A QUESTION OF IDENTITY… C. Richard Mathews’ insightful book review of “Entre Nous et Eux”.

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Review of Adam Donaldson Powell’s book “Entre Nous et Eux”, by C. Richard Mathews, USA.

Adam Donaldson Powell’s new collection of works, Entre Nous et Eux, displays his multiple talents and concerns in a series of brilliant and engaging pieces. Powell is an activist, essayist, fiction writer, visual artist, poet, who writes in four languages, though English is the predominant one in this volume and an inability to read French, Norwegian or Spanish will not detract from a reader’s understanding and appreciation of any of the pieces.

The book is divided into four sections: poetry, a novella titled “Entre Nous”, a short story titled “Death Poem” and another, longer novella called “The Stalker”. While the works deal with many themes, the overriding one for this reader was the issue of how societal and political forces affect — often adversely — an individual’s development, sometimes to the point that she or he does not or cannot understand or accept who she/he is. A major factor in this, it is suggested, is the inability of others in her/his family and in greater society to respect and accept a person’s differences (the “other”).

The book begins with Powell’s great strength: his poetry. Interestingly, in the three works of fiction poems appear as well. In both the stand-alone poetry and the fiction, poems allow Powell to focus the reader’s attention immediately on his themes and concerns. The first group of poems involves children in a presumably Western European (Parisian?) context and their shock at how the world interacts with their innocence: a child playing hopscotch confronting a pedophile, a young girl taunted because she has “two mothers”, a young hijab-wearing Muslim girl also subject to jibes, problems for a child of “color”, a presumably Muslim boy’s trauma at the hands of police after talking of ISIS, the treatment of gypsies and their plight and ostracism, the shock of exploding bombs in an unnamed war zone.

Although much of the poetry deals with “social issues” in one sense or the other, there are purely lyrical moments as well, such as the poem “Jeux d’Eau”.

At a number of points the issue of suicide is introduced: the inability of the characters to accept themselves or others’ perceptions of them. Thus, in the first novella, “Entre Nous.”, a friend of one of the main characters dies of an overdose (deliberate?) days after they’ve had sex with each other. And the beautiful short story “Death Poem”, concerning two young Japanese men, involves the presumed suicide of a father over his son’s homosexuality, and the son’s own subsequent suicide himself. As noted above, the use of poetry, and references to poetry, permeate Powell’s fiction writing and in this moving story he introduces us to a specific Japanese form of poetry relevant to the taking of one’s life.

Both novellas involve casts of characters that are followed through some years of their lives. “Entre Nous.” is presented partially in an epistolary form. The story involves the interaction of several gay friends and various sexual escapades in a number of Western cities — Paris, London, New York — that the author is obviously familiar with. As in some of the poetry, especially the collection of interlocking erotic poems “tu sais je vais….t’enculer (love letters)”, the writing about sex is explicitly detailed, a means for the author to “épater la bourgeoisie” in the mode of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Genet and other French writers. Their cumulative effect is, ultimately, powerful and meaningful. These passages are part of his subtle analysis throughout of various types of love and physical and emotional attraction.

The second, longer novella, “The Stalker”, concerns a young woman and her lover, a transgender man who, at one point discovers that he may be “a lesbian in a man’s body” (294). The overriding theme is one of identity — despite society’s pressures, finding it or creating it and then having the flexibility to change it or allow it to modulate as circumstances and feelings may urge or dictate.

The reader should not miss the great amount of humor and wit, and pure literary pleasure, in Powell’s writing which, as in Proust, may be overlooked if one focuses merely on “the story line” or themes. Be ready for a wonderful turn-of-phrase, or the startling juxtaposition of images. For example, in “Une Lettre d’Une Prostitue…” the letter writer states, “J’aimerais parfois me mettre dans le peau de quelqun d’autre…” Or, “mots doux et traitres a la fois…” (37). Or: “lips part revealing your lizard tongue” (63). Or: “blood-red sugary tension of domestic rape” (55). Or: “the relentless fantasy is more than the sum of reality’s individual parts”. (78)

Especially delightful are the “echoes” one finds between different parts of the works through the use of literary devices similar to Wagner’s leitmotifs. Thus, there is a reference early in “Entre Nous.” to Donald O’Connor and Marilyn Monroe singing “a man chases a girl (until she catches him)” and then much later the reader comes upon a scene of Karol/Mariusz showing his poetry to a closeted priest in which he has written “I delight in chasing straight boys until they catch me” (172).

It should be noted that in both his poetry and fiction Powell’s writing style is clear and precise without being pedestrian or boring. It is a style that is able to draw in and engage the reader quietly and without showiness, leaving one with a sense of pleasure, even when the subjects at hand are very serious ones.

Powell’s book is highly recommended for its many pure literary pleasures but also for its profound insights into aspects of modern life that are often obfuscated or ignored by other writers and media in our contemporary world oversaturated with often meaningless written and visual distractions.

C. Richard Mathews
New York-based art historian, writer and attorney

Recension du recueil ‘Entre Nous et Eux’ de Adam Donaldson Powell,

Le nouveau recueil de Adam Donaldson Powell intitulé Entre Nous et Eux reflète les talents multiples de l’auteur et comprend une série de textes aussi brillants que jubilatoires. Powell, l’activiste, est à la fois écrivain, poète, essayiste, peintre et photographe.  En outre, il écrit en anglais, sa langue maternelle, mais également en français, en norvégien et en espagnol.  Le lecteur découvrira dans ce volume des textes dans ces quatre langues, ce qui, dans notre monde hyper-connecté est encore une rareté, mais en même temps une grande richesse.

Ce volume est divisé en quatre parties: Poésie, une nouvelle intitulée “Death Poem”, et deux courts romans portant les titres suivants: “Entre Nous” et “The Stalker”.

Alors que ces textes évoquent de nombreux thèmes, le fil conducteur est celui des effets de la société et de la politique sur le développement de l’individu, au point où celui-ci ne comprend plus ou n’accepte tout simplement pas qui il est ou ce qu’il risque de devenir.  L’auteur suggère que les autres, c’est-à-dire, sa famille ou la société dans laquelle il évolue, est inapte à respecter, voire à accepter sa différence.

Le livre a pour prémices la poésie de Powell, poésie dans laquelle il excelle. Ses textes de fiction sont eux aussi parsemés de poèmes, plus ou moins longs. Les premiers poèmes traitent de l’enfance ayant pour cadre une capitale européenne, qui pourrait être Paris.  Et des conséquences, insidieuses ou cruelles, que le monde alentour peut avoir sur eux. Voyez cette gosse jouant à la marelle et qui s’éloigne précautionneusement d’un pédophile, cette autre que l’on moque parce qu’elle a ‘deux mères’, ou cette jeune musulmane malmenée à cause du hijab qu’elle porte. Que dire aussi de ce garçon basané que la police menotte dès qu’il prononce le mot Daesch, du traitement odieux que subissent les gitans, de leur ostracisme. L’auteur évoque également le choc que produisent les bombes explosant dans des zones de guerre.

Tandis que nombreux sont les poèmes traitant de problèmes de société, ils possèdent tous cette touche lyrique si propre à Powell. ‘Jeux d’Eau’ en est un parfait exemple.

La problématique du suicide apparaît ci et là: certains personnages ont du mal à s’accepter, d’autant plus lorsque leur entourage les rejette.

Ainsi, dans le premier roman, ‘Entre Nous’, l’ami de l’un des protagonistes meurt à la suite d’une overdose (peut-être délibérément), quelques jours après que les deux ont fait l’amour ensemble.

