Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
Yes, your read the word correctly-it is "Rekognition" - a creation of the behemoth tech company, Amazon. Their label for one of their most insidious new 'programs' we, our children and grandchildren, will all become part of without ever having signed a consent agreement or release of information waiver.
"Amazon has developed a powerful cloud-based facial recognition system called “Rekognition”, which has major implications for privacy. Total surveillance systems were pioneered in Tibet, and then perfected in Xinjiang. With Rekognition, a government can now build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone. If school officials load a student’s photo into the system, they can track where and when the student moved around in the school in the past 60 days. They can see who the student talked to and where the student went during class hours." www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2018/05/in-chinas-footsteps-amazon-and-us-schools-normalize-automatic-facial-recognition-and-constant-surveillance/
Amazon doesn't stop there, they just acquired/bought 'Ring', a camera in doorbells company. As one patent litigator warned recently: "It’s rare for patent applications to lay out, in such nightmarish detail, the world a company wants to bring about. Amazon is dreaming of a dangerous future, with its technology at the center of a massive decentralized surveillance network, running real-time facial recognition on members of the public using cameras installed in people’s doorbells. Imagine if a neighborhood was set up with these doorbell cameras. Simply walking up to a friend’s house could result in your face, your fingerprint, or your voice being flagged as “suspicious” and delivered to a government database without your knowledge or consent. With Amazon selling the devices, operating the servers, and pushing the technology on law enforcement, the company is building all the pieces of a surveillance network, reaching from the government all the way to our front doors." www.aclu.org/blog/privacy-technology/surveillance-technologies/amazons-disturbing-plan-add-face-surveillance-yo-0
The Program on Government Oversight (POGO) has put forth recommendations for sensible restrictions on private companies and law enforcement agency surveillance methods such as 'Ring' and 'ReKognition'. San Francisco was the first city last week to ban the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement.
“The ordinance requires city departments to disclose any surveillance technologies they currently use or plan to use, and to spell out policies regarding them that the Board of Supervisors must then approve. The ban does not affect personal, business or federal government use of facial recognition technology." Therein lie the loopholes however. Schools, stores, casinos, clubs, airports, private businesses and individuals are still not "banned" and the data and metadata collected can still be channeled and stored by governments. reason.com/2019/03/08/preventing-government-facial-recognition/
The Chinese government boasts the fastest, most accurate and predictive surveillance technology in the world. They cite the Dragonfly Eye as one of the reasons for their success. Never forget the US company Google, supplied China and the Gulf Arab States with this technology originally. Their personnel within China have simply "enhanced" the capabilities and connected to global databases. Think Minority Report and the possible misuses of this technology as our future if we don't at least pause and consider the consequences of a prison planet-like surveillance grid. "In 2017, it was reported on CCTV that the “Skynet” project had been completed, bringing into being the largest video-surveillance network in the world. By that year, China’s network included 176 million surveillance cameras, and there were plans to increase this number to a staggering 626 million by the decade’s close. The network’s many AI-equipped cameras monitor the gender, clothing, and height of passersby, transforming the information captured on screen into data".
Voice-recognition software is also increasingly used around China to identify speakers in phone calls. Compulsory DNA collection is required for many jobs, education institutions and for health care. Chinese authorities have begun using obligatory health checks to obtain residents’ DNA and other identifying information to bundle in a data collection profile for each citizen. "Dataveillance".
In 2017, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) launched pilot programs with iFlytek aimed at automatically detecting particular voices when these are picked up over the phone. A new generation of digital technology, including AI, will empower the state to identify and quash opposition in advance by combining clues from its many channels of mass information collection. In short, China is well on its way to building the world’s first “responsive tyranny,” perhaps even a digital totalitarian state. Although this may be a dream come true for a dictator hoping to exert maximum control over his society, it is a nightmare for Chinese citizens and for those all over the world who value human freedom." www.journalofdemocracy.org/articles/the-road-to-digital-unfreedom-president-xis-surveillance-state/
People have already changed their behavior and developed masks upon masks. Inauthenticity is accepted as a social norm. Pity the children who never truly know who they are apart from who their parents and teachers "post" them to be to the wider society, and their government catalogues and profiles them to be, according to their metadata bundles gleaned from dataveillance. www.cnbc.com/2019/05/16/this-chinese-facial-recognition-start-up-can-id-a-person-in-seconds.html
My short and simple message this week is....resist. While it may seem easy, even comfortable to let all your transactions, photos, texts, cyber transmitted thoughts, phone/skype conversations and 'alexa' spyware be 'harvested', collected by impersonal data companies and funneled through to government databases which implement AI (artificial 'intelligence'); Mix It Up. Randomize your clicks and be 'unpredictable'. You can do this easily by not following "suggested video" or articles posted up on the side of youtube. You can search diverse titles on amazon.com, if you still use google, do the same. "Search" for topics completely unrelated to your usual 'interest'. You might learn something new in the process. Scan articles directed at different age groups and genders just for fun. Click on videos and reports in different languages. Try different browsers such as "Brave" and DuckDuckGo. Always delete your browsing histories. Use more than one email from more than one email provider. Don't make it easy for the robots.
If you have children and/or grandchildren. Protect their privacy! Don't burden them with helping companies and governments create a 'profile' on them before they are even ten years old. Shield them as you would protect them from running into the street or highway-keep them off the internet highway, too. Be vigilant for them. Make sure no one is "tagging" your children. Communicate your priority for their privacy to your entire family, friends and schools. Do not sign 'blanket waivers' for consent for your children to be used in media. These are steps to start to reclaim your/their privacy and their authenticity.
Keep it real. Recognize creeping tyranny in all it's forms. Freedom needs continual vigilance.
