Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Zimbabwean, 25 Sep 2008. Page 1

The Zimbabwean
25 Sep 2008

Friday, 29 August 2008

'On Breydon Water-Sea-Fog'

Peter Henry Emerson

This man was part of my inspiration to become a photographer from an early age - although I suppose I only really got into his ways of seeing when I was an early teen type person!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Out Today WHO Report on Social Inequality - A Must Read!!


Closing the gap in a generation - Health equity through action on the social determinants of health

The Commission
calls for closing
the health gap
in a generation

"A new global agenda for health equity

Our children have dramatically different life chances depending on where
they were born. In Japan or Sweden they can expect to live more than
80 years; in Brazil, 72 years; India, 63 years; and in one of several African
countries, fewer than 50 years. And within countries, the differences in life
chances are dramatic and are seen worldwide. The poorest of the poor
have high levels of illness and premature mortality. But poor health is not
confined to those worst off. In countries at all levels of income, health and
illness follow a social gradient: the lower the socioeconomic position, the
worse the health.
It does not have to be this way and it is not right that it should be like
this. Where systematic differences in health are judged to be avoidable by
reasonable action they are, quite simply, unfair. It is this that we label health
inequity. Putting right these inequities – the huge and remediable differences
in health between and within countries – is a matter of social justice.
Reducing health inequities is, for the Commission on Social Determinants
of Health (hereafter, the Commission), an ethical imperative. Social injustice
is killing people on a grand scale."

Key facts on health

Spending on health per person per year:

  • UK average: £1,400
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: £5
  • World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended minimum: £17

Health workers:

  • WHO’s recommended minimum is five health workers per 2,000 people
  • In some countries there is only one health worker per 1,000 people
  • In Europe there are ten per 1,000
  • Global shortage of health workers will be 4 million by 2015

The coordination problem:

  • there are more than 40 bilateral donors
  • 26 UN agencies
  • 20 global and regional funds and
  • 90 global health initiatives

20% of UK direct aid to countries goes to health = £515 million a year

Total DFID health spend is close to £800 million – this includes money we give to agencies, the UN and Civil Society

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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A walk on Llandanog Beach. 11:57:44 AM November 19th 2000

Sand footprintsImage by nualabugeye via Flickr Sunshine On A Rainy Day

This is dedicated to a friend of mine, Penny. Cheers lass (-:

A walk on Llandanog Beach. 11:57:44 AM November 19th 2000

It was very cold when I got there. But bright. I parked and got my light fawn coat out of the back of the car. As I walked towards the beach path two people came from the beach, walking towards me. I was just adjusting my sleeves for maximum warmth when the man spoke.

“Make sure you wrap up warm”.

Just that.

“Two coats”. I replied with a smile on my face.

But they were gone. Backs towards me. Out of my life.

I turned and finished arranging myself. The wind was seriously intent on being chilly. Biting. As my foot hit the stones that sit along the top of Llandanog beach I started singing.

I’m on the beach alone

looking at stones

I’m singing out words

To an empty world

With no one around

No need for profound

Stepping on rocks

Whilst others just sleep

Keep looking around

To see who is listening

To my song

See the washing hanging

On the line

A beachside bungalow

People around

But no one is visible

Keep singing the words that I find.

The big stones towards Harlech get hit by the Sun

I get my digital camera out and click away.

From that moment on till the end of the walk my camera is strapped on my wrist.

I play a game that I play on the beach at Llandanog. This beach is the only one close with stepping stones. I step from stone to stone, using it to improve my balance and my calmness.

As I step my way towards the sea and then away I look for something that will catch my eye, actively seeking something different.

It might be the sand blasted drink can locked under a rock. The number of times a beautiful shell has been locked under a rock so it would be hard to get at without breaking it and there is a man made can in the same predicament. Boring to anyone else but I photo it anyway.

Green glass. Sand washed and soapy or just in the making. A woman I know would like to collect lots of it. So I think of her as I pass every bit without picking it up. She and I aren’t talking at the moment.

My head jumps inside itself and the walking becomes semi automatic. Thoughts that should be put to one side bubble forth like water from stepped on bogland and flood my stone stepping times.

Away once again from my head and I am back in the land of the .. oak leaf.

Oak leaf

Beech leaf

On the beach.

Symbolism run rife.

With added tide



Grains and leaves

Ash and elm

Washed and wet.

All brown

A strange mix.