Dans la magnifique nouvelle ‘Death Poem’, qui met en scène deux jeunes hommes japonais, le père de l’un d’eux se suicide, apparemment à cause de l’homosexualité de son fils, lequel à son tour met fin à ses jours. Que ce soit dans ses textes de fiction ou dans sa poésie, Powell évoque le suicide en utilisant des éléments particuliers de la poésie japonaise. Y percevrait-on l’ombre de Mishima ?

Les deux romans mettent en scène des protagonistes sur des tranches de vie. ‘Entre Nous’ est raconté en partie sous forme épistolaire. On y parle d’amis gays, de leur interaction, de leurs expériences sexuelles vécues dans certaines grandes villes occidentales, telles que Paris, Londres ou New York, villes que l’auteur connaît bien. Powell, n’ayant pas froid aux yeux, n’hésite pas à écrire des ‘lettres d’amour’ contenant des mots crus, comme par exemple: “tu sais je vais….t’enculer”. Et cela pour ‘épater la galerie’, à l’instar de Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine – qui, à l’époque écrivaient sous des pseudonymes -, Genet, ainsi que d’autres écrivains français. Mais là, il ne s’agit pas uniquement de subterfuges, ces vers érotiques, voire pornographiques, participent de l’analyse subtile de ce qui constitue l’amour pluriel, qu’il s’agisse de la simple attraction physique et/ou des émotions qui peuvent en découler.

Le second roman, ‘The Stalker’, qui est plus long que l’autre, est l’histoire d’une jeune femme et de son amant, un homme trans-genre, qui se demande s’il peut être “une lesbienne dans le corps d’un homme”. Le thème principal ici est celui de l’identité qui, envers et contre tout, tente de s’affirmer et de trouver un équilibre.

Malgré la gravité des sujets abordés, le lecteur pourra apprécier, tout au long du volume, la veine humoristique et spirituelle de l’auteur, à l’instar d’un Proust qui se ‘moque’ gentiment de certains de ses personnages. Powell joue avec les mots et s’amuse à juxtaposer des images, comme dans ‘La lettre d’une prostituée’, où l’auteur écrit: “J’aimerais parfois me mettre dans la peau de quelqu’un d’autre…”, ou encore, “mots doux et traitres à la fois…”. D’autres exemples me viennent à l’esprit, tels que “lips part revealing your lizard tongue” , ”blood-red sugary tension of domestic rape”, ou encore, ”the relentless fantasy is more than the sum of reality’s individual parts”.

L’on trouve des passages particulièrement jouissifs tout au long de cette oeuvre si singulière, rappelant les leitmotifs de Wagner. L’un des personnages écoute un ancien vinyle de Donald O’Connor et de Marilyn Monroe chantant “a man chases a girl (until she catches him)”. Plus loin, il y a une scène dans laquelle Karol/Mariusz montre l’un de ses poèmes à un prêtre, où il écrit: “I delight in chasing straight boys until they catch me”.

Dans ce livre, qu’il s’agisse de poésie ou de prose, le style est clair, précis, et à la fois engageant, sans jamais être pompeux, même lorsque l’auteur traite de sujets graves.

Cette oeuvre mérite d’être lue pour diverses raisons. D’abord pour la belle phrase, un plaisir purement littéraire, ensuite parce que Powell aborde ici des thèmes de notre société contemporaine qui souvent sont, soit ignorés par d’autres écrivains et les média, soit négligés en raison de la quantité phénoménale de distractions vaines, aussi bien pseudo-littéraires que visuelles, que l’on nous bombarde quotidiennement.

C. Richard Mathews, historien de l’art, écrivain et avocat new yorkais

Traduction d’ Albert Russo

 

Introduction.

ESSAYS ON ACTIVISM FOR A SHIFT OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Featuring essays by contemporary activists for social change

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FROM THE EDITOR: MY LIFE AS AN ACTIVIST.

My own activist career began when I was a teenager, and – in spite of both my parents being careerists in the United States Air Force – I became an anti-war activist (Vietnam War) and conscientious objector. That activism had many expressions: from silent Quaker vigils to anti-war marches and rallies to getting thrown out of the courtroom of Judge Julius Hoffman (famous from the «Chicago Seven» trials) for civil disobedience while supporting a draft dodger. My activism has including working as an employee of organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker social service and peace education organization), the Partnership for the Homeless, Amnesty International Norway etc., working for the Norwegian government in support of the unemployed, immigrants, the disabled etc., establishing my own activist organizations in Norway in support of immigrants, artists/authors/dancers/actors/filmmakers, and also representing organizations that lobby for the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS. Being an activist has required me to constantly weigh whether my own convictions and interests are best served by working for or representing an existing organization, political parties, agency or institution OR working alone so that I may set my own specific agenda and choose my own methods of working. The latter has given me special satisfaction. In that regard I have used my talents as a speechwriter and public speaker, as a book author, as a musician, as a linguist, and as a visual artist to promote my ideas and my support for those who do not themselves have the possibility of getting their voices heard publicly. In 1994 I arranged Norway’s first World AIDS Day art exhibition (a tradition which I kept going until 2009), I have promoted the rights of immigrants and of performing, literary and visual artists, and debated with top politicians in Norway on television, radio and in the tabloids, I have represented persons with HIV/AIDS on behalf of the Norwegian government and otherwise at UNGASS (United Nations General Assembly Special Session – Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS) as well as at international conferences in Norway and in other countries, I have initiated one-man protest demonstrations against individuals and government agencies that I felt abused the dignity or rights of the disabled and persons with HIV/AIDS, etc.; and I have been critical of other individual activists, government institutions, politicians, and also of activist organizations in the media. At times I have also worked within the «system», and as an advisor and cooperative partner to the system, and publicly defended specific government policies, and I have held office in a major political party. All this after personal analysis of the best ways to bring my activist ideas into government and organizational policy frameworks.

All my formal education and life experience comes into play in my activism: including my master degree in international and developmental public administration, my years of working for the government in Norway and as a university administrator and corporate writer/editor in the United States, and even my college bachelor of arts thesis (on the legal rights of minors {young persons} to consent to acquisition of contraceptives and to psychological counseling) which resulted in my own draft legislation eventually becoming state law in Vermont, and then later in Ohio.

I have also served on the board of directors of several organizations in Norway and in the USA which work in the areas of LGBT rights, the rights and needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS, the arts, and religious expression. And finally, I have organized international conferences for persons working in support of persons living with HIV/AIDS, as well as international and bilingual authors. I have held many speeches and been a high-profile spokesperson at conferences and in the media, and my visual art exhibitions and my authored books often address themes related to my areas of activism.

My most current expression of activism involves supporting and informing others through social media and the internet, as well as in my visual art and in my work as an author and editor – herein encouraging the voices of contemporary activists through literature.

Adam Donaldson Powell
Oslo, Norway 2011

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J’ACCUSE, J’ACCUSE ET J’ACCUSE … by Albert Russo.

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Dear Emile Zola, you would do this better than me if you lived in our times, but I hope you are going to guide my pen and that what will be written here under will have your approval, at least in part.

Voltaire, who unlike you, was an anti-semite, said it perfectly, in approximately these terms: “I may not like what you say but you have all the right to counter me”. He was a freedom fighter like you, and for that alone I have some respect for him.

There were so many other great French writers and philosophers: Montesquieu, Montaigne (a Jew), Chateaubriand, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (who was actually Swiss), Albert Camus (whom I prefer to Jean-Paul Sartre), George Sand, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Weill, to name but a few enlightened thinkers.

What has happened to you, France, a land that gave so much to the world, and which I don’t recognise anymore? I’ve spent half of my life in Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world – I still think Rome and New York surpass it, for beauty and for energy.

