Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Freddie Mercury – The Dostoyevsky of Rock Music

Freddie Mercury – The Dostoyevsky of Rock Music

When I'm dead, I want to be remembered as a musician of some worth and substance.
-Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury emerged as a popular singer when Elvis, Mick Jagger, Ian Gillan, John Lennon, Barry Gibb, Mike Love etc dominated the music world. When he entered the Rock Music Industry, it was not multicultural and the Anglo American media giants predominantly controlled it. During that era, a non-WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) had no chance to become a rock star. Although prolonged and laborious work of black American musicians like Chuck Barry, Little Richards, Ray Charles, and Quincy Jones had made some progress and opened some doors in early sixties and early seventies the rock music industry was highly secular.

Freddie Mercury was the first major rock star who had an Asian origin. Regardless of his origin, Freddie conquered the music world and became the best of the best. His vocal prowess and flamboyant performances were incomprehensible. Freddy will be remembered as a talented vocalist of any generation. He could sing anything from hard rock to opera, from blues to metal. He was an artist with many talents. Freddie Mercury was an accomplished pianist, lyricist, stage performer and a composer.

Freddie’s songs conveyed deep philosophical and psychological messages. He sang about his inner solitude and sometimes his dual individuality and the emotional divergences. He thought that his Indian, origin obstructed him to become a great star and he changed his real name Farookh Bulsara in to a numinous pseudonym. As Salman Rushdie once stated Freddie Mercury concealed his identity and became a nowhere man from nowhere land. Freddie Mercury had a lifetime struggle to establish his identity. He had a cast of thousands and a man with thousand faces. Describing himself in an interview Freddie stated "Deep down inside I am a very emotional person, a person of real extremes, and often that's destructive to myself and others."

His songs carried underlying meanings and Mercury’s allusions to his own controversial life. Freddie Mercury was a follower of a religion named Zoroastrianism that is one of the world's oldest and most exclusive religions founded by the prophet Zoroaster in 600 B.C. His songs touched the mysticism of religion to magic and some theological terms from Zoroastrianism.

Freddie Mercury was the lead singer of the rock band Queen and he was the driving force behind the group. With Freddy, the rock band Queen composed songs that drew inspiration from many different genres of music and they achieved a gigantic success. He gave the band a distinctive characteristic of music and the vocal harmonies. His singing was inimitable and exceptional. No one could sing like Freddy Mercury and to give a first-rate stage performance. Even today, Freddie is still regarded as the most excellent male vocalist who made a deep impact on his fans.

His songs had most diverse kind of lyrics and it was a mixture of music, ideas and philosophies of Rene Descartes Jean Jack Russo, Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix. Most of his songs were inspired by magic and fantasy. But he spoke of deep philosophy through his music.

In the song, My fairy King Freddie Mercury comes with a classic prose and poetry that narrates a fantasy land. Although the situation imagined and it does not correspond with reality, it expresses the desire and aims of the singer to detach from the realism.

In the land where horses born with eagle wings
And honey bees have lost their stings
There's singing forever to you
Lions den with fallow deer
And rivers made from wines so clear
Flow on and on forever
Dragons fly like sparrows thru' the air
And baby lambs where Samson dares
To go on

In 1984, Mercury made his music video ‘I Want To Break Free’ which is an outcry and emotional catharsis. In this video Mercury dresses as a woman but keeps his moustache, which symbolizes his identity predicament, isolation and ostracism despite the preservation of masculinity. Freddie Mercury kept a mystique about his image. Mercury once said of himself: "When I'm performing I'm an extrovert, yet inside I'm a completely different man. Freddie Mercury s elation could be notified in the hit song The Show Must Go On, where he recounts his inner feelings.

"My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairy tales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly, my friends"

Freddie’s dual personality was captured in the song Great Pretender. This is a form Jungian explanation of the persona -The Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious" (1928) Two Essays on Analytical Psychology by Carl Jung. Jung describes the persona as a complicated system of relations between individual consciousness and society, fittingly enough a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and, on the other, to conceal the true nature of the individual. Freddie Mercury summarized the Jungian words thus.

Oh yes, I'm the great pretender
Just laughing and gay like a clown
I seem to be what I'm not you see
I'm wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you're still around

In the early days Freddy’s mother Jer Bulsara was not happy about her son’s interest towards music and she saw Freddy’s song writing as a waste of time. He was sent to a boarding school in Mumbai and Freddy was homesick. When Freddie was 16, the family moved to Britain and he pursued his life long career as a musician. In his song Mother love Freddy talked about maternal affection hence.

