Solitude (from my anthology Love’s Sacred Name)

Solitude
And I must love with tears of the noonday
In the blossoms of weeping in the night
What, the morning already seeks to rise
And pluck thy summer’s fruits from mind
In every cry, love life’s greatest quest
And did the notes of babbling brook
Echo in the recesses of darkest mind?
For where’er the solitude of multitudes has fled,
There find I solace in a lonely place
uncluttered by presence of man or beast
And pearly moon to bear the night,
Till selfish loves seek their nest
In aching beating chest and mind
must flee afresh to find eternal rest

Reaching beyond our selves

Don’t just be yourself. That’s aiming very low. Be the divine magnificent potential of the fullness of your being, unfettered by “no”, unrestrained by” I can’t”, flying towards the shimmering potential of all the possibilities inherent in your imagination. Reality can be pretty mundane at times. Create worlds, universes of endless magic and beauty in your imagination and be the king, the queen, the prince, the princess, the beggar, the butterfly, the ant, the eagle on wing soaring in the azure sky of your world, a kaleidoscope of colors exploding all around, a world of beauty and magic and hope. And imagine everyone inhabiting that world, doing the same. Soon your joy will know no bounds and your splendor will be the realization of the ultimate: not God and man, not even God in man but God as man…LJ

Tragic events in the US

I am deeply saddened by the tragic massacre in the US. It’s hard to grasp what pushes someone to the tipping point where the lives of others and indeed one’s own life has no more meaning. This is a tragedy not just for the grieving families, a grieving nation but for the world at large because one way or the other this tragedy asks deep and profound questions about the human condition.

The creativity myth

From Exploding the creativity myth by Tony Veale:
“Creativity is surprising and refreshing and sometimes even shocking because it is a fundamentally disruptive phenomenon. Creative thinkers achieve outcomes that often seem obvious after the act of creation, but these outcomes are far from obvious before the creative act. Producers and consumers thus play very different roles in linguistic creativity. A consumer comprehends a finished product, and works backwards from there to appreciate the creative choices that informed its production. In contrast, producers start with an empty page or blank screen, and must identify and pursue those choices for themselves.”

He has a point. In my opinion, the conceptual field belongs to no one although artists lay claim to it as a possession that is their exclusive domain.

The new media?

The following article courtesy of avaaz.org:

“Dear friends,

Imagine if there were one website we could open with our morning coffee that felt like walking onto the global town square — a one-stop shop that was reliable, insightful, inspiring and hopeful. 97% of us asked for it in an Avaaz poll and now the Daily Briefing is nearly ready. If just 20,000 of us chip in a small amount today, we can roll it out. Click to help Avaaz become the media:

Donate
Imagine if there were one website we could open with our morning coffee that felt like walking onto the global town square — a one-stop shop with reliable news, insightful analysis, and inspirational storytelling that for the first time offered solutions and a way to take action on the issues we most care about!

Now imagine if 16 million of us were behind this cutting edge site — that’s a bigger circulation than the Washington Post or the Times! It’s a bold goal, but we’ve spent months shaping the concept and recruiting an initial team of top journalists. Now the Avaaz Daily Briefing is nearly ready to launch.

Old media is beholden to corporate owners and advertisers and its news is often cynical and disempowering. The Daily Briefing will be owned by us and driven by us — people-powered media for a better world. If just 20,000 of us chip in a small amount today, we can roll it out and hire the best editors, writers, infographic geniuses, and developers. Click to help Avaaz become the media:

Earlier this year, an astonishing 97% of the Avaaz community voted for this idea in our annual poll. Last week, we took it for a test drive and the response was fantastic! For the first time ever, our movement became the media — together we countered the mainstream “Muslim Rage” coverage by sharing a post that responsibly contextualized the Muslim protests and challenged Newsweek’s sensationalism.

It’s mind-blowing to think how this project could evolve. If just 20,000 of us donate today, here’s what we’ll do:

Staff up the tiny team currently running the Daily Briefing. Some of the world’s most experienced and talented journalists and media pros have approached us to come aboard because they are tired of corporate and conflict journalism and can see how a 16 million-member media machine can strengthen our democracies and help change our world.