I perceived this degradation of liberty, equality and fraternity about twenty-five years ago.

Now, most of your leaders and so-called intellectuals are so politically correct that one cannot express one’s opinion without being called names. I don’t care whether the insults come from the left, the far left, Le Pen or even from the center. I can say the same thing concerning much of the media – and here I am only considering dailies or journals of ‘quality’, such as Le Monde, Libération, Le nouvel Observateur, Le Point or even Le Figaro magazine. As for the news on French television, the only thing I still appreciate are the debates in which specialists take part, otherwise, I find most of it very biased, in the sense that they never mention things by their names. This is also true for most of Europe’s governments and media, especially the British media, like the BBC, the Times or the Guardian. Of course these all have excellent programs, incredible documentaries, and articles written by serious reporters. Yet, when they treat subjects such as colonisation, the Middle East, and particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they are often very far from the truth, serving us clichés we all have heard or read over and over again. Ideology is not facts. The problem is that most Europeans believe them.

You hear that one image is worth 1000 words. To which I counter: one image can be such a lie that you would need more than 1000 words to deconstruct it and lay down the truth. Just an example to illustrate what I mean: I have lived through 5 decolonisations and I am an anti-colonialist – a concrete proof of this: my ‘African Quatuor’ is being studied by the new generations of students in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria. My anti-apartheid book, ‘Devil’s Peak’ / ‘Le Cap des Illusions’, was banned in South Africa before Mandela became president.

I recognised one photo published in a so-called prestigious magazine and the caption read: “They can’t even bury their dead.” I was there when the picture was taken, and the person the journalist claimed to be dead, was just having a rest on the lawn.

I accuse the European powers and their media for always demeaning Israel and for blindly supporting the Palestinians, including Hamas, the terrorist organization which rules over Gaza. They either don’t know or pretend not to be aware of the fact that in Hamas’ chart, Israel and the Jews should be eliminated, that in their children’s geography books, the nation of Israel is called Palestine and does not belong to the Jews. That these same children learn to hate Jews and Israelis alike, wishing them death, everywhere. They still call Temple Mount, the Mount of Mosques, when it is well known, thanks to modern archeology, that the Muslims built their two mosques almost 700 years after the destruction by the Romans of the Second Temple, right where the center of Judaism stood. That Jerusalem, called Al Quds in Arabic (which is not a specific name, since it mainly means ‘the holy place’, and which is never mentioned in the Koran, whilst Jerusalem is mentioned in the Torah at least 700 times) is only the third holy site of Islam, whereas it is Judaism’s only sacred city. We aren’t even sure that prophet Muhammad died there and ‘flew’ to heaven, he who murdered hundreds of Jews in Medina, with his own hands, just because they didn’t want to convert to his new religion, while he reappropriated much of the Torah’s stories or legends – I insist on these terms, since I am an agnostic -, even though some of these former are proven facts.

The ‘International Quds Day’ was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, led by the heinous Khomeini, to express support for the Palestinians and to oppose Zionism and Israel’s existence. And you all know that the Arab nations think of Palestinians as scum, they enclose them inside ghettoes in Lebanon and in every other Arab country; they don’t even allow them to go to the rich ones, except as slave workers – Remember ‘Black September’, when Jordan killed thousands of Palestinians and expelled the remaining ones? Since then, the whole Islamic world honors that day, with screams, burnings of Israeli and American flags, and threats of destruction – 1.6 billion people against just 8.5 million Israelis, of which 20% are Muslim, who would never want to live in either a future Palestine or in any other Arab country, for this is where they are the freest and where they get the same excellent health services and education as the Jews, and they can complain, which they do, even at the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), without the fear of being imprisoned or worse, like in the neighboring countries. The same can be said of the Christians and the other minorities, including atheists and agnostics like me.

I never said Israel was a paradise, it’s a democracy and democracies are always perfectible. Of course there are racists here too. The 10% of ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t frequent the rest of the population, and vice-versa. Actually the former are a bit mocked by the majority of Israeli Jews who aren’t religious or who only go to synagogue on the Holy days. Those ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t even look at you in the face, nor do they speak to you, it’s like the cats and the dogs of Israel, they avoid each other but don’t fight.

I totally disapprove of the new colonies being built on the West Bank, it is a provocation. Yet, now that I’ve been in Israel for the last 7 months, I believe I understand the Israeli- Palestinian problem much better than when I lived in Europe. It’s much less a territorial than an ideological question. The Palestinians, and the Muslims in general DO NOT WANT A JEWISH STATE in their midst. Actually, they constantly threaten to destroy it. Any other country in the world would consider this a threat of war and would respond in acts. Remember: in 1947, the Arabs living in this area had the possibility of having their country, but, with the advice of the 5 surrounding Arab nations, who jointly attacked Israel, born in 1948, they refused it, and now they are crying, or pretend to cry, to get it.
And every pretext is used to refuse to make peace with Israel. Even Saudi Arabia had told Arafat, before he died, to accept the Israeli conditions. But Arafat, a very clever politician, refused, saying one thing in English and the exact opposite in Arabic. Poor Mrs. Arafat, she has villas in many places and wears haute couture dresses, along with beautiful jewels. How come all that money handed out by America and Europe didn’t benefit the Palestinian population? How much more patient can one be?

I accuse the Western media, especially in Europe, to only show that minority, to define Jews, and never to mention all the fantastic things that Israel has invented, in medicine, agriculture, electronics, science, clean water technology, etc. that benefit the whole world.

Without essential Israeli-invented parts, you could never use your mobile phone or your computer. Without the cheaper generic medicine, produced by Teva (the world’s largest pharmaceutical company), many more millions of poor people around the world would die.

I consequently accuse all of you, BDS supporters, for being nincompoops, and that is too lenient a word to describe you.

By the way, I would like to add a couple of personal anecdotes.

Last year on a Tel Aviv beach I was sitting next to two handsome couples, in bathing suits, the two young ladies wore pretty one-piece swimming suits with vivid flower motifs. We started talking, in English, then, watching the two husbands, pulling out of their backpacks nargilehs, I told them I had never tried smoking one, and it is after they showed me how, that I learned they were Israeli Arabs from Nazareth. They told me that they came to Tel Aviv every weekend to have fun.

A week ago, again in Tel Aviv, but this time on a terrace of the old port, facing the sea, sitting with a friend, I was surrounded by two families. We started a conversation, comparing our dishes, and asking them what they had ordered, since I couldn’t recognise the delicacies on their plates. Some of them even offered us a piece of their fare so that we could taste it. This went on for about three hours. We joked, laughed, exchanged opinions, and at the end, they told us they lived in Jaffa and that they were Israeli Arabs.

I accuse you, people from Europe, America and elsewhere (even from South Africa, which is so familiar to me) to dare organize ‘Israel-apartheid-week’ demonstrations.
Yes, I accuse you for being so ridiculously gullible or downright ill-intentioned, when YOU are the real racists. Actually, you are the last ones to seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians, neigh, by acting so inanely, you are fomenting war, and should be locked up in psychiatric wards, since you don’t realise how dangerous you can be. You are perverts.

I accuse Ban ki Moon for his short-sightedness and for being so weak – I don’t believe him to be very bright, I may be wrong, but that is my impression when I see him on television, dishing out opinions like a naive teenager – as to be influenced by 57 Muslim countries – representing about one fourth of the UN members -, for giving lessons of morality to Israel, when most of the above-cited nations have appalling records in civil and human rights.