The Sun. Back to the walk and a new set of rocks as I make my way Shell Island direction towards the end of the break water.

Sea foam and people. A group. One with a purple coat. One walks nearer the water’s edge. I think, now, that she was stepping in the foam.

As they move down the beach I angle across and end up flumphing my feet into the spume pie topping. I walk in the water and think of an old friend, Nick, who died after showing me the joys of wet feet and good conversation. The Sun and dark clouds look well together against the backdrop of Llyn hills

And the sea scud wraps the shoreline. Wet sand. Dry sand. People in between.

Bird gait marks. Criss cross and stagger some light and others deep. Man’s feet and bird’s feet fill the same space at different times but could they really have been friends walking side by side in idle contemplation of the other’s view?

Shells and things

And leaves again

Rainbow sky’s

And hands of men

Inscribe the steel clad

Slate built warrior

Who guards the entrance

To the calm

I walk further than normal as I follow the creak up to its end in Pensarn.

There is a boat by the shore and I look inside it. Half filled with clear water. Sea or rain. Try it? Nah! A land snail, upside down in the bow.

Take it with me to grasses green.

A camera in one hand a snail in the other.


I walk again. Meandering through the grasses across the muddy plain that marks the boundary between Neptune and Gwynedd County Council, the Queen, The National Parks Authority and Other Men inc.

The snail gets dropped into a thicket of old rose and bramble with the thought that other creatures are likely to be living there that might eat this snail sooner than if I had left it in the bow of the boat.

Nearly back at the car.

Near the old church stands a group of four people. Christians. Uh oh. What do I look like? Will they judge? They move in time with me. Clearing my way so that I don’t have to walk by them. The little wadi is filled with water. Normally it is dry. The lovers gate is a pond where feet step. I step in and say thanks to Nick, again.

I get into the car and the rain restarts.

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Michael Ryan, Hungerford - written in 1999

Barge on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Hungerford...Image via Wikipedia
Michael Ryan. A man to be, to some extent, envied by those of us who can't get our message across. he showed his dis-satisfaction with society in the only way left open to him. he set out to destroy life. The very thing society shows us is sacrosanct he blew to pieces. Then he turned his gun on himself. Well, he was in a corner and had been most of his life. A corner where the inside of his head was festering away with pain and confusion while, to all intents and purposes, the rest of society walked steadily on having good times and getting better. But, in showing his confusion and fear in the way he did, he also did what we all know is the last resort of those at the wrong end of the enlightenment trail. He took the lives of others.

The trouble with that last comment is that, in the society I live, and he lived, in we are shown time and time again that killing is not necessarily wrong and, when no one listens, it is sometimes the most easily accessible method of saying " I have had enough". The problem is, until you do something like he did, no one listens. Even afterwards it becomes too easy to justify his actions as those of loner rather than those of an adult that no one would listen to. It is all the more enlightening to see how much was spent on the victims of Michael Ryan and their relatives after he had his 'way'. Why was so little spent in the years preceding 'Hungerford', at school and afterwards, on trying to catch and help people like him before it became too late? Even now there is an outcry from local health workers and doctors for more money to be spent on preventative measures rather than on post-trauma care. Our society is fine as long as no one like Michael Ryan comes along and shows us how badly we have failed.

Michael Ryan represents the loner with mixed-up feelings about most of what society has to offer. Who represents the other groups of people, legion in this country, who have major hang-ups about our way of running society?

Having forgotten Michael Ryan what excuses will we make for the next killer who has finally had enough?

With child abuse- real, not imagined- on the increase and animal abuse rising as well, with stress related diseases increasing as well as mental diseases like Paranoia, how soon is society going to get the next 'Hungerford'?

We live in a society which is stressed to the nines- where, as long as you have money, living is a good experience- rich and rewarding for many, until someone decides to pull the plug on the satisfaction you have taken for granted up till then. Up to that moment you take it for granted that the help, that society is always saying is there, really does exist. It is only on that downward slide that you find out that the only help is words spoken by people who have little or no comprehension of the true nature of insecurity. Every single member of the health service, the social services, banks, building societies, are fully paid, and paid-up, members of the silent majority,those people who have enough sense of society to know which side of life the butter is on. Sods Law is unlikely to show them the slope towards oblivion. Middlemen are a governments meal-ticket, whichever government it is and wherever it is, no government is going to unduly disturb that buffer zone between rich and poor. If it does take from them it gives with the other hand, keeping that balance that makes it easy for these middle men to say " It's nothing to do with me" or, more to the point " There's nothing I can do about your situation".

