Silent and never changing, if you watch long enough
You’ll see colours shift and patterns wander
As the great orb revolves
Vacuum of space; and the vast emptiness
Speaks volumes of nothingness out into nothing again
As the great orb revolves
Hello readers – oh it is nice to have readers! Again, I have some apologies to make. I’ve been asked a few times where on earth the second installment of Home is and the answer, to be honest, is somewhere in my head. That is to say, I know what I want to write, I just have not had time to write it as I have been trying to hone my journalistic skills. Please forgive me. I am solemnly promising you that part two will appear during my Easter holidays, which I much look forward to.
There have been a lot of important news recently and I am painfully aware that I have not documented it very much. For this I apologise. It is very frustrating, because every time I watch the headlines (which is often, I am ever so slightly obsessed) I want to write about four different posts. And if I did that, I would not do any homework and would be zombified from a lack of sleep. Wait, is zombified a word? It is now.
On another note, some books by Carol Ann Duffy, the poet laureate, were recently given to me as an award. I have only read a few poems, but I have found them quite inspiring. I am jumping back on to the creative bandwagon.
Yesterday, the UN passed a resolution that gave members a mandate to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and to use ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians. In response Colonel Gaddafi announced a ceasefire, which – had it been upheld – would have illegitimised any military action. There was a high potential for extreme embarrassment, until reports came that the ceasefire had been broken.
NATO countries started to gather planes in the Mediterranean in preparation for an attack. The main countries involved were France, the UK and the US, who had been accused of not knowing what to do. It was a very difficult dilemma – on one hand, NATO and the UN could not ignore the awful plight of the rebels and the civilians caught up in the fighting. On the other, if military action did not go according to plan, they risked increased terrorism and a repeat of the failures in Iraq. Neither scenario was without its problems.
Within the last few hours, however, French planes have begun firing at pro-Gaddafi forces, with reconnaissance missions also being carried out. As yet there are no plans from any country to deploy ground troops, but multiple air forces and navies are involved. This is not all out war – yet – these forces are simply trying to stop Gaddafi from killing his own people.
Yesterday, it was very hard to concentrate. The clocks ticked in some kind of time warp that made it possible to check the time several times within a second (well, maybe not quite). After almost six months of waiting, my 16th birthday present was just around the corner. It was a matter of hours until I saw Katy Perry perform at the Hammersmith Apollo.
The evening lived up to all my expectations. We arrived at about half past seven and to my delight, not only did we not have to queue, the disabled seats happened to be the best in the house. Sometimes, the old wheels pay off. Watching the pit fill up only served to stir up my excitement, as the music got louder and louder and the audience’s buzz became palpable.
A band came on at eight and a tense silence fell. It was clear that no one knew who they were, which was not helped by the fact that the singer was cloaked in a feathery veil-type garment. The music started. At first I was simply deafened and could not really listen to the song. I realised at some stage that the lyrics were not English but the noise meant I could not work out what language it was. When the song ended, the singer enlightened us by revealing that her band was called Yelle and that they were from France. Well, the strange music made sense then. The French are not exactly renowned for musical talent. Unfortunately the music did not improve and most of the audience remained puzzled as to why this band had been chosen to support Katy Perry. Finally (and I say that emphatically), they left the stage and Katy Perry’s DJ Skeet Skeet came on to warm up the crowd. He pumped out some chart hits and the party swung into life.
We danced. We cheered. But still, we wanted Katy. Suddenly, the curtain rose, revealing a fairytale backdrop of sweets and cakes. Three cloud shaped screens showed a cartoon of a young girl, Katy, forced to work for an evil butcher. She runs away and buys herself a cupcake from a rather good looking baker’s boy. It is love at first sight. The rest of the concert carried on the story as the fictional Katy falls asleep and dreams of finding her baker’s boy.
The first song was incredible and from that moment on we were truly enthralled. Katy Perry sung all her hits and songs from her new album Teenage Dreams. She does more than impress us with her voice, she puts on a show. Her singing is always amazing and powerful. The set is the stuff of dreams. And she, undoubtedly, looks incredible. The great thing about this concert was that the songs are all happy. This sounds like an odd thing to say, but it is a lot easier to have fun while listening to feel-good, up-beat music. Everyone sang along with gusto and we had a good go at blowing the roof off. It was awesome. I had expected some more songs from her first album One of the Boys, however only a few featured. At some points a lot of the audience did not know the song being sung, but this was the only flaw. When the big numbers came on, you could feel the excitement. I have never danced so much in my life.
It is surely a sign of a good show if you wake up with not one, but all, of the songs still in your head. In that case, it is safe to say that Katy Perry’s opening night in London was spectacular.
