Posted in disability/illness

At Last: U.S. Social Security Administration “Modernizes” Its Disability Rule for Non-English Speaking Workers

Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul announced a new final rule today, modernizing an agency disability rule that was introduced in 1978 and has remained unchanged. The new regulation, “Removing the Inability to Communicate in English as an Education Category,” updates a disability rule that was more than forty years old and did not reflect work in the modern economy. This final rule has been in the works for a number of years and updates an antiquated policy that makes the inability to communicate in English a factor in awarding disability benefits.

“It is important that we have an up-to-date disability program,” Commissioner Saul said. “The workforce and work opportunities have changed and outdated regulations need to be revised to reflect today’s world.”

A successful disability system must evolve and support the right decision as early in the process as possible. Social Security’s disability rules must continue to reflect current medicine and the evolution of work.

Social Security is required to consider education to determine if someone’s medical condition prevents work, but research shows the inability to communicate in English is no longer a good measure of educational attainment or the ability to engage in work. This rule is another important step in the agency’s efforts to modernize its disability programs.

In 2015, Social Security’s Inspector General recommended that the agency evaluate the appropriateness of this policy. Social Security owes it to the American public to ensure that its disability programs continue to reflect the realities of the modern workplace. This rule also supports the Administration’s longstanding focus of recognizing that individuals with disabilities can remain in the workforce.

The rule will be effective on April 27, 2020.

Posted in John Anstie, Poems/Poetry

New Year

Same Rivers, New Waters …

Last year passed the golden glove
You know, the one with a fist of iron.
She wanted no more of it. Nor I.
Those glossy, glittering, glistening,
shining products of a golden age
had lost their sheen and the age of
growth and worshipping at the alter of
God. Demands. Profit. … is so last year.

Meanwhile, in the town, at Star Books,
reading over our tax-free coffee,
batting ideas on who could pay the bill
and how you make your money work,
if only we had some …

Consumption was her daily bread
and the disease that strangled
generations, who died of terminal debt.

The improper death of innocents,
but where is their misplaced virtue.
Are they free of blame … still free?
May be no more, and yet we must
pay due heed to plant the seed of hope.
To fight for nourishment forgone.
It might have been the will of the people,
but, for folk who step into the same rivers,

ever newer waters flow …

© 2019 John Anstie

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer, poet and musician –  a multi-talented gentleman self-described, at various times as a ” Husband, Family man, Grandfather, Father, Son, Brother, sort of Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, AppleMac user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has (variously) participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and as a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011.

Recent publications are anthologies resulting from online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group (Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, The B Zine

Call to register and prepare for 100TPC global event & Last call for submissions to the June issue of “The BeZine”



Notice from founders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carion ~

Dear Friends of 100 Thousand Poets for Change,

It is that time of year again when we begin to sign up organizers and events for the next Global 100 Thousand Poets for Change Day–September 30, 2017. Please let me know if you will be organizing in your town.

Also, as you know, 100 Thousand Poets for Change is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 and we need your donations to keep this movement going strong.

We would be grateful if you would take a moment to make a donation through Paypal at 100 Thousand Poets for Change Donation Link at http://100tpc.org/?page_id=14104 or send a check donation to 100 TPC, Box 2724, Tallahassee, FL 32304, USA.

We need your support so that we can continue to provide a global platform for poets and artists to speak about peace, justice, sustainability, and community.

Now more than ever! Show your support!

Sincerely,

Michael and Terri

100 Thousand Poets for Change

100TPC.org

The BeZine will host a 100,000 Poets for Change virtual event. Poets are welcome to contribute from anywhere in the world and we encourage disabled poets to participate, especially those who are homebound.  Michael Dickel (Meta / Phor(e) / Play) takes the lead.



Deadline for the June issue is tomorrow (June 10th) at midnight PST.

THE BeZINE submissions for the June 2017 issues (theme: Environmental Justice/Climate Change: Farming and Access to Water) should be in by June 10th latest.  Publication date is June 15th. Poetry, essays, fiction and creative nonfiction, art and photography, music (videos), and whatever lends itself to online presentation is welcome for consideration. Please check out a few issues first and the Intro./Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines. No demographic restrictions.

The theme for the July issue is Prison Culture, Restorative Justice. The deadline is July 10th at midnight PST. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again) takes the lead.

Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

1967 (17 years old) , My First Published Poem “Make of Me a Tree”

Dan and I as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I. He stands 6'5' and I stand 5'2
My cousin Dan and me as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I am. He stands 6’5′ and I stand around 5’2″ – give or take a bit depending on my shoes.

I was definitely the product you’d expect from the odd and awkward situation in which I grew up and surely I showed little talent, no free thinking and no genius or particular promise. The poem is not good – some youth write profoundly beautiful and wise poetry and young people today are far more savvy than I ever was  –  but it does illustrate that after fifty years or so writing will improve. We writers often have our doubts, but we are an unrelenting bunch. We write, write, write. We enrich, reform and reframe as if every word of ours will spark more Light in the collective unconscious, which I rather think they do.

Make of Me a Tree

I am young, Lord,
but my heart is true,
Make of me a tree

Make me strong and supple
That when tempests blow,
I shall stand unyielding.

Let me be humble in the
Praise of Your Majesty
And testify to Your greatness.

When rains besiege
Let me be shelter
To those who have not found Your Son,

For

Yes! I am young
but my heart is true:
Make of me a tree.

Amen.

– Jamie Dedes

That’s my cousin Dan in the photograph, six years younger than me, so about 8 in this photo to my 13,. Dan was inspired by the poem to paint a lovely “portrait” of a tree. These days it’s Father Dan – Rev. Fr. Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp. – a theologian and professor at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. Dan always showed real promise. Like my son, Richard, and Dan’s brother, Christopher, even as a toddler he was smart and funny.  So many of you appreciated Dan’s piece What Have We Done That People Can Pick Up Weapons and Kill?  Come March, Dan will be back in the United States. We will get to visit for the first time in forty years.

And, yes! I did want to become a nun. I was told there would be family background checks and I feared rightly that there were things in my parent’s history that would embarrass my mom. I became a now-and-again wife, a mother, a writer, a poet. No regrets. The life mission is essentially the same though the vehicle of service differs and the actions are grounded in ethics not creed, which is not to imply that the two are necessarily exclusive.

RELATED:

DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.
DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.

The Blessed Mother: She reminds me of who I am and who I should be, Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp., The BeZine, July 2016

Note: The photograph of the two of us together was taken at a fundraiser our mothers were helping with for the Guild for Exceptional Children in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York. This remains a worthy effort and worth your time if you happen to live in that area and are looking for a place at which to volunteer or are in a position to make a donation.

©  photographs (Daniel Sormani Family Album) and text and poem (Gigi “Jamie” Dedes), All rights reserved

Posted in General Interest, religious practice, Spiritual Practice

Happy New Year 2016, Part III – Gratitudes not Resolutions

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to thee forever.
— Psalm 30:12b

card-with-new-year

It used to be that every year I would make out a list of New Year’s resolutions just like everyone else. The reality of those resolutions was I put the list in safe place and promptly forgot all about them, just like everyone else I know. A couple of years back I changed practice for New Year’s, instead of resolutions I started listing what I was grateful for from the Old Year.

I no longer feel guilty about not keeping promises to myself and speaking gratitude helps me to see the past year in a positive perspective. So here are my top 10 gratitude’s for New Years day 2016:

First of all I am grateful for John my beloved husband, best friend, and all around good company.

I am grateful for the presence of my furry and feathered friends. They have helped me to laugh when I least wanted to and they are a calming presence each day of the year.

I am grateful for my family; John’s 3 sons; our beautiful grandchildren Shannon and Amelia, Alex and Liam; my cousins who have made me laugh and so grateful that we have reconnected. Each and every one of you has brought joy into my life in so many ways.

I am also grateful for the Skype calls from Mark, Laura, Liam, and Amelia, who live in Boston. Amelia and Liam I love all of your antics and learning what you are up as you are growing up. Liam practice hard on those drums so that when we come the next time you can show us your progress. Amelia send me some of your dress designs, I would love to see what you are thinking of. Each of you are talented and amazing.