We now live in a society which has more inner fears than it knows what to do with. Mr. Average fears lack of money more than he fears death- for lack of money is limbo. The perspiration of fear has been drowning this country for a long time now and all we are shown is how to live under water. The rich don't drown and the middle men tread water whilst we, on the bottom, suck what little oxygen we can from the box in the corner. But television, whilst giving us hope also gives us desperation. Is it any wonder that 'live today- pay tomorrow' is the credo of Thatcherism if we are constantly shown what 'real' people have in the way of possessions and freedom, in the way of good working conditions and family life. No wonder it is the negative emotions and feelings that tend to be upper-most in the minds of most people; apathy, anger, greed, selfishness, frustration. Yet, for some people these emotions don't seem to exist. Those with money from the past, those in good jobs, those whose pasts have not precluded them from the government grants and state aid for businesses. The rest of us drown and our dreams drown with us- how much better would this society have been if we had been given the chance to put in- to help in our own ways. I envy you Michael, you're out of the way now.

2008 - To reiterate - I do not advocate violence -

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Dawn in Peng Chau, Hong Kong.Image via Wikipedia
There are days when it is all I can do to open my eyes. Forty years old, and too many simple, childish pleasures that I am unlikely ever to know drown my joy of life and paint my dawn in shades and shadows. My eyes falter and my mind reminds me of the barrenness of the future day and my eyes shut again. Then again there are those days when there is too much to do and no resources to do any of it. I wake up and my mind is instantly filled with cross-wired mayhem, this, that, this, that. How do you do even two things when there is distance between them and both involve the use of resources that only one can have the use of?

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Me on Me 1998

Image via Wikipedia I am?

I have a black whole where my face should be.
An Arabic ancestor stalks my veins
and sees with the eyes that are set within
this faceless vision I do not see.
My great, great grandmother speaks
the brogueish tongue of Ireland's warmth
out of this mouth that focuses attention
on the now face of my life.

Catholic and agnostic vie
for serious use of the muscles of my mind,
reflecting anything they wish
over the pool of my features.

I am a cosmopol and I am a thief.
I am a country man and I am alone.
Each of those within me
makes a lonesome wholesome one
which walks as I do,
matching step for step my stride, my laugh,
my tears.

I feud.

Each right within me
has its counter-acting wrong.
My dark is light my light is gray
and red and ochre tinged-
sky within a water colour.
The mirror
and the other lives that cross my path
show a differing story.

I am Mark. I am brother,
son, husband, father, friend, neighbour.
I am boring, I am clever,
I am the answer to a prayer, I am the problem.
I am the groove that others stick in.
I am stuck myself.
I fly in my mind and falter over fallow fields.
I steal the face of others.
I laugh when they laugh. I cry when they cry.
Everything I do- am, has been before.

There is one difference.

I am this combination of all these things.
I have not been this grouping of differences before.
Possibly I have met in past lives with those I meet now,
said similar words as My whole produces now.
I am me.


A never before uniqueness
that builds upon that strangeness
every day and night
that I am.

I am falling.
The words are my weights.
Deep into the ocean depths.
Past light-blind sadness,
past the shoals of other thoughts.
I am a bottom dweller in dark sub terrania.
I open my eyes,
tilt my head
and see the heavens.
Too clear a view
for one so ever-hung with weighty substance.
Is the substance all my own imagining?
I know I must be alone down here
but others move towards me.

Each feels that the depth is theirs-
created out of thoughts and singularities.
Their spaces are different from my spaces.
I visit and feel refreshed.
More me and more a-whole.

I can rise,
bubbles drift past
in soundless expectation of their surface pop.
Will I mix into nothing as they will?
Am I to become part of the heaven barrier
that keeps us apart from the sky jewels?
If I am flying now what then happens at the top?
Is there a top for me?
Questions asked cause me to sink,
receding into muddy floors
where other questioners
drag their weighty wonders in their wake.
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1998 Can you really be serious?

Map of the First, Second and Third worlds duri...Image via Wikipedia
This was written in 1998 when everything was going wrong with me, my mind especially - Grand Mal Epilepsy and clinical depression - I don't kill flies if I can help it! But, sometimes anger boils up and words get said...

Can you really be serious when you ask why the bombers bomb you and your society? Just add a few more years of your crap to my diet and I will be bombing you as well.

