Category: Arts

August 2nd, 2004 by Janine Andrews

The calling came as an ache in my heart, a space that could only be filled by Africa and her people. After training for three years in a rural Zulu homeland, I graduated in a three-day ceremony as an African traditional healer, one of the only white ‘sangomas’ to have graduated in Southern Africa.
In the years that followed, my love and understanding for the Zulu people deepened and in September of 2003 I found myself travelling to West Africa, to the heart of Zulu ancestry.
Gabon is off the West coast of equatorial Africa, and is one of the only countries left with pristine rain forest. There are plants here that are of particular interest to the African herbalist.
Tabernanthe iboga is a shrub native to Gabon and is considered sacred for its magical properties. Especially interesting to me were the Bwitti ceremonies associated with the consumption of iboga. These ceremonies are seldom performed outside of Gabon and are done in a strictly religious framework.
My intention was to locate an ancient tribe living in the very hilly forest region of Ngounie. This Mitshogho’pygmy’ tribe are the forefathers of Bwitti culture and live in dense forest near turbulent rivers, making it difficult to access.

The mist was thick when the little aircraft landed in Mouila, the last airport stop on the edge of the high forest. I felt very insignificant flying in over the large expanse of jungle and landing in the forest clearing. Read more of this article »

Posted in Gabon, Op-Ed

July 29th, 2004 by David Fry

Ibadan Sodowari was my friend. He was an Ijaw, a tribe that lives in the mangrove swamps of coastal Nigeria and Cameroon principally by fishing, but also by smuggling contraband.

Ibadan lived with his wife and numerous family in a small village amongst the mangroves a few miles downstream from N’dian. He sold his fish at the place where the red and black rivers meet. Mostly the fish were of modest size but sometimes they were enormous. Once, on the same day there were two gropas and a shinose all over forty pounds in weight.

Ibadan was tall and very handsome and as black as the ace of spades. Sometimes Ibadan would bring his fish to Mundimba House and he would stay a little while for a beer. Once he brought me a Night Heron, nycticorax, whom I named Lawrence. I don’t know why. Lawrence was an agreeable companion and he would pace with me up and down the verandah after dinner, during a period of solitude.

One had to watch Lawrence, however, as he would not hesitate to stick his extremely sharp beak into one’s ankle if nourishment was not forthcoming as fast as he desired. Later he must have felt the call of the wild, because he flew back to the swamps leaving me to wish that I had the sense and the wings to do the same. A night heron has enormous eyes, and makes his living paddling about the mangrove swamps in pitch darkness devouring various fishy morsels. Read more of this article »

Posted in Cameroon, Poetry

July 28th, 2004 by Leigh Banks

It was late evening and the Bay of Alcudia was still a cauldron.

The tourists were wilting visibly under the red sky. Americans dabbed at their faces with kerchiefs as they steered their Winnabebagos of bellies through the crowds. Germans were scrupulously clean in their long shorts and red faces – and the Brits, well they were just the Brits, low-slung Bermudas revealing tourist cleavage, sweat breaking out like grease on roasting pigs.

But what can you expect in such a popular part of Mallorca? It’s Marbella, Torremolinos and Blackpool all rolled into one … the perfect place for sun, sex and sangria.

Something happened though, late that evening, as the street vendors turned fake watches into gold, the restaurant barkers handed out flyers, hotels pulsated to the Chicken Song, and the English bar’s neon donner kebabs flashed above their doors.

I was down at the marina, where millionaires walk on water and the hoi polloi dream of getting off dry land. Read more of this article »

Posted in Fiction, Spain

July 14th, 2004 by James Shivers


Such, a,



paper, lost, black ink, scribbles, two, tow, towing



night, riding
above, riding, taking
there, light, horizon
ground, doting, dots
links, no links, light
to light, shapes night
rue, night

 city, dominion
lines, angles, angels
east, west, curving for
the Water
meeting, meet, the
stree, streets, movement
below, movement in,
movement above, landing
land, flat, flat, flat,
gone, one, on, e, yet,

Posted in Poetry, USA

July 14th, 2004 by Oana Tonca

There are too many
Graveyards inside me
By now,
And I’ve just stepped out
Of my mother’s
With the willing to live again and again
And I die again and again.
Haven’t I had enough
Deaths for one lifetime ?
I’m only asking one chance
To live during my life
And in the end just die
Without having to prepare
My tearless shaking of hand
And whispered “see you on the other side”…

Posted in Poetry, Romenia

July 14th, 2004 by Edik Hovsepyan

I always hoped that every falling of the addicts would have been considered as a genre unto itself, reminiscence of The Fall, as was written. “So he drove out the man; and he placed the salesmen at the east of the garden and the illusion of a sword which changed every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”

What if I am not afraid of heights?

