Independant left-wing media institution Zcommunications have a spiffy new site featuring writers such as Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, George Monbiot, Howard Zinn etc…
…one of the great newspapers of the internet, print, and video. You get more in one visit than hours of thumbing through voluminous newspaper voices of rapacious power. The range of good journalism, writing and scholarship on ZCom is astonishing: from the pen of the well-known to eyewitness reporting of ‘citizen journalists’. John Pilger
When Udo visited the other day, he updated me on the level of progress made at the Intyatyambo community project. If you don’t remember, Intyatyambo is a South African community project for disadvantaged kids and Udo has volunteered his services as a builder, handy-man and fundraiser. Since becoming involved he has helped raise ￥4 million which has already been spent on fulfilling the children’s basic needs (food and clothing) and on buying three professionally converted shipping containers with a clean bathroom, hygienic playrooms and bedrooms to replace the tin shack that they spent their days in before. However, they are still very far from their goal of raising enough funds to build a new care centre. Here’s a short video about the people behind the project:
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Learn more at the Intyatyambo website and keep up-to-date at the Intyatyambo Blog.
Crisis in Kenya
And here’s a message from avaaz.org on the current crisis in Kenya:
It’s the New Year – but for the people of Kenya, a rigged election threatens genocide. There’s something we can do to help before it’s too late, so I thought you might be interested —
Last week, Kenya held a national election marred by vote-tampering. President Mwai Kibaki has claimed victory after pressuring the electoral commissioner and the challenger Raila Odinga has called for protests. Violence has broken out across the country, with gangs of machete-wielding youth terrorizing the population leaving hundreds dead. Suddenly, this hopeful country could be sliding toward genocide.
We mustn’t sit back and watch this nightmarish scenario unfold — but we need to act fast. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has flown into Nairobi, joining the African Union in an effort to broker a power-sharing agreement and review the election results. If talks are to succeed, governments around the world must avoid prematurely recognizing a fraudulently elected leadership and locking in their power. That’s where we come in.
You can click the following link below to send a note to the government, asking them to withhold recognition of a new Kenyan president until agreement is brokered and the election results are independently reviewed:
It’s too early to tell how far the situation in Kenya could deteriorate — but we just can’t afford to wait and find out.
There’s a fresh review up on Deep Kyoto tonight of my very very 一番好きな favoritest bar in the whole wide world: Small Town Talk. There’s a very high possibility that it will close before the end of the year so enjoy it while you can.
Here’s a short reminder from Mario Alfonso about next week’s event in Tokyo:
Just a reminder that there’s less than a week left until the charity event at What the Dickens next Tuesday the 13th of November! If it’s not on your schedule already, don’t forget to include it!
Everyone who goes will be helping out more than they can imagine. For just the 2000 yen entry fee, a person will be able to feed 40 children for a whole day. Forty people for the price of two Tokyo lunches!
And don’t forget the chance to win an i-pod and some other cool prizes in the raffle. Factor in three great bands, one over from England on a promotional tour, and it all adds up to a great night for a great cause.
And don’t forget to tell your friends, family and co-workers about it too. We’re expecting numbers in the hundreds from all over Tokyo!
See you there!!
And here’s a really interesting (and funtertaining) speech I found on BoingBoing the other night by Larry Lessig on how our culture’s creativity (and recreativity) is being shackled by current copyright laws and how the internet shall set us free! Watch out for the video remixes towards the end. Pretty damn funny stuff.
Ack! I tried embedding it and it messed up the page. Click on this instead: LINK.
Mario sent me this info on an Intyatyambo event he and some other ex-Lado people have organized up in Tokyo. Looks like it will be a fun night in a good cause so if you are up in Tokyo at the time check it out. Unfortunately I can’t make it myself. I got that work thing going on…
Here’s the details from Mario （下に日本語の説明も書いてあります）:
This email is an invitation for all to come out to
What the Dickens on Tuesday, November 13th for a
charity concert to raise money for AIDS orphans in
Intyatyambo Community Project (ICP), a registered NPO
in Cape Town, South Africa, is an orphanage for
children whose parents are dying or have died of AIDS.
Tokyo’s own Udo Bartsch, who is currently living in
Cape Town, is volunteering his time and money at the
moment to create a better living environment for these
unfortunate children. Check out their website:
Door opens a 19:00.