I have had too many years of your blind indifference, your advertised bullshit, your easy acceptance of

Are you blind to the wrongs your society inflicts on innocent people every minute of every day of their lives?

The dishonesty inherent in your society is built in at base level- like the building blocks used for childhood creativity. Only your building blocks are flawed, uneven, crooked.

A first world country? What makes a country fit this category? Greed? Selfishness? The ability to build in lies and the ability to force outsiders to swallow these lies?

What lies? What dishonesties? You ‘honestly’ think that you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

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Marital Abuse Poem 1997

A sniper from the Jalalabad Provincial Reconst...Image via Wikipedia "So", said the husband,
pulling on his hair,
"I'm the malformed, stunted one.
Well. I must declare"!

The row was in full spate by now.
Neither side would budge
from their intransigent positions
on the over-hanging bluffs.

The cannons and the rifles,
the snipers, rank by rank,
shot their load repeatedly....
Bloodied, but unbowed,
the male staggered on-

just then the interruption came-
the sodding telephone.

"YES!" he yomped precariously.
Did he care a sod
who knew what was happening
on his worldly plot?

"Yes?" he questioned, softer now.
The silence was profound.

"Hi Mate. Is she there?"

Now the row was crowned.

"Your boyfriend wants to chat you up!"
He then slammed down the phone,
"Well, he can fucking have you!"
The final seed was sown.

Stopping in full spate
she leapt to talk to him.
The fight was near forgotten
at the thought of this good friend.

"Hello. how's things?"
"Oh. So so".
"I Heard. Why don't you just leave?"
"I wish I knew that answer.
I thing I must be weird."
"You’re not weird. It's him.
I always said he was.
He's an ignorant old pillock.
You should give him the shove."


"Should I?"


"Shall I come and get you?"
"You know the mood he's in.
If you turned up he'd kill you.
He doesn't understand..."

The wire came from the socket.
The phone went really dead.

"I didn't".
He doesn't understand" he mocked
"He doesn't understand.
Who the hell are you to say
what is in my mind?"
"As the ONLY woman in my life
I think you must be blind.
All the times I've told you
of the thoughtful things I do
and all that you can think of
is who you want to screw!
FUCK OFF. I've had enough of you!"

The lady felt so useless.
Alone and all but spent.
No energy to carry on.
She really should have left.
But something kept her there.
Abuse still in her ears.
Through all the pain and anguish.
Through all the sickening fears.
She still felt the love she had
for him for all those years.

His whirlwind of anger spent.
Drained of every ounce.
He sat there so silently.
His inside head was mush.

He heard the kettle clicking on.
He heard the sound of cups
He, faintly, heard her asking
what he'd like to drink.
His head was fucked up badly
he just couldn't think a thing.
All the ugly words he'd said
had made that inside ring
that stopped him knowing what to think
about any sodding thing.

Tea came.

Time cooled down.

He wanted her so badly.....

but he couldn't ask her now.

The children were in bed.
The night was drawing on.

He slept on the sofa...

a new row was coming on.

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Mind Mess 16/10/1996

Myth Takes album coverImage via Wikipedia
Write down what you think.

When your thoughts are muddled and your head is a riot of cross talk, the asteroids of angst and perplexity caroom from side to side, top to bottom, tearing and shreding the warp and weft of your normality.

write down what you think.

Only then will concrete pathways thread their ways through the caverns of your mind.

Only then will the ways of your reality become clear

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14/4/1996 Forgive and Forget? Yeah, Right!

Image describing the percentage of Irish speak...Image via Wikipedia

Time heals all.

Race memory proves this adage false. The memories of long ago pain are left behind by the majority as society ploughs forward into changing spaces but, for the few, who were damaged most by the iniquities of actions lived through by those long dead, there is a locking of time. The hatred created by the past lives on and cannot be released by platitudes and hope-filled actions of today's new thinkers. Four hundred years of Irish pain, forty years of Palestinian angst, it is easy to see why a minority might feel the need for revenge on a country full of those who see their anger as 'long past its sell-by date'- it was not those of today who had their homes and land taken from them, every country has something to be ashamed of in its past, look forwards, not backwards. Each statement of today, which adds other reasons for letting go of the pain, only adds to that pain and renews it. Each year that adds weight to the new tenants claim on their land adds weight to the angry voice of yesterday that still stalks through the minds of the bombers of now.