I accuse most European politicians and some university professors, especially in Great Britain, in the Scandinavian countries, but also in North America, of disseminating lies and anti-zionist propaganda to their compatriots and to their students, inasmuch as these universities receive millions of dollars of donations from … Saudi Arabia and the Emirates – wonderful examples of democracies, where women are treated as servants, servants and construction workers as near slaves and members of the LGBT communities as the scum of the earth, to be eliminated, when everyone knows how homosexuality thrives in these very same countries (behind locked doors in mansions and palaces), and where no other religion is permitted but Islam.

I accuse these same intellectuals of being either materialistic or downright anti-semitic, or both – this has been written in their DNA for over 2000 years, but of course, they will deny or even ignore it, telling you: “We have nothing against Jews, it’s against Israel.”

I’d like to quote Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with ‘Il Foglio’: “British culture is full of examples of primitive anti-Semitism. The dark, irrational, appeal to the oppression of the Jews has once again prevailed in our society, against all logic, against all progress.”
And I also wish to paraphrase George Steiner, one of Britain’s great thinkers. Referring to the Nazis, he said that even the most advanced culture could not prevent the Holocaust. In other words, there are some very poor and illiterate people – you meet them on every continent – who only wish you good things, and on the other side, erudites, philosophers, composers and authors of great works, whose heart is of stone and who can spread poison around them, in words and in acts. The list of these is too long to mention. I’ll name but a few: Céline, the author of that wonderfully innovative novel ‘Voyage au bout de la nuit’, Wagner, who composed the extraordinary ‘Niebelungen’ and ‘Götterdämmerung’, and who at first admired Mendelssohn, then became such an anti-semite that his music was Hitler’s favorite; the philosopher Heidegger, the Greek composer who wrote magnificent pieces for the movies, Theodorakis, etc … Among the politicians, let’s take the example of the Peron couple. Evita was such a good person for her people that she is revered in her country as a goddess, when both she and her husband Juan were intimate friends of Hitler. So, ‘don’t cry for me Argentina …’ Doesn’t that tune break your heart? It is so nostalgic and so melodious!

I also accuse some self-hating Jewish intellectuals, both in the Diaspora and in Israel itself, for siding with the above. There are quite a handful of them, such as the co-founder of Médecins du Monde, which is, by the way, a laudable humanitarian association, as well as a number of leftist Israeli journalists, who, by transmitting their poisonous articles to the outside world give the anti-semites the ‘proof’ that they are right to hate Israel too.

I accuse the West much more than the Muslim dictators and tyrants like Assad, the Iranian ayatollahs, and even the monstrous Daesh terrorists. They have the culture of death and of destruction, killing many more Muslims than non-Muslims. One cannot reason with them, for, in my eyes, they don’t belong to humanity, that is, to humane beings. Yet, I often hear people repeat that they are worse than animals. This is a terrible insult to our fellow earthlings. I have lived many years in countries full of crocodiles, scorpions and other species which we find repelling. Yet, I claim that the latter are still better than the monsters mentioned earlier, for they kill to eat or to defend themselves, they don’t cut you into pieces for the fun of it, but for practical reasons!

Yes, I accuse all our opportunistic leaders, for whom, money comes before morality, and who support the most dangerous regimes which created Daesh in the first place. Now, the West, but not only the West, Hindu India, China, the Buddhist nations of Asia, the Christians of Black Africa, and all the other non-Muslim countries of the world in which the rulers have played with these regimes just to fill their pockets with millions of dollars, money that should have gone to their people, are exposing their populations to generations of war and destruction. France’s Prime Minister has said it at last – after 50 years of lies -: “We are at war with the world’s most dangerous lot, and this war will last decades”. It’s too late, dear.

I accuse the UN, ‘le grand machin’ (that big thingamajig), as De Gaulle used to call it, for ignoring the million or so Jewish refugees, who were expelled from North Africa and from all the Arab countries of the Middle East, with just their clothes on them, after Nasser, the ‘revered’ ruler of Egypt decided that there would be no more foreigners on his land. Look how Egypt is so much the poorer for it, when Alexandria and Cairo were thriving international centers!

A good thing Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey still think that foreigners are a welcome source of revenue, but with the recent terror attacks inflicted on these countries, the tourists are afraid of going there. I’ve been several times to all three and received a very warm welcome. My heart aches for their mostly kind and generous populations.

Why does the UN only consider the Palestinian refugees, who are despised by their Arab brethren? And if Israel (tinier than Belgium or Maryland – while the Arabs have thousands of square kilometers at their disposal) is not the land of the Jews, where did Hebrew come from? The galaxy? Come on guys, and you do know whom I am addressing, use your brains once in a while, instead of your stupid left-over superstitions.

Lastly, I accuse Western Europe and the Church for having ill-treated, tortured, and murdered millions of Jews (that didn’t start with the Nazis – open your History books), while calling themselves good Christians, when Jesus, whom they glorify as their god, was a Jew (a rabbi who was circumcised), and so where his parents and all the apostles; Jesus who would be horrified to see the way so many of these so-called good Christians have treated and are still treating his people. How could Isabel the queen of Spain be called Isabel the Catholic – by the way, she was going to be beatified, but the Jewish community worldwide (a mere 15 million souls) convinced the Pope not to sanctify that murderess – when she and her husband Ferdinand, perpetuated the Inquisition, with the blessings of the Pope? And this list too is very long: take Saint Louis, still called like that in France, who had thousands of Jews massacred.

The early Christians were a sect which did not apply Jesus’ precepts of goodness and of forgiveness, they used the Torah as their foundation and yet they did everything to harm the original Jews, mainly with ‘Saint’ Paul’s major lie. Paul was a pagan born in Tarsus, who became Jewish, to better spread the ‘good news’, i.e. that ‘The Jews killed Jesus’, when all of Israel was Jewish. That lie was and still is the poison that created and still nurtures European anti-semitism. The radical Muslims are now imitating those Europeans, adding their own hatred, but not only of the Jews, of all the non-Muslims. Look at the thousands of Oriental and African Christians, and other minorities, being either chased from their homes after thousands of years of residence – they were there much earlier than the Muslims -, or hacked to death, while the West … does nothing to save them. Nice example solidarity.

Please read what a former Israeli Ambassador has to say about the most antisemitic continent in the world: How Europe’s ‘Obsession’ With Jews Should Serve as Warning to America and to the rest of the civilised world (this last phrase is mine).

And do read this too:
Miami HAMAS, sponsored by CARE, attacks Jewish Reporter. America: wake up before you end like Europe!

AR+Antoine Tshitungu Kongolo_2_2

BIO:

Albert Russo, who has published worldwide over 85 books of poetry, fiction and photography, in both English and French, his two mother tongues (Italian being his ‘paternal’ tongue, also speaks Spanish and German and still has notions of Swahili), is the recipient of many awards, such as The New York Poetry Forum and Amelia (CA) Awards, The American Society of Writers Fiction Award, The British Diversity Short Story Award, The AZsacra international Poetry Award (Taj Mahal Review – US$ 500), the Books & Authors Award, several Writer’s Digest poetry and fiction Awards (winner and finalist), aquillrelle Awards, the Prix Colette and the Prix de la Liberté, among others. His work has been translated into a dozen languages in 25 countries, on the five continents. He has co-published Gaytude with Adam Donaldson Powell, which won Best Gay Book in the USA. Albert Russo was also a member of the 1996 jury for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature which often leads to the Nobel Prize of Literature. Latest Prize: Best 2013 Unicef Short Story award in defense of childhood worldwide, entitled: Revenge by proxy / Vengeance par procuration.