For this week I include a song entitled: "Love in A Time of Surveillance" and the site for someone who describes himself as a "Pen-tacular-Artist" Mr. Raj Singh Tattal. I inserted a copy of one of his works at the beginning of this post. pentacularartist.wixsite.com/pentacularartist/about-me
Let me know what you truly think.
From Springtime in Washington, D.C. Take care of you and yours,
Listen to/watch: "Love in A Time of Surveillance" www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEAqLf8-_Es
Mother's Day was celebrated this past weekend in many countries. Yesterday (May 13) was the anniversary of the first woman and mother, Alison Hargreaves, to summit Mt. Everest — 29,029 feet/8.848 meters high — alone, without bottled oxygen. Hargreaves, was one of the world’s greatest alpinists then, and of all time. She achieved this feat solo, without fixed ropes set by others.
Alison was a “trailblazer,” wrote Molly Schiot, who profiled Hargreaves in her 2016 book, “Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History”.
"In the summer of 1993, Hargreaves became the first person to climb the notoriously perilous six great north faces of the Alps solo in a single season. The undertaking inspired her book, “A Hard Day’s Summer.”
In 2015, her son, Tom Ballard, who was 6 yrs old when she died, became the first person to climb the same six north faces alone, in a winter season. Her daughter, Katie, is also a mountaineer.
In a way, Tom’s first Alps ascent was with his mother. In July 1988, Hargreaves scaled the Alps while she was six months pregnant with her son, Tom Ballard." www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/obituaries/overlooked-alison-hargreaves.html Tragically Tom Ballard, Alison's son-was killed on Nanga Parbat in the Karakorum mountains sometime between February 24 and March 9, 2019. Mother and son's bodies are both in those mountains of Pakistan.
However, Alison Hargreaves was not the first woman to summit K2. Another British woman a decade before, became the first high altitude climber and film maker to do so. Her name was Julie Tullis. Julie did not start climbing in high altitude until her children were older. While raising her children she did pursue both Akido and Judo, which she said strengthened her physical and mental discipline. She became a black belt in both martial arts. At the age of 45, Julie became the first British woman to climb an 8,000m peak, when with Kurt Diemberger from Austria, she summited Broad Peak.
"In 1985 Julie and Kurt joined a British team on the North East Ridge of Everest and then during the summer returned for another crack at the Diamir Face of Nanga Parbat. That year she spent 52 days above c6,000m. Towards the end of 1985, and in early '86 she finished her highly readable and inspirational autobiography, "Clouds from Both Sides", ( see photo below) and made a film about village life in East Nepal before travelling to Pakistan and the ill-fated summer on K2.
On the 4th August, Julie reached the summit via the Abruzzi Ridge shortly after Alan Rouse, these two becoming the first and second British climbers to do so (and Tullis only the third woman ever). Sadly, both would die shortly after, succumbing to altitude while trapped in a prolonged storm on the Shoulder." www.thebmc.co.uk/the-julie-tullis-memorial-award
Although the rate of death for high altitude female alpinists/climbers is significant and a number of the women who perished in the mountains were not mothers, all climbers also had mothers...some who climbed, some who did not, but all who loved and for the most part, encouraged their children throughout their lives. www.climbing.com/people/mothers-day-special-an-interview-with-6-pro-climber-moms/
There are a few kinds of "Mountain Mamas". Those who gave birth to climbers, those who climb themselves as well as mother/parent, and those women who make the mountains their "mamas" whether in high altitude or lower to sea level. Tonight I am writing from first hand experience as a former climber, mother of climbers, and wife of a climber/guide. I climbed Mt. Shasta and Mt. Whitney while I was in my first trimester with my first born, my son Denali. Most of our spare family time together was spent building on our houses, travelling and various types of climbing and sports outside. We had a climbing wall built into our garages, climbing holds, pull up bars and photos of mountains in every house we rented or owned. I taught climbing as part of physical education and health studies in NZ middle and high schools. One of my grown children, my daughter Sequoia, is currently climbing in high altitude in the Himalayas of Nepal. I am a women/mother who still enjoys the mountains and recently returned from over four months living/training on Yun Tai mountain in the Henan province of China. I know, whereof I write.
There are more "mountain mamas" than ever before in our world. Thanks to better support, training and choices-it is estimated 40% of climbers today (as professional/skilled athletes) are females. Most of these women do not climb in altitude or are interested in alpine climbing. Rock climbing is much less dangerous. The first women to really pioneer closer to ground, boulder and rock climbing as an extreme sport, was Lynn Hill (see photo above). There has been much written about this 5'2" powerhouse, focused female champion in the climbing world. You can look online to see her accomplishments. She is still living, climbing, parenting, teaching, and gorgeous. Yes, for sponsorship-being attractive helps no doubt. Here is her website: https://lynnhillclimbing.com/
The "upside" of being a "mountain mama" is you are able to spend a greater portion of your time on Earth in nature, in the hills and mountains and away from the madding crowds. You are part of a broader, international community which prides itself on fitness, skills, discipline and comraderie as well as competition.
The "downsides" of being in this 'community' is the time away from other loved ones, the possible physical injuries doing what you enjoy and especially for us mothers and wives of mountain climbers/guides...the deaths of those we knew/know and love. Mountain Mama's often do not have the usual rituals for death either. Often we don't even have verification of how our loved ones, or friends died, where exactly they died, or even when precisely they exited this mortal realm. Sometimes "funerals" or memorial services are held far away from where we are and we can't join them across the seas or in vertical spaces because of lack of money, time or ability to climb to where they are or might be.
Often there is no real support for "mountain mamas" and people will comment callously in person and online. More often than not there are debts to be paid. You don't climb to get wealthy. Most alpinists spend what little money they earn on gear, transport tickets and medical care.
