Sunday, 26 January 2014

1461 Days Ago...

Four years ago today, lil' bro', you left. Forever.

Life has never been the same.

The sense of utter loss and injustice has not abated nor passed.

I still think of you most days.  And listening to music has become a source of both pain and joy.

Pain because I associate so many songs with you.You loved music. You'd often tell me to check out certain new songs or certain new acts.  I did and was never disappointed.

You loved a lot of different music.  And the music you loved is still being played, almost daily, like a cruel reminder to reinforce the loss I feel.

You loved a lot of people too, Paulo. And countless people loved you.

Life will never be the same without you

The cruel irony of it is that you have, unintentionally, caused me so much pain.  Yet you gave me nothing but boundless joy and unconditional love while here.

I remember when you were one year old and fell ill, victim to some nasty intestinal fever that very nearly cost you your life. I was five then and remember the awful panic when the doctor was called to the house in the middle of the night. But you pulled through.

I wrote this poem when you died. It is important to me. So important in fact that I read it more often than is good for me.

But it brings me closer to you.

The space you filled among us remains empty
The air you breathed is laid to waste
The joy you gave us, no longer flows
The laughter you brought has fallen silent
The love you spread now fills the void in our hearts

The grave you fill now has your selfless attention
And the spring blossom awaits your gift
For the flowers will reflect your essence
With their resplendent colour and fragrant scent

And we will admire the flowers like we admired you
And in our minds and those of our children
Your eternal flame will glow bright and warm
To light up our hours of darkness
and bring comfort to our winters of discontent


See you in my dreams, sweet brother of mine


Saturday, 4 January 2014

Misdirected Anger

Q: Who is the most powerful person in the world?

(I can almost hear the frantic tapping of keyboards attempting to reply to my ambiguous question.)

Is it  Barack Obama - USA?  Vladimir Putin - Russia?   Angela Merkel - Fourth Reich?   Christine Lagarde - IMF?  Ban Ki-Moon - UN?...

Influential, they most certainly are, but all powerful? No no.

I'll come back to that but first let me explain why I've asked the question.

Last week I was in a pub in Ireland, involved in an interesting political debate with friends regarding certain leaders in EU countries who appear to be short-changing their voters. The imposition of austerity measures by some governments to get the economy on an even keel are causing unjust hardship to the most vulnerable in society; the elderly the poor and the sick. The real truth is that all of society suffers.

We were referring in particular to Portugal's leader, Pedro Passos Coelho;

Pedro Passos Coelho 

I went on to argue the case for Pedro who, despite having the right intentions and boundless integrity, is so politically impotent that he should be exonerated of all blame regarding the state of the Portuguese economy.

Pedro's impotence stems from the fact that he has to first accept the collective decisions of his cabinet ministers, then accept the directives from the European Union - Brussels -  to whom his country is eternally contracted (shackled) to, and Brussels in turn follows the path that they, along with the International Monetary Fund, have set in motion.

In democratic systems no single leader has total power. Be it good or bad, that is what the voters have chosen. Democracy.

Democracy is not perfect, it just happens to be the best and fairest political system ever devised.

Our debate ended when Claudia made this interesting observation;

"If Pedro is impotent how come he's fucking so many people?"

Fair point.

In answer to the original question of this post, the first non democratic leader that came to mind who'd probably fit the bill of most powerful, was Xi Jinping - the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China and...wait for it...Chairman

of the Central Military Commission of China.

But even Xi Jinping, despite his mighty powerful position, has to bow to a certain amount of pressure and consensus from the six Politburo Committee Chairmen that form his cabinet.

So, the title surely has to go the megalomaniac leader who wastes his country's very limited resources  on his lavish life-style and in building a nuclear arsenal - while half the population goes undernourished. The world's number one despot, who answers to no one but is capable of starting a world war, is...Kim Jong-un


The inappropriate anger we direct at leaders such as Obama, Cameron, Passos Coelho, Merkel and many others for their inability to carry out promises spewed out in attempts to get elected, should be put in perspective.

To all those who misdirect their anger at their leaders I say

'Like it or Lump it.'

The only alternative is to follow the example of the German people who, in 1933, democratically elected Hitler, the dictator who in turn became the biggest loser in history.

Is that an alternative worth considering? Or should we learn the lessons from history and avoid repeating the same mistakes?