I am especially grateful for the Laura’s presence in my life. You my dear daughter-in-law are a treasure.

I am grateful for the kindness of strangers from all over the world. Their help when I needed it on our South Pacific adventure last year made the trip just that much more enjoyable.

I am grateful for caring and skillful medical professionals: Dr. Alberts who operated on my back, the Nursing staff at Stevens Hospital who made a difficult time easier, Physical therapists who encouraged me to work harder so that I would successfully recover from surgery.

I am grateful for the Faith community at Queen Anne Christian Church who have show me and John so much love and friendship.

I am grateful for my In-Care-Committee who encouraged me to search deep within myself and who helped me to see myself as I am instead of how everyone see me.

I am grateful for the friendship of so many people that if I were to name them I would certainly forget someone, so from the bottom of my heart I love you all.

So those are my top 10 gratitude, of course I have many more. The listing of them will take all day on New Year’s Day but these are the most important ones. If you were to list your gratitude’s for 2015 what would they be? How would remembering them change your how you view the past year and how you anticipate the next?

My prayer for each of you is a year full of grace so that next New Year’s day it takes you 2 days to recite them. Have a Happy, Grace Filled New Year!

© 2015, words, Ruth Jewel, All rights reserved; illustration courtesy of Larisa Koshkina, Public Domain Pictures.net

Editor’s note: Ruth is a member of The Bardo Group Beguines core team.  Her personal blog is A Quiet Walk.  She also posts once a week on spiritual practice at our sister site, Beguine Again.

Last Cast of the Day

I wonder what would happen if we just
ran into one another someday.
It’s not going to happen, but what if?
Would your chest jump a little,
gassed on adrenalin or maybe bile?
Would you get all prickly around
your ears and face as blood
pushed all the elevator buttons?

Would you turn and cross the street,
like you meant to do that all along,
never looking at me, rather than
present your face to mine in a guarded
“Hi, old friend” moment?
Would we even recognize one another,
after age and life and lies have made like
locusts or glaciers on our my faces?

Would you be okay with an every-five-years
reunion of our class of two? I’d be the one
with the sticker on my chest that said
“Hi, my name is …” since I seldom know
who I am anymore other than old.
I don’t know why I wonder these things
from time to time. Maybe it’s the hopeful,
unworthy masochist in me.

You know, the one who each day
casts lines of memory and imagination
into the dark ocean of time,
never knowing what I’ll haul in.
Today it’s been muddy, writhing
questions and wonders. That’s how it goes
when you fish for words and hope.
There’s always another chance tomorrow.

– Joseph Hesch

© 2015, poem, Joseph Hesch, All rights reserved

The Year Turns

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Ice-Storm The year has turned. This evening, weather permitting, we will gather with others to celebrate the changing seasons and honor Grandfather Fire without whom we could not live. We will mark the Sun’s return, remembering the change of seasons is also within us. Here in the Northern Hemisphere the days will now lengthen as the sun begins His slow drift northward. That is the future; this morning the dark lingers. Jennie has moved through the house; lit candles mark her passage.

After a night of sleet, we have freezing rain. The snow plow just came through, potentially a mixed blessing as the coating of sleet protected the road’s surface from icing. A neighbor, out early, calls over through the darkness to ask whether she might bring us anything from the grocery.

Yesterday we braved the storm and the crowds and went shopping. One of our purchases was a second bird feeder. We have squirrels and have wagged a long competition with them regarding the feeders. This time of year flocks of birds come to our back yard feeding station a couple of times a day. Often they also find their way to our front porch where they watch our comings and goings at close range, often greeting us. Perhaps we will place one of the feeders near there.

As Saint Francis knew, the animals and birds are within us. This is ancient knowledge that awakens and reawakens in persons and cultures across the generations. We know their longings and hungers intimately.

Last night as the sleet and freezing rain fell I drummed and journeyed. I wanted to meet the storm directly, to feel the push and pull of warmth and cold and the tricky point of balance between them. As I journeyed I felt the deep antipathy we humans know in relationship to harsh cold and deep darkness. I wondered whether our failure to address climate change reflects that ageless fear of winter.

We warm bloodeds seem drawn to the South and to Grandfather Fire. Father Sun burns brightly within our mitochondria. There is a mysterious power attached to the hearth; there we meet Grandfather, hopefully safely contained. We press in, close to the radiating heart of the flames. Once upon a time we cooked our meals there, witnessing the wondrous transformation of raw into cooked. Grandfather brought us the gift of readily absorbed nutrients and energy, setting us free to explore the world. Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, and Grandfather Fire also live within us, creating the seasons of the soul and body. Grandmother water shapes our very being.

In a few days those of us who celebrate Christmas will leave cookies and milk, or something stronger, by the warm hearth, gifts of memory and affection for the spirits and the Ancestors, the Ancient Ones. They live with and within us, and willingly or not, we follow the trajectory of their desires and needs. Even from the spirit realms they follow our lives. Some seek the high emotion of drama and suffering, others wish us well, hoping we can find our way to joy, happiness, and connection with one another, all creation, and the Creator.

Yet, Christmas is in the future. Tonight we will remember and express gratitude to the host of beings with whom we share our lives, and to the Creator who gives us awareness and the immeasurable gift of Life. As the year turns, we will remember that we are also changing, that each life holds many lives, and that we are continually reborn. We are the great turning that is the year.

– Michael Watson, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC

© 2014, essay and photograph Michael Watson, All rights reserved

Posted in Bardo News, General Interest

BARDO NEWS: Argentine poet Juan Gelman, Creative Collectives, Year-End Report, Terri Stewart’s work on behalf of homeless and youth

Juan Gelman (1930-2014) Argentine poet, jounalist and activist
Juan Gelman (1930-2014) Argentine poet, journalist and activist

WE SALUTE THE ARGENTINE POET and SOCIAL ACTIVIST, JUAN GELMAN, who died on the 14th in Mexico City where he moved after his exile and lived for the last twenty years.

A bird lived in me.
A flower traveled in my blood.
My heart was a violin.

Gelman was revered in Latin America and in Spain for his work against the junta of Argentina, his subject matter largely addressing injustice and oppression, but he was renowned the world over for his excellence and his ethic. He became a symbol of the “disappeared,” when he began a search for his granddaughter after his son and daughter-in-law were disappeared and killed. If you don’t know his story, you can read it HERE.

Shelley wrote that poets are the protectors of moral and civil laws, “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Gelman certainly wrote in just such a spirit.

Professor Ilan Stavens (Amherst College) reads Juan Gelman’s poem End.

 

Photo credit ~ Presidencia de la Nación Argentina under CC A 2.0 Generic license.

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OUR YEAR-END REPORT FROM WORDPRESS: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed over 38,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. In 2013 there were 354 new posts. There were 412 pictures uploaded, which is about a picture per day. The busiest day of the year was January 18th with 524 views. [LAUNCH AT LAST! … Rhineo & Juliet, Love & Tragedy in Africa – unfortunately the two videos that were included in that post are no longer available for review.]

MORE ON CREATIVE COLLECTIVES: In another Bardo News post we wrote:

We are nurturing a growth that goes beyond the simple idea of “connectivity” to a more productive virtual “proximity” … think in terms of artistic gatherings  – not always formally organized – that you’ve read about and perhaps loved –  Bloomsbury in England or the cafe gatherings of the so-called Lost Generation in Paris of the 1920s or even the Algonquin Round Table in New York, also the 1920s, though we will forego the pranks and practical jokes of the latter.

We received a response to that from a Bardo friend who wishes to remain anonymous: “I had developed some additional thoughts or elaborations I’m passing on to you.

“Prior creative and intellectual movements benefited greatly from geographic proximity. It wasn’t enough to be part of community, but that the community shared and debated some essential values and were in constant contact. The idea is that fervency, serendipity and discovery arise out of actual physical proximity.

“This is why artists still flock to cities. Despite the Internet, we still go to Mecca.

“Connecting technologies have always strengthened the bonds between people with like-minded interests (letter-writing, magazine letter columns, BBS, chatrooms, message boards, social networking, etc), fostering community. But, in the last 40 years, I haven’t seen technology yet truly replicate the creative synergy that occurs with physical proximity.