All of us are afraid to lose what we have, whether it would be our tortured body or fettered soul. But our fears leave us when we understand that it is impossible to lose anything that never was yours. After this understanding we would rather waste, even without a token of regret, what is not ours. That is a main cause that allows us to solve a courting problem of the evil in life.

It is not a bad thought that the evil transcends the good as much as the absurd transcends the reality in life, because not everyone dares to refuse mixing the absurd with reality during his keen disappointment. Maybe so, but I do think that the absurd will start to fade at the crucial moment and reality can’t help us to stay sane on the one-way white road. Read more of this article »

Posted in Armenia, Poetry

July 5th, 2004 by Hilde Aardal

Vikings settled Iceland in the late 9th century, but the first geographical document describing the northern seas was written by an Irish monk named Dicull, early in the 9th century. He was the first man to locate the isolated island, which later became known as Iceland.

The Vikings came to Iceland because of internal struggles in Norway. King Harald ‘The Fair -haired’ drove his enemies and the former rulers of Norway all the way to the Scottish Isles. Many fled to Iceland, and some of the daring settled in Vik.

To visit Vik you have to take road number 1 from Reykjavik. There are many things to be seen on your way. The scenery of Volcanoes, water falls, rivers, glaciers and mountains will slow your journey, but eventually you will get here.

In one of the houses, you’ll find me. I wasn’t born in Vik. I wasn’t even born in Iceland. Faith brought me here. I met my boyfriend on the Internet and I now spend eight to nine months a year in Vik with him. Together, we have a dog, T√ɬ°ta. Her name means “Little Girl”. Read more of this article »

Posted in Iceland, Op-Ed

June 21st, 2004 by Ian McLachlan

I’m ever so still as I look at the room:
one mattress, stained and folded on the floor;
great stretches of vacant, unpapered wall-space;
a radiator I want to fit my hand round;
and an ashtray piled with cigarette butts –
a hunted creature’s squalid nest,
yellow newspaper spread round the mattress
as if for protection.

‘Well, what do you think?’ he asks me.
‘I don’t like your shaggy hair,’ I almost say,
‘and you stink of failure.’

No baby crying, which surprises me,
and a view on the street I can see myself looking at,
coffee mug in hand, rain soft on the window. Read more of this article »

Posted in Poetry, United Kingdom

June 14th, 2004 by John Dwyer

Camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Herat, Afghanistan, have been in existence since the mid-1990s. Because of the long drought that beset Afghanistan, IDPs were flocking to urban areas and it was for those IDPs that the camps were formed. Subsequently, victims of destruction caused by the chronic wars and those who had fled their villages because of ethnic tensions, arrived at the camps. All were poor and most were landless.

In 2002, I coordinated activities within three IDP camps. Our purpose was to enable the IDPs to have a stable and safe environment that provided them life’s basic provisions, while they awaited the time when they could return to their villages of origin.

Surveys were being conducted by international organizations in many of the IDPs villages of origin to determine what was needed to enable returnees to live both peacefully and decently. These surveys investigated the living conditions, security, water availability, land availability, food distribution and other important survival factors. The surveys were not fully completed when I left the camps. Returns, however, were taking place. Rain was falling in many areas, and crops were beginning to flourish again. Read more of this article »

Posted in Afghanistan, Op-Ed

June 7th, 2004 by Elisabeth Davies

This year, on 29 March 2004, an astonishing event took place in Ireland, that sea girt isle off the North West coast of Europe. A law came into effect, which banned smoking in public places. This law has such a wide definition that it even includes your own kitchen should you employ anyone there.

But what is truly amazing is that pubs and bars are included in the legislation. Everybody knows that for centuries these have been the fulcrum and focus of social life in Ireland. From the warp and weft of conversation, story telling, myth and just common gossip that take place in Irish pubs, a vibrant literature has emerged for which Ireland is so justly famous. So just what is the government up to?

Even though Ireland has a stunningly beautiful landscape, it has inspired all too few world-class artists. The irregular hedged and stone walled green fields; the yellow gorse and brown bogs with twinkling lakes and waterways; worn down mountain ranges, glowing with purple heather in the changing light as the clouds scurry across the over arching sky; the shyly placed, moss covered Celtic cross, peeping out from among some ancient ruins… all these mouth-watering sights, which enchant the visitor to Ireland, have been little used by painters as muse and inspiration. Read more of this article »

Posted in Ireland, Op-Ed