Who are we? Time for an explanation!

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FBPE – how it all started

In October 2017 a group of tweeps, who had already campaigned against populist parties in France, Germany and Austria, decided that it was getting time to create a grassroots movement that was able to counter the rise of the far-right in the European Union. To this end they created two hashtags “FollowBackProEU” and the acronym “FBPE”. Continue reading “Who are we? Time for an explanation!”

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One Night in February

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This poem was written by Marianne Velvart

 

I had a dream that Christmas was here again

Squeezed itself back

Through a sash window in the shortest month

Caught me with guard down

With the family round, hungry and expectant

And me in tacitly panicked, ad-lib mode

Acting unflustered, dutiful.

I evoke the dream in present tense

Not that Time exists beyond a linear mental construct

But waste none now because the family’s here

I cannot afford my penchant for analysis

Whilst there are mouths to be fed.

In the absence of Goose, a chicken will do for the table

And even as I spin and weave motherly magic

Time gains upon me in the race

Stuns me a sudden severance between feet and ground.

How did it happen? How did I get here, am I here at all?

I trace the origins of the reverie

To the recent past when

Time warped, turned back in on itself

Followed curved space, blurred then deceptively resolved

Returned me to the spot all too soon

And lucidly dreaming, I likened it to life

Asking ‘will it be just like this at the end?’

A series of blinks and the ride, over

The last scene arriving way too fast

Staged in a room without tinsel dressing

My hands curled around strings of floating recalls

Weaken their grip and glide

Away through the skylight

Of this life

This plane

This shortest interlude

In the vastest scape

Where in the end love’s all that matters

Caught only in dreams

Till there.

 

 

 

 

Talking to strangers

                           This article was written by Luni Vermeulen

I’ve always had a fervent affinity for other cultures. The vibrant variety of people, food, colours, themes, languages and noises incites an enigmatic curiosity in me. The more foreign and unknown, the more intrigued I become. This is one of the reasons I love travelling. It is also one of the reasons I love talking to strangers. Anytime. Anywhere. Sometimes these encounters with strangers are lengthy, at other times it’s a brief chat. I find these impromptu interactions mysteriously invigorating.

Every so often these chance meetings take place in the queue of the ATM or with the cashier ringing up my groceries. At other times, it’s an unexpected encounter with a Rastafarian on the beach, a sociable petrol attendant or a heartbroken waiter. Occasionally a mere polite smile shared with a stranger lead to a thought-provoking experience; a scintillating brush of wisdom.

A few years ago, on a visit to Bahrain, I noticed, what ignorant Westerners stereotypically would describe as a quintessential middle-aged, Middle Eastern couple in a hotel’s coffee shop. In a hotel mostly frequented by Western visitors, the couple, dressed in black from head to toe, caught my attention. The man was dressed in a suit and the woman in a black hijab, long black dress and long black overcoat. Since I have an incurable passion for the Middle East, its history, its culture, its food and in particular, its friendly people, I decided to get up from my table and walk over to them. I greeted them, introduced myself and asked if I could take a photo with them. (Here I have to mention that I am not at all part of the selfie generation, but at the moment in time, I simply spontaneously posed my request to them). The man initially eyed me suspiciously, probably wondering what my intentions were and continued to voice this scepticism. Yet, after a few niceties were exchanged, he warmed up and enthusiastically joined the conversation. The woman was from the get go incredibly gregarious and approachable and insisted that I join them at their table.

Another stranger took two photos of the three of us, one with my camera and one with theirs. It turned out that the couple was from Saudi Arabia and visited Manama (the capital of Bahrain), for their daughter’s graduation. It was apparent how proud they were of their daughter. We discussed the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, political relations, family, and the idiosyncrasies of our respective countries’ people.