“Which led to my conclusion: any creative person who is working via connected technologies (Internet, etc), needs to focus on how they can go beyond mere community and replicate the qualities caused by physical, geographical proximity.

“I think those qualities, include:

1. regularly scheduled contact
2. opportunities for random contact
3. an agreement on the values under discussion (not necessarily in agreement on the rightness or wrongness of the values themselves).
4. diversity of interest and perspective on those values.

“Several recent groups are decent examples (these are not necessarily endorsements), including:

• The Beats (rather amorphous really, but SF, NY, and Tangiers at various times)
• The Objectivists (in NY, prior to the broader expansion)
• Maybe, the “Fog City Mavericks” in film; Lucas, Spielberg, Eastwood, Coppola, Kaufman, Zaentz.
• The Inklings
• The Futurians

“Of course, as I read this, I also recognize that the ultimate failure of these groups and collectives was often caused by a descent into orthodoxy that stifled creativity and diversity.”

Hesch ProfileINTRODUCING JOSEPH HESCH (A Thing for Words): Joe joined us as a member of the core team late last year. He is a writer and poet from Albany, New York. Many of his poems and stories are inspired by his almost 400-year-old hometown, but most spring from his many travels between his right ear and his left ear. A former journalist, he’s written for a living more than thirty years, but only recently convinced himself to rediscover the writer he once thought he was. Five years ago, he began to write short fiction. Two years later, in a serendipitous response to a blinding case of writer’s block, he wrote his first poem…ever. He hasn’t looked back.  

Since then his work has been published in journals and anthologies coast to coast and worldwide. He posts poems and stories-in-progress on his blog, A Thing for Words (http://athingforwordsjahesch.wordpress.com/).  An original staff member at dVerse Poets Pub website, he was named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “2011 Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.”

Gather AB -1INTRODUCING LIZ RICE-SOSONE a.k.a. RAVEN SPIRIT (Noh Where): Liz is probably the most long-standing friend of Bardo. She guested here on several occasions and late last year joined us as a core team member and as the point person for our Voices of Peace Project. Liz began writing when older and housebound due to illness. HIV/AIDS work was the most rewarding work of her lifetime.  Her animals are the loves of her life.  Her husband is her best friend and also the love of her life.  She received a master’s degree in 2008 in gerontology and creative writing at the age of 62.  She started her second blog Noh Where in 2012.  She has a deep connection to all things Corvid.

terriIF YOU ARE IN THE SEATTLE AREA, TERRI STEWART (Begin Again) is co-hosting “Exploring Spiritual Identity with heART.” It is a mandala exercise facilitated with Julia Weaver at mandalaweaver.com. You can find more about the event athttp://beguineagain.com/events/ .
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Additionally, let’s celebrate with Terri as she was invited to provide testimony at her state legislature on January 29th. She will provide witness regarding the effect of having confidential juvenile records. Her state does not consider juvenile records confidential and any court proceedings are subject to the open records act. Additionally, the state she lives in sells juvenile records before the youth is even an adult and able to follow the steps to sealing their record. Making the records confidential is a huge step forward in providing peace and justice in the youth’s lives.
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CHARLIE MARTIN’S BOOK: Bea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is now available through Lulu and Amazon. We all love Aunt Bea and this is a long-awaited volume. Charlie (Read Between the Minds) says:
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product_thumbnail-4.phpBea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is a collection of germinal poems featuring Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea’s voice is one I’ve heard almost every day of my life. Family observations, lessons, and advice given to me and every other family member who had the good sense to listen. Her homespun philosophy most likely will not be found in any collegiate textbooks or for that matter in any local town crier newspaper catering to city dwellers. Indeed, she has a different way of viewing the world; a bit old fashion, sassy, and steely at times but a viewpoint which has engaged my imagination and heart. I sincerely hope you too will find some morsel of wisdom in her personal observations and interpretations of life’s events, but do watch out for her stingers.”
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FEBRUARY BLOG EVENTS: Please join us on February 14 for Bloggers in Planet Love. Mr. Linky will be open for 72 hours begining on the 14th. We hope you’ll share your post on nature, environment and environmental protection, food and farming, climate change and any other earthy subject. We welcome all forms of artistic expression: poems and photography, visual and video art, music, fiction, creative nonfiction and essay. We hope that you will also visit the other participants so that we can support one another while we all encourage appreciation and care of this beautiful planet of ours. The next Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt with Victoria Slotto (Victoria C. Slotto, Author/Fictionn, Poetry and Writing Prompts) is on February 26th. Thanks to those who joined with us last week. We look forward to seeing your participation again.
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JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day) posted three short stories as Pages on her blog:
  1. The City of Ultimate Bliss, one girl’s faith in the magic of her city to bring her a singular precious bliss.
  2. The Time of Orphaning, “It’s tough when your’e orphaned at seventy,” says the narrator.
  3. Señora Ortega’s Frijoles, a woman shares the dichos (sayings) of her foremothers with her daughter.
JOHN NOONEY’S (Johnbalaya) post, Some Thoughts on Adoption, drew considerable – if quiet -traffic and garnered fifty Facebook “Likes.” We’re thinking maybe there’s potential for a book in the expanded version of the story, John. Just sayiing!
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GOT NEWS? Please feel free to leave any news you may have in the comments section today. The next Bardo News is scheduled for Sunday, February 23 at 7 p.m. and the deadline for submitting your news is Friday, February 21. If you have news you’d like shared in that post, please leave a message in the comments section of any post between now and then and someone will get back to you. Thank you!
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Thank you for your readings, writings, sharing, “Likes,” and comments. All valued, as are you.
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With loving kindness,
– The Bardo Group
Posted in Nelson Mandela, Video

celebrating the intention of Nelson Mandela as a new year’s resolution

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Last year saw the loss of a great man and a widening of the world-wide gap between the few haves and the many have-nots, an injustice and a certain recipe for unrest. As we celebrate the birth of a fresh new year today, we also celebrate the man, Nelson Mandela, and his ideas. Poverty creates its own apartheid.

Over the course of the few next days, The Bardo Group will deliver posts that honor the man and second his ideals as a reminder of the need to be resolute, to continue Nelson Mandela’s fight for balance, justice and equality of opportunity.

Nelson Mandela’s Speech on Poverty (2005) 9 min.

May all mothers and their children have
 food, housing, healthcare, education, freedom of spiritual practice, peace and safety.

May open hands and open hearts reign. 

MAY GREATNESS BLOSSOM IN 2014

The Bardo Group Core Team

John Anstie

Naomi Baltuck

Terri Stewart

Corina Ravenscraft

Jamie Dedes

Josepth Hesch

Karen Fayeth

Victoria C. Slotto

Liz Rice-Sosne

Michael Watson

Niamh Clune

Priscilla Galasso

Lily Negoi

Charlie Martin

Posted in Essay, Guest Writer

LAUNCHED AT LAST! … Rhineo & Juliet, Love & Tragedy in Africa

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LAUNCHED AT LAST!

by

Naomi Estment (Naomi’s Notes)

It’s been a wild and woolly year, since my husband, Dave, and I embarked on an unforgettable journey in the creation of two short rhino films and an accompanying photographic book. They have been launched at last by Africa Cries. This Mauritian-based film production company was founded by Roland Vincent, whose vision inspired this phenomenal project.

Shot in South Africa and created in response to the escalating threat of extinction facing Earth’s remaining rhinos, the first film, Rhineo & Juliet – Love and Tragedy in Africa, addresses this crisis, while the second, The Ark – Rhino Survival Sanctuary, shares a far-reaching, sustainable solution, integral to saving this irreplaceable member of Africa’s Big Five.

Our heart-felt thanks goes out to all the amazing people who have given generously of their time, energy and expertise in contributing to the making of the films, as listed in the credits, as well as to the translation of both scripts into multiple languages. Special mention also to Wayne Nicholson and his team for their valued contribution and for sharing this in his post,Love & Tragedy in Africa.

