Constantine P. Cavafy-Poems

Τρώες (1905)

Είν’ η προσπάθειές μας, των συφοριασμένων·
είν’ η προσπάθειές μας σαν των Τρώων.
Κομμάτι κατορθώνουμε· κομμάτι
παίρνουμ’ επάνω μας· κι αρχίζουμε
νάχουμε θάρρος και καλές ελπίδες.

Μα πάντα κάτι βγαίνει και μας σταματά.
Ο Αχιλλεύς στην τάφρον εμπροστά μας
βγαίνει και με φωνές μεγάλες μας τρομάζει.–

Είν’ η προσπάθειές μας σαν των Τρώων.
Θαρρούμε πως με απόφασι και τόλμη
θ’ αλλάξουμε της τύχης την καταφορά,
κ’ έξω στεκόμεθα ν’ αγωνισθούμε.

Αλλ’ όταν η μεγάλη κρίσις έλθει,
η τόλμη κ’ η απόφασίς μας χάνονται·
ταράττεται η ψυχή μας, παραλύει·
κι ολόγυρα απ’ τα τείχη τρέχουμε
ζητώντας να γλυτώσουμε με την φυγή.

Όμως η πτώσις μας είναι βεβαία. Επάνω,
στα τείχη, άρχισεν ήδη ο θρήνος.
Των ημερών μας αναμνήσεις κλαιν κ’ αισθήματα.

Πικρά για μας ο Πρίαμος κ’ η Εκάβη κλαίνε.


TROJANS

Our efforts are like those of the unfortunate;

like the efforts of the Trojans.

We succeed a bit; we regain

our confidence; and we start feeling

brave and having high hopes.

But always something comes up and stops us.

Achilles appears in front of us in the trench

and with loud shouts frightens us back.—

Our efforts are like those of the Trojans.

We think that with resolution and boldness

we can reverse the downhill course of fate,

and we stand outside ready to fight.

But when the great crisis comes,

our boldness and resolution vanish;

our soul is shaken, paralyzed;

and we run around the walls

trying to save ourselves by running away.

And yet our fall is certain. High up,

on the walls, the dirge has already started

mourning memories and auras of our days.

Priamos and Ekavi weep bitterly for us.

Nostos and Algos

Old Couple
 
 
Long and narrow rusted table
hardly stands motionless
bleached out tablecloth as though
thrown in debts of river for a long time
cloth faded like her eyes gazing agony
of the sea to reach the foreign land
where her son has vanished
 
shade of grapevine thick like a sin
harsh like a thought pounding
her memory to give birth to new light
 
when he brings two plates, trembling
hands pour wine in two glasses,
small plate with olives, piece of feta
 
the sigh expertly camouflaged by his smile
as the lone cicada insists to disturb
monologue of their loneliness
 
when he finally sits next to her
above them the grapevine smiles
as his calloused fingers touch
her wrinkled hand and the sun
somewhere higher than everybody
roars in laughter when the old man says
“you forgot to make the salad”
 
 
 
In memory of my parents
in their late years of life in the village
Ζευγάρι Γερόντων
 
Στενόμακρο τραπεζάκι που
με δυσκολία στέκεται ακίνητο,
τραπεζομάντι λο σαν
να το πέταξαν στο βάθος ποταμού
ξεθωριασμένο σαν τα μάτια της
να κοιτούν την αγωνία της θάλασσας
που οδηγεί στην ξενιτειά που ο γιος τ ης ζει.
 
Ίσκιος κληματαριάς βαθύπνοος
και σκληρός σαν αμαρτία,
αμείλιχτος σαν σκέψη που σφυρηλατεί
τη θύμησή τ ης για να ξαναγενν ήσει φώς
κι εκείνος φέρνει τα δυο πιάτα,
το κρασί που τα τρεμάμενά του χέρια βάζουν
σ τα ποτήρια, πιατάκι ελιές, ένα κομμάτι φέτα
 
κι ο στεναγμός απλά μασκαρεμ ένος με το χαμογέλιο
κι απο του τζίτζικα την επιμονή να διακόπτει
της μοναξιάς τους το μονόλογο
όταν επιτέλους κάθεται δίπλα της.
 
