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APRIL WRITE 2013 – Day 16 – WHILST THE RICH GET RICHER, THE POOR DIE

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Welcome to Day 16 of the April Write 2013: a new era begins

Guest Host: Zita Holbourne  

Zita is a poet & spoken word artist, a visual artist, a community, trade union and human rights activist and a mother. Zita is an award winning poet and artist and has directed poetry performance for theatre, performed on radio and tv and facilitated poetry writing and performance workshops.

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Zita is elected to the National Executive Committee of the Public and Commercial Services Union, the Trades Union Congress Race Relations Committee and the National Executive Council of Action for Southern Africa (successor organisation to the Anti Apartheid Movement). She is the co-founder and national co-chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) uk, a campaign group set up to respond to the disproportionate impact of cuts on black workers, service users and communities and deprived communities.

Zita is a writer and guest contributor to a number of publications and regularly contributes as a writer to the Voice Newspaper, a national newspaper for the black community in the UK. In 2012 Zita beat thousands to win the Positive Role Model for Race Award at the National Diversity Awards.

Zita works for equality, freedom, justice and democracy through her work as a poet, artist, writer and activist.

The theme for today is ‘Whilst the rich grow richer, the poor die’

Zita wrote this poem and made the video to support the campaign for justice by South African gold miners who are seeking compensation for silicosis, a lung disease caused by working in the mines. When they are too ill too work their entire families suffer. She was struck by the increasing number of pawn shops and cash for gold initiatives growing in the UK – gold so sought after by many, rich and poor is now being exchanged for cash by the poorest in the UK who are being driven into deeper poverty every day through the Con-Dem coalition’s austerity measures whilst the country is run by a government Cabinet of millionaires. Whilst companies profit from melting down the gold through the misfortune and poverty suffered in the West no thought is spared for the miners and their families dying of poverty to mine the gold.

Please click on the link or the image below to watch and listen to the video entitled

‘Blood Stained Gold’  http://youtu.be/CJ3okfAz4mA

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You are free to interpret the theme any way you want to – it doesn’t have to be on the topic of South African miners or on deepening poverty in the UK but you may wish to explore the theme of rich and poor divide and the effects of poverty. ~ Marina

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3 responses »

  1. Zita Holbourne (c) April 2013

    THIS IS NOT THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM
    Written by Zita Holbourne, Poet~Artist~Activist

    Children begging on the street
    Walking with no shoes upon their feet
    Collecting tin cans, playing on railway tracks
    Searching through rubbish bins hoping to find scraps

    THIS IS NOT THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM

    Mothers unable to put meals on tables
    Carrying the stigma of pointed fingers and labels
    Redundancy leading to homelessness
    Destitute and feeling helpless

    THIS IS NOT THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM

    Families of 5, 6, 7 or 8 living in one room
    Praying for a miracle to come one day soon
    Riddled with vermin, overcrowded
    Either frowned upon or disregarded

    THIS IS NOT THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM

    Living off cans of salt water vegetables and beans
    Treated like inferior worthless human beings
    Dependent on food banks where a can of spam’s a luxury
    Consigned to a lifetime of isolation and poverty

    THIS IS NOT THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM

    Evicted with less than 24 hours to pack
    Told you’re only allowed what you can fit in one sack
    Moving from homeless shelter to motel to cardboard box
    Knowing the only education they’ll get is at the school of hard knocks

    THIS IS NOT THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM

    This is the reality for children in the world’s richest nation
    Where millions of children are in this preventable situation
    Barred from healthcare, education and security
    Reducing their life chances to a future of poverty

    MR PRESIDENT; THIS IS NOT THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM

    Reply
  2. Debbie Golt (c) April 2013

    “Tell Tale Flat”
    Tell tale flat
    Tho unoccupied
    Trampled on the pavement
    By countless well heeled feet
    A few steps away from
    The shop window alcove
    Another is folded
    Neatly in a doorway

    Once corrugated
    Now smoothed and flattened
    Mercifully dry
    Protected by the overhang
    About the length of a curled up teenage girl
    No evident possessions
    Rucksack or sleeping bag
    Or signs of recent occupation

