Thursday, August 15, 2013

So much poetry is not poetry but cheaply dressed prose.....

So much that is called poetry today is not poetry, just prose dressed up in cheap skirts to look like poetry. Real poetry has a theme and rhythm and is in essence a 'song' sung through and with words. The first poetry was spoken, not written and real poetry can always be spoken easily and powerfully.

So-called free verse is certainly free, rambling all over page and space and achieving very little. It is not that poetry cannot or should not talk about the banal, the mediocre, the ordinary, the small and the trivial, but that the words which convey the 'story' should not fit the same category.... as so many do.

Yes, it is good that dressed-up prose as poetry makes more people attempt to write - creative expression is always good - but it is no more poetry than the dabblings of most amateur painters is art, however rewarding the exercise may be for painter or 'poet.'

But, if this ease of expression, the fast-food equivalent of Word Work, brings into being a rebirth for poetry then it is all to the good. But let's be more judicious about what we call poetry.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The utter uselessness of aid in Africa......

 The truly depressing thing about living for so long in Africa is how aid achieves so little and in fact, is probably far more destructive than constructive.

Many people with the best intentions in the West spend a lot of time collecting and sending money to the African continent and it pours down the pit of greed, corruption, self-serving and incompetence like a torrent.

In the past 50 years some $3trillion in aid has come into Africa and the average African is worse off than they were 30 years ago. A few Africans are very, very, very rich.

There are moves by some nations who give a lot of aid to 'control' it by providing it as loans with conditions, but I would be prepared to bet that the Africans on the receiving end are not the least bit interested at the end of the day because they cannot milk it. Sad but true. Westerners caring desperately about poverty in Africa and Africans caring desperately only about lining their own pockets.

I would end aid, apart from emergency tomorrow I it was up to me. The West had to drag itself out of corruption, self-serving and incompetence by its bootstraps and everyone else should have to do the same. Only a fool keeps doing the same thing, no matter how many 'warm fuzzies' they might get from it, when it clearly achieves next to nothing, but momentary warm fuzzies for a few, the illusion of progress for some and it all spirals down the African drain anyway.

And Africa is awash in broken water pumps. Pay for a pump to go into a village and expect any or all of the following:

The local chief steals either all or part of it for a pump outside his own house; the local chief takes control of the pump and makes people pay for water; the pump breaks down and no-one has the skills to repair it or the money to buy parts......

  One particularly ludicrous example of Aid money ill-spent are the signs along the road from Lilongwe to Blantyre, in Malawi, telling people to wash their hands with soap after going to the toilet - the signs are in English and the local language is Chichewa, amongst others and the people can't afford soap and it would be the last thing they would buy. What lunatic came up with this idea which probably cost millions and achieves nothing.

The other factor which seems never to be taken into account is that when you build something - health clinic, school, water pump then there is a good chance the local chief will appropriate it and force people to pay to use it; that it will break down and no-one will have the skills to carry out the repairs; that it will break down and no-one will have the money or be prepared to find the money to repair it; that the 'parts' may be of more use than the whole and bits and pieces will be 'taken' over time, either to meet the needs of the local chief or to be sold by the desperate...... and on it goes.

Excerpt: One director of an African water charity speaking on condition of anonymity was scathing about how money was wasted. He described how corruption on the ground was rife, giving the example of how some international contractors paid more than $1,000 a day by water charities to drill boreholes had little concern for whether drilling was even appropriate, just as long as they kept themselves in a job. He concluded grimly: "If anyone ever told the truth, no one would give us anything." And this is the catch-22 many good charities find themselves in. They can keep quiet and watch money wasted in massive quantities, or expose the waste and risk damaging charitable giving to the sector as a whole.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why happiness will never be in someone else's hands

It is impossible to make another human being happy, beyond the brief and momentary experience of delight, which is often confused with happiness.

When we set this as a goal we are doomed to fail for happiness is always temporary, often elusive and more often than not, a manipulative tool in the hands of those who demand that others provide it for them.

We cannot make ourselves happy, so how can we 'make' - that means create by our actions - someone else happy in any real sense?

If someone you love, as an adult of course, is unhappy then that is not your fault or your responsibility, presuming of course that you are acting in considered and mature and generally sensitive ways.

It is their responsibility and their choice. Each time they make you responsible for their happiness they are denying their own accountability and independence; denying you your freedom and demanding that you be held responsible for how they feel and for how they experience life.

In times past and in patriarchal cultures women did and do this because they were and are powerless, but in modern societies and in this age, there is no need, unless someone is severely emotionally or psychologically damaged, for anyone to ask anyone else to act or be in ways that are required to 'make' or 'keep' them happy.

Those who are not prepared to allow others to take responsibility for themselves become enablers and that is always destructive, for everyone involved.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Lots of pain for little or no gain...

The worst thing about this is the insane idea that a mouse equates with a human being - or a monkey for that matter.

These creatures suffer when it is already known that much of the research is purely experimental and pretty useless when it comes to human beings.

But then what would all of these scientists be doing if they did not have animals to experiment upon? Perhaps studying Homeopathy? Less pain and more gain if they did.
Lots of pain for little or no gain.

Excerpt: But according to some national statistics, nearly two-thirds of all animal research has little or nothing to do with
curing human diseases or advancing human medicine. The reality is that much of this research is little more than curiosity-driven cruelty.
The Truth Behind Animal Testing
New code, same suffering: animals in the lab