Mountaineers deaths are usually "celebrated" and applauded as a noble way to die..."doing what they loved", etc. They were not forced to go, like those in the military. They chose or were employed (as sherpas, assistants) to go into the mountains. Still, there is always shock and trauma when an accident and/or death happens.
The children of those "mountain mamas" who perished, often became climbers, too. Many go on a kind of pilgrimage to visit the same mountains where their parent died. You can listen to the children of Julie Tullis speak about their mother on this podcast from the BBC: www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p044bwfd
You can read online or listen to speeches by the children of Scott and Jeanine Fisher-Price or of Jan Arnold and Rob Hall's daughter, Sarah Arnold-Hall, our daughter, Sequoia Schmidt or of The Roskelley family; to have some idea of the painful side of being part of a "mountain climbing family". Click on links below.
Closing this week with more positive stories and memories from another time with another "mountain mama" adept in the mountains of many countries and in all kinds of weather on skiis. Her name is Pepina Stanchev and she is a Bulgarian born athlete who became a mother to two daughters, an American citizen, a health practitioner and is a creative and gifted woman who also took the photo (as the lead climber) when we went climbing in Yosemite, California years ago. We were mothers of young children who enjoyed climbing, skiing and camping but didn't have cellphones or digital cameras then. Pepina snapped the photo I use for my header photograph for this blog, "Viewpoints". Pepina is still fit, full of energy, ideas and love for her growing family. She is a grandmother, too.
"Mountain mamas" can balance life, it is a question of knowing and shifting priorities and trying to minimize risk if at all possible. We are not a 'common breed' and I know we are often unrecognized and unappreciated, but we persevere. Mountain Mamas don't love their children any less...maybe even more than those mothers who only know life and parenting on the horizontal plane. Mountain Mamas are born into, married into, or choose a different life than most mothers. On Mother's Days many mountain mamas, children and families, will be celebrating if they can...outdoors.
Enjoy this mountain mama song by Loretta Lynn of the USA, "High on the Mountain Top"-turn up the sound and tap your feet. Go on....
Until next Tuesday...from sea level for now and a poem from mt. Aoraki: https://allpoetry.com/poem/13684939-Mt.-Cook-Musings-by-Jo-Patti
Adding some sites from mountain climbing family members FYI:
Contrary to media and popular misuses, the word 'jihad' does not mean war. The word for war in Arabic-transliterated- is Ha-rb. Jihad is not the opposite of peace in translation, rather the antonym of jihad would be "surrender" or even "to be idle" because jihad is usually translated as "to struggle or to strive" although every translation from another language into English has bands of meaning. The Arabic word 'jihad' is translated into English as "struggle or striving for a praiseworthy aim" and is mentioned in the Koran/Quran as having two types-'offensive jihad' and 'defensive jihad'. Each of these categories have specific obligations if one is considered to be Muslim. Here is one of many sites which explains the duties of the two types of jihad-I urge you to read them: www.2600.com/news/mirrors/harkatmujahideen/www.harkatulmujahideen.org/jihad/t-jihad.htm
The struggle and striving for a worldwide caliphate-an 'idealistic' ideology that has only one religion as sanctioned, and that is Islam,-is a continuing jihad for Muslims. Let this sink in if you haven't already been educated or known this stated aim.
The strategies and tactics utilized and condoned by the Koran/Quran include: persuasion which may employ speech, proselytizing, religious education, economic/financial leverage and violence. In the Quran/Koran there are "legitimate" uses of violence in the service of "holy war" which only has a few parameters of what constitutes "harm" to women and children. Rape, beating and restraining (imprisonment) evidently do not constitute "harm" since they are 'permitted' against non-believers, infidels, kaffirs, in the Koran/Quran. The terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam and Allah Akhbar (God is great) are not simply for disruption and shock, they are part of a cumulative agenda. Theirs is a cohesive idealistic, passionate and religiously founded motivation which openly professes to all who will actually see and listen, their endeavors and their goals. They are taught any actions taken are righteous if written as 'permitted' or encouraged in the Koran/Quran. Muslims believe the words in the Quran/Koran are directly from Allah (God). "The commandment of jihad, which is of supreme importance at all times, assumes even greater importance during this holy month and gains precedence over all other commandments… On Ramadan, Allah grants fighters special strength, despite – or rather by virtue of – their fasting. Those who gain martyrdom during the month of Ramadan are doubly rewarded in Paradise." www.breitbart.com/national-security/2019/05/04/jihad-best-part-worship-taliban-islamic-state-gear-up-ramadan/
"Islamic terrorists are not nihilists. They are idealists. Islamic terrorists are not engaged in destruction for the sake of destroying. They believe that the purpose of terrorism is to defeat non-Islamist societies and impose jihadist regimes on all nations of the world. They destroy in order to rebuild the world under an Islamic empire, or caliphate, that will rule humanity under Islamic law, or Sharia." www.breitbart.com/national-security/2019/05/03/caroline-glick-trump-is-right-about-the-muslim-brotherhood/#
There are some who mistake 'idealism' and 'passion' to be aligned with other religions' aims of compassion, acceptance, commitment to improve the lives of all people, alleviating suffering and turning the other cheek in an encounter with violence. This is not "idealism" in terms of Islam and most certainly not once the 'mission of jihad' is undertaken.
According to retired General Mohsen Hefzy, a former Egyptian national security official, children and teenagers are identified and recruited through a two-step process called "Jihadist Discipline." In the first stage, children are brainwashed and convinced to fight the enemies of God. They then are trained to use explosives and emotionally prepared to execute suicide bombings.