On Friday a huge earthquake rocked hundreds of kilometres of ground in Japan. Even in a country used to such events, this quake was a shock. The Japanese have their own measure of quake intensity, where one is the lowest and seven is the highest; Friday’s measured seven on this scale and 8.9 on the internationally used Richter scale. It was the biggest quake ever to be recorded in Japan.
Luckily – if anything can be lucky in such situations – Japan’s infrastructure is built to withstand earthquakes and only relatively minor damage was inflicted. However, as the earth stopped shaking a new disaster took shape as a tsunami warning was issued for the entire Pacific coast line, from Chile to the US and across the ocean to Japan and other parts of Asia.
The tsunami struck an hour after the original quake and was, by this time, a thirty foot high rolling mass of water. It crashed into the north eastern coastline of Japan, demolishing towns and destroying everything else in its wake. There were reports of fires breaking out as the vast mass of water began to recede, dragging with it homes and lorries as if they were toys.
As things start to steady and aftershocks decrease in magnitude a new problem becomes apparent. Many of Japan’s nuclear power stations have become unstable because of the tsunami and are beginning to pose a threat to nearby people. I can’t really tell you what is happening here, because no one seems to know, which is quite worrying
In fact, any time you hear the word earthquake, followed by tsunami, and then by nuclear meltdown, it is quite worrying – to say the least. Combine this with not knowing what is actually going on in respect to the latter, it is surprising that people are not running around like headless chickens. They’re not. One of the most amazing things about this whole disaster is how calm the Japanese seem to be. They have seen earthquakes like this before, such as the Kobi quake of 1993, and training has been implimented well. Video footage shows offices workers climbing under desks or leaving rocking buildings with little outwardly visible panic. You can prepare for earthquakes, but tsunamis are another matter.
Now rescue teams from all over the world are arriving in the region. Planes carrying emergency survival kits have been flown out. Shock is slowly being converted into action as the outside world watches on in horror. It is at times like this that the world unites.
Despite the force of the recent successful protests in Egypt and Tunisia, it is incredibly hard to predict what is going to happen in Libya. A few days ago it seemed as if the days of Gaddafi were numbered, but now it seems equally plausible that he will remain in power. The confusion is compounded by the limited supply of verified information coming from the country. The world’s media is scrabbling for news.
So what do we know? We know that rather than a protest movement intent on change, the Libyan opposition has bought the country to the brink of civil war. Gaddafi has rallied his loyal troops and the two sides are now embroiled in an Afghanistan-style fight for territory. The rebels have control of the second city of Benghazi but Gaddafi has a firm hold on Tripoli. Towns and cities across the country are being fought over but it is impossible to tell who is in control where.
A map from the BBC News website:
Innocent people are being caught up in the violence, with three unarmed civilians killed in Misrata by government forces who had made it to the centre. The UK government condemned the violence and removed its support of Gaddafi, which resulted in some embarrassment on the part of the Foreign Office.
The problems in Libya are very different to those we have already seen. There is one main sticking point – and that is Gaddafi himself. When he came to power forty-one years ago, he did not assign himself a titled position. Therefore, even if he did want to resign (he doesn’t, but still) he has nothing to resign from. Officially at least, he has never been Libya’s leader.
This poem was written in a creative writing exercise where we had to write seven lines of seven syllables. Enjoy, Luc
Hello to my wonderful readers! I would like to take the time to thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy reading what I post, and that you find my news articles informative. Writing this blog has changed how I view the media. I am forced to question whether information given in articles in newspapers or on television reports is necessary or interesting. I am starting to link different stories together and I am beginning to see the bigger picture in terms of world politics and the economy. By analysing what I am told, I feel that I am gaining more from it. My research has led me to question the accuracy and biases of different takes on the same story and forced me to form my own voice, of which I hope you approve. And of course, as I am always looking out for an article the news is now even more important to me.
I am aware of the lack of creative writing on my blog, for which I apologise. I can only promise you that this is due to a failure of time management, rather than a serious case of writer’s block. I will try to post some more in the coming weeks.
Thank you for your continuing support, Luc
Tunisia tried, and prompted Egypt to follow. They both succeeded. Now, all across the Middle East, ordinary people are rising up against those who have ruled them for decades, if not centuries. In Yemen, Bahrain and Libya protesters are demanding the rights and freedoms they have been denied for so long.
People power seems to be winning, which is something that should give millions of people around the world a very important thing – hope. For so many, hope is the one thing that drives them on and now we are finally seeing it bring about real change. A new era of democracy is tantalisingly close.
Of course, these things take time. These countries have been under autocracy for so long that there simply is not an acceptable political system that could allow free and fair elections. In Egypt and Tunisia, it will be some time before new constitutions are instated. We need to allow this to happen without growing impatient for change. If things are hurried there will be opportunities for people to take advantage of the new system. Most importantly, the West needs to put trust in the people of these countries, because we can not force our ideals on them. For democracy to succeed, it must be chosen by the people.