What stood me by was how similar we are despite our differences. Here was a couple from another part of the world, from a different culture, another religion, and dressing differently from me. Yet, I could relate to them. I could see the same pride and delight when they talked about their daughter that I see in my own parents’ eyes. I felt their kindness and concern about myself travelling alone in the Middle East, much like my own family and friends. I could see a normal middle-aged couple, living a normal middle class life. I experienced the hospitality that I am used to in my own country.

I walked away from this conversation with a heart-warming feeling, realising that my encounter with them was the highlight of my day. Those beautiful moments of shared humanity with them was a soul-stirring gift. We were not created to be small islands in this world. We were built for amity and companionship. If we never speak to strangers, we miss out on the unexpected pleasures and enrichments they may offer; we miss out on beautiful interruptions.

luni - groot

 

Through the void

                     This story was written by Marianne Velvart

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STAGE 2

ATTENTION LADIES AND GENTLEMEN AND CONGRATULATIONS! You have begun de-construction prior to boarding this flight and have successfully passed Stage 1! You have stepped into pools smooth as glass and have emerged like Lalique, vulnerable, transparent, valuable and clean.

Those pools – mirror sheets now stained with your preconceptions – have been obliterated. You are chaste – an open doorway and free to reassess all things, though still susceptible to new infections. Alas the human condition (at the current developmental level) is terminal.

As yet you have no characteristics except those of early infancy but you do possess the full complement of predispositions that mark the chemical and spiritual (some assert with vigour) basis of an individual.

Thus endowed, you’re both judge and jury, self-contained and at liberty to form autonomous notions. The only precluded freedom is that of not choosing a stand. While fence sitters seldom take their position to be a posture, it is still a stance.

May I hereby wish you an exhilarating passage and as soon as you’ve signed the disclaimer, you’ll be set to advance your minds proportional to capacity.

!!POINTS OF ESSENTIAL INFORMATION!!

Our guests are invited to note the ‘tongue in cheek’ overtones of their inflight experience!

A sense of humour is not compulsory but advisable.

As a further cautionary note, in the presence of absolute ideas and ideals, all passengers are best assured of their inferiority. For if such absolutes exist then they are abstract to the cognitive abstractions of man as perceived to be a learned ape.

We are delighted to offer a running plot throughout this potted quest. The level on which passengers are ready to receive, are at their own discression, as with life.

The entertainment on board is of the ‘more challenging kind’ then has been offered by the popular trash culture of the 20th and early 21st centuries. The forthcoming drama, like life, shall neither be easy nor comfortable. Ascension never is. Man’s moral hypocrisy is arguably the most promising springboard of all. We aim to please.

Please relax and enjoy the ride!


STAGE 3

WARNING!!!!!

From this point of the voyage, all uncritically swallowed dogma of former conditioning must be treated as contraband.

Sneakily summoning the old, comfy go-to of formerly received constructs is a common ploy after conversion. Those who have drifted backwards in this way must now turn out their pockets and endure a wide open mind.

From this juncture only blockheads are excused from the fast track to free thought. Any late applicants for this exemption must now evacuate by parachute while the others get accustomed to fresh altitudes.

 

STAGE 4

Good evening voyagers.

I trust that we have all relaxed sufficiently to be amenable to the notion of humans’ intertwined fates with each other and the earth.

If you slant your glance across the length of the shuttle and down to its transparent tip, you will see the home globe from the point of the equator, 10 Longitude and 40 Latitude otherwise known as the 10/40 window on earth.

80% of the world’s poorest live here, from Africa to Japan threading aridly through to India.

Please do not be alarmed as the automatic straps clamp tightly on to hold you in place.

INTRODUCING THE REVOLUTIONARY VICARIOUS SIMULATOR UNIT!!!!

For the duration of a mercifully trimmed nanosecond, you will be exposed to the combined suffering of the poor of your earth condensed into and experienced in the self-maimed body of a Calcuttan beggar child.

…………………..can you hear the silence unspooling?

Our craft is receding from the home sphere. All resurgent circular reasoning, clutching at justifications, religious or academic dogma swallowed, regurgitated, masticated, modified to fit materialist or consumerist rhetoric shall be now diffused. Herewith, your cooperation is both helpful and imperative.