Πάνωθέ τους η κληματαριά γελά
σαν τα ροζιασμένα δάχ τυλά του
αγγίζουν τις ρυτίδες του χεριού της κι ο ήλιος
κάπου ψηλότερα ξεκαρδίζεται στα γέλια
που τ ης λέει… ξέχασες να κόψεις τη σαλάτα.
 
 
 
 
 
Aφιερωμένο στους γονείς μου που ζήσαν τα γ ηρατειά τους στο χωριό’
 

John Pilger

WAR IN EUROPE AND THE RISE OF RAW PROPAGANDA

17 February 2022

Marshall McLuhan’s prophecy that “the successor to politics will be propaganda” has happened.  Raw propaganda is now the rule in Western democracies, especially the US and Britain

On matters of war and peace, ministerial deceit is reported as news. Inconvenient facts are censored, demons are nurtured. The model is corporate spin, the currency of the age. In 1964, McLuhan famously declared, “The medium is the message.” The lie is the message now.

But is this new? It is more than a century since Edward Bernays, the father of spin, invented “public relations” as a cover for war propaganda. What is new is the virtual elimination of dissent in the mainstream.

The great editor David Bowman, author of The Captive Press, called this “a defenestration of all who refuse to follow a line and to swallow the unpalatable and are brave”. He was referring to independent journalists and whistle blowers, the honest mavericks to whom media organisations once gave space, often with pride. The space has been abolished.

The war hysteria that has rolled in like a tidal wave in recent weeks and months is the most striking example. Known by its jargon, “shaping the narrative”, much if not most of it is pure propaganda.

The Russians are coming. Russia is worse than bad. Putin is evil, “a Nazi like Hitler”, salivated the Labour MP Chris Bryant. Ukraine is about to be invaded by Russia – tonight, this week, next week. The sources include an ex CIA propagandist who now speaks for the US State Department and offers no evidence of his claims about Russian actions because “it comes from the US Government”.

The no-evidence rule also applies in London. The British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, who spent £500,000 of public money flying to Australia in a private plane to warn the Canberra government that both Russia and China were about to pounce,  offered no evidence. Antipodean heads nodded; the “narrative” is unchallenged there. One rare exception, former prime minister Paul Keating, called Truss’s warmongering “demented”.

Truss has blithely confused the countries of the Baltic and Black Sea. In Moscow, she told the Russian foreign minister that Britain would never accept Russian sovereignty over Rostov and Voronezh – until it was pointed out to her that these places were not part of Ukraine but in Russia. Read the Russian press about the buffoonery of this pretender to 10 Downing Street and cringe.

This entire farce, recently starring Boris Johnson in Moscow playing a clownish version of his hero, Churchill, might be enjoyed as satire were it not for its wilful abuse of facts and historical understanding and the real danger of war.

Vladimir Putin refers to the “genocide” in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. Following the coup in Ukraine in 2014 – orchestrated by Barack Obama’s “point person” in Kyiv, Victoria Nuland – the coup regime, infested with neo-Nazis, launched a campaign of terror against Russian-speaking Donbas, which accounts for a third of Ukraine’s population.

Overseen by CIA director John Brennan in Kyiv, “special security units” coordinated savage attacks on the people of Donbas, who opposed the coup. Video and eyewitness reports show bussed fascist thugs burning the trade union headquarters in the city of Odessa, killing 41 people trapped inside. The police are standing by. Obama congratulated the “duly elected” coup regime for its “remarkable restraint”.

In the US media the Odessa atrocity was played down as “murky” and a “tragedy” in which “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) attacked “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine). Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal damned the victims – “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”.

Professor Stephen Cohen, acclaimed as America’s leading authority on Russia, wrote, “The pogrom-like burning to death of ethnic Russians and others in Odessa reawakened memories of Nazi extermination squads in Ukraine during world war two. [Today] storm-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other ‘impure’ citizens are widespread throughout Kyiv-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s…

“The police and official legal authorities do virtually nothing to prevent these neo-fascist acts or to prosecute them. On the contrary, Kyiv has officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even memorialising Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms, renaming streets in their honour, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, and more.”

Today, neo-Nazi Ukraine is seldom mentioned. That the British are training the Ukrainian National Guard, which includes neo-Nazis, is not news. (See Matt Kennard’s Declassified report in Consortium 15 February). The return  of violent, endorsed fascism to 21st-century Europe, to quote Harold Pinter, “never happened … even while it was happening”.

