as ‘hawks’ driven by very ultra-nationalist ideas in regard to their ‘fatherlands’. It is said that living outside the war zones and not having to face daily violence makes some of them more ‘stubborn’ than the people who have no chance to leave the conflict areas.

However, during my interviews and visits in Malaysia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the USA and Australia, I was glad that I met a number of Acehnese activists who were more interested in creating peace than pushing for independence.” - Antje Missbach

Top: Pic of book - Separatist Conflict in Indonesia: The long-distance politics of the Acehnese diaspora. Right: Pic of book cover of Indonesian language version to hit the stands in Indonesia in a few months. © Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


SPECIAL FEATURE

november2012 annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


ACEHNESE DIASPORA

Could you give the readers a glimpse of your life and work? I became interested in politics in Indonesia when I started my undergraduate studies in Berlin. Back then, Indonesia was experiencing great political turmoil. Suharto, the authoritarian president, stepped down in May 1998 and left the floor open for a number of reformers. Despite some substantial reforms that sought to prevent the break-up of the country, which was what many observers feared could happen, separatist conflicts kept flaring up in some of the outer provinces, first and foremost Aceh, Timor and Papua. As I was volunteering for an NGO in Jakarta for a couple of months and later also started working for a NGO in Berlin called Watch Indonesia, I got in touch with some students from Aceh. The more I learnt from them about what was going on in their homeland, the more I became interested in finding out more about the history of the conflict. Hasan Tiro of the separatist struggle had left Aceh back in the 1980s and lived in Sweden.

Despite the distance, he and a number of close supporters were very influential in keeping up the guerrilla war against the Indonesian security forces. The main objective of their struggle was to create an independent state. I visited the so-called GAM government in exile just weeks before Aceh was hit by the devastating tsunami in 2004. Fascinated by the dynamics of their long-distance politics, but at the same time not very sympathetic towards the armed struggle, I decided to continue studying the Acehnese overseas to learn more not only about the leaders of the independence movement, but also about their supporters on the ground.

So in a way, this book is the outcome of the fieldwork that I conducted for more than 14 months within my PhD project. I had the privilege to travel around the globe and talk to Acehnese people living overseas in order to find out more about how they perceived the conflict back in Aceh and what they did in order to sustain the conflict or, in some cases, what they did in order to resolve the conflict. Diasporas are often understood solely as ‘hawks’ driven by very ultra-nationalist ideas in regard to their ‘fatherlands’. It is said that living outside the war zones and not having to face daily violence makes some of them more ‘stubborn’ than the people who have no chance to leave the conflict areas. However, during my interviews and visits in Malaysia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the USA and Australia, I was glad that I met a number of Acehnese activists who were more interested in creating peace than pushing for independence. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ANTJE MISSBACH

First visit to the GAM government in Stockholm, December 2004.

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ACEHNESE DIASPORA

Visiting Acehnese families in Denmark

Why did you choose this subject for a book and what did you hope to achieve by publishing the same? Is it purely academic in nature or a definitive handbook for understanding the Acehnese struggle for independence? The book focuses of course on the Acehnese struggle for independence, but it is less a history of the struggle as such. My main interest was the Acehnese diaspora and the questions that I put forward were related to the making of the Acehnese diaspora. After all, Acehnese have been living outside of Aceh for many years, decades even. Malaysia in particular has always hosted large numbers, not only because it offered better economic opportunities than Indonesia, but especially during times of crisis, Malaysia served the Acehnese as safe retreat. However, despite the presence of Acehnese there, the ties among them were rather loose and merely based on kinship and work, such as trading associations. The Acehnese only became mobilised as a political community once the conflict back home intensified. More people left Aceh in order to escape the hardship and find employment. As Malaysia was not safe enough for some of them, Acehnese refugees moved on to other countries. Once their numbers were bigger, they set up community structures in countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, the USA and Australia . Many of their overseas activities were driven in fact by homeland politics: they collected funds, staged demonstrations, contacted local politicians and tried to raise awareness in their host countries for what was going on back home. What I found particularly interesting was how such a relative small number of people could actually turn out to be so influential.

Kindly share with us a detailed overview of your book.

So, as I said earlier, the book offers insights about the making of the Acehnese diaspora. Since its evolution was very much tied to the conflict development, after the end of the conflict in 2005 we started to see an un-making of the Acehnese diaspora and its long-distance politics. Of course, the Acehnese diaspora did not disappear overnight even though many people decided to return to their homeland. But we could definitely see how certain diaspora structures started falling apart. Also, people in the diaspora had to find new political positions. During the times of conflict, it was pretty black-and-white, the Indonesian government was seen as the ‘bad guy’, the GAM-guerrillas were the good ones. Post-conflict politics in Aceh became a lot more complex and for the diaspora it was not always easy to connect to these new politics. Whereas the diaspora support was very much appreciated by their fellow country people back home at times of crisis, after the end of the conflict Acehnese in Aceh wanted to take matters more into their own hands. The GAM-leaders who returned to Aceh in order to take up important positions in the local government failed during the 2006-elections and had to give way to a younger generation, which was in a way less ‘estranged’ from the people in situ.

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ANTJE MISSBACH

Meeting the indepence leader Hasan Tiro in Stockholm in 2008

Nevertheless, their influence never faded completely and the former GAM-leaders from Sweden remained important figures in the background and in fact, they managed to secure more positions in the 2011 local elections.

In your opinion has the struggle for independence from Indonesia ended? Or, does the prevailing peace remain fragile and subject to the influence of the Acehnese diaspora?

All those diasporans who returned to Aceh did so because they accepted the outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Indonesian government. They were more interested in rebuilding the province and moving on with their lives than starting another round of violence. Those people who had stayed in Aceh during the entire conflict had grown tired of the conflict already, they were exhausted. However, as I mentioned earlier, not everybody from the diaspora returned. Even though many keep dreaming about their return to Aceh, they prefer to stay on overseas. Sometimes this is because of life choices, they think that their children will get a better education in Europe or the USA, sometimes this is because they have lost their entire families in the conflict or during the tsunami. This said, there are of course also a number of people who refrain from returning as they are still committed to Aceh’s independence. For them it just does not make sense to return as they have dedicated their entire lives to the struggle of independence. In a way, it might also be too dangerous for them to go back to Aceh. In the first years after the end of the conflict, we have seen a number of initiatives that campaigned especially on the internet to continue the Acehnese struggle ‘with other means’. Basically, these groups tried to raise the attention at the international level in order to find support for their political claims. However, their appeals were not heard. Nobody was interested in supporting another new state. The European governments, Australia and the USA all supported Indonesia’s territorial integrity. The attention for the Acehnese struggle faded quickly after the tsunami, even though millions in aid money kept pouring into the province to help with reconstructions. The Aceh peace process was celebrated as a great success and it was hoped that it could become a model for similar conflicts in Southeast Asia. So, in a nutshell, although some people in the Acehnese diaspora still hope that Aceh will become independent one day, at the moment they are not playing any significant political role. However, this is not to say and that there is no chance for this to change again. Diaspora politics are of very much in flux, it is a waxing and waning of engagement. If for example, developments in Aceh take a bad turn, most likely we will see that Acehnese overseas might be consulted more often or start to become more influential again. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


ACEHNESE DIASPORA

Community meeting in Acehnese shortly after the MoU was signed

It is believed that there is growing resentment within the Acehnese political hierarchy, which some call the beginnings of a ‘revolution in the revolution’ – the alienation of those Acehnese who had helped bring about the ‘peace’ by many among them who have ‘profited’ from the peace. Is this true and if so, to what extent do you see changes occurring with the help of the Acehnese diaspora? I would probably not go as far as calling it a ‘revolution in the revolution’. Of course, there are a number of former guerrillas who are not very happy with the current political outcomes. Whereas their former commanders might have taken up a position as a local district head or become big businessmen, some of them did not gain much from the peace. They were not rewarded with jobs or ranks; often this is because they lacked the required qualifications. Somebody who has spent years in the jungle to fight the Indonesian army might just not have the credentials to run a profitable business or steer an administration. Therefore the reintegration of the former GAM guerrillas remains a challenging task to the local government in Aceh. If more former combatants remain unemployed and feel sidelined over an extended period of time, the bigger the potential that these people might group together and launch a new series of violence. Despite the fact that GAM was disarmed at the end of the war, it is an open secret that there are still many fire arms available in Aceh. There are people in the Acehnese diaspora who are counting on more political unrests in the future. Unhappy with the fact, that Aceh is still part of Indonesia, they hope to revive the struggle for independence. However, from what I can see, the number of diasporans who favour a revival of conflict is very small and so far they do not play any significant role in Aceh.

How can the Acehnese Diaspora prevent the situation from spiralling out of control? Please comment. Excerpt from The Christian Science Monitor - Part of the problem comes from GAM’s former military wing, which was transformed into a transitional body popularly known as the KPA and tasked with seeing that ex-combatants got jobs. A recent report by the International Crisis Group, which keeps a close eye on developments in Aceh, says that in some places the KPA has become, “a thuggish, Mafia-like organization..Senior KPA members have not just received jobs; they have become powerful political brokers and businessmen demanding and usually receiving a cut on major public projects,” the Crisis Group report says....“Before we were together as rebels, and now they’ve forgotten about us,” he says, casting his eyes down at the table before continuing. “Some ex-combatants, including me, feel it would be better to have war again so everyone would be equal.” - Sara Schonhardt, Correspondent / May 3, 2012. LINK © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ANTJE MISSBACH

Yes, these voices of dissatisfaction cannot be ignored in contemporary Aceh. However, it would be wrong to say that the peace process is on the brink. Making sure that the peace remains solid is probably first and foremost a task for the people in Aceh, the local government, politicians and community leaders. Nevertheless, parts of the remaining Acehnese diaspora are trying to help,by for example creating income-generating schemes. One group that comes to mind is from Denmark and they have been funding a number of agricultural initiatives in the Acehnese district of Bireuen, basically in order to help people to help themselves. Such grass-root initiatives are often very much appreciated, much more than the political propaganda from Acehnese activists overseas, which now more than ever are seen to have lost touch with the every-day realities in Aceh.

Will you be writing a follow up book?

No, I have moved on to other, similarly interesting topics. However, there will be a number of books by other authors about politics in Aceh. Aceh did attract a great number of researchers after the end of the conflict. Many students flocked there to study the post-conflict transformations. Funding for research projects was widely available, as many funding organisations deemed it important to produce detailed studies about the conflict-to-peace-transformation, the reintegration of former combatants into society, the economic and political roles of former GAM-commanders and many more. However, I am currently working on a translation of the book into Indonesian because I think it is very important that the people who have helped me to write this book can access what I have written about them. Even though they might not always agree with my interpretations, I think it is only fair to allow them to criticise me. This will hopefully continue to produce fruitful discussions, both in Aceh and overseas.

Maulid celebration in Sydney 2006. ŠMark Ulyseas

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


POETRY

© Arjun Bagga © www.liveencounters.net august annual 2012


ARJUN BAGGA

You are in safe hands Einstein's lesser known work But a masterpiece A handbook ‘How to become a legend’ In this book he researched Thinkers, scientists and philosophers, Listed a pattern to their behaviors

Highlights are as follows : You have to be an idler, A COMPULSIVE ONE. You have successfully reached the high points Of excessive indulgence and self pity "No one loves me, no one understands me" Perfect. One day you wake up in a gutter Hung over Shaken up by a pig Pushing hard to hump And you ask why? TICK TICK TICK.... Damn, it's a digital world now Loading.......................................... A strange curiosity takes over And you decide to resolve it Though by now it’s obvious You’ve got nothing to lose - A keynote to sure success. You run on the streets, naked “Eureka...Eureka”

What do you expect now? You’ll be beaten to pulp Of course Thrown back in the same gutter Where it all began Pigs don't fuck the dead ones They not that desperate Don't be disheartened You are only dead, better off

There sure is hope. A few decades later You begin from the beginning born again Unaware that a son of another mother Has reclaimed your finding Twisted a few squares and triangles Here and there And along with a bunch of jerks Created a mass following Yes, a strong contender To become the noble man

And you Ignorant of the greatest revelation Will indulge in cheap Chinese toxic toys Sleep off, careless... But pray, you never encounter A paedophile pig Rocking your cradle

© Arjun Bagga

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


BARNITA BAGCHI

© Barnita Bagchi

© www.liveencounters.net august annual 2012


INTERVIEW

Barnita Bagchi

teacher, researcher, translator and editor of

THE POLITICS OF THE (IM)POSSIBLE Utopia and Dystopia Reconsidered

(Published by Sage Publications) in an exclusive interview with Mark Ulyseas

“What a wonderful title your ejournal has! Encounters across cultures, places, nations, countries are precious, and part of the challenge is, I find, to communicate richly, giving enough space to listening as well as speaking.

Readers encountering another’s imaginative world through books or the Internet, a musical performance experienced live or recorded, or people encountering each other and agreeing then to build up something (solidarity, a creative event, a fledgling association or institution)… it is worth one’s while to not remain locked in a closed world, and open up to potentially risky, potentially hugely enriching encounters.

And yes, sadly, as the work of Edward Said and so many other radical critics showed through their reading of history and texts, in overtly unequal exchanges such as those between slave and master in the USA or UK, or colonizing masters and the most marginal of the colonized (think of the story of indigenous peoples in Australia or Canada), or societies divided hierarchically in near-absolute terms by caste or race or class, it IS possible to encounter another, yet not to give her/ him respect, not to listen to her/ him. Are we listening to those we encounter? Are we creating genuine dialogues?“ - Barnita Bagchi

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Please give us a glimpse of your life and work. I am a teacher, researcher, translator, and writer. I hail from south Kolkata, am Indian, currently live and work in Utrecht in the Netherlands, spent six years of my life as a student at Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, lived and worked in Mumbai and Kolkata as an academic for seven years, have spent much time in France and Germany, have roamed in rural districts such as Murshidabad and Nandurbar on field-work, and am fluent in Bangla, English, French, Dutch, and Hindi, with some knowledge of Sanskrit and German. Clearly, then, I am both cosmopolitan and nomadic, with a strong root and base in Bengal and India.

I grew up in a wonderful milieu in Kolkata, with inspirational parents and a sister who are all academics, and who are all socially committed. Predictably, I was a bookworm, and ranged voraciously all over the world in my reading from when I was nine or so—Latin America, Britain, France, and different parts of India were particularly important sources of favourite authors. I did all my formal training, from BA to Ph.D., in English Literature, yet at various points have been seen and introduced as a historian, a feminist academic, a sociologist, and a literary critic. From when I was an undergraduate at Jadavpur University, I began translating literature (Bengali and French, notably) and presenting academic work on international literature. I had tremendously inspiring teachers in India, who fuelled me when I went to Oxford and got a 2nd B.A. as a Senior Student in 2 years. Of the three places where I studied, Kolkata remains a home always, and I have cherished memories of Cambridge, from where I still have some of my closest friends. My Ph.D., undertaken when I was based at Trinity College, Cambridge, brought forth what has remained a powerful and central interest of mine: how women shape and write stories or narratives about the education and development of selves, both their own, and those of others: the relationship between narrative, identity-formation, and education (both formal and informal, including lifelong learning) is an element that I try to highlight in my work.

I have written, edited, part-translated, and co-edited four books: their titles may say something about my range of interests, and I like to believe that there is rigour as well as range there : Pliable Pupils and Sufficient Self-Directors: Narratives of Female Education by Five British Women Writers, 1778-1814 (2004), Webs of History: Information, Communication, and Technology from Early to Post-Colonial India (Co-ed., with Amiya Kumar Bagchi and Dipankar Sinha, 2005), Sultana’s Dream and Padmarag: Two Feminist Utopias, by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, part-translated and introduced by Barnita Bagchi ISBN 0-14-400003-2(2005), and The Politics of the (Im)possible: Utopia and Dystopia Reconsidered. (2012). I have published numerous articles (in English, French, and, alas, far too seldom, in Bangla), and a

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BARNITA BAGCHI

central theme there is how much some South Asian/ Indian women (and men, though my focus has been more on women) were able to actually do to further the welfare of their own lives, and the lives of the marginalised, while crafting powerful creative narratives, essays, and fables in that process.

The remarkable figures of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain from Bengal (creative writer, educator, social activist, feminist) and Ramabai Saraswati/ Medhavi/ Dongre from Maharashtra (educator, polemicist, feminist, reformer) in the period of British colonialism have been important in my understanding of such human and such female agency. I have argued that such women manifested the capacity to build up gendered social capital: pooling the skills of many in associations and institutions they founded and built up through their leadership, they contested deprivations, and made the world a less inequitable and imaginatively richer place. I have particular interest in my research and teaching in the fiction of Jane Austen, the mindblowingly all-encompassing creativity of Rabindranath Tagore, in the agile, colourful imaginative power of children’s literature (Sukumar Ray and Lila Majumdar in Bengal, the worlds of Winniethe-Pooh, Judy in Daddy-Long-Legs, and Harry Potter, and many others), in fiction, frequently by women, which is termed ‘popular’, in writing that delineates possible worlds (utopia and dystopia). What drives me and keeps me moving is the ‘worlding’ capacity of human beings through storytelling: the myriad ways in which they use their curiosity and imagination to construct worlds for themselves and others which are much more than their bare, matter-of-fact immediate surrounding and environment. I notice that there are very particular places which charge my batteries even in recollection: our v-shaped porch in our little family retreat in Shantiniketan, from where one can watch monsoon rains pouring through the tall, graceful, spreading trees in the roomy garden, or the Rijn river near my home in Utrecht with its grassy banks and equally graceful, delightful trees, or my favourite spot in a favourite meadow in Cambridge to sit, spread one’s books, and read. I notice that the older I grow, greenery and water seem to grow more affectively precious. Being a cosmopolite is not easy, and I believe that each of us who believes in non-parochial, border-crossing, internationally open, inclusive ways of inhabiting the world has the responsibility to stand up articulately for our precious worlds and shared internationalism.

Everywhere in the world, narrowness, fundamentalisms, economic policies pushing for the profit of big corporations to the detriment of ordinary people are just some of the forces threatening such cosmopolitanism. Although by nature increasingly drawn to tranquillity, I would consider myself a fierce champion of inclusive, cosmopolitan values and ways of living. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

THE POLITICS OF THE (IM)POSSIBLE Utopia and Dystopia Reconsidered edited by you delves, among other issues, into the relationship between utopia/dystopia and time/memory. Can you please extensively elaborate on this book? This volume, (published by SAGE, New Delhi, London, Thousand Oaks, in 2012, ISBN 9788132107347) brings together articles on utopia and dystopia, in a breadth of disciplines: history, literature, gender studies, political science, sociology, anthropology, and Native American Studies, with contributors from India, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States. Utopia is a resonance, a mode, a perspective. When Sir Thomas More published Utopia in 1516, he coined a word that has become one of the most resonant and connotative concepts in the history of ideas. Utopia, with its Greek pun on a ‘good place’ (eu-topos) and ‘no place’ (ou-topos), offers simultaneously a locus of possibilities for human development, as well as a sense that this conceptualization, being speculative, idealized, or fictive, might be impossible to actualize in reality.

The utopian and dystopian mode is a site of paradoxes. Such paradoxes are never to be divorced from material conditions of life, whether historical, economic, political, or the literary context. Such awareness of paradoxes, contradictions, and heterogeneities pervades and lights up this volume. Utopia and dystopia, it cannot be over-emphasized, are modes and resonances present in all parts of the world, not just Europe and white North America.

Equally, utopian and dystopian thought and practice is and has always been gendered. Utopia and memory and temporality intersect in often strange and surprising ways. These three dimensions-the relationship between utopia/ dystopia and time and memory, the focus on Europe and areas outside Europe at the same time, and the gendered analysis of utopia/ dystopia-- are also central to the enterprise undertaken in this volume. These dimensions are not discrete or sutured, they mutually interweave and inflect each other. The book begins with a conceptualizing introduction by the Editor.

We then sub-divide the volume into three sections. While the first section has articles on the history, political theory, and cultural politics of utopia-dystopia, the second section is on gender politics and utopia-dystopia. The third section consists of one long article (by Caloz-Tschopp) acting as a finale to the volume. Thus, there are 12 chapters, including the Introduction.

Miguel Abensour critically discusses whether the transition from spatial projections to temporal projections, from imaginary journeys into space to imaginary journeys into time, is one of the distinctive signs of utopian modernity.

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contd...


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IBNOTBEBRYVCI H EW INN

Peter Kulchyski analyses Fredric Jameson’s important reflections on utopian thought, particularly his recent Archaeologies of the Future, in the light of the grounded utopian politics of indigenous hunting-gathering communities in Canada.

Rachel Foxley considers the nature of early modern, seventeenth-century English radicalism, using the concept of utopianism to interrogate the ways in which it was possible to frame demands for fundamental change within early modern English society. Subhoranjan Dasgupta explores the partition-torn mid-twentieth-century history of South Asia, through an analysis of the Bangladeshi writer Akhtaruzzaman Elias’s classic novel Khowabnama (Dream-Elegy) and its sharp anatomy of the contradiction and conflict between dystopic illusion propagated by the Muslim League and utopian praxis spearheaded by the peasant movement of Tebhaga.

Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun considers the simultaneously utopic and dystopic nature of the tragic Israel-Palestine impasse, and considers the utopic and revolutionary nature of the possibility of a one-state solution to the crisis.

Theresa Moriarty analyses the feminist utopian thought, the European connections, and the influences within the British political movement, of Anna Wheeler, early nineteenth-century Irish feminist and Owenite activist, who had networks and correspondence with prominent utopian movements, including the Saint-Simonians of France. Samita Sen discusses the vision of a dystopia described in a 19th century Bengali (vernacular) popular tract named Meye Parliament ba Dwitya Bhag Bharat Uddhar (Women parliament or Second Part of Rescue of India). Martine Spensky analyses early twentieth-century British plans, disseminated through periodical literature, for emigration of white women to colonies such as Australia and Canada. Barnita Bagchi analyses narratives of gendered utopia and dystopia in the essays, polemical writing, and fiction of the South Asian Bengali Muslim feminist Rokeya Hossain.

Modhumita Roy, contextualizing Bessie Head’s work in South African apartheid literature, analyses her novel When Rain Clouds Gather, in which a village in Botswana, Golema Mmidi (based on such a village to which Head herself had fled) is configured as a sceptically utopic “new world”.

Marie Claire Caloz-Tschopp considers, in the light of her work on global citizenship, migration, and the crisis in public services, whether there is a new utopic political theory (drawing strength from philosophers such as Hannah Arendt) that allows us to find a position from which to resist the dystopic nature of our late capitalist, unequally globalizing world.

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BARNITA BAGCHI

What are you working on now? Too many things! Colonial modernity in India and its relationship to narratives about education (Tagore, Rokeya, Sarojini Naidu…), transnational exchanges in history of education, South Asian utopian and dystopian narratives, humour and children’s literature, the relationship between the cosmopolitan and the colonial and post-colonial: these are the principal themes. I also enjoy reviewing books, spend much time preparing for teaching, referee colleagues’ articles, and do some academic administration, so one’s plate is full. From September to April, I teach and supervise intensively and extensively across BA and MA programmes in multiple subjects (English, Comparative Literature, History…), so summer is also the time to prepare for that. Over the next two months, I shall be presenting my work in Lisbon (Portugal), Kolkata (India), and in Melbourne (Australia): so the summer will be rich and global, itself coloured by transnational exchanges and cosmopolitan encounters. Kolkata remains one of the most cosmopolitan intellectual cities in the world, incidentally. And students all over the world (certainly in India, the Netherlands, and the UK, where I have taught) remain wonderfully curious and open. All my work, and those of academic colleagues, however, is undertaken in our current financially strained times for universities globally (leading to overload of teaching, fund crunches in research budgets, too little time for independent, rigorous research…), and especially, and unfortunately for the Humanities, that rich and powerful site for production and transmission of knowledge about culture, education, selfhood, and so much more that is indispensable to human civilization.

What is your message for the readers of Live Encounters?

What a wonderful title your ejournal has! Encounters across cultures, places, nations, countries are precious, and part of the challenge is, I find, to communicate richly, giving enough space to listening as well as speaking. Readers encountering another’s imaginative world through books or the Internet, a musical performance experienced live or recorded, or people encountering each other and agreeing then to build up something (solidarity, a creative event, a fledgling association or institution)… it is worth one’s while to not remain locked in a closed world, and open up to potentially risky, potentially hugely enriching encounters.

And yes, sadly, as the work of Edward Said and so many other radical critics showed through their reading of history and texts, in overtly unequal exchanges such as those between slave and master in the USA or UK, or colonizing masters and the most marginal of the colonized (think of the story of indigenous peoples in Australia or Canada), or societies divided hierarchically in near-absolute terms by caste or race or class, it IS possible to encounter another, yet not to give her/ him respect, not to listen to her/ him. Are we listening to those we encounter? Are we creating genuine dialogues? © Mark Ulyseas

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HARISH NAMBIAR

Hot off the Press An excerpt from Chapter 17, A Drunken RSS Man in Jassema, from Defragmenting India, Riding a Bullet through the Gathering Storm by Harish Nambiar

reprinted in Live Encounters Magazine by special permission of the author and SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd.

This was typical Rohan. He was a great source of street language for me. His earthiness and the taste of cordite in his language when he was excited, while narrating his subaltern experiences, always opened up new fronts in my heading-to-genteel-but-do-not-wan-to-give-up-subaltern consciousness.. I am acutely aware of a lack of familiarity, an easy familiarity in any case, with that kind of directness and grit of street language. Even when I knew the words, it was a passive vocabulary. I was never confident about it. Because where I grew up, the language was different. South Gujarat’s pidgin Hindi, or the biting sourness of its many Gujarati swear words, I knew. It, however, did not constitute a subaltern language on its own right, unlike Bombay’s street language which is more layered, complex, rich and with polyglot influences that give it greater tonal range. Besides, the regular usage in real time, in real situations rarely happened with me.

Rohan’s colourful narrations often brought to mind Ben Johnson’s quote about how normal language cannot ever match the directness of street language, ‘nothing brings out the futility of argument so directly as the street word jawing.’ “Hai beedu log…kaisa hai? Fucking biking trip and all haaN” Tony interjected as he invaded the table from behind me. Hugs and handshakes over, he sat down apologising for being late etc. Jassema was getting noisy by the hour. Not a boisterous noise, but conversational noise steadily thickening, punctuated occasionally by a raised voice, slowly rising like a palpable mist right in the centre of Jassema. I introduced Rohan to Tony.

“He is also a Chembur ka Chokra,” I said.

“Arrey kya baat hai, kidhar?” Rohan asked Tony. “Apun Chheda Nagar ka hai.”

“I am from Maitri Park, yaar.”

Tony then said that a common friend, Jagdish, had gone off to Sawantwadi on a sales trip. He had called, and Tony told him I was in town. Jagdish said he would try to reach as soon as possible. Sawantwadi was the southern-most district of Maharashtra, edging Goa, and Jagdish was a sales representative for Godrej, an FMCG major. © Harish Nambiar

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A DRUNKEN RSS MAN IN JASSEMA

“Loretta will be coming too.” Loretta was Tony’s wife, and the better of half of a demon dancer couple.

While we chatted about this and that, Rohan said he would go off to check the internet. Besides, he wanted to call up home. It was at that moment that a man called out to Tony from across the bar. Tony turned, went up to him, and they chatted there for some time. After a few minutes, Tony’s friend, Nagaraj, joined us at our table. He had been beering for sometime, and it showed. “Hello, I am Nagaraj.” “I am Harish.”

As we started talking, Nagaraj decided to check some of his interests against mine. He asked me if I knew of somebody. I said no, I did not. “Arrey, how can you not know? You have not heard of him. He is Bangalore’s top underworld don.” “Oh,” I said.

“Tony told me you are a crime reporter. You should know about him, no?”

I told Nagaraj that I had given up crime reporting long back. And was currently on a bike tour and this was the last leg. We were headed for Bombay. Tony winked at me, sitting next to Nagaraj across the table, perhaps enjoying my embarrassment, and my attempt to switch the topic. “Oh, accha.”

The TV was on at Jassema. The chatter was rising. The quaint bar’s bric-a-brac lined on its walls, huge shells, old bottles of old liquor or vintage wine, all seemed to be placed there to ensure that the warmth stayed inside the bar. Nagaraj abruptly turned the topic. “What is happening in Gujarat is really sad. Inhuman.” “Yes. I have not been following the news, though.”

“But you know, it is all the fault of the leadership. The Muslims never had a good leader.” Nagaraj was serious, I realised.

“Why do you say that?” I was not in the mood to do much talking. Besides, Nagaraj seemed to be just looking for something to argue about.

“Look, is it not true that they have remained uneducated for so many years now. They want to continue to live in the dark ages. They do not want to adopt population control. Why? Because their religion does not allow it. They want to marry more than one woman. Why? Because their religion allows it. They want to have separate laws for their people, why? Because their religion says so.”

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HARISH NAMBIAR

Tony’s cell phone rang, he excused himself, and got up. Jassema by now was not amenable to soft telephone conversations.

“You seem to be talking like the RSS,” I said, mostly to wiggle out of the conversation, and yet not seem unwilling to talk. “No. No. But what do you have against the RSS? I love the RSS. Have you been with the RSS?”

“No,” I said. I was getting a distinct feeling that the conversation might get out of hand. I tried to douse the chat with monosyllables. “No No. I have been with the RSS. In Belgaum. I was good yaar. I was leader material.”

“Accha,” I said. It would have been better if we talked about his life and achievements than RSS. “They build character. They teach you to be proud of our culture. They do a lot of social work.”

“Yes, I know about their social work. In fact in Kandla, when it was hit by a cyclone, I saw many RSS volunteers who moved around helping people. They also carried kerosene and burnt the rotting bodies they found. They did good work there.” I realised I was fighting in our conversation like somebody trying to get rid of a gum that is stuck to the seat of one’s pants. Nagaraj went quiet. I was relieved. Tony came back, and said that Jagdish would not make it. He would have to check into a hotel in Kudal, a small town mid-way between Sawantwadi and Goa. He must have hurried, realized he would still not make it in time anyways, and decided to check into a hotel there for the night. But he told Tony to see if he could persuade us, Rohan and me, to reach Kudal. Whatever the time, so we can meet. “Why don’t you go to Kudal. It will be easier to reach Bombay from there. It is only 100 kilometres from here, besides it will be a peaceful ride in the night. The way is safe. He wants to meet you,” Tony said. “Why not order something for me here first. Our man Rohan should be coming. I will check with him. After all he has to do the riding, and we have had a tiring day.”

Tony ordered a chicken kafrial for us. Special orders to Thomas got us the best that was made that day in Goa. Rohan joined us just then. “You are a secularist,” Nagaraj interjected all of a sudden. He probably felt left out of the commotion at the table, and was still trying to hold on to our rather skewed discussion. “No I am a journalist.” I told him.

“Yes, yes, that is the same, na?” My subtle attempt at setting the record straight was met with unusual fury. Nagaraj smacked it straight back into my face. Tony heard that, and started laughing. Nagaraj briefly jolted into alertness, and then slipped back into a pensive mood. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


A DRUNKEN RSS MAN IN JASSEMA

“But this is serious,” he said, “We have to solve this problem.” “Which one?” I asked.

“This Hindu Muslim one.”

I was getting exasperated with the scattershot talk. We were not making much headway. There was no cogency; Jassema was not very conducive to a serious discussion on the merits of the RSS or the Hindu Muslim problem on a Friday night. But, Nagaraj did not see it that way. The beer must have been good.

In the meantime, Rohan and I decided we would move on to Kudal. It was better that way, because then we could reach Bombay the next night. Otherwise, we would have to spend another night away from home.

“One more beer?” I asked Rohan. He refused. He had to ride, and did not want to drink anymore. And we would have to leave soon. It was already 11.00 in the night. Having decided to ride into the night, I snapped back into alertness. Or so I thought. I thought I should reward Nagaraj with a decent closure, since he too sensed that we were planning to leave. “So what are you in the RSS?”

“Nothing. I left. They prefer brahmins, so I left. I could not move up the hierarchy.”

We ordered dinner, and moved out into the road where our motorcycle was parked. While dinner was being readied, Rohan and I packed our bags back on to the carrier of our Bullet. Nagaraj slipped back into a pensive mood. He had a faraway, glazed look as he stared into his beer mug. We had dinner, and the conversation was now mostly between Tony, Rohan and me. Tony was a Syrian Christian from Kerala married to a Goan Catholic. They were neighbours in Bombay, Loretta and Tony. After some years in Bombay with the Times of India’s response department, he had chosen to move to Goa and handle the paper’s marketing in the state. The Times did not have an edition in Goa, but there was a tag-along Goa supplement in the Bangalore edition of the paper that was distributed in Goa. Tony had had several years in Goa’s easygoing life. And was beginning to feel that he might lose the professional edge if he remained pickled in the salubrious state’s famed susegad, the Portuguese word that was often used to convey the state’s all pervasive take-it-easy policy. The locals often hated it, the tourists loved it. It was much like the exotica of a country peddled only among the outsiders. Goans always fought the use of the word to describe their state by others. They were only sensitive to all its negative connotations; laziness, lack of work ethics, general stupor. Those who use it, mean it in its more positive form: easy going, relaxed, and unhurried. “So how is your sister?” I enquired. Tony’s sister was a teacher. She had married a Bangladeshi Muslim and had moved to Dacca.

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HARISH NAMBIAR

“She is fine. Making money. Teaching is very lucrative there in Bangladesh, yaar.”

Some more chitchat, and it was time to say goodbye. Nagaraj had slunk away from the conversation like an unfairly defeated argument. I felt I should not let him feel that I was not attentive to his ideas. So after the goodbyes were over, I asked Nagaraj what was the solution to the HinduMuslim problem. “Should we pack them off to Pakistan?” I was hoping it was a funny question and Nagaraj would get to score the clincher before we parted. “If my brother is mad, I do not throw him out of my house. Do I?”

He looked at me defiantly. The booze, whatever other feelings he was slowly churning in his head, the various ideas that were randomly laid out on the table by him, all coalesced into a look of deep pain. His eyes were speckled in fierce glints of pain and alarm. It was as if he was actually living with the situation of his metaphor of the family and the deranged brother.

The drunken RSS man suddenly jerked me back. All of a sudden I felt sympathy, even empathy for him. He was certainly not a man to be judged that night. He spoke randomly, made some reductionist ideological points from the RSS perspective, but so randomly, jerkily and above all disconnectedly, that I did not take him seriously. He was also not somebody who was much of an ideologue. But that parting shot from him made me look at him in a light different from what he had seemed inside Jassema that night. It was when he used the family simile for the HinduMuslim situation that he seemed to have come into his own. We finally wheeled into a hotel in Kudal. We could not locate the hotel where Jagdish had checked in, and Rohan just rolled into the first hotel with an open gate he saw. We were dead on arrival, the night out in Goa had ensured that. Another tough ride was ahead of us; we were still about 400 kilometres away from home, though we had exceeded our target 350 kilometre ride from Mangalore by a clean 100 kilometres. This ensured an unhurried last lap.

DEFRAGMENTING INDIA Riding a Bullet through the Gathering Storm HARISH NAMBIAR Journalist, Reuters, Mumbai, India 2012 / 260 pages / Paperback: Rs 350 (9788132106562) SAGE Publications

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INTERVIEW

Jemma Purdey with Nik Feith Tan (Herb's grandson) at the launch of the biograph Š www.liveencounters.net october annual 2012 2012


Jemma Purdey

Author of From Vienna to Yogyakarta: The Life of Herb Feith

speaks to Mark Ulyseas

hy in Jakarta, October 2011 october2012 annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Herb Feith c2000 (source: Australian Volunteers International)

Š www.liveencounters.net october annual 2012 2012


JEMMA PURDEY

Could you tell us about your life and work? I am an Adjunct Fellow in the School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University.

I come from Kyabram, a small town in northern Victoria. As a teenager I developed a keen concern for social justice and was particularly involved in Amnesty International’s campaigns to free political prisoners around the world. Like most young Australians my age I was also impatient to explore the world through study and travel.

After my secondary education I moved to Melbourne University where I undertook an Arts degree with a major in politics and Indonesian language. This was the early 1990s and my interest in human rights had led to further concern for the plight of East Timor and Indonesia’s repressive political system at that time. During my undergraduate years I travelled to Indonesia several times. I wrote my honours degree on challenges to the new Order’s tightly controlled system of political parties and ‘festival of democracy’ in, what was to turn out to be, the last years and months of the Suharto regime. History intervened to guide the direction of my research as the Suharto government’s hold on power began to slip with the Asian economic crisis and eventually saw him fall in May 1998. Under the guidance of my teacher Charles Coppel, I conceived a topic for my PhD dissertation around the increased levels of anti-Chinese violence and sentiment in Indonesia at this time, not knowing then that Suharto would finally resign following mass rioting in several cities, largely targeting ethnic Chinese Indonesians. My thesis was later published as Anti-Chinese violence in Indonesia, 1996-1999, NUS Publishing, Singapore, 2006. Following my PhD I spent time living in France and the Netherlands, where I was a fellow at IIAS Leiden. I also lived for an extended period in Mumbai, where I worked as a volunteer teacher at a school for slum children and as a researcher for a women’s library and resource centre. In India I wrote several articles for local and international online publications related to film, society and politics.

I began the Herb Feith biography project in early 2005. It was published in mid-2011 and launched in Canberra at Parliament House, at Monash University in Melbourne, in Dili, East Timor and in Jakarta at a reception hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia. I live in Melbourne with my husband and three children, Ernest, 6 years, Roxanne, 3 years and Gabriel, 12 months.

Why are you a writer?

I am a writer by virtue of my deep interest in research and exploring the lives of others through my disciplines in the humanities and social sciences – history and politics with a special focus on Indonesia, human rights and minority rights and empowerment. ©Jemma Purdey

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INTERVIEW

Why did you write from Vienna to Yogyakarta: The Life of Herb Feith? Kindly share with us a detailed overview of your book. Herb Feith was a pioneer of Indonesian studies in Australia and particularly at Monash University where he taught for 25 years, beginning in the mid-1960s. In late 2004, the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies at Monash (co-founded by Feith) called for applicants to write his biography. It was an honour and a privilege for me to be selected to write Herb Feith’s biography. My background in Indonesian studies and long held interest in social justice and human rights were deemed a good fit for the task at hand. I had personally met Feith on only a few occasions, but as for any student of Indonesian politics, his work on the parliamentary democracy period was a seminal account. Moreover, my supervisor at Melbourne University, Associate Professor Charles Coppel had himself been a student of Feith’s, so I liked to imagine we had an anak buah connection! The biography celebrates Herb Feith as a pioneer with a lasting legacy linking Australia to Indonesia, Timor Leste and the developing world more broadly. He was an internationalist. He was in part, a man of his times – a young educated adult in the late 1940s and early 1950s when Australia and Australians were looking outwardly in order to define our own identity and place in the world and the region; but he was also a man before his time – a true global citizen who saw Australia as but one nation of many, albeit one which had peoples of such levels of education, commitment and wealth to make a significant difference for so many in the developing world. As a young man in his twenties and as he matured into his middle and older age, Herb never lost sight of his desire to learn from people from all walks of life and cultures. I write in the introduction to the book how Herb had an inbuilt ability to cross-cultures, which undoubtedly came from his own personal experience of crossing from Central European Jewish culture to Australian urban life as an 8 year old boy in the war years. His particular and special gift though, was one of a deep and authentic interest in other people and what they thought, and an ability to empathise. As Peter Britton puts it, Herb engaged in ‘active listening’ and so endeared many people to him, whilst learning a great deal about the world and its diversity of views.

Herb Feith first went to Indonesia in June 1951. He was 20 years old and a recent political science graduate and the first Australian graduate volunteer of what would one day become the large organisation Australian Volunteers International. He worked in the Ministry for Information alongside another Australian, Molly Bondan. He cast his eye across Jakarta and saw a world of possibilities for his fellow Australian graduates who wanted to come to Indonesia to help build the fledgling Republic. He described his first weeks in Indonesia as some of the most exciting and exhilarating of his life. His letters to his friends and family reveal that he was immediately and deeply engaged with his work, with the people he met and with the social problems he saw, which he very quickly took on as his own. He never lost this initial passion for solving Indonesia’s problems as his problems and those of all humanity, nor his particular affection for its people.

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JEMMA PURDEY

In Indonesia in the 1950s, such an approach from a European was a revelation to those Indonesians he worked with and made friends with. Some might also say it was a very Australian approach, embracing the ideas of egalitarianism on which we base our nationalism; and indeed for the thousands of Australians who have followed Herb and the earliest volunteers over the past sixty years to work in countries across the world, this ethos rings loud and true. Herb understood the true value and wonderful rewards of getting to know deeply Indonesians and their society. His passion for Indonesia and for teaching what he knew was such that in the 1960s, 70s and 80s students came from across Australia, Indonesia and around the world to Monash University to be taught and supervised by him. After his retirement Herb returned to Indonesia in the 1990s as a volunteer lecturer at UGM, and a new generation of Indonesian students were similarly inspired by his great enthusiasm, vast knowledge but also his uniquely generous approach to teaching. Long may this legacy continue in both our countries. So it is that I hope that the biography also celebrates the shared pursuit by Indonesian and Australian scholars towards improving our knowledge and understanding of each other’s complex societies. A legacy of the work of scholars including Herb, John Legge, Jamie Mackie and the important generation that followed – today Australia boasts as being world-leading in this field of study. But we can’t be complacent and as our senior scholars know very well, political vicissitudes will bring the study of Indonesia in and out of favour with young Australians and test scholars themselves – as Herb was so often tested. For Herb, when it came to facing such challenges, in the end it was his empathy and friendships with Indonesians that led his drive to want to reveal and know more about their ways of seeing the world and about the political regimes under which, for many decades, they lived in struggle. But more than that, Herb never ceased believing that such knowledge could, in the end, be a powerful force for good.

Herb’s career as an Indonesianist spanned over 50 years, beginning with its first, failed attempted at constitutional democracy, until the early years of its current and so far, overwhelmingly successful, democratic system of government. This is then a story of Indonesia’s political journey too.

Very early on in this project I said to my friends that I expected it would be the most challenging work of my life so far. At the end of it, I can say that I was probably right, but at the same time, I can also say it was the most fulfilling and satisfying work experience I could have hoped for. Researching and writing this extraordinary life with all its twists and turns, travels and travails whilst also being able to engage deeply with ‘Indonesia’, its history and politics – which is my discipline of scholarship - was a rare and privileged position to be in. As a subject Herb is just what any author might conjure up; he is complex, brilliant, challenged and challenging, flawed and inspiring. It was good advice I received at the beginning of the project from Jamie Mackie, who was a member of my advisory panel in its early stages. He advised that before I stepped into the archives I should make my first task to interview as many of Herb’s friends, colleagues and family as I could find. Jamie was right.

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INTERVIEW

As I moved around talking to people about Herb he appeared in all this complexity and dynamism before me. I had a good idea of the patterns of his life, the ways people had seen him, loved him, admired and attempted to follow him. Thanks to his family’s generosity and trust in me, I knew also about his love for family and closeness to his own parents, to Betty and his children and grandchildren. I knew about his flaws, his illnesses, his writers-blocks and moments of moral paralysis. The exploration into his archives – a treasure chest of letters, writings and memos – therefore, provided not so much ‘surprises’, as they did substance; deep understanding and insight into his motives, views and responses to events in his life. It was, as I say, a privilege to encounter as a researcher

What are you working on now?

My first experience writing biography was such a wonderful one that I am now planning to undertake another, which also incorporates my Indonesia interest. My current project – in its very preliminary stages – is a biography of an Indonesian political family or dynasty. As minor aristocracy, the Djojohadikusumo family’s involvement in the elite political sphere of Indonesian society stretches back four generations. Patriarch, Margono Djojohadikusumo, was senior bureaucrat in the Netherlands Indies administration and a nationalist who founded the Bank Negara Indonesia (Indonesian National Bank) upon its declaration of independence. Two of his younger sons died heroes in the revolutionary struggle against the Dutch occupation in the post-war period, and his eldest son, Soemitro, a Dutch educated economist, served as Minister for finance in various cabinets under the early Sukarno presidency. He was also later a key economic advisor to the Suharto government and is a national hero (pahlawan nasional). Today Soemitro’s sons, Prabowo Subianto and Hashim Sujono are co-founders of the political party, Gerindra (the Greater Indonesia Movement Party) with a voter-base of farmers, fishers and small business owners. Prabowo leads the party and will run for President in the 2014 election.

Hashim is listed as one of Indonesia’s wealthiest businessmen and Prabowo himself has a vast fortune amassed through their various businesses in palm oil production, coal and natural gas and various agri-businesses. Once married to Suharto’s daughter, Siti Hediati Harijadi (Titiek), Prabowo is a former military commander who held posts as head of elite military units Kopassus and Kostrad with numerous tours in East Timor during the occupation, where he established militia units and fostered protégés including Eurico Guterres. The fourth generation of this family are also heavily involved in the Gerindra party, especially Hashim’s son, Aryo, who is head of the party’s youth wing, Tidar. In their influential book, Reorganising power in Indonesia: the politics of Oligarchy in an age of markets, Robison and Hadiz (2004) describe a “political class” which emerged in the post-colonial period, comprised of those from minor aristocratic backgrounds, members of the colonial bureaucracy and western educated intellectuals. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


JEMMA PURDEY

And before that, as Heather Sutherland describes them in her exemplary study of Java’s colonial bureaucratic elite (1979), this ‘native’ civil service was made up of Java’s aristocratic elite, and “was a continuation of the old governing class and a major source of Java’s modern elite.” The Djojohadikusumo family fits very much within both these categorisation across three generations.

The study seeks to fit within this broader, growing body of work on dynastic or ‘family’ politics in Indonesia, by providing an historical approach through a biography of such an elite family, which, though several of its individual members feature prominently in the national narrative in one way or another, has not yet included a Presidential history. Crucially, however, the family has maintained a close proximity to the centre of political power (as it has shifted and changed) across more than three generations of Indonesian national history. This adaptability is key to understanding how the family has achieved this consistency of power-sharing. What, I am asking, are the ‘family characteristics’, ‘traits’, and narratives that have enabled this? The decision to research and write a ‘family biography’ is because I believe that a ‘multigenerational past’ is important, if not vital, in the context of the family’s present day tilt at power. It is important for a few reasons. Firstly, and simply, a close study of the generations before Prabowo is key to understanding the political philosophy informing Gerindra and its drive for the Presidency. Secondly, because questions are being asked about Prabowo’s popularity, which remains high in spite of his “colourful past”, as accused human rights violator. What we see is that his individual past or biography has been more or less re-cast or replaced by his ‘family legacy’ of long service, sacrifice and patriotism. By not focusing wholly on the personality of one single representative and leader, but on the line of family members he represents, Gerindra are arguably far better placed in the current Presidential race. Thirdly, within the family, and in the ways it presents itself publicly, family and national histories are important. This is apparent across various themes which can be seen re-occurring within the family’s own narratives about their roles as citizens and patriots, servants and leaders of their nation.

As they emerge as the next most powerful Indonesian dynasty, a closer examination and deeper understanding of this family, their history, values and conceptions of Indonesia’s are vital.

©Jemma Purdey

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


JOHN CHESTER LEWIS

Old Room (for Jeff Richman) When ever I hear you are playing in your old room, I start thinking about your old room from back when you used to live in Hawaii and how you sat in that room ignoring the beach for an entire summer churning in every thing they taught you during that first year at Berkley School of Music, as you worked through melodies, comping and solos while transcribing every song in the Realbook into every key signature. But I have never seen your old room, so I start thinking about my old room, not the room I shared with my brother Mike but my first ‘own’ room. A single bed elongated narrow room off the garage of my parents home, the room with a dream catcher where Rob Mehl had stayed before my folks tore that house completely down to build their new home where you played the jazz duet gig with Bryan Bromberg for my wedding party. And I picture you playing guitar in this old room on the sturdy, skin peeled pine stool from my current furnishings, as it is tall enough that you can see out of my old window with your dark curtain pulled to the side revealing skies of blue yonder over some great beach in Hawaii where you are practicing guitar while surveilling numerous Hawaiian Babes with perfect tans that only speak with guys like you, that are from their own area code, due to extreme adherence to localism enforced by area boys and of course there would be those sun burnt hot tourist girls who would gladly sleep with any real live Hawaiian local that was sharp as a marble even if he didn’t have a tan and surf, or play guitar in an untypical wondrous way that was uniquely so familiar, sliding dirt spotlessly, rubbed clean in cosmic holographic little star reverberations, as theoretical subatomic particle waves rainbow-infuse audio vibrations through a synthesis of interstellar righteousness and confidence that drips with love and boils of raw beauties in-composite hybrids, like the giant chrysanthemum’s thunderous growl of a hungry alpha lion, slank throw of season, in lustful pillage marked of benevolence and grace, engaging in post-assimilation of a storm before the calm.

© John Chester Lewis

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

Click on pic for John’s video of Jeff Richman on Youtube or go to John’s profile in Liveencounters to view video.


JEFF RICHMAN

Pic © Jeff Richman annual april 2012 © © www.liveencounters.net


MARCUS MIETZNER

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BOOK REVIEW

Jeffrey Winters’ Oligarchy is an epic work of comparative political insight but has little that is new to add to the study of Indonesia’s politics - Marcus Mietzner Reprinted by special permission of Jemma Purdey, Inside Indonesia

Mostly known for his previous writings on Indonesia’s political economy, Jeffrey Winters has produced a significant and insightful book that goes well beyond the boundaries of the Indonesian archipelago. Indeed, to call his work a remarkable piece of comparative political science research would be an understatement. Rather, Winters delivers an all-encompassing account of the role of oligarchs in world history, drawing from examples that date back to Ancient Greece.

An engaging writer and not afraid to make broad (and sometimes sweeping) statements, Winters proposes provocative explanations for the continued material inequality in modern democratic politics. In its expansive scope, Winters’ study succeeds: it highlights one of the least reflectedupon deficiencies of Western democracies, and emphasises how oligarchs (defined as ‘actors who command and control massive concentrations of material resources that can be employed to defend or enhance their personal wealth and exclusive social position’) are able to coexist with the democracies of the 21st century. For Winters, there are fundamentally four types of oligarchy: to begin with, warring oligarchies are dominated by armed oligarchs who defend their wealth with the help of private armies. In such a system, oligarchs generally fight one another, leading to high levels of institutional fragmentation. In ruling oligarchies, by contrast, leading oligarchs still compete but they reach a compromise about some form of collective supremacy over the rest of society.

Sultanistic oligarchies, for their part, are presided over by an individual oligarch, who sits at the top of a patronage pyramid and controls the ambitions of all other oligarchs. Importantly, Winters portrays Suharto’s Indonesia as such a sultanistic oligarchy. According to Winters, Suharto’s oligarchic hegemony only crumbled when his children’s expanding business interests posed a direct threat to the property and wealth of other oligarchs.

© Marcus Mietzner

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BOOK REVIEW

Finally, civil oligarchies are those that contain the actions of oligarchs through the rule of law. To be sure, the rule of law is also in the interest of oligarchs – it protects their property rights and allows them to dispense with the necessity of defending their wealth through the use of armed militias. Winters’ main examples in this category are the United States and Singapore.

The case of Indonesia

Winters’ comparative and historical reflections are astute, and his description of the New Order as a sultanistic oligarchy is persuasive – despite not being entirely new. Other authors – such as Edward Aspinall – had already applied the concept of sultanism (which is derived from Juan Linz’ and Alfred Stepan’s writings on regime types) to the case of Suharto’s Indonesia, and neoMarxist scholars around Richard Robison had illuminated the role of the oligarchy in the New Order polity as early as the mid-1980s. Winters has cleverly merged these two approaches, but his discussion of that period does not disclose new material or theoretical interpretations that could dramatically change scholarly accounts of Suharto’s rule. Rather, it is Winters’ classification of the post-Suharto state that is the most novel, but arguably also least sustainable section of the book as far as political analyses of Indonesia are concerned. In Winters’ typology, post-authoritarian Indonesia is an ‘untamed ruling oligarchy’. According to his analysis, Indonesia’s democratisation allowed the country’s oligarchs to shake off the shackles that Suharto had put on them. Instead of being curtailed by increasing transparency, electoral competitiveness and a myriad of new social forces, Indonesian oligarchs used the absence of a ‘sultan’ to establish control over a political system marked by weak legal institutions. Thus, while Indonesian oligarchs are ‘fully disarmed’, they ‘use their material power resources for wealth and property defence in a political economy overflowing with threats and uncertainties’. Although it is easy to agree with Winters’ assessment that oligarchs have assumed a strong position in post-Suharto politics, he provides little evidence for his claim that they are in fact ‘ruling’ the polity. Indeed, given that much of the field research for his book was done in Indonesia, Winters’ section on the ‘untamed ruling oligarchy’ in contemporary Indonesia is surprisingly thin – both empirically and analytically. Sadly, we learn very little about the power constellation in the country’s post-authoritarian politics, and not much is revealed about who the oligarchs are and how exactly they exercise their ‘rule’. Apart from offering a somewhat simplistic dichotomy between Chinese and pribumi (indigenous) oligarchs, Winters provides no map of oligarchic politics in Indonesia’s democracy – something that would have been extraordinarily useful. This absence is compounded by the fact that Winters calls his interviewees ‘Oligarch A’ or ‘Oligarch I’, even if and when they simply confirm trends or patterns already widely reported in the press.

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MARCUS MIETZNER

Winters’ fixation on oligarchic rule has two serious implications for his characterisation of postSuharto Indonesia. First, it leads him to miss the nuances of political contestation in the new, democratic polity. Political parties, Muslim groups, labour unions, NGOs, media organisations, local movements – they are only touched upon insofar they have come under the influence of oligarchic interests as well. And while some of them have indeed been infiltrated in such ways, others haven’t, and others again have witnessed internal struggles between oligarchic and nonoligarchic forces. None of this complexity is conveyed in Winters’ account. There is also very little recognition of the continuing (and, according to some observers, widening) ideological divide between Indonesians who want to maintain the pluralistic foundations of the state and those that aim for a more formal role of Islam in state organisation. Ideology, as a whole, seems to be entirely absent from Winters’ analysis – an omission that is consequential even in the discussion of modern polities in the West, but is particularly visible in a Muslim democracy such as Indonesia’s. Second, and related to the point above, Winters’ near-universal categories produce very rough and thus often inaccurate characterisations of key politicians and events. For instance, with oligarchs described as Indonesia’s ruling class, Winters succumbs to the temptation of calling almost every prominent political leader an oligarch. Interestingly, he seems rather uncomfortable with such a broad sweep himself, leading him to invent the category of ‘middle oligarch’. But Winters’ main case study in this regard – Akbar Tanjung – is unconvincing. It is true that Akbar, the chairman of Golkar in the early post-Suharto period, is personally wealthy, allowing him to cover some of the costs of his political operations. But far more important for Akbar’s strength in Golkar has been his decades-long involvement with the party’s grassroots, committees and organisational bodies. In turn, this popularity convinced wealthy sponsors to provide Akbar with donations, which further consolidated his position in Golkar. Akbar’s categorisation as a ‘middle oligarch’ therefore brushes over several layers of types of politicians and their complicated interaction. In today’s Indonesia, around half of the chairpersons of political parties belong to the type of well-connected and long-time party activist that Akbar represents – they are neither ‘full’ nor ‘middle’ oligarchs on Winters’ analytical spectrum. Of course, Winters did not intend to write a detailed book on the Indonesian oligarchy and its role in post-Suharto politics. His ambition was much more far-reaching: to present a study on the almost timeless structures of oligarchic dominance in world history. Therefore, like most other comparative, context-transcending and universalist writings, Winters’ book makes no apologies for sacrificing factual precision on the altar of groundbreaking theory-building. There is no doubt that Winters’ book succeeds in the latter field in an impressive manner: comparativist political scientists and theorists will find his contribution highly stimulating and innovative. The community of Indonesianists, on the other hand, will discover plenty of material in this important book that deserves critical questioning.

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2012

Pics Š Mark Ulyseas

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MARK ULYSEAS I first penned this essay in 2008. Since then I have tried to update it hoping that the inhumanity of humanity would slowly disappear as the years roll on. Sadly the more things change, the more they remain the same.

2011 2012

Yet Another Year of Living Foolishly? This year is grinding to a close and then hope will begin for the New Year. So what will it be? More wars? Genocide? Child abuse? Women beating? Extinction of another species? New insidious revelations that expose the all pervasive criminality of international politics and sections of the Media? There is so much to choose from. It’s like a supermarket out there with all kinds of manmade disasters available on the shelves, one has simply to reach out and grab one. 2011 2012 is ending on a note of negotiated delusions with the climate change conference in Doha. What happened to the good old days when we used a blanket instead of a heater? All this talk of saving the world is pointless.

Everything is done half-heartedly. Let’s make a resolution for the New Year to decimate the planet. Destroy all our natural resources, pollute the rivers and farm the seas to extinction. At least we would be doing one thing properly. © Mark Ulyseas

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2012

And once again, as we have done in the past, this Christmas and New Year we shall we drop and pamper our overweight children and pets. It’s the season of happin wars, missing women in Afghanistan and elsewhere, asylum seekers, political deta with what they see, hear, feel and touch this festive season.

On one hand we talk of peace, love and no war. On the other hand we bomb, rape, pillage, annex and subdue nations with money, military power and retarded religiosity.

For instance, let’s take a quick look at Afghanistan. The British couldn’t control the tribes in the 19th century, the Russians failed miserably and the American soldiers with their assorted comrades in arms, poor souls, are dying by the dozen along with faceless unarmed civilians. I suppose life is cheaper by the dozen. Hasn’t anyone got a clue about what the Afghans want? And what about certain parts of the Middle East? Do you think they will run out of people considering the number of killings that are taking place? Education there is history – like the death of a six year old killed by a stray bullet. It stems from the barrel of a gun. The pen is for signing death certificates. Statistics are essential in war zones. They can always be rearranged to suit one’s perceived objectives. The little numbers represent people; mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, relatives and friends. A neat way to manage these numbers is to write in pencil so that an eraser can be used judiciously. And while the death toll in war ravaged countries rise, a hysterical caucus threatens Iran not to go ahead with its nuclear program, while watching China systematically and violently dismantle Tibetan culture.

Africa, the Dark Continent, what can one say about its peoples and their ancient civilizations that have slowly been corrupted by large corporations and foreign governments meddling in the affairs of the states: Buying and selling governments on mammoth proportions? Oh for the days of Idi Amin. Remember Entebbe and the blood baths? Everything is so quiet now, no excitement and drama except for bloody popular uprisings, theft of natural resources and other inconsequential happenings. What about the sub-continent, India? Do they still abort female foetuses? Burn women who don’t bring enough dowry? Continue to kill tigers for their body parts to be used in aphrodisiacs? And do millions still exist on the threshold of life and death? And is the arrogant Indian Middle Class growing to newer levels self indulgence? Forgive me, I missed that little country to the west of India; Pakistan. Poor chaps they’ve had such a tiresome year with the constant ebb and flow of political violence and religious fundamentalism peppered with suicide bombers that probably the common folk want to migrate to India... can’t really blame them. All they desire is to live in peace to pray, work and procreate. Now let’s see who is left on the black board? Hmmm…Chavez seems to be holding forth. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS

all sit down to sumptuous meals, drink whatever fancies our taste buds, shop till ness, love and family especially for the homeless, injured and maimed children of ainees and the fringe folk of the planet. They will surely be very happy and content

And what about the indigenous people of the Amazon who are fighting a losing battle with the powers that be to stop the plunder of their home, the rainforest, the green lung of mother earth? South America appears to be lost in translation. We never seem to get a lot of news from there except for soccer, drug lords and the Mayan Calendar that ends in 2012. Let’s leave all this violence for some whale steaks. The Japanese are so considerate to the world at large. For a country that prides itself on rejecting nuclear weapons it has a rather odd way of showing its respect for the environment. I am referring to the mass killing of whales for scientific purposes. Actually you must admire their concern. Ever considered the fact that they maybe ridding the oceans of monsters that take up so much space and are a serious health hazard to humanity? I think Japan’s neighbor China has the right approach. It has dispensed with the cumbersome concept of Human Rights and its implementation. In its place totalitarianism with a small dose of plutocracy has been suitably installed. There are many countries that lecture China on its Human Rights. Wonder who has a perfect track record? The world’s last Superpower? A superpower that continues to interfere in the affairs of other nations ... at times actually sending troops and bombing unarmed civilians along with perceived enemies of the State? I suppose the term ‘collateral damage’ is more palatable than the word... murder.

Civil liberties are essential for the survival of a nation and so is the health of its people. In some areas of society where commonsense has been the victim, Nature has found a way of retaliating by inventing diseases like AIDS and Swine Flu, infecting millions and helping to keep the population in check.

