Post-Colonialism: Four Visual Reports

REPORT NUMBER  ONE: “Let me out! I can’t breathe,  let me out!”


REPORT NUMBER TWO :” Um, sorry, can’t talk now.”


REPORT NUMBER THREE:“All these trade deals blocking my vision!”



      REPORT  NUMBER  FOUR:  “Huh? Oh, we’re cool.        Everything’s cool. Must have been a false alarm”         

   T   B Y  C L A I R E   O’ B R I E



Two Childhoods and the Great Depression: “Hunger doesn’t Build Character.”

Eléctrica in the Desert

 Janet Smith and Don Kirby / Claire O’Brien 2013
 The last Americans who were caught where the Great Depression met the Dust Bowl will be gone in another decade or so,  taking their singular and historic childhoods with them. The memories of children always have a distinctive and revealing slant, and draw me like a magnet. So I felt lucky when two old friends invited a stranger to pull up a chair as they settled in to compare Depression experiences at the plucky Sierra County Senior Center in southern New Mexico.
Tuning out the instructive voice of a Tai Chi teacher and the routine clack of a swift game of 9-Ball,  Don Kirby and Janet Smith quickly zeroed in on the kinds of shared memories that take root in human bone, such as prolonged periods of hunger over several years,  and the shock of discovering adult powerlessness. But they eventually agreed that the Depression had done no real damage to Kirby, while impacting Smith’s life in long-term, often profound ways. What made all the difference, the two told me, was…

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Bercian’s Rooster Flew

Eléctrica in the Desert

  •   F   R   E   D   E   R   I   C   O


Continued in English just below

Hey Bercian! ¿Estás en tu casa? ¿Hola? It’s Clara. Sólo vine a darle un regalo espléndido: un grande gallo llamado Frederico. Me siguió hasta aquí desde Nuevo México.

Mi abuela y yo estábamos de gira con una banda llamado América Turístico, pero fue despedido por tratar de iniciar una revuelta en Cleveland. Además, somos demasiado perezosos para mover equipo pesado.
Este país es una mierda.

¡Oh no, Frederico ha volado! Ahora que lo pienso, dónde está mi abuela? No estés triste, Bercian. Un pollo guapo y noble como Frederico  es amado de de su rebaño. Debería haber sabido iba a regresar a ellos.
Te voy a enviar otro espléndido regalo – un pájaro carpintero gigante desde el Río Grande! De acuerdo a mi abuela, ellos aman para nadar!


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22 photos géniales qui nous ont fortement impressionnés

Enterprising Cubans are training replacements  ( pictured above) to serve on the nation’s local chapters of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution.  Government complaints that the new comrades are overly conscientious have been greeted with national hilarity.   President Raul Castro recently announced that he is sending the one hundred top new Defenders to the U.S in a historic gesture of goodwill to Cuba’s thousands of Miami Relatives. Miami has reportedly asked the CIA how many small planes and automatic weapons it will trade in exchange for 100 highly trained communists.

The Cuban public was not impressed.

“Big deal,” said  several of the  23 doctors who happened to stroll by during Electrica’s fifteen minute  man-in-the-street interview in downtown Havana. “Cuba is full of highly trained communists. ”

The remaining 20 physicians either snorted or laughed, as did the 47 world class musicians,  32 internationally famous dancers, 12 poets, 83 artists, seven engineers, 15 craftsmen, six cigar makers,  several rum experts, ten winning Olympic athletes and a small crowd of laughing Rastafarians.

Also, an old man selling bananas illegally from a wheelbarrow

“We know there will be changes in Cuba’s future “, pronounced a popular and handsome orchestra leader, who sat on the front steps of a crumbling old mansion divided into fourteen tiny apartments.  He laughed loudly and added, ” But anyone who shows up from Miami whining about getting his grandfather’s land  back will be immediately shipped to North Korea.”

