By Contributor on April 18, 2013

Dear Friends,

I hope you don't mind me sending out this note, perhaps to a field already over saturated. It is not obligatory to read on.

I remember when Reagan died I had a tremendous sense of sadness because it reminded me of many people I met in Nicaragua in the 80s who had been so hurt, or damaged because of injuries to themselves or family or friends caused by the Contra offensive paid for and organised by the States. I remember in particular a father whose son had been kidnapped, and mother whose daughter had been tortured and mutilated. It was strange too to wake up in USA (promoting Angel) and hear of the death of Thatcher. I didn´t feel any elation, need to celebrate or buy champagne, but again that nagging tug in the pit of the stomach I felt when Reagan died. Everywhere, from New York Times to local radio stations, she was treated like some heroine whose primary interest was "freedom and democracy". She and her government backed Reagan to the hilt, despite all the human rights reports and decisions from the International Court of Justice. Systematic abuse of human rights standards were totally ignored by her. She backed the powerful and the violent, without question. I suppose it is inevitable we judge these figures through the prism of our own experiences. We have seen this up and down the country, and in Ireland too. But it does stick in the throat, in the face of such contrary evidence, to have this grand international narrative weaved in front of our eyes; history already in the making. I felt this profound urge to say no, I don't accept this, and I remember. I tried to write about this, but couldn´t For no good reason, the rhythm of the Litanies, prayers, mostly to the Virgin Mary, taught to us at Catholic school and in seminary came to mind and this, in similar tone, (below) appeared.

Watching the funeral today with Danny my five year old son, curious as to what was going on, reminds me once again of the words of Kissinger who said (paraphrasing if I remember correctly) that History was the Memory of States. No, it is not.

Best,

Paul.


R.I.P.

Margaret Thatcher, Iron Lady, Rest in Peace.

Margaret Thatcher, Beacon of Democracy, Rest in Peace.

Margaret Thatcher, Freedom Lover, Rest in Peace.

Margaret Thatcher, Stateswoman, Rest in Peace.

Margaret Thatcher, Confronter of Extremists, Rest in Peace.

Margaret Thatcher, Decisive Leader, Rest in Peace.

Margaret Thatcher, Order of the Garter, Rest in Peace.

Margaret Thatcher, Ronnie Reagan, Rest in Peace.

Margaret Thatcher, Ronnie Reagan, General Pinochet, Rest in Peace.

Margaret Thatcher, Ronnie Reagan, General Pinochet, Beacons of Democracy, Freedom Lovers, Confronters of Extremists, Decisive Leaders, Rest in Peace.

Prayer of Saint Francis, R.I.P.

(On occasion of Margaret Thatcher's funeral 17th of April 2013)

Paul Laverty is a human rights activist and a screenwriter.

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This Halloween movie will scare anyone who cares about news.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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