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Love is... (-:

Nerves of the wall of the nasal cavityImage via Wikipedia
...basking in the warmth of his bodily exhausts she wondered at the ability of her nasal passages that they could so readily give up their prime function when the cold, arctic air dictated that living was more important than sensing his last meals pungency.

..he, on the other hand, felt the exhalation but thought nothing of it as he realised his writing was about as potent as ... he couldn't thing of anything of so little potency that its effect was as nothing, so he farted once more and relapsed into mental stupor.

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Grier Rabid and the Crispy lettuce

Navajo Churro SheepImage by Just chaos via Flickr
Well, ol' Grier Rabid he say to hiself as to how he should be richer than he is at the moment. But. How is he to do this? He sits and he thinks and he thinks and he sits and, suddenly he realises that lettuce
is the answer. Now, if he likes lettuce, he reasons, then others might like it too. So off he hops to his own private lettuce patch deep within the ol' briar patch and he stuffs his pockets full of the crispest, tastiest leaves.

Down the long and dusty road he goes until he reaches the public house. he hops up to the door and knocks. After waiting for a while he opens the door and hops inside. The noise is deafening, every form of animal is inside and each one is trying to cry louder than the next. The wolf howls and is drowned out by the bleating of the sheep, the bear roars and is blocked by the crowing of the rooster. Grier Rabid is standing there wondering what to do next when one of the sheep says to him "Well? What do you want, ol' Grier Rabid?"

" I want to be richer than I am now" He says.

"What have you got to offer?" says Mr Sheep

"I got some crisp, tasty lettuce leaves" say ol' Grier Rabid.

" That'll do" say ol' Mr Sheep, his eyes shinning at the sight of such green, green lettuce. " Go home ol' Grier Rabid and I will help you get richer". Grier Rabid goes home and waits.

So, Mr Sheep takes the lettuce and scoffs it all down in one. Suddenly Mr Sheep lets out a cry that stills the room.

"I think you all ought to give ol' Grier Rabid lots of riches" he says, finishing the tasty green lettuce.

now, for some unknown reason- not really coupled to the sight of Mr Sheep eating those juicy leaves, all of the animals in the public house think this is a good idea.

From that day on ol' Grier Rabid gets richer and richer and he sits and gloats over all his wealth. He keeps handing out fresh, green and crispy leaves and his piles of wealth get higher and higher until, one day, he has all of the wealth in the world.

Now, ol' Grier Rabid is sitting outside of his brier patch one gentle evening when Mr Policeman comes by.

"You've been a wrong rabid" Mr Policeman says.

" How so?" say ol' Grier Rabid.

"You have been giving Mr Sheep and his friends lots of nice green and crispy lettuce so that he can help you get richer"

"And what's wrong with that?" Grier Rabid asks.

"Your leaves are juicer and tastier than anything any one else has offered which is why you now have all the wealth in the world" says ol' Mr policeman.

"So?" says ol' Grier Rabid.

"It's unfair trading" carries on Mr Policeman. " You stopped other animals from getting hold of wealth because of your juiciest, best lettuce... you should have played fair and bribed Mr Sheep with money like everyone else"

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Label - 10/04/1996

Children in Khorixas, NamibiaImage via Wikipedia

Acting like children. It's not acting. It is the way this world really is. Adults. The finalised grouping of playground kids. The bully with his cronies. The quiet with the quiet. The social middle ground all grouped as chosen.

The labeling did not start at a certain age, it just carried on from on generation to another. The silent, social labeling has the most profound effect. The child who smells. The cheap, often ripped, clothes of another. The use of 'wrong' words in known situations tags another. The very bright child is lifted and labelled above others- who are then labelled as not so bright as... . Colour is the least of the labels that this country tags another with. New TV shows for children enhance these tags. Anorak Man. Train Spotter. Study the dress code of the one that loses. Watch who is picked from the crowd.

If only we could stop the tagging. Cease the 'sides' of the playground. A world-wide understanding. A retraining of 'media' man in the awareness of 'apres label' effects. A stronger desire to stop the split of people by sub groups. A seeing of each as each rather than one of.

I have never been able to see why we should have to wait for the genetic mutation of pigs so that only when 'swine in the sky, sailors delight' is a weather gauge will mankind suddenly be capable of the open tolerance new lovers afford each other.
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Flickr - projectbrainsaver

projectbrainsaver's A Point of View photoset projectbrainsaver's A Point of View photoset