Entrance fee is 2,000 yen, all of which will go to
There will be a band over from England, Ernest, which
will be donating its time and talent to help raise
money and awareness. Check out their website:
There will also be other bands and live acts, as well
as a raffle where you could win an i-pod or other cool
Tell your friends. Tell your family. The more people
who come, the more money raised, the better the
children’s life can be.
As Winston Churchill once said: There is no finer
investment for any community than putting milk into
Please email this invitation to as many people as you
know. And then ask them to do the same!
Any questions, comments or concerns, please contact
Mario Leto, Paul Church, Daniel Moran or Eiko Nonaka
at the email addresses at the bottom of this email.
There’s a fresh review with video of Long Island Cafe up on Deep Kyoto today.
Also, Ueno-san the master of Tsurugi and Reiko the proprieter of Long Island Cafe have both kindly agreed to let me leave Intyatyambo collection boxes on their premises. Here they are showing their support.
I’ve got quite a backlog of reviews still to do with all the pictures taken, but the words as yet still in my head… Tonight I’ll be going to The Weller’s Club for the first time to see a bunch of friends do their thang. Yoshida-kun, Masuda and Nana-chan will all be spinning discs and Viva Sherry will also be performing. I guess I’ll be putting that on Deep Kyoto soon too… And now I’d better get on with some marking. Got heaps of it. Got heaps of bad English coming out my ears.
Having volunteered my services as “fundraising coordinator” for Intyatyambo in Kyoto, I now find myself in the tricky position of having to actually raise some cash. Well, I don’t much fancy standing on a street corner shaking a box and shouting at passersby so I thought I might ask some of the restaraunts and bars I frequent if they wouldn’t mind having a collection box on the premises. And the first two boxes are out! Last night I left one in Small Town Talk (Kageyama-san was reluctant but said he’d do it because I was his friend – how nice!) and one today here in Little Bamboo:
In the coming weeks I plan to put a few more out, but I doubt that alone will be enough. To build that new orphanage we do need to raise approximately ￥８, 500,000 after all. Just look again at all those zeros. I’m going to have to think up (and organize) some kind of event… or events even. Any practical suggestions would be welcome. Oh and money – money would be welcome too. Contact me if by some miracle you’d like to donate and I can send you the bank details…
I’m off to Small Town Talk again tonight for beers and a bit of a dance . It’s Yoshida-san’s birthday and we are having a DJ event to celebrate. I expect I’ll be posting some pictures of that – oh and I should be telling you something about my new “Deep Kyoto” project. Bet you can’t wait!
The Intyatyambo website is up! Check it out here: Intyatyambo
Kageyama-san suggested taking the Katou sisters out for lunch yesterday, so we did. Here are the self-styled “Soul 兄弟”.
And the Katou sisters. Other than my own, I don’t think I’ve met a nicer bunch of sisters. Look how nice they look.
After which we had a pleasant stroll round Shokokuji (here’s an elephant):
And of course no day is complete without Karaoke. We even persuaded Kageyama to sing one of his (in)famous Queen renditions.
Now in between teaching English, deciphering classical Japanese poetry, carousing and hanging out with the Katou sisters (who have now sadly gone back to Tokyo) I’ve been reading this:
What is the What is a novel by David Eggers, written in the style of an autobiography and based on the true account of Valentino Achak Deng of his life as a refugee in the Sudanese civil war. Here’s a brief synopsis:
Back in the 1980s, thousands of child refugees were displaced from their homes and wandered hither-and-thither in search of security, all the while in danger of attack by big scary animals and even scarier people… They went first to Ethiopia and then when war broke out there too, to Kenya where many of them were settled in a refugee camp for at least a decade. Finally, about 4000 of these “Lost Boys” were resettled in the USA where they dreamed they would find work, get an education and save enough money to help their families and friends back in Africa. But even then, the challenges they faced were immense….