And once again, as we have done in the past, this Christmas and New Year we shall all sit down to sumptuous meals, drink whatever fancies our taste buds, shop till we drop and pamper our overweight children and pets. It’s the season of happiness, love and family especially for the homeless, injured and maimed children of wars, missing women in Afghanistan and elsewhere, asylum seekers, political detainees and the fringe folk of the planet. They will surely be very happy and content with what they see, hear, feel and touch this festive season.

From genocide to environmental disasters it has been a roller coaster ride through many countries and peoples and cultures and religions. This journey will end only when we truly comprehend the reason as to why we have been put on this planet by a power far greater than we can ever imagine. Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

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MAR THOMA SHRINE

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SPECIAL FEATURE

The Way of Apostle Thomas A Journey into antiquity by Mark Ulyseas

History is often embellished with legends that over centuries morph into facts that become unquestionable until a seeker of truth begins a journey into antiquity to rummage for tangible evidence to substantiate the facts. It is then that history begins to unravel and the truth emerges albeit in a different form.

Sometime ago a question arose in a conversation about St.Thomas Mount and whether the apostle of Christ had visited India. Having lived on the Mount in the early sixties and receiving my First Holy Communion and Confirmation at this very church I decided to delve into history for the answer to this question for I believed Apostle Thomas’s visit to India and his subsequent martyrdom in the South was merely a legend. My search took me to Kochi (Cochin) in Kerala on the West Coast of India. After a night’s stopover in the ancient city port I proceeded to Kodungallur (Cranganore), which is few hours by road. It is believed that the Apostle Thomas landed on the shores of Cranganore in 52 AD.

In 1953, the 19th centenary of Apostle Thomas’s landing in Cranganore (Kodungallur) in 52 AD, there were great celebrations in Kerala and this shrine, Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine, was built to commemorate this occasion. The Vatican, as a sign of recognition of St.Thomas Christians to profess the heritage of St.Thomas – Father of the Faith – gave the right arm of St.Thomas. The relics of St.Thomas are buried in Ortona, Italy. Mar Thomas means My Lord Thomas in Aramaic. © Mark Ulyseas

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THE WAY OF APOSTLE THOMAS

India-Rome Trade Route 1st century AD

Roman trade with India according to the Periplus Maris Erythraei.

Left : Muziris, as shown in the Tabula Peutingeriana, with a "Templum Augusti". Right : Bilingual inscription (Greek and Aramaic) on an edict of Emperor Ashoka, from Kandahar. Kabul Museum.

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MARK ULYSEAS

Indo-Roman relations were built on trade. The route started from Muziris, the port at Cranganore in South India to Rome in Italy; reached Berenice or Myos Hormos at the Red Sea coast of Roman Egypt; by overland caravans to Nile river; by boats to Alexandia and finally by ships to Rome. Pliny the Elder (ca. 23- 77 AD) gives a description of voyages to India in the 1st century AD. He refers to many Indian ports in his work The Natural History.

"To those who are bound for India, Ocelis (On the Red Sea) is the best place for embarkation. If the wind, called Hippalus (Southwest Monsoon), happens to be blowing it is possible to arrive in forty days at the nearest market in India, "Muziris" by name. This, however, is not a very desirable place for disembarkation, on account of the pirates which frequent its vicinity, where they occupy a place called Nitrias; nor, in fact, is it very rich in articles of merchandise. Besides, the road stead for shipping is a considerable distance from the shore, and the cargoes have to be conveyed in boats, either for loading or discharging. At the moment that I am writing these pages, the name of the king of this place is Caelobothras (Keralaputras)... Travellers set sail from India on their return to Europe, at the beginning of the Egyptian month of Tybia, which is our December, or at all events before the sixth day of the Egyptian month Mechir, the same as our Ides of January; if they do this they can go and return in the same year. They set sail from India with a south-east wind (Northeast Monsoon), and upon entering the Red Sea, catch the south-west or south." In 1983, a large hoard of Roman coins was found at a site about six miles from Kodungallur in a small village called Pattanam on the northern shore of Paravur Thodu, a tributary of the River Periyar. Further evidence has been unearthed to prove beyond doubt the close contact of Malabar with the Euphrates Valley and the Mediterranean countries. Logs of Indian teak have been found in the temple of the Moon at Mugheir and in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar; the temple dedicated to Augustus; and the then literary references to the presence of Greek and Roman mercenaries in India. The Greek Geographer, Strabo, mentions the fact that over 120 ships sailed from Myros Hormos, a port on the Red Sea, for India. Muziris was the primary port for trade in spices, teak, silk etc. with the Roman world and a transit point for traders from the Far east.

The principal document concerning Saint Thomas is the Acta Thomae.

LINK

NOTE : The Indian Buddhist emperor, Ashoka, of the Mauryan dynasty (269 BCE to 231 BCE) erected edicts - inscriptions on stone - all over his empire stretching from Afghanistan across the length and breadth of India. An edict found in Kandahar, Afghanistan, is bilingual i.e. in Greek and Aramaic. This proves beyond doubt the connection between India, Middle East and Europe well before Apostle Thomas arrived in India. LINK annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


THE WAY OF APOSTLE THOMAS

In conversation with Father Jose Frank CMI (Carmelites of Mary Immaculate) of Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine Azhicode, Kodungallur, Kerala, India Father Frank, do you believe that Apostle Thomas visited India because there are no written records of the time he arrived in this country? This is a question that many have asked me. Yes, he did visit India and was martyred here. There are no written records by the early Christians because they never felt the need to write down events that occurred. We have to solely rely on Syriac and Greek authors for data who, unfortunately, had no particular interest in India at that time. Therefore information is sketchy because the community was very small and was scattered amidst Brahmanism and Buddhism in this great country. But there is one element that had/has been kept alive and that is tradition. It is through tradition that the Truth has been handed down through the ages.

The seven “churches” founded by the Apostle are Palayur, Kodungallur (Cranganore), Kokkamangalam, Parur, Niranam, Nilakkel and Kollam (Quilon). To help your readers comprehend what I am speaking about here is an excerpt from Origin of Christianity in India – A Historiographical Critique by Benedict Vadakkekara (2007). It focuses on the “tradition of St.Thomas Christians” that has acted as a “confirmatory” record of the arrival of Apostle Thomas in India in 52 AD. The tradition of the Indian Christians about their origin is quite unlike a vague and indistinct belief entertained by certain sections of the community. According to tradition, “there is no evidence whatever of his (St. Thomas) having visited Ceylon and Madura nor of his journey from Mailepur to China. But about his apostolate in Malabar there can be no doubt”.

It is precisely this concreteness of the tradition of the Indian Christians that makes it distinct, for example from a general and imprecise belief in a mission to China on the part of the Apostle Thomas. As a matter of fact, in the 17th century, a group of Jesuit missionaries in China went out of their way to uncover in China the footprints of Apostle Thomas. They sifted through all the possible leads in order to arrive at some direct or indirect pointers to St.Thomas. They tried even to identify the statue of Ta-Mouo (Bodhidharma) in the pagodas with Apostle Thomas. Their efforts led nowhere precisely because there was no living tradition in the land to give concreteness to such a vague belief. In other words, there was locally no, “St.Thomas Christian community” as the embodiment of such a tradition in order to keep celebrating the memory of its Father in faith. If we now turn to the native Christians in India we shall find their testimony clear and unhesitating. It was not suggested to their minds by early Portuguese writers. When they first came in contact with the Christians of Malabar, at Calicut, Cranganore, and other places, they found them chanting from their Syriac (Aramaic) Service Books: ‘By St. Thomas the errors of the idolatry of India were abolished”. Origin of Christianity in India – A Historiographical Critique by Benedict Vadakkekara (2007 © Media House)

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MARK ULYSEAS

Father Jose Frank CMI, Pic© Mark Ulyseas

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THE WAY OF APOSTLE THOMAS

The altar and tabernacle of the Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine built in 1953 by The Deva Matha Province of in 52 AD. It houses the sacred relic (the right arm) of St.Thomas that had been given by the Vatican on th

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MARK ULYSEAS

f Syrian Carmelites to commemorate the 19th centenary of the landing of Apostle Thomas in Cranganore his occasion. The photograph of the relic is hazy as it is encashed in two layers of glass in the tabernacle. Pic © Mark Ulyseas

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THE WAY OF APOSTLE THOMAS

Pics 1,2 and 4 © Mark Ulyseas

The tradition of the St.Thomas Christians speaks about a precise date i.e. 52 AD as the year in which the Apostle arrived in their midst and his subsequent martyrdom in 72 AD. The reports of Marco Polo, John of Monte Corvino, Friar Jordanus and others (from the end of the 13th Century), contained the essentials of the tradition that they then found current. The elaborate accounts of the Westerners from the 16th century onwards testify how faithfully and reverently the community nurtured its tradition. The negative verdict of noted scholars notwithstanding, the tradition continues to be unanimously upheld today also. The professional historians of the community hold fast to it with ever greater enthusiasm. The formation itself of the community of the Indian Christians occurred solely on the basis of this tradition. The communal persuasion regarding the genuineness of the tradition acted and still acts as the binding force of coalescence within the community. The only element that the members have in common is their shared belief that their ancestors had been converted by Apostle Thomas ( known as St.Thomas Christians). In fact, it was on the merit of their conviction that theirs was the Way of St.Thomas, that they confronted the crucial situations in their history. The very existence of the community today, in this sense, is the direct outcome of the tradition. Western missionaries accepted and appreciated this tradition and in their turn were befriended by the Indian Christians. However, when it came to altering their communal way of living, the endeavours of the missionaries met with dogged resistance. The Indians put up a stubborn defence against the overseas meddlers because they were resolutely convinced that their communal and cultic life was integral to the Way of St.Thomas. This intense and passionate attachment to their customs was based solely on this traditional belief of theirs and they were prepared to pay any price for defending their lifestyle. When seen from this perspective, it becomes evident how the tradition of the Indian Christians differs from a fable or legend. It was in every way a “living reality” for the entire community. Even those who are reluctant to concede an apostolic origin to the community respect its traditional belief. At the time of Apostle Thomas’s landing in Maliankara close to Cranganore, the port Muziris was an international maritime centre for a flourishing sea trade route between India and Rome. There were a number of Jewish communities existing at that time. Curiously the seven communities that are believed to have been founded by the Apostle were situated in or near these Jewish colonies. Not far from the ancient church of Palayur there is an area called “Jewish Hill”. Mention of Christian presence in Ancient India Pantaenus (ca AD 179) came across a primitive Christian community in India and he introduced reforms in their liturgical practices. David, Bishop of Basra (end of 3rd century) was a missionary in India. In the list of the bishops who attended the Nicean Council of 325 Ad is mentioned one © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS

“John the Persian”, who according to the history of Gelasius, written in the second half of the 5th century, was bishop of the whole of Persia and Great India. Theophilus the Indian (ca 354) was a confidant of Emperor Constantius. Cosmas Indicopleustes (ca 550) speaks of Christians in India. The Syrian priest Bud or Buddas Periodeutes (ca 570) speaks of Christians in India who had been living there from ancient times. These references from the first six hundred years of the history of Christianity show that India was known to the Christian writers not only as the land where Apostle Thomas preached and died but also as a country, where Christians lived. For the Christian world, India was besides the unique source for the accredited relics of Apostle Thomas. Therefore, viewed in the historiographical perspective, these references make sense only when placed in relationship with the tradition of Indian Christianity. There are many opposing views of how Christianity came to India. In some circles there are doubts raised as to the veracity of the claim made by St.Thomas Christians that the Apostle came to India. Here are some of the arguments put forth. - Apostle Thomas was for the whole Nestorian Church its special patron. It is believed that the South Indian Church was chiefly founded by Nestorian Christians from Persia who fled to India during the violent and cruel persecution of Shahpur II during the first half of the 4th century AD. Having an Apostle of the Lord as patron enabled them to find their level against the Latin Church which had Apostle Peter as its official patron. The so called tradition of the Indian Christians must have reached them through the Nestorian missionaries, who inculcated among their Indian proselytes a special devotion to Apostle Thomas. - Manichaeism was basically a propagandist movement founded in the 3rd century by a Persian named Mani or Manes. It is probable that Mani himself preached in India. One of his works was a Greater Epistle to the Indians. Manes is believed to have despatched a disciple of his called Thomas. It was this Thomas that St.Thomas Christians mistakenly identified as the Apostle Thomas. - 'Knai Thomman or in English, Bishop Thomas Cana, was a prominent Knanaya merchant or a Bishop from Edessa (Or Urfa), now known as Şanlıurfa, Turkey. According to tradition recorded in eighteenth century document, with the instructions from the Patriarch of Antioch, Mor Yusthedius, he came with 72 families to the Malabar Coast (present-day Kerala, India) in 345 AD. The arrival of Thomas of Cana figures in traditions concerning the division of the Saint Thomas Christians into "Northist" and "Southist" factions. In these versions, the Southists or Knanaya are the direct descendents of Thomas of Cana and his followers, while the Northists descend from the pre-existing local Christian body converted by Thomas the Apostle. In some versions, Thomas of Cana had two wives or partners, one the ancestor to the endogamous Southists, and the other (generally described as a Kerala native) the ancestor to the Northists. Both Southist and Northist groups use variants of this story to claim superiority for their faction. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


Patrons of the Kunnamkulam Ecumenical Fellowship

H. G. Paulose Mar Milithiose

H. G. Mar. Andrews Tazhath

Rt. Dr. Mar Aprem

Rt.Rev. Dr. Abraham Mar Juliose

- Christians arrived with West Syrian traders in the 4th century. They settled in the southern west India. It is believed they were well received by people of that area. Subsequently they intermarried with high caste Hindus and formed the Syrian Church of Kerala.

- Some conclude that Christians of the primitive church of Alexandria accompanying the Egyptians travellers to the east stopped at the island, Socotra, which was a halting station for merchants travelling to India. It could be that some of these Christians preached the Gospel to the islanders. Therefore, it is plausible that some of these Christians continued on to India. Indian Christians never developed a theology of their own nor did anyone from their community become Bishop. They depended on the Church of Mesopotamia for theology, liturgy and ecclesiastical hierarchy. The Syrian Christians in Kerala absorbed indigenous Malayalam cultural patterns, in ecclesiastical matters they looked to the Middle East, especially for the supply of clergy. At an early stage they established a working relationship with the Seleucia-Ctesiphon Church of Persia, expressing allegiance through the See of Rewardashir. Thus, the Nestorian orientation of Syrian Christianity, which lasted for centuries, was established. Later, when the advance of Islam made it more difficult to maintain the Persian connection, Kerala Christians gradually began to turn to West Syria for clerical help, thus bringing the influence of Antioch and the Jacobite tradition into Malayali Christian Life.

Could you share with us a glimpse of your life and work? I was born in 1936 into the family of a Malabar farmer. Ordained in 1964, I taught Syriac (Aramaic) and Latin in Kottikal Seminary. Then I went to Rome to study spirituality and did my MA in spiritual theology at the Vatican. I returned to take charge of Priestly Formation at Dharmaram Seminary in Bangalore. In 1985 I was sent to Koln, Germany, to work with Indian Christians for ten years. In 1995 on my return to India and for the next eight years till 2003 I worked with the poorest of the poor in the slums of Trichur organising 2500 women through education, teaching the basic math skills for saving and getting them jobs. We, the church, built three villages for these destitute people. Unfortunately I couldn’t carry on my work as I was transferred in 2003 to work in the Ecumenical Fellowship.

What is the Ecumenical Fellowship?

The Ecumenical fellowship was formed by me and inaugurated in 2005 to create an understanding between the various Christian churches of Kerala. It is the “dialogue of the heart”. In the 19 and a half centuries since Apostle Thomas came among us much has changed. Sadly, the Christian Church in Kerala has fragmented into many congregations. This fellowship is based on the premise “we agree to disagree” but we will talk and debate. The principle key focus is about Jesus Christ’s teaching of Love. I help set up the Kunnamkulam Ecumenical Fellowship to bring all the churches together – the unification of the faithful through a program of – Study together, Pray together, Work together, Celebrate together. On the first Monday of every month we come together to

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THE WAY OF APOSTLE THOMAS

Most. Rev Cyril Mar Baseliose

Rt. Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvila

Rt. Rev. Thomas Mar Timothiose Rev. Fr. George Pius C MI

together to worship…each church of every denomination get a chance to host the prayer meetings. This helps in generating interaction between the clergy, laymen, faculty and students. A common song titled “Peace Giver” is sung at every meeting. Taize in France is similar to our fellowship.

We have built an Ecumenical village in which Christians of all denominations reside. 17 houses have been built by the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Malabar Independent Syrian Church (MISC), Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Syro Malankara Catholic Church, Roman Catholic and Church of the East. Priests from all these churches helped collect funds for the construction. This represents a vision of Jesus that “all will be one” – that all the believers will be one. In May this year I was transferred to this Shrine of Mar Thoma.

What are your future plans?

I want to develop this into a Pilgrim Centre. We are presently constructing 20 rooms, a suite and an auditorium. Plans are being worked on for the inclusion of a museum where the traditions of all Christians will be displayed; a tower that will have steps leading to the top for a panoramic view of the mighty Periyar River and the surroundings settlements. Along the inside walls of the tower leading up there will be images displayed of the life of St.Thomas. I hope to make it a centre for research and fellowship for Christians not just for Keralites but from the rest of India and abroad. This will all come to fruitation by the blessings of St.Thomas.

I noticed that Mar Thoma holy oil is available at the shrine. Have there been any miracles?

Many people have narrated their experiences in the church of favours granted. They come and testify about the miracles in their lives. The problems are usually to do with finance, family or illness.

What are the upcoming events?

On November 23, 2012, we will be celebrating the Great feast of St.Thomas. You must come and please invite all your friends. It will be a spectacular event. The masses, the adoration of the relic of St.Thomas and the grand procession in boats down the River Periyar. In September 2013 to mark the 19th and half centenary of the landing of St.Thomas in Cranganore, we will be conducting an international seminar focusing on the history of this area. (We know that this was a Roman settlement, an international maritime centre and the place where Apostle Thomas landed).

© Mark Ulyseas

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KADAMATTOM

The Cross at Kadamattom Pic © Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


A Sacred Ritual

Rev. Kadamattom

by Mark Ulyseas

In mid-2011 Fort Kochi, in the Indian State of Kerala, was my base for a month. From here I travelled around the area meeting people and recording for posterity their life and work. At that time the countryside was bathed in the monsoon and Mother Nature, resplendent in her lush green robes, was parading for the senses.

The warm humid days and liquid nights brought with it a sanguinity that embraced me with a gentleness that delighted the soul. Around this time, Bobby, the owner of the guest house where I was staying, asked me if I wanted to perform a sacred ritual. I agreed and gave him money to buy the necessary items and to hire a car to ferry us to the spot where the ritual was to be performed. We departed early one morning with a live red rooster, spices, local fried snacks, ladoos, a bottle of brandy, banana leaves, curry leaves, some vegetables, two loaves of sliced bread, pure ghee, candles, incense sticks, matches and a knife. “Are we going to a temple?” I asked Bobby

“No,” replied Bobby, “This is an offering to the famous priest Kadamattathu Kathanar aka Reverend Kadamattom of the St.George Orthodox Syrian Church, which is after Muvattupuzha town and close to Kolenchery. It was built in the 9th Century and is considered to be one of the oldest churches in India. Kadamattom was like Merlin the magician, for he had supernatural powers. It is said that he would jump into the well adjacent to the church to fight the demons of the underworld. Some say the well is connected to the church and was an entrance and exit used by the priest. It is believed that Kadamattom learned sorcery when he was held captive by a cannibal tribe called the Mala Arayas that lived in the area surrounding the church. After some months in captivity he escaped and took refuge in the church. The Mala Arayas with their magic created a storm and scarred the church walls but they couldn’t recapture the priest. Apparently these scars can still be seen today.

We celebrate his feast in Jan-Feb. People from all religions come from faraway places to perform this ritual because Kadamattom is famous for his miracles. Those who offer prayers and perform the ritual with sincerity usually get what they wish for. However, my mother has instructed me that as soon as the ritual is over we must leave the area immediately.” “Why?”

Bobby never answered.

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas

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MARK ULYSEAS

The well and cross pic © Mark Ulyseas

Bobby (R) sacrificing rooster pic © Mark Ulyseas

We reached the church after a two hour drive. It was a magnificent old building atop a hill and glowering in the sun like a bride in her wedding dress. One hoped all would go well. Bobby insisted we drive through the church’s grounds to the other side where there were two more churches, one dedicated to Rev. Kadamatton Kathanar. Below the boundary wall of the third church was a well and a stone cross next to it. The site is believed to be hundreds of years old. As soon as we alighted an earnest looking man in a lungi met us. Apparently he was the Master of Ceremonies and cook.

When I walked to the well Bobby instructed me to take the knife from him and cut the red rooster‘s throat over the well i.e. after saying a prayer. I declined for I wanted to photograph the ritual.

The Master of Ceremonies then handed the rooster and knife to Bobby who walked clockwise three times around the periphery of the well. Then he cut its throat, threw its head into the well and handed the rooster to the Master of Ceremonies who held its neck over the cross as blood spurted out. The sprinkling of blood over the cross was accompanied by silent prayer. After this the lifeless feathered body was given to the Master of Ceremonies to cook.

I retreated to the car to download the photogarphs and wait for the feast to be prepared little realizing that I had encountered unknown forces that were not in a mood to have their abode disturbed. After downloading the pictures I beckoned Bobby to the car to view them on my laptop. But when I clicked on the Picasa Viewer all pictures had disappeared. A quick search of the computer revealed nothing. Then I checked the camera. Nothing.

I requested Bobby to get another red rooster and repeat the ritual. He was most unhappy and reluctantly set off with me on a short drive to buy one from a local market.

We returned with a rooster that suddenly became comatose when it was carried to the well. The ritual was performed again. Again I took photographs of the ceremony.

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A SACRED RITUAL

The Master of Ceremonies holding the rooster over the cross pic © Mark Ulyseas annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


A SACRED RITUAL

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The Offering pic © Mark Ulyseas


The Kadamattom Church was built in the 9th Century pic © Mark Ulyseas

I hurried to the car, downloaded the pictures, and transferred a copy to a flash drive. Mercifully the pictures didn’t disappear.

An hour later food was served on two banana leaves with a glass of brandy. After saying a prayer to Rev. Kadamattom Kathanar, I threw some food into the well and ate a piece of chicken, washing it down with a shot of brandy. It was then that I felt a benign presence all around. It was an unexplainable feeling that slowly crept into my being.

The following day I fell very ill with high fever, loss of appetite and a feeling that I was at death’s door. After a few days I had to leave Fort Kochi to return to my home base for medical treatment. A month later when I attempted to write this story my laptop decided to erase more than 60GB of my writing and photographs. Thankfully the photographs of the ritual were not ‘deleted’. Rev. Kadamattom Kathanar granted my first wish as soon as I recovered from my illness.

NOTE: The Church authorities are not involved in this sacred sacrifice nor do they promote or support it in any manner whatsoever.

Inside Kadamattom Church ©www.liveencounters.net Mark Ulyseas annualpics 2012 ©


TWO POEMS

UNSTABLE MINDS You ever young immature you, and night You popped into my life, eager to loot Self-destructing mind Hesitation shifts you from foot to foot Too jumpy to be capable of repose Or of deciding what is worth pursuit Your mother thought you beautiful, I suppose She rocked you all day and watched you sleep Perhaps that`s half the trouble An almighty teacher preacher now, you keep Getting less beautiful towards the year`s end Your indecision sours to malice, deep Most against those who`ve done nothing to offend Nor did they even battle, only I Have watched much, though not as secret friend But picturing roles reversed, with you the spy The lights go up, and we`re the only audience The experiment with truth notices finally Your ragged defeat, your sad pretence You stay still, the audience is fleeing the scene Time to go home babe, though you now feel most tense These games have little sense, if you`ve lost It doesn't matter now, sleep well Unstable minds need more sleep than most And need to learn all they can, about repose

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MATTHEW VAN ORTTON

LIVE ON On my skin

The map of the trails and life paths As unique as my ragged finger print But never will be as naked and telling As my birthmarks to geo-cover my skin For what does not kill me only makes me stronger And all these battle scars I have won With nothing to depend on, no shoulder to rest on But my own

They have now all healed The human wounds rooted like any oak or maple Have loved, hence lived These imprints now only litter my temple The stigmas they are, blueprints that go A long way back to lifetimes of losses Antagonist i am, never resting but taking on Different shape and role Never letting go off the rope Forever I will hang on

Š Matthew Van Ortton annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


KARMIEL

English Antisemitism: In A League Of Its Own?

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NATALIE WOOD

They say the English Premier Soccer League is the most lucrative in the world. But what of native antisemitism? That’s surely in a league of its own! While I often warn against seeing antisemitism where it doesn’t exist, I must stress that it is everpresent. This happens both when there are no Jews in evidence – and even when those spouting anti-Jewish hatred have never knowingly met a Jew throughout their lives.

The situation has become increasingly, depressingly, indecently nasty since Israel’s war in Gaza during December 2008 - January 2009. This, I believe is because it coincided with the start of the world economic recession. Once again, international Jewry has found itself the world’s scapegoat for money worries. Yet despite fantastic competition from the likes of Sweden, Germany, Italy, Spain - and most recently Belgium, British Jew hatred is now like it was centuries ago. Certainly, it is the worst it has been since the end of World War II and those old enough to remember say it was present even then – barely before the flames of the Holocaust had been doused or the State of Israel was born. Now it is a fashion accessory for the politically correct and is so much part of the fabric of British culture that it is allowed to fester – most often disguised as anti-Zionism – whereas any remarks about and actions against blacks and other ethnic minorities are confronted without delay. Earlier this year, the Jewish Chronicle reported that in 2010 “there were more major antisemitic attacks in Britain last year than in any other diaspora country.”

Using evidence gathered by researchers at Tel Aviv University, The JC.com added: “Almost one in four attacks which took place worldwide happened in Britain …there were 614 incidents worldwide, 144 of which were perpetrated in the UK … while most European countries have either a strong far-right presence, as in Eastern Europe, or a strong Muslim proPalestinian community, as in Western Europe. What is ‘very unique to Britain’ is that is both are strong, and both are perpetrating attacks against Jews.” As non-Brits, the T.A.U. team co-led by Dr Roni Stauber could not possibly begin to understand the daily reality behind the figures and so the reasons for them. Jews have lived in England both openly and covertly since the reign of William 1, even possibly since Roman times. Some stayed secretly after the 1290 expulsion initiated by Edward 1 and there was a further ‘mini-expulsion’ ordered by James I. But they started to drift back during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell when their presence was tolerated if not formally allowed.

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English Antisemitism: In A League Of Its Own?

Lord Justice Leveson

Today, the mainstream Anglo-Jewish community continues to dwindle because of a lowbirth rate and the pull of emigration to Israel and elsewhere. However it is growing rapidly in parts of London and Manchester due to communities made up of ultra-Orthodox Jews which produce large families. As an aside, I speculate whether the future Anglo-Jewish community will be made up exclusively of ‘Haredim’, left to do battle with their mirror-opposite Islamist opponents. I appreciate that neither side wants to know this, but sadly they have much – an embarrassment of riches - in common! Be that as it may, British attitudes are hardened partly because the population is an island race with a xenophobic distrust of and hostility towards any outsider. These feelings became entrenched, partly through the teachings of the Church and also via brilliantly sketched anti-heroic Jewish figures in English literature which have become integral to the mental landscape of anyone who reads, watches a play or views a movie. I do not necessarily agree that figures like Shylock and Fagin are antisemitic. But they help to explain the society which produced them; made them pantomime villains and so deeply etched a certain version of Jews into the public psyche that the average person may find it hard to distinguish the fictional characters from real Jewish people who may be their friends.

All of which brings me to the utterly nauseating antisemitism which is allowed to permeate the online media and a request I have made to the current Leveson Inquiry in London. Lord Justice Leveson (a prominent Jew in private life) is investigating the culture, practice and ethics of the Press following the ‘phone hacking’ scandal in the U.K which reached its height and then closed The News of the World newspaper in July this year.

There is a huge amount of Jew-hatred allowed in readers’ comment sections in the on-line Press. Sadly, it is far worse in a forum like the Telegraph Online than those with notoriously anti-Israel policies like The Guardian. I simply can’t fathom why. Even the Telegraph’s ‘FAQ’ section doesn’t clear up the mess. It states: “My Telegraph is moderated by a dedicated team of moderators here at the Telegraph who investigate reports of unsuitable material that are sent in by users … We moderate to help encourage free, open and civil discussion. We try to delete as little as possible though some content has to be removed, usually for legal reasons, sometimes for taste reasons and always with the aim of keeping the community running smoothly and minimising conflict … “… We don’t read the comments before they go live so that discussions here flow freely. Therefore we rely on readers to complain about anything that is offensive or inappropriate …

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NATALIE WOOD

“The main types of content that we remove are … personal abuse … libellous comments … racist, sexist and homophobic material and comments likely to incite religious hatred. This should be self-explanatory. Generalisations about entire groups of people are never sensible and, in some cases, may be illegal.” (my highlight). “ …we moderate by responding to complaints from readers … Many factors are involved in our decision. The words you use and the context in which the comment is made can affect our decision as much as the content itself. However, we accept that moderation is a subjective business.” So the Telegraph’s policy is confusing, self-contradictory and totally meaningless. If the moderators can’t decide what incites racial hatred then I suggest they need a lawyer to help them. Perhaps Lord Leveson may be their man! I’ve now contacted the Leveson Inquiry and appealed that it widen its brief in order to deal with the problem. My request concludes thus:

“My hope is that the Government's decision to ban online criminals and cyber bullies will be followed by a severe crack-down on internet racism, perhaps under the terms of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.” I have received a standard reply assuring me: “All submissions are read and considered by a member of the Inquiry Team. We may contact you to discuss your submission further in due course, if this is appropriate.” I have a sneaking suspicion I won’t hear from them again. If I’m right, that will be another lost opportunity; another bad day for racial harmony – and another reason for more British Jews to leave the U.K. for overseas.

©Natalie Wood

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SHORT STORY

A New Passover Sacrifice

St. William of Norwich

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NATALIE WOOD

In the Spring of 1144, the Jewish community of Norwich, England was charged with the ritual murder of a 12-year-old boy.

It was the first such accusation to be made anywhere in Europe but there was no allegation of blood being used as a Passover ritual. Such an allegation was first made in Blois, France about 25 years later. These imputations possibly migrated slowly from the Middle East where a late 4th Century blood libel in Syria, recorded by Socrates Scholasticus, went unquestioned.

As present-day Israel supporters often equate hostility to the Jewish State with these ancient libels, my story here attempts to portray how such a calumny would affect the modern Anglo-Jewish community. Easter Saturday March 25 1144

William, a 12-year-old apprentice tanner of Norwich, East Anglia, England, was found dead in Thorpe Wood, a beauty spot on the eastern outskirts of the city.

William’s body was first discovered dressed only in a jacket and shoes, bearing strange wounds with a wooden gag pushed into his mouth.

© Natalie Wood

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


SHORT STORY

Chapter 1 Easter Saturday Evening, April 07 2012 (Second Night Passover) Ricky was picking miserably at his food.

“What’s the matter? Aren’t you well?”, asked his mother. “It can’t be that we’re not observing Passover too strictly – that never seems to bother you!” “Sorry, Mum. I’m not hungry. I’m really upset by something I saw on Facebook before I came downstairs.” “Nu?”

“It’s about Walid. Y’know …” “Of course, I know.

“Mum, you don’t know.” Ricky put down his fork and pushed his plate away.

“Walid’s not been seen since you drove him home on Monday – he’s not even replied to any messages or voice mails. Now Kevin Mason has posted a status update saying he’s been found dead in Thorpe Wood.” “Walid? Thorpe Wood?”, echoed Ellen Lever.

“But that’s out of town. You remember that he didn’t want to hang around here while you had your barmitzvah lesson? Well, when we got into town he asked me to let him out near The Tannery. He wanted to buy his mother a coin purse for Easter designed like those he’d seen at the souq in Acco. He must have been saving hard. They’re not cheap! “He’s such a sweet kid. If your Dad were still here, he’d be delighted that you’re good friends with the Ibrahim family. It’s the sort of relationship he’d worked so long to promote …” Ellen broke off and sighed.

“I won’t call Samira as I don’t want her to worry for no reason. There’s probably a good explanation for everything – and I’m still looking forward to seeing them all in synagogue on your big day. Now let’s look at television to see if there’s an item about Thorpe Wood.”

But even as she switched on, Jonathan Wills of Anglia Tonight was speaking from the wood in front of a tented area cordoned off by police barrier tape. “The body of a boy, estimated to be aged 11 – 12 years-old was found today here in Thorpe Wood. Police have confirmed that the corpse was covered in sand but have released no further details.” Ellen’s phone rang.

“Mrs Lever? Hi, this is Alex Bennett from the synagogue. I’ve got to cut this short. My call is not directly about Ricky but about an Arab lad named Walid Ibrahim. I believe the boys are – or were - close friends at Norwich School.”

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NATALIE WOOD

Ellen, finding it hard to comprehend what was happening, did not know how to react.

“What? Can you tell me exactly what’s going on and I’ll relay the details to Ricky as gently as possible?”

“I can’t do that. As the lay minister at Norwich Hebrew Congregation, the Police came to me first to help them liaise with potential witnesses. They prefer to meet us at the synagogue than at Bethel Street Station. “But why …?

“Mrs Lever, I urge you not to ask me more questions now, but to bring Ricky to an emergency meeting at the synagogue at 8.30 a.m. tomorrow.”

Chapter 2 Easter Sunday, April 08 2012 (Second Day Passover)

When the Levers arrived at the synagogue, they found Mr Bennett with other committee members and Rabbi Stephen Howard representing the Progressive Jewish Community of East Anglia. They were in deep conversation with police personnel and Steffan Griffiths, the recently appointed head master of Norwich School. “The news could not be worse,” Chief Superintendent Les Parrett was saying as they entered the room. “It is difficult in the first instance to describe the Ibrahims’s grief at their loss. What’s happened to Walid almost defies description. As it is such a delicate matter I will lead the investigation myself.

“Under the exceptional circumstances, William Armstrong, the Greater Norfolk Coroner, has ordered an emergency autopsy for tomorrow so the family may then arrange to take Walid home to Acre (‘Acco’) in Israel for burial. It is the custom for Christian Arabs to arrange a western-style funeral a couple of days after a death. We feel we must allow them that privilege. “Abbud and Samira Ibrahim are PhD research students in Language and Communication Studies at the University of East Anglia. “I understand, added Mr Parrett, nodding at the Levers “that they were friendly with local Jewish academics and that Walid and Ricky were very close.” “That is correct”, interjected Mr Griffiths. “Walid was a popular Year 7 student and intellectually most able.

“Norfolk School is a ‘cathedral school’, but we ensure that pupils from minority backgrounds feel comfortable. It is interesting that our roll of distinguished past pupils includes Lord Mancroft – a scion of a distinguished Jewish family.” © Natalie Wood

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SHORT STORY

Chapter 2 (Continued) Chief Superintendent Parrett chatted to Ricky and then asked the community support officer to take him home while he described the police findings in full. “Walid’s body bears all the hallmarks of a ritualistic paedophile attack. His body was only partially dressed, as we expect in these cases. But his head bore a crown of thorns and the initial forensic examination by our police surgeon based at Thorpewood Medical Practice also discovered stigmata-type stab wounds on his body and a wooden crucifix-shoved in his mouth. Was the murderer simply mocking the Easter Passion or was it an attempt to implicate others? These are questions we must answer if we are to solve the case.”

Mr Parrett continued: “What I have to say now is also distressing. Do any of you know a Professor Theo Sutton from the University of Cambridge? He has been among the first to suggest possible Jewish involvement in Walid’s disappearance and has made staggering allegations concerning Jewish practice.”

Ellen snorted. “That won’t surprise many Jewish people here, Mr Parrett. Professor Sutton – né Tuvia Ben-Tzion Schlager – is from a family of noted Talmudic scholars. He renounced Judaism, converted to Christianity and is – hmm – most vocal in his criticisms of our community and the State of Israel. I’d like to know if he’s put any of his allegations in writing!” “We’ll take note of what you’ve said but I must advise you that we’re also concerned that unauthorised persons may have been at Thorpe Wood. All news outlets have received disturbing pictures of Walid sent anonymously via iwitness24. “They have agreed not to publish them but they may be from the same clown who has circulated a note reading ‘The Juews are the men that will not be blamed for nothing’ and signed as ‘Jake The Ripper’.

“And there’s another reason why I arranged for us to meet here. While British news outlets have agreed not to publish the pictures, we have no control over the social networking sites which are heaving with speculation and innuendo about Walid. Many people automatically believe he was Moslem so along with tribute pages there’s a noticeable overall increase in online antisemitism.” As Mr Parrett stopped speaking, everyone else felt paralysed by the spiralling events and looked on helplessly while congregation elder, Eliezer Baum rose as if to speak but collapsed in pain. “Call for an ambulance,” he croaked. “I’m having an angina attack. Please don’t let me become another statistic of anti-Jewish hatred.”

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


NATALIE WOOD

Chapter 3 Easter Monday and Tuesday, April 09 and 10 2012 (Third and Fourth Days Passover) Prime Minister David Cameron was in private session at Chequers during the Bank Holiday when the Chief Rabbi called. “Good morning, Chief Rabbi. I’m going to Norwich later today and would appreciate your company,” he said. “I believe the riot there last night was relatively short but that the synagogue in - let’s see Earlham Road - sustained quite severe damage. I’ll ensure the congregation receives a financial grant to make good the losses.” “A grant?”, exploded Lord Sacks. “One of the community elders is dangerously ill following a heart attack; several of the congregation’s most holy items have been desecrated and many people in public life are now spreading anti-Jewish hatred quite freely.

“Some of my lay leaders, knowing what happened in Norwich during the historic past are saying that once more, they are being challenged to stand for ‘trial by ordeal’. I don’t think it’s the time to talk about money – but moral restitution. “Yes, I too would appreciate your company tonight, when I will conduct a service in what remains of the synagogue and you will witness a community in mourning that is anxious to learn what you can do for them as fellow British citizens.” -------

To help restore some calm, British media outlets again agreed to an almost total news blackout and on the morning after the memorial meeting only brief details from a Downing Street Press Release were published.. So the public was largely unaware of the wall of almost stifling warm support that local Jews received from official sources. Councillor Jenny Lay, the Lord Mayor of Norwich, offered a 24hour police watch on private Jewish property and also invited particularly vulnerable Jewish residents to have an over-night stay in a city-centre hotel “where they can be looked after.”

“We mustn’t have this very gracious help made public,” said Vivian Wineman of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. “We don’t want more talk of an ‘international Jewish conspiracy’ or of our ‘exerting undue influence.’”

© Natalie Wood

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SHORT STORY

Chapter 4 Wednesday and Thursday, April 11 and 12 2012 (Fifth and Sixth Days Passover) On Wednesday morning, Ellen was clearing up after breakfast when Mr Parrett called to ask her to visit the station for ‘a chat’. “We’ve got a bit of a problem, Ellen,” he said inviting her to sit down. “You’re welcome to call your solicitor if you wish.” “Please tell me why I am here and why I may need a lawyer.” “Do you know Maria Hadley?”

“Only very slightly. She’s the cleaner at the B & B across the road from the synagogue and also works occasionally at the synagogue.” “I need you to tell me again exactly what happened when you drove Walid into town last week. ”

“I was going to take him home but he asked me to stop instead near The Royal Arcade so he could buy something for his mother from The Tannery. I did so; he thanked me very politely and that is the last time we spoke.” “What time was that?”

“About 5.15 p.m. Walid hoped the shop would still be open when he got there and said he would get a bus home.”

“But Ellen, Mrs Hadley has a different version. She claims that as she left Beaufort Lodge at 6.00 p.m. after doing an extra shift, she caught a glimpse of you and Mr Baum with two younger men leaving the synagogue.

“She says you were all struggling with a cumbersome-looking bag which would have been big enough to hold a child of Walid’s age. She saw the bag being loaded into the back of a silver Skoda Estate car which then headed in the general direction of Thorpe Wood.” “Superintendent, please let’s talk common sense here,” Ellen retorted.

“I can prove that I was back home on Monday evening by 6.00 p.m. Further, I drive a small Fiat which would have been left in the street if I had been driven away in another car.

“Last, it would have been impossible for anyone to judge the vehicle’s intended destination as it turned out of Earlham Road. I think Maria’s desire to be public spirited has overtaken her sense of … her ability to tell the truth. Her story is a pack of transparent lies. “If the events of the past few days had not been so dreadful, many of us in the Jewish community would begin to indulge in some black humour. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


NATALIE WOOD

Mr Parrett, I realise you’re anxious to find Walid’s murderer and I wish I could help you further. My deepest regret is that I left him vulnerable to attack by not taking him home. I’ve already been punished. I’ll live with this for the rest of my own life.” ------------Late on Wednesday evening, Chief Superintendent Parrett was about to clock off after a long, fruitless day when he got a call from officers on ‘active patrol’ near Thorpe Wood. They had arrested a couple of men who had pushed their way through the barriers and had got as far as the original burial-site. Mr Parrett removed his coat and made himself another coffee. It was going to be an even longer, harder night. ------------At 8.10 a.m. on Thursday a news flash on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme brought the tweeters out in a frenzy.

Presenter Evan Davis broke off an interview with the Chancellor for a live report from Graham Barnard of BBC Radio Norfolk: “We’ve just learned that two men in their 40s have been arrested in connection with the Easter murder of Walid Ibrahim. A woman aged 63 has also been taken in for questioning. “The police have released no further details and as yet there has been no statement from any Jewish spokesperson, either in Norwich or London.”

Chapter 5 Saturday Evening December 08 2012 (Eve of Chanucah)

“Mum”, said Ricky, “I feel like going out this evening. D’you mind if I ask Keith and Greg if they fancy a few games at the Hollywood Bowl?” “Wow! Of course not! I’m relieved that you’re starting to pick up on your social life again. But my lad - cool – or un-cool – you guys are going to be driven there and back by me or one of the other mums. No argument! “Meanwhile, I’ve got some really good news for you,” added Ellen.

“As you didn’t have a party for your barmitzvah, we’ve got the cash for a trip to Israel during the school holiday.

“I had a long chat with Samira and Abbud by Skype this afternoon and they’ve invited us to spend a couple of days with them. So it’ll be a multi-stop tour – Eilat, Jerusalem and then Acco – a great first taste of Israel for us both. “The Ibrahims’s have decided to stay in Israel to complete their research at the University of Haifa but will maintain links here. I’ve also invited them to stay with us when they return for the start of the court case in February.” © Natalie Wood

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SHORT STORY

Chapter 6 Wednesday March 20 2013 (Eastern Daily Press Report) ‘Easter ‘Paedo Killer’ Given ‘Whole Life’ Term’ The notorious ‘Easter Passion’ killer was today jailed for the rest of his life.

Roger Mason, 45, of Elm Hill, Norwich was convicted at Bristol Crown Court for the murder of 12-year-old Norwich resident, Walid Ibrahim in April last year.

Mr Justice Field, summing up “one of the most difficult and painful cases of my career”, described Mason as a “remorseless and bestial sexual predator without conscience.” The case had received so much pre-trial media attention, both in Britain and overseas, that it was held in Bristol rather than Norwich to allow a fair hearing.

The court heard that Mason, a part-time University of East Anglia lecturer with links to the University of Cambridge was apparently a contented family man with a 12-year-old son. But he had a secret life as a sexual predator. The police snatched thousands of pornographic pictures of young boys on several computers, both at his home and in his rooms at the UEA and even at Cambridge. Mason knew his victim, Walid Ibrahim, through his own son, Kevin. They were both pupils at Norwich School. When he spotted Walid at the Royal Arcade, Norwich, in the early evening of 02 April last year, he offered him a lift home. Instead, he took him to Thorpe Wood on the outskirts of the city where he raped and murdered him before subjecting the corpse to a mock crucifixion. What has made this case different from similar child sex-related murders is that Mason was also a member of several extreme neo-Fascist groups throughout Europe and the U.S. He viewed the murder of Walid as an attack on Moslem Arabs (although the boy was Christian) and a chance to implicate Jews in an ‘international conspiracy’.

Mason took pictures of Walid’s corpse after the attack and posted them on several news-sites, even using his son’s Facebook account to spread the story.

He was aided and abetted by Professor Theo Sutton, 48, a senior colleague at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, who had seized an opportunity to wreak vengeance on the Jewish community into which he had been born.

Sutton, of Madingley Road, Cambridge and 63-year-old Maria Hadley, a domestic of Earlham, Norwich who is also implicated in the affair, have not yet been sentenced. Their cases have been adjourned until after the Easter holiday.

© Natalie Wood © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


NATALIE WOOD

This story was conceived and written before the recent murders at the Ozer HaTorah School in Toulouse, France and in no way relates to that incident. – N.I.W.

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KARMIEL “When Israel has prostitutes and thieves, we’ll be a state just like any other.”

Don’t Blame Our Arab Neighbo Naive, I know. But I was astounded, soon after settling in Karmiel, Northern Israel, to learn of local Jewish kids with drink and drugs problems.

I was also staggered to catch a couple of lads uprooting a sapling outside the library. My Hebrew is woefully limited but I managed to stop them – if only temporarily – by giving them the ‘Gorgon eye’. Then a fellow immigrant described how he disturbed a potential burglar while at home in broad daylight and advised us all to update our security. Meanwhile I met a school student whose mother helps ‘children at risk‘and a friend began working as a volunteer art teacher with difficult teenagers. She says it’s a tough class! Jewish kids? In the Jewish State? Surely not! This can’t be!

But I also remembered the prophetic words of founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. He said: “When Israel has prostitutes and thieves, we’ll be a state just like any other.” So I’m sharing the loveliest part of the Galilee with the darker shades and sunnier hues of Israel’s ‘rainbow nation’ and I get hopping mad when only our Arab neighbours are blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong. The latest episode at the nearby gated community of Shorashim is such a case but it didn’t receive much publicity as it was reported during the storm about the Saudi Arabian internet ‘hackers’ who stole and then published the details of thousands of Israeli credit cards owners. Indeed I learned about the local break-in only by chance, while reading an entry in the Galilee Diary penned by Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein, himself a Shorashim resident.

I’m re-posting his piece with slight amendments to allow for easier reading by a mixed audience. Using the title Crime Watch (coincidentally the name of a popular U.K. television crime reconstruction show), he wrote: “On a recent Friday night three homes on Shorashim were burgled - this time in the early evening hours when the residents were out at Sabbath services or having dinner with neighbours.

“One of the homes, based on past experience, was protected by an alarm and a safe (which was taken). Such depressing occurrences recur in waves; it seems that every several months there is some activity, people take extra precautions that make them feel a bit more secure, it is quiet for a while, and then - another hit. The premises are surrounded by a chain link fence topped with barbed wire, but there are gaps, and if you’re motivated, it’s not so hard to get over, under, or around it. There is a security guard on duty from midnight to 5.00 a.m., manning the entrance gate and patrolling the internal streets periodically. There is a massive iron gate at the entrance, which can only be opened by a signal from a cell phone that is registered to a resident of the community. This is often inconvenient, makes some people feel secure and others feel like colonialists - and is, apparently, not all that helpful. And of course Shorashim is no different from the dozens of other somewhat isolated rural communities scattered around the country.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


NATALIE WOOD - Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

ours For Everything! “We are all nostalgic for the good old days, 20 years ago, when we seemed to live a kind of idyllic pastoral life out here in the periphery, bragging to our city friends that we didn’t even carry a key to the front door. What has changed? Is it just that we are less naïve now? Or is it that our standard of living has risen, our homes having gotten larger and more stocked with stuff that is tempting to steal? Or has the degree of economic inequality increased, so that there are more desperate people looking for a way to survive? “Or is it perhaps that the ineffectuality of the law enforcement system in dealing with this type of crime has made it a worthwhile venture for more people? Or perhaps organised crime has permeated the local under-class, providing incentives and mechanisms for moving stolen goods? Or could it be a rise in drug addiction in Arab villages? All of the above? “For the new residents who left the city seeking that pastoral idyll, this reality is daunting, and they tend to like to see the gate kept closed, and are eager to volunteer for neighbourhood-watch patrols. And among newbies and veterans alike safes and alarm systems and reinforced doors are popular home improvements.

“Then there are those (I’m not sure if they’re the majority or the minority) who sort of ignore the whole thing; they just lock their doors (mostly) and hope for the best. Maybe they are fatalists, figuring that there is no fool-proof defence in any case; maybe they value their feeling of freedom more than their stuff; maybe they are just naïve/lazy (it won’t happen to me). What seems to be fairly certain is that the problem is not going to go away soon, nor be solved by any particular security measure, nor is anyone, no matter how security-conscious, immune. “More than just a nationalist movement, Zionism has always been rooted in the Jewish messianic tradition, and Jews - both in the state and in the Diaspora - have tended to expect that somehow our state would be different, better, “the first flowering of our redemption.” At the same time, another powerful component of the Zionist vision was “normalization:” Finally, we would be a normal nation, just like everyone else.

“Out here in the ‘boonies’ (rural country), at the moment, through the bars on the windows, it looks like normalization has trumped messianism. But we’ve only just begun; the question is, where do we go from here?” The answers, Rabbi Rosenstein, are clear: • •

Don’t complain about uneven security. For Heaven’s sake, don’t blame the Arabs for everything.

These measures could stop a profound cynic and TV Crime Watch devotee like me suggesting that there may be young people at home feeling so trapped ‘in the boonies’ that they are desperate enough to break out by breaking in.

© Natalie Wood

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


NATALIE WOOD

First-born Jewish baby boy being blessed at a traditional Pidyon Ha'Ben ceremony. His Brit Mila (circumcision) had taken place when he was eight days old.

Pic Š Natalie Wood

Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


KARMIEL

This short story is an attempt to portray the external hatred and internal conflicts that trouble the Jewish community over male circumcision, particularly when occasional injuries or even deaths occur in the infants involved. Natalie has also used the opportunity to highlight the deep-seated prejudices often held by members of the mainstream Orthodox Jewish community against its Progressive counterpart.

‘His Memory For A Blessing’ Natalie Wood Gillie shook her husband awake.

“Andy, sweetheart. It’s 8.00 a.m. You’ve thrashed about all night, moaning in your sleep. You’re not well. If you’re able to dress, I’ll take you to see Dr Lewis.” “What? Oh, God! I don’t think I’m ill – just –

“I got home after midnight and crept into bed so as not to disturb you. I nodded off the moment my head hit the pillow, but was plagued with terrible, feverish dreams. Let me get in the shower, then we’ll talk.” When Andy shuffled downstairs, he found Gillie hunched on the sofa staring into space. “Well …?”

Andy shook his head as he dropped down beside her.

“I’m O.K., physically. It’s what happened yesterday. Yom Kippur this year should have been extra special. What higher honour than to circumcise a baby on the Day of Atonement? What greater pleasure than to do it before a full, loving congregation? But this …” © Natalie Wood

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HIS MEMORY FOR A BLESSING

“Did you try to call me after the fast ended? I switched off all communication. I didn’t want to speak to - see anyone. I couldn’t eat and just sipped some tea.” “Same here - and no, I didn’t call. I wanted to wait until we were together. There was an emergency executive meeting immediately after services. Unsurprisingly, I’m no longer rabbi and mohel (ritual circumciser) to Southborough Hebrew Congregation. I resigned at once.

“But I’m likely to be sued for assault and could go to prison. For crying out loud, people I consider my friends were talking of ‘criminal negligence’. You know how ‘things are never so bad that they won’t get worse.’ As I related my version of events, I heard Sid Rubens call me ‘a baby killer’. “Darling, that was the last straw. I overreacted; forgot myself, lashed out at him and made his lip bleed.

“’Well,’ muttered Sid, muffled behind a tissue, ‘you can lead a lad to Torah but you can’t take the goy out of the boy!’ How I restrained myself then, heaven alone knows. What’s the point in advising someone with such deep prejudices that it’s forbidden to remind a convert of his origins? “How can I even begin to explain to an ignorant bully my troubled journey here? The half life-time I spent studying medicine; my entry into Judaism and then fairly starting over when I decided to re-train as a rabbi? “Huh,” said Gillie, taking hold of her husband’s hands. “How dare he? His wife, Poppy’s also a Reform convert. His family disowned him when they got married, so their situation is quite familiar! “To cut my own story short, I’ve also been drowning in muck. Before I could leave the synagogue car park, the Lawsons waylaid me, screaming vile insults.

“The old lady – the sweet-faced grandma – called me a ‘shiksele whore’ who should be jailed. But most distressing was seeing Ellen staring at me in the background, wailing wordlessly, ceaselessly, like a betrayed and wounded animal. We’d become very good friends. But that aside, as a woman and a mother who’s also lost a baby, how could my own heart not break? Once home, I did some research on the web and then shut everything down. I’ll tell you more later.” “Hmm! As it took the couple several years to conceive, I wonder if there was an inherent problem – perhaps a defective gene -which didn’t emerge during fertility tests. “Unlikely, I appreciate, but whatever the reason, I keep re-playing the scene in my head, seeing that lively, handsome little fellow suddenly become a wrinkled, lifeless scrap as his uncle held him on his lap.

“Gillie, it seemed almost unreasonable, the way he stopped whimpering, then breathing and simply slipped away as I swabbed the wound. I’m sure I’m blameless and that the autopsy will prove it.

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NATALIE WOOD

“Of course you are”, said Gillie. “But we both know that whatever happens to you personally, the anti-circumcision lobby will gnaw this juicy bone until it splinters. Remember, it was only the personal intervention of Chancellor Angela Merkel that halted anti-circumcision measures in Germany this year.” “But we’ve also got the problem of the child’s Jewish identity,” Andy reminded her.

“Matters will get grimmer yet when Ellen and Phil realise their sweet boy died without a Hebrew name and that there’s no place in mainstream Jewish tradition for a funeral of a new-born infant. It’s as well that congregations like ours are more sympathetic. If and when they feel like talking civilly, I’ll discuss the possibilities of a formal funeral and later, a headstone setting.”

“First things, first, said Gillie. We could both do with some breakfast and then one of us should make an appointment for you to see Rob Stevenson at Simmons, Adam. This is what I wanted to tell you. My web research brought up a link to a story which appeared in the Jewish Chronicle a couple of years ago. A case echoing ours was resolved when it was decided that the boy died from ‘sudden infant death syndrome’ and the coroner ruled ‘death by natural causes’.” “Anything’s possible,” mused Andy, a little brighter. “How about scrambled eggs, toast and tea?”

“Those are the best English words I’ve heard for almost 48 hours,” said Gillie, as she switched her phone back on.

“By the way,” said Andy, “here’s a little dry irony to dunk in your tea. Just before the fast began I counselled a potential member who wants to convert. He was brought up in a Christian evangelical home but he believes he’s from Jewish stock. I’m revealing a confidence that I shouldn’t for this reason: He was passed on to us after being rejected for conversion by an Orthodox beth din (rabbinical court) as he’s a haemophiliac and can’t be circumcised.” “A classic Orthodox reaction -” said Gillie, “ – to use us as a dustbin for one of their rejects. I’ll make sure he’s made very welcome. Once you’re reinstated, of course!”

© Natalie Wood

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


Š www.liveencounters.net november annual 2012 2012


INTERVIEW

Peter Gonsalves

Salesian Pontifical University, Rome author of Khadi: Gandhi’s Mega Symbol of Subversion speaks to Mark Ulyseas “My book is not about khadi. It is about Gandhi’s subversive symbolization through khadi. It therefore emphasizes the symbolic role that khadi played in the freedom struggle. Therefore, I am personally indifferent to the relevance or irrelevance of khadi today.

But, people do benefit and even profit from its relevance today. It is relevant and salutary to those who strive to follow in the huge footsteps of Gandhi. These are the social activists and community workers who dedicate their lives to the liberation of the millions at the bottom of India’s stratified pyramid. Then there are those who abuse the historical credibility that khadi has to promote their own interests – whether it be to impress the public or to win the elections. There is a third group that, motivated by pecuniary concerns, has tried to reinstate khadi as a popular fashion statement suitable for public performances and ceremonies.” - Peter Gonsalves

Published by Sage Publications © Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Why did you write Khadi: Gandhi’s Mega Symbol of Subversion? The story of India’s independence has always amazed me. How was it possible for one puny individual to bring down the largest empire in the history of the world. The standard answer of course was by the power of truth and non-violence. But the more I reflected, the more I was convinced that a powerful communication strategy was necessary. I also noticed that well-known Gandhian biographies paid scant attention to Gandhi’s repeated insistence on the promotion of khadi, almost as if it was irrelevant to the political agenda for an independent India. Since I was interested in the field of communication and particularly concerned about the promotion of Media Education in India, I believed that Gandhi’s khadi revolution provided the key to the powerful impact his leadership had on the 300 million diverse, stratified and dispersed people. On reading Indian history from a communication perspective, I was convinced that I needed to highlight the efficacy and uniqueness of Gandhi’s sartorial strategy for purna swaraj.

How did you write it?

In 2005, while I prepared for my doctorate in the Faculty of Communications at Salesian University, Rome, I considered analysing Gandhi’s communication ability to use cloth and clothing for India’s liberation. My aim was to use three theories of communication as a framework for the analysis. This study was published by SAGE publications in 2010 as, Clothing for Liberation. However, no such analysis would have been possible without a prior investigation into the history of Gandhi’s Swadeshi Movement. While doing this, I felt I needed to go deeper into history in order to contrast Gandhi’s words and actions on the basis of what he had inherited. This opened my eyes to the subversive nature of his interventions. My book therefore is at pains to show how Gandhi actually turned Indian history on its head singlehandedly! By the power of his Truth. That’s why, Khadi: Gandhi’s Mega Symbol of Subversion. It is not just a historical account of the khadi movement. It is a detailed, multi-disciplinary study of the non-violent subversion of one man who conceived, designed and managed the largest sartorial communication revolution that hastened the end of colonialism across the globe. I have tried to prove that Gandhi’s place as a political communicator is historically unparalleled.

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PETER GONSALVES

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INTERVIEW

How relevant is Khadi in 21st century India? Before I answer this question, permit me to put the focus of my book in perspective. My book is not about khadi. It is about Gandhi’s subversive symbolization through khadi. It therefore emphasizes the symbolic role that khadi played in the freedom struggle. Therefore, I am personally indifferent to the relevance or irrelevance of khadi today. But, people do benefit and even profit from its relevance today. It is relevant and salutary to those who strive to follow in the huge footsteps of Gandhi . These are the social activists and community workers who dedicate their lives to the liberation of the millions at the bottom of India’s stratified pyramid. Then there are those who abuse the historical credibility that khadi has to promote their own interests – whether it be to impress the public or to win the elections. There is a third group that, motivated by pecuniary concerns, has tried to reinstate khadi as a popular fashion statement suitable for public performances and ceremonies. The traditional economic relevance of khadi as the coarse home-spun cloth of the constructive programme for village development is almost history. Most of the varieties available are millmade, colourful and more refined – that poorer Indian would hardly afford. In general, people do wear it out of a sense of patriotism especially on national feast days or at religious festivals.

Does his symbol resonate among the masses today, or, has this been subverted by the politics of caste, religious fundamentalism or manic consumerism?

I have partly answered this question in the previous entry. Yes, Gandhi’s symbol has been usurped by politicians to curry favour the masses. By dressing in khadi the wearer tries to show that he/ she is linked to the same values and goals of the Gandhi-led independence movement, and in doing so hopes to convince their audience. Unfortunately, because many politicians are corrupt in India today, wearing khadi is takes on a negative meaning that reminds one of corrupt government workers who love to garland Gandhi’s statues or pictures on his birthday (October 2nd).

Could you kindly give us a glimpse of your life and work?

I am an Indian from Mumbai, and a Catholic Priest who belongs to an international educational organization called ‘Salesians of Don Bosco’. My desire to learn more about Gandhi grew out of three major experiences in my life: First, my work in a rural parish in Ahmednagar (about 200 kms from Bombay), a drought stricken area that has had a long history of famines. While combining social work with my priestly ministry, I realized the importance of self-sustainable socio-economic growth that would enable poor peasants become the protagonists of their own dignity and development (Gandhi’s emphasis on swadesh was for swaraj.) Second, as a director

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PETER GONSALVES

of a publishing house in Mumbai, I saw the need for making school education more life-based. We produced manuals to help educators implement, what we called, ‘Quality Life Education’. One of them was my own work: Exercises in Media Education, on which were based about 40 teacher-training courses all over India. The goal was to teach young people to develop a critical appreciation of media productions. Here is where I became interested in the vast field of communications and where I first began to design and produce media products for education. The third experience that forms a background to the theme of my books is my work in Rome. I was put in charge of a web-designing team that was to set up a five-language website for the international Salesian Society. This brought me in touch with people of different cultures and heightened my awareness of promoting peace.