I don’t want to sleep with you
I don’t need the passion too
I don’t want a stormy affair
To make me feel my life is heading somewhere
All I want is the comfort and care
Just to know that my woman gives me sweet - Mother love

Freddie’s unrivaled song living on my own gives a picture of a desperado opposing the Victorian society. Freddy always became a controversial character who acted on his fantasies and instincts. In addition, he openly challenged the hypocrisy of the Victorian society. He was the modern day Oscar Wild. He described his passion and emotional soreness in graceful lyrics. His disheartening song Living on my own is a living testimony of Freddy’s emotional twinge.

Sometimes I feel I'm gonna break down and cry
Nowhere to go nothing to do with my time
I get lonely so lonely living on my own
Sometimes I feel I'm always walking too fast
And everything is coming down on me down on me
I go crazy oh so crazy living on my own

Freddie Mercury’s powerful ballad Who Wants to Live Forever was the soundtrack to the motion picture Highlander. In this song, Freddie’s voice reverberates in a high falsetto and creates a magnificent melody registering his phonetic abilities perpetually. Who Wants to Live Forever made Freddy as the best singer of all time. He was well known for his powerful vocal competency and was able to roar through a metal tune.

There's no chance for us
It's all decided for us
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us

Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever
Who dares to love forever
When love must die

His musical hit Bohemian Rhapsody carried a numerous metaphors and symbolism that transformed the band into a global phenomenon. Bohemian Rhapsody" song was written by Freddy Mercury which had no chorus but consisted of six sections: introduction, ballad, guitar solo, opera, rock and outro. Bohemian Rhapsody could be considered as an enigmatic philosophical song that was not decoded completely. Up-to-date Bohemian Rhapsody remains a puzzle. This song has fatalistic lyrics. Some argue that Bohemian Rhapsody echoes Mercury’s personal traumas reveling the complexity of his inner mind. This song represents a self-explanatory portion of Freddy. Perhaps Bohemian Rhapsody could be the musical version of Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger.

Bohemian Rhapsody begins with the powerful vocals of Freddy, which describes the clashes between his inner fantasies and realities. He was born in Zanzibar to an Indian Parsi Family and raised in England. He was exposed to three different cultures and in each culture; his biopersona (biological component of his personality) was suppressed creating a colossal guilt in him. The society that he lived expected him to live an artificial life less then his expectations. Mercury felt trapped and found no escape.

Is this the real life
Is this just fantasy
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go,
Little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me - to me

In the second part Freddy talks about a murder which could be treated as a metaphor. Metaphor and allegory were powerful literary and conceptual tools which often used by him to create melody, rhythm and philosophy.

Mama, just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead,
Mama, life had just begun,
But now I've gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooo,
Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters

In the third section, Freddy talks about his destitution and hidden death wish contrary to his insensible desire to live.

Too late, my time has come,
Sends shivers down my spine
Body's aching all the time,
Goodbye everybody - I've got to go -
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooo -
I don't want to die,
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all -

The Opera Section begins with a powerful vocal presentation. Freddy Mercury uses the name of a fictional character - Scaramouch that was created by Rafael Sabatini.

I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the Fandango
Thunderbolt and Lightning - very very frightening me-
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo, gallileo,
Gallileo Figaro - Magnifico -
I'm just a poor boy nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy froma poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come, easy go - will you let me go

In the subsequent part, the singer utters a name Bismillah which means the God. It is a poetic phrase translated as in the name of the God, most gracious and most compassionate.

Bismillah! No, - we will not let you go - let him go -
Bismillah! We will not let you go - Let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go - Let him go
Will not let you go - Let me go
Will not let you go - Let me go
No, no, no, no, no, no, no-
Mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go -
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me.

The final part of the song is the rock section. In this branch Freddy’s emotional struggle and apathy is emphasized. However, he is ready to accept the consequences.

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh Baby - Can't do this to me Baby
Just gotta get out- just gotta get right outta here -

Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters, nothing really matters - to me

Freddie Mercury and the rock band Queen were revolutionary. In 1980, they preformed in South Africa ignoring the United Nations Cultural boycott. Although the members of Queen were widely criticized in the 1980s for, performing in South Africa during the time the apartheid regime was in power , perhaps they might have contributed something positive for the South Africans to change. Similarly, in 1986, they performed in Budapest. It was the period when the Communist block was about to break and the Eastern Europeans were embracing the Western type of Democracy.

Freddie Mercury could be regarded as the Fyodor Dostoyevsky of Rock Music who painted rock music with philosophy, fantasy and psychology. He sang about the inner human psyche and human freedom. The talented artist , accomplished musician and legendary showman Freddy Mercury died on 24 November 1991 at the age of 45. He lived a relatively a short life, but he made a profound impact on music and culture.

-Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

"Eka Adhipathi" by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake : [3rd, 4th Dece.]

"Eka Adhipathi" by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake

Celebrating 33 years of vivacious achievements, from the hallowed annals of the Sinhala Theatre, ‘Eka Adhipathi’ returns to the stage on the 3rd and 4th of December at the Lionel Wendt Theatre.

Winner of 8 awards at the 1976 State Drama Festival including Best Original Play of the Year and Best Actor awards, ‘Eka Adhipathi’ is written and directed by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake.

Having amassed a mammoth 1400+ performances from 1976 to 1993, ‘Eka Adhipathi’ is a well received and critically acclaimed production which oozes political satire. The drama is based on the people’s rebellion against discrimination and dereliction by a corrupt fascist regime.

The original music score for the drama was designed by Premasiri Khemadasa and at present is directed by Deshaka Sampath.

The stellar cast which features prominent thespians includes Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, Rajiv Ponweera, Swethekei Munasinghe, Dayadeva Edirisinghe, Lal Peiris, Leonard Cooray, Upul Nishantha, Sampath Tennakoon, Chamila Peiris, Gamini Wijesinghe, Chulla Jayawardhana, Lalith Rajapakse, Wathsala Ranasinghe, Jagath Muthukumarana, Saman Pushpa Liyanage, Himasal Liyanage, Sudesh Wickramarathne, Sarath P. Alawwa, Thushari Chamila Gunarathne, Oshadhi Gunasekera, Rohan De Silva, Asiri Priyanga, Arunodh Wijesinghe, Niluka Dilrukshi Rajamanthri, Manoj Peiris, Tennis Miller and Amil Deepal Galanga.

Ranga Bandaranayake contributes in the capacity of assistant director and character makeup is handled by Wasantha Vittachchi. Stage management is carried out by Indika Wickramarachchi and Susanga Kahandawalarachchi assisted by Oshadhi Gunasekera, Rohan De Silva, Asiri Priyanga, Arunodh Wijesinghe and Amil Deepal Galanga. Set design is by Leonard Cooray while stage lighting will be tackled by Lakshman Perera. Production planning is handled by Deeptha Bandara, Shasthri Mallawarachchi and Ramesh Kuganeshan.

‘Eka Adhipathi’ is produced by the Trikone Cultural Foundation with a three-pronged intention of developing theatre performing arts, attracting new audiences and encouraging academic arts research projects in Sri Lanka.

Following the production of ‘Eka Adhipathi’, ‘Makarakshaya’ (1985), ‘Dhavala Bheeshana’ (1988), ‘Yakshagamanaya’ (1994) and ‘Trojan Kanthavo’ (1999) will also find the stage in 2010 under the meticulous direction of Dharmasiri Bandaranayake. All aforementioned plays were awarded prestigious state accolades which include Best Play of the Year and Best Direction at State Drama Festivals of yesteryear.

The Sinhala translation of Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' is also in the pipeline to be directed by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake and staged in 2010. Gamini Viyangoda's Sinhala translation of the play is available in print under the title 'Maya Bandana'.

Facebook Event for "Eka Adhipathi"

Psychoanalytic symbols used by Simon Navagathegama

Psychoanalytic symbols used by Simon Navagathegama

A gifted Sri Lankan novelist Simon Navagathegama presented a series of mystic symbols in his famous novel Dadayakarayage Kathawa or the Story of the Hunter which can be regarded as one of the best psychoanalytical novels of the contemporary era. Dadayakarayage Kathawa represents numerous psychoanalytic symbols which stem from the unconscious mind. It is a great recount of relations between social anthropology and psychology Simon Navagathegama used different metaphors to describe the cultural and social and anthropological icons. As the author illustrates the hunter is a person as well as a metaphor.

The hunter is not an alien but another member in a rural village. Even though the hunter lives among the people he is an outcast rejected by the society. The hunter kills animals and obviously he is branded as a sinner who breaks the first Buddhist precept. The villages are critical about his actions and they often judge him according to the traditional moral set of rules.

Why the hunter is being hated? Simon may have surmised our ancestral past. There is a human tendency to hate the shameful past. The truth is 20,000 years ago we all were hunters. There is a hunter in each one of us. Our collective unconscious carries some elements from our predatory days. These impulses are threatening and shameful. No wonder why the villagers have a repulsive attitude towards the hunter.

