That's How The Light Gets In

To kick off its relaunch on WordPress, I thought an entry on this blog’s signature song would be appropriate.

Leonard Cohen once explained the meaning of the song as follows:

That is the background of the whole record, I mean if you have to come up with a philosophical ground, that is “Ring the bells that still can ring.” It’s no excuse… the dismal situation.. and the future is no excuse for an abdication of your own personal responsibilities towards yourself and your job and your love. “Ring the bells that still can ring”: they’re few and far between but you can find them. “Forget your perfect offering”, that is the hang-up, that you’re gonna work this thing out. Because we confuse this idea and we’ve forgotten the central myth of our culture which is the expulsion from the garden of Eden. This situation does not…

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Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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Year over year, ever since 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown grows worse and worse, an ugly testimonial to the inherent danger of generating electricity via nuclear fission, which produces isotopes, some of the most deadly poisonous elements on the face of the planet.

Fukushima Daiichi has been, and remains, one of the world’s largest experiments; i.e., what to do when all hell breaks lose aka The China Syndrome.

Scientists still don’t have all the information they need for a cleanup that the government estimates will take four decades and cost ¥8 trillion. It is not yet known if the fuel melted into or through the containment vessel’s concrete floor, and determining the fuel’s radioactivity and location is crucial to inventing the technology to remove the melted fuel.1

As it happens, “”inventing technology” is experimental stage stuff. Still, there are several knowledgeable sources that believe the corium, or melted…

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“I came into the unknown
and stayed there unknowing
rising beyond all science.

I did not know the door
but when I found the way,
unknowing where I was,
I learned enormous things,
but what I felt I cannot say,
for I remained unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

It was the perfect realm
of holiness and peace.
In deepest solitude
I found the narrow way:
a secret giving such release
that I was stunned and stammering,
rising beyond all science.

I was so far inside,
so dazed and far away
my senses were released
from feelings of my own.
My mind had found a surer way:
a knowledge of unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

And he who does arrive
collapses as in sleep,
for all he knew before
now seems a lowly thing,
and so his knowledge grows so deep
that he remains unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

The higher he ascends
the darker is the wood;
it is the shadowy cloud
that clarified the night,
and so the one who understood
remains always unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

This knowledge by unknowing
is such a soaring force
that scholars argue long
but never leave the ground.
Their knowledge always fails the source:
to understand unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

This knowledge is supreme
crossing a blazing height;
though formal reason tries
it crumbles in the dark,
but one who would control the night
by knowledge of unknowing
will rise beyond all science.

And if you wish to hear:
the highest science leads
to an ecstatic feeling
of the most holy Being;
and from his mercy comes his deed:
to let us stay unknowing,
rising beyond all science.”

San Juan de la Cruz

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http://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/insight/?action=getcert&e=1&pid=3&cn=202818539375

ABOUT once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.

When I meet such a person it brightens my whole day. But I confess I often have a sadder thought: It occurs to me that I’ve achieved a decent level of career success, but I have not achieved that. I have not achieved that generosity of spirit, or that depth of character.

A few years ago I realized that I wanted to be a bit more like those people. I realized that if I wanted to do that I was going to have to work harder to save my own soul. I was going to have to have the sort of moral adventures that produce that kind of goodness. I was going to have to be better at balancing my life.

Women for Refugee Women

S453anV3A4EpJ3Bdy3G9zJy43LgUGrbY5P-2Y0C-WN8Tonight Channel 4 News will broadcast an undercover investigation into Yarl’s Wood detention centre revealing the abuse and harassment of women who are detained there

by Gemma Lousley, Policy and Reseach Co-ordinator at Women for Refugee Women

The report shows guards referring to female detainees as ‘black bitch’ and ‘evil’, making threats of violence, and showing a callous disregard for their mental health – “let them slash their wrists”, one says. One guard says he deliberately walks in on women in their rooms while they are naked. The report also highlights the appalling treatment of a woman who suffered a miscarriage and was made to wait three hours for medical attention.

This investigation corroborates the findings of Women for Refugee Women. In January last year, we published Detained, which highlighted the distressing impact of detention for women seeking asylum, most of whom have survived rape, sexual violence or other…

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Women for Refugee Women

by Marchu Girma, Grassroots Co-ordinator of Women for Refugee Women

Everyone who lives in London likes to take time away from this busy city, to have fun and enjoy the sun and fresh air. But for many refugee women in London there are invisible bonds that keep us bound to the city. The most difficult is the financial restraint: most of those who seek asylum live on support of less than £35 a week while their claim is considered and if you are a Londoner, you know this does not get you far. Many refugee women also live without immigration status for years, and this means they can’t leave the country. Perhaps the most invisible reason why refugee women can’t leave the city is that while your asylum claim is being considered you have to continually ‘go to sign’. This means you have to present yourself at the UK Visa…

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Anj Handa

Dariush Kanani album cover. Copyright. Image by Jim Harris (www.harris-associates.com) Image by Jim Harris

Dariush Kanani is a talented guitarist and singer from North Leeds, who will be launching his first album, Mr Troubadour, in May.  Now 25, Dariush has been playing guitar since he was 11 years old.

At the age of 16, he developed his fingerpicking technique, citing Jimmy Page as his original influence.  This led him to listening to music by Bert Jansch, Davey Graham and John Martyn and also the late John Redbourn and Stefan Grossman, both of whom he has studied under.

Around the age of 20, whilst studying at Leeds College of Music, Dariush started to listen to singer-songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and John Mayer, and began experimenting with writing his own lyrics.

Dariush’s mother, who is passionate about the arts in all forms, supported and continues to support, his university study and subsequent vocational training, because she herself…

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