DAY 2.9 Report from the field

November 11th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

and it’s 11 November, which is widely celebrated (eg in France) as Armistice Day. I’m not clebrating much. I decided to skate lightly over hackneyed WW1 poets like Rupert Brooke, and zeroed in on the major Serbian writer Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj; who seems, dauntingly, to have written apart from some of the main poems in the Serbian canon, an analysis of turbulence which is a pretty tough nut to crack even if you aren’t a Serbian poet. […’The book will be a valuable resource for those who choose to make a research career in turbulence..’] Was this by the same Zmaj? I pass over my rich resources on Roma resettlement in Belgrade, which is obviously high on the list of Serbian problems for the human rights lawyer if not for the student of turbulence; one feels that the position of the Roma hasn’t advanced substantially since the day when Gavrilo Princip decided he ought to give history a nudge by shooting an archduke in Sarajevo.

Roma girl in Belgrade.

Well, it might be quite turbulent if you choose to look at it that way.]

But all this, in case you hadn’t guessed, is merely an excuse for introducing a poem I was sent following an appeal on behalf of ‘Phonecredit for Refugees’ (PC4R on your facebook page) for users’ accounts of their experience with the charity:

my truth

when I was little and lived in Africa
in the village with my mom,
one day I stole a coin and hid it
in my panties, my mother looking
for that coin, asked me if I had taken it myself?

I answered with a dry no.
we were out on the open veranda
with my friends.
my mother approached me,
stroked me and pulled my underpants down
and the coin fell down to the floor,
toppling down and up.
from that day the truth appeared
to me as a light, I understood
that one cannot escape the truth.

a few years later I left that village
bringing that feeling of feeling
the truth and telling the truth,
I pursued my truth, it became my freedom,.

my truth is to be a person who speaks with freedom
about herself telling her story without fear
because only my story is my truth …

my truth is to be a person who speaks gently
and kindly to others because only in this way
will I be able to transmit the power of truth …

my truth is to include people in my intimacy
because only in this way will I be able to open my heart …

my truth is that of giving people the chance to love me

By Landry Affton from Ivory Coast – Change the Word Coventry

Illustration byMajid Adin

I think that says it all.


DAY 2.9a (numbering has got a bit confused lately)

November 11th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Here’s my latest offering in the endless sequence of ruminations on the state of me and/or the world; which will be found at and if you get any enlightenment from that, I wish you joy. I recently learned that the people of Lebanon have been complaining about the theft of their entire seashore (quite long) by the wealthy citizens, who are denying access to it to anyone who doesn’t have a fat entrance fee, see Izzy Tomico Ellis’ twitterfeed (always educational).

On the other hand, if you’re given to worrying about the state of the world – and who isn’t? – you may well, like me , start fretting about the situation of the Oto-Manguean languages, spoken by about 4 million people! And I knew nothing about this huge population, nearly the size of Birmingham, speaking about forty tonal languages, all mutually incomprehensible. Some even include whistles.; some are spoken by only twenty people. The thought of all these people, with their difficulties in communications, trying to survive in a hostile world of people like Mandarin-speakers in their hundreds of millions (I speak not of Anglo-Saxophones), is daunting to say the least. Who will stand up for the Oto-Mangueans, with their tones and whistles? Will you? I’m glad to see that the Mexican government is taking steps to protect them, in their home in the state of Oaxaca.

Meanwhile the European Court has finally taken some steps against the odious Hungarian regime of refoulement etc directed against asylum seekers. Rather than give you the judgment itself, I’ll post a link to the trenchant criticism of its shortcomings from my confrère the European Journal of International Law: it’s at Good reading!

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