Here are the films, with a word of warning to sensitive viewers: the first one contains a few brief but extremely hard-hitting scenes, which we have been repeatedly advised are critical to convey the extent of the rhino poaching horror. These were contributed by witnesses, who care deeply about the importance and urgency of the message. While the first is a sweeping story that tugs at the heart by humanizing rhino, the second film is documentary in nature, sharing a beautiful, tranquil overview of a solution.

Rhineo & Juliet – Love and Tragedy in Africa

The Ark – Rhino Survival Sanctuary

PLEASE VISIT THE AFRICA CRIES WEBSITE IF YOU’RE MOVED TO MAKE A CONTRIBUTION. WE WOULD ALSO REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR SHARING THESE VIDEOS FOR THE SAKE OF THE RHINO. SINCERE THANKS FROM US ALL!

I leave you with the words of Tony Frost, CEO of Sirocco Strategy Management, former CEO of WWF and board member of the South African National Biodiversity Institute: “I must say you are embarking on a terrifically exciting journey.  . . . the rhino is a massive and incredibly important symbol of a much bigger malaise attacking this planet and therefore it is a magnificent opportunity to do something much bigger than only saving the rhino. You have the vehicle, we have to help you to drive it hard!”

© 2013, essay and photographs, Naomi Estment, All rights reserved
This feature is presented here with the permission of the author
The videos were uploaded to YouTube by AfricaCries

537866_2655020590484_1671114272_aNAOMI ESTMONT is a South African writer, photographer, blogger (Naomi’s Notes), and contributing writer to Into the Bardo. She reports, “Dave and I have been extremely dedicated to conservation this past year, including creating these and other videos, establishing the Wild Imaging Trust and launching an epic project called Rock ‘n Ride 4 Rhino, which entails a five-month motorcycle tour of Southern Africa next year, in partnership with Jason Hartman (2009 SA Idol and passionate conservationist) and Damien Mander (founding director of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation).”

Posted in Fiction

ONE LAST CHRISTMAS POST, lest we forget the lessons of 1914

I’m preparing to get ready today for business as usual and there’s lots to share from Ann and Rob and other contributors. I decided to visit some blogs first. One of our contributors, Gayle Walters (Bodhirose’s Blog) had posted this historical fiction on her blog. It’s by children’s author, Aaron Shepard, and he allows it to be reblogged. It’s a short story based on the true events of the famous Christmas Eve truce of 1914 that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote of as “one human episode amid all the atrocities.” We do have moments of truce in our personal, spiritual, and political lives. If we could only make such moments a regular thing, our preferred m.o., if you will … Jamie Dedes

Parents and educators will find good stories and scripts for children’s plays at Mr. Shepard’s website HERE.

Copyright © 2001, 2003 by Aaron Shepard. May be freely copied and shared for any noncommercial purpose.

The story is formated as a letter ….

THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE
by
Aaron Shepard
Christmas Day, 1914

My dear sister Janet,

It is 2:00 in the morning and most of our men are asleep in their dugouts—yet I could not sleep myself before writing to you of the wonderful events of Christmas Eve. In truth, what happened seems almost like a fairy tale, and if I hadn’t been through it myself, I would scarce believe it. Just imagine: While you and the family sang carols before the fire there in London, I did the same with enemy soldiers here on the battlefields of France!

As I wrote before, there has been little serious fighting of late. The first battles of the war left so many dead that both sides have held back until replacements could come from home. So we have mostly stayed in our trenches and waited.

But what a terrible waiting it has been! Knowing that any moment an artillery shell might land and explode beside us in the trench, killing or maiming several men. And in daylight not daring to lift our heads above ground, for fear of a sniper’s bullet.

And the rain—it has fallen almost daily. Of course, it collects right in our trenches, where we must bail it out with pots and pans. And with the rain has come mud—a good foot or more deep. It splatters and cakes everything, and constantly sucks at our boots. One new recruit got his feet stuck in it, and then his hands too when he tried to get out—just like in that American story of the tar baby!

Through all this, we couldn’t help feeling curious about the German soldiers across the way. After all, they faced the same dangers we did, and slogged about in the same muck. What’s more, their first trench was only 50 yards from ours. Between us lay No Man’s Land, bordered on both sides by barbed wire—yet they were close enough we sometimes heard their voices.

Of course, we hated them when they killed our friends. But other times, we joked about them and almost felt we had something in common. And now it seems they felt the same.

Just yesterday morning—Christmas Eve Day—we had our first good freeze. Cold as we were, we welcomed it, because at least the mud froze solid. Everything was tinged white with frost, while a bright sun shone over all. Perfect Christmas weather.

During the day, there was little shelling or rifle fire from either side. And as darkness fell on our Christmas Eve, the shooting stopped entirely. Our first complete silence in months! We hoped it might promise a peaceful holiday, but we didn’t count on it. We’d been told the Germans might attack and try to catch us off guard.

I went to the dugout to rest, and lying on my cot, I must have drifted asleep. All at once my friend John was shaking me awake, saying, “Come and see! See what the Germans are doing!” I grabbed my rifle, stumbled out into the trench, and stuck my head cautiously above the sandbags.

I never hope to see a stranger and more lovely sight. Clusters of tiny lights were shining all along the German line, left and right as far as the eye could see.

“What is it?” I asked in bewilderment, and John answered, “Christmas trees!”

And so it was. The Germans had placed Christmas trees in front of their trenches, lit by candle or lantern like beacons of good will.

And then we heard their voices raised in song.

Stille nacht, heilige nacht . . . .

This carol may not yet be familiar to us in Britain, but John knew it and translated: “Silent night, holy night.” I’ve never heard one lovelier—or more meaningful, in that quiet, clear night, its dark softened by a first-quarter moon.

When the song finished, the men in our trenches applauded. Yes, British soldiers applauding Germans! Then one of our own men started singing, and we all joined in.

The first Nowell, the angel did say . . . .

In truth, we sounded not nearly as good as the Germans, with their fine harmonies. But they responded with enthusiastic applause of their own and then began another.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum . . . .

Then we replied.

O come all ye faithful . . . .

But this time they joined in, singing the same words in Latin.

Adeste fideles . . . .

British and German harmonizing across No Man’s Land! I would have thought nothing could be more amazing—but what came next was more so.

“English, come over!” we heard one of them shout. “You no shoot, we no shoot.”

There in the trenches, we looked at each other in bewilderment. Then one of us shouted jokingly, “You come over here.”

To our astonishment, we saw two figures rise from the trench, climb over their barbed wire, and advance unprotected across No Man’s Land. One of them called, “Send officer to talk.”

I saw one of our men lift his rifle to the ready, and no doubt others did the same—but our captain called out, “Hold your fire.” Then he climbed out and went to meet the Germans halfway. We heard them talking, and a few minutes later, the captain came back with a German cigar in his mouth!

“We’ve agreed there will be no shooting before midnight tomorrow,” he announced. “But sentries are to remain on duty, and the rest of you, stay alert.”

Across the way, we could make out groups of two or three men starting out of trenches and coming toward us. Then some of us were climbing out too, and in minutes more, there we were in No Man’s Land, over a hundred soldiers and officers of each side, shaking hands with men we’d been trying to kill just hours earlier!

Before long a bonfire was built, and around it we mingled—British khaki and German grey. I must say, the Germans were the better dressed, with fresh uniforms for the holiday.

Only a couple of our men knew German, but more of the Germans knew English. I asked one of them why that was.

“Because many have worked in England!” he said. “Before all this, I was a waiter at the Hotel Cecil. Perhaps I waited on your table!”

“Perhaps you did!” I said, laughing.

He told me he had a girlfriend in London and that the war had interrupted their plans for marriage. I told him, “Don’t worry. We’ll have you beat by Easter, then you can come back and marry the girl.”

He laughed at that. Then he asked if I’d send her a postcard he’d give me later, and I promised I would.

Another German had been a porter at Victoria Station. He showed me a picture of his family back in Munich. His eldest sister was so lovely, I said I should like to meet her someday. He beamed and said he would like that very much and gave me his family’s address.

Even those who could not converse could still exchange gifts—our cigarettes for their cigars, our tea for their coffee, our corned beef for their sausage. Badges and buttons from uniforms changed owners, and one of our lads walked off with the infamous spiked helmet! I myself traded a jackknife for a leather equipment belt—a fine souvenir to show when I get home.

