THE BOOK OF BREXODUS: DONNA VISITS ROME, MEDINA, AUSCHWITZ & WARDOUR ST. 1984 (18.11.2017)
I had to smile when my eldest son once commented that he couldn’t understand how on earth my ex and I ever got together because we are such complete opposites and I just said we were young.
It was Thatcher’s Britain in the 1980’s when the end of the Cold War was drawing closer.
... have all our leaders lost sight of what peace really looks like and did they ever care ?...
It had been the evil of the Cold War lies that drove me out of Australia as a teenager to London.
When I was first in London I lived on Park Road by Baker Street for a peppercorn rent of £6 per week in the heart of Central London.
London in the early 1980’s was a toxic cocktail between young sleaze-bag bankers off their face with the white stuff raking in the cash, the Falklands, or IRA bombings at Regents and Hyde Parks or Wimpy’s and Harrods at Christmas. There were often bomb threats living and working in Central London then and I remember passing as the Hyde Park bombing happened which seemed like it all happened in slow motion.
In Europe, the Cold War had long moved on from flower power to armed gangs that included the Angry Brigade, Baader Meinhof and the Red Brigade who were all controlled by one government ‘side’ or another really.
It makes you think when years later Blair & Co are the ones forcing the... peaceniks on mainland UK into stateless exile in the European Union.
It is all a lesson on the importance of the four inextricably linked freedoms of the European Union.
In early 1984 a friend and I had just decided to go to Athens (which I had been to a few times over the years) for no particular reason on that occasion other than we were young and why not.
We had the freedom to just go and do that with nothing more than a few pennies in our pockets.
It was the year 1984 that changed my own life.
The person who left London early in 1984 was not the same person who returned that Christmas.
In 1984 I was 22 years old.
... brian was the real deal...
The Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens which is on the 37th parallel north is a really good place to think about how the administration of the world is socially constructed, because the Mediterranean, which is really the centre of much human life… in the round, has been split into the three administrative zones of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
There is however genetically not that much difference between people from around the Mediterranean, so our perception is only distorted by social ‘conditioning’ rather than reality.
These are self-evident truths.
It is after all only humans who decide any system of administrative governance that can just as easily be arranged in a circular format around the Mediterranean, outwards.
My own personal view is that in the absence of a united Mediterranean, what is wrong with for example a Middle East Union or African Union like the European Union ?
While there is no capacity among politicians for general administrative governance in the round, there really is absolutely no excuse for endless civilian exiles within three broad administrative zones.
I don’t accept people taking cheap shots at civilians in the European Union because millions upon millions of innocent civilians in Europe from all walks of life died during Two Genocidal World Wars.
There can be nothing more important than freedom of movement for law abiding civilians in the European Union.
There were governments everywhere that led to a Donna ending up on the first transport out of Rome through the mountains that arrived at Auschwitz on 23 October 1943.
There will be no more transports through those mountains.
Some of those people were exiles of exiles from over many centuries of exiles in… Europe.
I don't know how any Ashkenazis can choose to forget that Sephardi had been expelled from all around Europe even when they were forced to become Catholic.
Donna has been to Rome, Medina and Auschwitz.
The West promote royal and religious divide and rule through administrative governance in the Middle East which let us be frank, you don’t hear many leaders in the Middle East complaining about.
I don’t personally understand why all religions can’t be united under any administrative governance, because the real issue is ensuring responsible administrative governance.
After we were at the Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens we ended up on a boat going to Haifa in Israel because that is just where our journey took us.
People meet people and so on.
The US warships pulled out of Lebanon and the killing fields of Sabra and Shatila shortly before we arrived at Haifa.
How could anyone have let Sabra and Shatila happen ?
The MI6 and CIA 'Operation Ajax' in 1953 in Tehran (that saw Mosadeggh put under 'house arrest' for life from 21 December 1953) really was responsible for so much war in the Middle East.
It was ten years earlier on 22 November 1943 during World War Two that Lebanon got the veneer of independence in what has always been a truly nightmarish ever changing political landscape there, that obviously would not exist if the Middle East was a union like the European Union. It's the same old story of a colonial power imposing a sectarian constitution and so on.
When you look at the wealthy petrodollar states in the Middle East throwing their money around on all sorts, it just doesn't make rational sense that all the leaders in the Middle East are incapable of doing more for all civilian populations there.
I remember I was standing outside a post office in Ashkelon in Israel when a Northern European Ashkenazi actually came up to me and said I didn't have to wait in the queue with other Mediterranean people ?
What was that all about ?
I stayed in the queue.
Please, let us not pretend that the British colony of Israel has not always been sharing 'intelligence' with the House of Saud because they were installed by the same warlords in Westminster and so on and so forth in the endless divide and rule.
Donna has been in Medina too.
When Donna was in Gaza she thought the young people were just like her but all the people were sad, with young men asking us to tell the world they had no hope.
We had gone to Gaza around the same time as the Bus 300 Affair when it was unusual to see westerners in Gaza. I remember we were walking down a dusty road that emptied of people when we turned to see women looking out their windows and young men came up to speak to us. In hindsight I guess it might have looked a bit odd way back then.
People had said not to go to Gaza which we didn't consider not doing because we had been living and working in Central London at the time of IRA bombings when there were always threats too. The young people were just like us, just like you and me. The best falafels I ever had were in Gaza.