As a final exacting measure, we must ask passengers to examine themselves for any vestiges of the former fantasy culture and its corresponding conceits.

As attested by humanity’s historical treatment of one another we are now entering the yawning chasm which is our moral credibility as a species.

PLEASE HOLD TIGHT IN CASE OF TURBULENCE!!!

We are about to score the surface of a new dimension –

ENTERING ACCELERATED ENTROPY ZONE!!!!

At this quadrant of the cosmos, your old currency (blanket metaphor for all your perceived virtue) means diddly squat – PLEASE TRY NOT TO PANIC!


STAGE 5

Good evening and greetings, my fellow pilgrims of the deepest depths. Try to ignore the temporary pitch blackness aimed to stimulate a sense of synchronicity. For every five-sensory distraction exposes us to gravitational suction. Thus the information explosion of the digital age simultaneously endows and removes us from ourselves in the existential raw or pure form of being.

You must appreciate that we had to take you out of a welter everyday concerns and habitual viewpoints. The stars still twinkle at large but the shuttle picks its path through the ‘off’ blinks on a tough love trajectory in the dark which is conducive to inner sight.

Growth spurts in humans have a tendency to occur at times of challenging extremities.

Breathe.

What do you find when you’re alone with yourself? Scary, isn’t it?

The acknowledgement thereof is enough for now.

You have now left behind the sentimental notion that your race is a predisposed paragon, subject to lapses only when outside forces manipulate. So much for X earth years of secular deterministic psychology and the spurious nature/nurture argument that extracts the role of choice and soul.

At the very least you have accepted that logically, the moral neutrality of the universe’ is itself subjection and that on this, you indeed could be wrong.

You have comprehended that the idea of ‘abstract therefore non-existent’ is also theoretical therefore equally non-existent or refutable.

………Can you hear the silence unspooling and feel the universe expanding in your mind?


STAGE 6

Ladies and gents, you’ll be relieved to observe that the lights have come on.

We shall hereby commence the concluding phase.

Please put on your headsets located above your crowns and prepare (as if near death) for the ultimate lateral twist.

The final jolt may make prior assumptions about the nature of life into a crude guesswork.

Get ready for the natural conclusion to all staunchly materialistic evolutionary theory.

If the cosmos is dead so are we and all we do and think.

Conversely, we are unimaginably complex, transitional forms. Exceeding our compositional nucleotides, just as Nano-scale symmetry is hidden in solid matter so the devil is in the detail so to speak.

Tribes tend to think they’re superior to all the rest. Every damn fool thinks he has a handle on truth but a culture is dignified or defiled through its treatment of each other and the earth.

A moral harmonic rings the universe of which we’re observant, interacting, interwoven threads, nodes and notes.

You have arrived back home and we apologise for the lack of definitive solutions. Collectively, we have a long way to go.

Thank you for the privilege of your company

Your captain and fellow bankrupt (yet fizzing with potential and an uncanny verve)

May the ‘life force’ be with you,

Signing out, M.V.

 

 

 

 

Des hommes de Paix est né un projet de Paix qui nous a donné une des plus belles unions humaines: EUROPA

   foto bij artikel van loux

Article écrit par @Loux111

En 1993, j’imaginais l’Europe. Aujourd’hui j’ai 47 ans, je vois cette EUROPA dans toute sa splendeur. Je la vois dans sa puissance dans sa position dans le monde face aux autres grandes puissances. Je la vois à travers des actions concrètes pour protéger l’environnement, la sécurité alimentaire, l’emploi, nos intérêts politiques et économiques, UNE SEULE VOIX face à un monde en plein changement et en pleine polarisation. Mais l’Europe n’est pas que ça, l’Europe c’est aussi:

1- La paix, non pas seulement la paix comme absence de guerre, mais bien comme état positif résultant d’une volonté de dialogue et de destins partagés.