On 16 December, the United Nations tabled a resolution that called for “combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism”. The only nations to vote against it were the United States and Ukraine.

Almost every Russian knows that it was across the plains of Ukraine’s “borderland” that Hitler’s divisions swept from the west in 1941, bolstered by Ukraine’s Nazi cultists and collaborators. The result was more than 20 million Russian dead.

Setting aside the manoeuvres and cynicism of geopolitics, whomever the players, this historical memory is the driving force behind Russia’s respect-seeking, self-protective security proposals, which were published in Moscow in the week the UN voted 130-2 to outlaw Nazism. They are:

– NATO guarantees that it will not deploy missiles in nations bordering Russia. (They are already in place from Slovenia to Romania, with Poland to follow)
– NATO to stop military and naval exercises in nations and seas bordering Russia.
– Ukraine will not become a member of NATO.
– the West and Russia to sign a binding East-West security pact.
– the landmark treaty between the US and Russia covering intermediate-range nuclear weapons to be restored. (The US abandoned it in 2019)

These amount to a comprehensive draft of a peace plan for all of post-war Europe and ought to be welcomed in the West. But who understands their significance in Britain? What they are told is that Putin is a pariah and a threat to Christendom.

Russian-speaking Ukrainians, under economic blockade by Kyiv for seven years, are fighting for their survival. The “massing” army we seldom hear about are the thirteen Ukrainian army brigades laying siege to Donbas: an estimated 150,000 troops. If they attack, the provocation to Russia will almost certainly mean war.

In 2015, brokered by the Germans and French, the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Minsk and signed an interim peace deal. Ukraine agreed to offer autonomy to Donbas, now the self declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The Minsk agreement has never been given a chance. In Britain, the line,  amplified by Boris Johnson, is that Ukraine is being “dictated to” by world leaders. For its part, Britain is arming Ukraine and training its army.

Since the first Cold War, NATO has effectively marched right up to Russia’s most sensitive border having demonstrated its bloody aggression in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and broken solemn promises to pull back.  Having dragged European “allies” into American wars that do not concern them, the great unspoken is that NATO itself is the real threat to European security.

In Britain, a state and media xenophobia is triggered at the very mention of “Russia”. Mark the knee-jerk hostility with which the BBC reports Russia. Why? Is it because the restoration of imperial mythology demands, above all, a permanent enemy? Certainly, we deserve better.

http://johnpilger.com/articles/war-in-europe-and-the-rise-of-raw-propaganda

Daily Dose of Bhagavad Gita

Be Inspired..!!

Chapter 1: Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra

TEXT 3

pasyaitam pandu-putranam
acarya mahatim camum
vyudham drupada-putrena
tava sisyena dhimata

Chapter 1 – Verse3

Chapter 1: Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra

TRANSLATION

O my teacher, behold the great army of the sons of Pandu, so expertly arranged by your intelligent disciple, the son of Drupada.

PURPORT

Duryodhana, a great diplomat, wanted to point out the defects of Dronacarya, the great brahmana commander-in-chief. Dronacarya had some political quarrel with King Drupada, the father of Draupadi, who was Arjuna’s wife. As a result of this quarrel, Drupada performed a great sacrifice, by which he received the benediction of having a son who would be able to kill Dronacarya. Dronacarya knew this perfectly well, and yet, as a liberal brahmana, he did not hesitate to impart all his military secrets when the son of Drupada, Dhrstadyumna, was entrusted…

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Sylvia Plath Reads Her Poetry: 23 Poems from the Last 6 Years of Her Life

To Koskino

In March of last year, Toronto collector Greg Gatenby auctioned off “some 1,700 LPs, 45s, and 10-inch discs”-worth of recorded literary history, containing readings by such canonical figures as “Auden and Atwood, Camus and Capote, Eliot, Faulkner, Kipling, Shaw and Yeats,” and the recordings featured here from Sylvia Plath. Gatenby’s entire collection went on sale for a buy-it-now price of $85,000 (I assume it’s sold by now), and while we might have preferred that he donated these artifacts to libraries, there may have been no need. Most of them are already, or we hope soon will be, digitized and free online. Sylvia Plath reading her poetry (now out of print) was originally released on vinyl and cassette in 1977 by prolific spoken word record label Caedmon, but of course the readings they document all took place over fifteen years earlier, some at least as early as 1959, the year before…

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