Early morning Spring song

I let Lulu out this morning

And walked on the dewy lawn

While she sniffed and wee’d.

morning star

The morning star still guarded the departing night

Bright and clear, defying its extinction.

Grey pink clouds foretold the arrival of big brother Sun.

 

Butcher birds are singing choruses to each other;

The honey eater is twitter-chattering,

mimosa

Yellow mimosa is breaking out;

Nasturtiums are overflowing –

the bright orange and yellow petals promising joy.

purple bauhiniaBauhinia, the purple herald is in flower.

 

The air is soft and the breeze gentle.

Time again to awake and welcome the new year.

Gliddy glub gloopy, nibby nabby noopy la, la, la, lo, lo
Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, le, le, lo, lo
Tooby ooby walla, nooby abba naba,

Early morning singing song*

*Chorus from Good Morning Starshine by Oliver – sing it out aloud, it’s quite easy!

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose

So sang Kristofferson and Joplin after Bobby McGee left them heartbroken and bereft.

That may be true in the sense that relationships and possessions carry obligations which are fetters on your freedom.

Throughout Africa, freedom from colonial rule has led to continued corruption and tyranny, the destruction of agriculture and plunder of natural resources without regard for posterity and a disregard for welfare of the people, which will soon leave nothing left to lose.

In the supposedly more civilised ‘western world’, increased freedoms have led to the inability of governments to curtail or restrict the increasingly conflicted demands on the fiscus and the disempowerment of Police, Border Control and Armed Forces. Soon they too may have nothing left to lose, because everything is free.

But I digress.

I have recently done a course on What Works in Development Aid strategies

corruption funnel

The course started off by saying that not many aid strategies worked because of the rip-offs by the empowered elites in recipient countries.

Somalis, Sudanese and Ethiopians are still starving after how many years and dollars of aid . In addition, because the development aid in health has been so successful, there are many more people doomed to hunger!

We are talking big money: $135 billion in 2014 spent by OECD countries alone!

The United Nations sustainable development goal number 1 is: to leave no-one behind by 2030. Cute, hey?

trickle down effectPerhaps consideration should be given to the existence of the development aid industry as a whole: from UN agencies, to government ministries, to universities to aid workers and supply chain operators – is it worth the significant expenditure of taxpayers dollars?

Should foreigners be intervening in sovereign states to prolong life expectancy in a world where natural resources are being depleted and destroyed by too many people?

Or is the development aid industry too entrenched to re-consider its roots. The disguise or suspicion of imperialism and market growth will remain.

Should we continue to shore up tyranny by removing the desperation of their populace, who eventually must be the authors of their own liberation? The alternative is the one that communism and agencies like the CIA instigated: arming people to enable them to confront abuses. Is the morality not the same?

The survival of our world is threatened by the wholesale destruction of our environment by unrestrained economies with burgeoning populations. The survival imperative is to safeguard resources. Economic and political interventions are apparently tenuous and entail the appeasement of tyrants for success, which is morally unpalatable.

Military intervention to impose and sustain appropriate institutions and practices is an alternative, but failed in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somaliland, Syria and is much more expensive and politically sensitive!

However, my putative rant hit a brick wall.

A little more research and thinking about the topic suggests that it is in fact very necessary expenditure:

  • On average, the richer states spend only about 0.7% of their gross national incomes on aid (relatively insignificant)
  • it curbs global spread of diseases
  • it buys friends, allies and access to resources
  • it provides markets…
  • the aid industry employs many people at home and abroad; e.g.: in the US all aid supplies must be made in the US.

In 1990, 1.9billion (36%) of the the world population of 5.3 billion, lived in extreme poverty. In 2010, only 1.2 billion (18%) of the increased population of 6.8 billion, lived in extreme poverty. Aid is believed to have significantly contributed to this reduction in poverty and increased life expectancy and the eradication of a number of diseases.

It also definitely contributed to the 28% increase in population.

 

There are other secondary (or maybe primary objectives), like the renewed

scramble for Africa, illustrated by the numerous and significant projects

china aid.gif

funded and manned by China.

 

 

It is ironic that China was one of the main supporters of the spread of communism in Africa, until its loss of credibility.

 

 

 

However, over 150 countries (of the 196 in the world) have committed

themselves to the United Nations Development Programme’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

 

This is where our hopes lie, as signatories can be held accountable to their commitments.

Here’s hoping!

global goals

 

 

Old Friends

Last week I wrote of the passing of a kinsman and how my world seemed to shrink, but the warmth of our association remains.

This week I write about old friends with whom my wife and I spent time over the weekend.

Old as in ‘older than us’ from where we lived before, who are still good friends.best old ones

We were neighbours and shared a love of plants, summer lunches, sometimes heated discussions, poetry and word plays. We shared similar Southern African origins and discovered that we were almost related, with a sister and an uncle romantically linked for a  while.

alphabet friendsThe word “friend” comes from Old English “frēond”, which is actually the present participle of “frēogan”, which means “to love” and “to honor”.
a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

Synonyms: 1. comrade, chum, crony, confidant. 2. backer, advocate. 4. ally, associate, confrere, compatriot.

Tick all boxes!

goodbye friend

 

 

 

Our world shrinks as we age

I mourn the passing of an icon in my life today.
Energy and efficiency and focus were his middle names. Fast, impatient and so competent.
I bet he chastened his surgeon about the workings of his pacemaker and circulatory system that failed him!
catch-fishAnd generous with his skills and abilities, especially with his bumbling brothers in law.
What a fisherman! And a sailor who instilled a love of the sea and sailing.