2- La libre circulation des hommes et des marchandises. Le droit d’étudier et de travailler où on le souhaite; cette liberté de choix était inimaginable il y a une génération à peine.

De cette libre-circulation est née:

3- ERASMUS, le programme d’échange qui propulse nos enfants dans une mécanique culturelle unique d’échange entre les universités, les grandes écoles européennes et des établissements d’enseignement à travers le monde entier, un des programmes les plus réussi de cette Europe et qui nous est envié par le monde entier.

4- L’Europe est le plus grand succès de paix et de démocratie au monde après les deux guerres mondiales.

Je m’arrête ici, mais les avantages sont tellement nombreux et évidents qu’ils sont considérés comme des acquis.

Le deal européen, c’est une meilleure école, plus de travail, meilleur savoir, le dialogue, le pragmatisme et ce sont toutes des choses que les nationalistes évitent, donc, il est plus que jamais temps de rester vigilants de faire entendre sa VOIX.

Enfin, voici quelques liens:

1. Agence européenne de l’environnementhttps://www.eea.europa.eu/fr/themes

2. Agence européenne pour l’emploi: http://ec.europa.eu/eures

3- https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus- plus/resources/programme-guide_en

The Bungalow. A Brexit Allegory.

This story was written by Pilar Gomez          

I will tell you a little story. I was offered an excellent deal once on a cute little bungalow with high ceilings and a polished carved wooden door. It sat on the edge of a pretty village. The sizeable plot it sat in was populated with fruit trees and grapevines and the rose bushes by the door released their scent as we did the viewing. It was a very appealing property, with permission to extend the existing dwelling further.

We really liked the look of it as the seller weaved ideas for us and wooed us with his magic words. It had so many possibilities. We could give up our jobs and build a little business in the grounds. Perhaps a guesthouse. The inside had evidence of damp in the walls after being empty for a few years, but with a little work it looked manageable.

The price was fair for the promises the bungalow represented, so we had a long talk as a family and decided to buy it and we felt happy as we looked with pleasure at the windows glinting in the sunshine of a brighter future.

We did our due diligence, we hired a lawyer and ordered a survey and we went on with our lives looking forward to the day when we could make our plans for the little bungalow in the sunshine.

All was not well though. It turns out when the paperwork was examined, and the searches were done that the house had been built without any qualified person signing it off. In fact, part of the property did not even have the planning permissions it was advertised with. Nobody had ever checked to see if it had been built to the required standard. The ceiling was full of asbestos, the ground riddled with rat holes. We had no idea if it was a money pit or an accident waiting to happen. On closer inspection still, the damp was rising, we could see light through the roof and the windows rattled in the wind. The property was worth only half of the asking price.

The people who had wanted us to buy the bungalow tried to gloss over the problems. They told us everything would work out just fine. When we carried on voicing our doubts, they told us we had agreed to the purchase and there was no getting out of it. When we still looked unhappy, they threatened us with unpleasant consequences and the ire of the vendors if we tried to overturn our own decision. There was to be no re think or second chance to consider the consequences of our purchase, they said. To do so would be overturning the will of the family, they said.

We argued for months. What should we do, what was a fair compromise? Which deal was the best risk moving in as it was and take our chances with the leaky roof or borrow some extra money to do the work? Should we rent another house whilst the remedial works were completed. What if it took years? Our family was split, we even took it out on our neighbours and blamed them for making us unhappy in our current house in the first place, though actually none of us could really remember what it was about our home we disliked now we came to think of it. Of course, our friends couldn’t understand why we were being mean to them and feeling very hurt, they drifted away from our lives. The shifty people who tried to sell us the house looked on at the chaos smiling. Pretty soon they would reap the benefits to their bank balance of their lies and our bad decision.