This is a wonderful book. If you read it you will be amazed by the spiritual strength of the Sudanese refugees, who suffer terribly from hunger, disease, war and atrocity upon atrocity only to keep struggling, to keep walking, to keep offering each other the hand of kindness. Valentino Achak Deng himself comes across as such a likeable guy that by the end of the book I felt kind of lonely… So sad to say goodbye. Yes, a wonderful, if heartbreaking book. Heartbreaking beyond belief in fact. Read it yourself and see. I definitely recommend it. Oh and money raised from sales will go to help Sudanese refugees in both Africa and America. Only available in hard-back now though. But dead good. Go on, buy it.
Now from another corner of the African continent, Udo Bartsch has sent me some pictures of the kids he’s trying to build an orphanage for. I wrote about this before but so far only one person has voiced any interest, and that was Val Chew, (Malaysia’s own answer to Mother Theresa – only better looking… and alive). So maybe these pictures of cute chislings will stir some sympathy in your cold cold stony hearts. As I said before, you can email me if you want to contribute some money, and I can send you the bank account details, or you can email Udo directly here: firstname.lastname@example.orgAnd remember, these children have no other place to go, some have been abused, even raped and they don’t always have enough to eat either. No children should suffer so much and I’m going to keep hammering on about it till you cough up some loot!
In the aftermath of Lado Japan’s sad demise, there has been a flurry of contact between former Lado teachers and staff, and I’m pleased to say Udo Bartsch in Cape Town has also been in touch with the wonderful news that he and Humi finally got hitched last January. (Congratulations to you both!) Not only that but he has recently gotten involved in something very important. In his own words:
I want to tell you an exciting story about some little people that I’ve met who got a really really raw deal. I have just (last Wednesday) become uncle to about 40 of the cutest, wide eyed little kids with snot and other things running down their faces etc. What a rush! I got involved in an NPO (Non Profit Organisation) , called Intyatyambo. It’s a registered and fully above board NPO. “Intyatyambo” means “flowers” in Xhosa, the main language in the area. It’s an orphanage run by a truly amazing woman, Lindiwe, and about six other wonderful women who take care of the kids, aged 18 months to 6 years old. They’re basd in a run down shack in one of the
largest townships outside Cape Town, called Khayalitsha. 8 of the kids are HIV positive. Some of them were found abadoned under bushes, some have been badly abused (including rape). Others have parents who drop them off in the mornings, but they can’t afford a private facility for their kids. They are not government funded and need about R960 (Y18000) per week to feed all the kiddies. They don’t always raise the required amount and then the kids fast for a while. Very healthy!
My involvemnt since Wednesday:
I’ve commited some of my time in the future and my building skills to train some, as yet, unskilled and unemployed men and women in the area to become builders. Their first project will be to build our orphanage. Free.
I’m also trying get sponsors. I called the brick company where I did my brick laying course. They offered to do the training (Phew! Got out of that one) and supply all
the bricks for the new orphanage, which is going to be kickass! Free.
An architect has agreed to draw up the plans and walk them through until approved by the CT Municipality. Free.
My favourite internet cafe just down the road is designing the website which will be up and running very soon and in several languages, including Japanese. Free.
We’re looking around for two adjacent plots in the area, to buy. Not Free.
… Interested? Want to help? Here’s how:
Next time you go out on an Izakaya and Karaoke ( I can’t tell you how much I miss that) or club night, I want you to keep track of how much you spend. Then put the same amount in your other pocket. Then send it to Intyatyambo. We need to buy the plots asap and get the ball rolling.
Short term target : R60000 (Y1200000 – one point two mil Yen)to buy the plots, get some warm clothes and blankets, fill up the food kitty and other things.
We want to take in more kids – up to 150. There is an endless supply of abandoned and abused innocents here.
I need one individual to coordinate fund raising in Tokyo and send the funds when some has accumulated. This will require a few hours a week at most.
Most of all, we need exposure. So if this interests you, please talk about it. Ultimately we want corporate sponsors to cover food for the kids and a basic salary for the women on a permanent basis.
If we raise more than we need, we will donate the excess to similar NPOs and help them with what we’ve learned along the way.
Think about it please.
OK. So, if anyone wants to make a donation email me here: email@example.com
and I will send you the necessary bank details. And I’ll probably be posting more information about Intyatyambo later on, as I learn more about it from Udo.
Here’s a song from South African band Mafikizolo, a tribute to band member Tebogo Benedict Madingoane who was shot and killed in 2004. Even in the midst of pain and grief we can still make something beautiful. Enjoy!
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