That’s 3 brothers in law I have lost in recent years. Good men, generous and competent engineers, all of them. Heaven will be much improved!

We mourn the circle of life as we enter winter.
But a new Spring will come – different, somehow smaller, but renewed and growing new shoots and flowers.

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” – Rabindranath Tagore

 

A new campaign

Our current campaign is a global war against that yoke of uniformity, the nenoose tieck tie.

There can be no logical explanation why people continue to tie strips of cloth tightly around their throats and then dangle them on their chests. 

This was blogged on 16 October 2005, but the real campaign against the necktie started in practice in the 90’s with the wearing of silly socks on Fridays. The more radical followers of the movement also began wearing outrageous and unseemly ties to draw attention to the folly of the fashion convention.

The recent neck-naked appearances of those prisoners of convention and foremost icons of the stiff upper lip Society, HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, KG, KT, PC, ADC(P), HRH Prince Henry of Wales, KCVO and the Obamas indicates their clear support for the campaign and clearly demonstrates that the campaign is all but won. (The speculation that they read this blog can not be confirmed.)

no necktie nobles.jpg
Long live the revolution!

We will not be distracted by celebrations of victory but rather dedicate our considerable efforts to a new campaign.

Ban the Bag 

plastic jelly fish

The New York City Sanitation Department collects more than 1,700 tons of single

turtlefood
Turtle Food

use carry-out bags every week and has to spend $12.5 million a year to dispose of them.

Clean up Australia informs us that plastic bags have been around for 30 years now. It is estimated worldwide that 1 trillion bags are used and discarded every year.

 

plastic picnic spot
Protected picnic place

Australians use 3.92 billion plastic bags a year, that’s over 10 million new bags being used every day. An estimated 3.76 billion bags or 20,700 tonnes of plastic are disposed of in landfill sites throughout Australia every year. Australians dump 7,150 recyclable plastic bags into landfills every minute or 429,000 bags every hour.

We know that we can do without them; they are a recent invention – we used baskets or boxes before, we can use them again. Aldi has none and we flock there!

ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania have banned single-use plastic shopping bags. Why do Queensland, NSW, Western Australia, Europe and the World not follow?

This is one way we can contribute to saving our world – work on it, work on your politicians, teachers and children: you can do it!

Start by taking your own carry bags to the supermarket and greengrocer – don’t use their bags. Not that easy – you have to put on your Crusader’s armour everytime you shop!

biobag-I personally will have to work out a solution to picking up dog poo, but I will try too.

I wonder if the Princes are good to go on this? (Not the dog poo bit, but lending their weight to a plastic bag ban…)

Our destiny is in our own hands! Seize the opportunity and strike a blow for everyone of us!

whats your vote

There is no stillness in life

The morning is cool almost clear, quite crisp;

There’s a hint of mist on the calm sea.

Grey clouds muscle up above the island –

Gold rimmed as God looms over them

Surveying the creation, glowing heat and life.

sun clouds

 

 

 

 

The birds whisper: we all pause.

It is early and fresh and promising;

The beauty of the moment is short.

Another wishful dawn flowers.

Nothing stops until your own light sets.

Irish Poetry: Humour, Rhythmn, Ryhme and Reason

Now Delaney had a donkey that everyone admired,
Tempo’rily lazy and permanently tired
A leg at ev’ry corner balancing his head,delaneys donkey
And a tail to let you know which end he wanted to be fed
Riley slyly said “We’ve underrated it, why not train it?”
Then he took a rag
They rubbed it, scrubbed it,
They oiled and embrocated it,
Got it to the post
And when the starter dropped his flag

There was Riley pushing it, shoving it, shushing it
Hogan, Logan and ev’ryone in town lined up
Attacking it and shoving it and smacking it
They might as well have tried to push the Town Hall down
The donkey was eyeing them,
Openly defying them
Winking, blinking and twisting out of place
Riley reversing it,
Ev’rybody cursing it
The day Delaney’s donkey ran the halfmile race.

The muscles of the mighty never known to flinch,
They couldn’t budge the donkey a quarter of an inch
Delaney lay exhausted, hanging round its throat
With a grip just like a Scotchman on a five pound note
Starter, Carter, he lined up with the rest of ’em.
When it saw them, it was willing then
It raced up, braced up, ready for the best of ’em.
They started off to cheer it but it changed its mind again

There was Riley pushing it, shoving it and shushing it
Hogan, Logan and Mary Ann Macgraw,
She started poking it, grabbing it and choking it
It kicked her in the bustle and it laughed “Hee Haw!”laughing ass
The whigs, the conservatives,
Radical superlatives
Libr’rals and tories,
They hurried to the place
Stood there in unity,
Helping the community
The day Delaney’s donkey ran the halfmile race.

The crowd began to cheer it. Then Rafferty, the judge
He came to assist them, but still it wouldn’t budge
The jockey who was riding, little John MacGee,
Was so thoroughly disgusted that he went to have his tea
Hagan, Fagan was students of psychology,
Swore they’d shift it with some dynamite
They bought it, brought it, then without apology
The donkey gave a sneeze and blew the whole lot out of place

There was Riley pushing it, shoving it and shushing it
Hogan, Logan and all the bally crew,
P’lice, and auxil’ary,
The Garrison Artillery
The Second Enniskillen’s and the Life Guards too
They seized it and harried it,
They picked it up and carried it
Cheered it, steered it to the winning place
Then the Bookies drew aside,
They all commited suicide
Well, the day Delaney’s donkey won the halfmile race.