ART AND FORGIVENESS

Many years ago I was trying to sort out my relationship with my father.  I was angry and resentful over the bullying and control I’d experienced as a child plus more manipulation by him when I was an adult. I was also trying to cope with his descent into alcoholism and feeling the bitterness of losing my father to the booze and the chaos which ensued. Although it’s a moot point whether I really had my father in my life anyway.

The First Steps of Forgiveness
The First Steps of Forgiveness

I created this painting in an effort to release some of the turmoil I was experiencing. I made the fatal mistake, however, of showing it to an artist who lived in the small country town as me, who made a disparaging comment: “Oh, yes, we’ve all done stuff like that at some time in our lives.”  As I was a beginner in the art stakes, I felt discouraged and put the painting aside. 

I did give it away in the end, when I was moving back to the UK, but luckily I kept a photo which I fished out recently. And today I re-visited this painting and re-worked it digitally to take the final steps in forgiveness and letting the past go to the past where it belongs.  These are the images which I produced through Photoshop (I’ve just come across a neat little tool called “Liquify” which is enormous fun and takes art into quite new dimensions – back to my second childhood!).

Shadow Dances
Shadow Dances

Interestingly, I’ve found that this process has occurred as I’ve been working with homeopathic medicine to effect a healing process which also involves release of old issues.

After creating this digital art, I’ve felt lighter and know that I’ve finally reached a position of forgiveness where I can leave the past where it belongs – in the past. A really great feeling and a shedding of a load on my shoulders, my heart and my soul.

Shadows & Light
Shadows & Light
Dances with Snake Energy
Dances with Snakes – Transformation
Phoenix Dancing - The Joy of Release
Phoenix Dancing – The Joy of Release

MORE DIGITAL ART

I’ve been absent for a few weeks due to a rather malevolent stomach bug which knocked me around something shocking.  I’m back in the real world now and taking it easy as my husband had the same bug at the New Year, not as badly as I had, but since it took him a long time to get well, I’m also not rushing things, as is my usual habit.

I certainly haven’t felt up to creating new artwork, but I’ve had great fun creating digital art with Photoshop, using photos I’ve taken of my own artwork, scenery and plants and flowers. Some I’ve already posted, but here’s a new lot I’ve been enjoying creating.

Flower Transformed
Flower Transformed
Psychadelic Mandala
Psychedelic Mandala – Red
Rose diffuse
Rose diffused
Rose diffused
Rose Illuminated

 

Purple Mandala
Psychedelic Mandala – Purple

THE FUTURE NOW

In my last post, I quoted a person who’d been in Gezi Park in Istanbul during the recent protests.  This is what she said:

“….The solidarity was incredible.  Never in my life have I seen such caring and supportive gestures among complete strangers.  This gives [me] hope that another world is possible”.

I’ve reprinted it in this post because when you look at the wave of protests in so many countries, you really can see that another world is taking shape and coming into being.

In Brazil and Turkey, just to take two examples, people came out onto the streets over a range of issues but in a way which shows that the old ways of doing governance have come under the spotlight and are being viewed as wanting in so many ways – corruption; nepotism; development before people’s interests; bloated projects like the World Cup and Olympics; lack of funding to alleviate poverty and improve transport, health,  education;  wages and working conditions.

In Turkey, Prime  Minister Erdogan has taken the old route to respond to protestors: talking of terrorism; outside interference; maligning social media, particularly Twitter; police brutality to suppress dissent; jailing of dissidents; pursuit of medical staff who volunteered to help wounded protestors.Truth in politics

Interestingly, Brazil’s female president has taken another route – one of concession, listening to protestors’ demands, minimising police suppression of demonstrations.  How far this is smoke and mirrors remains to be seen, but compromise has shown a face which is quite rare in popular uprisings.

In both countries, interestingly, the demonstrations haven’t been about overthrowing governments, uprisings, revolutions and so on. It’s been about people pouring out in their tens of thousands to say they don’t like a variety of developments in society, and without leaders or central demands. They like the underpinnings of society but not the direction in which governments and businesses are moving.

Pundits, in response, have been tearing their hair out! Where are the leaders? What are the people’s demands?  Why can’t they make their minds up?  Why don’t they just vote in the next election and stay quiet until then?

But of course, people aren’t fitting into neat little solutions any more.  Look at the billions squandered on stuff like the World Cup and Olympics.  Yes, it’s good to celebrate sport in its various forms but it’s now descended into “My Olympics are better than your Olympics” along with ridiculous amounts of money squandered on new, super-flashy venues – while the poor, the disempowered, the homeless are carefully shuffled out of the way as areas they previously inhabited are gentrified, prettified and scoured of any sign that the beautiful society isn’t quite so beautiful.

