The frame is divided into three sections, with the top heading – ‘United States of America In’. All three section has a United States Airforce aircraft, visually moving from one section to another. In the first frame, on the left, the US Airforce aircraft is coming in dropping weapons like assault rifles and stringer missile launchers, each attached to a parachute. They are being dropped to the ground where a sign board pointing ahead appears on which Afghanistan is written. On the top of this first frame, 1979 is written, to indicate the US support to the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, who later formed the Taliban.
In the second section, in the middle, the US aircraft is dropping bombs on Afghanistan (a sign board is visible on ground) and on the top 2001 is written marking the US invasion of Afghanistan. The third and last section, with the text 2021 written at the top shows the US aircraft flying away with two people falling off the plane to the ground with a sign board ‘Afghanistan’ pointing back, representing the actual incident of Afghans, trying to leave the country after US withdrawal and Taliban takeover, falling off a US air force aircraft during take off from Kabul International Airport.
This year’s Last Word Festival at The Roundhouse has been a mixture of online and in-person events. Although I had hoped to be able to attend more events, and accessing the festival hasn’t been easy, it was a pleasure to listen to poets Cecilia Knapp and Alexandra Huỳnh in conversation as I tucked into my dinner at home.
Sometimes, it’s hard not to laugh at contemporary British politics. The fall of Matt Hancock is the latest instalment in this ongoing political sitcom. Hancock, the Partridge-esque Health Secretary who came to prominence during the pandemic, was forced to resign a few weeks ago through external pressure following an extramarital affair with one of his aides, Gina Coladangelo.
“Stop whining, you ungrateful inbred bastards, it’s our money that keeps you afloat” or some variant of that sentiment is regularly heard by Cornish people and permanent residents of Cornwall. Particularly in the summer. Particularly when we register our frustration at being priced out of communities we grew up in; at pristine green land being built upon, despite the presence of thousands of empty homes; and particularly when we dare to register our opinion that people are not entitled to as many houses as they like, no matter how wealthy they are. The severe levels of poverty experienced in parts of Cornwall are completely overlooked by wealthy holiday home-owners and the government (the two being far from mutually exclusive). It is hidden from view sufficiently that it will not dirty their holiday photos, it will not visibly encroach upon the sandy beaches or the pristine sea. They can pretend that everybody in Cornwall is as thick as portrayed in the TV show Doc Martin while maintaining a wilful ignorance about the devastating effects their Airbnb accommodation or holiday home is wreaking upon the county they proclaim to love.
Media outlets are once again decrying the “conflict” between Israel and Palestine, framing Hamas actions as “terrorism”, whilst conversely describing Israel’s as “military action”. At the time of writing, Hamas rockets had killed eight in Israel, while Israeli aerial bombardment of Gaza had killed 122 Palestinians (including 31 children) and injured 830 others. The imbalance in power, resources and media discourse is beyond belief.
The most important intergovernmental organisation of the last year, the World Health Organisation, defines violence as:
the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.
The media in this country have used the terms ‘violence’ and ‘violent’ to categorise the recent civil disruption surrounding the Kill The Bill protests. Norwich’s recent protests couldn’t be called ‘violent’ by any stretch of the imagination, but there have still been reactionary responses attempting to write off their importance, including from the EDP. However in the case of places like Bristol, the word ‘violence’ has been openly used against protestors by the media and influential reactionary figures.
Content warning: references to police violence, racist violence.
The revival of the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired an array of haunting artistic responses. Black Lives Matter: Poems for a New World, edited by Ambrose Musiyiwa, is no exception. With over 100 contributions from writers of diverse ages and backgrounds, the collection is a poignant exploration of an era of renewed protest and newfound solidarities, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
There is an elephant in the room with Amie Marie’s mischievous comedy The Play About Theresa May: why publish a satire on May’s bungled and mayhemic term in government in 2021? When placed beside the burning wreckage of policies created by her etonian man-child of a successor, there is a risk of the text losing its relevance before you’ve even passed the cover. Marie navigates this hurdle gracefully, however; its name-sake target has been out of office nearly two years, but The Play About Theresa May is still an extremely timely exploration of political engagement in 21st Century Britain.
When activists look back to the movement that arose to challenge the introduction of the Poll Tax, they will see it as one of ordinary people taking on the establishment and coming out victorious. Whilst the rioting in Trafalgar Square and similar confrontations between police and protestors often takes centre stage in our collective memory of this period, there is the risk of overlooking the grassroots and community led resistance that fought every step of the way during the Poll Tax’s introduction – the resistance of the Anti-Poll Tax Unions.