Build the world’s best technology so community and democracy rule. With cutting edge crowd-sourcing and citizen journalism tech builds, we’ll all get to produce content and vote things up and down so that stories are featured based on merit and relevance to us.

Tell the good news. Instead of bombarding us solely with stories that portray the horrors of humanity and the destruction of our planet, the Daily Briefing will investigate and showcase inspiring stories of hope and courage.

Give a voice to the untold stories. Avaaz members have funded critical citizen journalism to break media blackouts in hotspots of repression across the world. Now, the Daily Briefing will offer an avenue for voices and issues that are ignored by corporate-owned media.

Provide world-class analysis and political entrepreneurship. Daily Briefing staff will cut through the language that alienates us, instead providing solid analysis and new paths to confront the biggest challenges of our time.

Click here to donate and help launch the Daily Briefing:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/avaaz_becomes_the_media/?bcgyCbb&v=18415

The march of democracy that is sweeping our world is remaking many of our old institutions. For 5 years now, we have worked together to reform politics across the world — and it is working. But politics and media are two sides of the same coin — one cannot change without change in the other and we are governed as much by media as we are by governments. It’s time to take them both back.

With hope,

Ricken, Dalia, Maria Paz, Alice, Antonia, Ari, Heather, Wissam and the whole Avaaz team

PS – In case you’re mulling it over, here are 11 more reasons to donate to the Avaaz Daily Briefing 🙂

Reason 1 – Daily Briefing is Avaaz 2.0

It’s a whole new dimension of the product Avaaz has been putting out for years. We are already the most successful, viral online community ever — this will take us to the next level.

Reason 2 – Daily Briefing is Independent, Impartial and Trustworthy

Avaaz has always been totally independent, taking no money from governments or corporations, ensuring that our voice is exclusively determined by the values of our members and not by any large funder or agenda. Now, 100% of the Avaaz budget comes from small online donations. This means that the only editorial agenda for the Daily Briefing is the people’s agenda, and we will not shy away from speaking truth to power.

Reason 3 – Daily Briefing is People Reviewed, Approved and Powered

The team will create and maintain feedback and testing mechanisms to ensure Avaaz members exert quality control over the Daily Briefing and are always able to hold us accountable for producing the highest quality content possible.

Reason 4 – Daily Briefing Sees Deeply and Explains Simply

The Daily Briefing will communicate the most incisive and empowering understanding available of world events. But our team will remain fiercely faithful to the principle that important public debate should be accessible and engaging for all citizens. No matter how complex the issue, there is a simple, concise and engaging way of explaining it. This never means dumbing down, it means seeing deeply in order to explain simply.

Reason 5 – Daily Briefing is Briefing and Equipment for the Citizen

The Daily Briefing will always treat readers like prime ministers and presidents — they’re busy, they make critically important decisions about how to spend their time and they deserve to have the most important and most relevant information and analysis.

Reason 6 – The Daily Briefing is Not News, it’s Better

It represents, in part, a return to the soul of journalism — campaigning journalism that upholds the public interest and holds power accountable.

Reason 7 – Avaaz has No Bureaucracy

Avaaz is a massive network of citizens, but our organization is absolutely tiny — just 55 full time campaigners with operational and technology support. Most large, global NGOs have hundreds or even thousands of staff. Our small size means we have no time for red tape, layers of management or being focused on anything but getting results.

Reason 8 – Avaaz is Regularly Audited and Fiscally Responsible

There’s a lot of fear out there about misuse of donated money. Most of the fear is misplaced –- most organizations are filled with good people trying to do good things. With Avaaz you can be sure -– partly because we’re required by law to be audited every 12 months. This audit thoroughly checks every aspect of our books and financial practices. We’ve been audited 6 times since we launched and every time been given a squeaky-clean bill of health (for details, click here).

Reason 9 – Avaaz has a World-Class Team That Does Outstanding Work

Campaigning, advocacy and social change are serious and demanding business – the more competent the team, the more impact our donations have. Avaaz has always attracted some of the best campaigners and advocates in the world. Many of our campaign directors joined us after being CEOs of successful advocacy organizations and most have degrees from the top universities in the world. Our Daily Briefing team will be made up of top writers, journalists and editors.