Simon used symbols in his novels hiding the conventional meanings. Deconstructive reading would reveal the actual meanings which he gives in his novels especially Dadayakarayage Kathawa. Simon gives broader interpretation of a carried meaning. According to the Psychoanalytic notion symbols are not the creations of mind, but rather are distinct capacities within the mind to hold a distinct piece of information. Simon’s novel is full of elements of unconscious and repressions that struggle in our minds beyond the cultural and religious barriers. Created by collective unconscious archetypes these symbols carry an important socio cultural meaning.

His symbols are from folklore, mythology and rituals and some have religious background. Dadayakaraya or the hunter is a realistic as well as a mystic character. Hunter is Simon’s utmost metaphor. The hunter is passionately attached to a deer which Simon calls Kathuri Muwa. He is eagerly seeking the deer in the jungle. Kathuri Muwa is a wider form of representation which refers to the father figure. Kathuri Muwa becomes hunter’s fantasy which is an imaginal representations of bodily instincts and urges. The hunter’s expedition in the jungle may be the best metaphor used to describe the journey through Sansara. Simon implies Kasthuri Muwa as the totem animal or the substitute father.

The hunter meets a goddess in the jungle and both enjoy sensual pleasure in which Simon talks about incest or a taboo relationship. In 1913 Freud wrote Totem and Taboo to make the resemblances between the mental lives of savages and neurotics.Freud discusses various ways in which the exogamy of the totem system prevents incest not only among the nuclear family, but among extended families as well. The hunter consciously knows that the physical relationship with the goddess was a taboo. Although he had repressed his incestuous wishes his basic instincts emerges like a volcano.

The villagers are cautious about the hunter’s actions. They call him a sinner though the villagers enjoy eating the meat brought by the hunter. On a significant religious day the villagers hear the gun shot sound and they criticize the hunter for committing sins on such a momentous day. But the true fact is that the hunter was compelled to kill the leopard which had killed two villages on the previous day and his only purpose was to protect the devotees from the beast.

Among the villages Podikandaya is a young man who hates his mother’s infidelities and father’s ineffectiveness to be the figure head of the family. When Podikandaya reveals that the hunter was having an affair with his wife Rankiri he becomes offended and go in search of the hunter to kill him. Simon presents the triangle story of Podikandaya, Rankiri and the hunter in a bizarre form. The village structural system is created to prevent incestuous sexual relations. The Monk is the spiritual leader who offers guidance to the villagers.

Eric Erikson once stated that an individual is pushed by his or her own biological urges and pulled by socio-cultural forces. Similarly the hunter’s actions are controlled for certain level by the moralistic village culture. Simon is critical about the dualistic nature of the village morality. He emphasizes the hypocrisy and double standards beneath the village culture. The narration of the hunter’s inner mind takes the reader in to a more spiritual world disregarding the hunter’s sinful acts.

When the hunter finds the elegant deer or the Kasthuri Muwa he sees the reality and the true nature of the craving. Now the hunter has no greed for Kasthuri Muwa. The hunter has become a super human uplifting his spirit much better than the fellow villagers. The hunter has seen the truth and liberated himself from craving.

-Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Whispering North - [Ajith C. Herath]

The Whispering North

The wind blows from north still whispers,
While the soft voices mourned, fade and disperse.
Corpses unburied, immerse in unknown oceans,
Curse upon thousands of Gods and hundreds of nations

Dead, wounded, scattered limbs and tents burning
Remained on that massacred village
Amidst Dreadful screamings, Waves of killing and raping
Stormed, and bandits start to pillage.

The formless shadows of Children, women and Elders
With bleeding wounds and worn old decaying tatters
Lie begirt with despair, barbwires and murders
No Miracle nor blessed, surviving from the barrages
Their Flesh and blood are still suck by the savages

The supremacist totem on female corpses
Decorates the ceremonial nights of demoniac soldiers.
And the Adrenalin overflows with heroic sperms,
While a sinister smoke ascending over dark Canopies.
But, the wind blows from north still whispers.

Ajith C. Herath

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Eternal Poem [Rathna Sri Wijesinghe]

The Eternal Poem

The tin drums were played
A drizzle slowly trickled
From the sky line dimmed
On the wild flower wreath
And the white paper canopies

The golden palanquin was made
And there, she was quietly laid
Brought then to the grave yard
Our dearest one
Our closest one
The dead doll
Was buried that day

A tear drop  rolled down
on the cheeks of my sister

The bulldozer mammoths came
untamed with the hard-pressed bolts
The old tomb came up
as they wildly dig the earth

There was no golden palanquin
No white paper canopies
But she was there as ages ago
Awaken after a long sleep

The blinking dazzling eyelashes
The sparkling crystal eyes
The twisted golden hair
The lips, painted with smile
The one who never died
The eternal poem
Dear doll, it's only you…

සදාකාලික කවිය - රත්න ශ්‍රී විජේසිංහ
[Translated by: Kalpana Ambrose]

Massive [Mahinda Prasad Masimbula]


In that glamorous twilight
as I came to see you
I sensed, I was convinced
It was only *Galaha road
The biggest road in the world….