Newspapers too changed hands, and the Germans howled with laughter at ours. They assured us that France was finished and Russia nearly beaten too. We told them that was nonsense, and one of them said, “Well, you believe your newspapers and we’ll believe ours.”

Clearly they are lied to—yet after meeting these men, I wonder how truthful our own newspapers have been. These are not the “savage barbarians” we’ve read so much about. They are men with homes and families, hopes and fears, principles and, yes, love of country. In other words, men like ourselves. Why are we led to believe otherwise?

As it grew late, a few more songs were traded around the fire, and then all joined in for—I am not lying to you—“Auld Lang Syne.” Then we parted with promises to meet again tomorrow, and even some talk of a football match.

I was just starting back to the trenches when an older German clutched my arm. “My God,” he said, “why cannot we have peace and all go home?”

I told him gently, “That you must ask your emperor.”

He looked at me then, searchingly. “Perhaps, my friend. But also we must ask our hearts.”

And so, dear sister, tell me, has there ever been such a Christmas Eve in all history? And what does it all mean, this impossible befriending of enemies?

For the fighting here, of course, it means regrettably little. Decent fellows those soldiers may be, but they follow orders and we do the same. Besides, we are here to stop their army and send it home, and never could we shirk that duty.

Still, one cannot help imagine what would happen if the spirit shown here were caught by the nations of the world. Of course, disputes must always arise. But what if our leaders were to offer well wishes in place of warnings? Songs in place of slurs? Presents in place of reprisals? Would not all war end at once?

All nations say they want peace. Yet on this Christmas morning, I wonder if we want it quite enough.

Your loving brother,
Tom
The photograph (via Wikipedia) is in the public domain: A cross, left near Ypres in Belgium in 1999, to commemorate the site of the Christmas Truce in 1914. The text reads:
1914 – The Khaki Chum’s Christmas Truce – 1999 – 85 Years – Lest We Forget.


Posted in Film/Documentaries/Reviews, Guest Writer

THE LAST PASSENGER PIGEON

“This is a fundraising promo video for The Last Passenger PigeonSpecies Extinction and Survival in the 21st Century. This documentary will recount the total destruction by humans of the most abundant bird species in North America, and possibly the world.

2014 will mark the centennial of the birds’ extinction. The film will explore how this event occurred and put it in context of today’s conservation challenges and accelerated species extinctions. We are planning a multi-media event: a television documentary broadcast, the publishing of a book, River of Shadows: The Life and Times of the Passenger Pigeon, by Joel Greenberg, and a national educational outreach campaign known as Project Passenger Pigeon. The outreach component is led by Greenberg and David Blockstein, Senior Scientist at the National Council for Science and the Environment, and a diverse consortium of over 20 American and Canadian institutions, scientists, scholars and authors, with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum/Chicago Academy of Sciences as the lead sponsoring institution.

The promo includes roughed out scenes such as a storyboard for a live action and computer animation depiction of the pigeons as experienced by John Audubon, preliminary interviews and scenes that begin to tell the story of the pigeon.

For more information contact: dmrazek@sbcglobal.net”  video and narrative courtesy of David Mrazek 

MARTHA

The Last Passenger Pigeon

“In 1857, a bill was brought forth to the Ohio State Legislature seeking protection for the Passenger Pigeon. A Select Committee of the Senate filed a report stating “The passenger pigeon needs no protection. Wonderfully prolific, having the vast forests of the North as its breeding grounds, traveling hundreds of miles in search of food, it is here today and elsewhere tomorrow, and no ordinary destruction can lessen them, or be missed from the myriads that are yearly produced.”[28]

Fifty-seven years later, on September 1, 1914, Martha, the last known Passenger Pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo,Cincinnati, Ohio. Her body was frozen into a block of ice and sent to the Smithsonian Institution, where it was skinned and mounted. Currently, Martha (named after Martha Washington) is in the museum’s archived collection, and not on display.A memorial statue of Martha stands on the grounds of the Cincinnati Zoo.” Wikipedia

Photo credit ~ Public domain photograph (1914)  via Wikipedia

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change

The BeZine’s Virtual 2020 100TPC Event—Poetry, Music, Art for Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The BeZine’s Live 100TPC Event
(Asynchronous)

Poetry, Music, Art
for
Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Poetry. It’s better than war!

—Michael Rothenberg
Co-founder of 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change

Welcome to the 2020 Virtual (Aschronous) Live Event


Dedicated to Jamie Dedes
Editor Emerita

It is time once again for The BeZine live 100TPC event, this year in the midst of a global pandemic, racial tensions worldwide but particularly focused around the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, and raging wildfires related to Climate Change. Wars continue, as they always seem to do.

Our focus here is on positive change in the areas of Peace, Environmental and Economic Sustainability, and Social Justice. The BeZine approaches these issues in the context of spiritual practice and through the arts and humanities.

Today, under the banner of 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change (100TPC), on the 10th Anniversary of 100TPC, people the world over are gathering online to stand up and stand together for PEACE, SUSTAINABILITY and SOCIAL JUSTICE. There are over 800 100TPC mostly online events worldwide scheduled for 26 September 2020, and many others throughout the year.


This year will have a few differences, here at our Virtual 100TPC event. The largest change that we in the core team of writers and editors feel is that Jamie Dedes, our Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief emerita, has stepped down (read more here, Jamie in her own words). Jamie modestly called herself the Managing Editor, then eventually added Founding. She did more than “manage” us (like herding cats, trust me), she lead, inspired, supported, counseled, and loved us. And we love her back.

Jamie, I assume that you are reading this. We miss you. And we dedicate this 100TPC live event, and every issue and blog post, to you. We hope that you live and rest comfortably in the remainder of your time here surrounded by love and spiritual light.


When we started online, we were the only online event. Now, in the Time of Coronavirus, we are one of many. The others are streaming live, something we never did before. We have more of an asynchronous approach—writers, artists, musicians drop by the page and post something throughout the day. Others come, view, respond, perhaps add their own work.

In addition to our asynchronous / live virtual event on this page, The BeZine this year co-sponsors with Miombo Publishing-African Griots the live All Africa Poetry Symposium in Celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change 10-Year Anniversary, on Zoom and streaming on Facebook (see details below).

—Michael Dickel, Managing Editor

Instructions for sharing your work.


It’s twelve years since I started using poetry for activism, involving myself first with Sam Hamell‘s Poets Against the War. Almost ten years have passed since poet, publisher, musician and artist, Michael Rothenberg, and editor, artist, graphic designer, and translator Terri Carrion, co-founded 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) to which I am seriously devoted.

Through the decade our 100TPC poet-activist numbers have grown. We’ve expanded to include allies. These creatives from around the world share the values of peace, sustainability, and social justice. They speak out against corruption, cruelty, tyranny, and suppression through poetry, story, music, mime, art and photography, sometimes at personal risk.

—Jamie Dedes, Editor Emerita, 04 June 2020
The Poet by Day


From last year, we again celebrate youth activists—our future:

these precious perceptive youth

“Providing food, shelter, clothing and education is not enough any more, because all of this would have no meaning in the end, if your children do not have a planet to live on with health and prosperity.” —Abhijit Naskar, The Constitution of The United Peoples of Earth

this perfect blue-green planet, her youth
dream among the strains of their hope,
dream of us like our sun and moon,
coordinating  … if only we would,
sowing the rich soil with right-action,
cultivating a greening of our compassion,
acting on a commonsense vision

the fruits of our being-ness plant their
ideals, shared values, a call for accountability,
for a re-visioning unencumbered by insanity,
rich fields to harvest, color, sound, textures,
rough and smooth, the deep rootedness of
their stand and stand for, their wise demands
casting a spell that we might see with one eye,
splendor hidden behind our irresponsibility,
their effervescent call, blossoming unity, vision –
bright spinning planet gently graced with these
wildflowers, these precious perceptive youth.

Dedicated to the young people of the world who teach us many lessons as they reach across borders in their stand for climate action. 

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

Jamie Dedes’ poem originally appeared on her blog, The Poet by Day.
Read more about Autumn Peltier, Mari Copeny, and Xiye Bastida, young people changing the world, here.