When the work on the website was completed I enrolled for my doctoral studies at the Faculty of Communications, Salesian University, Rome. Here is where I chose to study Gandhi for three years under the guidance of Tadeusz Lewicki, professor of semiotics and theatre studies. I now teach the history of communications and peace communication at the same Faculty.

What is your message for the readers of Live Encounters?

My message? Nothing other than Gandhi’s own message to youth: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ If each of us made an effort to first live by the values we profess (presuming that we still have ideals we look up to) before we rush to find fault in others, our world would be a different place. The Live Encounter we seek can become a life-enriching encounter only when we learn to live responsible lives.

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


PHILIP CASEY

Pic © Karina Casey

© www.liveencounters.net june annual 2012 2012


INTERVIEW

Philip Casey

speaks to Mark Ulyseas in an exclusive interview

Well known Irish Poet, Writer, Editor and member of Aosdána, which honours artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the Arts in Ireland, speaks candidly on his life, work, Irish Writers Online and A Guide to Irish Culture.

“There are people who think writers are elitist loafers and leeches and never do a day’s work, and while the Catholic Church was at its most powerful and obscurantist in the 1940s and 1950s, books were banned and writers were hounded from their jobs, a notable case being the novelist and short-story writer John McGahern. Most writers of note had to leave the country. Today is a different matter, and I think there is a general respect for writing as a profession. I know that writing friends from abroad have commented on the fact that if you declare yourself to be a writer in Ireland, nobody thinks it’s strange!” - Philip Casey

Twitter@Philip_Casey . Philip Casey’s Website . Slimming for the Beach . Irish Literary Revival © Mark Ulyseas

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INTERVIEW

“...reading and dreaming is a significant part of being a writer – maybe even more so for a poet. The peculiar thing about poetry is that a lifetime’s experience can be distilled into a few lines...” Could you share with the readers a glimpse of your life and work?

I was born in London in 1950 to Irish parents, grew up in Co Wexford (South-East Ireland) on my parents’ farm, spent a long time in hospital in my teens, and moved to Dublin in 1971. I emigrated to Barcelona in 1974, just as the Franco era was ending, and was at a champagne party the night the Generalissimo died. I returned to Dublin just after the first free elections in Spain in 1974, and after a few years of trying to be respectable, decided I was a round peg in a square hole, and that all I wanted to do was write. I gave up my job, and survived on very little. I was 29, and the following year I published my first book of verse. I’ve since published four collections in all, and three novels. I’ve also written a children’s novel which I hope will be published over the next year or so, and am presently writing non-fiction.

Why do you write?

As a child I told stories to my brothers (my sister was a late arrival) and as a teenager I wrote songs. One night on Irish radio I heard a poetry programme. ‘I can do that,’ I told myself. To put that in context I was living in the countryside with little access to books, TV wasn’t common, and needless to say there was no such thing as the internet. Moreover, I was a late starter in secondary school because of long periods in hospital, and was only vaguely aware of literature until I did. So I’ve always had the impulse to create. Actually while I was in hospital for the third time in my teens I won my first literary prize – for an essay on Keats.

I always try to avoid writing, especially novels or non-fiction. It’s only when I’ve nowhere else to turn that I give in and write. Perhaps it’s a delay tactic to wait until I’m ready to write! On the other hand if I don’t write or am prevented from writing by one circumstance or another, I get ill. I’d like to get back to writing poems, but I’ve written only a handful since my last collection, and there’s a novel I want to write after I’ve finished the present non-fiction work. In a nutshell I write because I have to and I don’t really want to do anything else.

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PHILIP CASEY

Is there such a thing as a full time poet or writer? I certainly think of myself as a full-time writer. Of course, like most writers I can spend a long time staring through windows, friends often call unannounced, I’m asked to read a lot of manuscripts, or books, and there are a million excuses not to write. So it’s not like a proper job, 9-5. On the other hand, a writer is always on call, so to speak. And reading and dreaming is a significant part of being a writer – maybe even more so for a poet. The peculiar thing about poetry is that a lifetime’s experience can be distilled into a few lines, though I think any poet is lucky if he or she leaves behind one durable poem. To leave more than half a dozen durable poems is to be a great poet.

What is the responsibility of a poet or writer to society?

I think a lot about society, both in Ireland and abroad. I’m very interested in history and politics, and having lived through the dying days of Fascism in Spain, I’m worried about its resurgence in Europe and how so-called austerity is facilitating its success. I’m passionate about creating a world without fossil fuels. I’m optimistic about how technology can help create a better world if it is matched with a generous society. Yet I think it would be a mistake for me to enter politics per se. I hope I can best contribute to society through what I think I do best – my literary work. My current non-fiction is on an aspect of Irish history both in Ireland itself and amongst the Irish diaspora, which I hope will make readers think about how ‘the other’ is treated in society. How one treats ‘the other’ is a fundamental measure of any society.

When did you start Irish Writers Online?

I’m not sure exactly when I started Irish Writers Online. The Internet Archive has a record of 20th Century Irish Writers, which is what it was called then, from 1999, but I think I started it a few years earlier. I had learned some basic html, and had made a little website for myself called The Fabulists, after my first novel, and I thought as I was promoting my own work, why not promote that of my writer friends too? Naturally I had to call it something else once the 20th century ended, and so Irish Writers Online was born, with its own dedicated website. It is now accessed by lovers of literature, students, academics, writers and media from all over the world, and presently lists concise bio-bibliographies of more than 600 Irish writers. I’ve lately been adding images and videos where they are available. Irish Culture Guide is its sister site, and that has over 1,000 descriptive links to websites featuring aspects of Irish Culture. It’s not quite as well-known as Irish Writers Online but has been gaining slowly in popularity. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Does the Irish Literary community get funding from either the State or Private donors? There are various private sponsors such as Hennessey Brandy, which co-sponsors with state bodies the New Irish Writing series, long established in various Irish newspapers, and most recently in The Irish Independent. The Irish Times, for example, has also sponsored prizes for both fiction and poetry, as well as the annual theatre awards. There are also prizes The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award which is the richest of its kind in the world, though of course that is open to international writers also. However Irish writer Edna O’Brien won it in 2011. Then there is The Michael Harnett Award for poetry, commemorating perhaps the finest Irish poet in both languages. The main funding for literature, however, is from the State in the form of bursaries and support for publication of books and magazines. It also funds a unique institution known as Aosdána. The word comes from an ancient Irish term for people of the arts, aes dána. It honours those artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland, and encourages and assists members in devoting their energies fully to their art. Those whose income is solely from writing and/or is below a certain threshold, receive a stipend known as the cnuas. I’m privileged to be a member of Aosdána and can vouch that its monetary support changed my life.

Has the internet helped promote the Irish literary community monetarily? And has the growing popularity of the Kindle affected the sale of printed books?

I don’t know if I can answer this question directly. Of course it has helped writers in all sorts of ways, from cutting postage costs (most agents and publishers accept email submissions now), facilitating newsletters, to readers buying their books on Amazon or Irish web shops or indeed directly from their publishers – you can see a list of both Irish bookshops on the web and Irish publishers at the bottom of the page on Irish Writers Online. Many, not most, Irish writers have their own website, and some, not many, are on Facebook and Twitter. In other words, Irish writers are like writers in most countries in this regard. As for ebooks, I see some writers publishing direct to Kindle, but as yet not many. I don’t own a Kindle and probably won’t, as I believe in open formats and I distrust the Kindle’s proprietary format . I do however sometimes read ebooks, mostly free classics, on my old smart phone and I think as the technology evolves and open formats become better appreciated then writers will be more comfortable with e-publishing.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


PHILIP CASEY

Some of Philip Casey published works... The Year of the Knife (Poems 1980 – 1990), After Thunder, The Fabulists, The Fisher Child, The Water Star, Dialogue in Fading Light, completed a children’s novel, The Tins & the Pale Lady ( a chapter will be published in a prestigious Brazilian journal in 2012); And many more, including work in progress nonfiction that is on an aspect of Irish history both in Ireland itself and amongst the Irish diaspora.

We are all caught up in the great wild web and this has given rise to copyright infringement and plagiarism. How has it affected the Irish literary community? There was some concern and puzzlement about the Google Books Agreement a year or two ago, but otherwise I’m not aware of significant copyright infringement or plagiarism. Which is not to say that it doesn’t exist. Several Irish writers including myself have made some of our work freely available under a Creative Commons Licence, which allows a reader to download the work and distribute it but (in our case) not change it or profit from it. Have a look at Irish Literary Revival and my own website and the Creative Commons website for more detail.

Do you think Media (Print and Electronic) in Ireland has helped promote writers and poets? And can they do more for the struggling community?

Of course there’s always a clamour for more to be done, but I think Ireland is relatively fortunate in that the media, particularly The Irish Times, give good coverage of books, and usually publishes a poem every week, and now that the Irish Independent has recently taken on New Irish Writing, it has made up for its previous scant coverage of Irish literary work. The main Irish TV station, RTÉ, no longer has a dedicated books program, alas, but its main arts presenter John Kelly is a novelist himself and is sympathetic to literature and covers it when he can, I think. Of course if a writer wins a significant prize, then that’s big news.

In your opinion how do people view writers and poets today? Do they view them as catalysts for change?

There are people who think writers are elitist loafers and leeches and never do a day’s work, and while the Catholic Church was at its most powerful and obscurantist in the 1940s and 1950s, books were banned and writers were hounded from their jobs, a notable case being the novelist and short-story writer John Macgahern. Most writers of note had to leave the country. Today is a different matter, and I think there is a general respect for writing as a profession. I know that writing friends from abroad have commented on the fact that if you declare yourself to be a writer in Ireland, nobody thinks it’s strange! © Mark Ulyseas

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PROFILE

Randhir Khare

Writer Artist Teacher talks about his latest book

Walking Through Fire published by niyogibooks

in a one on one interview with Mark Ulyseas Why did you write Walking Through Fire? And is it fiction or biographical? I wrote Walking Through Fire because I had a story to tell. Not my story but a story. I am a storyteller and a story-teller constantly writes stories in his head, struggling with characters, ideas, feelings, situations – like trying to create a Big Bang so that a universe may be born. The universe that is the story. But from where did these characters, ideas, feelings and situations come? From deep within my own life and all that I have seen and felt. People, events, experiences, feelings had over the years gathered up inside and over time mutated into vibrant source material, waiting to be drawn upon and shaped into a novel. This source material gathered in layers. When I felt that there was enough in there to tell a story I dug deep through all the layers down to the very core and scooped out segments of many layers, one mingling with the other. Writing this novel was a challenge – it forced me to rise out of the circumstances of my own life, transcend it and tell a story out of it. Transforming the material of my life into pure fiction. I believe that it was as much an act of heroism as it was the skill of a story-teller.

Is this novel autobiographical? No, it is not. My life is my life with its struggles and triumphs, its moments of glory, moments of disaster and moments of absolute tenderness. But it is my life and concerns no one else but me and those who are close to me. This novel grew in my creative womb, out of my life, and when it was ready burst out into the world and was held up by its legs and bawled its slimy lungs out. Today, complete, it has its own identity, its own reason for being and I let it go to walk its way into the world.

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PROFILE

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PROFILE

At the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Bali, Indonesia

What went into the creation of Walking Through Fire? The seed idea of Walking Through Fire arrived when I was having a chat over breakfast with the travel writer Jake Bullough, in a quaint resort in South Goa, whilst dolphins bobbed close to the shore and sandpipers skated along the glass-like water’s edge. The air around was licked fresh by a salt wind and I felt good to be alive. Anyway, as I was saying, we got talking about books and films and I found myself saying that the film I’d like to make, if I was a film maker, would be about a young man of hybrid parentage in post Independence India. I went on to describe the difficult circumstances of his childhood and youth and how that planted in him a powerful feeling of violence, a sort of inner rebellion (against his lot in life). And while this inner violence grew, the violence in his family persisted… and outside the country around him was going through its own fair share of violence…the Naxalbari bloodbath in West Bengal, The Bangladesh War of Liberation, insurgency, terrorism. And as he grows up into manhood, he can feel his inner violence rapidly surfacing….until that single apocalyptical moment when his own hidden violence bursts out and joins the violence raging about him. This becomes his ultimate act of liberation.

The story for the supposed film emerged almost effortlessly and when it had spent itself, the conversation meandered off in different directions and silence then took over. In the days and months and years that followed the story stayed with me, somewhere deep inside, and in time I began to regard it as the storyline of a potential novel. Then I started taking it seriously, turning it over and over, upside down and inside out. A story of that nature couldn’t possibly be linear in its narrative. The sheer complexity of its driving preoccupation, demanded that it transcend the straight forward passageways of time and become more organic – moving from time zone to time zone, back and forth. And not just that, the complexity of the central preoccupation also demanded that I begin representing various dimensions of reality. And as the story took on the form of a living breathing organism, I began enlivening it with felt, seen and experienced narratives from my own life, picked out and placed in such a way that they were divested of their original context and took on a new meaning. Something like the transmigration of a soul. When I finally plunged into the narrative, I discovered hidden worlds revealing themselves. Some of them seemed like my own but they were not. The character resisted my writerly manipulations and rapidly evolved, tracing his own steps. Swinging back and forth through his own time and space. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


RANDHIR KHARE

september annual2012 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


Books published by Randhir Khare Š www.liveencounters.net september annual 2012 2012


RANDHIR KHARE

Reading at the Empress Gardens, Pune, India

Is Walking Through Fire different from your earlier published work? I have published more than twenty books, each one a step beyond the other. I think that’s what’s important. To keep pushing the borders of theme and plot, character and action. To go beyond, moulding newer forms of narrative. I am concerned with what lies within and its response to what lies outside the individual, the conflict between the individual and the circumstances he or she finds herself in.

Walking Through Fire is a step beyond all the fiction that I have written and published so far. I had kept the creative source of my earlier fiction pretty much away from myself and drew upon other people but in the case of this novel, I drew upon myself and my own life. Familiar ground made me bolder and muscularly engaging in my style. It also offered me infinite possibilities as I moved with the character backwards and forwards through time. By doing this, I managed to create a separate reality, a new reality, the reality which belonged exclusively to the character and his story and not to me. Walking Through Fire, is my most accomplished work of fiction.

What message do you have for aspiring writers?

Be yourself, no matter what the cost. Find your own way of telling a story, there’s no joy in trying to be someone else. Write out of your own life, write out of the lives of those you are familiar with. Familiarity gives you wings. Tell a story. Tell it with your heart. Make it breathe. Give it life. Give it detail. The universe lies in the particular

Ultimately, the struggle has got nothing to do with finding a publisher or a readership, it’s about bringing the story into being, struggling with a blank sheet of paper or a blank screen…but it’s worth it in the end…its worth all the heartache and loneliness, all the exhaustion, everything. Write …that’s all that should matter.

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


MEMORY LAND

Over the last twenty years Randhir Khare has experienced the mysterious power of the jung presence of people from traditional communities and in the sacred spaces, He discovered what against invading plunderers. With the coming of British colonial occupation, the Bhils were r spaces of their mother goddesses are being reduced to rubble as mainstream religions colonis Here is a n EXCLUSIVE selection from the poet’s unpublished Memory Land, which celebrates

Return Dark centre, fragrant with beehives, Bamboo shoots, worms, wild water, Snake nests, hill crabs, Mud kneaded by angel-feet of rain.

Wandering into your blood I found myself Among fireflies Drifting through green Mahal air, Among boulders washed by the Purna and Khapri, In the highlands of Gotiamal And memory lands of Linga, In the crusty wounds of Ahwa And the Devi light of Dhavalidod. As a child’s eyes wet with light Turns dry I left your world, Wandering into the labyrinth of need, I lost myself Shedding snake skin I went out, became A wanderer with an empty bag of dreams.

Tonight, here on the western coast Where the restless sea hammers the shore And salt wind Settles its wet wings on sand, Drying and dying, you come to me With the voice of time.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

Blessed one, Mother of the great rolling Purna, Khapri, Mother of Chinchali, Chikar, Vaghai, Mother of Wasurna, Mother of the dead, the living, Mother of memory and forgetfulness, Mother of snail and crab, ratel and wolf, Mother of panther, snake And worm and moss, Mother of the seen and unseen, Mother of the heart of flowers And the tenderness of dying, I hear you and turn your way.


RANDHIR KHARE

gles of South Gujarat. There beside the numerous rivers, in the grasslands and forests, in the it means to belong. These forests were once protected by great Bhil archers who shielded them reduced to poverty and other traditional communities to rootlessness. Today, even the sacred se their shrines. But despite the forces of change, the mysterious power of the jungles persists. this relationship.

Kestrel

Storm

He rises from an ancient sal, Floats on a layer of air, Eddies on a stumbling wind, Then climbs a thermal stair.

I heard your voice rise from the river To the steamy air Turn caw of jungle crow Then breeze song Cicada castanet And the hiss of the forest burning red. I heard you in the click of the tree frog, Night heron squawk, Snake rustle and the whistle of the kheriya. Then mother, came your terrible silence.

High up, he halts, hangs in blue, Folds wingtips and falls Through a shaft of evening light Along the forest walls.

He tumbles, dips, tears through green, Emerges with a shiver, Talons bloodless he scales air And glides across the river. He’s dignified, will not return To stalk the prey he’s lost For though he’s empty bellied, He’d prefer to face the cost.

He’s waiting for the moment When his feathers burst in light As he swoops down to a living heart And claws his way to flight. I lack his wisdom, patience – To leave behind what’s lost And search for new beginnings No matter what the cost.

You arrived with the wind Dark and terrible, bursting through trees, Churning clouds till they split at the seams, Rained grey and hard, You spoke thunder, mother, Electric eels through the watery air.

You hammered on my windows, Dislodged tiles, Shoved your great wet hands into this house And touched my face, my hands, my chest, Drummed around where I lay in the darkness, Danced around me; Breathed secrets I do not remember, And then you left. I opened the door, Walked out into the night in search of you; The river sang in the dark below, The kheriya whistled And the bent Sal dropped two leaves, A lone firefly blinked, That’s all.

I’ll leave my windows open for your return, My door open – so you may enter Smelling of the river, of the sky, of the earth, Of centuries of remembrance, Of legends and lore, Of peacefulness and love, Of the burst of birth and death, Storm mother, earth mother, come.

© Randhir Khare

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


MEMORY LAND

Summer Fire It begins in the east A spray of sparks explodes In the flesh of Dangi dark; Each finds a home Becomes a tongue of flame, Hissing and licking, Moving down the slopes;

Somewhere below They meet, a single tongue, A mouth, a head and shoulders, Legs that move, A beast set loose Amidst the dry bones of the trees, Scrambling up the slopes, It lifts its glowing head Towards the night sky And roars;

All year it has waited Smothered by the damp mud And rain, flowers and fields of grain, Quenched by rivers, Chained by the vines of green; But now, the dry land grey And cracked Cannot restrain The beast from breaking free.

All night it roams The splintered hills Cracking the limbs of trees With flaming teeth, Gullet swallowing embers of the dead Mulched into its belly Tight with smoke.

At dawn its gullet goes Frayed by the heat, Its belly bursts as it rolls down Falling face first in a spring stream Dissolving in silence, Twirls of smoke rise Out of the sleeping forest As from the ruins of a shot down craft, Scattered and useless.

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Waiting for rain in the killing fields Of summer, The muted forest stares up at the sky, Seeds clenched in its fists It waits for rain And the sacred hymns of rivers; One head of the fire beast is dead, A hundred wait to resurrect.

Š Randhir Khare


RANDHIR KHARE

Janu Kaka - The Kunbi Shaman of Dhavalidod Speaks 1.

Dear friend, I sit across you, Drinking tea Smiling with a clear light In my eyes, How will I ever get to tell you What I’ve seen? My forests giving way To roads and fields And cold barbed wire holding Back the trees – Lest they surge forward and Devour the change. My mother’s home now gone To saffron shade, My peacock feathers And my tray of grain Pushed to the backroom Of my life… And still – I smile.

2.

Where will the devis go when these trees are gone? Sacred companions in the groves of the holy ones Who stretch their arms to shade, Their trunks to rest, Cool earth beneath them soft with belonging; Every day some disappear, not even their roots remain – The imli, hardoun, katore, When time was a newborn, The great forefathers of these trees were here, Calling with voices of flowers and fruits The holy ones; They came, each to a home, a prayer, A space, a stone, Each to a river, stream and hill, Each to a mantra chanting her new name.

Now, with every clearing a field appears A new god to guard it, A new prayer, a new mantra, A new need, a new sacrifice; Where will the devis go when these trees are gone? Back to the heart of their beginning In the great cave of the faithful Where time is still to be born And the hum of their breathing pulses in the dark Where the seed of tomorrow Floats in the warm ooze of faith?

Standing here in the light of morning Where field and wood meet indifferently, I raise my hand and say – Peace be to you, Don’t go to war on what the axe has done It’s not your fault, nor his, Nor the one that made him a weapon, Nor the one who enslaved the one who made him a weapon Nor the god he prays to faithfully; Such is the way of blood and mud, They meet sometimes as friends And sometimes foes. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


MEMORY LAND

Janu Kaka - The Kunbi Shaman of Dhavalidod Speaks 3.

I saw Birsingh last night, Standing beneath the old tree By the river The moon watched us Waiting for one to speak He said nothing Neither did I The wind fell on its stomach like a drunk Rolled over and started snoring. There were women in the fields Long dead women Waiting Sickle in hand Song hanging on their lips Eyes empty And a curlew by the waterside Told me that my time had come That I had crossed over.

But this morning I am here Walking in the marketplace Sitting down with the living Offering prayers at the shrines of devis Eating Resting Being with a world crowded with want And hate and thanklessness. I must prepare myself For the long journey ahead The parting, the leaving Divide my belongings Carry nothing But this skin stretched on bone And the certainty That the river will bear my ashes Westwards where the sun forever sets And hours darken like honey.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

© Randhir Khare

I have seen children in the trees at night Frozen like fruit that refuse to fall They watch me Walk between worlds Waiting to greet me When I have given my ashes To the river And my memory to the wind. The devis glide through my thoughts White egrets in single file Along the green river My mind is stilled Like the day that’s pinned to the sky Like a stone that hangs suspended Over the water Like a dream that is waiting to end Like Birsingh under the old tree By the river.


RANDHIR KHARE

Tukaram Talks To Jaari Mata In Barade - Quiet time of a drunken Bhil at the shrine of a forgotten Devi

It’s the mowra that’s brought me to you Telling me, look here Tukaram, It’s time you stopped thinking about your stomach But your heart instead, Fired as a lump of summer mud, It’s not even fit to be trampled on, or kicked Or even thrown in anger; Go to Barade jungle, go, go. So I dragged myself up and down through the trees, Reached here where lean cattle graze And thorns tear the leather of my soles. Now beside you, I sit cross-legged, Look at you straight in the face Like one stares when one has told a lie, What have you to say to me ? You wind-eaten mother of the half asleep, You wide-eyed, stubborn hag Who sits on my back Who trails me like a shadow Who always forgives Who accepts my curses What have you to say this time?

Look here, there’s mowra to be had And more, much more than you’d ever imagine, My life’s half lived like a partly eaten murgi There’s still a leg left, half a breast and wing And bones to be chewed Until the juice is out of them And they’re for no more than the earth, So I can’t sit here waiting for you to speak As the murgi turns to worms And the air stinks And they say, that was half a man. So, what have you got to say? Speak stone, speak to me; I’ve offered you a coconut Like I was meant to do, Like I was meant to do, Lit agarbattis, smeared you with red, It’s over now and time to go,

© Randhir Khare

Don’t hold me back; the dark has come, I have no light to lead me through the night; You heard me? Didn’t you? It’s over now, I’ve eaten the coconut’s flesh And drank its blood and thrown the shell away, What is there left to do but leave?

I’ve left, I’ve gone, away, I’m free of you, for now, Barade’s arms wrap around me like a mother, Like a wife, a bhabi, a sister, a daughter, A dying nani who does not want to leave And grabs my hand to save her from the endless pool In the womb of the forest; It’s a long way home To the half-eaten murgi, The mowra glass The bubbling laughter of forgetfulness, I’m wandering home.

© Randhir Khare

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


MEMORY LAND

What Raisingh Knows 1.

2.

This river speaks even in summer, The others fall silent Sunk deep into themselves In wombs below their rocky shells Settling in to sleep through the white heat When stones crumble And the tired panther Lies mist eyed waiting for the drum of rain And birthing streams.

The storks don’t stop here anymore, They fly overhead in hundreds Early morning when the sun Has hardly opened his eyes; I have seen them –wave upon wave – Lap over those hills, Just as the mist streams over treetops;

The Khapri In Summer

This river moves through sun and shade The shifting seasons – Along a throbbing artery, Swelling the great heart of the land With melon beds, Bees hives and bubbling green, Speaking as it moves Of lives now gone And those arriving like winged seeds To be sown So these forests live; This river speaks even in summer.

© Randhir Khare

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

Speaking Of Storks

You can smell their feathers in the air Scented with wandering; December then, the air so chill It reaches to the heart And hangs like icicles around And numbs the blood;

I’ve stood out there in that bare field And watched them floating On their way beyond – They come, some say, from cold lands Far away To feed and love and nest And rear their young; Then they return But never pass this way – Perhaps they catch another wind Rise high until the land dissolves And light and clouds Make another space…

The storks don’t stop here anymore, This is no home But just a passage way That travellers pass through hurriedly – Car eyes staring through the night.


RANDHIR KHARE

Dangi Fisherman

This Land, According To Varu

You stood all afternoon Waist deep in the shrunken river Watching fish beneath the surface swirl, Your sons beside you waiting For the catch.

This land does not grow It stays as it is, One acre remains one acre So do two or ten or one hundred, But people grow, from two to ten To a hundred to a thousand,

Three dull explosions threw Water shafts into the air That rained back down Droplets gleaming on your skin – White bellies rose, Fish on their backs – Stunned dead by the blast.

You shiver now upon the grassy bank A chill breeze climbs the river And the sun’s yolk pierced by a peak Trickles across the evening, Your two boys at your feet Coaxing twigs to flame, Faces bronzed in the firelight. Two handfuls of fish Spread on a leaf Is all the river let you have.

It’s dark now And the flame persists – Licking the air with panther tongues Whilst all about The forest, restless, stirs – And insects cloud the breath With soundless wings.

And then the land can hold them no more Fences begin to move Pushing their way into the forests, Climbing hills, crossing rivers, Till they can move no more. I stretch my arms, embrace the wind And the wet fragrance of flowers, Bathe in the river at dawn Listen to the black partridge In a nearby field, And bless the day. River Girls

Girls are down at the river today, Lean, brown, small hipped and smiling, Floating on the water’s skin, Plum breasts hard against their chests.

Tomorrow they’ll be women, fill themselves With life each year Until their homes are laughing with their young, Dark cares pollening the air they breathe. They’ll be themselves, for now, Playing with moments like they do their hair, Cascading on the river’s rim, Twirling and combing, ribboning in red.

The river’s seen it all, The young, the heavy wombed, the old – And death come staggering down the drunken path To watch a pyre flame its way to ash.

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


MEMORY LAND

Hunter Bow strung, you walked these forests For fur and feather And the rivers offered you fish – More than your nets could hold, Wild fruit soft and ripe That you may harvest, eat, This was your home.

Your women brought you children And the air was filled with their growing, Discovering, loving, aging, dying, You multiplied as numerous as the gravel On river beds; And then they came Like jackals, ringed these hills And forest lands – attacked, Your arrows found their mark But still they moved uphill… Vultures circled where their corpses lay.

Then the pale ones came, Bought you with silver and promises, You opened the great green doors And let them in, They stayed – Hunting you as they did boar, Bullet for arrow Till they broke your heart Like the summer does the stones Splitting them open Till their veins reveal Dark secrets of an ancient time, now gone.

You stand there at the edge Of the tree line, Catapult in hand, Two forest wagtails dead beneath your shirt, You look at me And in your eyes there’s hate, Indifference, curiosity Meeting and merging – Streams down the slopes… Filling pools, Filling pools, Deep waterholes Where children of the wild

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

© Randhir Khare

Stop to drink, And in summer sockets deepen To mossy puddlesCool with memory Till the rains return.

You walk away Tracking the tree line over the hill – All that remains is the space Where you stood – empty, The grass springs back, Your tread now gone.


RANDHIR KHARE

Ramchandra Misses Mowras Mowra flowers are used to brew liquor There was a time when Mowras flourished here, Families of them, groves of them, All down those hillsides overgrown with sal And where those fields lie blond in harvest.

In leaf, they stretched their arms, shade touching shade, Cool shelter from the flame breath of the sun, And I have slept beneath them as a boy, My goats around me crunching on the grass. And when they flowered, the forest air was filled Drunken aromas floated in the haze, All night the bhattis swelled their bellies And hearts and heads were spun into a blur.

Stripped bare of leaf and flower I’ve seen them stand Roots spread, entwined, and deep into the earth, Branches splayed and waving in the wind, They were the force that pulsed this forest’s heart. There was a time when Mowras flourished here, Families of them, groves of them, Across this land now given to the plough, They sleep beneath the earth on which we stand. Time Of The Devis

There was a time When every tree was a miracle When birds were messengers When fish swam into the hands of fishermen When rain filled the breath of the wind with mint When fields and marketplaces broke bread at harvest When the arrow and the plough slept side by side There was a time. That was the time When stones refused to be thrown When there were no places of worship When fences were doorways, gateways, When the wolf lay with the lamb When the old took the hand of the new When loving was a way of living When death was a journey and birth an arrival That was the time

© Randhir Khare

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


ROMIT BAGCHI

Are Bengalis characteristically

Pics Š Sourav Joardar of North Bengal and Sikkim Bureau of The Statesman Š www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume one


A STUDY

Left-inclined? A study

by Romit Bagchi

volume one 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


A STUDY A hundred ways to live were tried in vain: A sameness that assumed a thousand forms Strove to escape from its long monotone And made new things that soon were like the old. - Savitri, Sri Aurobindo The typical Bengali mind has remained free down the ages from the grip of cut and dried convention stereotyped as traditions. This freedom from the conventional clichés, nurtured as an open space in the subjective domain, accounts for the race’s ceaseless experimentations with the myriad forces moulding life- a certain measure of unshackled intellectual restlessness that moves the race to tread the least travelled road, signifying non-conformism that sometimes proves suicidal. The race is known as a fine instance of a hybrid race. Numerous races-Aryan, Dravidian, Mongoloid, Semitic, and Negroid-came herewith their peculiarities, both physical and temperamental, got mixed in blood andcontributed to the complexity of the race. Many Anthropologists are of the view that such an enormous measure of blood-mixing has happened to a very few among the races that inhabit what is known as the Indian sub-continent. There is another factor cited to explain its extra-ordinary intellectual suppleness or mobility. It is related to its peculiar geography. Bengal is a land of rivers, particularly, Bhagirathi (Hoogly), Padma and also Brahmaputra.These along with their innumerable tributaries, changing courses frequently, kept eroding lands and building new ones depositing silts along the banks. Things on the geographical plane were thus in a flux and the race grew up in line with the ceaseless and inexorable breaking and renewing.

The Aryan civilization seems to have leftlittle influence on the Bengali cultureexcept on the surface of its superstructure. This might be partly because of the superciliousness that made the custodians of the former to steer clear of Bengal perched on the eastern fringe of the Aryandominated region. Bengalis reciprocated it by refusing to emulate the Aryan civilizational tenets for long. Several of the non-Aryan religions like Buddhism and Jainism aside from the numerous cults like Tantra, Bajrajan, Mantrajan, and Sahajjan emerged in this part of the world. Prabhat Patnaik, the renowned Leftist intellectual and former professor, Centre for Economic Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, wrote in an article (The Telegraph, Calcutta edition, 8 October, 2012)-“As a child in Odisha, I looked up to Bengal like most other Odiyas. It was a terribly mixed attitude: we resented any hint of the superciliousness among the Bengali elite towards the Odiyas, but at the same time, we took a vicarious pride in Bengal’s achievements when compared to other parts of the country…When I came to college and studied economics in Delhi, most of my teachers, both in BA and MA, were from Bengal. They were brilliant: among my BA teachers were Naresh Chandra Ray and Sukhamoy Ganguly; and my MA teachers included such outstanding names as Amartya Sen, Sukhamoy Chakravarty and Tapan Raychaudhury. Every single one of them, in varying degrees, was left, and inspired students with progressive thinking. In fact the general belief in my student days was that of the main centers of economics in the country, Bombay and Calcutta, one produced economists of the Right-of-Centre, while the other produced economists of the Left-of-Centre.”

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ROMIT BAGCHI

Now the question is- when and how Leftism or Communism swept Bengali intelligentsia. This was at a time when the mainstream freedom movement was in a state of decline after Gandhi withdrew the Civil Disobedience Movement. Militant nationalism was also on the run with the revolutionaries either being killed in police firing or being sent to the gallows. The vital question for the freedom fighters was- what is next. The real political history of the anti-colonial struggle in Bengal began with the Swadeshi movement that was launched in 1905 in wake of the British government’s decision to partition the province on Hindu-Muslim lines. It was a kind of revivalism that tended to hark back to the utopian Golden Age that is supposed to exist sometime in the Hindu past of India. It took Vedas and Upanishads as its bedrock, but imparted a queer touch of its own. India was imagined as the Mother and the movement extolled the anti-colonial struggle as paying obeisance to the Mother that was suffering being under chains of dependence.

“Impulses move Bengal’s actions, emotions sway Bengal’s thinking. Bengalis do not work for the sake of work. Nor do they think for the sake of thinking. Pursuing something steadfastly with a definite goal kept in view and taking pains to succeed in the mission does not suit the typical Bengali temperament. They are prone more to artistry than to utilitarian obsession. The fount of his action is a peculiar sense of delight that cannot be explained in terms of taut practicality. Bengalis craved for freedom not because they would be better fed and better clad after the country becomes free but because the country would turn more beautiful after being free,” said Nolini Kanta Gupta, one of the leading figures in the Swadeshi movement who later turned to spiritualism under the influence of Sri Aurobindo, in an article, Banglar Pran. (The passage was translated from Bengali by the author) Bengalis are more prone to the path of devotion than to the path of knowledge in sharp contrast to the Aryan convention. Approaching the divine through the warmth of devotion of heart has remained dearer to the race than reaching out to it through churning of knowledge in the mind. When viewed from the typically Bengali vision, it seems the border lines between the world of the gods and that of the humans are blurred. Gods tend to descend down to the mundane level of the humans while the humans, on the other hand, tend to ascend to the heights of the gods. Divine cannot be relished in full unless it is invested with a human touch. Durga is imagined as a daughter and Shiva as son-in-law and Durga Puja is a celebration of the daughter’s annual arrival to her parental house.

Ramakrishna Paramhansa revived the Bhakti cult in Bengal during the period of religious-cultural Renaissance. His sadhana was unique in the sense that he ushered in a new era in the spiritual life of India in his embracing the timeless gemsof the Hindu body of spiritual thinking as enshrined in the Vedas, Upanishads and the Gita and synthesizing them with the timeless Bengali endeavor to transmute what is abstract into the concrete. The concept of Mother got a new, pulsating, intimate shape in the sadhana of this saint whose physical framewas frail but whose strength of devotion wasenough to shake the world to its foundation.

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


A STUDY

Pics © Sourav Joardar

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, the Bengali novelist and a contemporary of Ramakrishna, gave the Mother concept a cultural shape, invoking the Universal Mother as the Mother India through his evocative coinage ‘Vande Mataram’ (I bow to thee, Mother). Rabindranath Tagore enriched the idea further in his songs and poems. Aurobindo Ghosh brought it into the political realm and transformed patriotism into a gospel of Mother-worship.

But here a mention must be made of Raja Rammohan Roy, acknowledged as the ‘First Modern Man of India’ for having pioneered the Indian Renaissance. Much before Ramakrishna arrived on the scene Rammohan strove to prune the essence of Hinduism as based on the lofty musings of the Upanishads by ridding it of the outgrowth of the paraphernalia of religiosity. He discarded idol-worship of popular Hinduism and strove to found his concept on formless monotheism to make it presentable in an age seemingly swept over by the rush of new ideas fresh from the Occident. Rammohan’s view exercised a powerful influence on the Bengali intelligentsia. The religion that came to be founded years after the reformer died at Bristol in England grew stronger with a majority of the elite getting converted. Yet, the influence of the sect began dwindling soon, divorced as it was from the powerful impulseof Bengal. He was non-conformist par excellence, a relentless crusader against the antediluvian customs and practices. But he chose to swim against the tide of Bengali impulse in respect to the essence of religion Bengal loves to nurture. Bengal believes in softening the hard crust of deified religious rigidity into the milk of an intimate, compassionate and humanly warm divinity. His reformative zealtranscended time, but the sect that came to be founded in his name ebbed away fast with time. The Mother concept having powerfully come into the currency with the ascendency of the Swadeshi movement,the Extremist School in opposition to the one led by the Moderates emerged in the Indian National Congress. The Bengali intelligentsia remained ill at ease with the Moderate policy of mendicancy vis-à-vis the British imperialism from the beginning. Radicalism gained momentum and threw challenge to the domination of the nationalist politics by the school being led by the so called conformists. What Aurobindo Ghosh wrote in Indu Prakash in 1893 years before he plunged into politics struck a chord in the radical Bengali intelligentsia. “I say of the Congress that its aims are mistaken, that the spirit in which it proceeds towards their accomplishment is not the spirit of sincerity and whole-heartedness, and the methods it has chosen are not the right methods, and the leaders in whom it trusts are not the right sort of men to be the leaders, in brief, we are at present led, if not by the blind, at any rate, by the one-eyed.”

Extremism gave way to militancy, as Bengali non-conformism hardened posture vis-à-vis British imperialism.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ROMIT BAGCHI

Pics © Sourav Joardar

Dwelling on the radical propensity of a section of the Bengalis, historian/ writer, B. R. Nanda wrote: “Even before the partition of Bengal, the mood of the young radicals, sick with hope long deferred, had turned into one of frustration and bitterness. They became convinced that political reforms in India would not be conceded by Britain, but would have to be extorted from it. They considered the Moderate policy of studied moderation for converting the ruling race as a hopeless venture. The Extremists were more militant in their speeches and writings, but they had not been able to translate their programmes into action. Loss of faith in the efficacy of Congress methods was one of the main reasons for the formation of revolutionary groups which were inspired by the example of the Irish nationalists and the Russian nihilists. Secret societies grew up especially in Bengal which planned assassination of unpopular British officials and their Indian collaborators.” (The Making Of A Nation) Mahatma Gandhi came on the public scene of India like a thunderbolt, to quote Nehru, ‘shaking us all, and like a flash of lightning which illumined our minds and warmed our hearts’ and kept reigning supreme over the nation’s political horizon. But non-violence-the creed with which Gandhi was identified-failed to touch much of a chord in the Bengali psyche. Given the tantric traditions that flourished in Bengal in the mediaeval age, Bengalis remained wedded to the worship of strength. Terrorists, particularly the martyrs among them, stood much higher in popular estimation than Gandhi and his band of non-violent adherents that included Nehru and Patel. In Subhas Chandra Bose, the Bengali non-conformism vis-à-vis the Gandhian supremacy found its manifestation in full. Communism swept into Bengal at the critical juncture when the momentum of the Gandhian movement was flagging and the terrorist movement was proving to be a futile adventure.The Communist International was formed in 1919 two years after the Bolshevik Revolution in the Soviet Union. The first (overseas) Communist Party of India was formed at Tashkent on 17 October 1920. M. N. Roy, an anti-British revolutionary working under a radical Bengali group, who was baptized into Communism while in exile in the United States, played a leading role in the formation. In December 1925, the indigenous Communist Party of India came into being at Kanpur. In Bengal, the process started the same year through the formation of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Party of Bengal. By 1931 organizational structure of the Bengal Provincial Communist Party of India was set up. It was formalized in 1934. However, the consolidation process of the Communist movement in India, in general, and in Bengal, in particular, got a fillip after the militant nationalists joined the CPI after being released from the jails from 1937 onwards. According to some political commentators, the British government helped the militant nationalists getting indoctrinated into Communism. They are supposed to have flooded the jails with Communist literature to disinfect the hardcore militant nationalists of the germs of revolutionary nationalism the core of which was focused on overthrowing the British government by any means.

© Romit Bagchi

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A STUDY

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They perhaps thought Communism being an international doctrine would weaken the nationalistic resolve of the hardened nationalists. Besides, they might have thought that Communism being based on class struggle would dilutethe spirit of all-out nationalist consolidation behind the urge for Independence by driving wedges between the classes of the haves and the have-nots. The startling freshness of the doctrine, its humanistic appeal and a ticklish promise, beckoning to a far- off utopia of archetypal equality, mesmerized the ideologically befuddled radical revolutionaries and a section of the intelligentsia in Bengal which was prone to radicalism.

“Bengalis are capable of thinking. But his thinking is like flash of lightning-a momentary, yet intense illumination. It is bereft of the static baseconducive to pure empirical reasoning. It is difficult for the Bengalis to derive pleasure from pure ratiocination while stifling the urges of the heart. Empirical thinking requires some kind of the severity of rigorous patience and perseverance. But the Bengalis’ nervous system-flexible and unstable at the same time- cannot stand it long.” (From Banglar Pran by Nolini Kanto Gupta, translated by the author)

It seems that Bengali intelligentsia was not interested thento unemotionally weigh the practical efficacy of the doctrine they accepted as a gospel. However, it was clear from the beginning to a discerning intellect that the three principal pillars on which it is based, working class dictatorship, state ownership of the means of production and economic equality of all irrespective of individual nature and inherent qualities, stood in irreconcilable opposition to the fundamental foundation of life.

Communism as a champion for the cause of the subaltern against the exploitative system of governance is perfectly in tune with the humanistic urge for a just society, but to focus on restructuring the society tumbling the perennial dharma or essence of the societal structure upside down is something that smacks of audacity and Nature is most unlikely to stand such an audacious challenge for long. This the radical section among the Bengali intelligentsia took long to realize. Or, maybe, they, or at least a section of them, stuck to the dogma to make them appear ‘progressive’ despite having realized the utopian fallacy embedded in the doctrine. A few among them, of course, returned to the base, the abiding fulcrum of Bengali originality that is non-conformism in a much wider sense, a constructive comprehensiveness in a typically Bengali sense that spurred the real stalwarts like Rammohan, Tagore, Vivekananda and Aurobindo to action. I personally know many Communists who, having mentally discarded Marxism, opted for the profounder fount of Bengali vision. Prabhat Patnaik wrote: “Later in life when I became an academic economist, presenting a paper at a seminar in Calcutta became the ultimate test for me, since the audience would be filled with people who were well-versed not only in economics and mathematics but also in Marxism. And, more generally, the plethora of little magazines in Bengali carrying poems and articles from the Left, the passion for films and theatre, the enormous sensitivity to world currents one came across © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ROMIT BAGCHI

Pics © Sourav Joardar

in young men and women from ordinary lower middle class Bengali families were testimony to an intellectual-cultural life whose vigour was unmatched anywhere else in India, except that other little spot of leftism, Kerala. This vigour is what sustained the Left, and was the object of both wonder and envy in Odiyas of my generation. I may be wrong, but one does not find that vigour in Bengal any more. True, that vigour has gone down everywhere, including Kerala, but the decline in Bengal is far greater than in Kerala. The fact that the critics of neo-liberal economics among Bengali economists are generally close to or above the age of seventy, is for me indicative of this shift. One does not feel the intense, passionate radicalism in the air any more when one visits Calcutta.” In the view of eminent Left-of-Centre economist, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transformation of China to a State ‘where painstaking research becomes necessary to establish whether it is capitalist or socialist’have mainly contributed to the decline of the Bengalis’ passion for radicalism. “Some would put the blame for the decline of the radical ferment in Bengal on the long period of Left rule itself, though the exact argument is not clear…True, very long years of one kind of government may produce an ennui that can be quite stifling for intellectual-cultural ferment. But I believe that there have been other, more potent, factors behind the de-radicalization process,” Patnaik wrote.

According to him, the ascendency of the neo-liberalism and its attendant benefits for the middle class Bengalis has stifled the characteristic radical passion of Bengal. “To say this is not to malign the middle class in any way. Just as the relative quietude of the workers in the advanced capitalist countries over a long historical period is explicable by their becoming economically better off (until of late under globalization), likewise the recent quietude of the Bengali middle class owes much to its economic betterment,” he wrote.

The Left Front government under Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was not fully averse to the concepts of neo-liberal economy despite dissenting murmurs heard from the orthodox circles both at the state and at national levels of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). A poster-boy of industrialization intent on seeking assistance from alien capitalists (a cardinal sin for classical Communism) to economically rejuvenate his state, Bhattacharjee was determined to change the rural-based economy into an economy based on industrialization. “I am a Communist and I am proud of it. But we have to change, we have to reform,” he said in an interview with The Indian Express published on 7 June 2006.

Bengal’s economy remained rural economy for a greater part of its ancient history. Despite the existence of the port-town of Tamryalipti (Tamluk) and commercial town like Pundrabardhan (in north Bengal), life remained dependent on agriculture and small crafts till the end of 3rd century AD. Bengal remained somehow segregated from the mainland India and what was happening there in domains of commerce and the like remained out of bounds for Bengal.

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A STUDY

Pics © Sourav Joardar

Things began changing by the beginning of 4th century AD. Commerce gained momentum and became the principal means of wealth production and accumulation, thus robbing agriculture of its primacy. This trend continued for the whole of 4th century and a greater part of 5th century. For these two centuries Bengal got integrated to the mainland principally by means of commercial enterprise and expansion. These two centuries marked the Golden Age for India and this is because of super-abundance of gold coins here that resulted from its vigorous commercial interaction with the Roman Empire. Interaction of India with the Roman Empirestarted in the beginning of 1st century AD. With the transit of gold from Rome to India gaining momentum, a Roman historian lamented in 2nd century that the transit of gold from Rome to India would finally bleed Rome white. Commerce flourished through around 20 ports spread across India and these included Gangabandar and Tamryalipti of Bengal. Bengal, at least a part of it, being under the Gupta Empire, the people here were benefited by the commercial enterprise. According to historian, Nihar Ranjan Roy, even the villagers in north and south Bengal used gold coins for deeds of land transfer. “This indicated percolation of wealth down to the level of the agriculturists-an unmistakable sign of all-round economic prosperity,” he said. The momentum was arrested after the Roman Empire crumbled in 475 AD. Things kept reverting back to the predominance of agriculture in Bengal. Commerce remained alive, though much weakened, during the Pala Dynasty; but with the ascendency of the SenDynasty, Bengal turned again into a typical village society. “Absence of silver or even any metal coin, let alone gold coin, during this age confirmed Bengal’s reversion to agriculture-based village economy,” Roy wrote.

It would be interesting again to note that Raja Rammohan Roy asked the Europeans to get settled down in India and invest their newly acquired capital here in setting up industries. He championed unfettered trade, considering this inevitable in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution in England. He took the side of the ‘industrial capital’ that the newly ascendant bourgeois class in postIndustrial Revolution England represented against the ‘merchant capital’ that the East India Company was identified with. The latter remained focused on increasing revenue through merchant trade and it was against setting up new industries in India with European capital. The orthodox group led by Radhakanto Deb opposed Rammohun’s move.Taking the side of the East India Company, Deb and others of his ilk were for continuance of the trade monopoly of the Company. The conflict of the two schools in respect toglobalization of capital is an interesting study in view of the fierce debate continuing now over neo-liberal economy and globalization in Bengal, India and elsewhere. Patnaik concluded the article, saying: “The situation, however, is likely to change soon, with a new wave of radicalization on the horizon, both there (Bengal) and here.”

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ROMIT BAGCHI

This might happen if the Bengali middle class is adversely affected by neo-liberal economy and globalization. But this is not certain. What is, however, certain is that the dream of a just society based on the communistic postulates and striving for its realization on the Indian soil is a thing of the past. Bengali intelligentsia got disillusioned many years back.Of course, the collapse of Communism in Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and capitalistic transformation of China precipitated things. But the long Left rule in the state led principally to the sense of disillusionment. It was clear that a revolutionary restructuring of the society is a chimera and even if a revolution happens by any chance things would not change at their roots.

Leftism is just a passing phase as far as the evolution of the collective psyche of the race is concerned. They have acquired the experience of what Communism is like. Now itseems,time has come to leave it behind. They seem to have realized what Sri Aurobindo wrote in his epic, Savitri“A hundred ways to live were tried in vain: A sameness that assumed a thousand forms Strove to escape from its long monotone And made new things that soon were like the old”.

The Leftists might come to power again, given the suicidal Leftism being followed by the new chief minister, Mamata Banerjee. But if this happens it would not prove to be the harbinger of revival of radicalism that Patnaik seems to be pining for. It would just correct the self-destructive adventurism being carried on by the new regime. For the so-called Leftists are now champions of the Right of Centre path while the present regime, mad in its populist/leftist zeal, seems bent on pushing the state down the slippery slope of economic decline. Bengal evolved on its own lines separate from the Indian mainstream in response to the Aryan superciliousness hurled on it in the ancient time. That sense of separateness provided Bengal with the ‘open space’ in its intellectual domain. That ‘open space’ begot myriad experimentations with the world forces. India was enriched by Bengal’s treading the least trodden roads. But that non-conformism gave way in due course to unproductive, stale radicalism. Striving for comprehensive, constructive, synthesizing newness got bogged in ideological selfishness - a tendency to sacrifice larger interests on the altar of a typical idee fixe. Bengal indeed has been suffering much too longfor its Left-of-Centre romanticism economically. Now, Bengal must integrate with India and the worldmore vigorously for mutual interests. But it mustkeep erect its moorings -constructive, synthesizing, comprehensive radicalism. God’s book is far from finished with an infinite number of pages yet remaining unfolded, as Vivekananda, the quintessential Bengali radical, said.

© Romi Bagchi

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


ROMIT BAGCHI

Š www.liveencounters.net september annual 2012 2012


INTERVIEW

Romit Bagchi

senior correspondent with The Statesman and author of Gorkhaland - Crisis of Statehood (Published by Sage Publications) in an exclusive interview with Mark Ulyseas

Live Encounters, the title of your renowned e-journal, is a wonderful phrase. Encounter may mean meeting by way of chance, or it may mean meeting as adversaries. The book I have written on the crisis of statehood involving the hilly terrain of Bengal is no less than a live encounter between the author who is an outsider in the strict sense of the term and the people who are raising a cry for Home Rule. I wonder whether the people residing in the hills of the state I belong to would take this encounter in the adversarial sense of the term, encounter. Such encounters, are, however, taking place at each moment. Life, devoid of such encounters, whether fortuitous or adversarial, is not worth living. For, life is essentially an encounter with the unknown. Encounter enriches life and ensures progress. Absence of encounter would reduce us to the proverbial frogs that wallow in the marshy bogs of stunted growth.

But the question is-can encounters with the world at large sufficiently broaden our outlook to the extent of erasing the ego-blocks and making us feel one with all unlike us? Now the scope of encounters is immense. If we look at the world it seems it has narrowed to a neighbourhood. The world is called a global village. But has the sense of neighbourhood broadened into the sense of brotherhood? The answer is negative, though it is true that constant intercourse is changing the surface texture of our mental world. But the matter ends there. For vanitysignifying separative consciousness on the individual and the collective planesis like a river that constantly passes away and yet constantly comes in.

Š Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


GORKHALAND

Please give us a glimpse of your life and work. Now, when I look over my life I feel, as if, I was privileged from the beginning to be born in a Brahmo (Brahmo Samaj is a sect born from Hinduism that believes in monotheism as contrasted with the polytheism and idol-worship that is the essence of popular Hinduism) family. The domestic ambience was free from the socio-cultural stereotypes that pass for an orthodox Hindu view of life. My grandmother used to tell us how our great grandfather had been subjected to social ostracism after he had rid himself of the ‘sacred thread’, the quintessential mark of Brahminism in hierarchical Hindu society, and embraced the Brahmo religion which, pioneered by the ‘First Modern Man of India’, Raja Rammohun Roy, sought to discard the antediluvian paraphernalia of orthodox Hinduism and strove to new-make the old society in the image of monotheism-oneness of God and omni-presence of the One spirit (Brahma) in everything, inanimate and animate. I felt proud as belonging to a family which was involved in the socialreform movement that was going on side by side with the political movement for Independence during those eventful times.

But there was another thing-our family was free from any sectarian narrowness. My mother was a descendant of Rishi Rajnarayan Basu who was regarded as the ‘grandfather of Indian nationalism’. She was a proud Indian apart from being a proud Brahmo. Her eyes used to get moistened with tears whenever we asked her about the freedom movement, about the Indian civilization and the galaxy of saints and sages that has hallowed our hoary soil since time immemorial. My father was, however, an orthodox Brahmo who used to steer clear of the Hindu festivities. But at the same time, he never imposed on us any diktat against participating in the puja festivities. I had my early studies at Patha Bhavana, Santiniketan which is part of Visva Bharati-the dream University of Rabindranath Tagore. We could feel the presence of the poet in the ambience there and this is principally because of the teachers who embodied the essence of the Tagorean view of life in themselves. Apart from the formal education, we were taught to feel part of nature. This is in accordance with the Tagorean concept of Pantheism.

After studying there for around five years I returned to Calcutta. Just after I joined a college beginning my studies in English literature my father died. This marked a turning point in my life as my world, caringly nurtured in course of my childhood and adolescence, came crashing in on me. It is, as it were, I lost my way in the labyrinthine mazes of life. The pre-conceived notions of life were crushed under wheels of time. Life turned hostile and those on whom I banked turned their backs. Later I realized it was not simply a case of friends turning foes. There was a far greater riddle involved in the situation turning hostile. Gloom descended on me and my deeper soul began questioning the basic foundation of the ephemeral life that we lead on the surface. I realized that the Brahmo creed which is nothing more than a scratching the surface ritualistic evocation of the commonly unrealizable One in Many Brahmo could no longer satisfy me. I was frantically groping for a profounder foundation of life which would guide me out of the morasses of the grim crisis I was in. At that critical point of time, I came into contact with the spiritual vision of life-all-encompassing and intellectually satisfying and invigorating- as being epitomized by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The day I started reading The Life Divine, (the greatest work of the sage of Pondicherry), marked the beginning of the subjective transformation. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ROMIT BAGCHI

It is still a long, long way to go. As the Mother of the Pondicherry Ashram wrote a mere span of a single life is nothing as compared to the monumental task of transformation down to its grossest physical atoms. ‘Soul is willing, but flesh is revolting’ syndrome keeps haunting and it is proving enormously difficult to successfully grapple with the gravitational pulls of mundane, ego-based life. Now let me come to my professional life. Since my childhood I kept nurturing a wish to become a journalist. It was not so much for the glamour that is supposed to be involved in the particular profession that made me opt for it. Rather a romantic idealism was there. But when I seriously got into the field the idealistic passion was no longer there. I realized the limited role of idealism in the collective life. But it is a passion all the same. It is a kind of make-believe that we are influencing public life though from afar. I worked in some newspapers and periodicals in Calcutta for some years before I joined The Statesman as a Senior Correspondent in 2007. I asked the Editor and the Deputy Editor to post me in Siliguri because of its nearness to the Himalayas on its north and dense jungles on the south. A question often comes to my mind about the role of a journalist in the society-should a journalist strictly act as a detached observer of the moving drama that life, in my view, is or should he directly intervene in life when he feels things are going wrong.

I have not yet found a satisfying answer to this query that keeps haunting every sensible journalist all over the world. But I think the role of a journalist is primarily to observe life from upon a detached pedestal, though this should not mean that there should be an ivory tower distance from the moving life. Our role is to present the myriad facets of life as objectively as possible. But at the same time, I must admit that often a passion to prod things the way we want these to move overwhelms a journalist. This is tendency we should not encourage far.

Moreover, a journalist often tends to lose sense of proportions. George Bernard Shaw wrote, newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization. This might be an exaggeration in line with the Shavian sense of wit, but there is grain of truth, for blowing things out of proportions to make them look sensational has become a trend. I am proud of being a journalist, though I ask myself sometimes whether journalism has reduced itself to an intellectual brothel a la Tolstoy. I have written many articles on the ethno-political complexity involving the society in north Bengal and Sikkim. Besides, the Renaissance of India with a pantheon of giants striding across a particular landscape for, say, around 100 years keeps attracting me irresistibly. The mutual relation involving those illustrious figures-like the encounters between Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, Tagore and Swami Vivekananda, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose interests me immensely. I have written several articles on this subject in the paper I work with-The Statesman. annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


GORKHALAND

GORKHALAND, Crisis of Statehood, is a book that delves into the ongoing crisis in the Darjeeling hills, where the Nepali-speaking community is fighting for a separate State. Could you please extensively elaborate on this book? Literature and journalism are two different domains and I think it is difficult for a journalist to churn out a true piece of literature. It is said and rightly too that literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice while journalism is what will be grasped at once. An eminent European critic once said journalism is literature in a hurry. And this is exactly what can describe my book on Gorkhaland best-something written in a hurry.

The book, which deals with the multi-layered crisis born of the Nepali-speaking people’s resolute unwillingness to remain a part of Bengal, seems to have been written in a hurry. And a journalist can hardly get over his sense of hurry. Being full of care we seem to have no time to stand and stare. The crisis of statehood the book deals with is not a static thing either. The trajectory seems to be moving with baffling pace from one mode to another. It is difficult to keep pace. Leisure is called the mother of philosophy. Or to put in other words, to be able to fill the leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization. But a journalist can hardly find leisure engrossed as he must be with the passing things.

Returning to the book, the cry for home rule was raised first in 1907. An organization representing there communities residing the Darjeeling hills-Nepalese, Bhutias and Lepchas- in Bengal raised the cry together.

However, the history dates far back. The whole of the Hills that include three sub-divisionsDarjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong- was part of Sikkim under the Namgyal dynasty that was founded in 1646 at the behest of three Tibetan monks. Nepal, ascendant in the wake of the exemplary martial exploits displayed by the legendary Prithwi Narayan Shah, grabbed a large chunk of the hills that include Darjeeling and Kurseong in 1787. Kalimpong was under Bhutan, though it was too part of Sikkim before Bhutan annexed it in 1706. The British, then the East India Company, fought Nepal and won the first Anglo-Nepal war in 1815. A treaty known as Treaty of Sugauli was signed that year (ratified a year later). The Company returned the Hills which Nepal had annexed to the Sikkimese rulers by way of Treaty of Titalya which was signed in 1817.

But the Company dispensation got these parts back by way a gift deed executed by the then king of Sikkim in 1835. The British, then the Crown government, dispossessed Bhutan of Kalimpong in 1865 by way of Treaty of Sinchula and thus Kalimpong was added to the hilly terrain the possession of which the British had been enjoying since 1835. Thus one thing is clear that the Darjeeling hills have never been an organic part of Bengal. So it is said that Bengali ‘paranoia’ at the possibility of division of the state does not hold much water. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ROMIT BAGCHI

But, at the same time, the Nepali-speaking people who are in the van of the statehood movement are not the original residents of the hills. They began migrating from Nepal after development projects in the form of tea and Cinchona plantations, railway and road building were taken up in earnest by the Company dispensation. Lepchas and Bhutias are the original inhabitants of the hills. Taking cue from this demographic fact, the Bengali intelligentsia as well as the political class in the state claim the Nepali-speaking people are migrants from Nepal and can have no legitimate claim to demand statehood.

Though the statehood movement began in 1907 it got its true fillip after Subash Ghising came into the scene in the early half of 1980s. Ghising was ousted and his one- time crony, Bimal Gurung emerged as the champion of the cause in 2007-8. Ghising era was marked with gore as nearly 300 people were killed in a span of a few years. Gurung’s party claims adherence to the Gandhian postulate of non-violence. But the same stain of intolerance that marked the Ghising era can be discernible in the Gurung era. Things reached down to their macabre depth with the daylight assassination of the All India Gorkha League president, Madan Tamang in May 2010. Tamang’s was the lone voice of dissent in the intolerance and fear-struck political ambience in the hills.

The first phase of the Bimal Gurung era has ended with the election to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration-an autonomous body endowed with considerable executive and financial powers in July 2012. The party Gurung founded in 2007-Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) - swept the election winning all the 45 seats either unopposed or with huge margins where elections were held. Democracy has thus remained at a discount in the Hills with no presence of the Opposition in the autonomous council.