Step two is called "Sharia' Legitimizing" and includes labeling security officers (even if they are Muslim) as "heretics and infidels" to cast killing them as justified and a path to heaven. The process is well established among jihadists across the world." This was the case in the recent terrorist attack in the Sinai., April 9, 2019. "Seven people were killed, including four police officers and a 6-year-old boy. The terrorist was a 15-year-old boy who targeted a busy marketplace. ISIS affiliate Ansar Beit Al Maqdes took credit for the attack. The Muslim Brotherhood offshoot-Hamas-is notorious for using children in its demonstrations and operations." www.investigativeproject.org/7898/terrorists-continue-exploiting-children-for
Don't be lulled into thinking the conversion, radicalization programs infiltrating education and using children and teenagers, only take place in the Middle East, Central Asia, South East Asis or in countries in Africa. North America, especially the United States of America, has a growing program of caliphate 'promotion' infiltrating all layers of society including on campuses, schools and after school and/or religious education clubs. Be sure to watch this video and read the links in the paragraph outlining some elements of the Chris Bledsoe case below. There are many more if you do your due diligence and research the "creep of Sharia law" and "training camps" in America.
“We believe in an eye for an eye, not turn the other cheek. Now it’s an all-out war on America, and I’m on the other side. The side of the Muslims, Yes! The side of Al Qaeda, Yes! Taliban, Yes! Al-Shabab, Yes! We are all brothers under the same banner. Fighting for the same cause, which is to rid the Islamic world of Infidel and Apostate Hypocrite Regimes and Crusader Invaders, and reestablish the Caliphate, the Islamic Empire and Islamic Law. I’m not Carlos. I’m Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad—a new man, changed man, ” Tennessee native Chris Bledsoe, who converted to Islam in Tennessee, USA, and carried out his "Mission of jihad in America" by shooting two young Army recruiters in cold blood.
"Thousands of Westerners and hundreds of Americans have in recent years followed Bledsoe’s journey of jihad to the Middle East, where increasingly they are being lured by the Islamic State’s promise of glory and martyrdom on behalf of a new caliphate. The Islamic State has adopted the message that “lone wolf” terrorists in the United States should focus on launching local attacks..."www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/07/chattanooga-shooter-carlos-bledsoe-120530_full.html
On April 22, 2019 "Ummah Day", the Muslim American Society Islamic Center in Philadelphia (MAS Philly) uploaded a video of an "Ummah Day" celebration to its Facebook page in which young children wearing Palestinian scarves sang: "Glorious steeds call us and lead us [to] the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The blood of martyrs protects us… Take us, oh ships… until we reach our shores and crush the treacherous ones… Flow, oh rivers of martyrs!" A young girl read a poem praising martyrs and others sang about "chopping off heads": This is the video with American children performing in Pennsylvania, USA: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHXCmEWxMY4
The challenge of countering the "idealism" and lure of radicalization by Islamic groups is also a problem in the UK; www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6842855/Terrorism-fears-3-000-UK-children-year-jihadi-schools-Pakistan.html
Australia and New Zealand have their growing populations of Muslims and some of their 'refugees' were radicalized in their home countries, or in camps before they immigrated.
Back in 2015, the murder of a police accountant in Sydney "by a boy of Iraqi-Kurdish descent was the latest in a spate of attacks linked to Islamic extremism. Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar, 15, was shot and killed by police at the scene." www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-shooting-radicalisation/in-australia-seeds-of-islamic-radicalism-sown-early-idUSKCN0RY04720151004
"Already, ISIS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir has broken six months' silence after the group’s recent humiliating series of defeats in Syria to encourage Muslims to take revenge for New Zealand." [mosque attack in March 2019] www.thedailybeast.com/the-new-zealand-mosque-massacre-blame-game-is-out-of-control?ref=home
If there was no will for the use of children as "jihadists" and no complicity by parents, teachers, imams, military members and politicians in pursuing the "idealism" of martyrdom and jihad; if there is/was tremendous outcry, media spotlight and focused, pervasive condemnation by all media, all religious leaders and responsible educators and politicians of any acts of terror and genocide; if there is vigilance in surveillance, accurate naming of who sponsors and condones or even applauds terror attacks-most especially those using and targeting places where children will be-perhaps the appeal of "jihad" and "terror" would be lessened. Perhaps there would be many fewer children and teenagers recruited, brainwashed and harmed.
Perhaps there could develop the beginning of a bridge of cooperation to stamp out these "ideals" and the glamorization of violence; whether used by Islamists or real Nazis and Neo Nazis, and criminal networks/cartels.
See my two part articles linked here for more details on how children are/have been "weaponized". smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/jihadi-generations-strategies-used-weaponizing-children-part-1
It is worth a try to begin sincere efforts in this direction. If we don't, our children and our grandchildren will be the ones to suffer most. Make it a priority to know what is in your children's, your young family members curriculum at school, what they are reading (online and off), who their friends and influencers are, and if they have changed and why. Provide them with healthy examples of ways to question, of discipline, of noble mentors, for strengthening themselves, and learning peaceful ways to negotiate. During those trying teenage years, find places to go together where they feel they can 'belong'. At least this is a start to counter vulnerabilities the predatory recruiters for criminal gangs and jihad search for...and exploit.
Closing this week with a song from a simpler time, with simpler instruments and lyrics. "Teach Your Children/Parents Well" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - hope you enjoy this one: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vnYKRacKQc
Until next week,
"30 days hath September, April, June and November..." These are the opening lines of a verse penned in English back in 1562, appearing in a book by Richard Grafton. A poem to remember the number of days in each month of the year. Today is the last day of April and the last day of "National Poetry Month" in the United States. From the beginning of recorded history, we have "poems" written in various meters and styles from all over the planet. Originally, the word "poet" was Greek, transcribed into Latin and translated as "a maker" or sometimes as "a creator" in the English language. There are poets of all races, nationalities, religions and economic status. Though, by far males are published more than females; we don't really know how many women are writing or have written poetry but were/are never formally published. I imagine there are more women poets in the world than men, it's just so many have to hide their passion and talent because of their circumstances.