Besides writing novels in English and in French, with work translated into a dozen languages, Albert Russo has garnered several prizes for his photography books, Indie Excellence Awards (both winner and finalist), The London Book Festival awards (finalist), The Gallery Photografica awards (silver medal), among others. Some of his photos have been exhibited at the Louvre Museum, in Paris, in Times Square, NYC, as well as at the Museum of Photography in Lausanne, Switzerland. Now, he is exhibiting at the Espace Pierre Cardin, in Paris, his work AIR DE MONTMARTRE, as well as photos on canvas. The Mayor of the Big Apple has lauded his two photobooks on Paris and New York. Some of his novels and memoirs have also been filmed in English, with videos 90 and 100 minutes long.
Visit his websites HERE and HERE!

 

Researchers and students of literature may now access the Albert Russo Literary Archives in Brussels, Belgium, the capital of the European Union:

ARCHIVES & MUSÉE DE LA LITTÉRATURE
Bibliothèque Royale Albert Ier
Boulevard de l’Empereur 4 -1000 Bruxelles – Belgique
search / rechercher: Auteur Albert Russo
http://www.aml-cfwb.be/rechercher/catalogue

Ranker: 300+ World’s best LGBT writers.

 

(This essay was previously published in The Times of Israel.)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: THE NEGRO WORKER FALLS INTO LINE.

THE NEGRO WORKER FALLS INTO LINE
By Robert H. Hardoen

In accord with the historic tendency of a wide-spread group sentiment to crystallize into organized effort, it has long been expected that the general discontent among the American colored people would sooner or later express itself through militant bodies with the broad general object of emancipation by any or all of the means that other peoples have always employed to rid themselves of oppression.

The great danger attendant upon all the movements for group emancipation is that they may become purely nationalistic or racial in their aspects, rather than built along lines that take into consideration the economic foundations of society. This, as every class conscious worker knows, accounts for the strange anomaly that so many workers (most of them in the craft unions and some few in industrial unions too) have never lost their nationalistic tendencies, as witness the Polish workers who loaded ammunition for Wrangel, and that strange creature whom we encounter now and then, the Zionist radical.

Two points explain this anomaly: first, all of us have been thinking as races and nations for a hundred centuries, and only a very few are beginning to think as workers; secondly, the well known campaign of the capitalistic class to assiduously cultivate every line of working class division possible, which just now during the present economic crisis is being kindled into a fury of veritable nationalistic madness never known before, evidenced by anti-English, anti-Japanese, anti-Catholic, anti-foreigner, anti-Negro, anti-Russian, anti-Jew and especially anti-everything that portends social change.

Out of this pandemonium of shrieking, clawing class war, with its variegated false and real issues, from “white supremacy” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the miner’s insurrection in West Virginia, have emerged three distinct types of Negro sentiment and lines of action. The oldest of these is represented by the National Association for the Advancement of colored People. This is an organization comprised of Negro scholars and business men, together with quite a number of white journalists, liberals, philanthropists, etc. The official organ of the association is The Crisis, of which Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois is the editor. Its activities are confined largely to awakening a wide-spread sympathy for the Negro’s problem. A well managed publicity bureau endeavors to investigate lynchings, riots, etc., and carries on a ceaseless campaign against Jim Crowism, and all legislation aimed at depriving the Negro of his rights as a citizen. Further than this, the Association does not attempt to go.

By far the greatest Negro organization in the world is the Universal Negro Improvement Association, at the head of which stands a full-blooded Negro publicist of the British West Indies, named Marcus Garvey. The aim of this society organized only three years ago and now numbering two million members is a free Africa. They have adopted a flag and racial emblem comprised of red, black and green stripes, running parallel. A steamship line, made up of six vessels, all named for colored writers or poets, and called the Black Star Line is already plying between New York, Liberia, Jamaica and the northern coast of South America.

Approached with a discussion of the class struggle, the members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association insist that no mere change of social structure can be expected to eradicate a century-old race hatred overnight in America and points to that almost solid wall of opposition which the Southland offers to every progressive idea, and Garvey himself, while recognizing that the race question is basically economic, maintains that an ethical superstition forms another important factor that no possible rearrangement of society can eliminate, not even education, that is conventional education, for educated folk and educators are often prejudiced.

Of course the flaw in this reasoning is not that they seek a free Africa; all peoples desiring freedom should have it and no one can dispute Mr. Garvey’s reasoning that racial antipathy will, like every element of human consciousness, live somewhat longer than the conditions that gave rise to it and have kept it alive. But just as the decapitated serpent without its head must die and the engine that has exhausted its fuel must stop, just so the race problem bereft of its economic basis must vanish from American life.

The same danger lies hidden in the Garvey movement that is to be found in the Sinn Fein movement or the Zionist movement, namely, that in fleeing the claws of a lion in the form of foreign capitalists they may rush pell mell into the jaws of a tiger in the form of capitalists of their own group.

The third division of Negro sentiment, and by far the most prominent of all so far as vision and perspective of the true nature of their problem is concerned, is represented by a rapidly growing group who call themselves the “New Negro,” in contradistinction to the black man with the vestigial slave psychology, whom they contemptuously designate as an “Uncle Tom” or an “Old Negro.” This “new Negro” is at once the most interesting as well as the most intelligent of colored folk. The type is that of the awakening millions of toilers of the changing world, done in blacks and browns. The leading mouthpiece of this section of the race is the Messenger, a magazine published in New York City by two young Negro socialists, A. Chandler Owen and Philip Randolph who, in spite of the fact that they have gone far in putting the economic question before their people, have, nevertheless, all the shortcomings of political socialists of every race the world over.

A smaller but more dynamic force among the colored radicals is the Crusader, official organ of the African Blood Brotherhood, edited by a militant, class conscious man named Cyril Briggs. The African Blood Brotherhood is an organization that was originally formed to protect the race from armed attacks by its enemies and to prevent lynching, in accord with the world-old law of self defense. The Brotherhood educates its members in the class struggle and at the same time functions as a underground answer to the Ku Klux Klan. Their motto is, “Better a thousand race riots than a single lynching!”

Lest anyone think that this is only race-consciousness, we hasten to append the following from their manifesto issued at the last convention held in New York City, August 1921. “Negroes of the World, the day the European workers rise in armed insurrection against the capitalist exploiters of black and white toilers, we must see to it that Negro troops are not available as ‘White Guards’ to crush the rising power of the workers’ revolution! On that day, Negro comrades, the cause of the white workers will be the cause of the black workers, the cause of a free Africa, the cause of a Europe freed from capitalist control.”

In no organization is the colored worker made to feel more welcome or given a better chance than in the Industrial Workers of the World. Throughout the West and Southwest as well as the docks of Pennsylvania ports such as Philadelphia, great headway has been made in lining up the colored worker. The I.W.W. tolerates no race lines, plays no politics, discriminates against no groups because of color or creed. The program is industrial organization of all the workers of a given industry into job or city branches which, in turn, are part of the One Big Union built to fight the battles of the present and so organized that at the collapse of the dilapidated old structure of capitalism the workers may assume control of industry and administer it to serve the needs of humanity and not for profit as at present.

In this program lies the greatest hope for the solution of the Negro problem, which is in reality only a special phase of the international labor problem. That this is the case cannot be disputed by any black man who will but reflect that wherever colored people live in small numbers as in France or Canada or New England, no race problem exists, but as soon as black men come in sufficient numbers to become a factor in the labor market, the race problem appears.