People are becoming their own leaders which is a quite dazzling prospect for the future of a far more healthy society.True leaders It means we’re growing up, really becoming adults here on earth – not giving our power to old-style institutions, old-style misleaders and so on, not trusting the mass media which in the final analysis only serves the interests of the super-wealth individuals and corporations.

We are becoming our own mother and father  – not looking for someone else to take responsibility for us, but taking on our own responsibility – challenging injustice instead of shrugging our shoulders; refusing to accept wasteful expenditure on grand projects while people go begging for decent housing, health and education services; not accepting the weasel words of politicians, head honchos, bureaucrats and so on.

Social media has seized the reins of power from the moribund institutions of the past and put power in the hands of the people.  No, there many not be any one leader because everyone’s a leader.  No, there may not be one central demand because people have a range of demands.

Yes, it’s riotous, chaotic, anarchic.  But it’s a burst of activity, activism, self-empowerment which isn’t going to go away because more and more people have the bit between their teeth and are feeling the job of a wild ride towards real freedom, real creativity, a really new society where everyone counts and where new ways of working in a society are welcomed, embraced, used, played with and validated.

I know it sounds idealistic, but without a vision of a better future rather than the one offered to so many at present of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, falling living standards, we are confined to little lives. And our lives need to be big, joyous, expansive, visionary – for a far better, grander future than the piss-poor one being offered by the current crop of yesterday’s sad old mis-leaders.

“RESPECT EXISTENCE OR EXPECT RESISTANCE” – Protest banner in Instanbul, Turkey

I had the rather surprising encounter with press censorship here in North Cyprus recently. We get two newspapers, The Cyprus Star, with headquarters in Turkey, and Cyprus Today which is published on this island.

When the protests erupted across Turkey recently, reading The Cyprus Star was like reading a press release from Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s office. It was surreal.  The Cyprus Today edition covered events in Turkey in far more detail, and with an independent viewpoint. 

It reminded me that press censorship exists in Turkey, however much Erdogan tries to present his nation as democratic, and Turkey has one of the highest rates of imprisonment of journalists in the world.Be Courageous

One of the reports in Cyprus Today read:

“At least several thousand people lived together for more than two weeks in  Gezi Park in central Istanbul, trying to protect the old trees from being cut down and protesting against the government project of changing the whole area into a huge  shopping mall.

Between police strikes they setup a well-organised commune with its own 5,000-volume library, online radio station, well-supplied kitchen and a medical point where volunteer doctors treated patients for free.

Thousands of Istanbulians kept on visiting the park daily, many bringing with them food, blankets, medical supplies and many other items needed by protestors to survive in the park.

There were older women, called “aunties” by protesters, helping out in the kitchen which, at its peak, would prepare meals for tens of thousands of people; volunteer street cleaners who in the professional lives were academics; and lots of students sitting in front of their tents, studying for forthcoming exams. 

There were Kurds, Kemalists, Alevis, Black Sea Turks, feminists, and gay and transgender people, all together in the park. They practised yoga, danced and sang, painted, created impromptu street theatre performances, gave lectures and took part in discussions…”

Another person who’d been at the Gezi park protest said:

“…..The solidarity was incredible.  Never in my life have I seen such caring and supportive gestures among complete strangers.  This gives [me] hope that another world is possible”.

I thought I’d reprint this here because media restrictions in Turkey are so strict, even though Erdogan is unable to control social media, much to his annoyance and anger, a sign of a real control freak. 

If you are able, please circulate this information so that people in Turkey who want respect, the right of free speech, the right of assembly and separation of public from private life can get their voice heard as widely as possible.

 

TURKEY – That old saying: “Absolute Power Corrupts”

I woke this morning on the north coast of North Cyprus, close to the port of Kyrenia, where I live, and looked across the Mediterranean towards the coast of Turkey on the horizon.  Most times you can’t see Turkey at all, but in the right atmospheric conditions the coastline suddenly appears like a mirage and in winter you can even see the snow on the Taurus Mountains.

The appearance of the Turkish coastline usually heralds a change in weather, usually for the worse. This morning all you could see was a murky haze of cloud and a murky layer of dust from the strong winds which have been blowing from the African continent this week.

It seemed pretty symbolic of the murky situation in Turkey this past week with demonstrations across many cities and large towns in the country.  I don’t want to pretend I know all the ins and outs of the current situation. That would be quite wrong.  But it’s been apparent for some time that Prime Minister Erdogan has been getting increasingly dictatorial and that there is anger and resentment at his high-handed actions and attitude.

Turkey was established as a secular state with particular respect for Islam by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923. He instituted cultural, social and economic reforms, with the independence of Turkey his priority.  Ataturk’s legacy, particularly the secular nature of Turkish society, has been of great importance to Turkish people and Ataturk himself is widely respected. Here in North Cyprus which has a very tolerant Islamic society, there are loads of photos and statues of Ataturk too because he basically laid the basis of Turkey today – modern, democratic and secular.

