NEWS FROM ELSEWHERE is where Readers and Friends can add the passion of their own concerns 

 

NOVEMBER INCLUDES ….

Rachel Gadsden – Mixed Media 2018

 

  • The poem ”Pay No Heed to the Rockets” by Mahmoud Darwish
  • Dr. Andrea Berardi’s Article on ‘The Ascendency of the Professionals’  
  • Blog by Maleeha Malik from Indonesia 
  • Justin Butcher’s video and book on the ‘Walk to Jerusalem’

 

A Friend sent us :-  “Pay No Heed to the Rockets” by Mahmoud Darwish

At the time of sending this to TIA, Al-Khan al-Ahmar, a West Bank Bedouin Village is holding its breath and waiting for destruction, which is expected at any moment.  Yet another Israeli war crime, stealing land and ethnic cleansing, and in this case, with the intention of forcibly relocating about 200 villagers including the elderly and children to the site of a rubbish dump, in order to expand an illegal Jewish-only settlement.  The US actively colludes; the UK, shamefully, appears to take no action at all publicly.  SEE HERE FOR INFO 

In the following poem, Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine’s most widely translated poet, amid the sounds of destruction accompanying Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, marks one night under siege with a how-to on coffee brewing.

A wonderful example of ‘sumud’, or the banal, methodical persistence of the civilian in wartime.  Living for the moment.

“Pay No Heed to the Rockets” by Mahmoud Darwish

“Gently place one spoonful of the ground coffee,

Electrified with the aroma of cardamom,

On the rippling surface of the hot water,

Then stir slowly, first clockwise, then up and down.

Add the second spoonful and stir up and down, then counterclockwise.

Now add the third. Between spoonfuls,

Take the pot away from the fire and bring it back.

For the final touch, dip the spoon in the melting powder,

Fill and raise it a little over the pot, then let it drop back.

Repeat this several times until the water boils again

And a small mass of the blond coffee remains on the surface,

Rippling and ready to sink.

Don’t let it sink.

Turn off the heat,

And pay no heed to the rockets.”

With acknowledgements to +972, Samer BadawiPublished September 6, 2018

Ceding the Palestinian narrative to … Palestinians

******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

‘The Ascendency  of the Professionals’

Why do so many people mistrust climate scientists and what can we do about it ?

There is indeed a mistrust in climate science and scientists due to the apparent failure of past predictions and the dubious agendas of many professional scientists, many of whom have had illustrious careers as a result of their ‘oracle’ status. But more significantly, there is the very real danger that the painfully slow information feedbacks between sensing social and environmental change, getting experts to update their computer models, convincing politicians to change policies, and then getting the general public to behave accordingly, will not avert catastrophic consequences in time. This can clearly be seen by the simple fact that climate change impact predictions by experts have not actually encouraged a massive and radical shift towards more sustainable lifestyles by the general public — despite the emerging realisation that models of climate change have consistently underestimated the speed of change.

There has to be a marked shift in climate science that emphasises the participation of a wide range of social groups in model building i.e. treating the public as ‘peers’ in the research endeavour, rather than ignorant recipients of information from scientists. This is especially the case with messy ill-defined problems, such as climate change and its impacts, where there is a range of perspectives on the problem under investigation. The aim should be to develop some sort of consensus on the scientific assumptions and engender trust in the insights, in order for immediate concerted action to result. Peer-to-peer, participatory approaches to engaging with complex biophysical, economic and social problems can therefore bring together diverse worldviews, promoting shared understanding leading to active and constructive cooperation. Models of climate change should be used as mediating artefacts amongst all global citizens so as to develop a shared understanding of the situation and in turn promote joint actions to address problems. They should not be the sole ‘property’ of academic experts.