In conclusion, let us note this “New Negro” has completely exploded the ancient fallacious doctrine of Booker T. Washington, by showing their people, through practical demonstration, that merely getting educated, learning a trade, going into a profession or becoming a petty bourgeoisie would not solve the race problem, but on the contrary it only intensifies it. They do not hesitate to show their brethren that if the young colored medical graduate takes the patients of the white physician, the white man will not love him for it, but on the contrary is likely to join the Ku Klux Klan; that the white tradesman and white business man will hate him for taking away “their” job or patronage as long as the present competitive system stands.

They point out the folly of Du Bois’ continual petitioning of Congress to pass an anti-lynching bill which must result in allowing the spirit of revolt to grow among the cotton workers and so curtail the profits of the Southern planter.
They point to the economic roots of the World War that centered around colonies, most of which lay in Africa, and try to tell the Garveyite that without the Social Revolution a few million poverty-stricken black men cannot hope to establish a free Africa with the combined armies of the whole capitalistic world waiting to crush them.

Indeed, this “New Negro” is a force to be reckoned with in the class struggle. Already he is causing those that have used him so long as a strike breaker many a sleepless night, and the authorities are steadily “investigating.”

The writer who is one of them wishes to say to our white fellow workers: “Move over, fellow workers, move over. We’re coming in. We’ve heard that the water’s fine!”

Originally printed in “Industrial Pioneer”, October 1921. This essay is also included in Peter Cole’s book “Ben Fletcher – the life and times of a black wobbly”, 2007, Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company.

Left to right: Robert H. Hardoen, Margaret W. Hardoen, Ernest Powell, Martha Anne Hardoen Powell
Left to right: Robert H. Hardoen (1895-1958), Margaret W. Hardoen (1896-1989), Ernest Lee Powell (1925-1986), Martha Anne Hardoen Powell (1928-1991)
Robert Hammond Hardoen
Robert Hammond Hardoen
Margaret Watkins Hardoen
Margaret Watkins Hardoen
Clara Watkins
Clara Watkins
Clara and Margaret's Graduation Class - The Illinois College of Chiropody
Clara and Margaret’s Graduation Class – The Illinois College of Chiropody

Robert H. Hardoen (1895 – 1958) was a black research chemist with several patents to his name (Electronic rectifier (US 1815909 A), Protective Coating and Process of Producing Same (US 002812298), and Rustproof material and process (US 2275223 A)). He spoke several languages, and was – in his youth – an activist for industrial worker rights and the rights of Negro workers. He was married to Margaret W. Hardoen (1896 – 1989) who (in addition to her sister Clara Watkins, 1893-1962) was one of the first black chiropodists in the USA. Robert H. Hardoen and Margaret W. Hardoen are my beloved grandparents.

Bryt lydmuren med kunsten / Break the sound barrier with art, by Anette Trettebergstuen (Norway).

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Bryt lydmuren med kunsten, skrevet av Anette Trettebergstuen

Det å leve med HIV/Aids blir formidlet svært ensidig. Med skremsel, sorg og som noe som ekskluderer en fra selve livet.
Det er ikke sant. Man dør ikke av Aids, man dør med Aids. Og
i mellomtiden lever personer med HIV/Aids like forskjellige, mangfoldige, gode og dårlige liv som alle andre. Men HIV-­‐positive møter en risiko de fleste av oss aldri trenger frykte: det å bli ekskludert på grunn av fordommer mot sykdommen du lever med. Både i den offentlige og i den private sfæren. HIV-­‐positive må oppleve å bli satt i samme bås. Som dødssyke. Farlige. De opplever å måtte “være” sykdommen.
Bære dens navn som et mellomnavn sammen med sitt eget. “Den HIV-­‐ positive”.

Kunnskapen om HIV/Aids er fortsatt forsvinnende dårlig. Et stort forskningsprosjekt fra 2009 viste oss at svært mange tror viruset spres ved deling av tannbørste, eller ved å sitte på samme toalettskål. En for stor andel nordmenn svarte at de verken ønsker at en HIV-­‐positiv passer ungene deres eller det å ha en HIV-­‐positiv side ved side på samme arbeidsplass. Med middelaldersk kunnskap om smitte er det ikke rart fordommene gror videre. Av fordommer vokser det igjen stigma og aktiv og passiv diskriminering. Fra enkeltpersoner og myndigheter. Tilfeldig og systematisk. HIV-­‐positive nektes for eksempel innreise til en rekke stater. Kun fordi de er smittet. Resultatet av slik lovgivning er intet annet enn at folk fortsetter å reise, men uten medisiner, og velger bort åpenheten om diagnosen. Lovgivning basert på gamle og foreldede holdninger og kunnskap skaper ikke, men tvert imot hindrer, det FN peker på som det viktigste virkemiddelet i kampen mot smitten: åpenheten.
Norsk lovverk skaper også slike hindre.

HIV-­‐positives sexliv er fortsatt i realiteten kriminalisert i Norge. I 2013. Akkurat det er noe av det flaueste i norsk politikk, men enda verre: den såkalte HIV-­‐paragrafen i straffeloven er en av de direkte årsakene til at åpenheten taper, og at arbeidet mot smitte går trått. Men svært få vet. Og enda færre gjør opprør. Og lovene består.

Å leve livet igjennom med diagnosen blir derfor for svært mange ikke bare en vanskelig, men en hemmelig reise. Åpenhet koster for mye for mange. Koster venner, koster arbeid, koster familie, koster deltagelse i fellesskapet.

Samtidig bidrar nettopp fortellingene om hvor mye det koster, og hvor lite folk vet, fortellingene om alt de HIV-­‐positive risikerer selv til å gjøre livet vanskeligere, til å båssette, og stigmatisere. Ingen er like. Alle har forskjellige historier, og liv. Gode og dårlige. Med eller uten HIV/Aids.
Fordommenes verste fiende er kunnskap. Kunnskapen om det å leve med HIV/Aids må formidles mindre ensformig enn i dag.

Det er et stort behov for flere stemmer i debatten. For andre vinklinger, andre formidlingsformer. Som kan bryte lydmuren oftere! Slik at HIV/Aids-­‐ saken får den oppmerksomhet den fortjener i den offentlige debatten. Slik at flere kan forstå, lære, og kjenne hva dette handler om. Slik at politikere kan ta de rette valgene, basert på kunnskap og ikke ubegrunnet redsel.
Kunsten og kulturen som formidler av kunnskap åpner nye øyne, og den åpner øyne på nye måter. Fortellinger om det å leve med HIV/Aids trenger vi flere av. Som viser mangfoldet, oppturene, nedturene, de gode og de dårlige livene.

HIV/Aids formidles i dag mest med statistikk. Med tall. På smittede. Som går opp.
Jeg vil at det å leve med HIV/Aids skal formidles oftere gjennom kunsten. Lyrikken. For å åpne flere øyne, øke kunnskap, skape nærhet. Adams måte å bruke kunsten som middel til opplysning er nok en gang virkningsfullt, vakkert og svært kjærkomment.

Anette Trettebergstuen Stortingsrepresentant Arbeiderpartiet Oslo, Norge

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

Break the sound barrier with art, written by Anette Trettebergstuen.

Information about living with HIV / AIDS is transmitted in a very one-sided way. With horror, grief, and as something that excludes one from life itself.
That is not true. One dies not from AIDS, one dies with AIDS. And in the meantime, the lives of persons living with HIV / AIDS are as different, as diverse, as good and bad as those of everyone else. But HIV – positive persons encounter a risk most of us never need to fear: to be excluded because of prejudice against the disease they live with. In both the public and the private sphere. HIV – positive persons are all put in the same box. As terminally ill. As dangerous persons. They thus feel the need to “be” the disease.
And carry its name as a middle name, together with one’s own. “The HIV-positive –“.