It was the day
The biggest rain drop in the world
Ever fell on to the earth

Three storied, enormous
The biggest university in the world
Was floating in a massive misty flow
I sent you the biggest message
in the world ever sent
“I am here to see you”

With the fastest walk in the world
You drifted towards me
the sparkling face and painted with
The most gorgeous smile in the world

Cleared the solitude together
We set up the biggest moment in the world
So then started to flow
The largest river in the world
Filled with love
Touching the bottom of our hearts

Then came the biggest obstacles
The walls of separation
built up in between
There were no doorways
On the top of those walls
There placed the biggest thorns in the world

Amongst all the biggest
souvenirs and statues
I still sense and feel
I am the smallest in the world…

* Galaha road is the road driven to the University of Peradeniya

[Translated by : Kalpana Ambrose]

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tiny Grey flower - [By Ruwanmalee De Silva]

Tiny Grey flower

There was a tiny Grey flower
on a mossy edge of the river
she was tossing her head alone
in the cool summer breeze
Warmth of the golden sun
coolness of the drops of dew
tinkling of the summer breeze
made her happy and happy
and then thought
"how wonderful my world is!"

But, there were no butterflies
and no bees
came to kiss her rosy cheeks
then she wept & wept
until her rosy cheeks
get soaked with tears

One sunny day
An angel whispered
"don't worry my dear,
your sweet fragrance can make other happier & happier
which the flowers with bright color
Are unable to offer!!"

-Ruwanmalee De Silva

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Machan" is a cinematic experience of its nature after Mille Soya

"Machan" is a cinematic experience of its nature after Mille Soya

I got the opportunity of watching "Machan" at "5th Dubai International Film Fastival-December 11-18 , 2008" on its second day, 12th.

Its yesterday, of course i couldn't stop writing about this film since i came out from the 12th theater hall of "Mall of the Emirates- Cinestar".

such gravity of writing about this film is an accident, in fact totally unexpected. anyway i reached the theater 3 hours before knowing how the Dubai behaves in such fast phased environment , always surprises take place, so to avoid any miracle there at the MOE i prepared go there in advance. timings of screening could go up or down depending on the demands or some other reasons because Dubai is an miracle island floating on money, simply on cash flow! not funny at all...

Dubai is in the other hand the place where all the youth keeping full of hopes to uplift their lives in a instantaneous fraction of time as the opportunities are superfluous. here we daily experience young people from all around the world landing for better opportunity and they will enjoy the miraculous demand supply theories of main economic system based on entertainment creation. the affordability of fantasy in Dubai is so competitive and ranges from 50 dhs to infinitely large sums of currency. the price of the dreams are vary from such a range and everybody has his destiny here.

the economic grounds play such a role in the lives of a people bounded by a simple geographical region.

comparing the same relative truths on the land of the subjective sri lanka it is always the reality of youth to become a migrant into somewhere else on this planet other than to suffer the metaphysics on its grounds.

the reality is always lot far from its imagination. sri lankan youth has this illusive mind to capture the good air in some other region of this planet. their meta dream made them such a creative to solve the paradox of visa. it is the theme of this "machan" movie.

they worked out such a solution of getting out of it.

it is nothing far beyond that to discuss the miseries all made upon this dramatic representation of the saga.

i have my own fascinations on this art work. i think it is important to express those here in this lengthy writing just to make my sign here and on your mind , thank you for your patience on reading up to this point , please keep that to a little extent too...

in the movie i found many places where i can feel the language of cinema comes out with its glory, i really fallen in love , with camera angles+light+emotions and sound.

the screen shot starting with the look back of the past of his hotel cleaner job profile, suddenly he could realize the hand dryer on the wall how it become an imaginary enemy to his symbolic code. he reacts before leaving the hotel job, as he already got visa to say goodbye to all his pity , demolishing the hand dryer. this is a very strong psychological symbolization of his anger on the system which he suffered.

the other most beautiful cinematic+dramatic instance is the scene on the gathering of telling stories about German sluts and when the one who is telling the sadistic sexuality about his past experiences , he stops somewhere in the mid of the story telling about a whip and changes the story line to another scene. after few cine minutes the scene transfers to the location where all are gathering again in front of the German Embassy waiting for the visa. everyone was concentrating on the response of the officers and one who was at the previous story telling time still in his curiosity of knowing what happened after taking out that whip out of that German sluts bed underneath, he simply asks "whip taken out, then?" its a very dramatic scene showing the inner side of the human mind of course during the struggle of overcoming everything the sexual curiosity will find it fulfillment of lack.