Peer-to-peer, participatory science empowers individuals by not only allowing them to gain a greater understanding of how the Earth, and specific subsystems such as the climate, work, but also allows people to experiment with issues of direct personal relevance, which in turn may galvanise direct action. The destructive nature of relinquishing decision-making control to select professional experts is clearly outlined in the introduction to Ivan Illich’s seminal essay on ‘Disabling Professions’ made more than 40 years ago:

“the professionals, that is the skilled and learned experts who apply their knowledge to the affairs and in the service of others, are traditionally held in high esteem. For generations, divinity, the law, medicine and even the military and now the newer professions in the fields of education, welfare, architecture, industrial management etc have been acknowledged as being selflessly devoted to the good of the weaker and less knowledgeable members of society, thus enabling those who lack the capacity to fend for themselves to lead fuller, safer and healthier lives. However, the question must now be asked whether the professions in fact provide their services so altruistically, and whether we are really enriched and not just subordinated by their activities. There is a growing awareness that during the past twenty years or so, the professions have gained a supreme ascendancy over our social aspirations and behaviour by tightly organising and institutionalising themselves. At the same time we have become a virtually passive clientele: dependent, cajoled and harassed, economically deprived and physically and mentally damaged by the very agents whose raison d’etre it is to help.”

(Illich et al., 1977)

The more one goes down the specialisation and economics of scale route, the more one needs hierarchical line management to coordinate the disparate activities of the workforce. This can be incredibly disempowering, allowing individuals to believe that they are unable to change unsustainable and socially unjust practices themselves. Technologies, such as computer models of climate change, are only empowering if they are made accessible to everyone. If instead they remain in the exclusive hands of those benefiting from the current system of scientific patronage, then it is unsurprising that these powers will be abused and the pain of the marginalised and voiceless will not be heard. The marginalised and voiceless may even turn against the ‘elite’ classes in their decisions, including who they elect to power… 

Dr. Andrea Berardi 

Dr. Andrea Berardi has more than 20 years experience in teaching, researching and building capacity for enabling sustainable communities.

His main interests lie in facilitating grass roots approaches to ecological sustainability and social justice using an action learning process. The aim is to enable communities to collaboratively learn from their own practical experiences using local resources (rather than being told what to do from “experts” or relying on external support).

Andrea currently lives in Englefield Green, Surrey, with his wife and two children. Apart from working full-time as a lecturer for the Open University, he also tries to walk his talk through growing vegetables on several allotments, keeping hens, managing a woodland, having a low consumption lifestyle and participating in a range of activities locally and in support of the UK Green Party, CND, Amnesty International, and Greenpeace. He has co-authored a Practitioner Handbook in order to allow other facilitators to build capacity within communities so that communities members themselves can identify and share their own solutions to current and emerging challenges.

[References : Illich, I. et al. (1977) Disabling Professions, Marion Boyars]

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Blog from Indonesia – 

Ke Mana ? Stories from Asia  by Maleeha Malik

Saving Trees, Saving Lives

Pak Subagio is laughing; his face creases up into a smile and his eyes twinkle, full of life. Although small and thin, he radiates happiness and a sense of vitality. It’s impossible to believe that just a year ago, the same man was lying in bed unable to work and that he had been that way for a long time. Pak Subagio had tuberculosis, an infectious bacterial disease that is characterised by disease of the lungs. In the Western world, rates of TB have decreased drastically as a result of nationwide vaccination schemes. In West Kalimantan, an area that has very little access to high quality healthcare, it still poses a huge problem.

DSC05897

Two weeks ago, I visited Alam Sehat Lestari, or ASRI for short, an NGO in West Kalimantan that is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare for communities around Gunung Palung National Park. The name Alam Sehat Lestari literally translates to ‘nature healthy sustainable’; asri translates to ‘beautiful’. It is exactly this idea of linking healthcare to a healthy environment that ASRI is trying to promote. READ MORE HERE

 

 

 

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

‘Walking To Jerusalem’ – Justin Butcher reports …

We did it! In partnership with Amos Trust, I led the Just Walk to Jerusalem, a 3,400-km pilgrimage from London to Jerusalem, June-November 2017, in solidarity with the Palestinian people, marking three terrible anniversaries in their struggle – the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, the fiftieth year of the Occupation and the tenth year of the blockade of Gaza.

Two years in the planning, then five months of walking through Europe and the Middle East, it was an amazing experience – and our welcome, when we arrived at last in the West Bank, was overwhelming.

I’ve spent most of the year since writing the book of the Walk, which is published by Hodder & Stoughton at the end of November.

 

The short (4.35 minute) film of the Walk is  –  HERE

 

Please also see the TIA STORY on Justin Butcher’s plans for the Walk last year  ”THE JUST WALK : ”a big crazy stunt : crazier than the Wall”

 

************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Contact Anne theimaginationacts@gmail.com  if you have something you would like TIA to show on ELSEWHERE