Knowledge about HIV / AIDS is still astonishingly poor. A large research study from 2009 showed us that many believe that the virus is spread by sharing toothbrushes, or by sitting on the same toilet bowl. A large percentage of Norwegians responded that they neither want an HIV – positive person to babysit or to have an HIV – positive person as a work colleague. With medieval knowledge regarding modes of infection, it is not strange that prejudices continue to grow. As prejudices grow, so do stigma and both active and passive discrimination. From individuals and governments. Randomly and systematically. HIV – positive persons are denied entry into a number of countries. Solely on the basis of infection. The result of such legislation is nothing more than that people continue to travel, but without medication, and avoid openness about their diagnosis. Legislation based upon old and outdated attitudes and knowledge does not create openness, but is rather a hinder, while the UN points out that the most important tool in the fight against infection is – in fact – openness.
Norwegian legislation also creates such obstacles.
HIV – positive persons’ sex lives are, in effect, still criminalized in Norway. In 2013. And that is one of the most embarrassing things in Norwegian politics, but even worse, the so-called HIV – article in the Criminal Code is one of the direct reasons for loss of openness, and that efforts to prevent infection go slowly. But very few people know. And even fewer rebel. And the laws still exist.

To live a life with this diagnosis is therefore not only difficult for many persons, but it is also a secret journey. Openness costs too much for many. Costs related to friends, to work, family, and participation in the community.
At the same time, stories about how much it costs, stories about how little people know, and stories about how much HIV – positive persons risk can also make life difficult, and can also contribute to classification and stigmatizing. No two persons are alike. We all have different stories and lives. Good and bad. With or without HIV / AIDS.

The worst enemy of prejudice is knowledge. The knowledge of how to live with HIV / AIDS needs to be conveyed in a less monotonous way than it is today.
There is a great need for more voices in the debate. For other angles, other forms of communication. Ones that can break the sound barrier more often! This so that the HIV/AIDS issue can get the attention it deserves in the public debate. This so that more people can understand, learn, and know what this is all about. This so politicians can make the right choices based upon knowledge rather than upon unfounded fears.
Art and culture that conveys knowledge opens new eyes, and opens eyes in new ways. We need more stories about living with HIV / AIDS. We need more stories that show the diversity, the ups, the downs, the good and the bad lives.
HIV / AIDS is today mostly illustrated with statistics. With numbers. Of infection. On the rise.

I wish that stories about living with HIV / AIDS be communicated more frequently through art. Through poetry. This in order to open more eyes, to increase knowledge, to create intimacy. Adam’s way of using art as a means to enlightenment is once again powerful, beautiful and most welcome.

Anette Trettebergstuen, Member of Parliament – Labour Party, Oslo, Norway.

(translated by editor)

(This essay is part of my new poetry book “JISEI — death poems and daily reflections by a person with AIDS”)

Read excerpts from the book HERE!

This is not the Berenstain Bears bedtime story, by Jon Poindexter (USA).

Meditation Intro Still

My name is Jon Poindexter.
I am an artist and a healer; and I am an psychotherapist, an acupuncturist, Reiki Seichim Master and Yoga instructor. I manage a practice in Chicago where I and my staff work with adults, teens, adolescents, individuals, couples and families. I also travel to Oslo to teach yoga and see clients.

There are some ass backwards notions fucking up our relationship dynamics in the Western world. Some of these notions are based on a cultural supposition that men and women are predisposed to want diametrically opposite things in relationships.

Some of the most obvious and common of these ass backwards notions are:
– men are afraid of commitment and women are only interested in commitment
– a man is solely responsible for a woman’s happiness is a marriage (or romantic, committed relationship)
– in order for a woman to be happy in a relationship the man must make sacrifices that will make him unhappy (or vice versa)
– men do not want their woman to think and act independently
– men are not interested in their woman’s happiness

These attitudes create power struggles right out of the starting gate! These ideas are fantastic fodder for romantic comedies and soap operas, but make terrible cognitions for entering a relationship.

One the most common cognitions (thoughts) behind these types of power struggles (mentality) are “ men are intimidated by intelligent/strong women.” This cognition often times points to an underlying reaction and power struggle based upon gender role stereotypes. Additionally, it pre-supposes that
1) ALL men do not want WOMEN to be powerful
2) if a woman is powerful EVERY man will be intimidated
3) in a relationship ALL men do not want their woman to be strong.

Cognitively, that’s trouble. Cognitively, there is very little chance that this thought is going to produce a feeling of safety, well being and trust in the person (people, couple) who believe in that cognition. In other words, purely from the hard wiring of the brain, it is a thought that produces conflict. From the start, the the relationship is set to conflict.

On an emotional level, fear, suspicion and doubt are created. Splash in a little mistrust. That stirs up a little jealousy. And the party gets started from there.

While it certainly is valid to say that SOME men do not like “strong” women (whatever the hell ‘strong’ is supposed to mean. I’ll get to that in a second.) it is not to say that ALL or even MOST men do. When the above thoughts (cognitions) are in play, the position from the woman’s point of view easily becomes that she must assert herself or else she is being “weak.” There is also a chance for a disconnect between what is “being strong” and what is “being stubborn and inflexible.” For men, being “strong” is not the same as being “bossy,” “argumentative,” “loud,” “critical,” or “inflexible.” It’s also not to say that “all” or “most” men dislike “strength” in women any more than any other character attribute. Some men don’t like “quiet” women or “flirtatious” women or “women who snore.” Seriously, its at that level.

When a person or a group fights back for their rights and respect against another person, group or society, there is a backlash or pendulum swing of emotion. (For years in race relations, this phenomena was called “reverse racism”.) In a relationship, when the power dynamic is challenged, the one who is making an assertion to claim power can develop feelings of aggression, animosity, anger or even hate against the one who’s power is challenged.

This is the phase we are experiencing in our feminist and women’s rights movements.

As we (society) began integrating feminist thought into the mainstream culture, we experienced a kind of extremism. The pendulum has swung so that men who assert themselves in a relationship are “trying to put their woman down” and women must “stick up for themselves.”

In a relationship, many conflicts can be analyzed in terms of the power dynamics. Who feels empowered or not; who feels respected or not. And in analyzing the stereotypes and cultural subtexts in the cognitions, many conflicts can then be settled in a “humanistic” way.

In the mix of our cultural conflicts played over in our lives and in our media, no one speaks of compromise as strength. No one speaks of cooperation as a virtue.

Presentations and cognitions of cooperation carry the subtext of “keeping the woman happy/keeping the peace in the home” and “one person wins and the other loses.” In the words of Dr. Phil, “The home ain’t happy if mamma ain’t happy.”

That’s fucked up for mamma, poppa and all the baby bears!

So first, mamma bear is emotionally crippled. She is immediately doomed to either give all of her power of happiness to poppa bear (and by extension to baby bears) and have no impetus to secure her own happiness. Poppa bear has got to shoulder the emotional load, and if he’s unhappy, well that’s just the way it has to be cause its all about mamma bear. If mamma bear is unhappy, well its all poppa bear’s fault cause he’s gotta do it. And baby bears will react to boost up mamma bear: until one day they fail to make her happy. This is not the Berenstain Bears bedtime story.

La création de l’art et la littérature exigent un engagement constant, par Adam Donaldson Powell (Norvège)

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UN ENGAGEMENT CONSTANT.

La création de l’art et la littérature exigent un engagement constant.

MES RÉACTIONS AU TEXTE … DE LA PERSPECTIVE D’UN AUTEUR.