this movie has its own sign on the cinematic language which i felt at the dark so technical.

i would appreciate Dharmapriya Dias and Gihan Chekera on their warmth welcome at the cinema lobby as we could share a moment of pleasant time together before going into the dome of celluloid's.

i went empty into theater. i came out with rich feelings on cine magics...

some likes enjoying the pity in dramatic form , for me it makes me to think different. this movie has big potential on making a real difference in youth aspects towards the myths of illegal migration.

-E.A. Dawson Preethi

Unborn Poems - Sunil Govinnage

Unborn Poems

They linger over
on new born rainbows,
hover around the windows
in the early morning hours.
They float on the river
when the moon smiles
on full moon days.
When the birds sing
outside my window
they bring a melody
of an unborn rhythm.
When the spring flowers are born
they paint images
of an unborn verse.
When I look at the darkness
in the middle of the night
they come one by one
as I breathe like a child
scared of the darkness.

Sunil Govinnage

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Berlin Wall - Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

The Berlin Wall

The world came together in Berlin last night to celebrate the 20th anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall. On November 9, 1989 the East Germany's Communist rulers opened the Berlin Wall as the aftermath of Perestroika and Glasnost and also by the continuous pressure of the Easter German Public. The Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who played a key role in this historic event got a hero's welcome yesterday.

I still recall some events relating to the Berlin Wall that took place when I was a medical student. When the time I crossed the Berlin Wall in 1988 to enter the West Berlin I had a gut feeling that this wall would not last forever. Being a non White and not look like a German I had no problems with the East German border guards. They allowed me to cross the Wall. But Vethalik who was from Riga had a little trouble and the East German Authorities triple checked his documents in order to make sure that he was not an East German in disguise. But eventually Vethalik was released.

Many East Germans whom I have met at that time were eager to cross the Berlin Wall and go to the West Germany. I specifically remember the words of a young East German whose name was Heinrich. He was so fascinated by the musical show conducted by David Bowie near the Berlin Wall West side. He said to me “my dream is to go to cross the Wall some day and start a new life in West Germany ” Although he had thought that there was a heaven in the Western part we knew the mental picture he had was not hundred percent accurate.

The Berlin Wall was erected in the night of August 13, 1961. This decision was made by the Communist parties of the German Democratic Republic (GDR ) and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union met in Moscow and they decided to close the open border between East and West Berlin. The wall separated many families. Dispute the restrictions many people fled the Eastern part and entered the West. Then the GDR took stern measures. They built a concrete wall which earned the name Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the “Anti Fascist Protection Wall" by the GDR.

The total border length around West Berlin was 155 km . There were 302 watch towers and 20 bunkers. Nearly 192 persons were killed on the Berlin Wall when they tried to defect to the West side. In 1953 East Berliners rised up against the totalitarian system but the uprising was crushed with the help of Moscow. In 1955, the USSR declared that the GDR was fully sovereign. However the Red Army troops remained in East German territory, based on the four-power Potsdam Agreement .

The German Democratic Republic, which had been founded on 7 October 1949. Many Germans who opposed Hitler's NAZI policies supported the new regime. The were willing to develop GDR in an anti-fascist model. But strict censorship alienated the people and the regime. GDR became another totalitarian sate. The East German secret service also known as STASI controlled the people with an iron fist even interfering in their private lives. STASI recruited a large number of agents and some calculations have concluded that in East Germany there was one informer to every seven citizens.

One should not forget that there was a positive side of East Germany as well. In the GDR everyone had a legally guaranteed security of tenure and ownership to the properties where they lived. The unemployment rate was low and free education and health care was guaranteed. GDR achieved many victories in international sports. But East Germans may have valued freedom as an utmost valuable component in their lives. Therefore during the Wall's existence there were around 5,000 successful escapes to West Berlin.

In a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987 Ronald Regan said to Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall that stood an obstacle to the human freedom. The disintegration of the wall brought with it the freedom to travel the world and, for some, more material wealth, but it also brought social breakdown, widespread unemployment and social insecurity. Berlin Wall taught us a lesson . Freedom is not cheep. Its expensive.

-Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

Thursday, November 12, 2009

To Meena with Love - By Sunil Ranasinghe

To Meena with Love
By Sunil Ranasinghe

Meena, you are the swallow
Fighting against the huge storm
Stood up twisting sea surge.