Instructions for sharing your work.


All Africa Poetry Symposium
in Celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change
10th Anniversary

Saturday, 26 September 2020 at:

  • 3 PM (Jerusalem, Kenya
  • 2 PM (Botswana, Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe)
  • 1 PM (Nigeria)
  • 12 Noon (Sierra Leone)
  • 8 AM (US-East Coast)

You are welcome to attend and we look forward to presenting an exciting, dynamic and vibrant Poetry Symposium, where Africa speaks of itself through poetry.

The 100 Thousand Poets for Change Movement was founded 10 years ago by Editors, Poets, and internationally acclaimed Artists Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion —in order to speak change, to speak truth—against racial injustice, wars, poverty, corruption, the demise of human rights and smothering of human freedoms. The movements speaks through literary arts activism and social change-activism arts.

The Poetry Fête is co-hosted by African Griots and The BeZine in coordination with 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Poets in this All Africa Poetry Celebration are from Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Egypt, and Zimbabwe. Co-host and Emcee, Mbizo Chirasha, has worked tirelessly with 100 Thousand Poets for Change since its inception a decade ago, through literary arts projects GirlChildCreativity Project and the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Internationally renowned Jerusalem-based poet and The BeZine editor Michael Dickel will co-host the streaming events and attempt to wrangle the technology. This mega event will be streamed lived on several digital platforms.

The event will Live Stream in The BeZine 100TPC, 2020 Facebook group page.

ALUTA CONTINUA

Mbizo CHIRASHA
Co-Host and Coorinator for All Africa Poets


The All Africa Poetry Symposium was a great success earlier today! We had poets and registered audience from these countries:

  • Botswana
  • Israel
  • Kenya
  • Machakos
  • Morocco
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

The Zoom events was recorded, and will be made available online after processing and editing, date to be determined. Meanwhile, most of the event live-streamed and is available still on Facebook here.


We are trying something new this year!

To view the virtual, asynchronous poems, art, photography and music videos, scroll down to the comments (scroll down the page to see comments).

To share your poems, art, photography and music videos for our “live” virtual 100tpc today, please add your work or link to it in the comments section below (scroll to the bottom of the page to add to comments).

Remember the Themes
Peace, Sustainability, and Social Justice


Follow us on Twitter.

World’s End or World Without End

“It’s the end of the world as we know it,
It’s the end of the world as we know it,
It’s the end of the world as we know it,
and I feel fine (time I had some time alone)”

~ It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, by R.E.M.

It sure has felt that way for the last few months, hasn’t it? We’ve had plenty of time to “have some time alone” and our routines have been turned upside down, though if I hear the phrase “New Normal” one more time, I think I might scream.

It’s been bad here in the U.S.A., but can you imagine how much worse it has been in so many of the other places on the planet? Can you empathize with those people who are already living day-to-day trying to scrape up enough food or water to survive and then to have to deal with this pandemic on TOP of that?

Image credit – credit Anumeha Yadav, Al Jazeera

In many ways, it seems that COVID-19 has been like a giant RESET button by Mother Nature. The real question is: can we, as humans, learn any lessons about how to treat the planet better because of it? Perhaps, more importantly, WILL we take this golden opportunity to at least and at last become more sustainable?

Merriam-Webster defines “Sustainable” as:
1 : capable of being sustained
2
a
: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. See sustainable techniques, sustainable agriculture
b : of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods, sustainable society

Did you know that there are three “pillars” of Sustainability? They are:

  • Environmental (Planet) ——————–\
  • Economic (Profit) —————————- SUSTAINABILITY
  • Social (People) ——————————–/

Figure 1.1. Interplay of the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainable development.
Credit: Mark Fedkin. Adopted from the University of Michigan Sustainability Assessment [Rodriguez et al., 2002]
In trying to develop goals towards true sustainability, all three of these pillars must be considered and brought together. Here’s a good video that describes how these definitions fit and work together to create a sustainable future.

In 2015, a group of 193 countries at The United Nations came up with 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). These “17 Goals to Transform Our World” were first implemented in 2016, with the hopes of meeting all or most of these aims by the year 2030. “The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted unanimously by 193 Heads of State and other top leaders at a summit at UN Headquarters in New York in September. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success,” he added of the 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.”

UN SDGs from 2015
Image credit: https://www.un-page.org/files/public/

So, we’re 4 years into the initiative. How are we doing? Overall, not that great, but where there is room for improvement, there is also the hope and willpower to make it happen. Some countries are making better efforts than others, and some are actually on track to meet their nation’s goals even before 2030. If you want to see the good, the bad and the ugly about how well (or not) we’re doing, this Ted Talk from last year shows specific numbers.

We’re a good species when it comes to adapting, but there are some things we won’t be able to adapt to quickly enough, like rising global temperatures (on land and in the oceans) caused by climate change.

PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) recently published an article that suggests “…depending on scenarios of population growth and warming, over the coming 50 y, 1 to 3 billion people are projected to be left outside the climate conditions that have served humanity well over the past 6,000 y. Absent climate mitigation or migration, a substantial part of humanity will be exposed to mean annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today.”

By 2070, they predict that (bolding mine) “…in the absence of migration, one third of the global population is projected to experience a MAT (Mean Annual Temperature) >29 °C currently found in only 0.8% of the Earth’s land surface, mostly concentrated in the Sahara. As the potentially most affected regions are among the poorest in the world, where adaptive capacity is low, enhancing human development in those areas should be a priority alongside climate mitigation.”
~ Source

Rolling Stone did a wonderful article about the coming heat waves due to climate change, asking the important question, Can We Survive Extreme Heat?. “As temperatures soar in the coming years, the real question is not whether super-heated cities are sustainable. With enough money and engineering skill, you can sustain life on Mars. The issue is, sustainable for whom?”

Image borrowed from https://live.staticflickr.com

Humans still aren’t trying hard enough to live sustainably. According to Overshootday.org, we currently consume global resources at a rate where (bolding mine) “…we’d need 1.75 planets to support our demand on Earth’s ecosystem. The calculations include resources such as the amount of water, land, fish and forests we use as well as how much CO2 we’re pumping into the atmosphere – basically a measure of our ecological footprint. Our carbon footprint specifically is now 60 percent of our total global ecological footprint – with a massive 33 days of our budget overshoot used up due to CO2 emissions alone.” You can learn more about that and see some interesting graphs and pictures about that here.

For us here in America, the COVID pandemic has meant temporary shortages on things like toilet paper (Here’s a fun history of how we came to have this “necessity”), which requires millions of felled trees per year to create. We’ve also witnessed a break down in the supply chain for foods like dairy, vegetables, and meats. Why? Because we’re not farming sustainably and rely heavily on large, corporate farming aggregates (whose number one concern is not feeding the world, or even the USA, but making as much profit as they possibly can – using the Economic ‘pillar’ to excess and at the expense of the other two pillars) and partly because we are a country who not only resists giving up eating meat, but who leads the world in meat consumption. ~ Source

Despite everything I’ve posted here, it’s not ALL Gloom and Doom. As societies become more conscious and responsible about their own roles in sustainability, and consumers demand that companies and corporations become sustainable, there is hope that we can still come out the other side of this with a “win” for the Earth and its inhabitants. At the very least, maybe now you’re seriously thinking about what you can do as an individual to help save us all, now and in the future.

IF it helps us make meaningful, lasting change, then maybe…the end of the world “as we know it” can turn out to be a good thing, after all.

Image credit – Screenshot/Twitter/Greenpeace India

Clothing Production for a Sustainable Earth

Is it possible to develop a sustainable fashion industry? I think it is. But it will take some radical, dare I say revolutionary, change to make this happen.

As one, who is about as far removed from being ‘fashion conscious’ as it is possible to be, I may not be the best judge. With the possibility of my having little or no credibility in the fashion business, I’m fully prepared to be shot down in flames.

First source and evidence for the prosecution of the fashion industry as it is now, or was before the lockdown, is an article by ‘Fashion Revolution’, which immediately raises my (well their) credibility by a lot of points, I would say. 

