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Peace News log archive: June 2011
Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here
In Paris, Dora Maar was in tears and Picasso had found the subject for the painting he had been commissioned to do by the Spanish republican government for the Spanish pavilion at the international exhibition that was due to open in the French capital in May. With time running out, the exhibition finally opened on the 1900 exhibition site between the Champs de Mars and the Trocadero in June. The Spanish pavilion was not ready until July.
Picasso worked quickly with an intense fury of creativity, trying out ideas on the huge (11 feet by 25 feet) canvas that he head crammed into his studio in the Rue des Grands Augustins. The final painting confronted the viewer, as it has confronted viewers ever since, with a graphic depiction of the horror of the bombing of a civilian population.
In an interview he gave in May 1937, Picasso said: “The war in Spain is the battle of reaction against the people, against liberty. My whole career has been one continual struggle against reaction and the death of art. In the painting on which I am now at work, which I shall call Guernica - and in all my recent works – I am very clearly expressing my horror at the military caste which has plunged Spain into a sea of suffering and death.” (Pierre Daix, Picasso, Thames and Hudson 1965, p166)....Read More
"The morning after seeing Tactical Questioning – scenes from the Baha Mousa Inquiry, I woke up in a cold sweat. Harrowing images of people being tortured were still in my head....Read More
I was 60 on world environment day – 5th June 2011 and a few days later took a 2-day hike along the Offa’s Dyke path, with panoramic views of the welsh borders, a contested area for so many centuries, I had time to reflect on years of campaigning for peace and environmental justice.
I often feel despair, and wonder what’s the point of all our protests when Britain is still threatening mass destruction by renewing its nuclear arsenal, still sells weapons to repressive regimes, still supports Israel despite its criminal occupation of Palestine, and is embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Libya that are killing in the name of democracy and human rights. I think how our foreign policy has not changed in hundreds of years and how little human beings have progressed in their relations to each other over the millennia.
We have still not learnt to truly respect all peoples and treat others as we would like to be treated, we have not learnt how to prevent the abuse of power, nor prevent vast disparities of wealth building up. We have no idea how to implement true democracy. Our technological progress has been at the expense of wisdom and compassion.
I go and tend my allotment because at least I can see the tangible results of my labour in the fruit and vegetables there. But I wonder how long it will be before private enterprise takes away even these little patches of soil, when it will try privatising the rain and the sun. Yes I have been “down” some of these days. I look around and I see such wonderful potential in people and our beautiful planet but despair at the various capitalist, hierarchical, patriarchal, fundamentalist, ideological structures that distort and prevent its fruition....Read More