Meena, you are the eagle
Clash on thunder and clouds
Falling water stream in monsoon.

Meena you are the phoenix
Rising on rivulets of blood
From ashes on my burnt children

Meena you are the weaver bird
Weaving a nest between borders
Brought staff from four directions

Meena, you are the sparrow
Embarrassing beloved on dawn
Maturing Sun among the spike

Meena you are the honey bird
Bringing sweet berry for grownup
Weeping in nest with empty bellies

Meena you are the pigeon
Flying free on Afghan soil
Takes olive leaves for peace

Meena you are the fire bird
Resists against the injustice
To bring freedom for people

-Sunil Ranasinghe

Monday, November 9, 2009

Maxim Gorky - Man who Believed in Social Justice [Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D. ]

Maxim Gorky - Man who Believed in Social Justice

When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! When work is a duty, life is slavery.

-Maxim Gorky

Maxim Gorky was a self-learned author, who had undying curiosity to explore the society and discover its hidden realties. His writings remarkably showed Gorky's interest in social reform. He had an outstanding ability on literature despite the interrupted education that he received. Gorky learnt from the society. It was his University the institution of higher education where he gathered an immense knowledge.

Orphaned at the age of 11, Gorky experienced the hardships of life. He did a number of odd jobs and while working he developed his reading skills. His grandmother Akulina was the most influential person in his life. Gorky later described her as the most loving and caring human being that he had met in his lifetime.

Gorky widely travelled in Russia. He became acquainted with the lowest members of society. He elegantly wrote about people describing their appearance, character and behavior. His literary characters were based mostly on outcasts Gorky had met during his travels. Among these characters Smuri – a kind sailor, Matriona – a wicked old woman, Natalia Kazlova – a Prostitute, Nikiparich – a Police spy, Gogaleve – an Alcoholic, Guri Plethnikove – a young Revolutionary were incomparable and they made a profound impact on his Autobiography. He analyzed all these characters without judging or criticizing them.

Gorky was a Great Russian writer who emerged from the common people. He wrote complex moral perspective on Pre Revolutionary Russia. He regarded literature as an essential food for the human spirit. The aim of literature as Gorky argued is to help man to understand himself, to strengthen the trust in himself, and to develop in him the striving toward truth; it is to fight meanness in people, to learn how to find the good in them, to awake in their souls shame, anger, courage; to do all in order that man should become nobly strong.

Gorky supported the Revolutionary movement in Russia, but he relinquished the moral right for revolutionaries to use violence. Even though the life has been built on cruelty and force in Tsar’s Russia he never believed a revolution or a social change, which needed human blood as fuel. Once he stated “I am capable of leading the masses, and not a weapon in the hands of shameless adventurers of fanatics gone mad."

In 1906 Gorky wrote his most influential novel Mother narrating the life of a young revolutionary Pavel Vlasov and his mother Pelagea Nilovna. After writing this novel, he was hailed as a Revolutionary writer. Maxim Gorky was called the founder of the doctrine of socialist realism.

Gorky supported for the overthrow of the Russian Autocracy. He openly protested against the persecution of the Jewish community in Russia. He openly supported the Bolshevik movement and became a close friend of Lenin. He strongly opposed the World War 1 and had to face the heavy criticism by the Nationalists for being unpatriotic. But Gorky believed in human freedom and human will to thrive and stood by his principles.

When Maxim Gorky realized that the terror would follow after the October Revolution he was disappointed. When Stalin wrote “The Revolution neither pities nor buries its dead." Gorky said that the Bolshevik leaders have been poisoned by the rotten venom of power. All his life Maxim Gorky stood for the freedom of speech and of person and banished the Totalitarian ideology. Stalin once wanted Gorky to write a biography of him. But the great writer declined that offer even endangering his life.

Stalin’s growing suspicion was projecting towards Gorky as well. He was kept under close surveillance by Stalin’s Secret Police. Gorky donated most of his income to the revolutionary movement and he had high anticipations. He believed and widely wrote about the social movement in Russia. But when the social movement which he believed became another instrument of terror he was utterly disappointed. Struck by personal as well as social tragedies Gorky’s health deteriorated rapidly and he died on the 18th June 1936. Some believe that Maxim Gorky was poisoned to death on orders by Stalin.

Gorky's work had an eternal passion for justice. It stimulated the revolutionary feelings in Russia. His protagonists were not Kings or Queens. They were ordinary people who experienced difficulties in day-to-day lives. He had a great sympathy for mankind. He described the human feelings in a wonderful romantic text. In the same time, he wrote about hunger, social prejudices and inequality that were strongly connected with the Human Society.