It has been apparent for a long time that the fashion industry has gone too far. Its plundering of every last drop of blood from the clothes ‘factories’ in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the Third World, has not gone unnoticed in recent years, at least amongst those who care. The conditions of some if not all of these factories have been brought to the mainstream news, by an increased awareness of the appalling conditions in which the slave labour employed by ruthless middle men, who are in turn engaged by the equally ruthless procurement policies of the big name retailers in the West.

We cannot forget the particularly disastrous fire that ripped through one such Bangladeshi clothing factory, just outside the capitol Dhaka, killing 117 people in 2012. A year later, the eight storey Rana Plaza building collapsed in the Savar Upazila district of Dhaka, the final death toll was an utterly horrifying 1,134 people. A further 2,500 people were rescued from the building but injured, and heaven knows how many of those were unable to work again. 

It turns out that the bank and shops on the ground floor of the Rana Plaza had immediately been shut when cracks appeared the day before the disaster. The owners ignored the warnings and the clothing workers were ordered to return to work. The building collapsed the following morning. 

This is a price being paid by those desperate to earn a living in a country with no welfare or other benefits enjoyed by us in the West; all in aid of making clothes for a Western clientele, who have become addicted to the utterly futile pursuit of the latest ‘affordable’ fashions. This so called fashion is promoted by clever marketing and advertising that woos susceptible minds into believing their lives will be forever enhanced. These minds are being fed a compelling mix of subliminal messages by latter day drug peddlers, who weave a storyline that represents a kind of commercial pornography; of enhancement of desirability; competitive sexual attraction. 

As if this weren’t bad enough, we have to add to the damning list, the effects on the environment of the unchecked spillages of dies and other chemicals into the rivers that snake their way through huge townships in Indonesia and many parts of the Third World,  where cloth-making factories respond to an insatiable Western demand. The fashion industry as a whole is one of the most polluting industries in the World and has an annual carbon footprint of 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2. 

Elsewhere, even in the Western World, as retailers cancel orders and payments for existing or completed orders are not made, there is suffering from those who are becoming unemployed, who are not able to get unemployment benefit as a result of the fact that, because of the ruthlessly cut-throat nature of the supply chain, they may not be engaged to work under the control of regular registered employment contracts.

In the meantime, major retailers, like many corporates, claim hardship under the exigencies of COVID-19 and stick out their hands for government bailouts, to which they may in principal be entitled – e.g. furlough payments – whilst they withhold payments to their supply chain, which in turn kicks back up the line to the little man, who cannot compete with the shear buying power of their ultimate corporate customers. The whole system has become corrupted beyond the bounds of acceptable trading standards. 

The ‘need’ for new fashion is promoted by a variety of vested interests, not least of which are the major retailers, but included in which are countless smaller businesses. The major fashion houses cannot stand blameless, because, whilst they may not wish for their exclusive and expensive couture to be copied and sold cheaply, they cannot help themselves from pandering to their affluent middle class clientele, envy of whom is readily created by the seductive imagery of the advertisers. I suspect the fashion houses will indirectly benefit from the increasing frequency of the ‘fashion cycle’ from seasons to months … even to as little as one week. 

This shortening fashion cycle has been enabled by prices that are so cheap and materials – that wear out too fast – sewn together by ‘sweat shop’ labour that makes it impossible economically to make your own clothes at anywhere near the same cost as you can buy  them in some shops (usually the ones with the lowest ethical standards). My wife, who used to enjoy making her own things, including clothes and curtains, discovered this many years ago.

Whilst Extinction Rebellion continue to highlight the bad side of the fashion industry, with some graphic demonstrations, particularly at London Fashion Week in September of last year, Fashion Revolution have a mission that will encourage a mindset to ‘make do and mend’, to recycle and redesign, to up-cycle and, dare I suggest, perhaps even create the opportunity for a new industry that makes new from old. Their agenda is to make fashion sustainable and ethical. Their objective is to make fashions last longer, so the industry is sustainable and those who do love to buy a fashionable new outfit can continue to do so, without fear of playing a part in  raping the environment and without a threat to the lives of the poor and vulnerable in society, enabling them to secure sustainable jobs, in all parts of the World. 

To make change happen, those marketing managers, advertising executives and their corporate employers must begin to adopt a real ethical stance, one that does not simply window dress and pay lip service to a ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ future, but one that is genuinely revolutionary. This cannot be made to happen without us, the customers. We must stop allowing ourselves to be driven by desires, created by the fashion industry’s powerful imagery, inducing a dependency on the drug of fashion, under the control of those unscrupulous dope peddlers. Crucially, as with so many consumer goods and even our food, we have to be prepared to pay more. Greed by the few, must be driven out of the supply chain by the many to enable far greater equity, otherwise we can only consider ourselves to be the beneficiaries of a modern slave trade.

It is we, the masses, who must be the drivers of change, the driving force behind a revolution. We must be the change we want to see.

[All images courtesy Fashion Revolution]

© 2020, John Anstie

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, Michael Dickel, Peace & Justice, The BeZine

SAVE THE DATE: 100,000 Poets (and Allies) for Change, September 26, 2020; Call for Submissions to 100TPC Anthology

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde



SEPTEMBER 26, 2020

SAVE THE DATE

It’s twelve years since I started using poetry for activism, involving myself first with Sam Hamell‘s Poets Against the War. Almost ten years have passed since poet, publisher, musician and artist, Michael Rothenberg, and editor, artist, graphic designer, and translator Terri Carrion, co-founded 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) to which I am seriously devoted.

Through the decade our 100TPC poet-activist numbers have grown. We’ve expanded to include allies. These creatives from around the world share the values of peace, sustainability, and social justice. They speak out against corruption, cruelty, tyranny, and suppression through poetry, story, music, mime, art and photography, sometimes at personal risk.

INVITATION

If you’ve been involved before, please note the date and participate again. If you haven’t participated in 100TPC, we invite you to become a part of this worthy worldwide initiative.

By “we” I mean:

  • Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, founders and organizers of Global 100TPC;
  • Regional organizers for 100TPC (connect with yours via the 100TPC.org blog roll or contact Michael Rothenberg to set up your own event), and
  • The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine and hosts of The BeZine Virtual 100TPC.


THE BeZINE

~ Be inspired . . . Be creative . . . Be peace . . . Be ~

VIRTUAL 100TPC

Our banner was designed by Zine team member Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

The second year I invited poetry against war was 2011. I put up a post on Into the Bardo (the name of the site before it became The BeZine) and invited folks to share their poems in the comments section. That was the last year for Sam Hamill’s Poets Against the War and the first year for Michael and Terri’s 100,000 Poets for Change.

Since 2012, we (The Bardo Group) have hosted an annual virtual event on the fourth Saturday of September in concert with Global 100TPC. My thought for going virtual was that there were many others who, like me, are home bound but want to have their say, want to stand for peace, sustainability and social justice. Soon Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play) joined our team and a new tradition was born. Michael became our Master of Ceremonies.

This year – whether your are homebound or not – we invite you to join with us via The BeZine Virtual 100TPC on September 26.  Complete instructions for sharing your work will be included in the post that day.  Between us, Michael Dickel and I keep the event running for twenty-four hours or so. Mark your calendars.

Watch for more info here  on these initiatives and . . .

Upcoming:

  • Call for Submissions to the September 15, 2020 issue of The BeZine, which is a prelude to 100TPC;
  • The Poet by Day 100TPC Wednesday Writing Prompt, September 16, hosted by Michael Dickel; and
  • A contest (the heart-child of Zine team member, Corina Ravenscraft) to find the best The BeZine 2021 header for our Facebook Discussion Page.

In the spirit of love (respect) and community and
on behalf of The Bardo Group,
Jamie Dedes, Founding Editor and
now Co-Manager Editor with Michael Dickel



100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE: Ten years of evolution (2011-2020)
VOL 1: The Memoir

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

From Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion

In the tenth year anniversary of the movement, we are excited to invite all ​past and present 100TPC organizers and/or participants, to submit a three page ​essay to be considered for inclusion in ​the book ​100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE [100TPC]: Ten years of evolution (2011-2020),​ which will be published on a date to be announced.

