Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Returning to Chaos and Alternative Facts

Returning from a journey is never easy.  There's a damp, cold house, a pile of mail in the hall, a mountain of washing and the thud of everyday life demanding attention.

This time it was even harder because it was compounded by a newsfeed that destroyed any peace of mind or feelings of optimism.  A fascist takeover in America that pays no regard to democracy, freedom of speech and the Rule of Law. An increasingly racist policy that will cause anguish to millions of people.  The denial of Climate Change, the most dangerous threat to human existence on the planet since the Black Death. Then, in the UK, I have to watch our own (unelected) representative cosying up to dictators and rulers whose human rights record is atrocious, and I think, 'Are these going to be our new allies?'


My anger and shame have kept me awake for several nights. What can be done?  I've always tried to keep my blog and Facebook page fairly neutral, in recognition that not everyone shares my personal political beliefs.  But this has gone beyond the political to a place where basic human values are at stake.  Integrity and Truth have been replaced by Expediency and Alternative Facts. And I can't stay silent.  I have a feeling that we are at some kind of international crossroads and that things could descend into chaos very quickly unless the majority of us take a stand.

To begin with, I'm joining the National Write Out - a protest movement for writers. Its slogan is 'What's worth fighting for is worth writing for' and it explains what's involved here on its website. 

 "Writers and non-writers alike recognize the election of Donald Trump as an unprecedented threat, one that demands we deploy our craft and words in the service of justice. Recognizing that we cannot and will not defeat the forces behind Trump without stopping to think, without first imagining what truly matters, we call on writers-poets, playwrights, essayists, short storyistas of the world to unite by joining all those already committed to the National Write-Out.

Who: You. Everyone who writes, draws, thinks, dares, creates…

What: Write or share a poem, a piece of flash fiction, short story, essay, inspired long tweet, handwritten ars poetica or other literary creation responding to this prompt:

'What’s worth fighting for is worth writing for' accompanied by the hashtag  #fightandwrite


If you have any doubts, read 'Poetry in a Time of Protest' by Edwidge Danticat, whose 81 year old uncle died in immigration custody despite having a valid visa and family waiting for him at the airport.  She quotes the poet Audre Lorde:-

Poetry is how we name the nameless. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.

A group of us (Poetry Society members) are currently talking about the idea of publishing an anthology, the proceeds for an appropriate charity.  Watch this space!




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