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Get accustomed to violence …..? ["The Gadfly", by E. L. Voynich]

Get accustomed to violence …..?

"Tell me," she interrupted, "are you quite sure that these friends of yours can be trusted?"

"Quite sure. I know them personally, and have worked with them."

"That is, they are members of the 'sect' to which you belong? Forgive my skepticism, but I am always a little doubtful as to the accuracy of information received from secret societies. It seems to me that the habit----"

"Who told you I belonged to a 'sect'?" he interrupted sharply.

"No one; I guessed it."

"Ah!" He leaned back in his chair and looked at her, frowning. "Do you always guess people's private affairs?" he said after a moment.

"Very often. I am rather observant, and have a habit of putting things together. I tell you that so that you may be careful when you don't want me to know a thing."

"I don't mind your knowing anything so long as it goes no further. I suppose this has not----"

She lifted her head with a gesture of half-offended surprise. "Surely that is an unnecessary question!" she said.
"Of course I know you would not speak of anything to outsiders; but I thought that perhaps, to the members of your party----"

"The party's business is with facts, not with my personal conjectures and fancies. Of course I have never mentioned the subject to anyone."
"Thank you. Do you happen to have guessed which sect I belong to?"
"I hope--you must not take offence at my frankness; it was you who started this talk, you know---- I do hope it is not the 'Knifers.'"

"Why do you hope that?"
"Because you are fit for better things."

"We are all fit for better things than we ever do. There is your own answer back again. However, it is not the Knifers' that I belong to, but the 'Red Girdles.' They are a steadier lot, and take their work more seriously."
"Do you mean the work of knifing?"

"That, among other things. Knives are very useful in their way; but only when you have a good, organized propaganda behind them. That is what I dislike in the other sect. They think a knife can settle all the world's difficulties; and that's a mistake. It can settle a good many, but not all."

"Do you honestly believe that it settles any?"

He looked at her in surprise.

"Of course," she went on, "it eliminates, for the moment, the practical difficulty caused by the presence of a clever spy or objectionable official; but whether it does not create worse difficulties in place of the one removed is another question. It seems to me like the parable of the swept and garnished house and the seven devils. Every assassination only makes the police more vicious and the people more accustomed to violence and brutality, and the last state of the community may be worse than the first."

"What do you think will happen when the revolution comes? Do you suppose the people won't have to get accustomed to violence then? War is war."

"Yes, but open revolution is another matter. It is one moment in the people's life, and it is the price we have to pay for all our progress. No doubt fearful things will happen; they must in every revolution. But they will be isolated facts--exceptional features of an exceptional moment. The horrible thing about this promiscuous knifing is that it becomes a habit. The people get to look upon it as an every-day occurrence, and their sense of the sacredness of human life gets blunted. I have not been much in the Romagna, but what little I have seen of the people has given me the impression that they have got, or are getting, into a mechanical habit of violence."

"Surely even that is better than a mechanical habit of obedience and submission."

"I don't think so. All mechanical habits are bad and slavish, and this one is ferocious as well. Of course, if you look upon the work of the revolutionist as the mere wresting of certain definite concessions from the government, then the secret sect and the knife must seem to you the best weapons, for there is nothing else which all governments so dread. But if you think, as I do, that to force the government's hand is not an end in itself, but only a means to an end, and that what we really need to reform is the relation between man and man, then you must go differently to work. Accustoming ignorant people to the sight of blood is not the way to raise the value they put on human life."

Quoted from "The Gadfly", by E. L. Voynich

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Here it rains…..[Kalpana Ambrose]

Here it rains…..

Here it rains…
As it could see
the beauty of the conversations
born amid us
The endless chats on
Left and gone
Dead, then born
Tears and laughter
Fears and answers,
dissolve in to the mists
painting the mountain crests

Here it rains….
As it could hear me
Singing with joy
Walking up the hilly green woods…
Amazed my feet, uncover the fresh paths
Nameless flowers that wave and greet
As I follow - their sweet fragrance

I taste the freedom, from the purest fountain
There you sleep on the highest mountain
Blessed be those dreams you are sailing in
The infant smile, glimmers on your face
Portrays the heaven in such a gentle way

Here it rains…
As it could trace
The foot steps we leave, on the dark cold grounds
The stars kiss the earth, I close my eyes
Follow as you go, yet never be left alone

Here it rains ….
As it could feel
Whispering woods- sealed with the mist
Rain drops drop slowly on the roof
Counting the heart beats beneath my face

The whole nature wonders
The divine silent night ….
Blessed be the heaven and earth!
Blessed be thou silence…!

Kalpana Ambrose