This book will tell the story of 100TPC from the perspective of the poets who have been a part of creating and sustaining it. Through ​our personal essays, the reader will learn not only about the individual stories of the hundreds of poets-organizers from all corners, reflecting on the social and cultural effects of such poetic actions, but it will also offer an enriched summary and an organized way to learn about this grassroots movement and its impact on the history of poetry. It can also be thought of as a guidebook and manual, for future generations interested in the strategy of activists engaged in manifesting positive change–peace, justice and sustainability.

THEMES:

You can submit a ​maximum of two essays,​ only one (1) per theme. Be sure to send each essay in a ​separate e​mail (see details below).

1. FOUNDATIONAL EXPERIENCES.​ First experiences as organizer/ poet/ artist/ audience with ​100,000 Poets for Change.​
2. LOCAL EXPERIENCES.​ Experiences seen as a whole, after these ten years. Reflect on your achievements, or whatever you have witnessed, good and bad. You can choose to write about success or disappointments, benefits and limitations, even if you were not an organizer/participant consistently for the past ten years.
3. IMPRESSIONS​: Reflections and stories on the philosophy, ideas and spirit propelling the movement. How has this movement informed your poetics?
4. SALERNO.​ If you participated in the 2015 Salerno conference, you can choose to write about it, as a whole experience, and/or highlighting a specific story or aspects of the conference.
5. READ A POEM TO A CHILD.​ If you have been part of the Read a Poem to a Child initiative, you can also choose to write about that.

Submission deadline:​ December 1, 2020

Format guidelines​: Word document, Times New Roman, Font 12, Double Spaced.

Maximum 750 words.

Language​: If you are not an English speaking writer, please send your text in its original language along with the best possible English translation (three pages max, each). At this point, the project will only include the English version, but we’re studying alternatives to the issue of language, and world accessibility.
Bio & Photos:​ Please send a fifty word Bio as a Word doc. attachment. Also, and this is optional, you can attach three-to-five good quality images (jpg) related to your essay, and/or the events you organized in your community. Include photo caption and credits. Do not send bio photos. We want exceptional images that offer a glimpse either of the themes or aspects we’ve mentioned above, the collective drive, or the audience reaction.

Please send your submissions and/or any questions to: ​10yr100tpcbook@gmail.com In the email’s Subject Matter​, please write your essay’s t​heme.

Global Forest

Goat tree was an old birch
named for his long burl face of wise knots
his horns of shadow-branch

Old birch danced a dappled wedding
Old birch rocked some kids, friended
a lonely yard dog, sang night-breeze soothes
to a sleepless poet
Old birch was cut down dead
by a new landlord. ‘For the light’.
So poet mourned-by-light – the new patch of blue sky
shone only in the shape of the loss

But the thing about trees is
they forgive from the roots
greensticks growing up now
from that great ringed history-bone, gangly-ranked soldiers
already six feet tall
headbutting clouds from that yard

And the thing about a forest is that the roots of trees share water
even with a stump among them, knowing it only as a tree
And the thing about sap is that it finds a way to rise
And the thing about sap is that it rises like words
And the thing about words is that when you cut
them down, they bleed themselves right through the earth
watering the world-web of unseen roots

Greensticks growing up now all over the place
from the great ringed history-bone, gangly-ranked soldiers
already headed six feet deep, uprooting the rocked
kids, the loney yard dogs, the weddings, the light
oh it’s always for the light

And the thing about us is
we don’t grow again from the stump
when the axe comes, but the whole forest readies its water
at the sound of the very first blow

© 2020, Ankh Spice


ANKH SPICE is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (New Zealand), whose poetry has appeared in more than 30 print and online publications internationally in the last year. He is a co-editor at IceFloe Press, a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine, and a firm believer that words have the power to change the place we’re in.


 

Posted in disability/illness

China Detains Coronavirus Reporter

2019-nCoV-CDC-23312 without background / Public Domain



(New York, NY) – Chinese authorities have reportedly detained and quarantined citizen journalist Chen Qiushi, who has been reporting on the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. PEN America today said holding Chen incommunicado suggests he may have been targeted for his reporting, and that such actions jeopardize not just his rights but the rights of all Chinese citizens to access information about the epidemic.

“Given China’s widespread censorship of stories about the coronavirus, PEN America is gravely concerned over the possibility that Chen has been arbitrarily detained and that authorities are using ‘quarantine’ as a pretext to justify their actions,” said James Tager, deputy director of Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America, “Even if Chen is ill, there seems to be no discernable reason why he can’t use a phone or a computer, and yet his friends and family say they’ve heard nothing from him. The Chinese government must be transparent about why Chen has been detained, and if there is no compelling medical reason, they should release him immediately.”

On January 24, Chen–a lawyer, activist, and citizen journalist–traveled to Wuhan to report on the coronavirus outbreak. As part of his coverage, Chen posted a series of videos shot in Wuhan’s hospitals and streets, as well as interviews with coronavirus patients and doctors. On February 6, Chen’s mother posted a video saying that friends and family had not heard from Chen and asking for help locating him. Later that day, a friend of Chen’s posted a video saying authorities had told Chen’s friends and family that he had been forcibly quarantined, although officials apparently have not shared when or where this happened.

Chen began acting as a citizen journalist in 2019, reporting on a flooding disaster in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province. In the summer of 2019, Chen went to Hong Kong to report on the ongoing protests there. Upon his return, authorities reportedly repeatedly questioned him and deleted all his domestic social media accounts. In December of last year, Chen shared on his Twitter, he attempted to travel to Japan but was informed by government officials that he was not allowed to leave the country.

“Chen has been targeted for his work as a citizen journalist before, and we fear that the exact same thing may have happened here,” said PEN America’s Tager. “If  he has been detained for his work, this would represent not only an obvious assault on Chen’s freedom of expression but also on the right of all Chinese people to have access to information about serious health threats. It already seems clear that the government’s attempt to censor information about the coronavirus has potentially worsened the public health situation. We urge China’s leaders to take a more transparent approach, and to refrain from targeting those who are speaking up about the coronavirus and the government’s response.”

The outbreak of the coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019. A group of several doctors who first went public with information about the virus were reprimanded by police. Among the whistleblower doctors was 34-year-old opthamologist Li Wenliang, whose subsequent death from the coronavirus has resulted in online outrage and calls for freedom of speech. The government is still reportedly engaging in widespread censorship of coronavirus-related stories and news.

###

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Progress

Last year, a wheelchair and sessions of hydrotherapy –
the water supporting your crumbling back
as you strode, slo-mo,
across the pool.

These days, no wheelchair. Exercise and calcium pills
have strengthened your muscles and bones,
but the pain still nags you
for Cocodamol.

A wheeled walker eases the stress on your back,
so you’ve stretched your walks ‘just round the block’
to half a mile
and the local shops.

Now you’re taking lengthier walks from the holiday let
down to the beach and to the restaurants in town.
No faster than you were,
but what great strides!

© 2019, Mantz Yorke

MANTZ YORKE is a former science teacher and researcher living in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong. His collection ‘Voyager’ will be published in February 2020.

A Shower of Roses

“I will let fall from Heaven a shower of roses.” St. Therese of Lisieux 1873-1897

I didn’t ask for roses
when I whispered Pray for me, Therese,
but it’s the way you often answer.
A blush of winter buds.
A single bloom at my feet.

Now, in this humid,
dog-eared June,
I see roses white as breast milk
on the bush I pruned last year,
abandoned to frost.

Regrown, it tempts me outside.
I forget aches and pains
and weariness of soul.
I sweep dust from the path
and peg clothes on the washing line.

Some theologians say roses
doesn’t mean roses, just blessings.
But you loved the flower, Therese;
watched roses sway in the courtyard
as you lay dying.

Handed one, you crumbled it
over the crucifix
on your bedsheet and smiled
as petals fragranced
His wounds and holy face.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

SHEILA JACOB was born and raised in Birmingham, England and lives with her husband in Wrexham, on the Welsh border. Her poetry has been published in several U.K. magazines and webzines. She recently self-published her short collection of poems that form a memoir to her father who died in 1965. Sheila finds her 1950s childhood and family background a source of inspiration for many of her poems. You can connect with Sheila by email: she1jac@yahoo.com