The American poet EE Cummings wrote in a letter to a young poet in 1955, "My advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world-unless you’re not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die."
Among other descriptions of who I am, I am a published poet. I think in poetry, view the world as a "warrior poet", and applaud those other "warrior poets" wherever they may be writing anywhere in the world. This week I write about two "warrior poets" I know who are still alive and still writing in some of the world's most challenging locations. In many countries even now, to be a poet, especially as a female, is a dangerous venture. To some, the pen or keyboard of a poet is mightier than the 'sword' or gun of a soldier.
There is no "best" poet in any society or in the world. Poetry is a personal preference, no matter what academics may decide to teach or media may promote. There are "classics" which most know in their own native language and which others have translated especially if the poem somehow touched onto elements common in our human condition: grief, love, joy, loss, doubt, betrayal, children, growing older, giving birth, war, oppression, freedom....death and so forth. Often you are considered to be "educated well" if you know poetry from writers such as Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, Lorca, Pushkin, Pasternik, Rumi, Hafez, Emerson, Kahil Gibran, William Blake, T.S. Eliot, Walt Whitman, Baudelaire, Victor Hugo, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Jane Wilde, Pascal, Emily Dickinson, Sappho, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anais Nin, Wilfred Owen, Meng Jiao, Stefan Zary and so many more. Each of these writers has their own voice and style. Poetry is dependent upon understanding the language and even the metaphors specific to the culture written about. Poetry can be a code.
Certain nations value their poets more than most-Russia, Italy, Greece, Persia (Iran), Ireland, South Africa, the Gulf States, Spain, the United States, Iceland, Australia, India and Iraq. All these countries have national prizes, national organizations and media platforms for poets. The Arab countries of Kuwait and the UAE host poetry "idol" on national television in Arabic, China features "Classical Poetry Reciting" shows, America traditionally has a poet read during the Presidential Inauguration ceremony, the "Read Russia" prizes are highly competitive, broadcast nationally and have many categories for poets and poet readers to perform for the cameras.
Most countries require poetry by their ordained "national poets" to be in school curriculum. Poetry and poets are often used by those in power to sway, persuade and inculcate the feelings, values and points of view they want to indoctrinate in their citizenry. Poets, throughout history, have also been arrested, imprisoned and executed just for their words, or for their lack of complicity in a regime. Poets have been proven to be right in their predictions, their observations of human nature and their ability to understand the landscapes of human emotions. This ability often scares people and a common response to fear is suppression and/or denial.
Mystical and religious poets open the doors of perception with different handles than artists, dancers or musicians. Poets can transform a place of poverty, brutality, ugliness and terror into an atmosphere infused with beauty, sensuality, exquisite hope, originality and peace...simply with words. Poets may possess insights and articulate perceptions that non-poets can never match. Poets have gifts money cannot buy or destroy.
True poets will write even if no one reads or publishes their poems. They write because they "must", be it in a stream of consciousness, considered labor or ephemeral inspiration. The quantity is not important. Haiku are considered for their brevity and quality, for example. Touching the spirit or the skin of another human by words, igniting them to action, holding them in comfort with verse after verse, sustaining them through struggle, is part of what the mission of poets is; no matter where they live or how much 'schooling' they may have had.
One small country which recognizes it's native poets and also provided shelter for refugee poets is Aotearoa/New Zealand. Two poets who escaped the wrath of Saddam Hussein, then arrived in New Zealand before the war of 2003, are Najat Abdullah and Basim Furat. Wellington, New Zealand was their home for a few years and Aotearoa gave them a safe place to start to heal and gain strength to travel out and continue their writing.
Above is a photo of Najat Abdullah. I knew Najat in Wellington. She is a powerful poet and courageous human being. After being in exile from Iraq, she returned a few years ago to Baghdad. Fortunately, Najat never stopped writing. She is sought after as a speaker, reader and teacher in many parts of the world. She has five books of poetry published in Arabic and some poems are translated into English. We were able to reconnect while I was in Kurdistan last year.
Basim Furat is still writing. After serving in the Iraqi army as a conscript, then imprisoned under Sadam's rule, he was finally able to flee to New Zealand. He married a Kiwi woman. We met in Wellington where he was one of my patients as well as a fellow writer and reader with the New Zealand International Writers Group. He worked in Wellington in various jobs until he decided to travel, write and work abroad. In 2014, Basim Furat went to Sudan and decided to stay. His latest book of poetry is called, "The Herdsmen's Inkpot" published by Almusawwarat Publishers based in Khartoum.
Here are a few lines from his poem "Here and There" published by HeadWorX, a New Zealand publishing company which published a few of Basim's poetry books.
HERE AND THERE
by Basim Furat
Translated from the Arabic by Abdul Monem Nasser
Edited by Mark Pirie
My sweet refuge!
Your streets are lean like the waists of women
Flanked by dancing trees
Your gardens take me to the Hanging Gardens
Which always lie in my memory
Your rivers are unlike the Euphrates:
I see them starting to sweat
Before the glamour of the Tigris
Your mountains bring me to Assyria and to the Four Deities
They astound me and sneak into my dreams
Poetry doesn't have to rhyme or be in any particular form in the 21st century, but children are often first introduced to poetry by the musicality, rhythm and the ease of rhyming verses. Many song lyrics rhyme making them easier to remember and repeat. Poetry can be commercialized and this is one way poets can earn some extra income-by writing for advertising, marketing and even for political slogans and special events.