However, the Gorkhaland- phantom is still alive. The alternative council can hardly prove the exorcist. It is to be seen when and how the now-bottled genie would be uncorked in course of the moving political trajectory in the hills. But one thing is certain. Democracy would remain elusive for the hills and that too in line with the character of the monopolist hill politics. It is anybody’s guess where the moving drift would finally land the hills in. There are reasons to suppose that the hill trajectory would keep moving on from storm to storm with little likelihood of the people having a tryst with peace and development. The book approaches the century-old tangle from four perspectives-the history of the region, the problem of assimilation of the various ethnic groups, the course of the movement in course of vicissitudes and the hurdles in the way of the fulfillment of the statehood dream.

The problem seems insoluble given the odds set against it. The citizenship-identity crisis of the Gorkha settlers is a serious issue that has international ramifications involving both India and Nepal. The book has tried to give expression to the poignancy associated with the real Nepali-speaking Indians’ crisis of identity in the face of continuing migration from Nepal thanks to certain clauses in the 1950 India-Nepal Friendship Treaty.

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


GORKHALAND

Here, another thing must be remembered. Mere formation of a Gorkhaland state would not automatically solve the citizenship-identity crisis of the Gorkha settlers as is being claimed by the statehood advocates. The identity issue is a serious one with international ramifications involving the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty, which is the fulcrum on which the entire gamut of bilateral relations between two neighbours is based. The Government of India seems indifferent to the issue, for it is convinced that any initiative on this side might bring in its wake problems on the other. The citizenship issue involving the settlers on both sides of the Indo-Nepal border is a complex one and the matter might prove extremely difficult to handle given the volatility in the bilateral relations between the two neighbours. As things stand now, a final solution seems a distant dream. Unrest would keep haunting the hills and the administration and the law enforcers would remain focused on keeping the situation from spinning out of control. Time would ultimately solve the problem, for Nature abhors disharmony. She presents opposites and contradictions and challenges man to reconcile these in a harmony. For, as Sri Aurobindo says in The Life Divine, all problems of life are, in essence, problems of harmony.

What are you working on now?

I am now busy giving the final shape to the book on Sikkim, the tiny neighbouring State of Bengal, which is endowed with a unique history of its own. Sikkim was an independent Buddhist monarchy till 1975. It became a constituent state within the Union of India by way of a constitutional amendment during the Indira Gandhi regime. The manuscript begins with the introduction of Buddhism in Tibet and later in Sikkim which became vassal state of Tibet with the consecration of the Namgyal dynasty in 1646. It has dealt with the frequent incursions from Nepal and Bhutan into Sikkim and finally with the advent of the British in the Buddhist kingdom. The migration from Nepal and the consequent demographic changes reducing the indigenous communities to minority has also figured. The demographic upheavals led to the merger in 1975 as the Sikimese society got polarized on ethno-religious lines-on one side, the Buddhist Bhutia-Lepchas (the autochthones) and the Hindu Nepalese ( known generally as migrants). The Nepalese community favoured merger while a majority of the BhutiaLepchas were opposed to it. China has remained an important player in the unfolding trajectory as Sikkim had remained a vassal state of Tibet which is under the Chinese occupation since 1950. I have given the manuscript the title ‘Sikkim in India: Crisis of Integration and Chinese Shadows’. The manuscript mainly deals with the crisis of integration of the Sikimese Nepalese, Bhutias and Lepchas into the Indian mainstream. These communities are yet to adapt themselves to the changing demographic equations with the ‘mainland’ Indians allegedly swarming in the state. It is unclear even now with over 35 years having passed since the merger of the former Monarchy into India how much rights the so-called ‘mainland’ Indians have as regards those being enjoyed by the indigenous Sikkimese communities in Sikkim. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ROMIT BAGCHI

The inter-ethnic incompatibility involving the Nepalese, Bhutias and Lepchas has also figured in details in the manuscript. This aside, it has dealt with the intra-ethnic tension involving the Nepalese community, as it has remained divided into mainly two groups-Mongoloid and Aryan. The attitude of these three communities towards India is also an important part of the manuscript.

What is your message for the readers of Live Encounters?

Live Encounters, the title of your renowned e-journal, is a wonderful phrase. Encounter may mean meeting by way of chance, or it may mean meeting as adversaries. The book I have written on the crisis of statehood involving the hilly terrain of Bengal is no less than a live encounter between the author who is an outsider in the strict sense of the term and the people who are raising a cry for Home Rule. I wonder whether the people residing in the hills of the state I belong to would take this encounter in the adversarial sense of the term, encounter. Such encounters, are, however, taking place at each moment. Life, devoid of such encounters, whether fortuitous or adversarial, is not worth living. For, life is essentially an encounter with the unknown. Encounter enriches life and ensures progress. Absence of encounter would reduce us to the proverbial frogs that wallow in the marshy bogs of stunted growth.

But the question is-can encounters with the world at large sufficiently broaden our outlook to the extent of erasing the ego-blocks and making us feel one with all unlike us? Now the scope of encounters is immense. If we look at the world it seems it has narrowed to a neighbourhood. The world is called a global village. But has the sense of neighbourhood broadened into the sense of brotherhood? The answer is negative, though it is true that constant intercourse is changing the surface texture of our mental world. But the matter ends there. For vanity- signifying separative consciousness on the individual and the collective planes- is like a river that constantly passes away and yet constantly comes in. All in the universe are related. When one tugs at a single thing in nature he finds it is attached to the rest of the world. But it is yet to turn into a living truth on the collective plane. No theory or philosophy, however lofty, can help us beyond a certain point. What matters are churning and purification and expansion. Only some individuals can become truly international by dint of cleansing, expanding and universalizing their individual minds. The rest would keep on theorizing. Goethe said rightly-All theory, dear friend, is grey; but the precious tree of life is green.

Š Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


© © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ROBIN MARCHESI

MY BROTHER AND I (23/11/89)

Awaiting aeroplanes for seperate destinations, My brother and I Walk together Through the old streets of Palma. An advert tempts us toward an exhibition Showing 15th century instruments of torture. We visit, instead, A commemoration. Old photographs from World War Two. This war began 1939; Who cares now? Aliens; We leave the cathedral gallery. Born in the 1950's, we fight another battle.

My brother and I, Holding court on a park bench. Two from one womb, Immersed by our own private, interlocking, part. The family from which we came, And the families before us, That keep us a part Offspringing our own branches. It seems a miracle And yet so common This touch of the centuries.

How many other brothers and sisters, Together have trudged these cobbles, Wondering if they have the where with all To sustain, their remaining years, Without instruments of torture, Or World War Two? Neither pilot, nor inquisitor, Knew of 'crack' 'd ozone layers. All the battles each generation faces. It's only ourselves we punish with oppression Not just the oppressed, but so too, the oppressor. Cultures divide, civilizations decay, But my brother and I, bonded in blood, See colour beyond set definition. Look at all the brothers and sisters In the world, who stood their ground, Countless times in countless years, That we, too, at this decades end, Can be united,

ŠRobin Marchesi

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


ROBIN MARCHESI

It was in a deep sleep I had the following dream… I was back in prison. How did I get there? I didn’t know. I should have been on bail but somehow I’d been transported into prison with a terrible question throbbing in my brain. How did I get there? It was not a normal prison. Men and women of varying shapes and sizes were lying or seated in what I imagine a refugee camp to be. Many seemed confused, dazed, and groaning. Someone was delivering mail an eagerness invaded the inmates dead eyes. He gave me a parcel. It was from a friend from my last prison experience. He had sent me a 9-ounce bar of marijuana. I quickly, furtively, scrapped the contents into a bag, grateful for his understanding of the situation. I had put the parcel on an old chest of drawers that I recognized as one belonging to my ex wife. This did not bother me.

I was grateful for the marijuana, thinking it would be able to buy me enough to stay alive, but how did he know I was here, incarcerated? I should approach the authorities as to my status but I had no recollection of an arrest though my conscience was unclear and anyway where were the warders? A dwarf was telling me the score I sensed he knew of the marijuana but he gave me the confidence to wander, to wander. I explored the territory. Here was a close friend weeping. He had given up hope.

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POETRY

He was no one specifically and yet everyone I knew. He had been there for 7 years. A woman I knew called me, offering advice. It made me angry and I turned away. She seemed to plea but it made me think of a small study group and the woman was not the one individual, whom I expected her to be, but all of them as one. Yes! It gave me an irrational hope that though imprisoned I was near the town where this small group met once a year and the recollection of this meeting seemed associated somehow with my present condition. I had to get out but how did one escape from an open jail?

Then I realized. I had to seek; he who had led me there, and this person did not lie, in the light, but the shadow. He was hidden from the sun by my own body, for I contained and hid his presence, behind a mask that held me here in this hell. I looked round at the sad pitiful pleading eyes and noted at least that I was standing. Indeed I was the only one in that world who could stand on two feet who had enough will to wish too. It was then I began my search and awoke.

ŠRobin Marchesi

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


A SIMPLE CELL

A Simple Cell There are five people in a solar system. 
 It is Xmas day.
 Each of them sees themselves as the sun, with the other four a planet spinning round, to their magnetism. It is a fact. We behave this way. 
 On one level, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, we are a collection of a few billion molecules. 
 All, tiny, individual points, and we, as we perceive ourselves to be, actually do not exist. 
 We are not solid in this universe.
Of course it would be absurd for a molecule, in my big toe, to understand the whole of me, for it to have a concept of my wonderful brain, my great thoughts, feelings, understandings, knowledge, appears ridiculous.
 The whole of me subjugated to the comprehension of a molecule? 
 How preposterous! 
 Proportionately, therefore, there is no argument, surely, with the fact that each human being is a molecule of humanity? 
 But we all know, living as we do in a society where everyone knows everything, how the whole world should be. 
 Each molecule of humanity imagines it has the answer to the world’s problems. 
 Families all over the ‘Christian’ part of this planet Earth gather today to participate in this Xmas celebration; as they pontificate their opinion on how the world should be run or on how it is another’s fault their own failings. 
 It could be any city, town, village in either hemisphere. Let us say our five are in Paris celebrating the Nativity in the Rue Notre Dames de Champs at the back of Montparnasse. 
Our party consists of an estranged photographer, Dennis, and his increasingly eccentric ex wife, Caroline, who dabbles in the world of prophecy. 
 They meet for the traditional repast at their son, Nick’s house. Their daughter, Natasha who at 22 is sixteen months younger than her brother, coordinates the event. 


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ROBIN MARCHESI

Nick’s girlfriend, Louise, also joins them. 
 It begins disastrously owing to the ‘astrological conjunction between Mars and Saturn’ delaying Caroline’s departure from her house. 
 Nick and Louise when joined by Natasha and Dennis are unprepared and undecided as to the preparation of food.
 Underneath the varying opinions as to how to make the day as ‘jolly’ as it is supposed to be, lie vast chasms of experience. Unwritten, unsaid, divisions and unions, infest the spaces between them. Each knows how the other should be and forgets them in the rush to tell the other how to be. Yet the past is dead, gone, irretrievable and from its ashes, the meat of sacrifice is consumed, between wine and paper crowns. In millions of households throughout our world, this Xmas, eyes are met across tables and that which has passed over, in time; yet has left its trace in the posture of the living, is held tensely, in the chest. It breaks out in an inevitable clash. It is the nature of these occasions and the set up. The solar system in which there is competition to be the sun. Emotion quietens, in the wintry snows of Paris and in the silent Park opposite the house in Montparnasse, which could be anywhere in the world. We are all a solar system. Within each of us lies a Pluto, Saturn, Venus, Mars, Earth, Mercury and Neptune. But we are drawn out to always seek, in the external for answers to questions that have an internal source. There is no unity and so things fall apart. The source seeks us but we refuse it preferring to cast out the mote in another’s eye before even noticing that we have an eye ourselves, let alone a mote in it. It is the same for us all. Little molecules of humanity resonating till the waves that wash this simple cell, desert me.

© Robin Marchesi annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


White Thighs, Bottoms Up, The Loins of Amon, Hell and The Whore and There is a Whip in my Valise, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990), Jean Genet (19101986), Henry Miller (1891-1980), William Burroughs (1914-1997), Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) and J.P. Donleavy (1926-), Plexus (1953), Lolita (1955), The Ginger Man (1955), Watt (1953) and The Naked Lunch (1959), D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The Irish writer James Joyce moved to France and Ulysses was published in Paris in 1922, Tropic of Cancer,Lolita, The Memoirs of Fanny Hill and the first French language edition of Zorba the Greek. However, it was a Miller book that first landed Girodias in court in 1947 when he published the French language edition of Tropic of Capricorn (1938). Prosecuted under the 1939 French Obscene Publications law, it was the first application of that law since the prosecution against Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857) and Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal (1857) a century before. After two years, the case, S.C.U.M. Manifesto, President Kissinger, Naked Lunch, Howl. School for Sin, The Whip Angels and Rape, Molloy (1851), Malone Dies (1851) and The Unnamable (1853). Alexander Trocchi (1925-1984), later noted for his novel Young Adam (1957), Iris Owens (1933-) and Christopher Logue (1926), a British poet. Richard Seaver (1926-2009), White Thighs, Bottoms Up, The Loins of Amon, Hell and The Whore and There is a Whip in my Valise, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990), Jean Genet (1910-1986), Henry Miller (1891-1980), William Burroughs (1914-1997), Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) and J.P. Donleavy (1926-), Plexus (1953), Lolita (1955), The Ginger Man (1955), Watt (1953) and The Naked Lunch (1959), D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The Irish writer James Joyce moved to France and Ulysses was published in Paris in 1922, Tropic of Cancer,Lolita, The Memoirs of Fanny Hill and the first French language edition of Zorba the Greek. However, it was a Miller book that first landed Girodias in court in 1947 when he published the French language edition of Tropic of Capricorn (1938). Prosecuted under the 1939 French Obscene Publications law, it was the first application of that law since the prosecution against Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857) and Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal (1857) a century before. After two years, the case, S.C.U.M. Manifesto, President Kissinger, Naked Lunch, Howl. School for Sin, The Whip Angels and Rape, Molloy (1851), Malone Dies (1851) and The Unnamable (1853). Alexander Trocchi (1925-1984), later noted for his novel Young Adam (1957), Iris Owens (1933-) and Christopher Logue (1926-), a British poet. Richard Seaver (1926-2009), White Thighs, Bottoms Up, The Loins of Amon, Hell and The Whore and There is a Whip in my Valise, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990), Jean Genet (19101986), Henry Miller (1891-1980), William Burroughs (1914-1997), Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) and J.P. Donleavy (1926-), Plexus (1953), Lolita (1955), The Ginger Man (1955), Watt (1953) and The Naked Lunch (1959), D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The Irish writer James Joyce moved to France and Ulysses was published in Paris in 1922, Tropic of Cancer,Lolita, The Memoirs of Fanny Hill and the first French language edition of Zorba the Greek. However, it was a Miller book that first landed Girodias in court in 1947 when he published the French language edition of Tropic of Capricorn (1938). Prosecuted under the 1939 French Obscene Publications law, it was the first application of that law since the prosecution against Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857) and Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal (1857) a century before. After two years, the case, S.C.U.M. Manifesto, President Kissinger, Naked Lunch, Howl. School for Sin, The Whip Angels and Rape, Molloy (1851), White Thighs, Bottoms Up, The Loins of Amon, Hell and The Whore and There is a Whip in

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


SUE HEA LY

Lenin of the sexual revolution Maurice Girodias - Olympia Press The man who fought censorship

The 1960s are often regarded as the period when Western society finally shirked the strict moral codes of the Victorian era. Events as diverse as the arrival of the contraceptive pill, the Profumo affair, the end of National Service in the U.K., an increase in affluence among the youth and even the advent of the mini-skirt are often cited as the first cuckoos of the 1960s’ spring. While the abovementioned possibly contributed, to greater and lesser degrees, to the upheavals of the period, it would probably be more accurate to say the new liberal sensibility sprung from their convergence with other movements that had been chipping away at the roots of the establishment since the 1950s. Not least of these was an on-going axe-swinging at the Anglophone world’s archaic censorship laws. And the most determined axe-wielder was a Paris-based publisher, Maurice Girodias (1919-1990), whose small publishing house, Olympia Press, specialized in English language erotica and avant garde literature.

Known as the ‘Lenin of the sexual revolution’, Girodias often boasted that he had founded Olympia Press to ‘bait the hounds of decency’ and upset ‘Britain’s nanny judges’. While Girodias may have had an anti-establishment agenda, it is also likely that his business acumen responded to the appetite for erotica amongst the English-speaking G.I.s and Allied soldiers in Paris during the post-war years. Girodias’ ‘dirty books’ or ‘D.B.’s’ as he referred to them, consisted very largely of unadulterated pornography with unambiguous titles such as: White Thighs, Bottoms Up, The Loins of Amon, Hell and The Whore and There is a Whip in my Valise. Nonetheless, whatever his motives, Girodias’ eager willingness to publish material that no ‘respectable’ English-language publisher would handle led a number of key literary figures with controversial manuscripts to his door. Hence, in its short life, Olympia Press also published works by literary luminaries such as Samuel Beckett, Lawrence Durrell, Jean Genet, Henry Miller, William Burroughs, Vladimir Nabokov and J.P. Donleavy at a time when their work was deemed obscene in the Anglophone world. Some of the titles published included cultural touchstones such as Plexus (1953), Lolita (1955), The Ginger Man (1955), Watt (1953) and The Naked Lunch (1959) - books that quickly garnered acclaim in intellectual circles. Moreover, the novels’ notoriety often added to their popularity and ergo, sales. By the 1960s, these factors were serving to embolden the publishing industry, which began to consider handling these risqué works after all. Furthermore, a number of titles first published by Olympia Press became the subject of legal cases instrumental in smashing down the last barriers of literary censorship in the Western world. The subject matter of these books were to contribute to the liberated attitudes of the years to come. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


MAURICE GIRODIAS-OLYMPIA PRESS

Up until the revision of the censorship laws in the late 1950s and early 1960s, most books containing any frank description of sexuality and sexual acts could not be legally sold in the main Anglophone markets. As recently as 1955, a shopkeeper in a lower class part of London was sentenced to two months in prison for having in stock D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The U.K.’s, Obscene Publications Act, defined ‘obscene’ as that which ‘depraves and corrupts’. In the U.S.A, an important criterion for censorship was whether a book was pure enough to be sent through the post, thus giving the American Post office an important role in censorship. Essentially, however, the decision lay in the hands of the U.S. courts and depended on how they interpreted the first amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech.

Parisian publishers had long provided a home for talented writers who were pushing the boundaries of censorship in the Anglophone world.

The Irish writer James Joyce moved to France and Ulysses was published in Paris in 1922. Predictably, it was banned U.K. and the U.S.A. (but not in his native Ireland – rather surprisingly as Ireland had very strict censorship laws that outlasted most others in the Anglophone world). Other novelists followed Joyce’s cue. Henry Miller and Radcliffe Hall both travelled to Paris to find a willing publisher. And in the 1930s, that publisher was one Jack Kahane of an earlier publishing house, the Obelisk Press.

A native of Manchester, England, Jack Kahane had come to France during World War One, married a French woman and had started a publishing company. Kahane had an entrepreneurial spirit and he had also written a number of ‘naughty books’. He disliked the prudishness of his homeland and enjoyed ‘corrupting’ its youth from afar with, somewhat literary, English-language erotica. Kahane and his newly founded company, Obelisk Press, published some highly regarded books including Joyce’s Pomes Penyeach and the reminisces of whom he referred to as

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‘that cosmic monument of sexo-journalisticoliterary bombast’, the Irish rake, Frank Harris.

Perhaps most notably, Kahane discovered Henry Miller and Tropic of Cancer. The cover illustration for this book was executed by his eldest son, 14-year-old Maurice Kahane, later known as Maurice Girodias.

Jack Kahane dropped dead on the first day of the Second World War and the then twenty-year-old Maurice suddenly found himself in the role of family provider. The subsequent German occupation saw the young man give up his Jewish name, Kahane, and take Girodias – his mother’s name. There remains suspicion as to whether or not Girodias collaborated with the Nazis and, if he did, the extent of his collaboration. Although never convicted in postwar trials, he was perceived to have been a small time collaborator and it was difficult for a suspected collaborator to find employment in post-war Paris. Thus, to earn a living, Girodias revived the Obelisk Press brand and published new works by Henry Miller. These editions sold in great quantities to the American G.I.s in Paris at that time.

He also published new English language translations of erotic French language classics such as The Memoirs of Fanny Hill and the first French language edition of Zorba the Greek.

However, it was a Miller book that first landed Girodias in court in 1947 when he published the French language edition of Tropic of Capricorn . Prosecuted under the 1939 French Obscene Publications law, it was the first application of that law since the prosecution against Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal a century before. After two years, the case was dropped. Nonetheless, the litigation was a drain on Girodias’ already precarious finances with the result that he was expelled from his own company. Girodias said that this episode urged him to ‘attack the Universal Establishment with all the means at my disposal.’


SUE HEA LY

He launched a new publishing house, Olympia Press, naming it after the controversial Manet painting of a courtesan.

In 1953, Girodias become acquainted with a loose group of expatriate writers in St. Germain des Pres who were producing the English language literary magazine Merlin. By the time Giordias came along they were preparing to publish an installment of Watt, by Samuel Beckett. Girodias saw an opportunity to take advantage of the situation whereby he would subsidize Merlin and in return the young writers would make themselves available to be commissioned by Girodias to write pornography. Girodias’ stable of writers included the Scots writer Alexander Trocchi, later noted for his novel Young Adam, Iris Owens and Christopher Logue , a British poet. Richard Seaver, future editor and publisher, was one of the team who translated erotic French classics into English.

Although all were literary minded they were not above a little literary prostitution, especially as Girodias’ offer meant reasonably comfortable living in Paris in those years. Jim Haynes, a Lousiana native and retired Professor of Sexual Politics at the University of Paris 8, who knew Girodias and many of the writers, says Girodias’ offer would have been hard to refuse. “At that time in Paris, one could live cheaply and Girodias’ advance of $250 was a lot of money. It would not be fair to say he exploited these writers, but he took advantage of the fact that these were available English-speaking writers living in Paris. Both parties benefited.” Olympia Press had various imprints: the Ophelia Press, the Collection Merlin, the Atlantic Library Series and the green-covered paper-back Traveller’s Companion Series, the latter being the better known and most profitable. Jim Haynes first met Girodias in Edinburgh in the early 1960s, when Haynes was running a book shop.

Haynes’ bookshop was one of the main outlets for Olympia Press books in the U.K. - albeit illegally so. “Girodias’ books were ‘under-the-counter’ books, dirty books. Everyone was bringing them into the country and they were bringing sexuality to everyone. I remember them as cheap books, badly printed on cheap paper and using cheap ink. The series was a mixture of pure porn and occasional literature within some. Individual travellers brought them over from France. I sold them for a reasonable price but I know they were often sold on again at outrageous prices.” As Haynes recalls: “I remember many books had ‘MUST NOT BE IMPORTED INTO ENGLAND OR U.S.A.’ printed across the back, somewhat ironically – it was not a legal requirement to carry this warning. It was simply Girodias poking fun at the authorities.”

Rather than the ‘D.B.’s’, however, it was Girodias’ literary discoveries that were to earn him his place in publishing history. He was introduced to Irish writer, Samuel Beckett and Girodias went on the publish Beckett’s Watt in his literary Merlin Collections title in July 1953. Girodias would publish three more of Beckett’s novels: Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable.

Although it took five years to sell the 2,000 copies of Watt that were printed, Girodias went ahead and published the other novels as promised. Watt was immediately banned in Beckett’s native Ireland. Girodias’ next literary discovery was also set in Ireland and also banned there upon its publication, as it was in the U.S.A.

The Ginger Man was written by the young Irish-American author J.P. Donleavy and it had been rejected by more than 30 publishers, partly on account of its at times baffling, streamof-consciousness narrative, but more because of its risqué content. Girodias bought Donleavy’s novel for £250, and published it as ‘no. 7’ in the newly launched annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


MAURICE GIRODIAS-OLYMPIA PRESS

Traveller’s Companion Series where it ran alongside titles including: School for Sin, The Whip Angels and Rape – all of which were advertised at the back of The Ginger Man. When Donleavy realized his book had been published as part of a series of erotic books, he was enraged. The outcome was almost 20 years of litigation and deep mistrust and resentment between the two parties.

Lolita was soon banned in the U.K. Girodias responded by suing the French Ministry of the Interior. Nabokov refused to help him and their relationship deteriorated from there onwards, resulting in yet more costly years of litigation over publishing rights for Girodias.

Lolita was instantly popular. It became the number one bestseller in America and Graham Greene chose Lolita as one of his best three books of 1955 in a report that appeared in the Sunday Times on Christmas Day. Other journalists were not so supportive, with John Gordon of the Sunday Express writing ‘without doubt it is the filthiest book I have ever read. Sheer unrestrained pornography’. The furore surrounding the novel brought it the attention of the authorities. Nabokov did little to defend the book, afraid of embarrassing his employees at Cornell University. It was left to Girodias to fight for Lolita. Nonetheless, the success of the book provided a welcome windfall for Girodias and Olympia Press and very likely caused many an American publisher to berate themselves for not having the courage to take the book on.

In the U.K. in 1958, the then backbench MP, Roy Jenkins, won a private member’s ballot that allowed him to introduce legislation. He chose to propose amending the Obscene Publications Act, allowing ‘literary merit’, as vouched for by acknowledged experts, as a possible defence against prosecution for obscenity. By this stage, with the country awash with contraband Olympia Press tomes and there was wide recognition in governing circles that Victorian taboos could not be upheld in the late 1950s.

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita was the novel which brought Girodias the greatest kudos and it made him rich, for a time. However, as he wrote in a letter to Beckett, ‘it also signaled the end of the party.’ Nabokov’s work had been rejected by a series of top publishers in the U.S.A. – many of whom liked the novel but were too afraid to publish such a potentially scandalous story with its protagonist obsessed and ultimately intimate with a 12-year-old girl. Girodias published the book

On December 20th, 1956, some twenty-five books on the Olympia Press imprint were banned by France. They included Lolita and there can be little doubt that the controversy surrounding Lolita was behind the ban.

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The Lolita hubbub had brought fame for the Olympia brand, nonetheless. Smuggling ‘D.B.s’ from Paris became a rite of passage for many students and travellers to Paris. The immense popularity of these books was beginning to make the law look outmoded. And there was a growing feeling that the laws would soon change in Britain and in the U.S.A. Greene’s support of Lolita paved the way for publication in the U.K. The Bodley Head, where Greene was both an author and a director, approached Nabokov in June 1957 and asked for a two to three year option to publish the novel, pending a change in the country’s obscenity laws.

The new law came into effect on 21st of July 1959. The following year saw the celebrated Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial in London, which challenged the Western government’s authority to suppress ‘obscene’ books, ‘The Lady Chatterley’s prosecution in 1960 [was] a great show trial with prominent writers and academics and even a bishop appearing as a witness for the defence. The publisher, Penguin Books, against all expectations. It is worth noting that Olympia Press had earlier published an expurgated edition of Lawrence’s masterpiece.


SUE HEA LY

Similarly in the U.S.A, a case heard in 1955-57, established that if the work can be show to contain ‘redeeming social importance’publication maybe permitted. Allen Ginsberg, who had associations with Olympia Press via his promotion of William Burroughs, made use of this amendment in his 1957 trial defending his poem, Howl. Grove Press, whose owner Barney Rosset, was Girodias’ American counterpart and friend, also made use of this defence when publishing Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1959. At the time, the postmaster-general was quoted as saying ‘if this book is not filth, pray tell me what filth is.’ The book was banned. Grove Press immediately took a counter-action, seeking freedom of distribution through the post. The judge noted ‘the record…indicates general acceptance of the book,’ and allowed postal distribution. But it was an Olympia Press title, Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, that was the subject of one of the last big censorship trials in the U.S.A. Due to its ‘obscene’ language it was banned by the Boston courts in 1962. The ruling was overturned by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1966. The Appeals Court found the book did not violate obscenity statutes, as it was found to have some social value . Haynes recalls the impact of this verdict: “From then on anything could be published if it was deemed to be of literary worth and have “socially redeeming value”’. This was known as the SRV clause. So, as long as a preface was written by some academic, you could publish what you wanted – and you could always find a willing academic, no matter what you wanted to publish.”

Ironically, the demise of censorship also heralded the end for Olympia Press. With the remarkable success of Lolita and The Ginger Man as well as the Miller books, mainstream publishers were willing to ‘take the risk’ now that Giordias had tested the waters. And as soon as there were lucrative contracts to be had, Girodias saw his writers flee Olympia Press.

The Olympia Press was declared bankrupt by 1965 and Girodias went to New York blaming his misfortune on the Gaullist regime that had returned to power in 1958 Girodias launced an American Olympia Press, although this venture never had the success of its Parisian incarnation.

A noteworthy twist to the Olympia story occurred in 1970, when the Olympia Press title was being auctioned in Paris, Girodias travelled to the city in the hope of buying his company back. He was outbid every time by a stranger, a woman, who eventually bought the company. Unbeknownst at the time to Girodias, she was Mary Price, wife of his litigious nemesis J.P. Donleavy. It should be noted that even though Girodias’ move signaled the end of the Girodias’ run Olympia Press of Paris, he continued to court controversy in New York.

Girodias published the S.C.U.M. Manifesto (1968) by radical feminist Valerie Solonas and narrowly escaped being shot by her (when Solanas could not find Girodias, she went in search of Andy Warhol and shot him instead). He also attracted the wrath of Henry Kissinger by publishing President Kissinger, a fantasy satire, and soon found his U.S. visa in review. He returned to France and died in his native Paris.

© Sue Healy

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


Artist, get thee to a residency

Tyrone Guthrie Arts Centre, Monaghan, Ireland Pic © Sue Healy

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SUE HEA LY

Artist, get thee to a residency They exist so the artist can create. It is a noble mission and one that has proved invaluable to artists since the first was launched over a hundred years ago in the United States. Traditionally, artist-in-residence programmes extend invitations to artists, ie writers, musicians, visual artists, dancers, film-makers etc… to leave aside everyday life and responsibilities and spend time on art, reflecting, researching and producing in a unique, often isolated environment. Some residencies require interactivity with a local community, which may include giving workshops or donating art work. Others might place importance on some artistic conversation with the immediate environment. The majority will encourage an exchange of ideas between residents, providing opportunity to meet and be inspired by other artists at the top of their game.

The U.S. is where the concept of the residency was born and it is still home to the world’s most famous residencies, their names instantly recognisable: Yaddo, McDowell and Millay. Mere acceptance into any of these top three anoints immediate status on the artist concerned. Such residencies are probably amongst the most generous too, providing free room and board, even sometimes a stipend, as well a beautiful environment, for weeks, sometimes months on end. Not surprisingly, gaining residency at these prestigious colonies is difficult without a solid and impressive artist’s resume.

Tyrone Guthrie Arts Centre, Monaghan, Ireland Pic © Sue Healy

© Sue Healy

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


Artist, get thee to a residency

In many ways, the modern art residency mimics the meeting places of the great art movements from Paris’ Deux Magots to Greenwich Village’s Café Wha ...

There is no single model for an artists’ residency however, and there are a number of respected residencies which are less well-known, and ergo entry is less competitive and the requirements less strict. Moreover, there is an increasing number of retreats available to artists which provide a similar services, but for fee. All that is needed for a such an environment to work for you is to know what you plan to achieve whilst there and to be prepared to put in the work.

You have possibly noticed that when people say that they’re jacking in the day job to write a book, work on an album or put together an exhibition, in the same breath they usually tell you where this project is taking place. “I’m going to move to Paris/rent a shack in the woods/ go to a monastery/live by the sea” they say, as if the locale will lend more credibility to their project. It doesn’t. You can spend a year on a prestigious writers’ colony and come up with but a few pages of unpublishable, self-indulgent nonsense. Whereas, groundbreaking art can be created in a rundown apartment full of screaming kids, between the hours of 6-7pm every day – the important factor being “every day”. In other words, it is not where you create that matters, but the fact that you do create and you do so in a focused manner.

Still, time and seclusion in an attractive environment do nurture creativity and attending an artists’ residency will likely inspire and support productivity. For many, an added benefit is the cross pollination of ideas via conversations with other artists. During daytime, artists often tiptoe around, quietly creating between trips to the kitchen for coffee and snacks. In the evenings, however, they read to one another, show their visual art, play music, listen to critiques and they talk, and they talk and they talk. In many ways, the modern art residency mimics the meeting places of the great art movements from Paris’ Deux Magots to Greenwich Village’s Café Wha – the residency is an environment which promotes the progression and discussion of new ideas. Obviously, such a scenario will provide ample opportunity for artists to network and enduring friendships and artistic collaborations are often born at residencies That said, not all residencies emphasise artistic fellowship. There are a few that encourage artists to explore the hermetic experience, and such places are proving ever more popular in a world where it is increasingly difficult to, well, retreat.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

Tyrone Guthrie Arts Centre, Monaghan, Pic © Sue Healy


SUE HEA LY

Tyrone Guthrie Arts Centre, Monaghan, Ireland Pic © Sue Healy

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Artist, get thee to a residency

Agnes and Walter: A Little Love Story

Áras Éanna is one such residency. Located on the Irish island of Inis Oirr, one of Europe’s most westerly and remote points, in winter months, it can provide the solitary existence some artists might require. Neil Paris, dancer and artistic director of Smith Dancetheatre Company, Norwich, England, says his time spent at Ireland’s Áras Éanna Residency was something of a metamorphosis.

"Although I had worked in the arts as a performer and teacher for over a decade, I was struggling with the idea of being an artist, and the residency on the Aran Islands gave me the time to crystallise and come to terms with that idea. It formed a bridge between my career as a performer working with pieces devised by others, to where I am at now, conceptualizing and developing my own work for my own dancetheatre company.” Paris, a native of Norfolk, England, spent ten weeks on the remote island, situated off Ireland’s Atlantic shore in early 2009, during this time he had little contact with other people, a solitary existence he feels greatly contributed to productivity. “The pressure of life was off. I was alone. I had time to allow ideas to percolate, to form, to move from the back brain to the fore – the experience allowed me to think, to breathe. In fact, I am only now realising the full extent of how inspiring and affecting Áras Éanna was. My current project, Agnes and Walter: A Little Love Story, which is touring the UK, was conceived at Áras Éanna and during that time, I also explored other art forms such as painting and writing which have since informed my creative practice. Áras Éanna allowed me to become the artist I am today.” When researching a residency to suit you, it is also worth bearing in mind the difference between a “residency” and a “retreat”. Residencies are institutions to which you must apply and demonstrate your professionalism as an artist via a portfolio and references and a CV/resume that shows you are considered by your peers to be a practicing professional artist. Residencies are often funded by an arts and/or educational body and are usually cheap, or free and might even provide a stipend.

They are often offered with the proviso that you ‘give back’ to the community, perhaps via donating a service, such as hosting workshops. Residencies can last from two weeks to a year and are quite prestigious. Being accepted onto a residency is an impressive feat in itself. And, whilst there, you may come into contact with some top tier “names”. Retreats differ from the above model. Retreats are institutions that sometimes offer courses – the UK’s ‘Arvon Foundation’ is a good example which has three properties around England and holds intensive writing courses throughout the year. Other retreats just offer room and board to artists for a fee, somewhat like a hotel but with an emphasis on creativity and productivity during your stay.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


SUE HEA LY

Neil Paris, dancer and artistic director of Smith Dancetheatre Company

They’re not usually frequented by top-level artists, so you won’t find yourself having dinner with the arts’ world A-list … but you might meet some interesting people and the surrounds are usually very picturesque and inspiring. Retreats are good for novice or emerging writers who are not yet at the stage in their career where they might gain acceptance on a “residency”, but retreats provide many of the same advantages of a residency. Equally, if you are at an early stage in your career and simply need some peace and quiet to advance a project or mull a mission, then perhaps you should simply rent some respite via a holiday cottage in the wilds of Connemara in autumn, or stay in a B&B on Dartmoor or a shack in the Catskills – you may be able to get a ‘low season deal’ and it will probably provide the inspiration you seek.

Many artists combine the use of residencies with travel and thus feed their work via their global experiences. And it is perfectly fine to do so – so long as you remember to work when you get there – otherwise, you might as well just book a package holiday. One of the most innovative ways to work such a combination is to use freight travel (paid passage on container ships) to see the world, in between longer periods at sea where time is spent in cabins, creating. Clearly, artists’ residencies and retreats have evolved into many forms since the Yaddo residency was launched in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1900 with a mission to "to nurture the creative process by providing an opportunity for artists to work without interruption in a supportive environment." They have continued to provide, however, artistic refuge and inspiration to almost every artist of note from the mid-twentieth century onwards and there are few working artists today who have not availed of their unique nurturing environment. The concept of the artist’s residency has long since spread its wings. The above mentioned Áras Éanna in Ireland, is an example of how residencies are no longer confined to the U.S. Indeed, there are a number of prestigious residencies located in India, China and South America today. Ireland has a disproportionate representation of the same, perhaps not surprisingly in a land noted for its writers. Furthermore, a collection of startlingly beautiful residences can be found around Europe. So, there is no excuse, artist. Get thee to a residency.

For listings of international residencies: http://www.resartis.org/en/ http://www.agnesandwalter.co.uk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTgwV93ybBs

© Sue Healy

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


T ERRY MCDONAGH

Pic © Terry McDonagh © www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume one


INTERVIEW

Terry McDonagh Wellknown Irish Poet, Writer and Playwright speaks to Mark Ulyseas

Terry reading next to a new sculpture by Sally Mckenna of the blind port, Anthony Raftery (1779-18350 in the town square, Kiltimagh, where Terry grow up. volume one 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

What does it mean to be Irish? I suppose our place of birth is the root, essence and foundation of what we later become. Ireland is my birthplace; it will always be the place where I can understand and comprehend the elusive nuances of language and symbol, and it is a place where I can feel comfortable. I live in Germany and enjoy the challenge of another culture and language, but when I talk of home, I mean Ireland. Ireland has a strong tradition of storytelling and writing and, as a poet, I feel proud, in some small way, to be part of that tradition.

Why do you write?

I write because it is part of what I am. As a child, I grew up with storytelling and the poetry of the blind poet of Cill Aodain, Anthony Raftery. I was born in Cill Aodain, which is nothing more than a few fields, with a small town, Kiltimagh nearby…but this is where the dream of walking the roads with a handful of fresh poems, grew out of. I wrote of my childhood in my poetry collection, Cill Aodain & Nowhere Else. Sally McKenna is the illustrator (www.killedan-and-nowhere-else.com). I think writing is like playing football: if it’s in you it has to come out. As a child, I couldn’t stop running after a football and, now, I spend my time chasing words.

Where does your inspiration come from? It is said that writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Do you agree with this view? Further, does one have to live the life to be a poet or writer?

I think I answered that, to a great extent, in question two. Writing is hard work. It is inspired…I don’t like the word, inspired…by one’s experience, but especially by childhood experiences. You dig deep into long-forgotten memories when you write…these memories can be unpleasant and pleasant but they drive you on to dig deeper and to go further into yourself and your past. Inspiration is a word we use for want of a better word. Writing involves lots of working, reworking, looking at blank walls and out of windows. We all do things because we have to…’need’ is the driving force. Where this ‘need’ comes from is different for person to person, but if you can’t satisfy that need or drive, you become very unhappy, I feel. To answer the question on inspiration and perspiration: I don’t think we can put a percentage on the process, but one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration must be about right. To live the life of the poet, it important to wear the hat…in other words do what you have to do and be true to your instincts. A coat never made a poet. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


T ERRY MCDONAGH

volume one 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Š www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume one


T ERRY MCDONAGH

Writing involves lots of working, reworking, looking at blank walls and out of windows. Could you give us a glimpse of your life and work? I was born and grew up, the son of a farmer and teacher, on a small farm in the west of Ireland. I attended (walked to) a nearby, rural primary school in the nineteen fifties, and cycled nine miles, hail, rain and snow, to and from secondary school in Swinford, Co. Mayo. I hated school because of daily doses of corporal punishment and did not do well, but I enjoyed football, which was a saving grace. I studied to be a Columban Catholic priest for a number of years, left the seminary and then decided to become a secondary teacher, for want of something better to do. I left Ireland in 1980 and went to Germany where I have lived, more or less, until the present day. I worked at language schools, the University of Hamburg and was Drama Director at the International School, Hamburg for sixteen years. I loved this work with my students but decided to leave this very noble profession about ten years ago to pursue and intensify my writing career.

I had always written and published but I felt the time had come to go in a different direction. I have not regretted my decision, even if the financial reward for my work is not always what I’d wish it to be. I get to travel quite a bit to festivals and schools where I facilitate creative writing programmes, or do readings from my work. I have written a number of books of poetry, some prose, essays etc, but my main work is trying to communicate the love of words I grew up with. I have two beautiful sons and a very charming wife. There are so many details of life that I have not touched on, here, but they will have to wait for another day.

Who, whom or what has been the greatest influence on your work and why?

This is something I have often thought about because the question is often asked. For certain, there is something in our genetic costume that drives us in a certain direction…it’s a bit like nurture and nature…which comes first: the hen or the egg. Perhaps we all have certain talents and if we nurture them, we have the opportunity to take them as far as we can, or, perhaps as far as they are capable of going.

As I have, already, said in answering a previous question, I grew up in Cill Aodain, Co Mayo with the poetry and tales of the blind, wandering bard, Anthony Raftery (1778-1835). He was probably the last traveling bard in the Irish literary tradition. Rambling is in my blood as well, I hope. My great-grandfather, Thady Conlon translated some of Raftery’s poetry into English (Raftery’s language was Irish/Gaelic) and my Uncle Tim McDonagh, passed this love of words on to me as we wandered up and down and round about the little fields and hills of Cill Aodain. I had a most perfect hate of school, but my uncle (himself a schoolmaster) helped to keep my love of learning alive. Later, I got to know other writers like my good friend, Philip Casey, who really encouraged me. In some ways I stumbled from poem to poem because I had to.

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INTERVIEW

What are you working on now? I have just completed a new collection of poetry, Ripple Effect. It is to be published by Arlen House early next spring. Alan Hayes of Arlen House is a wonderful editor, so we will have some interesting discussions before the book comes out. I am really looking forward to it. I have also just completed a children’s story, Michel the Merman, set in Hamburg, in which a young boy becomes half boy and half fish…Marc Barnes, a wonderful artist from New Zealand is illustrating it, so I have lots to look forward to. In addition, I have almost completed a new collection of children’s poetry, which is to be called Echolocation. I am testing these poems as I wander from school to school and festival to festival…to date, I am pleased with the response. Children don’t lie or pretend!!! I have always more to write about than I am able to keep up with.

How would you describe the Irish Literary world today? And who are the young emerging poets and writers?

The Irish Literary World is healthy if the number of writers is anything to go by. I have just read at two big festivals: Clifden Arts Festival in County Galway and Cuisle International Poetry Festival, Limerick and the standard of writing and support of and for the writers, was second to none. Poetry Ireland run a very vibrant schools programme (Writers in Schools) and Children’s Books Ireland do something similar. Ireland can boast of huge poets like Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Paul Durcan and countless others, to many to mention. There are the playwrights Brian Friel, Marina Carr or Tom Murphy; novelists of the stature of Sebastian Barry, Maeve Binchey, Dermot Bolger, John Boyne, John Connolly. Philip Casey’ www.irishwriters-online.com has a wonderful overview of Irish writers with a list of about six-hundred authors. I could go on and on, but a look at Philip Casey’s website will relieve me of the burden of having to struggle on with facts that he has gathered over the years and, kindly, provides us with. Funding is always a problem, especially as Ireland is going through a difficult economic downturn, but the future is not bleak and won’t be as long as the writing tradition – stretching back to Raftery and beyond – and our storytelling tradition, continues.

What is your message to aspiring poets and writers?

A writer must write for writing’s sake, and like good water: if a piece of writing is to find its way, it will. You have to network; it’s part of the game, but the real work of writing is what it’s all about. Some people, today, because of social media, are good at selling and have sold the poem or the idea before it’s finished, but only writing of quality will stand the test of time. Line up the rejection slips, because they will outweigh the success stories, and, above all, don’t stop writing. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


T ERRY MCDONAGH

A writer must write for writing’s sake, and like good water: if a piece of writing is to find its way, it will. If you had a chance to relive your life would you still be a poet and writer? I have always written or tried to and I love listening to stories. Poetry is rooted in the story of what it means to be human. – Check out that storytelling genius, Niall de Burca – When I was a drama teacher, I absolutely loved my work. The contact with the students was really rewarding, but a little voice kept nagging at me to become a full-time writer. I have written all my life and cannot do otherwise. To answer your question: I would not change a thing. I consider myself to be a very lucky person: this is the message I try to share with young people when working in schools. My life is blessed.

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


TERRY MCDONAGH

Zeitgeist

I sometimes need a place Where Zeitgeist Has another meaning: a little place where the skeleton of a rusting car lies easily among charred furze-bushes and I need a house on shifting sands with windows to the wind and a pen to such in secrets out of the black earth. I could live there with red and black berries, with ghosts in naked bushes after November – timeless till spring. My Zeitgeist.

Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


PO E T R Y

Still Life On a Corner There’s a kiosk under a big tree on the corner of a quiet street where a woman, down on herself, is smoking. She doesn’t see far off any more but shuts her eyes and hears echoes of a family in a far-too-distant land.

A man in a wheelchair curses time and the coming and going of cigarette smokers. He drinks his reserves when the air is too hard. A younger person sifts through raindrops. He counts from where he stands to the end of his secrets: banknotes hanging out to dry.

The big tree is nourished from below and its leaves hang fat and happy. Now in summer, it has much to give – in winter much less.

These people return each day as history does to paper – unaware of what’s in store for them. Still life on a corner.

©Terry McDonagh

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


TERRY MCDONAGH

Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


PO E T R Y

Hands Some grow before my eyes and seem to creep like spider-plants deep into memories. Others, sculptured and filed, lie flat like a heap of stones talking to themselves.

This morning I watched a pair of hands chattering like busy beaks among berries.

Š Terry McDonagh

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


POETRY

This poem is taken from: A SONG FOR JOANNA - HAMBURG - MELBOURNE - A JOURNAL IN VERSE

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

© www.liveencounters.net june annual 2012 2012


TERRY MCDONAGH

Autumn Autumn in Melbourne is a time for silence and simple living on slow pulse and karma.

If I could I would try to describe the morning as it caught me at Glen Waverly, or the very different set of words it takes to paint trees that don't change from green to brown and yellow. They gladly house animals that never struggle with hibernation or give up eating. It rained in great lumps the other night and yesterday rough grasses were fighting for the right to be called green.

You walk softly in such a climate. There's no reason to rush - the air doesn't let you. You want to stop, look at a postcard of the Snowy Mountains, or dream of a slow train-ride to Mildura.

At Port Melbourne, a cooler breeze was blowing up from Tasmania. the moon lay on its back. I buttoned up, walked up Bay Street all the way to Flinders Street Station to catch a train to my home - for now.

Š Terry McDonagh

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T ERRY MCDONAGH

This poem goes back about fifteen years and was written in Hamburg at a time when I felt caught between two cultures and two languages. My son and I used to walk the streets together and to this day, we are grateful for that storytelling time. - Terry McDonagh

Pic Š Mark Ulyseas Š www.liveencounters.net october annual 2012 2012


POETRY

My Journey to my son, Sean

I’ve been on my feet for my time walking past madhouses, church railings, alley cats;

through years of endless blues, watching old parts retreating, sweating at the wrong receptions and 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 lover will to a knife. Put your roots down, before the season departs and forget the deep cool shade

at the end of the rainbow. When I hear those voices, 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. May father walked the land

and I walk this city with my son. He is one of them. I can never be. I have a tale and he will tell it after my feet stop in their age.

© Terry McDonagh

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TERRY MCDONAGH

Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


PO E T R Y

Rundown Town Nobody cared about the priest in Rundown Town, not even when he whispered help through his porous front door, so he got fed up and pedalled the hundred miles or so to the city. Shabby enough to be a poet, he gulped long drinks and settled great questions by reiterating: the road is an end in itself and no one travels without purpose. Some critics were confused, but helped him into bed with Pinkie, who hated curtains – but got him his first bursary.

She took to women and he became the prophet of a dark place – men were mentioned. In one interview, he insisted he was never far from a bullfight, a battered bike or poker game, and he adored brown bread.

Time did what it does to priests, cats, poets, bats and bankers, and with his final wish – to be borne the hundred miles or so to Rundown cemetery – granted he gulped a final glass and passed on, smiling.

His funeral was the largest ever seen in Rundown Town.

©Terry McDonagh

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


Music - Theatre - Art 172

Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


December 2012

Click on title to go to page

Anjum Katyal Kalimero Travelling Minstrel Kori Jean Olsen Navina Jafa Odin on Trance Raoul Wijffels - One Dollar For Music

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Anjum Katyal author of

Habib Tanvir: Towards an Inclusive theatre

(Published by Sage Publications) in an exclusive interview with Mark Ulyseas Who is Habib Tanvir?

Habib Tanvir (1923-2009) was one of India’s best-known modern theatre directors. The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre describes him as follows: ‘Hindi and Urdu playwright, director, actor, manager, poet, and one of the most important theatre personalities of post-Independence India.’ Theatre scholar and practitioner Sudhanva Deshpande describes him as ‘a renaissance personality. There was nothing he could not do in theatre – he wrote, translated, adapted and evolved plays; he was a master director, a superb actor and a good singer; he wrote poetry and songs; he could compose music; he was a designer; he was manager of his company Naya Theatre, which he ran first with his wife Moneeka (and single-handed after her death) for exactly fifty years; he was a critic and theoretician; more, he was a seer, a guru for generations of younger theatre artistes. In all this, and through his prodigiously prolific theatre career spanning some sixty years, he remained an artiste with a deep social conscience and engagement, a public intellectual who never shied away from taking a stand and lending his name to progressive and secular causes.’ He is best known for his work with Naya Theatre, the repertory formed by him and his wife and professional partner Moneeka Misra, with actors from Chhattisgarh, which started functioning as a professional company around 1972, after which Habib Tanvir’s plays were mostly performed by this troupe of Chhattisgarhi actors who had largely been trained in the local Nacha performance form. To me, the greatest importance of Habib Tanvir’s theatre legacy is his sustained and serious exploration of how one could create a modern theatre integrated with an age-old yet equally contemporary oral culture, not just as an ‘exotic’ imported element but as an integral part of its form and content. He achieved this in his Naya Theatre work with Chhattisgarhi actors: together, he and the actors shaped a theatre that was both critically acclaimed and hugely popular (his iconic Charandas Chor is still in demand, even after his demise). They travelled the country and the world, and everywhere his productions were accepted as modern, not folk, theatre. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


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INTERVIEW

Pics © Anjum Katyal

Your book is considered the definitive tome on Habib Tanvir’s life and work. Could you expand on this statement by offering the readers an indepth panoramic view of this literary work? Original and pioneering as Habib Tanvir’s mature theatre was, it would be misleading to create the impression that he found his theatre form in a moment of epiphany or that it presented itself to him fully fashioned. The process of trial and error, of experimentation, failure and lessons learned, took almost half a lifetime. And everything fed into it - his life experiences, his political beliefs, his literary passions. The structure of this book keeps this process in mind. Starting with early influences and exposure, it traces the different phases, influences and experiences of his life and work until he arrived at what he felt was his true form, with Charandas Chor in 1975.

Chapter 1 looks at his childhood and growing years, and his early exposure to different forms of theatre and performance, especially the vibrant Chhattisgarhi language and culture. Chapter 2 studies his years in Bombay, his engagement with the film industry and his stint in the media, his involvement with Urdu poetry and the PWA, and his hands-on experience of doing theatre as part of IPTA. Chapter 3 begins with his decision to eschew film for theatre, and his relocation to Delhi, and ends with his first production of Agra Bazaar. In Chapter 4 we follow him to the UK and then Europe, a period that was a major learning and growing phase for him. Chapter 5 deals with his return to Delhi, and his production of Mitti ki Gadi, the beginning of his gradual movement towards theatre with Chhattisgarhi actors. Chapter 6 covers the intervening years till his breakthrough play Gaon Ka Naon Sasural, filled with a variety of developments, from the formation of Naya Theatre to marriage and fatherhood, and a stint in the Rajya Sabha. Chapter 7 focuses on Charandas Chor, and the realization that he had finally found his true theatrical form.Thereafter, each chapter takes up an important aspect of his work in theatre. Chapter 8 is devoted to understanding his relationship with his Chhattisgarhi actors. In Chapter 9 we examine the way in which he handled classic and literary texts, both Indian and international. Chapter 10 focuses on his theatre with folk material, especially folk tales and folklore. In Chapter 11 we consider his use of music, song, ritual and dance; and Chapter 12 talks of the political side of Habib and how it inflected his theatre. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ANJUM KATYAL

Nageen Tanvir, daughter of Habib Tanvir, and Anjum Katyal

What is your view of Indian Theatre today? There are many theatres in India – and many theatrical performance forms. In different languages, in different performative idioms, in different performance spaces and contexts (from proscenium to village square to street corner; from religious ritual to life-cycle marker to secular urban entertainment); some stretching roots back to medieval and ancient practices and texts, some incorporating the latest technological and international inputs; theatre which is ritualistic, which is political and activist, which is art for art’s sake, which is pure entertainment. Indian theatre can incorporate dance, choreography, music, martial arts, video and multimedia or none of these. My view of Indian theatre would be, in sum, that one can’t categorise it. There is no one definitive – or instantly recognisable – kind of theatre that one can call ‘Indian’ theatre. Rather there is theatre in India, or the theatres of India.

If you had to speak to an international audience who know nothing about Indian Theatre what would you say?

Culturally, theatrical performative forms, often incorporating, along with monologue and dialogue, music, song and dance, have existed in India from ancient times, if one is to go by classical texts and treatises. So this is a country with a very long tradition of performance forms, both linked to religious ritual and secular in nature. Over the centuries, influences and inputs from a variety of international cultures have been adopted and adapted, so that Indian theatre is richly hybrid even as some of it remains traditional. On the urban stage in a large Indian city, one would see plays by local playwrights in both English and the local language, dealing with the urban realities and concerns of today, from relationships to gender issues, using the latest available technology. At the same time, in small towns and in rural areas one would still see more rustic forms of performance dealing, for example, with mythological or historical themes and legends. Both are equally contemporary, equally relevant to their contexts and audiences, and equally adept in their own ways. I would ask an international audience not to expect a certain stereotypical ‘Indian’ form of theatre; rather, to accept that as varied and diverse as the country is in terms of language, cuisine, and lifestyle, so is it in terms of theatre.

©Mark Ulyseas

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KALIMERO

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Pic © Mark Ulyseas


INTERVIEW

Kalimero, a travelling minstrel speaks to Mark Ulyseas Sometime ago when fate played truant with reality I found myself walking a beach I had visited over thirty years ago. Many things had changed except the fabric of spiritual life, fluttering like a brightly coloured flag on a fishing boat. It was here that I met Kalimero, a twenty year old Indian travelling minstrel. And as the sun set on yet another day, we sat on the beach and talked. What is music to you? Music is a means to speak the truth which cannot be comprehended with words. It is a means to connect with yourself. It is definitely more than just expression because the truth is not an expression. Anything that is expressed, suppressed etc., is not the truth because it is pressed out, because the truth has no beginning and end. It is a means to listen to the inner voice. Music is everywhere. The sound of the leaves is the truth. We can hear Om in the ocean. Sound and silence is music. What is the responsibility of the musician? In my opinion if I cannot listen to the inner voice, I cannot praise the Universe. A musician has no responsibility. He only is responsible to himself…he can play in private, he can play in front of 1000 people, it depends what is true to him. When did you first hear the music? I have not heard the music till now because I don’t know who I am and my music is a means to help me find myself. When did you first pick up an instrument? It was about ten years ago that I first picked up an acoustic guitar.

When did you begin travelling with your instrument? Two years ago I went to the mountains (Himalayas) with my acoustic guitar…played alone and with other travelers.

Was there any incident that awoke within you another perspective of music/musician? I was playing music in a room in the mountains and Shiva came to me and he said, “Go, I bless you, this is your way.” In the last two years where have you travelled and played your music? Pokhraa (Nepal), Naggar (Himachal Pradesh, India), Andaman & Nicobar islands (India), Goa (India), Istanbul (Turkey)…all these have their own energy. For instance, in Naggar I played for the trees. What place do you call home? Where I am.

What instrument do you play now? Jadootar.

What is your message? Speech is noise in the mind. To silence the mind and think with the heart. The truth is neither the seen nor the unseen….it is neither cause or effect…it is neither past or future. For me, it is best not to take both worlds so seriously but to listen to life…not to force something…not to react…. to do something without doership. We must all find ourselves, find the music within ourselves. A true thought, a true sound helps one transcend the sound, transcend the thought. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas

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KORI JEAN OLSEN

I’ve been blessed to do what I love and I don’t want to ever look back and say, “what if”.

Pic © Kori Jean Olsen

© www.liveencounters.net july annual 2012 2012


MUSIC Music is a language that everyone can relate to no matter what “language” one speaks or what kind of life one leads. It’s what brings us together as a human race. It can provoke happiness, tears or laughter and that, to me, is so incredible. Its’ what drives me to be an entertainer. - Kori Jean

Kori Jean Olsen

Country Star from Austin, Texas in an exclusive interview with Mark Ulyseas

“I grew up in Provo, Utah, 6000ft high among the ski slopes. It was the place where I took voice and piano lessons. Later my family moved to Austin, Texas. At a young age I began developing my talents by performing at local events in the Round Rock Texas area. When I was 14 I travelled to New Mexico, Colorado and a number of towns across Texas as the lead vocal in a choral group. It was this experience which convinced me that I would pursue music as a career.

At 16 years old I entered a contest called “Austin idol” sponsored by the Fox News affiliate in Austin. The contest was set in the American Idol format and was designed to select a few winners from this singing contest and follow them to Dallas Texas for the American Idol tryouts. I finished second in this contest and was able to go to the American Idol tryouts in Dallas followed by Fox News. The experience was invaluable because I quickly learned that to be successful in the music business required hard work and a well planned path. Incidentally, I did not go through the usual high school experience. Instead I opted for Star Charter High School, a school designed specially for kids with extracurricular obligations. My family comes first and so when I am not performing, practicing or writing new material, I unwind with my parents and three younger siblings, 16-year old twins Matt and Kelsi and a 7-year old sister Ryli. As I am always with my family, people mistake me and the twins for triplets!”

Text © Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


KORI JEAN OLSEN

Pics © Kori Jean Olsen

Why do you sing? I sing because I have seen firsthand how music has such amazing healing power. Over the past year I have watched my 16 year old niece go through cancer treatment and seen my grandmother suffer with Alzheimer’s. Through these trials I have seen how music deeply affected both these special people in my life. Music is a language that everyone can relate to no matter what “language” one speaks or what kind of life one leads. It’s what brings us together as a human race. It can provoke happiness, tears or laughter and that, to me, is so incredible. Its’ what drives me to be an entertainer. This is why music is my passion, my life, the very essence of my spirit. And I rejoice in it.

Do you compose your own songs? And where does your inspiration come from? I always compose music and get my inspiration from experiences that I have had. People aren’t going to relate to me if they think that I, personally, have not gone through what I’m singing about. Do you play any instrument?

Yes, I play the piano and guitar. In fact, to help my song writing skills I took a year of guitar lessons Have you met and/or played with any of the great country stars? And in your opinion which great country singer has influenced your work?

I had the opportunity to open for Kenny Loggins at the famous Blue Bird Café and open for Little Texas. If I had to pick a few country greats that have inspired my work I would definitely pick Patsy Cline and as current artist I love Eric Church. His style is so eminent and his sound is undeniable. What are the albums that you have produced? And who is your Producer?

I have co-produced every album I have cut. I have also been working with Grammy Award winning producer Eric Paul for my current album project that will be released in the fall. Eric has worked with many of the greats in country music over the last two decades such as Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris , Alabama and many others. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MUSIC

My brand of country is inspired by pop, blues and a bit of rock. This is best reflected in my album (2009), Reason Why, which consists of 11 songs. I like to think of it as traditional with a modern twist. My art form is influenced by Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and the legendary Loretta Lynn. It mirrors their strong sense of female empowerment. Your song Texas Rain is a classic country song with shades of Dolly Parton. Did you write it and when was it released? And the band that backed you, who are they?

As much as I would like to say I wrote this song I did not! It was written by a group called sleeperstar! They are absolutely incredible and I feel so grateful that they let me use their song. The band that backed the song was my studio musicians. Have you performed at any music festivals? And have you won any awards?

I have performed at many, many music festivals. Probably the most known festival I have performed at has been CMA (Country Music Association) music festival. It has been such an honor to be a part of it the past 2 years. CMA Festival is the biggest festival in country music.

Do you think country music will ever die out? Country music will never die out. It is where you can go to hear stories about real life and that’s relatable to a fan. What is your favorite food? Chicken nuggets, chocolate chip waffles and macaroni and cheese. Basically my diet is like that of a 12 year old. What message do you want to give your listeners and lovers of Country music across the world?