But one day in the midst of a shouting match, we realised we couldn’t go on and that what we thought we were buying didn’t exist, it was a dream, a mirage, an impossibility. We might, after a lot of time and elbow grease and money be able to make the bungalow a habitable home for us in the end, but as we looked at our existing house with it’s comforting fireplace and beautiful bay windows, it’s interesting neighbours and its proximity to the heart of a beautiful town and all its delights, we realised the price we would have to pay was far, far too high.

We realised that with a little tweaking and renewing we could make more out of exactly where we were without having to pay any removal fees. It was so simple, we could just change our minds.

To be sure we wrote out the pros and cons and risks, our existing house versus the bungalow. Then we carefully absorbed those points and discussed them calmly, fact checked and read experts advice and then had a family vote. The will of the family had changed. We patched up our rows with the neighbours. We told the shifty salespeople we were staying put, we didn’t want the substandard bungalow anymore and we would be building a brighter better future exactly where we had belonged all along.

foto bij artikel van pilar

The house that the Union Jack built

This article was written by Marianne Velvart

Heard it with my own ears. Ken Clark just now on radio4 said: “By sad coincidence, the opposition is being led by hard line brexiteer left wing neo nazis”.
Whoa!!
Zero punches pulled.
If only he’d have been as straight about the dirty nature of the ref, the monkey trap of a blind yes/no and the illegal spending by Leave, the coverups, the rushed, illegal triggering of A50 by May etc., he’d have been commendable. But no.
He was weak against the presenter who threw the ‘people have spoken’ drivel at him (that’s what he’s paid for) and talked bombastically over Mr Clark. The veteran Conservative MP was indeed pee weak about the question of real far right Nazi John ‘I’m comfortable about a no deal outcome’ Redwood’s insistence that the forcast of turmoil is nonsense.
Ken Clark, battling the aggressive presenter who sounded like Marr to me (though actually I don’t know who it was) said that he respects Mr. Redwood but believes he’s wrong. With that one sentence he affirmed my previous resolve to never trust a Tory any more than a hard line brexiteer on the left who is using Remainer’s votes to sell us a never ending porridge pot in place of the reality.
The lies have it! The house that the Union Jack built is falling down, falling down….time to usher alternative lyrics to old songs.

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Social Darwinism

                       This article was written by Marianne Velvart

It is a massive lie that the ‘story’ can be all about us ie UK or America first! Every ill in the world is due to this selfsame error as it ever was. Thanks to our politicians we’ve rubbed dirt into the weeping sore of the earth. We unleashed a monster. Well done us. Ever the kids are burdened by their parents’ actions. A certain book confirms that ‘their sins are visited on the children’. The ancients often knew what they were talking about and what we’re about to learn. We neglect old wisdom at our peril.

Going to the root, it always starts with ideology. Belief tangles with morality, like it or not. Even a morally neutral, mechanical universe or materialist standpoint is morally redolent. By virtue of cutting right and wrong out of the argument, we get a kind of anarchy and a toxic notion that everything’s permissible. This is the very door to mayhem. The absence of something becomes the presence of something else. Nature abhors a void and Socrates called us to ‘know ourselves’ for good reason. For if we do not, someone nasty may just take advantage of it!

Shakespeare wrote ‘there’s more in heaven and earth Horatio than dreamt of in your philosophy. Broadening our minds should begin with understanding how the geopolitical world is rigged. If we cannot see the physical context what hope have we of higher thought? How well advised will our votes be in a so called democracy? What are we bringing to the party? If we can’t see the operative mechanics, we’re as disposable as the Darwinian carnivores that are today’s powers ‘that be’ think we are.

Everything turns on ideological shifts. Precedents abound of key philosophical/political manifestos which have influenced worldwide movements. Their power is a tzunami when it hits. Nietzsche’s ‘Will to Power’ is a case in point, though he was a relatively minor player who, by the way went mad in later life but I digress. He basically thought we’re nothing but competitive units. Everyone trying to be top dog or winds up being eaten by one. We are living in an age where political tacticians are conducting a high-stakes experiment in Social Darwinism. I don’t know about you but I’m going nowhere without a fight!

 

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