DAY of ACTION on the 20th Anniversary of the outrageous executions of writer and campaigner Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 Ogoni men.
8:00 – 10:30am, VIGIL at SHELL, Shell Centre, Waterloo, London, SE1 7NA
Gather at Shell to demand environmental justice in Ogoniland using Ken’s own words, and mark the lives of each of the Ogoni 9. Called by MOSOP (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People) and Action Saro-Wiwa
19:00 (doors open 18:00) , DANCE THE GUNS TO SILENCE II – music, spoken word, performance, DJ. At Rich Mix. £10.00/£5.00 (adv & concs)
Major celebration with performance poets, writers, musicians, and filmmakers, with an introduction by Lazarus Tamana, Coordinator of MOSOP.
Read more about Ken Saro-Wiwa and the struggle against Shell in the Niger Delta here
Music from Virtual Migrants, headliners Bumi and Dele, DJ Tillah Willah, spoken word from Dorothea Smartt, Young Poet Laureate for London Selina Nwulu, Zena Edwards, Sai Murray and the Numbi family.
Plus updates on live events in the Niger Delta. Dance the Guns is a co-production between Numbi, Action Saro-Wiwa and Sable LitMag. Hosted by Kadija Sesay (Sable) and Kinsi Abdulleh (Numbi). Come and make some noise for Ken, whose people are still fighting for justice.
See you there. Book Now.
by Atillah Springer, the LAB and ZIFF
The notion of development is often a tricky concept to navigate. We have bartered with market women from Kingston to Accra and walked the hills of Haiti, denuded of mahogany forests to repay France, and know that entrepreneurship lives, but that wealth remains elusive for many in the Global South, and that a country may have untold natural wealth, quickly decimated and gone to enable another’s growth. By contrast, we have lived and worked in the major cities of the Global North, where there remains insufficient awareness that its comfort and development is built on a result of centuries of heavily asymmetrical systems. We observe vestiges of this past where inequalities persist among nations and discrimination and exclusion also manifests. Moreover, tens of years after decolonisation, the view of development still remains largely defined based on the likeness to the Global North.
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A community betrayed is a community undone. It is a neverending story of the human condition played out in Trinidad and Tobago’s own often brutal history, at endless moments when communities have made attempts to stand against injustice. In the absence of armed struggle, right to recall, effective or enforced environmental laws, and other forms of justice for communities, we laugh through our anger and frustration — and beat a bobolee instead.
Like so many other cultural forms in Trinidad and Tobago, the Good Friday bobolee — usually made of simple household materials — is a piece of performance art that goes much deeper than its ragged clothes. A bobolee is a public shaming of those who think that title, position, or social status are any protection from the wrath of the people.
Read the original article in the Current Issue of Caribbean Beat here:
I’m planning my first trip to Haiti next month as part of Ayiti Resurrect a collective of artists, farmers, holistic healers and cultural workers who have come together to contribute their skills to healing the trauma of post-earthquake Haiti.
We’re just $500 away from our goal of USD10,000, which goes towards supporting community based programmes in farming, the arts, women’s empowerment, computer literacy, sustainable energy.
I’m excited about this project because it represents a critical shift in the approach to ‘charity work’. It’s not about giving handouts and being the saviour, it’s about being there and asking the community what their needs are and doing the work that leads to sustainable livelihoods.
So if you have please give and if you don’t please share the info with someone who might. Also if you’re in Trinidad we are hosting an event on April 9th at Big Black Box at which you can contribute cash and/or essential needs like First Aid items, women’s sanitary wear, small toys (no guns please).
We write to inform you that an Assembly of Citizens drawn from a number of civil society organisations has joined the call for a halt to the parliamentary debate on the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2014.
The Assembly, which was held under the auspices of the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies on Sunday 24 August, 2014, wishes to alert you to the fact that the proposed amendment to the Constitution has been brought before you without input from the public. This is in direct contradiction to the Prime Minister’s pledge of engaging “a system of participatory democracy” as the basis of the Commission’s work. Specifically, we point you to her statement on the occasion of the launch of the Commission on March 02, 2013:
“We believe that the Constitution should reflect the collective will of the citizens of this country.We have learnt from the failings of some previous attempts at reform, which did not truly take into account the concerns of the most important stakeholders in this country, the people.We recognize that change must come from the people.We therefore are not adopting a “top-down” approach. Instead, through the consultation process, the views and expression of the people will be considered and will then become the basis upon which a draft document is prepared. “
We draw your attention to the fact that the proposal of a run-off vote as contained in the Bill before you, was not the subject of any public discussion before being tabled in the Parliament. We therefore urge you to exercise your judgment and authority to ensure that this omission is properly repaired before the Bill is taken to the vote.
We feel certain that you have a clear understanding of the difference between what is legal and what is right in the context of a representative Democracy. As custodians of the public interest, we urge you to utilize your Constitutional power and responsibility to ensure that this amendment to the Constitution, which is being brought to you unprotected by the requirement for a special majority vote, does not move past the Senate without the benefit of broad public consultation in line with the mandate given to the Constitution Reform Commission.
Saturday night found me, despite my considerable lack of grace and coordination, I found myself sweaty and dancing at the Hindu Prachar Kendra post Ramdilla festivites. There is a way that dancing with children makes you feel alive and I was thankful for that moment of freedom.
On the way out, I confessed to Ravi Ji in the way that you can only confess to people to whom your mother may have complained in the not so distant past about your waywardness that I feel like I’m just not doing enough. The children of this generation for whom so much was sacrificed, so much danger dodged, so many battles fought, we’re just not doing enough.
So in wise uncle mode, Ravi ji tells this story as told to him by his aja. There was a man from a village who was very well known. One day the man is riding through the village on his donkey and then for some reason the donkey takes off at a pace down the road. The village pundit sees the well known, well loved, well respected man pelting down the road holding on for dear life and shouts after him something like ‘Jagdeo Maharaj whey yuh goin!’ and mr jagdeo responds ‘doh aks me, aks de donkey!’
I started writing this before I knew that Rhea Mungal had done the inconceivable and decided that she was ready to leave us.
But the moral of Ravi Ji’s aja’s story is, sometimes all we can do is hold on, even when life gets a little crazy and unpredictable.
Every story has a point. Every tragedy has a lesson. Every community has a Rhea Mungal. But each of these you have to find and nurture and understand and pass on.
Mrs. Ashby used to say back in the days on the frontline in Chatham, a stupid man is bad enough, but a stupid woman mus dead. Well right now I real vex because Rhea Mungal was by no means a stupid woman. Yet we have to contend with a lot of stupid blasted men in this country everyday. That is why Rhea fought. That is why Rhea did what she did.
I am thankful for Rhea holding on to this jackass called activism. She held on and fought hard not just in her own community but for all kinds of movements, here and beyond. I am thankful because she found ways to laugh and keep fighting and keep hoping and holding on despite and in spite of. I am thankful because she was one of those relentlessly amazing Trinidad women who hold on despite the sexism, despite the belittling, despite her commitments to family, despite her own personal struggles. I am thankful for all the women like Rhea who will never get to sit on a state board. Who will never get a national award. Who will never have a street in their name. Who do the work the men will never do and then some. Who are afraid of nothing but their own dissatisfaction.
I was writing this originally for Rhonda. And then I checked my email and saw a message that Rhea Mungal had just died.
Now I am writing this for me. And for everyone else who is worried about holding on for the wild jackass ride.
Hold on a little longer. Please. If not for yourself, for Rhea. For the women who hold on to nothing but ideas.
Hold on for all the Rheas who hold this country together. Without them we would have nothing but jackasses running about.