The most important thing is that “you” should always be “you”. People know when one is a “fake”. One should never let anyone change them. Work hard and dreams will come true. Nothing is handed out on a silver platter. And lastly, be grateful and humble throughout all your journeys. Click on any icon to check out Kori Jean Olsen’s music.

Text © Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

Dr. Navina Jafa

Director Indian Cultural Heritage Research & author of

Performing Heritage: Art of Exhibit Walks in conversation with Mark Ulyseas

“The cultural activist factors the element of culture in various fields by reading heritagescapes through multiple perspectives. Heritage through the medium of heritage walks performs, and attempts to make culture functional. Unfortunately, Heritage is limited to be usually seen as built heritage represented in buildings and monuments or as intangible heritage defined in as performing arts.

What is important to understand Heritage is a genetic flowing mindset expressed as flowing traditions. Traditions which from the past influence the present and future and those invented in present will affect the future as well. For example, in a walk on Hinduism I present even new invented gods such as Googleshwar (Google-Ishwar which means Google God). Hinduism as a manifestation of a social order, world view presents million of Gods as ideas by which human beings order themselves. The internet search engine becomes a defining tool by which man in recent times locates his reality and his thirst for information.” - Navina

Published by Sage Publications Pic © Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


NAVINA JAFA

volume two 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

What is a cultural activist? It is important to understand the implication of the word Heritage in the outset. Heritage the word spells a stagnant nature of inherited traditions; whereas the Sanskrit word parmapara connotes flowing traditions. Culture is about civilizational identity that has a dynamic hydraulic nature. Ignoring cultural specifics in economic, social development, an imbalance may lead to conflict. A cultural activist plays the role of bringing about the importance of cultural specifics in all sectors of human endeavor either in order to prevent conflict, imbalances or to assist finding solutions. It is indeed important that as part of the role of cultural activist lie the importance of pedagogy of heritage. These cultural specifics also assist in locating the local identity within the fast changing and omniscient global identity. Through the means of formulating workshops on Heritage/ Parampara education or by means of creating Heritage events and exhibitions such as heritage walks for Corporate for students, for diplomats, for economists the cultural activist creates a stage for deliberating debates on the importance of civilizational identity. In the book I have used therefore a provocative term for the cultural activist –‘cultural broker’. As a cultural broker you play the role of brokering the cultural ethos, complexities, multiple dimensions and layers in the frames that you present in a heritage walk. I call this as the art of exhibit walk. The walk acquires a title, a trail there are various stops where the presenter stands and adds to the story line. The frames of the heritage trail provide the illustrations.

The cultural activist factors the element of culture in various fields by reading heritagescapes through multiple perspectives. Heritage through the medium of heritage walks performs, and attempts to make culture functional. Unfortunately, Heritage is limited to be usually seen as built heritage represented in buildings and monuments or as intangible heritage defined in as performing arts. What is important to understand Heritage is a genetic flowing mindset expressed as flowing traditions. Traditions which from the past influence the present and future and those invented in present will affect the future as well. For example, in a walk on Hinduism I present even new invented gods such as Googleshwar (Google-Ishwar which means Google God). Hinduism as a manifestation of a social order, world view presents million of Gods as ideas by which human beings order themselves. The internet search engine becomes a defining tool by which man in recent times locates his reality and his thirst for information.

What is a heritage walk and how does it differ from a tourist guide?

A heritage Walks is a technically designed exhibit with a title. The title provides a focus on which a narrative is created and the heritage landscape is interpreted. Any monument or heritagescape such as an area of a traditional bazaar or a riverfront has various canvases/frames. If there is title then the presenter weaves an entire lecture. The study leader is a special kind of guide who is a public academician, onsite manger, dramatic presenter. The most challenging qualification © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


NAVINA JAFA

of such a professional is theneeds to be proficient on multiple subjects and constantly do research. For example – when presenting a walk for professionals engaged in conflict transformation the presenter needs to understand the technicalities and theories of conflict, of tools of transformation. She would then need to consider and choose the heritagescape that becomes a stage and a frame within which she presents her argument and weaves with history. Categories of heritage- cultural, natural and digital heritage, further the cultural heritage as intangible and tangible are all considered as part of cultural representation through the medium of heritage walk exhibit. . Any discerning tourist can be a good audience. Thus the exhibit walks are different from mere tour guided tours. They inevitably incorporate the leisure and educational/ pedagogical principal. The educational principal aims to fulfill the professional principal in which the audience is engaged. A touristic guided tour the main ruling principal is the pleasure principle ruling over the educational aspect.

Why are heritage walks important for visitors to India, as well as, Indians?

India is an experience. It is also a space that projects human development in all stages. A civilization 5,000 years and a young nation of about 60 odd years India not only presents a chaotic impression on visitors but also contradictions in various ways. For example, while you are told to dress conservatively as a visitor you encounter women bathing in the Ganges with their sarees clinging appearing to be much more revealing that the obvious bikini. Heritage walks as lectures on site are an important entry point to comprehend the rubric as complex as India. The frame presented in an exhibit walk drives the audience to create a synergized understanding of a particular topic, issue or field of engagement. For Indians heritage walks are platform where one can critically think and experience the contradictions of living in a space that has an ancient civilizational mindset and the living is within a global fast moving space. How do you resolve these contradictions? How is it possible to become aware of cultural gaps? For example on one hand a heritage walk in the cremation ground of Varanasi depicts the work culture of cremation specialists, the narrative is about rituals associated with Hindu cremation, but then there is also the fact that the cremation specialists are contacted on mobiles. People ring them and book places to be cremated, special offerings are made ready by the specialists via internet communication. Heritage Walks are not quantitative but qualitative experiences about a country. The book although refers to Delhi as a case study the value of the work has global application.

For both the Indians and foreigners heritage walks as lived experiences of India become an important tool. When visiting various places in India for work a Heritage walk is a unique activity to be incorporated to make sense of the ground reality of a place. I remember Dr. Kissinger telling me that he wished he had seen India the way he did walking and riding on a rickshaw in Old Delhi during the month of Ramadan. Unfortunately, all his visits were confined to boardrooms. In fact, there have been large numbers of corporate, embassies, organizations such as United Nations annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

who make it a point to include a heritage walk as part of experiential learning for both outsiders and Indians.

On the other hand, university groups such as groups from SAIS, John Hopkins studying International relations have admitted Heritage Walks as part of studying international relations. Teachers involved in South Asian studies from Simon Fraser University, Canada too have used these experiences as hands on activity. Financial Groups such as Editors of Financial Times London, JCB, Performance Theatre Conference, YPO groups found this an absolute essential activity to extend their in the field understanding of their engagement.

For Indians who seem to have lost touch in their local identity, heritage walks I have seen become essential for them to appreciate their local identity. The formation of the new Indian Nation also brought with it for example new concepts of democracy, equality. Some of these new concepts clash with traditional local identities such as the fact that Indian mindset is about hierarchies not equalities. Hence, although liberal democracy is fundamentally owned by citizens of India and is expressed by the freedom to worship, speak, the political democracy expressed in equality is stunted. Politicians have ridden on creating inequalities by favoring one or the class or caste to manipulate power. Heritage walks attempts to build the consciousness about the under developed comprehension about the genetically inherited local identity. Hence for both the foreigner and the Indian, heritage walks is both essential and fascinating.

Please share with the readers a glimpse of your life and work.

As an academician working in public space it becomes challenging to reach out to a large variety of people engaged in a variety of fields. I usually ask for the profile of individuals and groups, then suggest a walking exhibit. The main objective is to make heritage functional to the person experiencing the Parampara from his specific mindset. From sociological, economic, anthropological, security, defense, political and environmental perspectives I try to bring various perspectives into the narrative. For example, I curated a walk that for Governor General of New Zealand Dr. Anand Satyananand was in the Red Fort of Delhi. Coming from a legal background, my objective was to create a narrative that will bring out the legal heritage of the heritagescape.

I started with the scale of justice depicted in one of the perforated screens in the Fort. The narrative then built in facts of various trials during the freedom struggle, the fat that the location was used as a prison and much more. Similarly, for a group of learned Environmental professors from Melbourne University I suggested a walk to present step wells as modes of traditional water harvesting system. Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


NAVINA JAFA

From Left to Right : Mr Vivek Mehra, MD and CEO, SAGE India, Smt Sheila Dikshit, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi, Government of India, Dr Navina Jafa, author, Mr William Dalrymple, Acclaimed Writer and Historian and Janab Mirza Arif, Poet at the release of “Performing Heritage” in New Delhi

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

My work has meant that I am constantly challenged to work on various heritage landscapes and read them in an innovative manner. From children to adults all need to be captivated by not only the facts but also the presentation. My training as a dancer has come much in use. I continue to perform, I trained as a dancer for over two decades. That rigorous training of capturing the audience has come in use while presenting heritage; however, for me each walking exhibit is choreography; it is also diplomacy, and it provides me a platform to be provocative. For example, I presented for a group of young university students a walk on transgender in their 15thc cemetery and place of worship. The walk was on basic human rights with regard to the ostracized community.

In this walk it was important to have tradition representative and that is what I did. Debates on their functionality, denial of health services and education were included in the discussion along with various community rituals. Inclusion of community representatives provides the extra dimension of making heritage dynamic and contemporary against monuments that are silent witness to changing environment and making of new histories. The contesting aspect of the lectures in the walking exhibit as I designed and executed them was to tailor the narrative in a manner that could be understood by all aged people, from a variety of cultural mindset. The task was and remains a trail and rather overwhelming. The factor that helped me to overcome this was the object of shamelessness that comes when you are performer.

My dance guru taught me that when you are performing (which you do when choreographing and presenting the lecture on site) is to perceive that the audience in front of you knows less than you. It is similar to stage fright and the only way to deal with it is to take it by its neck and stand up to perform without fright. So when I was told that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had only 25 minutes at Humayun’s tomb a 16th c Mughal tomb, a world Heritage site I timed myself in a manner that the entire presentation of the story of the monument as a monument of peace and public diplomacy was deliberated in that specified time. I had her in the car with all the onsite logistical formalities in 23minutes. The one thing I realized that such presentations require you to think on your feet. Local sensibilities and sensitivities is another element that I felt were an important element, and hence community participation remains an integral part of the presentations. This needs a constant communication link with the people who are major stakeholders in the heritage that is presented. For example, on many an occasion while presenting a Sufi shrine (mystical Islamic center) in Delhi I often end the walking exhibit with a Sufi song recital where the presentation is done by traditional singers living in the premises of the shrine and I act as the interpreter.

In my view this seminal inclusion of the community functions to make these tradition bearers proud of their own heritage. Indeed one aspect of this inclusion is to pay for their services which are what makes them sustainable. Normally, my personal rapport with community representatives has made the experiences more realistic. Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


NAVINA JAFA

The journey to present civilizational understanding through heritage walks itself is a contested space. For example, on one occasion I took a group of 30 conflict transformation professionals from Pakistan and India to first a Sufi shrine and then to a Hindu temple. After the walk I realized for several of Muslims it was their first visit to a Hindu temple and vice versa for several Hindus a fist visit to a Islamic heritagescape. The presentation was not merely a historical narrative but it was important that I bring in the work of the Nobel awardee Dr. Amartiya Sen on culture and identity in my narrative. Most of the audience comprised of teachers who taught history of India and Pakistan. Through this walk they experienced spaces which comprised of common concerns while on the other hand issues that were distinct to each religious center. It appeared that the walking Exhibits emerged as tools for trust building. Despite doing this work for over two decades, the trail of the exercise was to prove that this service was an academic engagement and there was difference between the work generated through a walking exhibit and a mere tour.

Why did you write Performing Heritage: Art of Exhibit Walks? Kindly give us a detailed overview of your book?

The book is a tool kit that can be universally applied to other countries and global cities. First there is the chapter on debating heritage, where I define the word the word heritage and suggest the Sanskrit word Parampara as a more appropriate and dynamic term to define civilizational identity. Secondly, taking off from this I define Heritage walks as a living exhibit and contrast it to exhibits curated in closed galleries. The walking exhibit in contrast is in an open dynamic environment. Even monuments I mention do not live a stagnant atmosphere. The environment of their existence change and so does the manner in which audiences perceive them. For example, the great Taj Mahal built as a rauza (shrine) incorporated as part of its ambience both the river heritage of Yamuna and the neighborhood that grew in front of it called the TajGanj. Both these environments provided a holistic character to the building. With time, as the identity of the Taj changes from a protected monument, to a national, then to world heritage and finally to a wonder of the world; it gets isolated from the city in which it lives and the immediate environment in which it existed that is the river front and the TajGanj neighborhood. The book the proceeds to bring in nuances of creating living exhibits and contrasts the art of heritage walks with that of creating festivals, parades etc.

Next, the book describes the art of designing and executing walking exhibits by introducing a methodology, as well as the manner to research and create narratives to provide titles and focus, to choose trails. The next chapter describes the manner to graduate from becoming a simple guide to becoming an academic study leader and therefore a public well-grounded academician.

Š Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

The book then proceeds to the economics of emerging as public academician who does not necessarily has institutional support for wither providing legitimacy or for bringing in regular income. The chapter on economics of heritage walk explores ways and means to make it an economically viable profession. Finally, the book speaks about the functionality and importance of the profession as part of cultural professionalism in the form of aultural broker, as a cultural diplomat one who strategies the understanding of soft power and enhances cultural diplomacy. The book is very much a part of personal experiences since the work has been drawn from my own ground hands on experience of more than two decades.

What are you working on now?

I am presently working on two or three projects that I hope to acquire more experience and then pen them down as books. My first assignment is that of a heritage educator in two public organizations. I am apart time consultant with Shahjahanbad Redevelopment Corporation, government of Delhi where I am building heritage walks and other fascinating heritage events for various citizen groups in Delhi. For example I put together a link program between inter-generations called Dadi Poti ki kahani, that is, Grandmother/granddaughter storytelling traditions in the environment of monuments called the tomb of Grandmother Grand Daughter. The event saw several resident welfare associations from nearby neighborhood and school children participate. My other work on Heritage and Pedagogy has seen me involved with the Central Board on Secondary Education the primary organization in India. I have assisted in introducing Heritage education through an interactive website soon to be launched and am now the chief conveynor on Heritage education to prepare a text book on th same. The challenge here is that India has such a wide range of local cultural identities and natural heritage. Lastly, I am working with several organizations involved in development programs and arguing the use of factoring in cultural inputs and cultural specifics in these programs to prevent imbalances in development policies and programs. These include my work with WISCOMP(women in conflict transformation, a small NGO founded by HH Dalai Lama.

I build heritage walks as trust building exercises during their seminars even as hard diplomatic issues are discussed. I am also speaking with other social development NGOs to bring the use of traditional performing arts as means of development communication. I taught a paper at the Brandeis University on performance and development and the model that I developed is what I am trying to broker. For example I am speaking with the Ganga Action Committee to coopt the use of a dance drama on cleaning of rivers and make traditional classical dance more contemporary and make the dance form more functional to present day societal needs. These events then hopefully emerge as platforms of dialogue with people and produce cultural democracy in action. Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


NAVINA JAFA

What is your message to the readers of Live Encounters? Culture is a more powerful bomb than a nuclear bomb and politicians are the only community who has used it as ways to manipulate people. If there is a way to increase democratic participation it is to factor in cultural specifics in socio-economic projects. Maybe it is one way to fill the blank pages on peace in the world.

From Left to Right: Mr Rajeev Sethi, Eminent Scenographer and Designer, Mr Shigeru Aoyagi, Director & UNESCO Representative (Bhutan, India, Maldives & Sri Lanka), Smt Sheila Dikshit, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi, Government of India and Dr Navina Jafa, author at the release of “Performing Heritage” in New Delhi. © Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


ODIN oN TRANCE

Pic © Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS You can travel the world but you can't run away from the person you are in your heart you can be who you want to be make us believe in you keep all your light in the dark if your searching for truth you must look in the mirror and make sense of what you can see just be just be

- DJ Tiesto, Just be

Odin on Trance by Mark Ulyseas

There comes a time when celestial forces conspire to level one’s head, to guide one towards recognition of all things bright, beautiful and peaceful. But how do these forces work? To find this out I went to Odin, the Norse God of Wisdom in the avatar of Viking, a man from South Sweden, a topless tattooed biker with a penchant for embracing the natural elements through the rhythms of Trance music. In a small bar we met over vodka and masala chai.

The interview began with a cough, a sneeze and the click of a lighter followed by plumes of smoke wafting into the air above us as Viking took a deep drag on a cigarette, and then beckoned me to speak.

Text & Pics © Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


ODIN oN TRANCE

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

Could you share with the readers a bit about your life and how Trance saved you? My name is Viking and my God is Odin, the God of Wisdom. My father was a painter (artist) and alcoholic and my mother a cleaner and an alcoholic. I was sent to a foster home when I was four years old. And from this age till I reached 17 years I lived in many foster homes. When I was lonely and I cried I always telephoned my mother but she couldn’t help me, she was too far away.

I liked school as I had made many friends. Geography, mathematics and carpentry were my favorite subjects. But this didn’t last long, I was chucked out of school and it was then that I began to tread the path of a music lover. KISS, AC/DC, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Front 242, Steve Vaughan, George Thorogood, Eric Clapton, CCR, Steppenwolf, Doors etc. led me into another world. Then Trance came along with Asterix (Israeli Avi Shmailov) a Psychedelic trance DJ who also produces Full On Psychedelic Trance; The Israeli Trance band, Astral Projection; and Sound Kita. Trance saved me. It gave me a whole new meaning to life. From a violent kid I grew into a person who was at peace with himself and his surroundings, not completely but I am on the way.

Trance is beautiful, it is like a Bible to me. You should hear DJ Tiesto’s Just Be because if you listen to this you will understand what I am talking about. The lyrics of Just Be are beautiful.

Trance works exactly like rock/acid rock. The lyrics are often about drugs and how good they are if used with responsibility. There is a group called 1200 micrograms. They are a psychedelic trance group from Ibiza. Some of their tracks are titled - Mescaline, LSD, DMT, Marijuana. And lastly how could I forget the English Trance group, Shpongle! However, my favorite group is Suicidal Tendencies from L.A. I have it tattooed on my ass.

For two years I listened to Trance because it took away my restlessness. I always put on Trance in the morning, it helps me tune into the vibrations and a sphere is created, a world within a world. At that time when I discovered Trance I worked construction, stayed with my mom to earn enough money so that I could live in Goa for four months. BTW I don’t drink or smoke during my stay at home. I never really had a dream. If you don’t have an anchor, it’s difficult to dream. Even when I slept, I never dreamt. Maybe I was afraid to dream. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

How old are you, Viking? Why do people always ask – How old are you? Why don’t they ask – How young are you? I am in my early forties. Why do you have tattoos on your body?

It’s my religion, I’m a Viking. Viking means explorer. The God of a Viking is Odin, God of Wisdom and I am interested in Him for it makes sense. We need wisdom in this day of so much violence and hatred. Are you married?

No, but I have a ten year old daughter. I haven’t seen her for the last five years. I miss her very much. Her innocence is so beautiful and I want to be with her but her mother doesn’t allow it. But I put myself out there, on Facebook, everywhere, so when she is old enough she can find me. I know she will come looking for her dad. I know, I feel it here… (With trembling hands he lifts the glass of vodka to his lips as tears swell in his eyes. One tear trickles down his cheek and into the glass. He wipes his face with the back of his hand and smiles at me, embarrassed. I knew the feeling of not seeing one’s child but this evening was Viking’s so I kept silent). How did Goa Trance come into your life? The first time I came to Goa was in 2000 with a hippie gang and returned the following year with my girlfriend, now my ex and mother of my daughter.

You know what I liked about Goa are the people?. When we ran out of money in 2000 and were waiting for money to arrive we were given credit by the shops and restaurants, everyone told us “Pay later, no problem”. When money did arrive we went around clearing our dues. Such things never happen in Sweden! My first two week stay cost only 10k rupees! And then I experienced Goa Trance…it hit me right here (pointing to his forehead) and it was an awakening… I was the first DJ at Morjim. The Blue Waves restaurant was where it was at…I hosted a Trance party, free entry…right on the beach. In 2004-5 (I Think) I went for an 11-day non-stop Trance show at Hill Top in Anjuna.

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


ODIN oN TRANCE

How did Goa Trance come into your life? (contd...) I return every year for around six months to suck on the energy, to re-energize myself, my body, my spirit. Whenever I am in Goa I go “Trancing” for around 8 hours every night. But the following morning I don’t feel any pain in my body because I have sucked in the energy, good energy that makes my body stronger.

BTW you know that a DJ becomes famous by playing in Goa? Goa Trance has made many international DJs famous. And all parties are recorded. What is the message of Trance?

Good energy is generated. We are all the same. We are all there to give, not to take. It’s the energy, it’s the energy, it’s the energy, like sticking two batteries together…the more people, more dancers, more energy. You don’t hate, you don’t become violent, you find the rhythm within yourself and then in the other dancers around you. Harmony is created. So how does one get into the groove with Trance?

Feel the beat. First the feet start moving. Then the hands come in play. In 2 or 3 minutes close your eyes and focus how the music is done and what happens next by following the beats. In Trance you can be yourself. Doesn’t matter how you dance. You dance with nobody. You dance with everybody. And you spread your own good energy in a visual way, ‘cause people when people see how you dance, they can also feel how you feel in the beat. The good thing is you don’t feel ashamed – how you look or how you are dancing. Normally people have a problem ‘cause of vanity.

In psychedelic Trance there are many different sounds that come irregularly and one has to anticipate to catch the sound…it’s the thingy between the beats. The beats range from 18 hertz to 20,000 hertz. The Bass is below 20 hertz and it is hard to hear but you feel it, it’s only vibration… like an earthquake that is 2 hertz! The different types of Trance are according to the beats per minute. Chill out is 120 beats. 138 to 147 beats is generally for all dancers. Hard core is 200 beats per minute. It is an art to make music over 160 beats. For a first timer the Trance dancers will appear to be disconnected. But this is not so for they are in the beat, in themselves, in the movement, in the heartbeat. What is your dream?

My dream is to own 10 houses in Goa. I will build the houses and the income from rent will be shared by the landowner and me so that I have enough money to live in Goa without me having to work construction for half the year in Sweden.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS

The more Trance you have in your ears, the less bullshit you hear! - Viking aka Odin on Trance

Pic © Mark Ulyseas annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


RAOUL WIJFFELS

Pics © Mark Ulyseas

© www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume two


INTERVIEW This is a follow-up interview with Raoul Wijffels, a Dutch national residing in Bali, who set up OneDollarForMusic because he felt “that the hidden and un-used musical skills in Indonesia needed such an organization to nurture it and bring it to maturity through a comprehensive…a holistic approach”. The first interview appeared in Live Encounters March-April 2010.

Raoul Wijffels founder of

One Dollar For Music

in an interview with Mark Ulyseas

“Indonesia has a strong tradition in the fields of art and culture. Of the innumerable original, region-based styles, much has been preserved. Dancing, music, theatre, woodcarving, painting, precious metal work and textile treatment form the visible proof of a very creative cultural potential in the society. In the strong social structures of families and life in the villages, children learn to know their culture and qualify themselves automatically with traditional creative skills from a very young age. In modern times however, a lot has changed. The Indonesian economy nowadays is heavily influenced by globalization. As a result, the traditional balance of working for food, the security of family life and cultural activities has drastically changed to incorporate changes within society. The Indonesian youngster nowadays must aim towards influential elements such as television, Internet, tourists and investors.

As a result, authentic musical and cultural processes are being suppressed or unnoticed. And in combination with a shortage of facilities and guidance, the development of self-esteem and identity among Indonesian youth is restricted and the huge potential of creative young talent remains hidden and un-used.” - Raoul

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

What is OneDollarForMusic and how has it progressed since our last interview in the March-April 2010 issue of Live Encounters? OneDollarForMusic is a not-for-profit organization works in developing countries, organizing creative and cultural projects for youth. Our foundation draws attention to the value of creative and cultural development, through active collaboration with schools, communities and NGOs.

OneDollarForMusic was established in 2007, and thus far our focus has been implementing several successful projects in Indonesia. As we are currently based on the island of Bali, the majority of our programs have focused on Balinese musicians. To date we have trained 32 music teachers/coaches to competent qualification. We have created music programs at 46 schools, and have released 4 full-length CD albums, featuring compositions by young Indonesian composers. We have also compiled a 40-minute documentary, and have reached over 5.000 young people with workshops, enjoying more than 15.000 attendees at annual festivals and events. Education through “extended vision” teaching is the core of OneDollarForMusic. Since the last interview we established a music academy, where talented musicians can attend intensive training sessions to improve their professional skills. The same building serves as a music school where amateur musicians can attend private music lessons on various instruments.

It is alleged that funds collected by many Yayasans (charities) for development of youth activities are misused. How is onedollarformusic different?

Well, indeed there is a friction there and this is a complicated challenge. Unfortunately, many great social initiatives are hindered by instabilities in the country and, as a result, well-intentioned initiatives often don’t meet a professional managing standard. Integrity and transparency are fundamental commitments at ODFM. I have never encountered so much creative potential as I find here in Indonesia. It is an honor to work here with these people. Everyone must give, put in, and contribute toward the common community goal of shared enrichment. Only taking or receiving can never work in the long run, and it goes without saying this includes the ‘nuts and bolts’ running

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RAOUL WIJFFELS

of any organization. Our focus is quality in all aspects, and this starts at the management level, right down to trainings, programs for youth and the one-on-one, individual music lesson.

What are the programs being run by ODFM?

To give a little history of our foundation’s programs, in 2007 we ran a regional event called ‘Young Elastic Band’. This featured performances of ‘cross-cultural compositions’ (traditional and modern) by 28 young musicians and dancers, ages 12-18.

Then, from 2008-2010, we featured a provincial program called ‘Young Sounds of Bali’. Young participants created compositions based on sounds from the environment, eventually performing their work for a live audience. We engaged over 1,000 participants, who were able to reach 15,000 audience members and released 3 CD albums with the work from young artists. This was an exciting success for us.

In 2011, we ran a project called ‘Young Sounds of Indonesia.’ This was our first national project, where we offered educational tuition on the creative power of youth, for schools and various youth communities. During the process, we created jobs for 18 unemployed musicians. That project involved more than 1,500 participants. We also ran a neat project in 2011, featuring music workshops and performances for street children, in cooperation with the British International School in Jakarta. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGYSRhT_M0Y

One of our most exciting successes has been nurturing and growing through the years with the Balinese group ‘Nosstress’. Recently, the Malaysian government supported a project where Nosstress provided workshops, discussions and performances for youth in Malaysia and Singapore. http://www.nosstress.com/media/kita-ft-sandrayati-fay.html Currently, our biggest project to date, called Young Global Composers, is gathering momentum. It is a web-based, musical creative exchange program for youth, set to be launched worldwide in 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-mFyNqaFwU

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


INTERVIEW

You had mentioned in the previous interview that you worked with The Netherlands Embassy in Indonesia. Could you share with the readers what you do? And why? The past four years we have been mainly supported by the Culture & Development Fund, managed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta. The fund has a very similar objective as OneDollarForMusic: to strengthen the infrastructure of artistic and cultural development in Indonesia. It is a real pleasure to share ideas and to discuss the needs and possibilities together with people who have the same vision and experience. The team behind the Culture & Development Fund is very professional and deeply concerned about the cultural movements in Indonesia, and through recent years we have formed a strong partnership.

Raoul could you kindly give us a glimpse of your life and work.

I first visited Indonesia in 2006. I was teaching at the Conservatory in Rotterdam. I came specifically to research the creative musical conditions in Indonesia. In addition to learning about the deep and rich traditional Balinese music culture, I soon discovered a huge creative potential here, and an extraordinarily large number of talented young Indonesian musicians. Surprisingly, I found there is generally little recognition by parents, schools or authorities for the value of this potential amongst today’s youth.

Together with an open-minded and talented group of young Indonesian musicians, we established OneDollarForMusic in 2007. Since then our journey as a foundation has been full of musical adventure, cross-cultural challenges, undeniable community success, individual triumphs, and an overall collective warm sigh of relief. The feeling is: something real, something true, with creative community vision‌is finally happening here for the youth in Bali. For me, it remains a real honor to be involved with these inspiring young artists here on this magical island. Beneath the constant touristic-bent, necessarily compromised performing arts in commercial public venues, there lies the hidden potential for an amazing, underground surge of original, modern Balinese/Indonesian music. The potential is awesome, and we are happy to be an active, grass roots part of movement in this direction.

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RAOUL WIJFFELS

We cannot predict how far things will develop, but I am confident that, with our experience and momentum already built up in Indonesia, we will be in a good position to support other youthbased organizations, in other developing countries, helping to strengthen their cultural infrastructure. I don’t think it is right to let culture take a back seat position in society or in education programs. We should never forget that expressions of culture and arts are means to sustaining development and economic progress. It is through culture and the arts that we find meaning to our existence, which in turn improves social balance in communities. OneDollarForMusic actively promotes this holistic community philosophy and we are happy to share ideas about “developing culture and the arts” with other NGOs globally.

What is your message to the readers of Live Encounters?

Whether you are in the field of music, or any other creative discipline: go inside yourself and pay attention to what truly resonates artistically for you. Create from that source.

Here in Bali, the traditional musical culture - always tied in with active, living religious life – remains at the core of most modern Balinese musicians. Therefore, when we are writing modern, ‘western’ styles of music here in Indonesia, why not incorporate traditional instruments, rhythms and melodies? I often encourage this ‘traditionally-inclusive’ creative component here, for the healthy development of modern music in Indonesia. In this way we continue to celebrate the colorful cultural resources that are unique to this part of the world, and also to creatively develop them! So, instead of the current widespread habit of ‘mimicking’ western artists and bands, something new and multi-cultural emerges. In this way, we move toward a healthy creative synthesis, featuring both traditional and modern influences. After all, we are one world, with many diverse and colorful cultural voices. The journey is to find one’s unique, individual voice, whilst also consciously contributing to the larger human choir.

For the readers who like to know more or want to share ideas or discuss possibilities to cooperate with us, please don’t hesitate to send us an email © Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


International Journalist 206

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December 2012

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Carmen Roberts

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FAST TRACKING WITH CARMEN ROBERTS

“Where are you from?”

Text &Pics © Carmen Roberts

© © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

by Carmen Roberts.


...a citizen of planet earth

Carmen Roberts with her parents annual 2012 Š Š www.liveencounters.net


WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Gold Coast, Australia Pic © Carmen Roberts

It’s a fairly innocuous question, but one that always riled me, especially when I was growing up, because it meant that I was different. Or more to the point, I looked different.

When I was at university, I’d often tell people I was from Hawaii. This story is somewhat believable and seemed far more exotic than the truth at the time. If I took an instant dislike to someone, I’d tell them I was from Sweden, and this would usually have the desired effect and kill the conversation immediately. I’ve had complete strangers shout greetings at me in Japanese on the street, uninvited people speak to me in Mandarin at the bank or supermarket, people hard of hearing in nightclubs think I come from the United States and a British Airways steward once mistook me for a Latino. But the truth is, I was born in Singapore. My mother is Singaporean Chinese, my father hailed from New Zealand and my grandfather was born in Scotland.

We moved to Australia when I was five years old to the tourist metropolis of the Gold Coast, in the state of Queensland. Now, if you’ve never been, think of a mini Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale in Florida. It’s a city littered with glittering high-rise buildings and golden sandy beaches populated with bronzed surfers and bikini-clad sunbathers, while in the suburbs, palm trees line the streets and most residential homes are situated on a canal and every second household owns a boat or a jet ski. Don’t get me wrong, I have some very fond memories of the Gold Coast, including some wonderful friends and family still living there, but it’s never been known to be a cosmopolitan destination and certainly not in the early 1980s. It is after all, the state that spawned the likes of the nationalist One Nation party and its leader Pauline Hansen.

Before we left Singapore, I could speak four languages – English, Cantonese, Malay and Mandarin. But I can still remember the children at the holiday apartments where we first stayed © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


FAST TRACKING WITH CARMEN ROBERTS

Filming in Iceland for BBC Pic © Carmen Roberts

when we arrived in Australia saying that I “spoke funny”. At the tender age of five, you just want to fit in. Shortly after we arrived on the Gold Coast I was trailing behind my mother as she did the grocer shopping at a local supermarket. Being a typical five year old, I was grabbing everything from the shelves and trying to put it in my mum’s shopping basket. My mother scolded me in Cantonese and I apparently turned around with a concerned look on my face and said, “Shhhh, people will hear you and then they will know that we are not from here.” Mum burst out laughing in the face of her almond-eyed little girl.

At school I was called the usual gambit of names associated with having ‘slanty eyes’, despite my best efforts to cultivate the broadest Australian accent possible.

After university I moved to the UK, thanks to the ancestry visa afforded by my Scottish heritage. And while all my Australian friends had to return home after their obligatory two-year working visa was up, I was able to stay on, gain residency and eventually get a British passport.

I was working for the BBC at the time and it took me a long time to get any reporting work, partly due to the stiff competition, but largely because of my accent. When I look back now, I think perhaps I just had a pedantic boss who was trying to make life difficult for me, because there are so many varying accents now on BBC World TV - ranging from Australian and Kiwi presenters to thick Scottish tones reporting from the many corners of the globe. But I diligently went about trying to change my accent yet again, this time with the help of a trained voice coach. I turned up for my first lesson and promptly announced that I needed to lose my Australian accent and gain a British one instead. Ms M stifled a giggle and said, “Oh, you won’t want to do that, it’ll mean you’ll have to lose all your friends and hang around with a group of posh English people - just let me help you with some of your vowels.”

Text & Pics © Carmen Roberts annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


Not quite on the scale of Eliza Doolittle, but after a couple of months of intensive training, my vowels were suitable enough for broadcast and I enjoyed many years as a reporter for BBC World’s ‘Fast Track’ travel program. But after 11 wonderful years in London, finally it was a long distance relationship and a marriage proposal that lead me back to Singapore. Welcome home – or so you would think. The Singaporean government doesn’t acknowledge dual nationality and I now hold three passports – British, Australian and New Zealand – so I was faced with the difficult decision of trading three nationalities for one. And as a result, I’m now treated like a foreigner in the country that I was born in. Maybe it serves me right for changing countries and trading accents. But as we are about to welcome a child of our own into this world, I can’t help but wonder if my son or daughter will inherit my Asian looks or my husband’s English features. Will they too suffer the racist taunts at school? Or has the world become one big Benetton advertisement? I hope our child will not have to go through the same sort of identity crisis or struggle as much to fit in. And now that I’m back in Singapore, I get that same question more than ever, “where are you from?” But it doesn’t bother me so much anymore. In fact, I’ve finally learnt to embrace my multicultural heritage and looks and I quite enjoy telling the brief nutshell version of my family history to people I’ve just met. But for me, it’s been a long and bumpy journey. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


FAST TRACKING WITH CARMEN ROBERTS

Marriage in Phuket, Thailand, december 2012 Pic ©©Carmen Roberts annual 2012 www.liveencounters.net


FAST TRACKING WITH CARMEN ROBERTS

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

Pic © Carmen Roberts


Off the beaten track in Japan... with Carmen Roberts

Japan has never ceased to amaze and overwhelm me ever since I visited it for the first time because, for me, it is so different from other countries - the culture, customs and the people, deep rooted in their genteel mannerisms and traditions. From the white-gloved, bowing bus conductors, the Bullet trains that are punctual down to the minute to ordering one’s dinner from a vending machine! So, whether you envisage the futuristic Blade Runner skyline of Tokyo, high tech gadgets, robots or the whimsical kimono-wearing, painted-faced geishas of Kyoto, this is a country that has the potential to keep even the most avid traveller enthralled, every time.

Text & Pics Š Carmen Roberts annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


FAST TRACKING WITH CARMEN ROBERTS

On my most recent visit at the end of last year, I was tasked with seeing Tokyo through the eyes of the locals. So it was time to throw away the guidebook and leave the tourist trail. One of our challenges was to find a shop that only locals know about. Talk about a tall order, especially in this age of online guides and social media sharing! Our search led us to the western suburbs of Kichijoji, an area that was once reserved as an artists’ colony, but now it’s jam packed with funky, off-beat fashion boutiques, as well as, large department stores. The streets are littered with bars and music studios and this is the place where local bands perform when they are just starting out. But Kichijoji is perhaps most famous for its narrow, dimly-lit alleys, known as ‘Harmonica Yokocho’, filled with shops, bars and eateries. Apparently it used to be an underground flea market dating back to the 1940s. After accosting numerous stunned Tokyoites on the street with my very limited Japanese, we finally got wind of a sweet shop in the area that specializes in Youkan, a thick jellied dessert made of red bean paste, agar and sugar. It’s popular during the summer months and can keep for long time, which makes it an ideal gift item.

The sweet shop in question is called Ozasa, and it makes about 150 blocks of Youkan a day. If you take a peek inside the shop you’ll see why - their kitchen is tiny. Personally, I think the limited number of sweets makes this establishment all the more exclusive and the fact that you have to queue for hours, makes the rewards even sweeter. The shop itself is a tiny hole in the wall outfit, blink and you’d miss it as you stroll down Harmonica Yokocho – that is, if you go in the afternoon. But if you arrive early morning, as we did, there’ll be a queue of people lining the nearby walls in eager anticipation of the woosh of that sweet shop roller door.

We arrived at the shop front shortly after seven, just as the sun was rising over Tokyo. But the line was already at least 100 strong, with well prepared sweet shop enthusiasts equipped with thermos flasks and foldable chairs. The elderly gentleman in front of me said that he’d been queuing since half past six.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


At around 8:30am a weary staff member finally emerged and began to distribute tickets down the line for the Y580-a-piece jellies (there’s a limit of up to five per person). If you are lucky enough to snare a ticket, then protocol dictates that you have to return at 10am when the shop opens to collect your box of goodies.

A hundred eager sets of eyes watched the woman staff member diligently dole out the tickets, slowly making her way down the line. It was almost nine o’clock, she was just a few people away and my excitement was building. But suddenly, she turned and bowed to a woman less than a meter ahead in the line, the bow was returned and after much muttering in Japanese and even more gratuitous bowing from my fellow queue members, I realized we’d been dealt the crushing blow and the Youkan limit had been reached. I’d wasted the best part of a morning standing outside a closed shop, only to be turned away at the last minute. If this had been a scene in England or in most other parts of the world, there would have been a riot, or at least a lot of cursing. Instead I was engulfed by a bowing wave of politeness. Fortunately, our trusty Japanese fixer had arranged a taste test for us, in this eventuality. So we returned at 10am to try the much-awaited and coveted candy. I was presented with a block of dark purple, almost solid jelly. With careful ceremony, I sliced a bite-sized portion with a tiny wooden knife, and gobbled it down with gusto.

Now, I must admit I’m a sweet tooth at heart, and I was immensely looking forward to this much talked about tasty treat. But as much as I tried, my taste buds weren’t enjoying the floury sweetness and congealed jelly sensation. I desperately wanted to be polite, especially in front of my new Japanese friends, but the involuntary eye squinting and turned down corners of my mouth said it all. I guess you have to be Japanese to truly appreciate this traditional delicacy, much like what vegemite is to Australians and black pudding is to the English. But I can safely say, that this sweet shop experience can’t be found in your regular guidebook and there wasn’t one tourists waiting in line for the famous Youkan!

Text & Pics © Carmen Roberts annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


Civil & Human Rights 218

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December 2012

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Anat Hoffman – Irac Antje Missbach Budi Hernawan Henky Widjaja Not For Sale - Anti-Slavery Movement Slaughter House Balochistan Steven Beck

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ANAT HOFFMAN

Pic courtesy irac.org

Š www.liveencounters.net june annual 2012 2012


SPECIAL FEATURE

Segregation in Israel by Anat

Hoffman

Civil & Human Rights Activist Executive Director of Irac

“The US and Israeli public alike talk of countries like Iran not only in terms of their military and security threats, but also in terms of how their world view clashes with our own “open and democratic” world view. I do not believe that all Saudis think it is necessary to forbid women to drive a car or travel without the permission of a male relative, but the power of extreme religious interests inside the political systems of certain countries have made it nearly impossible for the true will of the people to find expression. When I see Israeli politicians and the public at large compromising their own values to pacify one extreme voice in society, I fear we could one day be in the same situation.” - Anat Hoffman

© Anat Hoffman

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


SPECIAL FEATURE

This article will explore the emerging trend of segregation of women in Israel, how it is affecting their psyches, and what is being done to stop it. For any reader who has never heard of the Israel Religious Action Center, let me tell you a little bit about us. We were founded as the political and legal arm of the progressive movement in Israel.

While the rabbis and synagogue communities are working hard to provide a spiritual alternative for Israelis, it is our job to reclaim Judaism, by representing our progressive Jewish values of social justice and equality, and by working against people who use Judaism as a weapon for racism of fundamentalism. We also advocate for Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, mainly the Israeli Arabs.

IRAC’s team of attorneys and professionals follow the guiding principles of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, articulated in May 1948, promising its citizens “freedom of religion and conscience along with equality of social and political rights, irrespective of religion, race or gender.”

We are committed to Israel as a Jewish state, and we are dedicated to protecting the democratic character of Israel. In that vein, these are IRAC’s main goals: 1. To win equal recognition for the Reform & Conservative Movements’ rabbis, synagogues, and schools, so that they can function on the same level as Orthodox rabbis and institutions and have the right to perform all life cycle events (marriages, divorces, conversions, burials, etc.).

2. To win the right for all Israelis to marry any person they choose, regardless of religious status or sexual orientation, without needing the sanction of the Orthodox Rabbinate. 3. To combat all forms of racism, particularly state-sanctioned racism toward ethnic minorities by rabbis employed by the state. 4. To end unfair preferences in government funding given to Orthodox institutions.

5. To generate public support for greater pluralism, tolerance, equality and an end to religious coercion. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ANAT HOFFMAN - THE TRUE VOICE OF ISRAEL

All pics courtesy irac.org

One of the main tools at IRAC’s disposal is the Israeli court system. For all the criticism that can be thrown at all levels of the Israeli government, I want to assure you that our court system is something of which all Israelis can be proud. We have had some of our biggest victories (and some pretty hefty setbacks) in the courts. We file an average of 60 lawsuits a year, more than one a week.

Now that you’ve been introduced to IRAC (and please visit our website, www.irac.org, to learn more. Join our newsletter!), I want to tell you a little more about me. I am a Sabra, native-born Israeli, and I was also a swimming champion. I mention the swimming because thanks to that unique skill that not many other Israelis had, I was able to study in the United States. My English comes from the sunny and somewhat confusing state of California. I never realized all those years ago how important my swim training would be since, as an advocate for civil rights in Israel for over thirty years, I’ve had to constantly swim upstream and against the tide. I used to be in government. For fourteen years, I was a member of the Jerusalem City Council. For those of you familiar with the Israeli system of government you know that we have many political parties, and no one party gets a majority of the seats. We have to make coalitions. (That’s right: Jews have to work together.) So while you have two major parties, Democratic and Republican, and they take turns being the majority, we have coalitions. The majority coalition runs the government and a minority, or opposition, tries to keep them honest.

As the opposition leader, it was my job to keep the majority honest, and that was a full time job. I was always suing the city to obtain information the good old boys would rather I didn’t see. The mayor and his deputies were always looking for new and creative ways to shut me up; interrupting me and calling me names in Yiddish was their mode of choice. When the Mayor (Olmert) would do this, the other members in the chamber would laugh and it became impossible to get a word out of my mouth. I went back to the official record of the city and I counted how many lines women, myself included, were able to get out before being interrupted. The average was around three lines. There was one exception to this phenomenon. One female member of the council always started with a little self-deprecating humor. She would say things like “I’m such a silly girl” or” “I couldn’t possibly understand this” and the mayor and the other deputies would chime in with “No dear, that is ridiculous.” “Go ahead and ask your question. Please, talk.” So it seems that if a woman wants her voice to be part of the debate in Israeli society, she needs to play these games. As IRAC’s executive director, I made “a women’s voice” one of our key issues.

© Anat Hoffman

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


SPECIAL FEATURE

I love Israel and I want everyone who experiences Israel in one way or another to love her as well. Although, I am not looking for you to love Israel the way Fox News loves America, I want you to love Israel the way a grown child loves a parent. This is when the idealism of youth is gone and she sees the cracks and imperfections that exist in every person. Nevertheless, now that their parent is a “human” and not “an ideal”, they are able to love them even more. I have come to believe that real love is what remains when you finally know the truth.

For the last three years, we at IRAC have been on the forefront of one of Israel’s hottest controversies: gender segregation on buses and in other public areas. There are few social issues that are debated as passionately today in Israel as that of bus segregation. Here is a little background:

Segregated bus lines, referred to as Mehadrin buses, first started operating in 1999 as a trial project in Jerusalem and B’nai B’rak, areas with high numbers of ultra-Orthodox Jews who requested separation from the opposite gender. After this small, and largely hidden, trial run, the number of Mehadrin bus lines swelled to around 90 lines operating all over the country. These buses were part of the Egged system, which is the national public bus company, meaning it is funded and administered by the government!

On Mehadrin bus lines, men enter and sit in the front, women enter and sit in the back, and modesty requirements for women’s dress are imposed. Though these requirements were technically voluntary, in reality the social pressure and intimidation by groups of Haredi men, often young yeshiva students encouraged by their rabbis, would enforce the segregation while the bus drivers would do nothing. These bus lines are a result of ultra-Orthodox demands that Egged chose to concede to in order to not lose ultra-Orthodox business. As a result of a petition submitted by IRAC in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled declared unequivocally that bus segregation, as it was practiced at the time, was illegal. All buses had to post a sign saying that segregation was illegal and the bus drivers were supposed to keep riders from being intimidated for choosing a seat in the front of the bus. Even after the court ruling saying that segregation was illegal, we found that all too often this was not being enforced.

So what did we do at IRAC? We made it our mission to keep the bus company honest and monitor the enforcement of the law. We started sending volunteer Freedom Riders on the bus lines that were known to segregate in spite of the court ruling. We had brave women go on to these buses and sit in the front and even encourage other women to do the same.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ANAT HOFFMAN - THE TRUE VOICE OF ISRAEL

All pics courtesy irac.org

Sometimes they were just ignored, but other times they met resistance and even aggression from ultra-Orthodox men. They were called terrible names and even spit at and threatened while the bus drivers would sit back and do nothing. We also found an elegant solution to this problem. We sue them!

We have found that civil lawsuits against the bus drivers have been a very effective method of encouraging Egged to obey the law. The average settlement has been around 4000 shekels and word spread fast among the drivers that sitting back and allowing the Haredi to squash the rights of other Israelis is going to really hit them were it counts---in the wallet. Where are things now? The buses are improving but this fight has moved to other public spaces.

First the buses: we have gone from over 2500 bus rides a day being segregated down to under 1000 and dwindling. It has turned into a “cause célèbre” in Israel in recent months. Israelis from all walks of life and all sides of the political spectrum have begun to see that this is not simply a strange and localized “quirk” practiced in Haredi neighborhoods. Many now see that this affects larger Israeli society. There have been major protests against bus segregation in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, and other parts of the country. I have to say that we might actually see this phenomenon die out or shrink to almost nothing in a matter of months. That is the good news.

On the other hand, segregation is popping up in other areas. For a while now, private advertising companies in Jerusalem have bent to Haredi demands to keep images of women off billboards and other advertisements. We have found supermarkets, stores, and even medical clinics that are segregating men and women. In some parts of Jerusalem, women need to have their heart attacks on even days! Certain radio stations have been coerced into keeping women from speaking on air for the same issue of religious modesty. At a recent Knesset hearing on this very issue we were told by the program director of one of these radio stations that they have a dignified solution to “problem” of hearing a women’s voice on the radio! They set up a fax machine where women can fax their questions or comments and a man will read them on the air. Our jaws dropped in shock and I spent the rest of the hearing thinking of things I would like to fax him!

Now we have cases where prominent rabbis are telling religious soldiers not to participate in military ceremonies (like memorial services) if women are singing. Where does it end?

© Anat Hoffman

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


SPECIAL FEATURE

Segregation is not something that the majority of Orthodox, or even the majority of ultra-Orthodox Jews wanted, but the level of extremism among that community has been growing steadily over the past twenty years. At the same time, ultra-Orthodox power in government has grown at an equal or even faster rate. In many ways, we let this happen right under our noses. Our leadership decided that staying in power was important enough to justify making tremendous concessions to this one minority interest group. I know that to many this might seem like a purely internal Israeli affair. I understand that many readers outside of Israel might wonder how it affects them or the more pressing issues in Israel like peace. Here is my answer.

In addition to being a very real civil rights issue, segregation is also a symbol for something much deeper. As I stated, most religious Jews do not want this kind of segregation but, at the same time, they are afraid of secular Israeli society---and secular Israelis---creating an Israel where their way of life is threatened. The external conflicts and the internal conflicts must be dealt with at the same time. If we do not, we might find that we have created a state with secure external borders that is destroying itself from the inside. For years in Israel, we have been trying to find a middle ground that allows for a full and diverse Jewish life inside the Jewish state, similar to what Jews enjoy in the Diaspora. It might seem counterintuitive that removing religious authority from the Jewish state would actually make Jews freer to practice Judaism, but that is the situation in which we find ourselves. Political freedom is a function of compromise, but religion is generally not that flexible. If we are ruled by religious dogma instead of religious values we will never even have the option to pursue a lasting peace.

The US and Israeli publics alike talk of countries like Iran not only in terms of their military and security threats, but also in terms of how their world view clashes with our own “open and democratic” world view. I do not believe that all Saudis think it is necessary to forbid women to drive a car or travel without the permission of a male relative, but the power of extreme religious interests inside the political systems of certain countries have made it nearly impossible for the true will of the people to find expression. When I see Israeli politicians and the public at large compromising their own values to pacify one extreme voice in society, I fear we could one day be in the same situation. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


ANAT HOFFMAN - THE TRUE VOICE OF ISRAEL

The opposite of love is not hate. Rather, it is indifference. Love and hate are both forms of engaging with something you feel strong about and want to see turn in a certain direction. Indifference towards Israel is the real enemy. Once people concede that Israel’s founding values are not worth fighting for and simply slip away into indifference, the State is doomed.

For Orthodox Jews to have religious freedom in Israel, they need to accept that the Jewish state needs to recognize all forms of Judaism---and even Jews that need no religion at all. If not, their religious hegemony could turn into a theocratic rule just like the one that has been ruling Iran since 1979. Why should we beat the war drum against Iran if we are losing the values that separated us from them in the first place? When this conflict with our neighbors is settled, the battle will not be over, and we cannot put off any longer what kind of Israel we are creating. Will Israel be a society that gives voice to the voiceless and strength to the weak? Will Israel be the kind of country that continues to excel in creativity or will we descend into a medieval world of oppression, paranoia and religious extremism?

Before I close, I want to return to my time as an opposition leader in the Jerusalem City Council. I spent years criticizing and scrutinizing every action taken by the city government. I didn’t do it because I hated the city; in fact, it was the opposite. If I didn’t want that city that is so important to Jews and non-Jews alike to live up to the high ideals our tradition demands, I would have simply sat back and kept my mouth shut. Criticism is a good thing. I didn’t keep my mouth shut because it is the vigilance of a strong opposition that keeps democracy honest and functioning. You can disagree and even speak out without compromising your Zionism, or patriotism or any other -ism you hold dear.

The opposite of love is not hate. Rather, it is indifference. Love and hate are both forms of engaging with something you feel strong about and want to see turn in a certain direction. Indifference towards Israel is the real enemy. Once people concede that Israel’s founding values are not worth fighting for and simply slip away into indifference, the State is doomed. It is for this reason that I will never disengage with Israel, and I know one day we will see a Jerusalem free of segregation.

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ANAT HOFFMAN

A Place for All --

Anat Hoffman and Women of the Wall © Women of the Wall © www.liveencounters.net august annual 2012


A PLACE FOR ALL

----Struggle for Equality at the Western Anat Hoffman Executive Director of Irac

Wall

“The problem is that the people running the Kotel itself represent only one kind of Jewish vision: Ultra-Orthodox...the Council is all men. They are all Orthodox, without exception. They make the rules and the rest of us are shut out of the process. It is their ban on women reading from a Torah Scroll in the women’s section, even though Orthodox Jewish law permits it. It is their decision that women cannot wear a Tallit (prayer shawl) while praying unless it is done in a way that does not upset the men. They are the ones that say women singing too loudly is forbidden, and it is their choice to keep the wall segregated like an Orthodox synagogue 24 hours a day.”

© Anat Hoffman

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ANAT HOFFMAN

Why can we coexist in one place but not another? We, non-Orthodox Jews, don’t throw sand at the Orthodox when they are swimming, so why do they hurl stones and insults at us when we are praying? For too many years we have simply accepted this as the status quo, but the time has come to stand up and claim our stake at Judaism’s holiest site.

The modern state of Israel is a land of deep contrasts and none are more obvious than the difference between her two largest cities: Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. As a native-born Israeli, or Sabra, I assure you that our country is much more than these two cities, but these two distinct places are an apt metaphor for some of Israel’s biggest challenges, as well as some unique solutions to seemingly intractable problems. I have been fighting for pluralism in Israel for my entire career. When I was a member of the Jerusalem City Council and leader of the opposition, I worked to give a voice to residents in the city that were being marginalized. I continue this work today as the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center in Jerusalem. We work for solutions that will allow all Israelis to live in Israel as equals. We also combat the Orthodox hegemony on religious life for Israel’s Jewish citizens. Ground zero in this battle is the Western Wall. This is Judaism’s holiest site and an example of how the will of the majority is sometimes subservient to the wishes of a vocal minority. So why am I talking about Tel Aviv?

While Jerusalem is known for its unique place in world history and its sacred status to three religions, Tel Aviv is known for its beaches. Tourists come from all over the world to enjoy miles of coastline. In many ways the first modern Hebrew speaking city looks like any other Mediterranean beach destination, but there is something unique taking place on our coast line. One of our beaches is segregated. Men can swim on certain days, and women on others.

Usually when I write about segregation it is to rail against it, but this is different. I think it is wonderful that Tel Aviv has one beach that is segregated by gender. While 95% of Tel Aviv’s beaches are mixed areas where men and women enjoy the sun and surf together, there is one walled off section where religious Jews can come and swim in a setting that is comfortable for them. Israel’s beaches are a resource for all Israelis, so having a place for religious Jews alongside secular Jews shows that the potential for compromise actually exists (at least at the beach.) Travel one hour to Jerusalem and that spirit of compromise disappears. The Kotel (Western Wall) is run by one group. They are Orthodox. Efforts to set up areas for mixed services have representation on the Western Wall Heritage Council? The Kotel is holy to all Jews, but decisions about it are made by a very few. Why can we coexist in one place but not another? We, non-Orthodox Jews, don’t throw sand at the Orthodox when they are swimming, so why do they hurl stones and insults at us when we are praying? For too many years we have simply accepted this as the status quo, but the time has come to stand up and claim our stake at Judaism’s holiest site. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


Police warn Raya that she could be arrested for praying aloud.

Š Women of the Wall august annual2012 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


ANAT HOFFMAN

Above: Police film women praying at the wall Top: Segregation at the Wall Middle: Praying at the Wall Bottom: Waiting outside Police Station for WOW supporter detained for questioning.

Pics Š Women of the Wall Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


Orthodox extremists are drifting towards excessive demands of modesty. No longer is it enough that men and women are separated by a partition at the Kotel so men are not disturbed by women, but women are asked not to sing loudly or not to sing at all. The Minister of Religious Affairs stated that the Wall itself listens and is offended by immodest behavior such as women singing.

What exactly is the Western Wall? Why do we call it Judaism’s holiest site? Basically, it is a two thousand year old retaining wall built by King Herod when the Temple stood in Jerusalem. This was the place that Jews were required to come three times a year in order to make a sacrifice to God. The Jews revolted against Roman rule in the year 67CE and the Temple was destroyed in the year 70CE. All that remains from our Temple is this retaining wall. Its original function was to keep the mountain from sliding, but it has turned into a symbol of so much more. Jews are supposed to turn toward Jerusalem when they pray no matter where they are in the world. If a Jew happens to be in Jerusalem then they turn towards the Western Wall. We put our messages to God in its cracks with the hope that our prayers will be heard. The Israeli Army swears in its elite paratrooper units there, and we celebrate both religious and national moments of pride and sorrow in front of the Western Wall. There is no place in the world that represents Jewish and Israeli hopes, dreams, and fears as vividly as this place.

The problem is that the people running the Kotel itself represent only one kind of Jewish vision: Ultra-Orthodox. The Western Wall acts like an embassy. It is technically not under the jurisdiction of the City, but rather Western Wall Heritage Council. This is the group who decides who can do what at a place that is supposed to be for all Jews. With one exception, the Council is all men. They are all Orthodox, without exception. They make the rules and the rest of us are shut out of the process. It is their ban on women reading from a Torah Scroll in the women’s section, even though Orthodox Jewish law permits it. It is their decision that women cannot wear a Tallit (prayer shawl) while praying unless it is done in a way that does not upset the men. They are the ones that say women singing too loudly is forbidden, and it is their choice to keep the wall segregated like an Orthodox synagogue 24 hours a day.

The Kotel has always been a microcosm of major dilemmas in the area of religion and state. First, who decides how we run the holiest site for the Jewish people? Are services conducted in the way many Jews practice Judaism, which is with the liberal denominations? Or do we cater to the people on the ground, the ultra-Orthodox, who are present at the Wall at every hour of every day and literally take shifts to make sure the wall is never alone? If we ignore the people who are there constantly, then we are offending the persons and groups worshipping at every given moment. But if we ignore the vast numbers of Jews in Israel and around the world who practice differently from the Wall’s guardians, we are guaranteeing that the majority control at the Wall will always be ultra-Orthodox. We need to find a balance.

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ANAT HOFFMAN

Women are not supposed to do anything that hurts the feelings of anyone else. This really means Ultra-Orthodox men, who find the very sight of a woman trying to have a spiritual moment so offensive that they create a disturbance of the peace. In order to placate this one minority view, the Israeli police force women to drape their prayer shawls over their shoulders so that it looks like they are simply wearing a scarf.

I believe that all gender segregation in Israel begins at the Kotel. The ultra-Orthodox’s fear of yielding to their yetzer hara, the evil inclination, has become a force that dictates life choices to all members of society, regardless of their religious views. When Israeli government gave the ultra-Orthodox the right to decide on what women were allowed to do at the Kotel, we gave them keys to the whole public sphere. Finding a compromise between liberal and ultra-Orthodox Judaism is becoming harder and harder. Orthodox extremists are drifting towards excessive demands of modesty. No longer is it enough that men and women are separated by a partition at the Kotel so men are not disturbed by women, but women are asked not to sing loudly or not to sing at all. The Minister of Religious Affairs stated that the Wall itself listens and is offended by immodest behavior such as women singing. Not only is singing a problem, but so is blowing shofar, reading the Megilla, reading Torah, or waving the lulav. I have been actively trying to change the way the Kotel is managed for over twenty years, and I have even been arrested while trying to pray at the Kotel. What was my crime? I committed the terrible act of holding a Torah Scroll with the intent to read. Currently under the Kotel regulations it is a crime to offend the feelings of another person at least when it comes to women performing the most basic Jewish rituals at Judaism’s holiest site. Why is this allowed to persist?

There is no shortage of stories from committed Jews from all over the world who talk about the trauma they have suffered trying to worship in their own way at the Kotel. As recently as last month, a visitor from Boston, Deb Houben, was detained for three hours for wearing her tallit (prayer shawl) at the Kotel. I was there and I know better than most how terrible that Thursday morning felt for Deb. What was her crime? She wore her tallit at Judaism’s holiest site. Women are not supposed to do anything that hurts the feelings of anyone else. This really means Ultra-Orthodox men, who find the very sight of a woman trying to have a spiritual moment so offensive that they create a disturbance of the peace.

In order to placate this one minority view, the Israeli police force women to drape their prayer shawls over their shoulders so that it looks like they are simply wearing a scarf. This farce only serves to insult our intelligence (a tallit is always a tallit) and to give the Ultra-Orthodox and the police pretext to harass women who just want to pray in peace. We need diversity on the Western Wall Heritage Council. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


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ANAT HOFFMAN

The stones of the Western Wall have been listening to the prayers of all Jews and non-Jews alike for thousands of years. When I go to the Kotel, I think the Wall is actually asking something of us. It wants to be a symbol of peace and coexistence and not a point of division. But it needs people of good will from all faiths and practices to make that dream a reality.

It is difficult to believe that a problem so complex could have such a simple fix, but this would go farther than most can imagine in changing the public face of the Western Wall. Is it really so crazy to think that Jews from inside and outside of Israel could come together and figure out a way to create a space that is inclusive for all visitors? Why has it not happened? Nobody wants to give up a monopoly, especially when he feels he is fulfilling God’s will. The Orthodox rabbis imposing harsh restrictions on the site are well aware that they are in the minority but, in their worldview, compromise is not necessary.

