ZEPHANIAH SPEAKS

Tai Chi with the Bees

Yes, I’m back. And it’s strange being back. I just logged on to my twitter account for the first time in 5 months and found hundreds of messages. I don’t know why, because I never respond to messages there (as you all know), but it’s interesting to read all the things that have happened while I was away.

I’ve spent the summer in China where I had a great time seeing friends, dancing, and doing gigs in Mongolia, Beijing and Shanghai, but most of all training and mediating in Chen Jia Gou. For those of you that don’t know, Chen Jia Gou is a small village in Henan (central China) that is the birthplace of Tai Chi. It’s a very difficult place to get to, life is very basic there, but my teacher is there, so I love going there. Whilst there all I do is Tai Chi, morning, noon, and night, everyday. And I do it with some of the greatest Tai Chi players in the world. I recommend you go if you have an interest in this great martial art – meditation practice. There is very little else to do in Chen Jia Gou. Phones don’t work well, Internet doesn’t work well, so I just do without and concentrate on my practice. I always leave there feeling very ‘peaceful’ and at one with the world, and myself, but there’s always something that brings me right back down to earth.

I left Chen Jia Gou and went to a city called Zhengzhou, where I turned a television on to be greeted with the horrific bombing of Gaza. Gaza is a place I know well and within minutes I was seeing bombed out streets and buildings that I recognised. For the next few days this was all I was seeing on TV, and for the first time in my life I just couldn’t bare it. After seeing pictures of people, mainly children, who had been told to go to a place of safety, only for that ‘place of safety’ to be bombed, I had to stop watching the reports. It was too brutal, and I just found there was nothing new to learn. I could predict the excuses that Israel was giving for the bombing, I knew that Hamas would respond by pointing out that they are living in a prison under occupation, and I knew all the excuses that the USA would use as they turn a blind eye to Israeli violation of international laws. It was all so predictable, and I just couldn’t take it any more.

So now I’m back and the two things on my mind are the work I have to do with my new students, and the release of my new novel Terror Kid. I will be going to various venues around the country talking about this new book, don’t ask me where because there are too many for me to remember. I’m not going to stop and research myself but if you really want to know if I’m in your area do your own research. Off the top of my head I do know I’ll be in Ealing, Birmingham, Newham (East London), Suffolk, Wimbledon, Cheltenham and Chester. There is others but it’s late, and I can’t think of them now. Come along if you’re up for it, and bring me some chocolate if you want to make me really happy It’s been slow, but I’m still working on my next album, just a few touches to do. I find it difficult to find time to get in the recording studio. And I must say I’m very proud of a little film I presented call ‘Making your Past Pay’. It’s all about how you can help yourself to find work after you come out of prison. http://vimeo.com/105214823

At the moment I’m reading Assata, An Autobiography. You must check out her story, or better still read this book and get her own words. Assata Shakur is the godmother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur and was a member of the Black Liberation Army, and the Black Panther party in the US of A. She escaped from Prison in 1979 and has lived in Cuba ever since. She was at one time the most wanted woman in the USA and recently it was announced that she is the first woman on the USA’s list of most wanted terrorist. This is stuff you can find on google or elsewhere, but what makes this book such a good read is reading her side of the story, and more importantly reading her personal journey. Understanding how deep the racism was in the states, and understand how ordinary people were affected so much that that organised and defended themselves. As a kid she was a hero of mine, along with Angela Davis. These were fearless, powerful women, who had an absolute sense of purpose.

This is not a review, I’m simply telling you that you have to read this book. It’s personal, it’s political, and it’s honest. #Assata

I see the rabbits every now and again, but they have grown big now and it seems they don’t need the safety of my garden anymore. They’re a lot more independent, which is good. They were never my pets. The thing on my mind now is bees and butterflies. They are disappearing, and we need more of them. So I have created a patch of my garden that I have left to grow wild, and I’ve planted some plants that will attract butterflies and bees. You might think it’s not that important, but let me tell you, I have seen places in China where there are no bees, so now thousands of people have to go out into the fields and pollinate plants and crops by hand. Not good.

I know. I’m rambling, but I must stress (again) this is not really a blog, I’m not a blogger. This is a rant.

Long live Palestine.

Long live the butterflies.

Long live the bees.

 

Peace you all.

 

Benjamin Zephaniah

 

 

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