Would the world be diminished without poets? Would our human lives be lessened without poetry? Can you recall lines from any poem you learned or heard? Have you ever written a poem to a family member, a romantic interest, to make someone laugh or blush? Have you used a poem to express sympathy, condolences or cheer? Do you remember the words to songs you like by their rhymes? I reckon you have answered more "yes" than "no" to my queries. If so, then you know that poets lives do matter, did matter, in your own life...true?!
The better writers, poets especially, are people who know themselves and have their own permission to express and create without fear of inner or outer censorship. If you are continually worried about choosing words that are going to be considered 'politically correct' and pander to those ever changing modes of "cool"; or deliberately 'dumb down' your verse and message to be 'popular/publishable'- then you are not one of the "Warrior Poets".
Be bold enough to read poetry aloud sometime. Cherish those poems and poets who move you. Read poetry to your children, to any children who like to listen . Don't be afraid to write poetry...hand written poems...to someone you love. Encourage others to write poetry. You can do this anytime of the year, not just during a 'National Poetry Day' or 'Poetry Month'.
Closing this week with a photo of me reading a book of poetry, verses for children to my own children, when they were very young. Both my children continued writing and sometimes wrote poems in cards, to their loved ones and simply for expressing their moods. It is taking courage to share this memory with you, yet I feel the image itself could be viewed as a poem, maybe even a sweet haiku recalling a happy time when we were all still alive, still a family and full of hopes for our futures. I did write a poem inspired by this photo. You can read it if you like, since it is published online. The title is: "What I Miss" allpoetry.com/poem/14123494-What-I-Miss-by-Jo-Patti
Until next week I leave you with a blessing which could also be seen and read as a poem. Originally written in Gaellic, the native Irish language, the author is unknown. In the verse, the reference to wind is thought to be a reference to the Holy Spirit, who came as a “mighty wind” at Pentecost.
For Christians everywhere, Pentecost is seven weeks after Easter Sunday.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
What do you seek in life? I am not speaking of financial or material gain or outward physical fitness or attractiveness or credentials granted by other individuals or organizations? What do you, or would you devote your time and passion toward...regardless of the obstacles? Who would you willingly serve in life, no matter the hardships and danger?
Philosophers, theologians and psychologists in the last few thousand years of human existence, have surmised that human beings are driven by quests for love, for pleasure, for glory and for power. These are temporal, secular searches with the exception of 'love' which can be expanded to: "service above oneself for others" and may include "loving God with all your heart and soul" and therefore serving God as a holy quest and purpose. One defining difference of our species is the capacity to reason. We can choose what to do by making decisions based on our thinking, be they minor or major judgments. We can decide to reject or avoid going on a quest, or distract ourselves from the request (note the root "quest") to seek, as well as accepting the challenge of a quest.
A "quest" may be undertaken on behalf of others or one's family, community or nation; or as a search to find out who one is in the world and or for what tasks and purpose they are living. These are significant questions. (again, note the root "quest") To go on a quest implies there is risk and courage needed to follow through on a route which diverges from most other paths in ordinary life. For most it also includes faith in powers higher than human beings for guidance, protection and clarity on a quest.
If you are fortunate, you may have read, seen or heard about great quests. The stories brought from European and British lore (Arthurian Knights, Parsifal) from the East (stories from Hindu and Buddhist literature, 1001 Arabian Nights) or Native American ceremonial stories (Vision quests and battles) and reports of the explorers may have inspired you to one day pursue your own quest. One may never go on a such a quest in their lifetime, or one may be called for a number of quests at various times in their life.
Throughout written and oral history, quests have been recounted by those who witnessed the return of the seeker or were the seeker themselves. Important quests require preparation, usually involve suffering, sacrifice and the individual undergoes changes which may "break" him/her or forge a stronger, more capable and possibly wiser person afterwards. Quests into nature and the outside world may be concurrent with quests on the inner landscapes and between the "realms" of time, space and consciousness. Venturing into deep forests, down dark caves, climbing up hills and mountains, bearing physical pain, freezing, sweating, bleeding, crying, praying, meditating, hallucinating, ecstatic joy-even dying-may be part of an individual's quest. There are no templates or guarantees for authentic quests. Each one may appear "classic" yet each one is unique.
There are also no shortcuts on authentic quests. In some cultures, initiation ceremonies are part of a life quest. The rituals for these are passed down through generations. Ancient languages are often used during these rites and various "tests" of bravery, fortitude, perseverance, discipline, knowledge and commitment are given by members of the tribe/society in the presence of others. When they have successfully completed all the tasks demanded of them, the individual is presented as an "adult" or a "wise one" or a "messenger" to the tribe and/or community. 'Hazing' in the military, in university clubs, in secret societies and sports groups are a washed down version of these ancient rites of passage. Showing the group administering the "rites" that you are able to perform and complete all actions asked of you, means you have the pre-requisite qualities and capabilities to join them and the resilience to 'bounce back' after difficulties, struggle, humiliation, fatigue and pain. Questing for profound love can also compel you to experience all the aforementioned challenges and rewards. Yet all gains are temporary.
You may lose your hard won love, victory or enlightenment then life may re-direct you to chose another direction, fight more battles, follow another quest or repeat one again. All these pursuits and exertion have one common element-they are undertaken of one's own free will. The labors and searches are done with volition. Motivation must be self generated as well as supported by others. Quests are voluntary journeys...be they quests for knowledge, power, service or romance. If you choose to quest, you must achieve the goals, complete the mission(s), summit those peaks - or die trying.