Judaism, in their view, is not something that needs to change to reflect the complexities of a modern democracy. They know that as soon as they begin to compromise with other streams in Judaism it will lead to the inevitable end to their monopoly on religious life in Israel. This is precisely the reason we in the Progressive Movement in Israel cannot give up this fight. In Israel there is no separation of religion and state, even though Israel’s founding document ensures freedom of religion. The Orthodox Rabbinate controls all aspects of religious life in Israel and has since the founding of the modern state in 1948. Marriage and divorce is controlled by this one group, their synagogues are built by the state, and many of their rabbis (around 4000) receive a salary from the state. It was not until this year, after a 7 year battle, that we won the case granting the title of rabbi and a state salary to the first non-Orthodox rabbi in the history of Israel, Rabbi Miri Gold. So it is clear we still have a long way to go before there is a level playing field. The Western Wall is the holiest site for Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Orthodox Jews, unaffiliated Jews, and any other title or definition that Jews use around the world to identify themselves. The fact that it is so central to everyone can make it feel like it is the only thing left that actually proves that we are still one people. We cannot let it continue to be a symbol of division and alienation. We at IRAC have started a campaign in Israel to bring this issue to the top of the agenda. We have begun circulating a petition for people from all over the world to sign so we can let the Israeli government know that the status quo is unacceptable. We are preparing to take this fight to the Israeli Supreme Court. Please sign our petition and pass it on to as many people as you can. LINK

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We managed to find a way to share the beaches in Tel Aviv, so I know there is hope for Jerusalem as well. The first step in solving a problem is having everyone affected given a voice in the debate. That is why I am not giving ultimatums here about what the future of the Western Wall should look like. I am only calling for the group that manages it to be expanded to include voices that represent all sectors of society.

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Please sign our petition and pass it on to as many people as you can. Click here

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I was taken to jail in handcuffs, pulled along the ground by my wrists, strip-searched, and left to sleep on the floor of a jail cell with nothing to keep me warm but the same tallit that started the problems in the first place. When I asked why I had to sleep on the floor, the guards simply said they were having a shortage of beds.

Anat Hoffman

Civil & Human Rights Activist The Western Wall in Jerusalem, in the words and Yiddish accent of Issac Bashevis Singer, is “like any other Veilin Vall (wailing wall).” It is the only distinct and concrete holy place for the Jewish people. The site of the Western Wall is run by an ultra-Orthodox group of bureaucrats and rabbis who are dictating the life choices of all who enter (Jew and Gentile alike.) This group, The Western Wall Heritage Council, determines the character of the holiest site for the Jewish people. They are the ones who have taken this historical site, with deep meaning to Jews from all denominations, and turned it into an Orthodox synagogue with all the restrictions that go along with that distinction.

Pope Benedict XVI learned how extreme this group could be during his 2009 visit to Israel. The chief rabbi in charge of the holy places and the wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, said that just as the Pope would take off his shoes when entering a mosque, he should take off his crucifix when visiting the Western Wall. It took a while to explain to Rav Rabinovitch the difference between the Pope’s shoes and his crucifix. One is a clothing item, while the other is the essence of his identity. The rabbis ultimately relented and the Pope kept his crucifix on during the visit. The idea of starting a fight with 1.5 billion Catholics was a fight they were not ready to wage. Conversely, these same rabbis are more than happy to pick a fight with Jewish women who want to pray at the Western Wall because they are viewed as weak. The Western Wall Rabbis do not fear Jewish women will cause the kind of international backlash that would have resulted if the leader of the world’s Catholics was forced to remove an item that symbolizes the essence of his faith as a Christian. The rabbis fail to see that the right to wear a tallit (prayer shawl) is the same symbol for us, the Women of the Wall. Women of all Jewish denominations have gathered every Rosh Chodesh (the new month in the Jewish calendar) for the last 23 years to pray together wearing a tallit, singing out loud and attempting to read from the Torah scroll. Our group is wonderful because it’s the only multi-denominational Jewish prayer group in existence at the Wall and maybe in the world. We became sisters as we reached across our varied Jewish practices to celebrate the new month together. Our unique community is a complex exercise in sensitivity and mutual respect. It is therefore quite shocking that our group is seen by the ruling powers of the Wall as provocative and having no respect for the feelings of others. We have suffered verbal and physical harassment by ultra-Orthodox male and female onlookers, who are threatened by our practices, which, though complying with Jewish law, seem to them to be quite unusual and challenging.

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Guest Editorial December 2012 Volume One

On October 16, 2012, I was arrested at the Western Wall while conducting a prayer service in honor of Hadassah’s centennial birthday. Two hundred and fifty Hadassah women came to the wall in solidarity with our group. As we were chanting the “Shema,” a major prayer in the service, a police officer approached and ordered me to leave the Wall Plaza. I was taken to the nearby police station, and night of humiliation and pain followed. I have never experienced such intense levels of intimidation. I was taken to jail in handcuffs, pulled along the ground by my wrists, strip-searched, and left to sleep on the floor of a jail cell with nothing to keep me warm but the same tallit that started the problems in the first place. When I asked why I had to sleep on the floor, the guards simply said they were having a shortage of beds. Treatment like that is designed to make women scared of entering the Western Wall complex with a tallit, in spite of the fact that women wearing prayer shawls are common all over the world. Only in Israel does this simple act meet with such intense pressure. It is important to note that when I enter a room of Israelis with my tallit, it is usually the first time most of them have ever seen one worn by a woman.

So why do I do it? That is a logical question given the terrible coercion I was subjected to that night and the continuous abuse that has been hurled at all of us who go to the Wall on Rosh Chodesh over the last two decades. The reason is simple: if women do not stand up for their rights the patriarchal religious authorities in Israel will continue to push women further and further out of sight. Hopefully the more regular Israelis see me and other women wearing tallit, the more they will come to understand that it is not religious subversion on our part. I respect Jews who pray differently than me, and I understand that many women do not wish to wear a tallit. The rights of millions of other Jewish women who do wish to pray at the Western Wall with a tallit in peace and safety was never meant to infringe on the rights of others. It was, and continues to be, a simple statement that there is more than one way to be a Jew and this holy site belongs to all of us. Anat Hoffman Jerusalem, December 2012

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ANTJE MISSBACH

Pic © Antje Missbach

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BOAT PEOPLE

Strangers in ‘Paradise’?

Somali asylum-seekers in Indonesia and their search for protection and resettlement

Antje Missbach

I am still alive; I have got near death. … our boat sank and split into two and the water got in and we all drank sea water, but we are still alive. - Ali

©Antje Missbach

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STRANGERS IN PARADISE

In April 2012, a wooden boat with 34 Somalis on board was stranded on the tropical island of Sumbawa, located in the geographic heart of the Indonesian archipelago. After two days of a disastrous journey en route to Australia, the boat had not got very far from the initial point of departure, the nearby island of Lombok. A storm treated the boat – 12 metres long by 3 metres wide – like a nutshell in the ocean. After the engine and the pumps failed, people on board had to draw water in order to prevent the boat from going down. They were lucky to be found by a larger ship that towed their boat back to shore, where the police arrested them not long after. Many other ‘boat people’ lack such luck in disguise. Estimations of maritime fatalities assume that more than 1400 people have drowned during these dangerous trips over the last decade. The boats used by asylum-seekers are often not seaworthy and are also overcrowded. The often young and inexperienced Indonesian crew cannot navigate the boats properly due to the lack of appropriate equipment. Unexpected storms have caused many a nasty surprise. Although this year dozens of boats with asylum-seekers on board have been intercepted in Indonesian waters while they were attempting to reach Australia, aka the ‘lucky country’, a boat with Somali passengers aboard came as a surprise to many observers. Usually, these ‘boat people’ hail from conflict countries in the Middle-East and Central Asia, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran or Sri Lanka. Why would somebody from Somalia choose to come to Indonesia as a transit stop during the journey to Australia, which is thousands of kilometres away from their homeland, rather than try to find protection in the immediate neighbouring countries, such as Kenya or Yemen? Or if those are still seen to be unsafe, why would they not try to seek asylum in Europe? The answer to these questions is not easy, as a number of different factors have to be taken into consideration. In order to illustrate some aspects relevant to an asylum-seeker’s decision making, I will narrate the travails’ of a young Somali man, whom I will call Ali. Ali’s story is in many ways unique, yet at the same time it explains a number of commonalities among Somali asylum-seekers in Indonesia.

Ali came to Indonesia in early 2010. Together with his smuggler, a Somali man who holds Australian citizenship, he travelled from Somalia via Yemen to the United Arab Emirates. His older brother who had taken the same route two years earlier had gone missing during the journey. From Dubai, Ali took a plane to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. From there, he crossed over to Indonesia by boat and finally flew from Medan to Jakarta. He paid US$5000 for the entire trip. Once he arrived in Jakarta, Ali was entirely on his own. His Somali-Australian smuggler had already abandoned him in Malaysia, but at least put him in touch with a new group. The people who accompanied him during the last domestic flight were arrested at the airport in Jakarta. Once more, he was lucky in disguise. After waiting several hours outside the terminal, he met an Indonesian taxi driver who fortunately spoke enough English and also knew a number of Somali students living on the outskirts of the city. He took Ali there. The students welcomed Ali, fed him and hosted him for a few days. They also told him to register as an asylum-seeker at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He complied. As Ali was at that time still under-age and had no relatives, he was put in a special shelter for unaccompanied minors where he was the only Somali among teenagers from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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ANTJE MISSBACH

Somaili men with Indonesian neighbours Pic © Antje Missbach

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STRANGERS IN PARADISE

Puncak Pic © Antje Missbach

Life in the shelter was bearable, but extremely boring. Ali longed to study, but could not attend university, as he had no adequate high school diplomas. As an asylum-seeker he was not allowed to go to school to catch up with the studies he had missed earlier in his life. Ali had been mostly tutored at home by his father, until his death. Originating from a multilingual background, learning languages was easy for Ali. His English and Arabic were already fluent and soon he also mastered Indonesian, as he participated in classes offered by a local NGO providing services to asylum-seekers and refugees. Once he had been accepted as a genuine refugee by the UNHCR, he could take further lessons at a private language institute in a nearby town. When Ali turned 18, he had to move out of the shelter and find his own accommodation. He rented a room in the house of an Indonesian family. As a genuine refugee he was entitled to monthly payments of Rp 1,200,000 (US$120) from the UNHCR, covering his daily expenses, such as housing, food and clothing. While waiting to be accepted for resettlement by a third country, Ali kept himself busy. He attended a number of regular activities organised by the local NGO and also helped the NGO staff by acting as interpreter for newly-arrived asylum-seekers, especially for those from his homeland. However, his support did not always create new friendships; on the contrary, unsatisfied asylum-seekers blamed Ali for having manipulated their statements with his interpretation. Unlike other people in transit, Ali did not receive remittances from his family in Somalia. His mother was often sick. The fact that Ali could not support his mother, who had paid for the first part of his journey, weighs heavily on him.

Although a few Somalis have lived in Indonesia since the early 2000s, it was not until 2011that more and more Somalis started arriving in Indonesia. Most of them had lived for many years in Yemen due to the violence caused by the civil war in Somalia. From this perspective, their journey to Indonesia was a secondary movement, which became necessary as their lives in Yemen were no longer safe. The security situation started to deteriorate following the events of the Arab spring that also spilled over to Yemen. Somalis were particularly affected. As of August 2012, 34 Somali women and 72 men are registered as refugees living in Indonesia, while another 251 Somalis (135 women and 116 men) are currently applying for protection from the UNHCR in Jakarta. Resettlement numbers for refugees in Indonesia are generally low; however the Somalis there seem to face even greater difficulties being accepted by resettlement countries. The largest Somali Diasporas live in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Australia has accepted only a handful of Somalis in the last two years. Aware of the low probability of a fast resettlement, Ali started thinking about alternative options for his onward migration as he no longer wanted to ‘waste his youth’ in Indonesia. He wants to work, something he is not legally allowed to do in Indonesia, and also he wants to get married.

A seemingly suitable chance did not take a long time in coming. One day, when visiting his former student friends in Jakarta, Ali witnessed a fight between some long-term stayers and newcomers from Somalia. The long-term stayers offered to organise a boat and an Indonesian crew to take

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ANTJE MISSBACH

the newcomers to Australia, as they did not wish to join the queue at the UNHCR. However, the newcomers had found out that the people who had organised the boat had charged them a much higher sum than they had paid to the Indonesian people-smugglers. Fearing that this selfenrichment might have negative consequences for the quality of the boat and the equipment on board, the newcomers took the organisers to task and they in turn refused to renegotiate the price. Unable to communicate with the smugglers themselves, the newcomers asked Ali to interpret for them, offering him a free passage. Despite knowing the risks of such journeys, Ali agreed. A few days later, he found himself on a flight to Lombok. While other sites of departure for ‘boat people’ have come under stricter border control over recent years, people-smugglers have chosen Lombok as an alternative, despite the longer distance of the routes and therefore the more dangerous voyages. The outcome of the attempt to cross over has been described earlier. Although everybody survived, most passengers were arrested and detained in Indonesian immigration detention centres, even those few who had previously enjoyed the support of the UNHCR. From widespread reports it is known that, according to ‘western’ standards, general conditions in Indonesian detention centres are poor. Food is often sub-standard, clean water and medical care insufficient and hygienic standards bad. The worst grievance is, however, the uncertainty about how long they have to remain there and what will happen to them. The maximum period of detention is ten years. Ali, again, was lucky to escape such a fate. While the police hosted the Somalis in a local hotel for a few nights, he managed to run away with a friend who still had some money. Chased by the police they had to hide in rice fields overnight and change their modes of transport frequently. After many days they finally arrived back ‘at square one’ in Jakarta. Even poorer, but happy to be alive, Ali started to reconsider his options. While his friend decided to fly to Turkey to try to make his way into the ‘fortress Europe’, Ali considers ‘voluntary’ repatriation. When I asked him what he would do in Somalia, he said he would try to get as quickly as possible to Kenya. Having waited in Indonesia for more than two years, he thinks that waiting will get him nowhere. Restless and eager to ‘start life’, he will try to find his way elsewhere. Ali’s story shows people’s searches for protection and a life worth living are often less target-oriented and more staggered as one might commonly assume. Displaced people have to move quickly, using whatever options are available to them at the time. If, for example, like in Ali’s case, a fellow countryman offers to take asylum-seekers to Australia, which is known for its higher asylum-seeker acceptance rate compared to Europe, they might just follow him. If this facilitator then abandons them half-way through, after having taken all their money, people on the move have to re-consider and re-orient themselves. While the presence of the UNHCR in Indonesia helps to cushion some hardship, asylum seekers still might end up in a prolonged time of waiting. The longer people live in limbo, the harder it gets to move on. No wonder that the promise of a boat trip to the ‘promised land down under’ becomes even more appealing.

©Antje Missbach

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BUDI HERNAWAN

Pic © Budi Hernawan © www.liveencounters.net august annual 2012


PERSPECTIVE

Pic © Budi Hernawan

They are just Papuans Recent violence shows the authorities share a disturbing mindset about the residents of Papua

by Budi Hernawan OFM Franciscan friar,

former director of the Office for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church in Jaypura, West Papua, and a PhD scholar at the Regulatory Institutions Network, Australian National University Reprinted by Special Permission of Jemma Purdey, Inside Indonesia.

The statement by President Yudhoyono that recent violent incidents in Papua are ‘small-scale incidents compared to those in the Middle East’ (Jakarta Post, 12 June 2012) is worrying. The worry is not only that, by comparing Papuans and people in the Middle East in this way, he appeared to confuse his constitutional duty to protect Indonesian nationals with his role as observer of world politics. It is also because his comment suggests the president views Papuans as living ‘bare lives.’

First coined by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, a ‘bare life’ denotes a life that is limited to its biological and physiological dimensions. The term emphasises the emptiness of such life, a life that is devoid of meaning and value. Lived bare, the life of an individual is equivalent to a piece of meat. If someone destroys this life, it makes no difference because a bare life that is ended cannot be transformed into sacrifice. It has no higher meaning or significance. Whenever a Papuan is killed in violent conflict in Papua, this attitude is on public display. Government officials proclaim their concern about ‘national integrity’ or ‘security’, in abstract and formal terms. We never, or rarely, hear them expressing sympathy for the victims, or acknowledging that their lives were valuable and dignified. Human dignity is overshadowed by abstract calculations that serve only the interests of the state. The lives of Papuan victims are thus made bare, made devoid of meaning and stripped of all recognition and rights. © Inside Indonesia

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PERSPECTIVE

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BUDI HERNAWAN

Bishop John Saklil of Timika conducting funeral ceremony for Kelly Kwalik, leader of free papuan movement who was shot dead by the indonesian police in 2009. Pic © Budi Hernawan

Violence on the march The resurgence of violence in recent weeks in Papua is suggestive of this mindset. Since May 2012, unidentified killers have claimed three lives and left six others wounded in Jayapura alone. Most victims were civilians, including a German national, but a few of them were members of TNI (Indonesia’s National Armed Forces) and Police. The victims were attacked when they were on the way home from work, such as Private Doengki Kune, or busy at work, such as Tri Sarono, or simply enjoying leisure time on the beach, such as the German biologist Pieter Helmut. The killers continue to operate freely. Law enforcers seem unable to stop the killings, or to prevent the killers from publically displaying the bodies they leave behind. Randomness has become the language of terror that the killers want to communicate to the whole Papuan population. Their message is crystal clear: they can target anybody regardless of nationality, occupation, gender, ethnicity, time and location. Their impact was great. For a time, the busy road connecting Jayapura and Sentani (where the Jayapura airport is located) was deserted by 6 pm.

The recent violence in the highland town of Wamena in June 2012 evinces a similar pattern. On 6 June two members of the armed forces, Private Ahmad Ruslan and Private Ahmad Sarifuddin, were riding a motorcycle when they ran over a three-year old boy, Debet Wanimbo and left him injured. Instead of being attentive and responsible to the victim, these soldiers tried to escape, triggering an angry reaction by locals. The locals took the law into their own hands. They stabbed Private Ahmad Ruslan to death and left another soldier in a critical condition. This situation immediately triggered retaliation by the soldiers’ comrades in battalion 756. The soldiers rioted. They stabbed Mr Elinus Yoman (30 y.o) to death and injured 15 others, and destroyed a lot of private and public property. The commander in chief of the TNI eventually acknowledged, rather casually, that the troops ‘shouldn’t have over-reacted’ (Jakarta Globe, 13 June 2012). But their rampage amply demonstrates how the authorities persistently view Papuans as living bare lives, unworthy of protection or value.

The Wamena example is much more complex than what we see on the surface for two reasons. First, the violence fits into a long pattern that arises out of, and reinforces, the difficult relationship between locals and the army garrison permanently stationed in this area. This relationship has long been marked by cautiousness, suspicion and sometimes hostility. For many people in Wamena, the recent violence is reminiscent of the 2003 Wamena case, for which prosecution is still pending with the Attorney General. In 2003, there was an intensive military operation in the Wamena area following the burglary of the military arsenal there. According to a National Human Rights Commission investigation, during the search for the stolen weapons, soldiers indiscriminately arrested and tortured at least 30 innocent civilians, killed nine others and forcefully displaced the population of 13 villages. © Inside Indonesia

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PERSPECTIVE

This picture released by the Papua Cooperation Forum shows a supporter carrying the portrait of slain vice chairman of the National Committee for West Papua, Mako Tabuni, center, and the banned Morning Star flag during his funeral in Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia, on June 16. Photo: AFP / Papual Cooperation Forum / Septer Manufandu.

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BUDI HERNAWAN

Pic © Budi Hernawan

Second, at the community level, the recent incident triggered a communal dispute between the family of the boy who was injured in the motorcycle crash, and those who suffered losses when the army ran amok. These victims blamed the family of the boy for the whole affair, and for the community’s suffering as a result. Some have demanded compensation from the family of the boy. Whilst this dispute can be settled by a payment agreed by both sides, the scars left by the dispute will remain recorded in the collective memory of the Wamena people.

In a different setting, the killing of a Papuan activist Mako Tabuni on 14 June further illustrates another example of the bare life status of Papuans. Mr Tabuni was an outspoken leader of West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a political organisation which campaigns and advocates for a referendum for Papua. Following a rally he helped organised, the police ambushed him while he was chewing betel nuts with his companions. Instead of upholding due process and arresting and processing Mr Tabuni according to regular police procedures, the police shot him dead, claiming that he resisted arrest and possessed weapons. This incident immediately triggered mob rioting around the crime scene and the burning of shops owned by non-indigenous Papuans. Innocent people became victims, regardless of their ethnic background. The incident has fueled tension between indigenous and non-indigenous Papuans, and there is a danger of serious communal conflict in the future if these tensions are not carefully addressed.

An exit from violence? Given the escalation of violence, the response of the president is inadequate. If the highest policy maker in the country has already dismissed the Papua conflict as being just small-scale, not as significant as other world trouble spots, and perhaps therefore not really worthy of attention, what can the Papuans expect? Can Papuans expect that the international community will invoke the principle of the responsibility to protect and intervene on their behalf? But apart from perhaps Vanuatu, no country has placed Papua high in terms of its national interests and foreign policy. Almost all the nations that count have repeatedly stated publicly to the Indonesian government that Papua is purely a domestic matter for Indonesia and that problems there fall within Indonesian jurisdiction in accordance with the principle of national sovereignty enshrined in the UN Charter. Furthermore, Indonesian foreign policy has deliberately isolated Papuans from international attention. However, from history we learn that the weak cannot always be defeated by force permanently. In their recent book, Why Civil Resistance Works, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan demonstrate that non-violent resistance movements have a higher success rate than movements that rely on armed struggle. Based on 323 case studies worldwide between 1900 and 2006, their study shows that non-violent resistance succeeded 53 per cent of the time, in comparison to only a 26 per cent success rate for armed struggle. In other words, it is not impossible for the Papuans living bare lives to reclaim their dignity by resorting to non-violent means. The prospects may seem remote, and the present outlook may seem bleak, but there is hope in resistance.

© Inside Indonesia

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WEST PAPUA

(L to R) Anne Noonan, Rex Rumakiek, Joe Collins. Anne and Joe receiving the 2012 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award. Pic © Abilio Fonseca Soares. Check out www.awpasydneynews.blogspot.in LINK

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BUDI HERNAWAN

“They are just Papuans” Representing the Papuan conflict in a foreign country a speech given by Budi Hernawan OFM at a reception, Sydney, September 10, 2012

Honouring Anne Noonan and Joe Collins Recipients of the

2012 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award Recently we were presented with two different representations of the Papuan conflict: one was a report entitled ‘Dynamics of Violence in Papua’ produced by the International Crisis Group (ICG) and another one was the two part ABC 7:30 Report program on the human rights situation in Papua by ABC 7:30. The ICG compelling report focuses on events during the period of 2011 to 2012, unveiling the lack of coherent policy of the Indonesian government to address ‘multi-dimensional conflict’ (ICG, 2012: i). While the ICG analyses Papua from a policy-making perspective, ABC 7:30 Report’s emphasis was the oral testimonies of Papuan witnesses and observers around the killing of Papuan activist Mako Tabuni. The witnesses and observers explain the complexity of the conflict as they experience and perceive and their concerns about the Indonesian justice system which has not delivered justice for them. Despite different genres, different angles, and different targeted audiences, both independently agreed that Papua remains a volatile ground marked by continuing unresolved violence. We gather together here to reflect on the essence and challenges of representing the Papuan conflicts in a foreign context, like Australia. We ask questions of how the protracted conflicts of Papua can be made intelligible for the outside world; how to deal with the challenge of presenting the Papuan conflict vis-à-vis the growing concerns of the Australian public towards the boat people who continue to flow in to this country. In this context, we will learn the enormous contribution of Anne Noonan and Joe Collins in making sense the Papuan conflict to the Australian audience.

©Budi Hernawan

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WEST PAPUA

This is also a privileged opportunity for me to reflect on the ongoing conversations around the Papuan situation, which are heterogeneous and multi-layered. At the very least, I can identify three major elements that form the basis for these ongoing conversations. First is Papuans as a collective identity. On the one hand, Papua is a Melanesian entity defined by multi-layered histories of colonial and post-colonial conflicts, heterogeneous power relations and the dynamics of multi actors since its first contact with outsiders back in the early nineteenth century. On the other hand, Papuans have often been portrayed and even treated as less than human. They were presumed non-existent when the Dutch and the British drew an astronomical line on the map to divide the Island of New Guinea into two parts in 1844. We often hear the phrase “they are just Papuans.” Second is Australian audience who see Papuans as the ‘Other’. Australia is a foreign soil. It is geographically located as a neighbour suggesting its proximity but at the same time, it is culturally, historically, politically and linguistically distant. The Australian audience, as the Other, contains not only competing but also conflicting narratives of interpreting Papuans. Third is myself, a member of Franciscan Order, 800-year old Catholic religious order, who has engaged with Papuans in the last 14 years. Being a non-Papuan, my interpretations of Papuans have been influenced and even shaped by my personal worldview, religious formation and professional training. As we can already imagine, these three different elements of conversations already suggest gaps between them. Papuans would not necessary understand the Australian audience and vice versa. Similarly, I would not necessarily comprehend Papuans and vice versa despite my long-term direct engagement. Australian audience on the other hand, would not necessarily understand my engagement with Papuans. However, the triangle of conversations assumes and requires mutual engagement of every element: Papuans, Australian audience and myself. I would start with the last element which I know very well, that is, myself. My initial encounter with Papua and Papuans occurred in July 1997 when I arrived in the harbour of Jayapura after sailing for 7 days from Jakarta. I just completed my first degree in Philosophy and Theology as part of my Franciscan formation, and was on track to be a priest. The first impression was the omnipresence of the Indonesian military. The infrastructure of the army was just massive, ubiquitous, but also had an oppressive-mystique quality. Although I grew up in an army family, being an onlooker allowed me to make sense the phenomenon of the Indonesian army as a panoptic omnipresent installation. It is like the big eye of the Indonesian state apparatus is watching me. This is the message that an onlooker like myself can grasp when I passed the main road Jayapura. This first encounter sticks out in my memory. Once I started my “on the field training” in the Central highlands of Paniai, I continued to confront not only a panoptic gaze but also coercive-brutal power of the Indonesian state apparatuses in the forms of war, torture, killing, and divide and rule tactics. Papuans have been targeted by these forms of power relations and have been silenced. State-sanctioned brutality not only has marked the mindset of Papuans but also has inscribed the power of the state over the Papuans bodies. It was not a rare occasion that a parishioner reported that s/he was beaten up when s/he was not able to answer a question from a patrolling Indonesian army garrison.

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BUDI HERNAWAN

It was not an extraordinary event that a woman was raped by a member of Indonesian security services. It was not unusual that a group of villagers were rounded up and publicly humiliated and punished by a group of army or police simply because they were accused of supporting the OPM.

This unlawful practice of state brutality is not an accident. On the contrary, it constitutes fifty-year practice of Indonesian security services operating in Papua. These apparatuses act with almost complete impunity. The impact of the half-century of oppression is serious. It has not only generated various technologies of domination such as war, killings, torture, surveillance, and disappearance but has also silenced Papuans. Papuans have been deprived from the capacity to represent themselves, and they became numb for a long period of time and withdrew their voices from the public discourse. During the period of 1960s until 1990s, for instance, Papuans had limited freedoms of speech and movement. Post Indonesia’s reformasi which generated a momentum of freedom for the whole country, Papuans regained its ability to speak and to represent themselves. The meeting of the team of 100 Papuan representatives in 1999, the Papuan Great Deliberation (Mubes) of 1999, and the Papuan congress of 2000—all prove that Papuans have the ability to speak for themselves. The impact of a 30-year of silence, however, remains unexplored fully. Despite some recent publication of the 1960 history of Papua (e.g. Drooglever, Saltford, Vlasblom), we know very little of what happened prior and during the Act of Free Choice in 1969. It is almost impossible to consult with any archives in the world to reconstruct a history of this formative period of the Indonesian Papua because most of them were only recorded in the Papuan oral histories. We can only guess thousands of people have been arrested, tortured, killed or sexually abused, but we never come up with a figure that would grab the attention of the world. Similarly, although information technology has penetrated our kitchen table conversations today, we know very little of what has happened in Papua, our closest neighbor, despite recent events in the last couple of months. ABC 7:30 is the latest example of a concerned media group that is trying to increase information about the situation. It illustrates our distance, not only geographically but also mentally. We treat Papua as the Other and vice versa. Papua remains an open secret for many of us. To address the gap of (mis)information, a number of non-government organisations have deployed a strategy to break the silence of Papua. These organisations were established based on the logic of solidarity with the weak. Australia West Papua Association is one among the few concerned people and organisations in our regions. Formed in 1993 after the NFIP (Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific) “People to People’ conference held in Sydney, AWPA had been initially named as the NFIP-West Papua Support Group before it was renamed as AWPA (Sydney) in 1995. Anne and Joe played an instrumental role in founding this solidarity group along with John Ondowame, Rex Rumakiek, John Wing and other concerned people. Being an Irish decent, Collins was inspired by what the Irish did to resist the British Empire. He states, “I became interested in West Papua was because of some collective unconscious hostility on the part of the Irish to British imperialism i.e. comparing West Papua (a colony) struggling to break away as the Irish did.” annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


WEST PAPUA

What does solidarity mean these days? Does it still make sense to talk and work for solidarity when both sides of the Australian politics unanimously agreed to put the boat people in Nauru and Manus Island? Are we some kind of utopists who craft an abstract world simply because we cannot afford to confront the hard facts that the Indonesian structure of domination in Papua has not been challenged by any other world’s power? To answer the question of solidarity I draw on Johann Baptist Metz, a German Catholic theologian, who reflects on a possibility of crafting hope based on the catastrophic reality of Auschwitz. His term memoria passionis has been vernacular in Papua. He posits, “Solidarity is above all a category of help, support and togetherness, by which the subject, suffering acutely and threatened, can be raised up” (Metz, 1980: 229). Solidarity is an action toward those who suffer and are threatened that enables them to regain their agency. Consistent with his political theology, Metz reiterates the notion of practicality, action, engagement and his preferential option for those who suffer. This engagement aims at restoring the dignity of the subject so that it can be “raised up.” Metz’s reflection is not only based on his intellectual conversations with Ernst Bloch and Walter Benjamin, two German social philosophers from the Frankfurt School. His analysis was also grounded in his direct engagement with Auschwitz survivors such as Elie Wiesel, a prominent Jewish writer and a Nobel peace laureate, or those who eventually sacrificed their life in Nazi concentration camps such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a prominent Protestant German theologian. Bonhoeffer’s action to resist the Nazi caused him his life. He was hanged in the Flossenbürg concentration camp. These empirical grounds have inspired Metz in exploring the capacity of memoria passionis as a source of energy to craft emancipation or liberation for the oppressed. This type of memory will interrupt and interrogate the status quo of the present and expose the banality of our reality that we tend to take it for granted. The past, the present and the future constitute the continuum of human history that cannot be separated to one another, argues Metz. Just like Metz, so too AWPA, particularly Anne and Joe, has tirelessly put their energy to bridge the gap of memories between Papuans and a foreign soil, like Australian audience. In conjunction with other concerned people and institutions, their work focuses on communicating the memory of suffering of Papuans to make it intelligible and thus can be shared by a broader audience. This is a crucial and strategic moment in building a network of solidarity. AWPA believes in the right to self-determination for Papuans as its founding principle.

Although this right remains a controversy in International Law and Human Rights, in essence, this is the right for Papuans to represent themselves and to determine their own future within the framework of International Law and Human Rights. In their work, AWPA has presented memoria passionis of Papuans to different layers of the Australian audience including the parliament, the public, journalists, activists, and concerned individuals. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


BUDI HERNAWAN

Anne and Joe raising the flag

Some other key questions remain such as whether the diverse Australian audience will listen to them; what can we do to engage the Australian audience; whether this audience can be convinced to support a Papuan vision for the future like they did for Timor Leste; or whether solidarity with Papuans can flourish like cherry blossoms in the coming Spring. There is no easy answer for these questions. The ICG and ABC 7:30 reports already illustrate the continuing violence and the silence of the world. Despite President Yudhoyono’s green light for dialogue with Papuans, the latest ICG report (2012) clearly identifies that “a security policy seems to run directly counter to the government’s professed desire to build trust, accelerate development and ensure that a 2001 special autonomy law for Papua yields concrete benefits.” Similarly, Papua remains considered a non-issue for the leaders of Pacific Islands Forum who just released their communiqué at the end of their meeting in Cook Islands. All of this political realism illustrates the status quo of the present world in regard to the Papuan conflict, one of the longest unresolved conflicts in our region. Just as Metz, so too Anne and Joe keep reminding us of the politics of hope by exposing the memory of suffering of Papuans. Both Metz and AWPA have demonstrated that exposing the past that can pave the way for emancipation. It is not a utopian illusion. Exposing illegality and immorality of the structures of oppression in Papua can interrupt the status quo of our world politics today. Of course, this effort requires a solid networked governance of solidarity among a broader audience; but networking among these movements of solidarity that support Papua’s cause remains challenging in many ways.

It is challenging in managing over-expectations for Papuans when solidarity movements raise the issue of Papua in a foreign soil, like Australia. It is challenging to manage differences in approaches and strategies among different solidarity movements. It is challenging to maintain resilience and critical thinking while confronting the panoptic omnipresent gaze of the dominant power of the Indonesian state. It is also challenging in a practical and logistical sense. However, solidarity deems critical to break the silence of Papua because as Metz states, “the enslavement of human beings begin when their memories of the past are taken away.” Finally, I congratulate Anne and Joe for your courageous and resilient work to communicate Papua’s open secret to the outside world.

©Budi Hernawan

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MARK ULYSEAS

Balochistan - Independent 1947 - Occupied since 1948 by Pakistan

The New York Times, front page, August 15, 1947 clearly showing Balochistan (in yellow) as an independent State. It also reports that Pakistan had recognised Balochistan as an independent State!

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Slaughter House Balochistan

A glimpse of Balochistan that the world ignores and an interview with an anonymous Pakistani - by Mark Ulyseas The daily litany of kidnapping, torture, mutilated bodies being dumped on roadsides and gunny sacks containing severed body parts thrown from moving vehicles in broad daylight continues unabated while the world looks elsewhere.

This candid interview reveals a view of Balochistan that defies all sensibilities and opens the doors to a bloody reality that has continued for decades. Ironically Western governments have overlooked this carnage in their rush to seek Pakistan’s assistance in the fight against terrorism. “The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out “stop! ― Bertolt Brecht

© Mark Ulyseas

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Letter from Ali Jinnah to the Khan of Kalat ‘advising’ him to join Pakistan without further delay.

Jinnah tried to persuade the Khan to join Pakistan, but the Khan and both Houses of the Kalat Assembly refused. The Pakistani army then invaded Balochistan on April 15th, 1948, and imprisoned all members of the Kalat Assembly. India stood by silently. Lord Mountbatten, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Azad, who was President of India’s Congress Party said nothing about the rape of Balochistan or later of N.W.F.P. This was the beginning of the slaughter of Baloch by Pakistan. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS

“Baloch claim that the Frontier Corps etc. are to blame. But the FC are only doing their duty, they are following orders. It’s like blaming the SS (Schutzstaffel of the Nazis) for carrying out the torture and murder of Jews. They too were only following orders. How can we blame them? You must understand this fact.”

Why did Pakistan invade Balochistan? Britain did not favour an independent Balochistan because they feared the Russians would have access to a warm water port as the regime of Mir Dost Mohammad Baranzai in Western Balochistan was alleged to be in contact with the Soviets. Ali Jinnah never wanted to invade Balochistan, he should have stood firm against foreign influence. In fact Jinnah wrote to the Khan of Kalat, who did not have any arrangement with Mir Dost, in February 2nd, 1948, about their discussion on the secession of Balochistan.

Britain viewed Nehru’s India as leaning towards socialism and the Soviets, who at that time were ‘friendly’ with the Afghan government. Pakistan was sandwiched between the two and therefore it made sense to annex Balochistan. Of course, one of the reasons for this invasion was to get access to the rich natural resources that the country possessed for at that time Pakistan really didn’t have much to go by. Balochistan is 44% of Pakistan’s land mass but has only 4% of the total population of Pakistan. This was an ideal situation... We abide by foreign ‘suggestions’ to invade Balochistan... get access to the resources and at the same time raise the standard of living of the Baloch. Further we could organise transmigration of people from other parts of the country to Balochistan and in time absorb the country into ours in a bloodless manner. It was a win win situation.

Balochistan remains one of the most deprived areas of Pakistan. The Baloch want political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the oil, gas and mineral resources. But instead murderous mayhem is unleashed on them. Why?

It wasn’t all that bad in the early years. Yes many Baloch leaders were killed but they had to be silenced because they didn’t want to be ruled. The Baloch are a feudal society. So when we annexed their lands we faced armed rebellion. Fortunately we killed and imprisoned as many as we encountered. It was around this time that our army decided to impose a de facto martial law to deal with ‘insurgents’ and those seeking to break away from our country. This has remained till today even though these politicians are in power.

As for development in the region the Baloch were never interested in schools, colleges or anything like that. They want only access to the revenue from the oil, gas etc. So we sidelined them and brought in people from other regions to work. They have themselves to blame for this. If they want jobs etc. we will provide them only if they give up their resistance movement. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


SPECIAL FEATURE

Bugti was not simply the leader of a 300,000-strong tribe of alienated Baluch moderate leader of a well-recognized political party. Not since the Supreme Bhutto following a military coup in 1977 has such a mainstream political lead riots spreading across the country can attest, Bugti was not just a local, or eve throughout the country. - TIME Magazine, August 29, 2006. LINK You appear to condone the killings to justify your method of imposing peace. But this has only fuelled more violence. Why? Besides foreign powers interfering in our country there is the constant fighting between Shia and Sunni. Our army can decimate the Baloch in a single day. But we have been very understanding and helpful to the Baloch who want to join the mainstream of society, peacefully. The ongoing killings are the result of the fight between the army and insurgents. It is just collateral damage. Our Supreme Court has directed the government to produce the missing Baloch and to give a detailed account of the ongoing violence and the reasons thereof. Some Baloch claim that the Frontier Corps, ISI, (Inter-Services Intelligence), IB (Intelligence Bureau) and MI (Military Intelligence) are to blame.

How can we blame them? They are only doing their duty, they are following instructions. It’s like blaming the SS (Schutzstaffel of the Nazis) for carrying out the torture and murder of Jews. They too were only following orders. How can we blame them? You must understand this fact.

Was Akbar Khan Bugti (July 12, 1927–August 26, 2006) murdered?

Yes, he was murdered. Many Pakistanis were very disturbed by the news because he was the one who could have brought about peace, at least a semblance of peace to the country. But as I had mentioned earlier it was the de facto martial law in Balochistan that he became a victim of. General Musharraf claims he (Bugti) committed suicide. He would say that because he (Musharraf) was instrumental in unleashing a disastrous clampdown in Balochistan that resulted in the deaths of many FC men and Baloch, including thousands of innocent people who were killed or simply disappeared. All this only added fuel to fire. We should have talked, negotiated with Akbar Khan Bugti. But Musharraf wanted to prove to the Americans that he had complete control of Pakistan. He never really had control.

Do you think Balochistan will go the way of East Bengal? For instance, there is a pogrom to ‘do away with’ the intelligentsia – teachers, doctors, lawyers, journalists etc.

Hah...the Punjabi elite in the army and politics will never let this happen. Are you aware that the Taliban are here in Quetta? The Americans who wanted to extend the drone flights to cover this city have been dissuaded by some interested parties, for now, though there are a few flights. We need the Taliban in Balochistan because they will help us put down the Baloch with an iron hand and force the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) , Balochistan Liberation Front and others to negotiate. There are many who claim that we are systematically murdering the intelligentsia. I can’t refute this claim because it is happening but who is doing this is not traceable. I am not sure if the army or its various other units are involved or not. It is sad that Baloch scholar, writer and poet, Professor Saba Dashtyari was gunned down but I have no sympathy for these people. The Supreme Court has been directing the authorities to submit details but little or nothing has happened so far. I doubt anything will come of this. You probably know that Balochistan shares a border with Afghanistan and Iran. The border with Iran is porous so many Baloch who are Iranians (part of Balochistan is in Iranian and Afghan territory) escape © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS

h. He was also a former provincial governor, a former chief minister and the Court-ordered hanging of former Prime Minister and President Zulfikar Ali der been killed at the behest of the Pakistani government. As the spontaneous en a Baluch hero, but a nationally respected politician whose cause resonated

General Pervez Musharraf ordered the murder of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and the rape of Dera Bugti.

persecution in their country and seek refuge here...hahaha...see, we give them shelter. If they raise their heads here, we will cut them off. Balochistan is now part of Pakistan and can never go the way of Bangladesh. Never. The reason is that we have successfully occupied the country and through transmigration have resettled thousands of citizens from other parts of the country. We are systematically destroying their cultural roots. I think this is the only way to completely integrate them with the rest of society. This is our method of ethnic cleansing. The one mistake the Baloch have made is that they are not united into one group. The many fragments of their movement can easily be influenced/weakened and one by one destroyed in time. They believe they are secular. How can they say this? They are Muslim. In my personal view, the hosting of the Taliban here by our government will help bring about the conversion of these “secular” Baloch to true Islam and Sharia. And once this is done we will achieve absolute domination. Never forget, the western nations need us to fight terrorism. But we will not do this at the cost of our Islamic principles. We are The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and for this we are grateful to the late General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


SPECIAL FEATURE “We are systematically destroying their (Baloch) cultural roots. I think this is the only way to completely integrate them with the rest of society. This is our method of ethnic cleansing.”

You mention the Taliban in Quetta when they are killing your policemen in Lahore and attacking Pakistani soldiers in Pukhtunkhwa. So on one side you appear to be giving the Taliban office space in Quetta and in Pukhtunkhwa you are killing each other. Could you expand on this? Khyber Pukhtunkhwa is the tribal belt (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). They feel aggrieved that our army is singling them out for special treatment because they give shelter to terrorists from across the border in Afghanistan. It is also the action of terrorists within Pakistan that are trying to destabilise my country. We communicate with only those elements in the Taliban that understand international politics and have a desire to negotiate. This is important for as soon as the Americans and their friends depart Afghanistan it will be dangerous for us. The Taliban we speak to do not support Al Qaeda. I think a time will come when these two will clash. Also, we expect the Taliban to discipline/re-educate and make them (Baloch) true Muslims.

International and local media report incidents of headless bodies being found, kidnappings and disappearances of women and even children. It is alleged that women have been picked up by your security forces and made to work as sex slaves for the soldiers. Who is carrying out these murderous attacks?

The Balochistan Liberation Army recently executed nine coal miners. They had even attacked Chinese workers in the Gwadar Port, police personnel and soldiers of the Frontier Corps, killing and kidnapping many of them. The BLA is being funded by foreign governments that want to dismember Pakistan and take control of this strategic State that has a seaport and which borders Iran. Our military and its departments are here only to maintain law and order. Regarding the women and children I agree there is some truth in this, as a few cases have come to light where missing women have been traced to select interrogation centres here and other places, though we haven’t released this information to the public. Unfortunately the women concerned couldn’t be sent back to their communities. Whether they were used as sex slaves or not I do not know but you must understand this is a war we are fighting and we have to use all methods at our disposal to crush the insurgents.

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has blamed paramilitary forces for a third of all disappearances in Balochistan, where the military is accused of rights violations. Please comment.

Totally false! CJ can only comment on the data given to him. And who gives him this data? People with agendas! I wouldn’t put much faith in these reports. Presently there is distrust between Zardari’s family and the Supreme Court, in particular, the CJ. This will be corrected by us because we view Zardari’s government as a temporary necessary evil. We hold the real power and control all aspects within the country. So what we say the court will have to abide by. Soon the army will take charge. It will be good for Pakistan for we can work effectively without the Court interfering in such matters as human rights etc. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS “Whether the kidnapped Baloch women were used as sex slaves or not I do not know but you must understand this is a war we are fighting and we have to use all methods at our disposal to stop the violence”.

Tortured, murdered Baloch and women with photographs of their missing family members.

It is claimed that the Balochistan Liberation Army is fighting a war of independence just like the Bengal Liberation Army, Mukti Bahini, in the former East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Do you agree? That was different. Yahya Khan was to blame for Bangladesh where a few million were killed by our army. I know we were killing our own people but we had to enforce our authority or lose part of our country. Many Pakistanis still believe that it was the right way. Alas, we lost it because India intervened. But there is no comparison between Bangladesh and Balochistan.

Here in Balochistan we have locals that want to control the area so we are trying to put them down with an iron hand. The Balochistan Liberation Army is not like the Mukti Bahini. They are a small band of criminals that’s all and we will eliminate them very shortly. We are drawing up a plan like Searchlight to hunt down their supporters. This will be put into action soon. Right now we are concentrating on containing the violence. But if the need arises we will gas them, it’s easy, silent and there are usually no survivors. We are considering this option in FATA too. We have many friends across the border in Iran and Afghanistan that will support us in this operation.

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SPECIAL FEATURE From this map you will observe that Balochistan (red) straddles Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The dissection of Balochistan, persecution of the Baloch and State sponsored ethnic cleansing over decades is slowly destroying the vibrant ethos of an ancient people.

Afghanistan

Iran

Pakistan

Balochistan

Sind

Pakistan Major Ethnic Groups Baloch

Punjabi

Pushtun

Sindhi

India

Map not to scale The Iranian Baloch, from the era of the Shah of Iran till date, have been viewed with suspicious and therefore senselessly killed. They live in abject poverty on the fringes of Iranian society. In Pakistan, they are treated like conquered people, ruled by the Pakistani Punjabis. The ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Balochistan, besides murderous mayhem, includes deliberate resettling of people from other parts of Pakistan in Balochistan.

© www.liveencounters.net august annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS “Afghanistan and Balochistan should form a legal team to challenge the illegal occupation of Afghan territories and Balochistan by Pakistan in the International Court of Justice. Once the Durand Line Agreement is declared illegal, it will result in the return of Pakistan-occupied territories back to Afghanistan...and independence for Balochistan.”

A brief look at the history of Balochistan

The strategic importance of Balochistan is its location in the Perso-Oman Gulf, with 700 miles long seacoast, the area has been important for international trade.

1928, Britain refused to recognize the regime of Mir Dost Mohammad Baranzai in Western Balochistan because he was alleged to be in contact with the Soviets. He was executed in Teheran, on 16th January 1930, for resisting the intrusions and occupation of his country by the Persians. 1944, General Money, after studying the constitutional position of Balochistan, favoured its independence.

1947, Britain opposed the independence of Balochistan and urged Pakistan to occupy Balochistan in order to crush the nationalists and anti-imperialist or pro-Soviet forces

Durand Line: The line of Evil

Balochistan, along with the North West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P) are the victims of an imaginary line, called Durand Line, which was described by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President as the “line of Evil”. In deed that line signifies both the British and Pakistani imperialism that have subjugated the Balochs and the Pushtuns. In 1893, the Afghan and British governments agreed to demark a 2,450-kilometer (1,519 miles) long border dividing British India and Afghanistan. The signatory of the document, known as The Durand Line Agreement, were Amir Abdur Rahman Khan, ruler of Afghanistan, and Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, the foreign secretary of the British Indian government.

After a series of battles and false treaties signed by the British, ‘The Durand Line Agreement’ of 1893 divides boundaries between three sovereign countries, namely Afghanistan, Balochistan and British India. According to that agreement Britain had taken a lease of the area in N.W.F.P and Balochistan, without the knowledge of Balochistan. Sir Durand gave verbal assurance to Afghanistan that the lease end in 1993, but in the written agreement there is no mention of it. Otherwise just like Hong Kong, N.W.F.P would have gone back to Afghanistan in 1993. The Durand Line Agreement should have been a trilateral agreement for it legally required the participation and signatures of all three countries involved. However, the British had drawn the agreement bilaterally between Afghanistan and British India only, and it intentionally excluded Balochistan. Thus, Balochistan has never accepted the validity of the Durand Line. The British, under false pretences, assured the Afghan rulers that Balochistan was part of British India, and therefore, they were not required to have the consent of anyone from Balochistan to agree on demarking borders. Meanwhile, the British kept the Baloch rulers in the dark about the Durand Line Agreement to avoid any complications.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Pics. 1 & 2 - Hanging of Baloch in Iran. Pic 3 - Violence in Karachi after Yaqoob Baloch,40, the president of National Party’s Karachi chapte

According to International Law, all affected parties are required to agree to any changes in demarking their common borders. Hence, under the rules of demarking boundaries of the International Law, the Agreement of Durand Line was in error, and thus, it was null and void as soon as it was signed. International Law states that boundary changes must be made among all concerned parties; and a unilateral declaration by one party has no effect. However, the British government disregarding the objection of Afghanistan gave away the N.W.F.P to Pakistan after a fraud plebiscite. However, it never gave Balochistan to Pakistan in the same way the British never gave away Jammu & Kashmir to India. When in 1949, Afghanistan’s “Loya Jirga” (Grand Council) declared the Durand Line Agreement invalid and also raised objections in the United Nations against the creation of Pakistan and its boundary declared by the British alone, the so-called world body had ignored the plea of a small nation. Throughout the period of British rule of India, the British never occupied Balochistan. There were treaties and lease agreements between the two sovereign states, but neither state invaded the other. Although the treaties signed between British India and Balochistan provided many concessions to the British, but none of the treaties permitted the British to demark the boundaries of Balochistan without the consent of the Baloch rulers. Once Balochistan was secured through invasion, the Pakistanis deceptively used the law of uti possidetis juris to their advantage and continued occupation of territories belonging to Afghanistan, the N.W.F.P with the full approval of the British Army in India and Lord Mountbatten.

Liberation Movement in Balochistan

Mir Azaad Khan Balochi, the General Secretary, The Government of Balochistan in Exile in Jerusalem declared recently, “Afghanistan and Balochistan should form a legal team to challenge the illegal occupation of Afghan territories and Balochistan by Pakistan in the International Court of Justice. Once the Durand Line Agreement is declared illegal, it will result in the return of Pakistan-occupied territories back to Afghanistan. Also, Balochistan will be declared a country that was forcibly invaded through use of force by the Pakistanis; and with international assistance, Balochistan can regain its independence.” From September 1961 to June 1963, a crisis arose when diplomatic, trade, transit, and consular relations between Balochistan and Pakistan were suspended. Another insurgency erupted in Balochistan in 1973 into an insurgency that lasted four years and became increasingly bitter. The insurgency was put down by the Pakistan Army, which employed brutal methods including the help of helicopter gunships provided by Iran and flown by Iranian pilots. The Shah of Iran, who feared a spread of the insurrection among the Iranian Baloch, generously gave external assistance to Bhutto. By early 1974, an armed revolt was underway in Balochistan. By 2004 Balochistan was up in arms against the federal government, with the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Balochistan Liberation Front, and People’s Liberation Army conducting operations.

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS

er, was shot dead. Pic. 4 - Baloch child shot dead.

Rocket attacks and bomb blasts have been a regular feature in the provincial capital, particularly its cantonment areas, Kohlu and Sui town, since 2000.

Violence peaked in March of 2005 when the Pakistani government attempting to target Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, a seventy-year-old Sardar (tribal leader) who had fought against the government for decades, shelled the town of Dera Bugti. The fighting that erupted between the tribal militia and government soldiers resulted in the deaths of 67 people. Ultimately Nawab Bugti also became a martyr in the cause of the liberation of Balochistan. Since then thousands more have died. Some shot others kidnapped, tortured (their bodies mutilated) and thrown on public roads in Balochistan.

The Durand Line and N.W.F.P

To this date, relations between Afghanistan, Balochistan and Pakistan are characterized by rivalry, suspicion and resentment. The primary cause of this hostility rests in the debate about the validity of the Durand Line Agreement. Dubbing the Durand line as a line of hatred Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he does not accept this line as it has raised a wall between the two brothers, and slices a part of Afghanistan from the motherland. Afghanistan always vigorously protested the inclusion of Pashtun and Baloch areas within Pakistan without providing the inhabitants with an opportunity for self-determination. A grand Pakhtoon-Balochi tribal convention was held in Peshawar on 11 February 2006 where prominent Pakhtoon and Balochi leaders endorsed a call for the elimination of the infamous and imaginary British-made Durand Line with the objective of creating a Greater Balochistan.

Awami National Party (ANP) leader Asfandyar Wali Khan said that the Pakhtoon nation was passing through a critical phase of its history, and therefore, the ANP had convened the tribal convention to devise a strategy to counter the ongoing Pakistan military operations in Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). The Pakhtoon Milli Wahdat revolves around the elimination of the Durand Line, dividing Pakistan and Afghanistan, so that Pakhtoons living in NWFP, Balochistan and tribal areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan could form a state of their own.

Note: These are excerpts from articles written by Dr.Dipak Basu, Professor in International Economics in Nagasaki University, Japan. Published October 12, 2006: And The Problem of Greater Balochistan, written be Innayatullah Baloch.) annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


SPECIAL FEATURE Is Balochistan waiting for a Gandhi to lead it to self-determination? Will all right thinking Pakistanis take control of their country and guide it onto the path of reconciliation with Balochistan?

Human Rights Watch Pakistan Director Ali Dayan Hasan says –

“HRW has documented disappearances, which have continued despite the return to constitutional rule in 2008. The federal government, which in 2008 was willing to acknowledge largescale disappearances, has been unable to prevent abuses by FC and intelligence agencies and has resorted to bare-faced denial.

Ali Dayan Hasan LINK Dawn.com exclusive interview: Ali Dayan Hasan

In 2008, Interior minister Rehman Malik admitted 1100 people were missing. Today he claims that less than 50 are missing, which is nonsense. The on-ground research performed by HRW suggests that considerably more than 50 people have disappeared since 2008 alone. Further, HRW has documented some 300 killings of Baloch nationalists in the last 18 months in “kill-and-dump” operations.

While the judiciary has repeatedly tried to address the issue of disappearances in Balochistan, its attempts have been less than successful in the face of intransigence by those perpetrating these abuses. This is a disaster and it requires politicians to confront the military, which is basically running security policy in Balochistan and tell it to end abuses. Period. Political disputes can only be resolved through political measures and not through brutality and military might.... I find the ISPR (the PR dept for the ISI - Pakistan’s intelligence) statement bewildering at multiple levels. First, HRW is an international human rights organisation headquartered in New York (as is the UN) but with offices across the world. We take no money from the US or any other government.

We are perturbed by the Stalinist turn of phrase employed by ISPR in its public responses to HRW. Consider the last ISPR statement; in a Kafka-esque twist, it refers to Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad’s murder as an “alleged murder.” The murder is a fact not an allegation.

I hope ISPR will consider avoiding issuing statements that are easily read as threats. There is nothing as abhorrent as feeling threatened by those who are meant to actually keep you secure. Let us discuss and debate facts dispassionately without prejudice and in a manner which is not menacing. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


MARK ULYSEAS Will the INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT investigate the decades long slaughter of the Baloch and bring the perpetrators to justice?

President of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir has expressed alarm at the rising number of people being gunned down in Balochistan. Incidentally she herself has allegedly received death threats from government agencies. “It is the obligation of the state to investigate these crimes effectively and bring the perpetrators to justice. There are also widespread allegations against State agents themselves who are accused of illegal use of violence resulting in severe torture and killings of suspected nationalists and militants.

Asma Jahangir

These reports appear to be credible. The Parliament must debate this issue and find solutions to bring some stability in Balochistan”.

LINK www.dw.de ‘Pakistani intelligence plotted my assassination’

Is Balochistan waiting for a Gandhi to be born to lead it away from the killing fields? Will all right thinking Pakistanis take control of their country and guide it onto a path towards reconciliation with Balochistan? And will the Baloch find a way to unite and bring about a peaceful solution to the ongoing murderous mayhem? And while we wait for Providence to intervene to save this wretched land more innocent men, women and children will be kidnapped, tortured, murdered and dumped on the roads of Balochistan to become mere digits in the death tally. God save these poor souls.

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


STEVEN BECK

Be kind to the stranger for we were once strangers...

Pic Š Sari Ganulin

Š www.liveencounters.net july annual 2012 2012


SPECIAL REPORT

Asylum seekers in Tel Aviv Special Report by Steven Beck

Director of Israel-Diaspora relations, Israel Religious Action Center, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel There are currently between forty to fifty thousand Africans seeking refugee status in Israel. The majority of the asylum seekers come from either Eritrea or Sudan, but there are also refugees who come from the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, the DRC, Guinea, Somalia, and several other countries. The reasons they fled their home countries vary, but most of them ended up in Israel the same way. They traveled through the Sinai desert.

Africans fleeing violence in the Horn of Africa began trickling into Israel back in the mid-1990s, but the majority of the current refugee community came to Israel over the last five years. While early arrivals were received almost with warmth and sympathy, the reception is more hostile now that the community is larger. The main concentration of refugees in Israel is in Tel Aviv, but there are also communities in other cities like Arad, Be’er Sheva, and Eilat. The majority are men ranging in age from early twenties to fifties, but there are refugees that are older and younger, as well as women and children (born both abroad and in Israel). Occasionally members make the journey with their families, and other times they send for their families once they are more settled.

Their status is one of deliberate ambiguity. Israel does not grant them refugee status and the rights that would go along with that, which include the right to not be sent back to their country of origin. In the history of the state of Israel, less than 200 non-Jewish individuals have been granted refugee status in Israel despite Israel being a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. © Steven Beck

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SPECIAL REPORT If saving our Jewish values means turning our backs on our fellow man, what exactly is compelling about those Jewish values to start with? We were sitting together in a hospital room staring up at a small television watching Guinea play Ghana in the Africa Cup. All of a sudden a doctor appeared. He looked at me and asked if the young African man sitting in the bed next to me spoke Hebrew. I told him no, but that I would be happy to translate. He asked a few questions that I translated into French and, within seconds, the doctor had disappeared. We had no idea if today was going to be the day when they would finally remove the pieces of shrapnel stuck in this young man’s back. I first met Alseny a few days before in the office of the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC) in South Tel Aviv. I occasionally helped ARDC when asylum seekers from Francophone countries came to their office looking for assistance. I was at work in Jerusalem when I received a call from one of the staff: Would I mind telling a new asylum applicant, who had just arrived in Israel and spoke only French and his native language, Sousou, to come back in the evening for an interview? When I arrived in Tel Aviv to meet him in person, I was shocked by how young he looked and by his physical state. He looked like he had been walking for days. In reality, he had been walking for years.

We began the interview with the standard questions. Where are you from? How old are you? When did you arrive in Israel? How long were you detained by the Israeli Military? When did you leave your country? Did you spend time in any other country before arriving in Israel? Did you claim refugee status in any other country? And finally, why did you leave your home country? This is normally when the stories become difficult to hear.

Pic © Sari Ganulin

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

As a teenager in Conakry, the capital of the West African country of Guinea, Alseny witnessed a violent change of government. During the chaos, government forces killed his father because he was part of the opposition. Even though he was young, Alseny believed that he was also in danger. He decided that the best way to save his own life was to run, so he fled the country of his birth.


STEVEN BECK Why are so we protective of the Jewish character of the State if it allows us to become the same monsters who once oppressed us? He went to Mali, but only until he could find passage to Libya. He had been told that there was work in Libya and that Africans would be safe there. But when he arrived in Tripoli, the war that would soon overthrow Quaddafi had just begun. Instead of finding safety, he had walked into yet another conflict. Alseny said that as the war raged on it became very dangerous for any Africans in Libya. Since Quaddafi used African mercenaries, the Libyan people assumed that all Africans, or at least all young African men, were combatants. He knew that he needed to get out of there as fast as possible, so he ran once again. This time he made it to the border with Egypt. At that time, most Africans could enter Egypt without a visa and he hoped to once again find work to sustain him, and possibly even send something back to relatives remaining in Conakry. At first it seemed that Egypt might be the sanctuary Alseny had been seeking for over a year. He met other Africans from Guinea and managed to get work loading and unloading trucks. He began to breath a sigh of relief that there was some stability on the horizon until he could return home. The Arab Spring put an end to all of that. When masses of demonstrators began to occupy Tahrir Square, Alseny feared that he would soon see a repeat of what he had experienced in Libya. He wondered how long it would be before his new hosts turned on him. He did not wait to find out. He gathered his few possessions and what little money he had managed to save, and he approached a group of Bedouin smugglers based in Cairo. Alseny was placed in a group of about twenty Africans awaiting transport through the Sinai desert to the border with Israel. He paid the smugglers several hundred dollars (all that he had) and they loaded him in the back of a pickup truck with the rest of the group. They set out late at night and drove for hours. Without any notice, the vehicle stopped and they were all ordered to get out of the truck. It was pitch black and none of them knew where they were. The Bedouins yelled at them to go straight ahead and they would get to Israel. In the dead of night, Alseny once again began to run. He said it seemed like he ran for an eternity. The other Africans who made the trip with him tried to stay together. Suddenly, there were flashes of light and loud noises. People in the group began screaming and falling all around him. He did not know if he should stop or keep running towards the border. The fence between the two countries was in view. The Egyptian border guards had spotted them and were shooting live fire. Just as he reached the barbed wire, he felt something burn his back. He crawled forward on his belly as the sharp spikes tore his clothes and ripped into his skin. Once he made it through he tried to run, but he could not stand up or even move. He was shot and shredded. He sat there and waited to die. In a few minutes, he saw lights and more soldiers. He was waiting for them to start shooting. Instead, they pointed their guns and yelled in a language he had never heard before. Instinctively he put his hands in the air as best he could. He was now in Israel.