Reason 10 – Avaaz is Political (this really matters)

Most charities offer tax deductibility for donations. But this means that they are, in a way, partially taxpayer funded and governments use that to place a very thick set of rules on what they can and can’t do. Chief among them is restricting what they can say to criticize, support or oppose a politician. Avaaz is very rare in that our donations are not tax-deductible, leaving us 100% free to say and do whatever we need to to get leaders to listen to people — which will be crucial to keeping the Daily Briefing independent, impartial and trustworthy.

Reason 11 – Like Avaaz, the Daily Briefing Will be the Only Operation of its Kind — Ever, Anywhere

Avaaz is the world’s first and only multi-million member, high-tech, people-powered, multi-issue, genuinely global campaigning community. No other movement can rapidly mobilize large-scale, coordinated democratic pressure in over 193 countries within 24 hours. Now, the Daily Briefing could be our next step in record breaking if we become the most read and shared global, non-profit, people-powered news website — ever, anywhere. But it can only happen if 20,000 of us chip in what we can today.”

South Africa’s Olympic medals 2012

SA’s 200m runner the youngster Jobodwana made it to the 200m Olympic final. People don’t even know SA has a 200m runner (amid the hoopla surrounding Pistorius, Semenya, Le Clos, Cameron van den Burg.) This 19-year old boy is seriously talented and he is in the final with the greatest sprinters ever! Rock on Jobo! Then there is one of the world’s best BMX riders, Nhlapo in his second Olympics.

Sunnette Viljoen in the women’s javelin final, Bridgitte Hartley in the 500m Canoe Sprint and Pretorius in the 4x400m relay heats. Maybe there are some more medals coming SA’s way!

Rugby World Cup 2011

So will the aging giants of rugby rise to the pinnacle of greatness again? Have they got it in their legs and their hearts for one final push? No team has ever defended the world cup title successfully? All South Africans, or rather those that support them are hoping that the SA rugby team will be the first.

The debate about Smith and Bismarck rages on. Honestly I would have put Smith out to pasture a long time ago and just used Bismarkck with Matfield as captain. Done and done!

And I’d play Francois Hougaard as scrumhalf and leave Du Preez on the bench. He is way past his best. And Francois Steyn? Puhlease. He looks or looked like a bohemian from the 70s. He offers little to the team these days. I’d have left him in France. Put Lambie on as fullback or Aplon.

I think Australia are the danger team. And we tend to struggle against the Australian teams fro some reason. more so than the Blacks. I am tipping Australia to win it. I think we will lose to the All Blacks in the semis.

I may end up eating my keyboard.

Let’s see…

Tour de Force

The Schleck brothers made it a 1-2 in today’s magnificent but gruelling stage. Contrary to modern day tactics, like an Eddi Mercxx of old, he broke away with more than 30 km left. He caught up with the breakaway group and then with his teammate leading them he broke away once again to take honors.

Defending champion Contador could make no impression and lost more time to the Schleck brothers and title contenders Evans, from Australia and Frenchman, Voeckler who is hoping to become the first Frenchman since 1985 to win a Tour de France. Contador clearly is not over his knee injury plus he came of a demanding Giro de Italia win, considered to be even more difficult than the Tour de France.

A mountain too high to climb for Contador?

Media suppression

In the name of national security? Really? Freedom of the press is an entrenched right in terms of the constitution. We delivered a brand new shiny democracy to South Africa in 1994. What happened to that bright promise?

2011 South African Municipal elections

On Wednesday South Africans go to the polls for their municipal elections. Several municipalities are up for grabs. The ANC has been bedeviled by corruption in several municipalities, police brutality. The honeymoon is long over and the time has come for the ANC to realise that unless promises translate into tangible reality their voter base will continuously be eroded.

The DA will gain new ground for certain on the back of a promising performance as far as delivery goes, particularly in Cape Town. Yet they may not make the kind of impact that they hope at this stage.

Democracy needs a strong and sizeable opposition. This is the DA’s goal. Or should be. To grow the opposition.