Some who are bold, competent and brave never make it back from their quest. This past week another three intrepid alpinists and world class climbers died while attempting a treacherous route (MI-6) in the Canadian mountains. One of these young men was an American named Jess Roskelley of Spokane, Washington, USA. He came from a mountain climbing family, and his mother was an educator - like ours. His father, John Roskelley was a renown high altitude climber who took Jess when he was only 19, to climb with him on his 4th attempt to summit Mt. Everest. They both summited making international news. Jess Roskelley was the youngest American to successfully climb, summit and safely return by the time he was 20. His mother, Joyce Roskelley, was a teacher, traveler and capable trekker, among her other talents and skills. His sister Jordan, was a college athlete, who then attained her Masters in Sports Science, and is now at 29 years old, a yoga/meditation teacher for university sports teams.
Jess was a professional welder as well as labelled, "The second most adventurous person in the world...". https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/may/08/spokane-alpinist-jess-roskelley-named-second-most-/ Jess Roskelley married a woman in 2015, he described as his soulmate, Allison (32). They did not have any children.
Although it was Jess and his mates choice-(two Austrian young men-one, David Lama, whose father was a Nepalese mountain guide and his mother a nurse) to attempt a very risky route on the ice in those mountains; the ones who need the strength and courage for resilience now are those they left behind.
I know only too well how hard a climb through life will continue to be for them. My own son, Denali would have been 31years old later this week. He was born on April 27, 1988 in Macksville, Australia and was killed on K-2 along with his father, Marty Schmidt, who was attempting his personal quest of trying to summit K2 for the third time, in July 2013. He took our son with him on his quest...all the way to their deaths.
It is haunting to see the prophetic painting Denali did entitled: "Buried" and the photo of Jess in a red outer jacket and black frame goggles shortly before his death where he likely was "buried in an avalanche" this past week. In addition to their mothers, they both left grieving sisters behind, too. (see photos below) At least Jordan Roskelley has both her parents and her older sister, Dawn still living. John Roskelley is now 70 years old.
There are holy grails in many forms as quests.
My thoughts and prayers extend to the Roskelley, Lama and Auer families and those who know them. I truly hope that now they have found the bodies of their family members, as well as some personal items including phones/photos of their last hours, this will help with the agonizing grieving that is sure to come after the shock wears off. www.khq.com/news/family-of-spokane-climber-jess-roskelley-issue-statement-after-his/article_0b42c8a6-6467-11e9-bed2-531c0a1e2f79.html
Now that Easter and Passover have been celebrated around the world and the message of survival, resurrection, Spring and re-birth has been proclaimed; I hope each of you will continue or begin your quest, if you so choose. Even if you decide not to proceed, perhaps you can support those who choose to endeavor or continue on their quest.
This week I include music from the Wagnerian opera, Parsifal. This was Richard Wagner's final opera and he wrote it when he was quite desperate having experienced death in his own family, poverty, brutal reviews of his work and scorn. As a person, Richard Wagner was very controversial and unfortunately others appropriated his music for their own nefarious and brutal aims, after his death. However his music is sublime. Wagner's compositions stand the test of time.
The person who posted this music/video (linked below) included photos of mountains-including K2 and Mt. Everest-in the video. It seems a fitting tribute to all those who have crossed the threshold this week and to remember those who crossed over before, and their impact on the living.
Other reference sites about the remarkable Alexandra David-Neel and about Richard Wagner, are included this week for a number of reasons. Alexandra David-Neel's books and Wagner's music inspired me when I was a teenager. They either wrote about, composed or hiked themselves in the mountains of the world.
In remembering those who have crossed over I want to mention a teacher who also had an deep impact on my life. Dr. Dobson, taught a year long course on Wagner and music drama my first year at university. He played all the Wagnerian lietmotivs on the piano and required we knew every one by ear and heart. He would have his back to us sitting at the piano with his long white hair, as we entered class. He always began with at least one musical phrase before he ever uttered a word. Dr. Dobson created a reverence in his classroom seldom achieved anywhere. He demanded exact listening and memory skills and instilled in us a love for expressive music and story telling. Dr. Dobson could separate the genius of Wagner from the flaws he had as a human being. www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/symbolismproject/symbolism.html/Teutonic_Mythology/wagleit.html
Please take a few minutes to read of their extraordinary lives and contribution to all of humankind. The links are posted below.
Please also take a moment to hold those who have been killed by terrorists, accidents, illness or other means this week, in your prayers. Hold those left behind in your thoughts as well. The struggle of those who survive requires enormous resolve, restraint and resilience.
From central Texas until next Tuesday, may God bless you and yours,
Mountains of the World:
Music by Wagner from "Parsifal": www.youtube.com/watch?v=f841xVf39KA
Before the 1990's there was a movement both in the social and economic sectors in most western countries to promote "Family Friendly" policies, places and products. In previous decades children were not often taken or permitted to be by themselves in public spaces such as restaurants, airports, political demonstrations, workplaces, or establishments where there was "adult entertainment". Businesses would advertise, "family friendly" meaning children were 'welcome' to accompany adults. Then in a shift in tactic, and a not so subtle pivot from incorporating and promoting "families" to emphasis only on "the children" - advertising/media focused their message to be simply, "child friendly" locations, policies and consumer goods.
In fact in 1996, the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) came out with an ambitious program and numerous research papers on a project they titled: Child Friendly Cities Initiative. This was under a larger more ambitious world wide design they had created for the entire planet called: "The 2030 Agenda".
Based on research indicating that by 2015, over four billion of the world's population would be living in urban areas, and of those one third or approximately 1,333,333,333 would be/are children; and reviewing data that projected by 2050, 70% of the planet's population would be living in urban areas/cities and if the current trends continued, at least half of those children would be living below the poverty line and many would be living in slums; UNICEF proposed an initiative which supports municipal governments through funding and "advising" to work toward a number of goals for improving their cities with a focus on the needs of children.