Š Steven Beck

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


SPECIAL REPORT

Pic © Sari Ganulin

© www.liveencounters.net july annual 2012 2012


STEVEN BECK How can so many Israelis who talk about the Holocaust as if there are trains waiting to take us away tomorrow not see the parallel, or at least the irony, in wanting to round up thousands of Africans in the middle of the night?

When the Israeli soldiers saw how badly he was injured, they dressed his wounds and took him to a hospital in Be’er Sheva, a major Israeli city in the Negev desert. He was unable to communicate with people and he had no idea what was going to happen to him. Finally, after more than a week in the hospital, he met an older Israeli who spoke French. He was very disturbed by what he learned.

The man told him that, when he was better, the Army would put him in detention because he had come to Israel illegally. He asked the man where he could go to be with other Africans and was told Tel Aviv. There was a park by the Central Bus Station that had many Africans. He should try to go there. Though he had no idea where he was, and no idea where Tel Aviv was in relation to him, Alseny began hatching a plan. Alseny had met a few Israelis who came to the hospital regularly to help the asylum seekers with clothes and other basics. One of them even gave him 100 shekels (around 25 dollars). Wearing clothes given to him, a hospital bracelet on his wrist, and with a hundred shekels in his pocket, he walked out the front door (he was not officially discharged) and straight into a taxi. Alseny looked at the taxi driver and pointed at himself and said the words Tel Aviv. The driver headed away from the hospital and, understanding that this young man did not understand him, he wrote the price of the trip on a piece of paper: eight hundred shekels. Alseny held up his one hundred shekel note and the driver quickly changed his course. He took the bill, handed Alseny back eighty shekels and dropped him at the bus station. The taxi driver even pointed to the bus that was going to Tel Aviv. Upon arriving at the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv, Alseny saw many Africans sitting in a large park. He walked around, still in pain, searching for someone who spoke French. When he found another refugee from the Ivory Coast, he told him some of his story and the Ivorian took him to an NGO that could sometimes help new arrivals find a temporary place to sleep. Alseny was also told about ARDC, the organization that might be able to help him with his claim for asylum.

That was how he ended up sitting in a small room with three other people trying to figure out his story. At first we did not understand that he still had shrapnel in his back, but when he came back a second time, the extent of his injuries was discovered and he was immediately sent to a hospital in Tel Aviv. For days, a few volunteers, myself included, took turns sitting with him while he waited to get a place in surgery. He and I sat for hours talking about everything from sports to African food, but I was tormented inside the whole time thinking about what was waiting for him once he left the relative comfort of his hospital bed. Who are the refugees?

In a recent rally in Tel Aviv Knesset Member (MK) Miri Regev, from the Likud Party said, “The Sudanese are a cancer in our body.” REFER LINK “…immigrants’ children are liable to damage the state’s Jewish identity, constitute a demographic threat and increase the danger of assimilation”. Interior Minister Eli Yishai, from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. REFER LINK © Steven Beck

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


SPECIAL REPORT The voices of Israelis who would stand up for our true values and the real essence of our Jewish character are becoming fewer every day. The African refugees’ ability to sustain themselves in Israel is hindered by not being granted actual work visas. Instead, Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers are given a “conditional release visa” (CRV), which essentially means Israel does not have room to keep them in prison, nor can Israel deport them, so they are releasing them until there is more room to incarcerate them. Asylum seekers have to renew this visa every three months. Written on the CRV is the phrase, “This is not a work visa,” but there has been a ruling in the courts that holders of this visa can work. The result? Employers do not know if they are breaking the law if they hire a refugee.

There have been efforts to deter Israeli employers who hire Africans, so even asylum seekers who have the right to work find employment difficult. Without a means to support themselves, and no help from the state, their situation becomes increasingly desperate. The level of homelessness in the community is high, which can be plainly seen to anyone passing by Levinsky Park near Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station. Complicating their situation even further, many of the asylum seekers come from countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel. Those who have no representation in Israel cannot be issued travel documents to return home or go to another country. Many of them do not want to go back to their home countries because of continued danger and, because of Israel’s unique geographical location, there is no place else for them to go on foot. They are trapped, even if they are not put in jail right away. Legally, Israel cannot deport people to a country with whom they have no diplomatic relations, so the government simply labels these asylum seekers as “infiltrators,” and often treats them like criminals. If asylum seekers are found with an expired CRV, they are put in prison for being in the country illegally even though there is no way for them to fix their status. Politicians in Israel are constantly calling for more prisons to be built and for mass round-ups of asylum seekers. They hurl racist statements that would end a political career in most countries, but in Israel the comments are met with cheers and applause.

Asylum seekers face serious discrimination, legal limbo, and increased levels of violence. Recently in Tel Aviv, there was an anti-refugee rally that turned violent. Many innocent bystanders were injured. Stores and apartments in Tel Aviv neighborhoods with refugees have been vandalized. The government’s inaction is as much to blame for this as the terrible acts of incitement committed by certain government officials such as MK Miri Regev and Shas Minister Eli Yishai. What can be done? The Israeli Government has no policy for how to handle refugees other than to procrastinate on constructively dealing with the population. I believe there are several steps they could take that would help bring this situation under control. First, they need to set a moral example and not tolerate racism and incitement from Members of the Knesset or Government officials. No matter one’s opinion of the asylum seekers’ presence in Israel, no person of conscience can tolerate arbitrary acts of violence against innocent people. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


STEVEN BECK

Pic © Sari Ganulin

annual july 2012 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


SPECIAL REPORT

I have included a letter that any reader of this article can send to MK Miri R When we start seeing others as less than human we lose our own humanit Second, the Government needs to give the asylum seekers who are waiting to have their claims heard clear permission to work. If they are not allowed to take care of themselves while they go through the system, they will become a burden on Israeli society. Detention is not the answer. Putting people in jail for fleeing genocide, war and oppression is immoral from a state founded by refugees who were fleeing genocide, war and oppression. Finally, the Government needs a unified and fair refugee status determination process so they can accurately tell who has a legitimate claim for asylum. If there have been less than two hundred accepted claims out of tens of thousands of applicants over the years of Israel’s existence, clearly the process needs to be fixed. The asylum seekers who do qualify for protection should be granted resident permits or safe passage to a third country that will also recognize their status. The situation seems to deteriorate further everyday for this African community in Israel. The sympathies of the public at large have turned against them, and the political class uses them as a scapegoat for crime and other social ills. The government claims that the Africans are a threat to the Jewish character of the State. I see it differently.

I am a Jew who knows his history, but I also know it is not the job of Israel to take in every person who shows up at its border. Yet, when people are legitimately fleeing war or genocide or the kinds of inhumane oppression that still exists in the world, we cannot say no. We especially cannot say no under the guise of protecting our Jewish values or the Jewish character of the State of Israel. If saving our Jewish values means turning our backs on our fellow man, what exactly is compelling about those Jewish values to start with? Why are so we protective of the Jewish character of the State if it allows us to become the same monsters who once oppressed us? How can so many Israelis who talk about the Holocaust as if there are trains waiting to take us away tomorrow not see the parallel, or at least the irony, in wanting to round up thousands of Africans in the middle of the night? The voices of Israelis who would stand up for our true values and the real essence of our Jewish character are becoming fewer every day.

I recently received a phone call from a number I did not recognize. When I picked up the phone, it was Alseny. At first I could not tell that anything was wrong. He greeted me in the same respectful way that is common when an African speaks to someone older than himself. I asked him where he was. He paused. Then he told me he was in prison.

He was found without a valid CRV, and he now faces years in jail. He committed no crime other than being in Israel after fleeing four countries that turned against him. He was not fully registered with the State because of his vague status (he had no identification papers from Guinea), and Israel could not deport him anyway because Guinea and Israel do not have diplomatic relations. I told him I would immediately call the organizations I knew that dealt with refugees but, in reality, there was nothing I could do.

Pic © Sari Ganulin

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


STEVEN BECK

Regev. Please email her and tell her that refugees are not a cancer. ty. LINK FOR LETTER I thought back to the hours we spent in the hospital together. I was worried then about his surgery, but I was even more worried about his life after surgery. I thought about him sleeping in the park and eating out of garbage cans. I thought about the dangers one faces living on the streets, and I thought about everything Alseny had been through just to get the opportunity to be homeless in Israel. He is just one person, but thousands of asylum seekers live in those same conditions, steps away from all of Tel Aviv’s prosperity and freedom. Many in Israel talk about forty or fifty thousand “infiltrators” as a threat, but the real threat is what we are doing to ourselves by treating refugees as criminals. The few who fight for the rights of refugees might be losing the battle of public opinion, but I believe we can still appeal to Israelis’ sense of justice and history.

Jews were once stateless, wandering from place to place, and our physical survival often depended on the kindness of those who had no real reason to show any kindness towards the Jews living among them. From the tragedies of Europe and elsewhere, the Jewish people built an independent state and are masters of their own destinies for the first time in two thousand years. I believe that, despite statements from some of the political leaders, Israelis want to live up to their higher ideals. One of the most important lessons from our own history is that injustice to anyone is injustice to everyone. The Jewish state must show comfort and compassion to these refugees in the name of our true Jewish values. I have included a letter that any reader of this article can send to MK Miri Regev. Please email her and tell her that refugees are not a cancer. When we start seeing others as less than human we lose our own humanity. LINK FOR LETTER

Pics © Sari Ganulin

© Steven Beck

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


IN THE NEWS

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, known for his racist statements against Palestinians, has just been appointed a committee head for the MDA - an Israeli member of the International Red Cross. © failedmessiah.com Facebook page LINK

Here is a rabbi who wants to reinstitute the Temple Mount sacrifices in Jerusalem and who once called on Israel to kill a million Palestinian civilians. In 2007, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu - who practices Kabbalah - called for mass slaughter of Palestinians in order to deter rocket fire from Gaza, while defending a ruling by his late father, Mordechai Eliyahu, the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, who advocated that Israel was permitted to indiscriminately kill civilians. “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand,” Eliyahu advised, adding, “And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.” Last year, Rabbi Eliyahu also made world headlines when he instructed residents not to rent rooms or houses to Israeli Arabs. In an interview with BBC, a reporter interviewed an 89-year-old Jewish man that moved to Safed after fleeing the Nazis during the Second World War. Now he has been condemned by the rabbi for renting part of his house to three Arab students. “I went through the Holocaust,” he says. “I know how much we suffered as Jews because of anti-semitism, so I cannot accept such an opinion. The rabbi’s salary is paid by the state, so when he expresses opinions like this it is like he is spitting on the same plate that feeds him,” he declares. News Report © www.examiner.com LINK © www.liveencounters.net october annual 2012 2012


SPECIAL FEATURE

Religious Responsibility:

Racist Incitement by State Funded Rabbis by Steven Beck

Every religion has its extremists and Judaism is no different. The leading rabbinic figure in this raging culture war is the Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu. He has repeatedly called Israel's 1.2 million Arab citizens "the enemy." He urged Jews not to rent or sell apartments to Arabs, and he claims all Arabs have a violent nature. In his manifesto (published in March 2008) he writes, "The time has come to tell the truth. Providing a livelihood for our enemies leads to grave consequences." Rabbi Eliyahu is rabbinic royalty in Israel. His father was once the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of the whole country. This is a position many think Eliyahu also covets. To that end, he has built a high public profile as the great defender from the dangers of living in peaceful coexistence with Arabs, either Arab citizens of Israel or from other countries. He is well known for saying it is forbidden under Jewish law to rent apartments to non-Jews in the land of Israel. Some of his statements he has tried to deny or recant but others he proudly owns. He was recently exonerated from charges of racist incitement by the State Attorney’s Office, but the impact of his views is undeniable. The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) www.irac. org has been documenting his statements for years. A list of those statements can be found on their website and here are a few highlights from the last year. (translated from Hebrew) LINK

©Steven Beck

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


IN THE NEWS

Samuel Sockol/THE WASHINGTON POST - Jamila Ghayada, 30, lies in a hospital bed Aug. 22 after the taxi in which she was a passenger was hit by a firebomb near the settlement of Bat Ayin. Her 6-year-old son, the taxi driver, her husband and his brother were also hospitalized. LINK

Israeli authorities have made no arrests in the Aug. 16 daylight firebombing of a Palestinian taxi, but they have said they suspect Jewish extremists. The incident, which left the driver and four members of a Palestinian family so severely burned that they remain hospitalized, was denounced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vowed to find the perpetrators, and Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, who called the beating and firebombing “terrorist attacks.” That description echoed the U.S. State Department, which described settler violence as terrorism in a recent report. The condemnations reflect growing alarm among Israeli officials and international observers over escalating vandalism of Palestinian mosques and property, assaults against Palestinians and attacks on the Israeli military. Extremist settlers claim some of the acts as “price tag,” a campaign of retaliation against Palestinian violence or Israeli policies they view as limiting their efforts to claim what they see as their biblical birthright. Public outrage over attacks on the military last year prompted steps by Israeli authorities that included temporarily expelling several radical settlers from the West Bank in January, but critics say those moves were not enough. That message was echoed in a European Union report this year, which noted that settler attacks on Palestinians tripled between 2009 and 2011. Researchers say most of those attacks have taken place in Area C, the sections of the West Bank that are controlled solely by Israel and where Israeli security forces are responsible for protecting both Palestinians and Israelis. News Report © Karin Brulliard and Samuel Sockol, The Washington Post © www.liveencounters.net october annual 2012 2012


STEVEN BECK

Hoopoe

The modern state of Israel is a small land bridge between Africa, Europe, and Asia that contains a lot of history, a lot of diversity, and a lot of ignorance. There are Israelis who live within sight of Arab towns or villages that have never had a conversation with their neighbors, and there are Arabs who are equally ignorant of their Israeli neighbors. In fact, just saying the word neighbor seems strange, since most of us in this region have been conditioned to think of the other as our eternal enemy… even if we do not profess to hate them. Arabs and Israelis generally do not speak each other’s languages and we depend on leaders with a strong motivation to keep us apart to provide the tone for our interactions. There is obviously no easy solution to a situation where two people are habituated to think that the end result of war is “not war” rather than peace. A life of normalcy and coexistence for two people (and really two people is a gross simplification of who really lives here) starts with a little bit of faith. We need to believe that at the end of this process there could be a day when Arab Muslims and Israeli Jews might exchange simple pleasantries on the street. If I mention this to any of my neighbors in Tel Aviv, the most liberal city in Israel, I would be brushed off as crazy, someone who does not understand Israel-Palestine 101.

The rules of this game are simple: a two state solution where Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace. We have all said it so many times that the words feel like one of the many trite campaign slogans chanted over and over again in the American Democratic and Republican conventions last month. The majority of Israelis and Palestinians have accepted this formula, but on a daily basis we have done very little to begin acclimating ourselves to living a “normal” life together. In fact, some of our leaders are trying to prepare us for the opposite. For far too many people, the two state solution is the concession that they have more or less made their “peace” with over the years, but again, they view it as hopefully achieving “not war” rather than peace. For this vocal minority, the ideal would still be that either most of the Jews would go back to Europe (in spite of most having no Europe to which they could return) or having the Palestinians go to one of the many fine Arab countries surrounding Israel. Jordan would be the first choice given the conditions in Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt, but any place but here would be fine.

As the political stalemate passes a decade (counting the second Intifada as the final collapse of the Oslo Process), the idea in Israel that we will one day be part of the region where we live has moved from a distant dream to being simply a fool’s wish. In our attempt to live “normal” lives we have built walls, both literal and figurative, around the state of Israel. The success of this method of coping has worked as many draconian measures often do; it has made average Israelis apathetic towards the peace process and satisfied in the new situation of “not war” in which we find ourselves. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


IN THE NEWS

Ultra-Orthodox Shas party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Yosef: Gentiles exist only to serve Jews According to the Rabbi, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity, to prevent losses to Jews. The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews, according to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator. “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,” he said in his weekly Saturday night sermon on the laws regarding the actions non-Jews are permitted to perform on Shabbat. According to Yosef, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity, to prevent losses to Jews. “In Israel, death has no dominion over them... With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant... That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew,” Yosef said. “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created,” he added. News Report © Jonah Mandel, The Jerusalem Post. LINK Note: “To sum up, as it currently stands, the question of whether or not we attack Iran is in the hands of a rabbi who has made outrageous public statements in recent years.” Example - “The six million Holocaust victims were reincarnations of the souls of sinners, people who transgressed and did all sorts of things that should not be done. They had been reincarnated in order to atone.” - Dov Lipman, The Times of Israel, Netanyahu plays ‘rabbi roulette’ with our security. © www.liveencounters.net october annual 2012 2012


STEVEN BECK

Canaan Dog

Coupled with this apathy among many secular Israelis has been a rise in influence of religious politics in Israel. While there have always been Orthodox Jewish political parties, never in the history of the modern State have they had so much power in government and weight in civil society. The ultra-Orthodox make up approximately 8% of Israel’s population, but parties like Shas (an ultra-Orthodox Sephardic party) can bring down any government that does not cater to their particular world view. It is from the ranks of these ultra-Orthodox parties that the phenomenon of racist incitement towards Arab Israelis from state employed rabbis has immerged. Israel currently employs over 4000 rabbis. All but 15 are Orthodox men. Some of them serve on local town religious councils, certain orthodox synagogues, on rabbinic courts, and as the official rabbis of towns and cities. A small minority of these men use their pulpits and positions to preach hate against Israel’s non-Jewish minority.

Every religion has its extremists and Judaism is no different. The leading rabbinic figure in this raging culture war is the Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu. He has repeatedly called Israel’s 1.2 million Arab citizens “the enemy.” He urged Jews not to rent or sell apartments to Arabs, and he claims all Arabs have a violent nature. In his manifesto (published in March 2008) he writes, “The time has come to tell the truth. Providing a livelihood for our enemies leads to grave consequences.” Rabbi Eliyahu is rabbinic royalty in Israel. His father was once the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of the whole country. This is a position many think Eliyahu also covets. To that end, he has built a high public profile as the great defender from the dangers of living in peaceful coexistence with Arabs, either Arab citizens of Israel or from other countries. He is well known for saying it is forbidden under Jewish law to rent apartments to non-Jews in the land of Israel.

Some of his statements he has tried to deny or recant but others he proudly owns. He was recently exonerated from charges of racist incitement by the State Attorney’s Office, but the impact of his views is undeniable. The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) www.irac.org has been documenting his statements for years. A list of those statements can be found on their website, but here are a few highlights from the last year. (translated from Hebrew) LINK “But we do not pity cancerous growths. Those who pity a cancerous growth are cruel to the entire body. Enough with this constant bending and groveling... We should tell the world out of a sense of responsibility and caring. To those Arabs that waived the sword, we should say that we have a tree many times taller.” - March 16, 2011, Ynet article, “Rabbi Eliyahu to residents of Itamar: Revenge is not a dirty word”

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IN THE NEWS

Jamal Julani lies in a hospital bed after being beaten and left for dead

© www.socialistworker.org LINK ©Ynetnews LINK

“Today I saw a lynch with my very own eyes, at Zion Square in the center of Jerusalem,” she wrote. “We arrived for our usual volunteering shift at Zion Square and not more than half-an-hour later, (we heard) screams: ‘A Jew is a (good) soul; an Arab is a son-of-a…’. (We saw) dozens of teens running and gathering around, starting to deliver deadly blows to three Arab teens who were peacefully walking by,” the activist wrote. “When one of the Arab teens fell onto the floor, they continued to kick his head, and he lost consciousness... the assailants ran away and the rest gathered in a circle (around him) and some continued to shout with hatred in their eyes.” The activist further claimed in her post that when two of the volunteers tried to resuscitate the injured Arabs, “the crowds were complaining that they were Arabs and that they deserve it because maybe now they will be afraid.” “Suddenly, someone approached my cousin, grabbed him and told him ‘what are you doing here you son-of-a-bitch.’ (My cousin) tried walking faster but the man kicked him in the leg and he fell on the floor. Then someone said to call the police and they escaped. One of them hit me in the back. They did it because we are Arabs,” he said. Related stories: J’lem: Man injured in fight between Arabs, Jews - Link Jerusalem teen gets 8 years for killing Arab man - Link Arabs, Jews brawl on train - Link © www.liveencounters.net october annual 2012 2012


STEVEN BECK

Cyclamen

“I can tell the public that I am proud. In Safed, the Halachic ruling has worked!! Thank God, people do not sell land to Gentiles in Safed; nor do rent let apartments.” April 26, 2011, conference in Ramle (He has not denied making this statement.) IRAC has also published a comprehensive report on racism in Israel: LINK

The way men like Shmuel Eliyahu have used their positions as state-sanctioned rabbis makes them uniquely positioned to influence the huge numbers of ultra-Orthodox youth who elevate the words of their revered rabbis to the level of prophesy. When Rabbi Eliyahu says Arab men are looking to defile the honor of Jewish women, the sight of an Arab teen walking around West Jerusalem could be enough to move these young men into action. In one incident, Jamal Julani, a 17-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem, was beaten unconscious by a group of ultra-Orthodox teens. He spent days in the hospital and his crime was the suspicion that he was looking for Jewish girls. This is only one of several attacks that have occurred in recent months and, while most of Israeli society was horrified at this kind of senseless aggression, the disciples of men like Shmuel Eliyahu often feel they are doing their obligation to protect the Jewish State. Clearly Shmuel Eliyahu is not guilty of assault. He has never thrown a gas bomb or attacked an innocent teenager with his own hands. The ones guilty of these crimes are the perpetrators alone, and it should be noted that the Israeli police are pursuing these cases with all the tools available to them. The issue is not who threw the first punch but rather what made these teenagers feel duty-bound to behave in such a way. This is where the words of Rabbi Eliyahu have culpability. Eliyahu is a State employee inciting aggression against his fellow Israeli citizens. Arabs living in the Galilee, the Negev, and other parts of pre-1967 Israeli territory are Israeli citizens. They do not hold passports from other Arab countries, and they work and pay taxes in Israel. Unlike the ultra-Orthodox, some from Israel’s Arab minority serve in the army. It is a small percentage for sure, mostly Druze and some Bedouins, but public funding favors the ultra-Orthodox who seek army deferments in huge numbers while the Arab sector is chronically neglected and has some of the highest levels of poverty in the whole country. What should be done? Removing state-employed rabbis guilty of racial incitement from their positions is the obvious first step, but in some ways that will only strengthen their positions by turning them into martyrs in the eyes of their impressionable followers. What we really need in Israel is a structure for allowing citizens of all religions and backgrounds to interact with each other. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


IS N P ET CHIEA N L EF W E AS T U R E

“The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:34

Arabs, Jews brawl on train Dozens of Arab, Jewish girls involved in Jerusalem Light Rail incident Yaron Doron, Ynetnews, LINK A huge brawl on Jerusalem's Light Rail Monday prompted the evacuation of passengers after one of the participants used tear gas on the train, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. The brawl erupted after dozens of Arab and Jewish girls clashed on one of the train cars. At one point, a Jewish girl at the site pulled out a personal canister of tear gas and sprayed it at the Arab girls. Jerusalem teen gets 8 years for killing Arab man Stabber convicted of killing young Arab man in racist brawl; Judge takes defendant’s troubled past into consideration Aviel Magnezi, Ynetnews, LINK The Jerusalem District Court has sentenced a 17-year-old Jewish teen to eight years in prison for killing a young Arab man in a racist brawl which took place in Jerusalem in February 2011. The 17-year-old’s sentence was reached as part of a plea bargain. In the verdict, Judge Zvi Segal said that the defendant’s past was taken into consideration and the fact that he had not been aware of the fact that this was a racist crime. Six teenagers indicted over J’lem beating of Arab Melanie Lidman, Ynet news, LINK The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office indicted six Jewish teenagers on Wednesday in connection with a savage beating of an Arab man on September 5. Ibrahim Abu Taa, 28, from Wadi Joz, underwent surgery at the capital’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for a broken ankle and injuries sustained in the attack. The teenagers, all Jerusalem residents, are between the ages of 14 and 16.

© www.liveencounters.net october annual 2012 2012


STEVEN BECK

Olive Tree

This almost never happens because Israel is so segregated. The schools are segregated between Arabs and Israelis, between religious and secular Jews, and segregated even further in the religious sector by gender. There are programs that try to humanize Arabs to Israelis and Israelis to Arabs, but they are too few in number. When you have no personal experience in dealing with your neighbors it is easy to believe any horrific story a person in a position of authority tells you about them. This has been true throughout Jewish history in the Diaspora. Now that we are the majority, we are becoming guilty of the same sin. Bethlehem is visible from the rooftops of many homes in Jerusalem, and that will never change. Without borders Amman would be a ninety-minute drive from Jerusalem, and that distance is permanent. Men like Shmuel Eliyahu slow the process that many Israeli must go through in accepting that history or provenance has linked our fate to our Arab neighbors forever.

If we cannot even bring ourselves to peacefully coexist with the Arabs that are our fellow Israelis, how will we ever consider ourselves part of this region? Will we always feel like a nation under siege? Jamal Julani remembers nothing of the attack. He is struggling to gain back the full use of his limbs, his eyes, and his ears. Until we remove religious leaders that twist our faith into a tool of incitement, there will always be an army of zealot teenagers potentially ready to repeat this awful act. One legitimate criticism of this article is that I do not dissect the other side of the conflict. The reality is that there are far more Muslim clerics, in all Arab countries, that use their positions and pulpits to teach hate, violence, and anti-Semitism than the 50 rabbis that are abusing their positions here in Israel. It is not my goal here to present a comparison of who is worse. I am a Jew living in Israel and it is my hope that by taking ownership of the actions of the religious leaders in my own community, their voices will one day be so marginalized that the comparison will be obsolete.

We Jews are proud to point out that our tradition calls to be a light unto the nations and not the least racist people in a conflict. I am more concerned that we live up to our ideals than showing that other people are also guilty of the same crime. As a Jewish-values based organization, IRAC cannot sit silently by as state-funded rabbis ignite waves of racism and hatred throughout Israel. IRAC uses legal action, advocacy, public policy and grassroots field work to combat racist incitement and to spread the message that racism in the name of Halacha (Jewish religious law) undermines the foundations of Israeli democracy and besmirches Judaism as a whole.

ŠSteven Beck

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


MOVEMENT TO ABOLISH SLAVERY

Pic © Not For Sale

© www.liveencounters.net may annual 2012 2012


SASKIA WISHART

NOT FOR SALE

an anti-slavery movement that is at the forefront of fighting human trafficking and exploitation an exclusive report by Saskia Wishart

The modern-day slave trade is fast becoming the most lucrative criminal activity on the planet: affecting every population demographic, stealing vulnerable individuals away from their families and into exploitation, commodifying human lives, and leaving victims strapped with insurmountable debts. Active in urban and rural settings, criminals from both highly organised crime networks and low-level crooks make an enormous profit out of the trade of human beings. The scourge of human trafficking has become one of the most talked about global issues of the day. It is estimated that over 30 million people are living in slavery at this moment. Human trafficking is an issue that has, in recent years, made its way to the forefront of global minds, assisted by mass-media attention and the tireless advocating of social activists.

Not For Sale (NFS), a solutions based anti-trafficking organisation has taken a lead role in the movement to abolish slavery once and for all through the creation of tools that connect business, government, and the grassroots movement in order to incubate and grow social enterprises to benefit enslaved and vulnerable populations.

Not For Sale was founded by David Batstone, a professor of Business at the University of San Francisco, who discovered human trafficking in ‘his own backyard’. Batstone read in a local paper that his favourite Indian restaurant was the center of a human trafficking ring that trafficked over 500 people into the United States. His shock at this crime turned into an all-consuming passion that took him around the world where he met many abolitionists who dedicated their lives to addressing modern slavery. Reporting on his experiences, he wrote the book, Not For Sale, and founded the organization to give everyday individuals the opportunity to take action. Not For Sale focuses on cross-sector collaboration with leaders in the movement to design innovative social enterprises that provide new opportunities for survivors of trafficking and change the circumstances of those at-risk to exploitation. © NOT FOR SALE

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


Not for Sale combines technology, intellectual capital, abolitionist groups and a growing network of individuals like yourself – joined together to end slavery in our lifetime. My own personal journey with the issue of human trafficking started in 2008. I was living in South Africa volunteering with an organization that provided human trafficking prevention programs to at-risk students living in poverty stricken communities. We told kids how they could protect themselves from human trafficking, but instead found they educated us on the truth and reality they were experiencing. At the end of our presentations, hands were raised as the children shared stories of how others had left with recruiters on promises of careers in modeling and domestic work. Those who left were never seen again

During this time I read David Batstone’s book, Not For Sale, and realized that the same stories we were hearing in Cape Town were occurring all over the world. I wanted to be part of this global movement to end slavery; I wanted to be equipped to make a difference. I attended the Not For Sale Investigative Training Academy in San Francisco, and learned practical skills for identifying cases of human trafficking. I returned to Cape Town and co-founded Not For Sale South Africa. Our first goal was to document and identify human trafficking in a city where previously very few cases had ever been recorded. My work led to the development of relationships with highly placed law enforcement, and the creation of a government supported rapid response protocol to address cases of trafficking. In the course of one year, our team uncovered 45 cases of human trafficking. At the same time, we ran awareness-raising campaigns that spread across the country. The more victims of human trafficking we identified, the more difficult it became to simply assist with the rescue and placement of individuals. After victims were placed in a government shelter, there was little to offer them in terms of employment. Many women I encountered came from Eastern Europe and South-East Asia. I constantly faced the same challenge: send a woman back to her home country and risk her falling back into exploitation, or push to have her stay in South Africa where without employment opportunities, there was a high risk of her falling back into exploitation. With minimal reintegration programs available, victims seemed to fall into a vicious cycle of exploitation. I knew we needed to move beyond awareness and basic care; thus, the idea of designing and incubating social enterprises through Not For Sale became more and more attractive to me. But how will social enterprise be used to address this global crime? Not For Sale’s research on the issue of human trafficking revealed that this is an economic issue demanding economic solutions. Many victims of human trafficking come from poverty-stricken communities, where those most at-risk -young men and women looking for work - are easily lured away from home by promises © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


SPECIAL REPORT

David Batstone

of a brighter future. Most often dreams of a better future never materialize as victims find themselves trapped in a cycle of debt-bondage, violence, and coercion. All the while, traffickers profit from their victim’s situation of duress. To address the flow of individuals vulnerable to human trafficking, NFS has begun moving ‘upstream’ to alter the opportunities for at-risk communities. This enables the dreams of dignified employment and provision for families to be addressed before the lure of traffickers ensnares them in a system of exploitation. The critical need to stop the cycle of exploitation hit home for me while working on a case involving a 28 year-old woman Ukrainian woman named Elena*. Elena was trafficked to South Africa, had her passport taken away, and had been working in a strip club to pay off an outrageous debt. I remember sitting across from her as she told me that she had moved to Switzerland when she was 18 because she had been promised a job as a nanny. When she arrived, she was given alcohol, and told that she had to entertain men. In a few short weeks she was working in prostitution. After several months, she was identified as a victim of exploitation and sent back to Ukraine. However, when she arrived home, her family was angry with her. They expected her to return with money and successes. Instead, she returned home with psychological damage from months of abuse. Her father told her to find another job or go live on streets.

A friend of Elena’s offered her a position as a dancer in the Dominican Republic. From there, the scenario repeated itself. For ten years Elena had been moved from country to country, always under the same circumstances. She told me that every time she thought things would get better. “I believed that things could be different,” she recounted in broken English, “I didn’t think it would happen again.” I was shocked as she showed me her passport, full of stamps. The serious young face of the beautiful woman staring from her passport photograph was entirely unrecognizable to the Elena who sat in front of me. Years of exploitation had stolen her beauty, her youth, and her mind. I faced the harsh reality that if she returned to Ukraine, she would probably not be trafficked again, because after ten years, she was not even profitable for a trafficker anymore. She was so far emotionally and mentally damaged that her best option was to be admitted into a mental health ward. I left Elena that day, and questioned how this could have happened. How could one person be rescued and re-trafficked so many times? And how can we stop this system of exploitation before we are left with another case like Elena? A month after meeting Elena, I moved to Amsterdam to join NFS in piloting a program to combat the sex trafficking of women through ‘upstream’ preventative solutions.

© NOT FOR SALE

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


HOME delivers nutritious and inexpensive soups to women working behind the windows in Amsterdam’s red light district where prostitutio

In Europe, Not For Sale is answering the question of how to stop the flow of victims through a unique social enterprise, HOME. This business delivers nutritious and inexpensive soups to women working behind the windows in Amsterdam’s red light district where prostitution has been legalized since the year 2000. Originally, when the Netherlands legalized its sex industry, the hope was that by bringing prostitution into the public eye and regulating it, the Dutch government would create a safer environment for prostitutes. Unfortunately, the seedy underworld of organized crime and human trafficking has infiltrated the red light districts across the Netherlands. Approximately 70 percent of the estimated 25,000-30,000 women working in prostitution are foreigners from Eastern Europe and Africa. Not For Sale researched the situation in Amsterdam’s red light district and determined that access to healthcare and proper nutrition were two large gaps facing the Eastern European women working in prostitution. Nikolina* a 26 year-old from Bulgaria told me that when girls first arrive in Amsterdam, everything is arranged by the pimp who brought them. “You don’t speak the language, you don’t know what the laws are, you don’t know how to buy groceries, and you don’t know that there is free health care. When you are with a pimp, all you do is sleep and work.” Nikolina was able to escape her pimp after 6 months, but 6 years later, is still working in prostitution. I asked her if she would like to do other work, and she replied, yes, definitely. But when I asked her to say what she would like to do, she shrugged. She explained that as a Bulgarian, her working options in the Netherlands are limited. She cannot work in a service industry. Her only option is to be self-employed. She does not have the resources to start her own business, and so she remains in prostitution.

Not For Sale has developed a holistic approach to addressing potential exploitation by first meeting the nutritional needs of individuals currently working behind the windows in prostitution through the HOME soup business, and secondly by partnering with those government entities that provide free healthcare to sex workers. The final step to creating new futures for survivors of exploitation through NFS Amsterdam is the development of a job skill-training program that will give women who were trafficked into the Netherlands the opportunity to learn skills in cooking and catering, and the creation of products that will be sold through HEMA, a department store in the Netherlands that has over 600 distribution points. Not For Sale’s targeted efforts to train survivors of exploitation in skilled job training is led by Not For Sale Netherlands Director, Toos Heemskerk. In 2010, Heemskerk conducted in-depth research on the situation of prostitutes in the red light district by

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SPECIAL REPORT

on has been legalized. First soup tasting © Not For Sale

interviewing women from Eastern Europe, particularly those from Hungary. Through her research she discovered that the majority of women coming from Hungary did so through the help of a third-party, and over 35 percent of the women interviewed revealed that they had been trafficked to Amsterdam by a boyfriend or a pimp. More than 90 percent of them felt that the reality of working in prostitution did not meet the expectations of what they had been promised when they left home. Heemskerk knew for years that Eastern European women were being exploited in Amsterdam, and now she had the data to prove it. Pimps were profiting on the vulnerability of the Hungarian women. One convicted Hungarian pimp made over $120,000 in seven months by the exploitation of just three women. These women were trapped, working for him through debt-bondage.

Heemskerk now offers skills training to trafficked women as a way to better prepare them for their return to their home country. The meals being served in the red light district provide a platform for women rescued from human trafficking to gain work experience before they are repatriated to their country of origin. During the HOME soup launch in Amsterdam, over 90 women from 15 different nationalities taste-tested the soup. Toos Heemskerk said that during the testing she asked the women to give feedback on soup recipes from their home countries that they would like to try. Heemskerk commented, “Over the last 16 years I have been approaching the women, telling them that they can come to us if they need help. Over and over again, I have been offering my help. But now, when I go to the windows, I am asking the women to help us. The difference is remarkable! You can see their excitement as they get to share recipes of soups from their home countries.” The concept of HOME soups is that we are providing a taste of home for those girls who are alone and far away from their families; providing comfort in a cup of soup.

One of the first customers of HOME soup, a young Bulgarian girl, welcomed those delivering the soup. She told us that she was having a terrible day, had just been verbally abused by a john, and was so thankful to receive something good. She was more than happy to buy a pre-paid card, which guaranteed her four more soups for a low price. The next customer of HOME was an older woman who had already tried to exit prostitution once, but explained to Heemskerk that nobody would hire her. She expressed fear of what the future would hold for her. This basic service of selling soups gives room for people like Heemskerk to better understand the needs of women who wish to leave prostitution. © NOT FOR SALE

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MOVEMENT TO ABOLISH SLAVERY

Amsterdam © Not For Sale

Toos Heemskerk found that many times when women tried to exit a situation of human trafficking, they were not only met with violent opposition from their trafficker but there was also very few services in their country of origin to assist with their reintegration. Heemskerk saw that after the women were free, they often lacked the opportunity and restoration to seek dignified employment. Research has shown that over 60 percent of human trafficking victims end up re-trafficked, due to a lack of reintegration programs and employment opportunities. Vera is one such girl whose story shows how difficult it can be for a woman to exit exploitation and return to her home country. Vera was open and engaging with everyone she met. To Toos Heemskerk, she appeared to be “free” and working on her own. Vera spoke openly with the police officers and social workers, and was considered a legal, self-employed prostitute. In truth, Vera was working for a pimp who encouraged her to maintain this illusion of freedom.

When the pimp needed to return to Vera’s home country of Hungary, he allowed her to accompany him so that she could visit her child and family. The visit was supposed to be for several weeks but after only three days, the pimp suddenly cut it short and insisted they return to Amsterdam. He informed Vera that they had to leave, and when she resisted, he threatened her with violence. Later that night, the pimp returned with a gang and attacked Vera. Her father and brother-in-law tried to defend her, but the gang overpowered them. They severely beat Vera and her family. Vera went to the police to take legal action against her pimp. The police tried to persuade her that this was a waste of time. Yet Vera courageously persisted, and finally the police brought her pimp to trial. Vera testified against the man in court and he was sentenced to prison. However, after only two months, he was released. Vera could no longer live with her family who feared the pimp would seek revenge. With no money, no job prospects, and no safe place to live – her future and the future of her young child looked extremely bleak. Hungary has little to offer victims of modern slavery. Desperate, Vera was forced to return to prostitution to provide for her child. She recounted her story to Heemskerk upon her return to Amsterdam, and shrugged off any hope of leaving prostitution. Her main concern now is for the safety of her child. To prevent women from ending up in Vera’s situation, the movement against slavery must address the root cause of why people are trafficked. Poverty and lack of employment are two factors that drive at-risk people into the situation of extreme exploitation in the first place. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


SASKIA WISHART

This is why Not For Sale has chosen to address the trafficking of vulnerable individuals from economically depressed communities. Alongside job skill training in Western Europe and creating opportunites to stop the flow of women from Romania and other Eastern European countries, NFS recently began a farm expansion in Romania that will provide jobs to fifty survivors of human trafficking. On this farm, NFS plans to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. These products will be distributed in Western Europe through the Netherlands operations.

It can be hard for those living in western countries to grasp the depth of abuse and exploitation occurring in the hidden world of human trafficking. But for individuals working in the antitrafficking movement on the ground in Eastern Europe, stories of slavery are all too common. In Romania, NFS’ regularly repatriates victims of human trafficking from all over the world; the men, women, and children who cross their doorstep on a regular basis report harrowing stories of slavery in both sexual exploitation and forced labour. One story was that of Marie, a young girl who was first sold into prostitution at the age of nine. For six years, Marie experienced traumatizing abuse and exploitation at the hands of her traffickers and was moved to multiple countries throughout Europe. At the age of 15, Marie was rescued from forced prostitution by authorities and repatriated through NFS Romania. There she received counseling, the healing power of acceptance, and the experience of a new family. After several years, Marie finished her high school education and went on to be accepted into university. NFS Romania says that each case of human trafficking is different. “We work with real people who have thoughts, needs, fears, and hopes.” Through their re-integration program, NFS Romania looks to provide individual care to each survivor they encounter.

But there are still many women in desperate economic situations that may choose to leave home with traffickers, hoping that a life in the West will provide their families with a better future. Presently Romania is the largest source country for migrant sex workers on the European continent. While Not For Sale Romania works tirelessly with survivors of slavery to provide support and education to better assist with survivors reintegration process, after-care and repatriation are not the only answers to address the global crime of human trafficking. Preventing exploitation and disrupting the flow of vulnerable women from Eastern European countries to cities like Amsterdam are keys to creating long-term change in the anti-trafficking movement. © NOT FOR SALE

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MOVEMENT TO ABOLISH SLAVERY

Together, we can end slavery in our lifetime.

© Not For Sale

While Not For Sale expands their work in Romania, they are also developing relationships with agricultural co-ops in other Eastern European countries to broaden the economic opportunities in at-risk areas. In this way, NFS holistically addresses the injustice of human trafficking across multiple sectors. From the rescue and repatriation of survivors; to the provision of legal services, health-care, and job skill training, to the creation of employment opportunities and betterment of economic situations, Not For Sale is creating a unique and innovative system to end the modern day slave trade. Today, I was having breakfast with a friend of mine, Sofia, who is from Ukraine. I recounted to her the story of Elena, the Ukrainian girl who had been trafficked for ten years and ended up in South Africa. Sofia was shocked that this had happened to a girl from her country. The realization hit us both, had my friend been born in another city, to another family, she may have ended up in a situation much like Elena. Instead of eating pancakes for breakfast in her cozy flat in Amsterdam, she may have been servicing men in a brothel with no hope of escape. Sofia looked at me and offered to share some Ukrainian soup recipes for the HOME soup business. Sofia’s act of sharing soup recipes may not be the typical way to get involved in ending modern slavery, but it could have a wonderful impact on a young girl behind the window. Talking with Sofia reminded me that we all have a role we can play in taking action against modern slavery. Each act, no matter how small, should not be discounted. As the movement grows, so do the creative ways that people can take what they know, or the skills they have, and channel them to seek justice for those who are enslaved.

If you are wondering what you can do to become a part of the movement to end slavery, please know that whoever you are, and no matter where you are in the world, there is something that can be done. Tools like EMPOWER, give people individualized opportunities to take action and reabolish slavery. Not For Sale provides academies to train individuals to become smart activists, and hosts a yearly Global Forum on Human Trafficking, where leaders from around the world share solutions and incubate incredible ideas for long-term change. While there are many terrible things about the issue of human trafficking, there is also great hope, not only for girls like Marie from Romania who is embracing a new future, but also for the next generation of men, women, and children, who will avoid the trap of exploitation through the betterment of their situation by the tireless efforts of organizations like Not For Sale.

© NOT FOR SALE

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SPECIAL REPORT

Thank you for enabling Not For Sale to work around the globe to create new futures for vulnerable communities and survivors of modern-day slavery. See the incredible outcomes of your support.

CLICK ON ABOVE PIC to view the Impact Report.

For all enquiries kindly email jerry@notforsalecampaign.org

annual may 2012 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


Animal Rights 302

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December 2012

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Carol Buckley - Matriarch of the Herd Paradox in Paradise Vishnu Narain Guardian of the Forest

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INTERVIEW

Carol Buckley

Matriarch of the Herd speaks to Mark Ulyseas on her life

Carol Buckley with Tarra

“Through her (Tarra) I came to understand the wisdom, complexity, intelligence, sensitivity and intensely social nature of elephants. She has been the force in my life that has shaped me into the person I am today and I am eternally grateful.”

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


LIVEENCOUNTERS

e, work and the creation of care centres for elephants Often it is a single person with a passion and a love that transcends human barriers of selfishness that bridges the gap between human and animal. Carol Buckley is a wisp of a woman with a strong heart and a deep affection for her beloved Tarra, an elephant she rescued as a teenager. It is now thirty eight years since her first encounter. Much has happened. Much has changed.

But Carol has never deviated from her goal to rescue and rehabilitate elephants. She spoke at length about her life with Tarra. No amount of information spiced by adjectives can truthfully describe the enormous work that Carol has done.

Presently, she is in India to help set up an elephant care centre, the first of its kind in Asia, to rescue injured and abused elephants in captivity: to release them into a designated forested area to roam without any shackles and to live out their lives free of fear from human cruelty and domination‌ of course under the watchful eyes of staff specially trained by Carol to look after the elephants with tender loving care and not by beating and threats.

Read on...

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CAROL BUCKLEY

Carol Buckley and Tarra, teenage years.

Could you share with the readers a glimpse of the work you have done with elephants in the past? For the past 38 years I’ve been blessed to live my life in service to captive elephants, first in America and more recently in Asia.

In my early career I focused on elephant training and performing. For fifteen years I traveled and performed with my elephant Tarra on TV, in motion pictures, stage shows, live appearances for special events and the circus. For a short time during Tarra’s late teens we worked in zoos and elephant breeding facilities. In addition to training Tarra, I trained and worked with both African and Asian elephants, and taught keepers and caregivers how to properly care for captive elephants.

In 1995, I pioneered a new standard of captive elephant care when I founded the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. This facility, designed exclusively to meet the needs of captive elephants, is the first natural habitat refuge for captive elephants. Situated on 2700 fenced acres, the Sanctuary provides a safe and healthy environment for elephants rescued from zoos and circuses in North America. To facilitate the rehabilitation of rescued elephants who came to the Sanctuary, I designed and used a non-dominant approach to management. Passive Control is a positive reinforcement system that relies heavily on relationship building and a keen knowledge of the species to provide autonomy and build respect, both of which are crucial to an elephants’ rehabilitation.

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LIVEENCOUNTERS

Carol Buckley named along with 10 others Time Magazine Heroes for the Planet, October 12, 1998

For the past two years I have traveled throughout Asia providing elephant foot care training for mahouts and pedicures for hundreds of elephants and positive reinforcement training for elephants and their mahouts. I am currently collaborating on the creation of elephant care centers in India and Nepal. Tell us about your relationship with Tara and how it has affected/changed your life?

Meeting Tarra was the beginning of my life, the first step on a fantastic journey. I see Tarra as my mentor and guide as much as she sees me as surrogate mom and friend. I cannot image having a more blessed or purpose-filled life than the one I’ve shared with Tarra. I was nearly 20 years old and she was a year-old orphan when we met. At that time in her life, Tarra was dependent upon me for nearly everything. Caring for her gave my life purpose and direction. As she grew, I willingly accepted the continually growing challenge of making her life worthwhile. I struggled to provide all she needed, unwilling to compromise on the quality of her life, which is the general rule for elephants in captivity. Early on I began to rely on Tarra to guide my understanding of her and her species. Through her I came to understand the wisdom, complexity, intelligence, sensitivity and intensely social nature of elephants. Tarra has been the force in my life that has shaped me into the person I am today and I am eternally grateful.

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CAROL BUCKLEY

Why do you feel it is important to rehabilitate elephants in captivity when there appears to be an increase in the population of elephants in the wild in India? Solid research continues to document a decline in the population of Asian elephants in nearly all in-situ environments, including India, since the species was put on the endangered species list in 1974. Wild populations are facing their most difficult time in history with habitat fragmentation, poaching and human/elephant conflict. Wild elephants’ drive to survive has put them on a collision course with humans. In their need to secure food and water, they are forced due to unabated human exploitation of forest resources to search outside their forest home for sustenance. Agriculture and grazing livestock have taken over the land that borders the forest that was once was the elephants’ home, exerting pressure on the forest’s resources to the breaking point. The rapidly shrinking forest can no longer sustain this ancient indigenous resident. Creating a healthy environment for captive elephants is a separate issue.

Captive elephants have been removed from the wild, are being used by humans and should be maintained in a healthy environment. Those that can should be removed from harmful situations. The rehabilitation I envision does not send captive elephants back to the wild; there is too little habitat left for the remaining wild elephants. My vision is to revitalize denuded forests, thereby creating a healthy place for captive elephants.

But even if the wild population was not under siege, captive elephants would still require a safe and healthy living environment. The diseases that plague captive elephants - osteomyelitis, arthritis and tuberculosis - are all caused by captivity and under normal circumstances do not occur in the wild.

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LIVEENCOUNTERS

As the dominant species on the planet, humans continue to use more resources than we need, create more waste then we can dispose of and cause extinction to more species than we even know exist. In my opinion, if we can create a small oasis for a few suffering captive elephants, it’s the least any of us can do. How can one change the attitude of people towards pachyderms with respective to the engrained socio-economic-cultural mindset?

Humans tend to turn a blind eye to problems when the solution is inconvenient or the problem too far removed. I do not know how to change people’s attitudes; that is for another to pursue. My work is to create safe havens for captive elephants and hope that the work itself will have a positive effect on people’s attitudes. I have found that just by doing my work and telling people about it, by sharing my love and respect of elephants, spreads awareness and the beginnings of understanding. How can governments actively participate with NGOs in resolving the continuing man-animal conflict? Human/elephant conflict is not my forte and I don’t suggest that I know the answer to how the government can actively participate with NGOs.

The issue of human/elephant conflict is simple; there is not enough forest both for wild elephants and humans but the solutions are complicated. If the government were able to reclaim and restore the forest, open the elephants’ ancient migratory paths and protect the indigenous wildlife, elephants would survive. But what would then become of the human population that for generations has survived off forest resources? What is the solution for their survival? Humans have the ability to devise solutions to these pressing problems. My hope is that elephant care centers will become part of the solution.

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P H O T O G A L L E R Y - Paradox in Paradise

Let us for a moment reflect on what we do to the other inhabitants of village earth. These photographs were taken by me in Bali, Indonesia. Village earth is paradise and we are the paradox in paradise.

Mark Ulyseas, Photographer Š www.liveencounters.net june annual 2012 2012

Caged monkey on display.


mark ulyseas

Pic Š Mark Ulyseas

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P H O T O G A L L E R Y - Paradox in Paradise

Pic Š Mark Ulyseas

A parakeet chained to a perch and hung on a tree for the entertainment of guests. Apparently it had been there for months. Most of the time it hung its head in total resignation to its horrible existence. Š www.liveencounters.net june annual 2012 2012


mark ulyseas

Pic Š Mark Ulyseas

A dog chained at the entrance of a small hotel day in and day out. Some locals told me that twice a day it was led to a tree to do its business and then tied up again. All it did was sit there watching people in quiet desperation for it never barked.

ŠRobin Marchesi

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P H O T O G A L L E R Y - Paradox in Paradise

Pic Š Mark Ulyseas

An orangutan on display for the entertainment of visitors at a hotel.

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mark ulyseas

A mother and child watch tourists photograph them.

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

©Robin Marchesi

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G U A R D I A N O F T H E F O R E ST

Vishnu Narain with K, his Marwari Horse pic by Mark Ulyseas Š annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net april 2012


SPECIAL REPORT

Vishnu - Guardian of the Forest by Mark Ulyseas

The face of modern India is pockmarked with environmental damage that is sadly progressing along with the expanding economy. Human-Animal conflict appears to be the rule rather than the exception. Development is usually human centric without much thought given to the denizens of the forest, whose rights are abused and habitat, plundered. Amidst the cacophony of rampant growth a few good people stand up to be counted as Guardians of the Forest. Vishnu Narain is one of them.

He has worked for over 15 years to acquire land of around 150 acres bordering the Bannerghatta National Park, South of Bangalore, in the Indian State of Karnataka. So what has he done with this land?

“I prefer animals to human beings. Animals have a code by which they live. They take only what they need and leave the rest for others. They do not hoard nor destroy their environs.

Humans don’t know how to live with Nature. Our senses are dimmed by technology. Do you know animals send and receive infra sound that humans can’t hear? They warn others in the forest of their presence. You won’t see wild boar walking through a herd of elephants. We have become physically and spiritually disconnected from Nature that is why we can’t hear these infra messages/warnings, which results in human - animal conflict. Often it ends in the death of an animal. Therefore, I have returned this land to these wonderful creatures. I will not commercially develop this area. It is exclusively reserved for the flora and fauna, particularly for the Asian Elephant whose habitat is continually being encroached upon. Except for a few staff no one is permitted to enter this area. This is my way of giving back to Mother Nature.”

© Mark Ulyseas

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G U A R D I A N O F T H E F O R E ST

A pathway through Geedee. It is dangerous to walk around the area during the night as there are often wild elephants and wild boar that roam the territory not to mention the occasional panther. Pic © Mark Ulyseas

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Yellow throated Bulbul Click on pic to weblink © www.1200birds.blogspot.in


SPECIAL REPORT

It is claimed that India has around 13% forest cover. The reality – it is not more than 5%,

Vishnu Narain’s love for Nature came from his Primary school teacher, Edith Tenbroeck, a Theosophist and follower of Madame Blavatsky and a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi. Her childhood was spent living with Native American Indians who had kidnapped her at a very young age. She left them at the age of 17 or 18 years. Edith instilled in Vishnu a deep passion and respect for Nature and the importance of living in harmony with it. “Mark, I feel the Native American Indians are the only people who truly understand how to live as one with Nature, with the earth…the Bisnoi Tribe in India come a distant second.

The problem we are facing is unchecked growth in population coupled with unfettered development…corruption being the chief motivating factor. Also, around 400 million Indians live on or below the poverty line.

The rapid dwindling forests rich in natural resources are seen as easy pickings for unscrupulous people like poachers, timber smugglers etc… Even indigenous people who have been displaced or divested of their lands have to resort to pilfering from the forest to feed their families. This is the chief cause of growing incidences of Human-Animal conflict.

It is claimed that India has around 13% forest cover. The reality – it is not more than 5%, “ says Vishnu. “So what are you doing about this?” I ask hesitantly.

“Over 15 years ago I had decided to create a bubble, a rich biosphere, protected from marauding humans; one that is left to the animal kingdom; an untouched area that is allowed to succumb to the embrace of Nature; the natural growth of root and stem with no outside influences like pesticides/fertilizers/or non-indigenous species; solar powered electric fencing enclosing the biosphere to keep out humans, their cattle and other anti social elements!”

Vishnu’s horses at his man made pond Pic © Mark Ulyseas

Brahminy Kite Click on pic to weblink © www.birding.in

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G U A R D I A N O F T H E F O R E ST

One of the two large ponds that Vishnu has made. This one measures around 3 acres and is 25 ft deep. He rears Rohu, Catla, Silver Carp and local fish which are sampled by a host of Herons, Egrets, Brahminy Kites and King Fishers. Pic © Mark Ulyseas

“Over the years, as I have acquired tracks of this land adjacent to the Bannerghatta National Park, I have planted thousands of trees: Jamun, Jackfruit, Mango. Though the mortality rate is high they should take root and blossom in another 3 to 5 years.

You must understand that much of this area was over cultivated land so the soil will take time to regenerate through a natural process. But the scourge that interrupts this process is the Lantana scrub.” - Lantana camara is a terrestrial weed of South and Central American origin introduced as an ornamental plant in 1809 to India. Usually this weed invades disturbed natural ecosystems and adversely affects biodiversity. The weed is distributed throughout India. - In forests, Lantana is considered as a potential fire hazard in deciduous forests and it is combustible even when green. Thus this weed can be dangerous in national parks and sanctuaries. Lantana also competes with agricultural crops and has an allelopathic effect – inhibiting the growth of other plants. This weed is reported to be of concern in teak, eucalyptus and coffee plantations in India. “In addition to planting trees, I have built two large ponds (dug 25 ft deep and filled the foundation with clay and sand, a natural mud dam) which are ideal for rain water harvesting. In these ponds I am rearing Silver Carp, Rohu, Catla and local fish. These attract herons, egrets, kingfishers, Brahminy Kites, cormorants and wild animals passing through the area. This does not include the many small check dams and watering holes across the area, which are all replenished during the monsoon.”

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SPECIAL REPORT

A view from atop a small hill which is a part of Geedee, Vishnu’s property. Notice the dense lush jungle. This is due to the intense reforestation work that has been done by him over the years. Pic © Mark Ulyseas

“Years ago this land had a forest cover of only 20 to 30%. Now, it is 60 to 70%. Because this land borders a national park it acts like a buffer zone and offers wild animals additional space to roam. In fact many denizens pass through or have setup home here e.g. wild elephants, wild boar, mongoose, snakes, barking deer, panthers, over 180 species of birds etc. But my work is far from over.

I plan to convert this biosphere, which is called Geedee, into Asia’s first Elephant Care Centre and seek the help of Carol Buckley, founder of Elephant Aid International, a world famous woman who has worked with elephants for the last 38 years to train staff. She has pioneered the method of rescuing injured and abused captive elephants and rehabilitating them through the process of mutual respect, gentle handling without threats, beatings and chains. In fact she leaves the elephants to roam free in a designated area with minimal human interaction. But before the centre is set up I need to dig a trench around the entire property and build specialized solar powered fencing to keep out the wild elephants, humans and their cattle. This would protect the rescued elephants in the biosphere. I need to create a fire line as every summer fires are deliberately started by the villagers so that areas can be cleared for grazing. A plan is being drawn up to cultivate grass for the elephants and also to involve the nearby villages in growing the same. At harvest time we can buy it off them at a predetermined price. This will go as fodder for the elephants and help in building a relationship with the villagers – making them stake holders in the preservation of the environment.”

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


G U A R D I A N O F T H E F O R E ST A Thank You Note Derrick, the pet dog of Vishnu and Mridula, stood guard over me while I slept alone in a tent in the wild. He kept me company wherever I went and ate whatever I gave him. Thanks mate! Pic © Mark Ulyseas

“This Elephant Care Centre will be a pilot project that can then be replicated across the country and elsewhere in Asia. However, this biosphere is not exclusively for the elephants. Other wild animals will coexist with them because animals do not recognise man made boundaries,“ laughs Vishnu “Kindly give us a glimpse of your life not related to this project,” I ask.

“I am married to Mridula who shares my passion for Nature. We live in a one bedroom house with a Peacock and other critters that drop in from time to time depending upon whether they need food or water or love. I have done my Msc. in microbiology and studied for a Phd but never completed it. I head a company Ibex-Gallagher, an Indo-New Zealand joint venture that sells state of the art solar powered electric fences for agricultural lands, national parks etc. - a vital component in the prevention of Human-Animal conflict. We have four horses – 2 Kathiawari and 2 Marwari. Two crows have adopted us and when my wife goes for a walk they join her! My salary goes into the upkeep of Geedee, our biosphere.”

© www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

Sunset over Geedee Pic © Mark Ulyseas


SPECIAL REPORT

Ancient graves atop the hill in Geedee. It is believed that the bodies of the departed were buried under these stones. Elephants often visit this place. It offers a panoramic view of the Bannerghatta National Park. Pic © Mark Ulyseas

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Photographers 324

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December 2012

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Caroline Bennett Jill Gocher Joo Peter Sari Ganulin

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PHOTO GALLERY

Photography allows me to meld storytelling, art, and the unraveling of the human condition by encapsulating isolated moments, whirling them into a fusion of truth and art, and sending them out into the world to tell stories that would not have the same effect if told through another medium. I strive for a balance in my work that is both grounded in ethical photojournalism and inspires a call to action through high-impact visual storytelling founded in truth and dignity of the people represented. I seek not only to expose important stories that may otherwise go untold, but also to reveal our commonalities as human beings, despite the situation in this world that we share.

Pic Š CarolineBennett

www.carolinebennett.com

annual 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


PHOTO GALLERY -BALI

Kintamani – A ceremony for life The festival is Odalan, a celebratory festival which takes place in each of Bali’s ten thousand or more temples each six months, or to be more precise, every 210 days. This festival is taking place in the mountain hamlet of Kintamani, which perches high on the caldera of a still very much active, volcano.

Photographing a ceremony as crowded as this one, is an interesting challenge. People are everywhere - processions, groups, dancers, priests, and their assistants, children and onlookers, all crowd into your lens. I see the challenge is to extract from this unformed canvas, to portray vignettes, to distill, to find the essence, whether it is in a flower, a face or a little cameo scene that is being enacted in the midst of the quiet chaos surrounding…. It is so easy to simply photograph a crowd, to show the abundance of people present, but to extract from that scene to find your own personal vision, takes time.