Why did it take so many years for a lawyer from Gaza called Saleem al-Saqqa to be able to force Meshaal and Abbas to join the International Criminal Court to try and save all civilian lives ?
Mr Netanyahu lost a brother at Entebbe, he must have loved very much too.
When Donna was in Jerusalem she thought the people were just like her.
When Donna was on the kibbutz called Yad Mordechai she thought the people were just like her but too many of the people there were sad too. Even way back then Israeli people were war weary and both sides were living the siege mentality with Israelis having the obvious military advantage.
Israel had all the American slogans and guns, guns and more guns everywhere.
It was not a good time in the Middle East that was all a world away from London.
But why ?
Why did a Donna who had been exiled all over anywhere between Medina and Rome ever end up in Auschwitz ?
We went to Egypt travelling down the Nile before going back to Cairo which has a mind expanding depth in culture too, despite the inevitable dysentery which nevertheless took a distant place in your mind because you were experiencing so much else. It is a country with a state which has many contrasting faces alternating between being very strict about some things while being completely nonchalant in other ways the west is not. I loved sitting in the large cafes with decorative mosaics and overhead fans, soaking up the atmosphere. Nights out in Cairo were that contrast of a lively yet laid back affair too, where none us could honestly say we remembered much floating back to the small hotels to count meerkats passing overhead. It was so close to Gaza... yet so far.
The Middle East was endless contrasts. How could there be two places so different so close ?
Then we travelled on to Turkey, where we had a lovely time up until travelling along the coast. It's impossible to say if we were targeted because we were women or for some other reason because there were several very serious incidents one after the other that must have been connected. I remember when we finally managed to get to safety my friend breaking down and thanking me for being brave, saying I had saved our lives. It was actually those words that sent me into what is apparently called a catatonic state of shock because of course I had just done whatever I could to try and save our lives. It was a very weird experience not being able talk or move for days which must be the body's way of trying to heal itself in some way. My friend just kept quietly talking to me from time to time, and eventually I came back to planet earth. I think there was something going on more generally because around several weeks or so later when I was well enough to travel we had been waiting at a bus depot when a police chief had come up to and spoken with us looking at our passports, and he had kept insisting that we had to have two soldiers as 'minders' to travel to the border with us. Even then it seemed harder to leave the country than it did to enter. It was very late at night when everyone else had been let through before we were finally able to cross and even then a different soldier at the final border post pointed a rifle at us etc as we passed, at best wanting money, so I said to my friend just keep walking now because we are almost in the no-man's land and so we just kept walking through the darkness until we reached Greece.
The Middle East was a completely militarized neighbourhood and war zone compared to Europe.
Who is really making all the money from war and have the leaders completely forgotten what peace looks like ?
Anyway in Greece we met up with some Italian friends and travelled on to Rome and so on in one of those marvellous Citroen's with the old suspension, and another vehicle.
I always remember hearing Cat Stevens playing on an old tape and cooking fresh fish on the rocks sprinkled with lemon and herbs on a beach in Greece, which I have to say I think takes some beating in terms of the best of the good life. It was life in the round that was perfect.
One of the more surreal places our friends took us to in Italy was some incredibly grand and very colourful nightclub in Milan, where they did let me in, although unlike everyone else I was dressed, I kid you not, in old jeans and an almost white shirt that had done the rounds in the Middle East. To be frank, although everyone was genuinely very friendly, it was quite a bit OTT in every way for me and I did prefer a quiet night at the jazz clubs etc instead. We did the Vatican in Rome again because one of our friends had a brother in the priesthood there, which although I have been there a few times never fails to artistically impress. We travelled along the Italian Riviera that links up with France going as far as Cannes although I can't remember why, before heading back and going north. I always learned a lot in Italy that I did not know that I wish I had known.
Why don't all our leaders let us enjoy what we all have that is really so much ?
In London that Christmas, when I was not the same person who had left earlier in the year, Thatcher’s Britain was doing it’s Geldof gig about Africa and “Did they know it’s Christmas” which was fashionable along with Free Nelson Mandela at that time.
I personally think Steve Biko was the real deal in South Africa.
This was London in Christmas 1984:
... 'bandaid'... such crass propaganda labelling...
It was all very ‘Wardour Street’ and it was everywhere.
If you mentioned anything about the Middle East that was not ‘fashionable’ with Thatcher's Britain in London.
Of course no-one ever talks about the Edicts of Expulsion in 1290.
Even now many people in the UK still point the finger just at Israel while not really challenging their own government at all because the spiel as always was what the UK government did was at worst a 'mistake' as though there had not been centuries of errr... colonialism.
There were no innocent governments in Two World Wars in Europe.
Thatcher's BBC & Geldof & Co were doing a real propaganda number in 1984 on everyone because civilians in Africa just wanted the UK government to get lost and stop ripping them off too.
It is not really that surprising that the likes of Mr U2 Bono now stash their cash off-shore buying shopping centres they don’t even know about.
... bono and the 'charity' off shore tax break racket...
This was London in 1984 which was a time of universal deceit then too.
The cult of celebrity weren't really looking too closely at what the UK government do.
It took a few more eye opening journey's around the world before I met Brian who was the real deal.