It’s Prime Minister Erdogan’s creeping Islamisation of this secular state which is getting people angry (Erdogan, by the way, is pronounced “Erdowan” as the “g” is silent). These include efforts to bring in the wearing of the veil for women; the declaration of ayram (a yoghurt-based drink) as the national drink instead of the well-known raki (an aniseed-flavoured alcoholic drink); urging women to have three children; trying to outlaw the morning-after pill; trying to make abortion more difficult; describing anyone who drinks alcohol as an alcoholic (Turkey has a very low alcohol consumption; pressure on Turkish Airlines to make uniforms more drab; objections to kissing in public; having too close a relationship with big business; interfering in the war in Syria and so causing the car bombing on Syrian soil; intimidating the press and jailing far too many reporters; cosying up too much to the US. And being overwhelmingly arrogant in his response to the demonstrations which have erupted aHeart & dollarscross Turkey.

Well, the last one sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?  Environmental activists initially occupied Gezi Park to protest at plans to replace one of the few green areas with a shopping mall.  Erdogan is close buddies with one of the developers. Actually – pause for thought – Erdogan is pretty close to a lot of big business in Turkey with economic development going gangbusters in the past decade or so.  When police responded with disproportionate force, you might say the cauldron of various resentments which had been simmering boiled over.

Of course, the Western media started its usual babblings of “Turkish Spring”, much as they’ve spruiked the “Arab Spring” and various revolutions such as “rose”, “yellow” and any other colour which sound trendy and smart.  Anyone remember these revolutions, by the way?  They’re like passing fads – ooooh, yes, let’s talk about the “Arab Spring”, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and so on, and then these places fade from the daily trumpetings of the commercial media panting onwards for fresh meat for its daily witterings.

So now we’ve got Syria as the revolution-du-jour, and Turkey as the next revolution cooking and perhaps hot off the barbeque. Well, the reality is that Erdogan is quite popular with a lot of the population whose lives have improved under the rule of his People’s Party. But his contempt for protests and calling protestors “bums” “marauders” and “looters” infuriated many who’d been resentful for Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism and were incensed at his arrogant response to the demonstrations. That, however, doesn’t mean that people are calling for the overthrow of the whole kit and caboodle.

Erdogan’s problem is the old one that besets rulers who’ve been in power for a long time, who don’t have a strong opposition and who surround themselves with “yes” men and women.  They lose touch with the people. To describe social media as “the worst menace to society”, as Erdogan has done, is to betray a fundamental disconnect with the people and their justifiable grievances, as well as their fury at the over-the-top response of security forces. Like others before him, Erdogan may well hang on to power for a while if he pursues some sort of dictatorship, as he’s hinted he’d like to do by turning Turkey into a presidency (with him as the President, of course) and downgrading parliamentary democracy, but sooner or later dictators or aspiring dictators come a cropper. Because people resist. And fight back. And rebel.

Which is what is happening in Turkey at present. But as I’ve just said, from what I’ve seen, it’s not a call to overthrow the system in Turkey.  The people demonstrating are calling for respect for the 50% who didn’t vote for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party.  They are calling for an end to the cronyism and the creeping Islamisation which is undermining the secular nature of Turkey. So where it will head is anybody’s business.

But ignoring the demonstrations or increasing repression will lead Erdogan right up the garden path to the sort of revolution in which his erstwhile pal in Syria, President Assad, is embroiled. Syrian media, by the way, had a grand old time gloating over developments in Turkey, trumpeting back to Erdogan his own words as  Syrian ministers have accused Turkey’s government of “terrorising” its people, and described the days of protests in Istanbul and beyond as a “real Spring”.

It might be easy to describe the Turkish protests as something out of the blue or a flash in the pan but they do tie in with developments across many nations – people fed up with corruption, the power of big business, nepotism, lack of real democracy, and so on.  I’ve mentioned before that Uranus in Aries (revolutions, uprisings, new beginnings, innovation) coupled with Pluto in Capricorn (exposure of dirty dealings in governments, big business, banks, plutocracies, etc) is tied in with all the unrest around the globe, not just in Turkey. But how the planets influence earthly happenings is a moot point – is it the chicken or the egg?  My own view is that it at least shows us how tied up we are with galactic energies and we aren’t just an isolated, super-species here on Earth, immune to outside influences.

The one thing you can say is that unrest, demonstrations, rebellions, uprisings, riots and so on are unpredictable.  So if anyone wants a safe, steady life in the next few years, it might be like pushing the proverbial uphill with a lolly stick.  Best to jump on the inflatable raft, grip the sides, fix on a grin, and hang on for the ride of your life!  Good luck!