One of the first countries to sign on to this initiative was Italy in 1996. Italy had been known as one of the more "child oriented and child friendly" countries in the world at that point. Part of the "child friendly" programs centered on safe spaces for sports and recreation. (see photo below) Securing areas so they are protected from traffic, (by barriers, fences, walls, tunnels) as well as providing access to clean water and clean air, are/were priorities for Italy. These were ideal aims to motivate other countries signing on to the program.
The project includes "youth councils" connected to UNICEF where children are "encouraged to participate in activities and report on violations or problem areas in their cities, which affect children". There are apps children can download to their phones to send information/evidence into a UNICEF cluster. For a more in depth analysis of the 2030 goals/endgames, click on this link: www.activistpost.com/2015/09/agenda-2030-translator.html
UNICEF sponsors conferences and forums for "youth in cities" and provides funding for attending workshops for youth from different parts of the world. UNICEF collects data from their "youth ambassadors" in "child friendly cities" projects which conduct surveys, compile photos, documents, present policy actions for analysis by United Nations and UNICEF staff. "To promote child participation, the National Committee of UNICEF's Child Friendly City Initiative is also working on an innovative project with the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). The project’s aim is to include adolescents in the development of the next national survey (2019) to help collect information on the behaviour of boys and girls aged between 10 and 19 years living in Italy. The data will be aggregated to show the situation of children living at the city level." childfriendlycities.org/italy/
While on the surface, all these activities appear positive and proactive, the underlying and concurrent schemes involve directing children's attention (and allegiance) from their families, primary caregivers, community members, teachers, religious elders and authorities to a "global organization" for reporting, confiding and addressing their individual and local concerns. It does not mention privacy, bias, respect for traditional customs/culture, or age appropriate tasks and responsibilities sensitive to local beliefs. Is this really so different from countries or movements whose leaders use technology to command reporting and allegiance to the state and/or their form of government/dictatorship/theocracy? www.wired.co.uk/article/china-study-the-great-nation-app
The deliberate shift from family or local community connections to a much larger, complex and impersonal organization actually diminishes the voice and individuality and unique significance of a child. The child is early on regarded as an "asset"...or not. There can be thousands or millions just like her/him. This is not "child friendly" this is global new world order friendly-programming children to their needs while disregarding developmental stages. The child's needs are viewed to be subordinate to their data industrial complex (DIC) priorities. This is not done from a basis of caring, responsiveness or love. Children are used as agents of the United Nations through UNICEF. Their mission is advertised and disseminated as a worthwhile and even an "urgent" objective. Who dares oppose or object to an international, multicultural initiative?! There is considerable pressure, especially on children, to "go with the flow", conform and passively consent to the strongest narratives. But, this is fundamentally "anti child" in a move to condition children to respond first to a multinational organization for challenges in their local communities. The "change agent" here is the United Nations via children.
In the past few years, in mostly western "developed" nations, there has been pressure exerted on families, schools, societies to accept completely unscientific or medically proved concepts regarding gender biology. Children are being deliberately "cross dressed", pumped full of pharmaceutical drugs to alter their behavior and physiology, paraded on media as eroticized, created, "intersectional" creatures, flaunted in adult entertainment clubs, bars and lounges and exploited for political, economic and adult egocentric motives. They are being used as "assets" for commercial, political, economic and some might say, for "satanic" purposes. "Leftist ideology regarding transgenderism not only contradicts existing progressive doctrines (feminism), but is also literally false. Do not ever apologize for rejecting their unscientific hogwash. This noisy .001% of the population is sick and should not be allowed to dictate to the rest of us. You are being ordered to believe in a fairy tale—the idea that a dog can transform into a cat if it just wishes for it hard enough—and this is where the danger lies." www.reaxxion.com/10078/why-we-need-to-fight-against-transgender-acceptance
Their individuality, natural developmental stages, normal curiosity, observational skills and privacy have been twisted to make them into unwitting "change agents" for the interests and investments of those who plot to disrupt and confuse the next generations by forcing "acceptance" of this anti-child agenda including an imposed censorship on speech and critical thinking. No matter if the predominant indoctrination includes racism (Black Lives Matter movement), Islamic caliphate extremism,(Jihad) Neo Nazism or gang credos-children are the most vulnerable to be victims and purveyors of the presiding belief systems they are brought up and surrounded with, by the society they are born into. www.wnd.com/2016/05/whats-really-behind-americas-transgender-mania/
As parents, children are our most precious and treasured loved ones. As societies one would hope children would be considered our most important "resource", yet increasingly, nations are devaluing children as children. More and more, countries are transforming into "anti child" nations. In this regard it is important to re-read Ayn Rand's prophetic observations and warnings: “The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by precedent, by implication, by erosion, by default, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other—until the day when they are suddenly declared to be the country’s official ideology.”
Fortunately, there are some societies and countries which encourage children to be individual, strong and resourceful as they go through the stages of human development. These countries are working on different initiatives for children. The "Forest Schools" were founded in the 1950s in Scandinavia. These schools have spread to a few other countries. Here is a short video report about this true "child friendly" initiative in education. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jkiij9dJfcw
Certainly it is easier to care for and educate children in rural areas outside crowded cities, in countries which have a robust economy and a literate citizenry; but it is also imperative that a society or nation value healthy and capable children. There are diverse ways of viewing children in our world. Not all societies see children as a national treasure, or feel a noble and moral duty to cherish them, to view them as irreplaceable rather than as commodities, cogs, cannon fodder or slaves in their ever expanding empire. (see map below) Values are not global or immutable.
For those of you, dear readers, who have, love and/or work with children, I salute you and urge you to be alert to these "programs", social engineering agendas and "global initiatives"-the cons and the pros-for the sake of our next generations. Included is a link to a video I highly recommend which discusses one of the more powerful psychological operations conducted on children and therefore all of society: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_RtHctpV1A
From the Lone Star State until next week,