    Perhaps they’ve moved on
    Hostelwise or braved home
    Perhaps their fortunes
    Took a turn for the better
    Or the worse
    The stretched out
    Body honed cardboard
    Has its own story to tell

    Reply
  3. Debbie Golt (c) April 2013

    ” Reverberation”

    Every time I receive news
    Good news, bad news
    Change of plan news
    It resonates
    Every time my phone vibrates
    I think of you
    A message carrying more
    Than its mundane task
    Embeds in my soul
    Every time I dance to the
    Sinewy seductive
    Scintillating sounds of
    Soukous
    Boundless rippling guitar
    Soaring vocals sharing
    Untold pleasures
    Of freedom
    I empathise
    I sympathise
    With all my heart
    I think of you
    Born of pressures
    The music speaks
    Loud and clearly
    Of our shared humanity

    Good news, bad news
    Change of plan news
    Reassures me
    Gives me measures
    Of joy and surmountable pain
    In the ebb and flow
    Of my normal day to day
    The buzz of communication
    Notification
    Good news, bad news
    A change of plan
    Brings mixed emotion
    As the coltan fused with tungsten
    Makes my phone judder
    Makes my bones shudder
    Every time he heard
    The crack of a whip
    Bob Marley’s blood ran cold
    Memory indelibly etched
    Experience reaching
    Across time and space
    Every time my phone vibrates
    Your blood runs
    I saw a programme about you
    On TV
    I watched at first
    With the dispassionate
    Mind that enables me
    To cope
    When presented with
    Inexorable truths
    Beyond the scope
    Of my imagination
    But there was a moment
    I could no longer dissociate
    A little girl, just two
    Barely able to walk
    On her own terms
    Let alone in recovery
    From unspeakable
    Brute force
    As she completed
    Three feminine generations
    Of the same family
    Thrown out by those
    That could have
    Cherished them

    Necessity or luxury
    Phones worked fine
    Before mercurial
    Usury
    Changed the plan
    Pillaged the coltan
    Inserted the tungsten
    Good news, bad news
    Change of plan news
    Making my phone vibrate
    Against a backdrop of hate
    I’ve joked with my friends
    Saying how did we manage
    Without mobile phones?
    Fine tuned personal antennae
    And honesty saw us through
    We went to where we said
    We would
    At the time we knew
    We should
    In touch with our
    Inner clocks
    Time honoured traditions
    Of trust
    Your time honoured renditions
    Of care
    Lost in the thrust
    Of warfare
    Fought in the disputed zones
    Where men are trained
    To be predatory
    Losing all their dignity
    Making you the women
    The front line

    Every time Bob Marley
    Heard the crack of a whip
    His blood ran cold
    Memory indelibly etched
    Experience reaching
    Across time and space
    Every time my phone
    Vibrates
    Your blood runs

    There is hope
    Safe houses run by
    Women who more than
    Understand
    Who found their voices
    And their strength
    Speaking out about
    What happened
    The best ones to help
    Those who are just
    Finding their way
    Again
    They can help you
    They are helping you
    They are reaching out sameway
    To those
    Young boys
    Deep in the mine
    Scraping the coltan
    From the sides of the
    Cobalt shafts
    Not knowing
    How their exploitation
    Fuels the conflict
    Of ownership
    Of your shared
    Land

    Teach a woman to read
    And you transform
    The whole village
    Change the world one woman
    At a time
    The strength of women
    Is unsappable
    Women for Women International
    Is making inroads
    Opening the gates
    When my phone vibrates
    I think of you
    Every time I receive news
    Good news, bad news
    Change of plan news
    It resonates
    I spread the word
    With messages from my phone
    I do what I can
    There is a plan
    To change and help
    Woman by woman
    We’ll subvert the
    Power of the coltan

    Memory repaired
    Healing
    Healing by those who cared
    Enough
    Reaching across time and space
    Every time my phone
    Vibrates
    Mother earth has a face
    And
    I know
    You will regain
    Your sense of grace
    Woman by woman
    One woman can change anything
    Many women can
    Change everything
    No longer taking
    The rough with the rough

    Good news, bad news
    Make a new plan
    News
    Spread a new vibration

    © Debbie Golt 01/11/10 ( 1st published Harlesden Poetry Hub booklet Dec 2010)

    Reply

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