Jill Gocher Photographer, Bali, Indonesia

Pics © Jill Gocher

© www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume two


JILL GOCHER

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PHOTO GALLERY -BALI

Pics © Jill Gocher

© www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume two


JILL GOCHER

volume two 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


PHOTO GALLERY -BALI

Pics © Jill Gocher

© www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume two


JILL GOCHER

volume two 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


PHOTO GALLERY -BALI

Pics © Jill Gocher

© www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume two


JILL GOCHER

volume two 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


PHOTO GALLERY-BALI

Bali’s Buddhists in the hamlet of Budakeling “The one substance is called two, namely Buddha and Siwa They say it is different, but how can it be divided by two Such is how the teaching of Buddha and Siwa became one It is different, but it is one, there are not two truths” - From an ancient Javanese epic Mahayana Buddhist poem

The island of Bali is well known as a centre of Hindu religion, culture and thought. Here in the remote Brahmin hamlet of Budakeling in the foothills of Mt Agung, the island’s holiest mountain, the village of Budakeling is home to devout Buddhists.

Surrounded by verdant padi fields, the people live in harmonious peace. Their high priests are much sought after across the island, to officiate at important ceremonies where they will usually sit side by side with Siwa (Shivaite) priests.

Their rituals are complex, their paraphernalia impressive and it is always appreciated. Buddhism and Shiva-Hinduism are a duality. They co-exist in harmony – two sides of the same coin. In Budakeling, even the offerings are different to the rest of Bali as are the people.

It is a village of peace, where it seems never a harsh word is spoken.

Jill Gocher Photographer, Bali, Indonesia © www.liveencounters.net may annual 2012 2012


JILL GOCHER

This holy person descending the grey stone steps carries all the weight of the Buddhist faith. The Mahayana or greater vehicle is the similar version of Buddhism as is practised by Tibetans and Tibetan followers the world over. Pic Š Jill Gocher annual may 2012 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


PHOTO GALLERY-BALI

Dorje & Buddha bowls, hight priests (perdantas) use a dorje similar to those used in Tibet. Small cups hold holy water. Š www.liveencounters.net may annual 2012 2012


JILL GOCHER

The offerings are made of popped rice – similar to a rice cereal and are coloured with bright colours to pleaseMarchesi the gods. ©Robin Pics © Jill Gocher

annual may 2012 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


P H O T O G A LLLLEERRYY--BL A A LOIS

Sashes and sarong – each man wears his version of traditional dress of sarong and sash. Pic © Jill Gocher © www.liveencounters.net may annual 2012 2012


J I LJ O LO GO P CE H TER

The gamelan ensemble is held by golden dragons – symbolic protection from evil. Pic © Jill Gocher annual may 2012 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


PHOTO GALLERY -VIVA LA CUBA

On January 14, 2013 citizens of Cuba will be permitted to travel abroad. However, there will be restrictions on highly qualified professionals. President Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz hopes to improve living conditions in the country by promoting free travel. Presently, Cuban exiles send hard currency home to their relatives and it is this money that greatly contributes to the national economy. Today a teacher is paid a salary of Euro 200 (in Peso) for a year’s work whereas a Jinetera (prostitute) earns the same amount on a weekend. But the State gives free medical care and free education to all its citizens. The popular religion of Cuba is Santeria, a blend of African religion with some aspects of Christianity. The Spanish, French and Portuguese introduced African slaves to Christianity and, partly as a compromise to ensure cultural survival, the slaves depicted the various African deities with facsimiles of Roman Catholic saints (a phenomenon known as syncretism). The gods and goddesses of Santeria are of West African origin, specifically of the Yoruba culture of southwestern Nigeria. LINK Visit Cuba now before the old world fades into sterile modernity. Our best wishes to Cuba for the New Year 2013. Viva La Cuba!

www.joo-peter.photoshelter.com

Pics © Joo Peter

© www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume one


JOO PETER

Capital Havana volume one 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


PHOTO GALLERY -VIVA LA CUBA

Street Scene, Havana Pic © Joo Peter © www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume one


JOO PETER

Street Scene Havana

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PHOTO GALLERY -VIVA LA CUBA

Street Scene, Havana Pics © Joo Peter © www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume one


JOO PETER

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Varanasi (Banaras), one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India, is situated on the banks of the holy river, Ganges, in the Northern Indian State of Uttar Pradesh.

According to legend, Yama, God of Death, has power over all people after death, except those dying in Varanasi. Hindus believe, dying in Varanasi and being cremated at the holy river Ganges leads directly to Moksha, Hindu form of salvation. Sadhus, holy men and worshippers congregate at the river to pray, perform religious ceremonies and bathe to spiritually cleanse one’s body.

Women gather at the Ganges every October end/beginning November (as the date changes according to the Hindu calendar), for a special annual Puja (religious ceremony), praying for sons and good luck for their family. In traditional belief, a woman without a son ends up in hell and a widow is cursed and can be expelled by the family (also when one marries the wrong caste). This Puja is called Dala Chath. The word Chhat means the number 6. As the festival begins on the 6th day of the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November) the festival is referred to as Chhat Puja. Chhat Puja (Dala Chhat) is an ancient festival dedicated to the sun god (Surya Bhagwan). This festival falls a week after Diwali.

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P H O T O G A L L E R Y - G E I K O S, K Y O T O

Geikos (that’s what Geishas are called in Kyoto) always remind me of Zen monks – a Westerner can’t imagine discipline, ascetic life and dedication necessary to perform this art. Meikos (Geisha apprentices) sleep every night with their head resting precisely in a special position on a wooden pillar, so the elaborate hair dressing is not damaged.

Visiting Kyoto, I discovered less known connections between Zen and the world of Geikos.

Their teahouses are just next to the oldest Zen temple in town, a major origin of the tea ceremony, which is such an important part in the arts of Geikos (which means art-person) and Japanese culture as a whole , focused in the tradition of Geikos. Putting on the white make-up dissolves all personal aspects, selfless, timeless. In an Onsen (hot bath) a well-educated Japanese asked me: “Do you know the difference between Buddhism and Shinto?”. He smiled - and added the well-considered, but provocative and enlightening statement: “…because we Japanese don’t see any difference”.

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE…

The African Refugee Development Center runs the only refugee shelter in Tel Aviv for the most vulnerable segment of the population: pregnant women, new mothers, and their children. The children depicted here are current shelter residents, often left to fend for themselves while their mothers are at work. They say that it takes a village to raise a child. ARDC’s shelter is that village within Tel Aviv.

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE…

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE…

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Indigenous Rights 380

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December 2012

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John Hank Edson – Amazonwatch Randhir Khare

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JOHN HANK EDSON

The Privilege of Working with Indige I'd like to tell you about the real rainforest guardians – the indigenous peoples who call the Amazon their home, the people who know the Amazon intimately as a kindred being, not just a place of far off beauty and power. I'd like to tell you why it is important that I, Amazon Watch, and everyone promoting an environmentalist agenda, make the foundation of our activism a strong partnership with the indigenous peoples who still retain an authentic, sustainable connection to the ecosystems we hope to save, nurture and preserve.

It helps if we begin by acknowledging our own relationship with the Amazon out here in the blogosphere: It is as distant as a Google Earth satellite view of South America. As it turns out, however, even miles above the planet, we can deduce the important role indigenous peoples of the Amazon play in preserving the rainforest. If we look at a satellite picture of the Amazon rainforest basin overlaid with a map of indigenous owned land in the Amazon, it is hard not to notice that the indigenous-held land is green with forest while much of the surrounding land is deforested and brown. Fortunately, indigenous territories comprise more than a quarter of the Amazon basin, which means that all this land is in the hands of environmentally competent stewards. Without the many successes in the growing indigenous rights movement establishing indigenous title to many important ancestral territories, the outlook for the preservation of the Amazon might be significantly gloomier than it is today. The indigenous of the Amazon have been excellent environmental stewards for thousands of years. One of the many challenges that come with living in the Amazon is its notoriously poor soil, which is quickly leached of most of its nutrient value. However, throughout the Amazon basin a different kind of soil, terra preta do Indio (black soil of the indigenous), can also be found, which is extremely fertile. Chemist Bruno Glaser marvels at the pre-Columbian Amazonian indigenous culture that created terra preta: "They practiced agriculture here for centuries. But instead of destroying the soil, they improved it – and that is something we don't know how to do today."

Geographer William Woods estimates that terra preta do Indio constitutes as much as 10% of the Amazon rainforest basin, an area twice the size of Great Britain, much of which is scattered on the near hilltops running along the Amazon's many waterways. The indigenous have rendered all this land sustainable for agriculture by building a soil that, some two thousand years after its creation, continues to build as much as an additional centimeter of depth each year.

Scientists recently made a further discovery that calls to mind the veins of terra preta tracing the rivers of the Amazon basin. In 2008 a team of anthropologists published their discovery of an intricate network of towns and mega-villages connected by a sophisticated grid of roads dating back at least 1500 years. The network is estimated to have been home to thousands of indigenous citizens of what has been described as "one of the earliest urban civilizations." Thus, prior to the upheaval caused by European colonization and disease, the indigenous of the Amazon maintained sustainable, large scale, settled agrarian societies in the rainforest for thousands of years.

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enous Rainforest Guardians

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According to Survival International, today indigenous rainforest guardians in the Amazon number 940,000 who together belong to some 350 to 400 distinct tribes. Other estimates set the number at more than 30 million when people from other traditional, rainforest-dependent ethnic groups are included, such as fisherfolk, rubbertappers, Maroons, and Quilombolas. In Bolivia, indigenous people still make up a majority of the population, and in Peru, they make up approximately 45% of the population. However, the disastrous toll on indigenous populations did not end with Conquistadors; in the last century, the Amazon has lost approximately 100 tribes due to the same forces imperiling the rainforest itself. Therefore, while the indigenous represent a significant demographic that is learning to translate its ecological wisdom into political power, the valuable contribution they offer the rest of humanity is as vulnerable to devastating loss as is our natural wilderness. Given the weight of the indigenous peoples' history in the rainforest, their deep knowledge of the rainforest ecosystem, their success maintaining sustainable societies within the Amazon, their substantial numbers and landholdings, the indigenous of the Amazon are much more than a good cause – they are a leading force in the movement to achieve balance and harmony in human society's relationship with the environment. In 2008, Ecuador adopted a new constitution that includes a chapter specifically devoted to the Rights of Nature and that establishes as a principle of law that “Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain itself and regenerate its own vital cycles, structures, functions and evolutionary processes.” The Ecuadorian constitution also gives nature “the right to be completely restored.” Under the Constitution’s Rights of Nature chapter, the government of Ecuador is obligated to take action to ensure the protection of these rights and the Ecuadorian people are given the right to benefit from the environment. These provisions give legal expression to the indigenous understanding of Pachamama as a living entity in itself that also embraces all living beings, all of whom manifest the same dignity and command the same rights as human beings intuitively recognize themselves to possess. Ecuador’s triumphant expansion of rights to include Pachamama was followed in January 2010 by Bolivia, which passed the world’s first law granting nature equal rights with humans. In April that same year, Bolivia hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. The highlight achievement of this conference was the adoption of a “Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.” Bolivia then submitted the Declaration to the United Nations with the hope that it will be adopted as a companion to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These new laws and declarations reflect the sophisticated ecocentric worldview of the indigenous communities who have lived in harmony with nature within the Amazonian rainforest for thousands of years and who have also witnessed and suffered firsthand the ruinous consequences of avaricious resource extraction by colossal multi-national corporations. © John Hank Edson

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JOHN HANK EDSON

© Amazon Watch/Christian Poirier

At the same time that these examples of indigenous leadership give cause to all human beings to celebrate our expanding enlightenment, they also challenge us to ask ourselves: If nature’s rights must be recognized and defended, what about the rights of the indigenous?

Human beings living in non-indigenous societal structures have a long history of regarding themselves as separate and above nature. Unfortunately, even when it comes to environmentalist strategies to protect nature, this tendency to elevate the status of human beings above nature often translates into a blindness toward an aspect of nature journalists Mark London and Brian Kelly call “the forgotten animal in the environment – human beings.”

In effect, we will save the jaguar and the rainforest because we love animals and understand the importance of biodiversity and the role of the rainforest in the planet’s climate systems, but we do not find any persuasive motive to protect the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain their millennia-old way of life in their ancestral homeland. We fail to understand that biodiversity is a concept that applies powerfully to human beings’ different ways of life in promoting the health of both our species and the community of life on our planet. We neglect to recognize the vitally important role indigenous peoples play in the planetary and rainforest ecosystems. Let me give you two examples of the way the rights of indigenous peoples are being trampled by leaders in the environmental movement.

The first example involves the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) movement, which attempts to protect rainforests and respond to climate change by creating financial value for the carbon being stored in standing forests as an alternative to cutting forests down. A great number of parties, including the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, have criticized REDD for placing the rights of indigenous communities at risk in the way that it defines what constitutes deforestation and degradation, in the way that it creates unintentional reverse incentives for polluters and loggers, in the way that it omits to recognize indigenous rights, and in the way that it has failed to involve indigenous peoples in REDD policy discussions and negotiations. The second example sadly comes from Bolivia, the very government championing the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. Bolivia has recently drawn international criticism for violently suppressing the protests of indigenous communities opposed to the construction of a national highway through indigenous owned lands in the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territories (TIPNIS) rainforest. In the midst of a 400-mile march from their home to their nation’s capital, roughly 1000 men, women and children were attacked at a night’s encampment by police wearing full battle gear shooting tear-gas canisters directly at them. Their leaders were beaten and hundreds were seized and herded onto busses headed for unknown destinations. Video taken at the scene caught police knocking women down and forcibly taping their mouths shut. The violence continued into the next day.

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AMAZONWATCH

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JOHN HANK EDSON

©Amazon Watch

Ultimately, the domestic and international outcry over the government’s actions resulted in the resignation of a number of key government officials and the suspension of financing for the highway by Brazil’s National Development Bank (BNDES). As noted in an earlier Eye on the Amazon post, Bolivia’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Pablo Solón, issued an open letter to Bolivia’s president reminding him and the nation that Bolivia’s position on the rights of nature included obligations to respect the rights of indigenous peoples. These grave examples of blindness toward indigenous rights among leaders in the environmental movement are also a useful measure of just how sophisticated is the vision at Amazon Watch, which makes solidarity with indigenous peoples the foundation of all its activism.

On September 25th the Bolivian government violently suppressed a 400-mile protest march by the indigenous communities being directly affected by the construction of a highway through their land, also a national park, without their consent. Aware of the mounting tension over the highway’s construction, Amazon Watch co-authored and delivered a letter to the Bolivian government four days before the violence broke out. The letter was signed by 60 other leading international environmental organizations and asked the Bolivian government to respect the rights being asserted by the indigenous protestors.

In making this request, the letter discussed at length Bolivia’s history of leadership and its important present role in the global environmental and nature rights movements. The letter also detailed at length the interwoven environmental and social consequences of violating the rights of the indigenous communities threatened by the highway’s construction. Given the large number of resignations resulting from the government’s violent conduct and the subsequent halt of the flow of funding for the highway project from the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES), the Bolivian government probably wishes it had taken the Amazon Watch letter more seriously to heart. With respect to REDD, the concerns with which were also detailed in last week’s blog, Amazon Watch is active in Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil helping to defend indigenous rights as the REDD movement evolves. Most important among these efforts is Amazon Watch’s support for Peru’s “Indigenous REDD” alternative strategy that prioritizes local territorial rights over investor rights, guarantees community-based management of the projects, keeps indigenous territories out of carbon markets, and requires widespread legal recognition of indigenous territories as a pre-requisite.

By partnering with indigenous allies to effectively assert their rights and discuss the issues surrounding REDD with interested parties from the “developed” world and by organizing delegations of indigenous leaders to conferences and international gatherings, like climate conferences and World Bank meetings they have previously not had access to attend, Amazon Watch is helping to redefine REDD in a way that will have substantial positive repercussions. Amazon Watch’s focus on a strong partnership with indigenous peoples will prevent REDD from becoming a tool that will allow industrial countries to continue polluting into a mechanism for helping the world invest appropriately in the value of ecologically sustainable indigenous societies. In Brazil, Amazon Watch helps support the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Federations and Tribes of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) in providing workshops on REDD aimed at helping the indigenous communities develop a unified strategy for protecting their rights.

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AMAZONWATCH

©Amazon Watch

In Ecuador, they are monitoring the country’s controversial and rapidly expanding Socio Bosque (Forest Partners) REDD program. Amazon Watch will soon publish a much-needed legal and social analysis of the program, its contracts and several case studies, and give workshops to communities concerned about Socio Bosque.

These are just two impressive examples demonstrating that Amazon Watch recognizes, as we all should, that the future of environmentalism requires much more than a commitment to sustainability and the rights of nature; it also requires a commitment to the rights of indigenous people. Among the most important reasons the future of environmentalism requires a commitment to respect, defend and advance indigenous rights are the following:

First, to disregard the rights of the indigenous who live in harmony with and are a part of their native ecosystem is simply logically inconsistent with any effort to preserve that ecosystem.

Second, the momentum of the indigenous rights movement in recent decades has led to government recognition of large indigenous land ownership claims that have remained substantially environmentally intact under indigenous stewardship notwithstanding the economic pressures and trespass and destruction brought upon such land from outside. To adopt any strategy that denies the rights of indigenous peoples is to undermine one of the most environmentally beneficial movements affecting the Amazon. Third, as a result of the success of the indigenous rights movement, indigenous communities now hold legal title to a large portion of the existing rainforest. Legally recognized ownership of these lands makes indigenous communities powerful, either as an ally or an adversary. Partnering with these empowered indigenous communities to accomplish a shared goal makes far more sense than rendering that goal divisive by requiring that we pursue it in a way that requires the sacrifice of indigenous rights. Finally, the indigenous peoples’ deep knowledge and experience of the rainforest ecosystem, their cultural investment in a nature-based way of life, their historical relationship to the rainforest, their current record of environmentally sustainable economic and social practices, and their current leadership in crafting an eco-centric vision of legal rights all make indigenous peoples an essential partner in the effort to save the Amazon rainforest, a partner whose rights must be respected and defended equally with those who live in developed societies.

Today, we should be proud and grateful to have such strong, knowledgeable, visionary and culturally rich partners in our fellow human beings living among the world’s remaining indigenous societies. May we all open our perspective a little bit larger to make indigenous rights a part of our worldview and a part of our vision for a more balanced, healthier planetary environment. ©John Hank Edson, Amazonwatch annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


TRIBAL INDIA

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RANDHIR KHARE

BEYOND FENCES

THE NARI KURAVAR GYPSIES IN A TIME OF CHANGE They were once travellers on the high roads of freedom, crafting their own destinies as hunters, gatherers, traders, transporters and craftsmen but exist today in the no-mans-land of the settled world. But they persist.

Text © Randhir Khare & Pics Raghuvir Khare

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TRIBAL INDIA

To the uninitiated, Nari Kuravar Gypsies are an uncivilised wild bunch of people who are only familiar with life on the road. They resist change and live in the present with no notion of the future. They don’t want their children to be educated and are suspicious of the settled way of life. Well-meaning social workers will glibly say... “For years now, we have been trying our best. They even refuse to talk our language. This stubbornness hasn’t helped them in the least. It has been to their detriment. They walk around with weapons, steal, cheat, rummage around in garbage bins and in tourist places dupe unsuspecting victims. They just can’t keep still. We have done our best to civilize them but have not succeeded. They just can’t settle down.” This is the usual response of people from settled communities who regard those who are nomadic as unreliable because they don’t ‘belong’ to a specific physical space. And around this perceived notion is woven a myriad misconceptions which are based on rumour and prejudice. To experience the story of this community, a visit to one of its settlements would be a good way to start. Let’s take for example a Nari Kuravar settlement in Tirumullayvayal in Tamil Nadu.

Off on the side of a busy main road, the settlement is tucked away in a wild grove of babul, neem and other trees and as you approach, a pathway opens up between crouched dwellings made of discarded junk like wooden crates, wire, rusted tin sheeting, worn out truck tyres and a host of other bits and pieces ingenuously patched together to create shelters. Nevertheless, however desperate the settlement may appear it throbs with life. Men women and children are everywhere. To one side, a group of men and women industriously sort junk that they have collected from the city’s bins, another group plays cards, a third fabricates primitive muzzle-loading shot guns, a fourth busily beheads chickens for a midnight feast and a fifth works on stringing beads into necklaces. Children are being bathed, women cook on open fires. Cats, dogs, goats, pigeons, doves, rabbits, hamsters and a host of domestic creatures, caged and free, are everywhere. You are soon overwhelmed by the sheer exuberance of life that oozes from the settlement. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


RANDHIR KHARE

You walk along through the settlement, nodding and smiling at people. Children gather curiously around. A few people come forward, wanting to talk. Listening to the words they speak, you soon realized that they were speaking a dialect of Hindi. Simple conversations open up a channel of communication and you are effortlessly drawn in amongst them. An old man sitting on a khatiya calls out to you, “Come here. Don’t disturb them, they are going about their daily work…some making guns and others doing a lot else. I’ve ordered a gun from that lot there and they haven’t produced it as yet. At this rate they’ll never produce it. Come here.”

Dada sits there, sunk into himself. His long grey hair falls about his shoulders and a deep scar runs all the way down his chest. “This,” he says, running his fingers down the scar, “is from an operation. This is why I can’t travel anymore. Now, I’m not saying this because I want you to pity me and give me money. No, no, I don’t want pity and I don’t want your money, friend. I heard you chatting to those young gun makers there and you seemed to get on with them. So I thought to myself that maybe you’ll want to chat with me. “I was among the first to arrive in this settlement. I know what it was like to get even this space. Yes we needed this space. We needed somewhere secure to be for a while. Just for a while. We are not settlers like everyone else. We are Nari Kuravars. And Nari Kuravars have never been like settlers. We have our own ways. See me and my wife and family. We’ve travelled everywhere. Everywhere, I tell you. I have been to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Calcutta, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Cochin, everywhere. My forefathers too have travelled everywhere. This land had no boundaries then. No boundaries at all. We’d travel often by road, walking, maybe sometimes getting a lift here and there, camp out under the stars, collect wild fruits, and sometimes hunt wild boar and other animals and birds. We were traders. Making and selling all kinds of bead necklaces and household items. Do you want to know what we are can do best? Recycle waste materials. I think we are the best in the country. You throw away your garbage and we’ll find something in it that can be made beautiful. See that boy there. What do you think he is making? Mehendi printing blocks from the soles of rubber chappals that some city person threw in a garbage bin. Who knows – some tourist will buy it and carry it off not knowing where it came from. But then sometimes too we buy goods at a cheap rate at one place and sell it for a profit somewhere else. That’s what our forefathers did too.” Text © Randhir Khare & Pics Raghuvir Khare

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TRIBAL INDIA

“Who knows all this about us? People who do not know us for what we are say, ‘Never trust a Nari Kuravar, trust a hyena or a jackal but never trust a Nari Kuravar.’ The settled ones have always treated us this way. Why? Because we are not like them. Anyone who does not settle down and live in a home in one place and send their children to school and work at a job from morning to evening is treated differently. We have always been treated like criminals. There was a time when there were no cities but merely towns and villages and vast wild areas. We were masters of our own fates then. We lived off the bounties of the forests, hunted, gathered wild fruit. That’s when many of our elders had the secrets of medicinal herbs, others knew how to cure the hide of wild animals that we hunted. We were free, free to wander where we wished. When jungles began to vanish, we took to transport and trade. Though I’ve seen real jungles and hunting in my youth, I actually spent my life as a bead necklace trader. But see my state now. Do I look like I can travel any more? All my travelling is over,” Dada grunts restlessly. Sitting amidst the bustle of the Nari Kuravar settlement in Tirumullayvayal, you look around at what had initially appeared as a junk yard and realise it is the home of a community of travellers struggling to survive in a rapidly shrinking nation. Spirits yearning to be on the move as their ancestors lived but physically limited by boundaries and differences crisscrossing the sub-continent.

The Nari Kuravars are one of the numerous traveller communities that have lived on the Indian sub-continent. Due to their ‘moving’ way of life, these communities have either been swallowed up by the mainstream, diluting their identities in the process or have, by force of circumstance, mingled one with the other to form broader groups with adapted ways of life. However, there are still a number of communities that hold on to their specific traveller identities. The Nari Kuravars are among them. It is ironic that gypsy communities such as they hold the origins of the traveller communities in Europe and other parts of the world. According to Ronald Lee, a Roma...

“For almost five-hundred years after we appeared in Europe in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, Europeans were asking where we had come from. By then, the Roma people had almost forgotten their origins in North-Central India although some Roma did tell Italians who asked them in the Italian City States in the 15th century. This has been buried in the archives until recently. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


RANDHIR KHARE

“Because dark-skinned people from the Middle-East had been brought to Europe before the arrival of the Roma by the Venetians and other entrepreneurs to perform as acrobats, jugglers, musicians and dancers and because these people were loosely called ‘Egyptians’ the Roma too were identified as ‘Egyptians’ which in English was later shortened to ‘Gypsy’. Some Roma groups had come to Central and Eastern Europe from a region in Greece called ‘Little Egypt’ and others from Anatolia. Recent studies conducted by Indian scholars in India and Romani scholars have finally confirmed the origins of the Romani people. We originated in India but were not one specific group of Indians, not all of one caste and not even one people.” He concludes by implying that the Roma and their origins have been misunderstood and therefore misinterpreted by others. “Romani history must be written by Roma and it is to be hoped that the young generation of Roma today in many countries who are becoming educated will collectively pursue their origins and history until the non-Roma mythology is demolished and the true story of the Roma is established.” But what of the lives of traveller communities in India? Will they ever be empowered to write their own histories? Trace their own origins? If the state of the Nari Kuravars can be taken as an example – there appears to be little hope. Survival in the face of unimaginable odds is their main concern.

The Nari Kuravars are known by various names in various parts of the country. For example, they are known as the Koracha and Erukala in and around Andhra Pradesh and Korava in parts of Tamil Nadu. It is believed that ancient Kuravar tradition held that they were closely connected to Muruga, the Hero-God of the Tamils. According to sources Muruga, the god of the hills married Valli a Kuravar girl. In Andhra Pradesh, they are associated with Narasimha.

Records reveal that people from the community were carriers of merchandise and they moved from place to place with their donkeys along the coasts and even across the hinterland of the sub-continent. The names of their sects were based on the commodities that they transported and sold. Constant travelling brought them in touch with various types of social, political and economic situations and as such they became inadvertent gatherers of information. The rulers of the day took advantage of these repositories of information and began hiring them as spies. Tippu Sultan is believed to have inducted them into his Espionage Corps. They were apparently trained to steal from the enemy camps and raid their caravans while they were on the move annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


TRIBAL INDIA

Of course not all individuals from the community were given to robbing and spying. Many still continued as traders. But the damage once done perpetuated itself, destroying the community image of these travellers. Criminal groups organized themselves and perfected the art thievery. With the modernization of transportation systems, their traditional roles as transporters and traders were affected. This induced many more to take to petty crimes. The crimes of some condemned the entire community to being notified under the Criminal Tribes Act. This draconian Act meted out severe punishment to its people. They were herded together in thousands and shunted into ‘protected settlements’ in the districts of Nellore and Guntur. At the camp at Kavali, thousands died behind barbed wires. Sometimes, the barbed wire fences could not contain them and they broke out and went back down their well-used routes to freedom. Those who had led a life of crime returned to it and others, brutalised by the ‘settlements’ took to crime as a form of revolt. Many were rounded up once again and returned to the camps. With the passing away of the Criminal Tribes Act, the community was thrown into disarray and any semblance of cohesion was shattered. All that remained was the stigma of criminality. This persists today. Despite the trauma, the spirit persists. Every settlement displays its own style of community bonding, however desperate may be the struggle to survive. More than in other states, Tamil Nadu has a number of Nari Kuravar settlements. Apart from Tirumullayvayal there are other temporary settlements in the state. These may be found at Pallavaram, Moppedu, Avadi, Thirukazukundram, Thiruthami,, Manamathi, Vayalur, Uttu Kottai, Thiruvanmiyur and Kotturpuran. In some cases, patterns of settled life can be seen and the slow transition from a nomadic existence is apparent. In one such case, the homesteads had taken on the semblance of ‘order’. Small garden patches surrounded them.

Domesticated animals are kept in spaces separated from the main living quarters. And probably most noticeable of all are the fences. Some are constructed from wire whilst others from bamboo. The situation is quite different in faraway Mamallapuram, a township, southwards from Chennai, known for its magnificent rock temples. Over the years, the growing tourist population has attracted groups from the community who roam the streets and wait near temples and seaside eateries to sell their bead necklaces.

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RANDHIR KHARE

Every evening they return to their settlement a few kilometres away in a place called Pooneri. It is in a low-lying area beside a wetland which during the rains becomes impossible to live in. But they have no choice. Mamallapuram is their ‘beat’ and they protect it fiercely. No other Nari Kuravar group has even a ghost of a chance to set up base. They won’t allow the invasion of Pondicherry or Chennai Nari Kuravars. In this seaside township, the bead-sellers operate as a family unit. The parents move with the children. If they have a single child then the husband does the tending. If there are two children then the responsibility is shared. In the case of three children, the husband cares for two of them and the wife cares for the third. Often, he carries one of the children in a cloth sling. Both parents meet regularly through the day, spend time with each other, play with the children, feed them and put them to sleep if necessary. Interestingly, their struggle to survive by foraging in garbage bins or selling bead necklaces, does not take away from the time they choose to spend with each other in companionship and child rearing. This close family bonding is probably an important source of strength. In a hostile world, it gives them both solace as well as a feeling of acceptance and belonging.

“The family is very important for us,” Ravi will tell you if you care to stop and start a conversation with him. “We value our family. We are what we are because of our family. My wife makes me, me. I make her, her. We are two halves of a whole. And this whole makes these children. Together we are one family. This is our life. This is our world.” This is the voice of the ancient hunter-gatherer speaking…surviving time… persisting against all odds.

Text © Randhir Khare & Pics Raghuvir Khare

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Health 396

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December 2012

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Candess M Campbell Phd

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INTUITIVE HEALING

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CANDESS M CAMPBELL

7 steps to Intuitive Healing

When you hear the words intuitive healing, what comes to mind? Many people are searching today for information, healing, and guidance. Although, I am an intuitive healer and reader, my focus is empowering others to use their own intuitive abilities. Intuitive healing can happen on many levels. You can receive a healing on a spiritual, mental, emotional or physical level. These levels are all related, but illness begins in the etheric field (the energetic field around the body) before it happens on the physical level. Therefore it is important to take steps to heal on all levels.

Intuitive healing has a deep connection to the heart. You have a gentle, loving voice inside that guides you. This voice is a quiet voice and does not fight with or try to overcome the voice of the ego or the other voices within. Often we carry within a voice of a parent or authority figure. In psychology this is called an interject. It is important to discern between the voice that is coming from your intuition and the others.

Some refer to this inner voice as their Higher Self, their Guardian Angel, their Internal Coach or many other names. Whatever you call it is fine. Just know you are a reflection of the Divine and this voice is your connection to your own Divine Light. This Intuitive Voice is quiet and it guides you in many ways. It can also work with your intellectual or analytic mind when you are able to calm the constant mind chatter. The Intuitive Voice has access to Oneness and when you learn to hear and understand, you will begin to feel peace.

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INTUITIVE HEALING

There are several ways to begin to hear your Intuitive Voice and to heal yourself on many levels. Step 1. Be Still

Take time several times a day to stop and close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Scan your body from the top of your head down to your toes and just notice. Pay attention to any sensations and just notice. Be present in your body. Your body feels safe and you heal when you are consciously present in your body. 2. Allow Yourself to Fall into Trance

You have a natural ability to heal and come into balance when you allow yourself to fall into trance. Just as when you dream, you have “ultradian rhythms” while you are awake. You may notice yourself falling into trance when you are at a stop sign or when you are washing dishes. This daydreaming or spacing out regulates your mind and body and allows you to access your Intuitive Voice without effort. Honor the natural rhythm of your body. This is a vital part of selfhealing. Step 3. Notice Your Beliefs and Self-talk

Your beliefs are attitudes, viewpoints, ideas, thoughts, values, perceptions and more. They are not the truth, but how you organize your view to make sense of the world and give it meaning. Notice your beliefs and what beliefs hold you back from having your desired life. Notice your self-talk. When your self-talk and beliefs are negative your whole mind/body/spirit responds with a loss of energy and you attract to yourself negative life experiences. You can increase positive beliefs and self-talk and allow yourself to be more open to hearing your Intuitive Voice and receiving healing on all levels. Step 4. Listen with Your Body

Your body is an incredible intuitive receiver. In order to heal fully and receive intuitive messages, you need to be awareness of and listen to your. Your intuition can come through images, dreams, sounds, gut feelings, a sense of knowing, hearing or sensing. In the beginning, it is common to receive messages through your gut feeling. Once this happens ask yourself “what does this mean?” You may or may not get an answer, but it is important to use your gut as a tool. If you begin to do something and your gut alerts you, know it has to do with what you were doing or thinking. Last week I was going to go downtown Spokane and have dinner, a movie and listen to a friend play music. As I began to get ready I felt a sense of alertness and I heard a voice inside my head saying the word “alarm!” I had no idea what was happening, but the sense of alarm would not stop. Having had many experiences with my intuition, I knew to listen. I made the decision to stay home that night and the alarm ceased. Now, I could try to guess at what might have happened, but instead, I just affirmed myself for listening and went on. The more you listen to your Intuitive Voice, the more it shows up for you and the easier it is to hear.

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CANDESS M CAMPBELL

Step 5: Access Your Self-Healing Energy We all have subtle energy around us and we can use this energy to heal. Have you ever stubbed your toe and noticed when you put your hand on your toe it felt better. When you have been in pain has the healing touch of a loved one made a difference. You have this natural healing energy within you and you are a powerful healer. Tap into your body’s subtle energy and feel the energy in your hands when you put them on a loved one. You are surrounded by a colorful energy field that comes from the chakras in the center of your body. Take a moment to rub your hands together and then put them together palm to palm. Pull them away from each other gently and feel the powerful energy you have in your hands. This is your healing energy. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Step 6: Practice Accessing Your Intuition

The best ways to access your intuition are through Meditation and through Viewing. With meditation you are able to quiet your mind and allow your Intuitive Voice to come through. This can happen either during the meditation or you can journal for a few minutes afterward and just let your intuition come through. Another way is to View. Viewing can be by being in your heart or the center of your head and imaging a white screen. On the screen allow yourself to see images and when they appear you can ask what they mean and just receive. You can also use Remote Viewing where you close your eyes and you can move through time and space. You can go into the past, the present or into the future. With remote viewing you can see someone at a great distance. This is often used by medical intuitives to help diagnose illness. Step 7: Listen to Your Dreams

Your dreams are the place of Intuition. You receive symbolic images, messages and gain ideas and receive answers to your questions. You have access to the whole collective unconscious. Whether you remember them or not, you have between seven to nine dreams per night. This is during the REM state, where you have access to information and healing you cannot access in the daytime. Your dreams are a way that your Intuitive Self communicates with you! When you begin to honor your dreams and listen, they will show up for you more fully and guide you. There are many guides to dream work, and what I recommend is Realities of the Dreaming Mind by Sivananda Swami Radha (2004). It is helpful to have paper and pen by your bed to collect your dreams as soon as you awake. They tend to fly away until you train yourself to catch them. These seven steps can help you to be guided by your Intuitive Voice and create healing on all levels of your being. You cannot increase your intuition with your mind, but can access it through your heart. You must allow it to happen through ongoing gentle practice. Use the tools daily and validate your experience of Intuitive Healing.

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HEALTH

Creating Healthy Boundaries The first half of this year I focused on teaching you to connect with yourself, your intuitive self and your Higher Self. My focus for the rest of the year will be about maintaining your health by having healthy relationships with others. Emotional situations that are not resolved can create health issues. Here is an example of how avoiding dealing with a situation can create illness. Janice is a woman in her mid-forties. She was married and her husband was controlling and emotionally abusive. They had children and she was afraid to leave the relationship because she had been financially dependent on her husband and had not developed skills that would make her employable. She decided to stay with her husband, but had to be quiet about what she thought and felt. Soon she began feeling angry, but kept the feelings to herself. Instead of expressing herself, she ended up with digestive problems (she could not stomach the situation) and a chronic cough (words were stuck in her throat and her body was signaling to her that she needed to push the words out.)

She came to see me and she processed her feelings and shared what she really wanted in her life. Eventually she left her husband and her symptoms disappeared. She was empowered and went on to be independent and happy again. One way to stay in balance, be happy and maintain your health when you have others in your life that are difficult to communicate with, live with, or work with is to learn about and set healthy boundaries. The way you set your boundaries can change over time and also in different situations. This is a general guideline you can use. This writing has not accounted for the differences between cultures, so take what is helpful for you and leave the rest. In this article and next month I will be focusing on Creating Healthy Boundaries. Crossing Boundaries

Are you more likely to allow others to cross your boundaries or do you cross the boundaries of others? Do you get too close to people physically? Do they back away from you? Do you feel protective of yourself when others are too close? Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


CANDESS M CAMPBELL

Someone I know was one of twelve siblings. Her family was cramped into a small house and were used to being close together. As an adult she had no sense of other people’s personal space. When she was around me she would get really close to me and I felt uncomfortable. It was natural for her to touch my arm or back or give a quick, spontaneous hug and I found myself resisting being around her. I am comfortable being touched, but not by someone I am not close with. Her unwanted intimacy was off-putting. When someone’s boundaries are crossed often, over time they can become fearful and have anxiety, panic attacks or depression. If you have your boundaries crossed, let the person know what is comfortable for you and what is not. Become aware of how you are around others and if you cross their boundary, practice giving them personal space. Do you find yourself focusing on other people’s lives and telling them what to do. Although you are well intentioned, do you find yourself trying to “fix” your friends or family? This is another way of crossing boundaries.

I had a session just the other day with a woman who was distraught. Because of financial difficulty she moved in with two friends who were a romantic couple that continually argued. My client shared how disturbed she was by the arguing and how difficult it was for her to live there. She said they yelled at her and she became stressed and it affected her health. As the conversation went on she shared that she repeatedly tried to help them and offered them solutions, but they didn’t appreciate her at all. You may be aware of a situation like this. Most of us know what we are supposed to do, but doing it is another matter. If someone in your life behaves in ways you don’t approve of, it is better not to cross boundaries and tell them what to do, but rather ask them if you can offer a suggestion. If they say yes, give them your solution once. Telling them over and over again can cause resentment on their part and be exhausting for you. Look at your own life and allow them to make changes in theirs.

© Candess M Campbell

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


MEDITATION

Saying yes when you want to say no is another sign of having collap rejection or fear of the response of the other person. In either cas say what you mean.

Collapsed Boundaries Sharing too much personal information too soon can be a sign of collapsed boundaries. As a therapist, having clients share with me in depth at our first session is natural and healthy. In one’s personal life though, this is not the case. Maybe you have met someone for the first time and they start the conversation with something like, “my father just died,” or “I just broke up with my boyfriend.” It is better in social situations to begin by sharing some things that the two of you have in common. You may ask whether they have children or not, where they were raised and went to school or something safe like this. Later when you have created a friendship or intimate relationship you can share more personal information. Saying yes when you want to say no is another sign of having collapsed boundaries. This can happen because of fear rejection or fear of the response of the other person. In either case, it is important you are clear with yourself and say what you mean. Over time if you don’t say what you mean you can become indecisive and suffer from low self-esteem. When this happens it becomes even harder to say what you mean and to have the respect of your peers and loved ones.

Over the years I have had several clients who have become so disconnected from their desires because they align with and follow others that they have no clue what they want. In session sometimes it has taken months for them to identify what they enjoy and what they believe and then to make choices toward empowering themselves. Have you ever been around someone that says “I don’t know” when you ask them a simple question like “what do you want to eat, or what would you like to do?” Occasionally this is okay, but when you are with a friend who continually refuses to make his or her own choices, it can be draining and frankly boring. Often if you do make choices for someone else, they are not happy and they blame you. If this is your case, begin to practice saying what you want, even if you are not sure; practice being assertive. If you make decisions for someone else, practice being patient until they decide, or even leave the situation and go do something on your own. They will learn to speak up and this will eventually empower them.

Doing anything to avoid conflict is another sign of collapsed boundaries. Although conflict is difficult for most of us, it is a natural occurrence in life. When you avoid conflict for a long time you find you become separate from your friends of your loved ones. The relationship begins to suffer and the trust and connection is lost. I have a client who had an abusive father. Throughout his life he had difficulty feeling and expressing anger in a healthy way. Now, in his marriage when his wife gets upset, he tends to pull back and avoid © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


CANDESS M CAMPBELL

psed boundaries. This can happen because of fear se, it is important you are clear with yourself and

her. He doesn’t bring up anything that bothers him for fear of her getting angry. He retreats feeling fearful and weak-kneed. When situations like this happen, where the origin of the fear is from a childhood issue, current conflict can make you feel like you are that same little kid. It is helpful to practice writing out your feelings about the situation in a journal before you address the person. It can also help to imagine talking to them first, seeing yourself being strong and present. The last symptom of collapsed boundaries we will look at is having a high tolerance for abuse. This can happen if you grew up with abuse or violence or if you find yourself in a relationship or neighborhood where abuse is common. I was counseling a couple earlier this year and although I have been counseling for 30 years, I had never seen such anger between a couple. I did my usual asking them to tell me what was going well in their marriage and then what was not going well. Once we got to the not going well, the gloves came off. For 45 minutes I watched and listened to them scream and yell and call names, blaming each other for everything, and not taking ownership for anything. I made several attempts to redirect them, but to no avail. This went on for a few sessions before I could get them directed toward some positive behaviors. This couple clearly had a high tolerance for abuse and this was a normal fight for them. My guess is that they both grew up in a home with a lot of anger and maybe even violence. After several sessions they were able to communicate in a friendly way, but eventually outside of my office they had a fight that ended up in violence and the last I heard they were separating. If you find yourself in a similar situation, no matter what the other person says, doesn’t understand, or believes about you, it is best to move away from the situation and to communicate at a later time; with a third person if necessary.

It would be remiss of me not to say here that it is important to have clear boundaries when you are a parent and need to protect a child. If you have collapsed boundaries and cannot model healthy boundaries or protect your child, be sure to find a friend who can do this for you. This is the first of two articles on boundaries. Have fun practicing.

I would love to hear your feedback. Contact me through my website. Like me on Facebook (1st profile) and/or friend me at Facebook (2nd profile). © Candess M Campbell

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Food 406

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December 2012

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Bobby Chinn Chris Miller – Raw Food Enrico Wahl Richard Ganulin

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BOBBY CHINN

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

© 2012 2012 © www.liveencounters.net www.liveencounters.netjuly annual


FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT From the time I first interviewed Bobby Chinn in Bali (2008) we have kept in touch. Bobby has been a great supporter of Live Encounters and in the first few issues he contributed articles on life in Vietnam and his magical culinary conceptions. He is a maverick star who has hosted the World Cafe Asia show for the Travel and Living Channel, BBC's Saturday Kitchen, UKTV Food's Great Food Live and Bobby Chinn Cooks Asia for the Discovery Channel. - Editor

Bobby Chinn

Restaurateur & TV Presenter

in an exclusive interview with Mark Ulyseas

“My life is what I made it. It is somewhat chaotic which works perfectly well if you have ADD, but I do not recommend it to the faint of heart. I have two restaurants in two different cities, where I am filming on and off my new series about opening my flagship restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City. In between those filming dates and restaurant operations I also continue to film sporadically the World Café Series. If that was not enough, I also do events and appearances where I promote a cause or simply cook for an event. I am also working on a new book and continue to play a little music with my friends.” As Mae West said ' You only live once, and once is enough if you do it right!'

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


BOBBY CHINN

Why are you a Chef? And what are the joys that it brings? With the schedule that I have, I really cannot call myself a chef. I have too much respect for the profession. A chef is a person that commands a kitchen and runs it day in and day out. It is a passionate person that deserves pleasure to cook and feed people. They are very nurturing people, and although many might be screamers and shouters, underneath it all, is a kind generous person that derives pleasure from making people happy. I am more of a restaurateur and a TV presenter these days. However, when I decided to get into cooking as a profession, it just seemed to make sense to me. I was always surrounded by great food (with the exception of my time in English boarding school of course) I had to leave Wall Street and do something that I had passion for, as I was becoming more and more disillusioned with the whole world of finance and the Wall Street way of life. I simply stumbled into cooking via stand up, and it addressed all my desires of what I was looking for, plus I also had an inherit belief that I could cook and do the job. I looked at every task as a challenge, nothing was to low for me do. I had a passion that was burning up inside of me like I never felt before. I found that cooking gave me some of the thrills of Wall Street, but a platform of creative opportunities that were lacking from daily Wall Street life. In cooking I got the gratification to make people happy and that was enough for me and it was all that I was looking for.

What are your favorite culinary concoctions and the cocktails that go with them?

I generally find my favorite culinary conceptions deviate from the original by a minor amount but provide the similarity of the original whilst coming across as fresh, new, or even peculiarly familiar! When it comes to cocktails, I do not let the food interfere with my drinks. I always let the wine dictate and the same is true for cocktails. If I’m tired it would need to be a margarita with premium brand tequila with Cointreau on the rocks. I find that tequila actually lifts me up when I am dragging. If its about to be a long one, the fruit vodka martini’s work well with me, but once again I only drink premium brands because I plan my drinking with the notion that I maybe drinking too much and vodka is the cleanest on the system.

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FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT

“Do it because you love it. Cook with passion and treat every dish as if it’s for a loved one. No one knows it all and it is the one job that you get to use all your senses.” - Bobby’s message for aspiring chefs.

Bar at Restaurant Bobby Chinn Saigon. Pic © Bobby Chinn

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BOBBY CHINN

Bar at Restaurant Bobby Chinn Saigon Pics © Bobby Chinn

Could you share some delightful incidents that occurred while shooting for your TV Show and/or during a live demonstration of your culinary expertise? My new show is called ‘Restaurant Bobby Chinn’ and it is a reality based show of the trials and tribulations of opening a restaurant in Vietnam. We went out to find the best of the best that Vietnam has to offer, and it turns out that the Vietnamese are farming birds that make birds nest soup. Funnily enough, the bird that regurgitates its stomach contents is called of all names a ‘swallow’. Any rate we went down to the Mekong to film these farms which are now peoples houses. Turns out the Vietnamese are getting the birds to sort out the insect problem then selling off tons of these birds nest off to Hong Kong where it fetches a very dear price. We all filmed in these dark houses, which were converted to bird’s nest rooms, and when we left, we were all a little bit itchy. No one wanted to explain to the other why they were scratching their private parts etc., until the camera man asked me “Are you itchy” “Of course I am itchy, you think I am scratching like this for fun? Well, we all got bird lice and it was a bit of pain filming the following 3 days. I was lucky as I was the only one that wore jeans, and everyone else worse baggy shorts.

Tell us a little about your restaurants?

Well there is a whole show about it and I do not want to ruin the surprises for those that will watch it, it premiers on September 3rd on TLC. The restaurant is 450 square meters, designed as a restaurant that can reconfigure itself into many different special events. From the equipment in the kitchen to the entire design was designed as a special event venue as well as a restaurant. It has a state of the art kitchen and churns out some global comfort food as well as expanding on a lot of local Vietnamese dishes. The restaurant houses some of Vietnam’s most prominent artists on acoustic walls and we generally are in constant development and transition.

Why is Vietnam your base? Is it the culture, the people or the variety of ingredients that is available?

I fell in love with the people, the culture, the food and a lot of the interesting expatriates that I have befriended over the years here. There is a great energy here that I tapped into years ago and I still feel the vibrant excitement of this dynamic city. I have a great sense of being alive here, and although I am far away from friends and family members, I feel like I have an extended family over here and still feel that I am making a positive difference and that’s what drives me day in day out and keeps me here. © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT

Restaurant Bobby Chinn Saigon. Pic © Bobby Chinn

It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But what about a woman? A way to a woman’s heart? That is tough, you can probably find your way to a women's heart by many ways, but to stay there it is a completely different story. I think women want to be understood. Do not try and use rational reasoning, solutions to their problems, or anything that may appear logical, as logic often is not what is sought. As I say women want to be understood which requires a serious emotional connection. If they are pissed off about something, don't think of a solution, they want touchy feely understanding. I have no idea to a women's heart as to make a sweeping generalization with them is just opening yourself to an argument you cannot win. I think you just need to be yourself and hope that she is patient enough or feels sorry for you to keep you!

With a monetary crisis looming over Europe there appears to be a slowdown in economic growth. Has this affected high end restaurants like yours and do you envisage a rethink on pricing?

They don't have chapter 11 where I am! Make it all cheaper, and sell alcohol, people drink when they are happy and celebrating, and they drink when they are down. I am thinking of smaller plates and get them full on the bread and rice! There is no magic potion but I follow Steve Jobs philosophy, if it is not working, change! I am rethinking the whole thing, not just pricing.

Have you written any books after your best seller - Wild, Wild East, Recipes & Stories from Vietnam?

Working on a new book, which is a collection of thoughts, vignettes, stories that I want to share. Recipes as well, of course.

What is your message to young aspiring chefs around the world?

Do it because you love it. Cook with passion and treat every dish as if it’s for a loved one. No one knows it all and it is the one job that you get to use all your senses.

© Mark Ulyseas

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


FOOD

Raw Food by

Chris Miller Photography by Mark Ulyseas

Pic © Mark Ulyseas © www.liveencounters.net november annual 2012 2012


CHRIS MILLER

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

Chris Miller, an executive chef, has been working ‘hands on’ for over16 years without any formal training. He started his career with Neil Perry at Rockpool and Wockpool in Sydney and then worked in the Caribbean and Singapore. He has spent a number of years in Bali fine tuning his culinary art. I had the privilege to interview and photograph this accomplished young man and some of his special raw food concoctions. He had even shared his recipes with me. Dear readers give it a try at home. It’s raw food, so you can’t go wrong!

Recipes © Chris Miller

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RAW FOOD

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

© www.liveencounters.net november annual 2012 2012


CHRIS MILLER

Nut and Seed Sushi Rolls Ingredients for Nut Filling ¼ cup peanuts 1 cup walnuts 1 cup macadamia nuts ¼ cup pumpkin seeds ¼ cup sunflower seeds

Soak for ½ hour in water then strain. Place in a blender and add 1 cup chopped cauliflower. Blend to a rough paste. Then add: ½ cup chopped basil ½ cup chopped coriander ¼ red onion, chopped finely ½ tsp turmeric 1 tsp curry powder 1 table spoon apple cider vinegar 1 tsp honey ½ tsp salt Light soy sauce to taste

To assemble the rolls 1 cucumber, sliced into ribbons 1 daikon, sliced into ribbons Brocollini, trimmed Asparagus spears, trimmed Carrot julienne Avocado puree, seasoned with salt and lemon Tamari soy sauce

To assemble lay down the strips of daikon and cucumber so they overlap. Place a thin layer of nut paste on top of this as you would if rolling sushi. Place the asparagus or other vegetables on top of the paste then roll tightly to form a cylinder. Repeat with different vegetables inside.

Recipes © Chris Miller

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


RAW FOOD

Zuchini basil & semi dried tomato lasagna Pine nut ricotta 2 cup of pine nuts soaked for one hour in warm water 3 tablespoon of lemon juice 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast 1 teaspoon sea salt 6 tablespoon water – blend the drain pine nut, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, And salt and pulse a few times – Gradually add the water until texture is fluffy Raw Tomato sauce 2 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked for 2 hours in warm water 1 medium size tomatoes, ½ small white onion 2 tablespoon lemon juice, ¼ 1/4 cup extra virgin oil 1 tbs agave nectar, 2 tsp sea salt, pinch off chili flakes – Squeeze the water off sun dried tomatoes, and placed In the blender & blend with other ingredient Basil pistachio sauce 2 cup basil, ½ cup pistachios, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoons salt, freshly ground pepper – placed all ingredient in the blender, and blend – Should be slightly chunky Filling Green zucchini, end trimmed and cut into 10 cm length Extra virgin olive oil, chopped fresh oregano, fresh thyme Sea salt, freshly ground pepper, whole basil leaves Assorted tomatoes, green, red and yellow sliced

Assembly - slice the zucchini into ribbons and season with olive oil, salt pepper, oregano and thyme - line the bottom of the ring mould or baking trays with the zucchini overlapping - spread some tomatoes sauce over the zucchini and small dollops of the pesto and pine nut ricotta, and layer with tomatoes overlapping - Repeat twice more finishing with tomatoes slice and garnish with basil leaf and drizzle of olive oil

Recipes © Chris Miller © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


CHRIS MILLER

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

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RAW FOOD

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

© www.liveencounters.net november annual 2012 2012


CHRIS MILLER

Sea Vegetable Avocado and Daikan Salad Ingredients - 1 portion ½ Cucumber, sliced into rounds 1/3 medium sized daikon, sliced into rounds Fresh or dehydrated sea vegetables – (arame, hijiki, wakame or any fresh seaweed) ½ an avocado, peeled wedges ½ bunch coriander, leaves picked Japanese dressing Black sesame seeds Dulse flakes

Japanese Inspired Dressing – Will make more 10 portions but may be kept in the fridge for 3 days with the onions added. If the onions are not added will keep indefinitely. 1 cup Japanese soy 1 cup peanut oil 20 ml sesame oil 1 cup ml rice wine vinegar 1 heaped teaspoon cracked black pepper 2 table spoons dry mustard powder ½ cup of light Thai palm sugar caramelized in 50 ml water 6 shallots, chopped fine 4 dried red chillies, fried in a little oil till dark then chopped into flakes. (Could substitute dried chilli flakes)

Recipes © Chris Miller

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


RAW FOOD

Young Coconut Noodle Pad Thai Salad with Chili Almond Dressing Ingredients - 1 portion 3 tbsp young coconut flesh cut into “noodles’ 20g julienne courgette 20g julienne of each carrot, red capsicum, cucumber and red onion 5g coriander leaf 1 tbsp tamarind dressing 1 tbsp dehydrated chili cashews 1 red chili julienne 2 tsp chili almond dressing Toss the coconut with the vegetable julienne, coriander & tamarind dressing. Serve on plate, spoon the chili almond dressing around the plate and sprinkle over the cashews and chili julienne. Almond chili dressing 1 cup raw almonds 2 tbsp ginger 4 garlic cloves 2 chilies 4 tbsp lemon juice 4 tbsp honey 2 tbsp tamari soy (light soy) 1½ cup water Pound together the raw almonds, ginger, garlic and chili. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Tamarind dressing 1½ cup tamarind + tamarind water fresh ½ cup honey ½ cup soy (or to taste) 2 cloves finely chopped garlic 1 finely chopped chili ½ cup olive oil Combine all ingredients in a blender

Chili cashews Toss the raw cashews with chili powder and salt and dehydrate for 48 hours until crunchy. Roughly chop them and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Recipes © Chris Miller © www.liveencounters.net annual 2012


CHRIS MILLER

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

november2012 annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


RAW FOOD

Pic © Mark Ulyseas

© www.liveencounters.net november annual 2012 2012


CHRIS MILLER

Lime Mousse Tart For the tart crust: Makes 4 small tart 2 cup raw macadamia nuts 1 cup shredded, unsweetened dry coconut 2 tablespoon lime zest 2 tablespoon lime juice Seed from ½ vanilla beans or 2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon sea salt 4 packet stevia 2 tablespoon agave nectar

Method Place the nut and the processor bowl in the freezer to chill for a few minutes Once chilled, placed the entire ingredient except the oil in the processor bowl and pulse until well combined, but still a bit chunky. Be careful not to overprocces or the nuts become oily Lightly oil four inch tart shell with removable bottoms with the olive oil. If using tart shell without removable bottoms, line the pan with overhanging plastic wrap, skip oiling them. Divide the dough into four parts and press into the tart shell When the shell are filled, wrap in the plastic and placed in the freezer to chill For the lime mousse Makes 4 portions 5 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted ½ cup lime juice ¼ cup lime zest (from 6 to 8 limes) ¼ cup agave nectar/honey 2 tablespoon coconut butter Seed from ½ vanilla bean or 2 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon sea salt 10 packet stevia

Method In the bowl of food processor, process all the mousse ingredients except the stevia until smooth. Add the stevia to taste and process. Use overhanging edges of plastic wrap to carefully pull the tart from the shell (or push from the bottom if using shell with removable bottoms) Fill the tart shell with the mousse, cover with the wax pepper, parchment, or plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator or freezer. Do not leave the filled tart uncovered for to0 long or the surface may discolor a bit. If you freeze the tarts, allow them to thaw gently for at least 15 minutes before serving. Recipes © Chris Miller

annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


FOOD

Art in Food by Executive Chef

Enrico Wahl

Photography by Mark Ulyseas

“Without passion it is almost impossible to create nice food.

It starts with sourcing the right products with the best quality and trained staff (you cannot do things alone in a commercial kitchen). Sometimes things fail.

One must have the motivation and passion to start again and again. A Chef is an artist for he or she continually works towards perfecting food in terms of ingredients, color, texture, taste and presentation. Every meal becomes a work of art by the Chef.” - Enrico

Enrico Wahl, Executive Chef, The Oberoi, Bali, Indonesia Pic © Mark Ulyseas

© www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume two


ENRICO WAHL

Home made goat cheese mozzarella, cherry tomato confit,tomato dust and kemangi basil blossoms. Pic Š Mark Ulyseas

volume two 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


ART IN FOOD

Seared venison loin, trapped truffled celeriac mousline,roasted baby beet, olive niac. Pic Š Mark Ulyseas

Š www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume two


ENRICO WAHL

Scallop rassam with tabasco caviar. Pic © Mark Ulyseas

volume two 2012 annual december 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


ART IN FOOD

Worchestershire glazed barramundi, caramelized salsify, puffed red rice, fresh horse radish. Pic Š Mark Ulyseas

Š www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume two


ENRICO WAHL

Deconstructed cuttle fish in smoked warm chicken jelly and glass of kir royal molekular Pic Š Mark Ulyseas

volume two 2012 annual december 2012 Š www.liveencounters.net


RICHARD GANULIN

Text & Pics © Richard Ganulin

© www.liveencounters.net december annual 2012 2012 volume two


FOOD

Pastel ab Hmas by Richard Ganulin

I am a half-Sephardic and half-Ashkenazic life-long eater. I grew up with my mother (now called "Nona" by her grandchildren) often reminiscing about, and sometimes cooking, Sephardic pies characterized by Greek cheeses, eggs, spinach, and potatoes. I am, at a minimum, a culinary Jew and enjoy reading about, vicariously experiencing, cooking, and eating the foods of Jews from around the world. If you have cooked pies similar to this recipe then you know how simple, tasty, and exotic they are. A savory pie makes a somewhat special presentation to guests not familiar with the style. A savory pie is part of a hearty meal for your own family. The magnificent Gil Marks makes Sephardic cooking easy and Iraqi Jew Rivka Goldman shared tastes of her Jewish community. I combined them into this dish. Ingredients (for crust): • 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, one teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour • In medium bowl, combine water, oil, and salt, gradually stir in the flour until it creates dough. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Ingredients (for filling): • Two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil • One cup chopped onions • Three cups cooked chickpeas • One cup red (or purple) raisins • One cup chopped tomatoes (canned) • One tablespoon curry powder, one teaspoon garlic powder, one teaspoon sweet paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (more or less to taste), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (or toasted slivered almonds since pine nuts can be pricey) • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (chopped parsley or basil if you are a cilantro-hater) • Three eggs • One tablespoon sesame seeds Note - for vegan version eliminate eggs from filling and use a vegan wash for the top of the crust.

Saute onions in the oil until lightly colored. Add chickpeas and raisins. Saute five more minutes. Add tomatoes and all spices. Saute another five minutes. Roughly mash the filling by hand or pulse a few times in processor. Chunky is good. Allow to cool. While cooling, preheat oven to 375 F. Add toasted pine nuts, cilantro and two beaten eggs to filling. Lightly grease a nine-inch diameter (by about two-inch height) pie pan. Roll out 2/3 of the dough and fit it into the bottom and sides of the pie pan. (When dough is rolled out it may have to be dusted with flour.) Spoon in the filling. Roll out the other 1/3 of dough and place over the filling. Crimp the edges to seal. Poke several holes in the top of the pie crust. Brush top of crust with the third beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake pie for about 40 minutes or until properly browned. Cool for a couple hours prior to serving. annual 2012 © www.liveencounters.net


ANNUAL 2012

Free Online Magazine from Village Earth

www.liveencounters.net Free online magazine from village earth

Š www.liveencounters.net annual 2012

Live Encounters Annual 2012  

Free Online Magazine from Village Earth

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