De la part d’un auteur qui utilise activement le multilinguisme comme technique … et également de la part de quelqu’un qui a vécu dans trois pays différents avec trois langues maternelles … je trouve le multilinguisme très intéressant. Bien sûr, je reconnais qu’il y a des problèmes inhérent à chaque langue employée et qu’il faut les surmonter en raison des différences culturelles, afin de ne pas mélanger les mots et les définitions. Parfois j’estime que je n’ai aucune “langue” du tout, entre l’anglais, le norvégien, l’espagnol et le français. Ce serait plus facile pour moi de vivre quelques années en France et ensuite peut-être un été dans un pays hispanophone au lieu de continuer à résider en Norvège en tant qu’expatrié.

Cependant, je ne suis pas tellement intéressé par l’anglais parfait, le norvégien parfait, l’espagnol parfait ou le français parfait dans mon écriture. D’ailleurs, la perfection existe-t-elle, même chez les monolingues? Je suis plus concerné par l’utilisation des langues dans leurs formes intrinsèques, voire expérimentales. Cela exige souvent plus de connaissance que je ne possède, donc je dois souvent chercher l’aide d’autres personnes et d’autres sources. Il y a beaucoup de recherche impliquée dans mon écriture. Ceci est aussi valable pour l’écriture dans ma propre langue maternelle : l’anglais. Quand je fais une analyse critique de jeunes auteurs je leur dis souvent de penser au niveau de la langue qu’ils utilisent parce que le niveau de la langue conditionne la performance et l’exécution théâtrale, à partir des émotions. Les mots rares ou précieux (des mots compliqués, obscurs et intellectuels) ont leur place et les mots plus populaires ou du language parlé, également. Ecrire – tout comme l’art – implique un engagement.. TOUT LE TEMPS! Quel niveau du langage, de la narration est approprié, et quels effets cela aura-t-il sur le lecteur ?

La création de l’art et la littérature exigent un engagement constant, ainsi que des rajustements, dès lors que la création commence à prendre vie et doit se définir vis-à-vis du lecteur.

Mes lecteurs me demandent souvent pourquoi je suis “contre la rime poétique. Je ne suis pas – en soi – contre la bonne rime pour autant que l’on sache ce qui est considéré comme bonne rime. Je crois que c’est la voix de poésie elle-même qui doit définir la forme … la rime féminine, la rime masculine, des variations sur des styles, pas de rime, le mètre externe, ce que je désigne comme “le mètre interne” (que l’on ne repère pas nécessairement en lisant rapidement la poésie, mais qui est bien là dans sa forme), le niveau de langue utilisé (des mots de 5 € contre des mots de 5000 €) est important car ils donnent le ton, la voix, ainsi que le degré de difficulté de la création. La question est alors celle-ci: quelle langue utiliser et quand (l’anglais uniquement, comme langue principale? l’utiliser avec les autres langues afin de créer un environnement multiculturel et multilingue ou une culture dite mondiale, en imitant la vie quotidienne dans toutes les sphères d’une culture donnée, en employant de surcroît des dialectes, ou peut-être le mot français ou espagnol au lieu du mot anglais ou norvégien, afin d’obtenir la plus juste expression – exemple: lorsque l’on dit ‘ciao’ en se quittant, dans plusieurs pays -, etc. Les poètes majeurs jusqu’au 21e siècle avaient un appui plus solide dans l’art de la rime. Rimer est beaucoup plus que la découverte de mots qui paraissent semblables musicalement et où le nombre des syllabes comptent. Le Haiku par exemple est beaucoup plus que le nombre de syllabes strict, car en procédant de la sorte on peut arriver à des résultats ridicules. Non, c’est l’esprit du Haiku qu’il faut respecter et non l’exactitude de son mètre. D’autre part, chaque mot possède sa force et son pouvoir de suggestion; particulièrement dans la poésie et les formes littéraires plus courtes – rien ne doit être perdu des intentions et de la force de l’auteur – parfois nous voulons raccourcir ou allonger des textes pour affecter le lecteur ou prêterau texte une certaine identité … cela vaut également pour l’utilisation des mots difficiles que la plupart des personnes doivent constamment consulter un dictionnaire.

La rime qui ne prend pas en compte les effets la musique du mot originel peut inconsciemment ennuyer le lecteur ou transformer une voix pleine d’humour en poésie plate … ainsi, les mots perdent leur signification première, ce qui par la même occasion, neutralise l’essence poétique elle-même.

Quand dois-je me décider quelles langues utiliser et comment ? C’est surtout dicté par la nature et le thème du texte, mais aussi par la culture … ou mieux, par “ma propre perception de la culture concernée”. Dans mon livre “Paradis”, qui est écrit en anglais, en français et en dialecte Tahitien, j’ai essayé de rester le plus simple possible, en m’approchant le plus possible du Tahitien parlé, le français dominant dans ce cas précis, tout en maintenant une certaine distance vis-à-vis des deux autres langues, la poésie anglaise dans le livre est la langue fonctionnelle et descriptive … elle est souvent le fait d’une impatience suggérée et du tumulte interne. Dans le même travail, j’alterne entre poésie et prose afin de créer le sens de la perte du temps et le ‘climat’ du Pacifique. Toutes ces décisions … et d’autres non mentionnées ici … sont consciemment et inconsciemment au travail par le truchement de créations littéraires et artistiques. Plus vous êtes mûr comme artiste, plus vous aspirez à “cette symphonie incroyable”. J’estime être un novice perpétuel … pourtant, je vise toujours très haut en espérant atteindre le paroxysme de la langue que j’utilise, quelle qu’elle soit, allant jusqu’à consulter divers méthodes linguistiques sur Internet, mais là il faut être prudent, car il y a à boire et à manger, et la qualité n’est pas souvent au rendez-vous.

D’autres décisions impliquent le rythme, le cadre, la quantité de détails, la vitesse à laquelle le lecteur entend lire le texte qui lui est soumis : Prenons l’exemple du Candide de Voltaire, ou mon roman “2014 : la vie et les aventures d’un ange incarné” – Il s’agit d’abord d’introduire le lecteur , pour ensuite le laisser voguer dans son imagination en lui donnant l’impression qu’il a écrit l’histoire lui/elle-même.

Beaucoup a été écrit sur règles de l’écriture, particulièrement quant à l’utilisation de la première, la troisième et la deuxième personne. Le défi est grand, car on ne raconte pas la même histoire à la 1ere, 2ème ou 3ème personne, et l’impact sur le lecteur peut être faussé. Un exemple illustre ce que je veux dire: les concertos de piano pour la main gauche seule, comme “le Quartet pour la fin des temps” qui avait été à l’origine écrit pour un violoncelliste ayant seulement trois cordes à son instrument, etc.

Je peux continuer jusqu’à l’infini…, mais il y a une cour de récréation énorme là-bas pour tous les auteurs. Et non seulement pour les auteurs, mais également pour les musiciens, les peintres et les artistes de la scène. Les règles servent à nous donne un contexte et une formation. Nous devons décider, selon nos propres émotions, comment les utiliser (ou ne pas les utiliser), la palette de styles, de formats, des genres étant très vaste, elle permet à certains même de créer de nouveaux genres qui transcendent le seul roman ou la seule poésie.

AMUSEZ-VOUS DONC ! Et si par accident ou si vous n’écoutez que votre intuition en ignorant le plan original, vous découvrez peut-être un nouveau chemin, allez-y, le voyage risque d’être passionnant.

– Adam Donaldson Powell

Autres livres multilingues ou bilingues que j’ai écrit, notamment:

Gaytude, Jisei, 2014, Le Paradis, Three-legged Waltz et The tunnel at the end of time.

Lire des extraits de ces livres à adamangel.wordpress.com