Leonardo Oña / Havana Times


Havana Times photo

Meanwhile,  Raul has strictly prohibited all canine members of the Committee  for the Defense of the Revolution from sniffing any Party member in public.

“It’s times like this that the president  misses his brother most,” confided Venezuelan leader Nicholas Madura, as he arrived in Havana to lend his support to Raul. The Cuban president greeted  the former bus driver abrubtly, as Madero  stumbled over several of the CIA agents who had been underfoot throughout Venezuela for at least six or seven years.  Castro aimed a swift, well-placed kick at a senior agent as he stamped out of Jose Marti airport, followed by his presidential comrade, who had faced down  American intelligence to be democratically elected.   Castro had just snubbed Vladimir Putin’s offer to poison six rude Cuban bloggers and was in no mood for Russian or American mobsters, frivolous dissent, or ambitious dogs , regardless of breed.  Well, as Fidel had famously said, a revolution is no bed of roses.

Castro stopped, turned to face a crowd of Granma reporters and addressed the nation.

“Be  like  Che!”   he ordered, “Now, sit!”

Hundreds of good dogs immediately sat.

No further word from Havana at press time.




Thank-you to Paul Siemering for sending me the great photo of the Committee in Defense of the Revolution that appears at the top of this post.








What remains in place: memory and truth in a broken land

Eléctrica in the Desert

O N C E   A N   E M P I R E  / C. O’B R I E N  2010
 . Most people don’t consider the Oklahoma Panhandle the scenic route. I guess it’s not exactly pretty, but I have found it to be very beautiful . The first time  I had a full view of the horizon, I gasped, stopped  my car, and practically fell out.  Finally, the world was properly proportioned! It allowed human beings to be as small as we actually are, and the sky to be as far away as it’s supposed to be. Somehow,  I already knew the trees, each bent by years of wind, small clusters of twisted black branches defining the landscape all  the way to the edge of the earth. Wherever a solitary tree appeared, the landscape gathered around it in a gesture that made the tree more powerful than a forest.

I’m never lost within that distance; rather, I am precisely located.

Almost every cluster of trees on the…

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Avista saves town from fascist Turks with suicide Attack on Tank: No Pasaran


The Free

‘Avista Khaboor’ was killed today in a suicide attack to prevent the invading Turkish army  and their jihadi mercenaries from taking the town of Hammam.

Avista died in her attack which stopped a Turkish tank that led the advance into the town in the district of Jindires.

20-year-old  Avista from the YPJ, the Womens Self Defense Forces was originally from the town of Bilia, in the Bilbil district of the corner of Efrîn. She had joined the self-defense forces in 2014.

Following her action the Turkish forces withdrew from Hammam.

Zluk Hamo ‘Avista Khaboor’

 in Kurdi ….Şervana YPJ’ê Avesta Xabûr li dijî dagirkeran çalakiya fedayî kir

28 Çile 2018 | EFRÎN – Şervana YPJ′ê Avêsta Xabûr li Efrînê çalakiyeke fedayî kir, tankeke Artêşa Tirk a dagirker rûxand û tevlî karwanên şehîdan bû. Şevê din li gundê Hemamê yê girêdayî herêma Cindirêsê şerekî dijwar di navbera şervanên QSD′ê û…

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Image result for anti Walmart Irish Tshirts


Thousands Are Sailing  (excerpt)

BY  T H E  P O U G E S

In Manhattan’s desert twilight
In the death of afternoon
We stepped hand in hand on Broadway
Like the first men on the moon.

And “The Blackbird” broke the silence
As you whistled it so sweet.
And in Brendan Behan’s footsteps
I danced up and down the street.

Thousands are sailing
Across the Western Ocean
Where the hand of opportunity
Draws tickets in a lottery.

That some of them will never see.

Their bellies full, their spirits free
They’ll break the chains of poverty
And they’ll dance.

Wherever we go, we celebrate

The land that makes us refugees.

From fear of priests with empty plates
From guilt and weeping effigies

Now we dance to the music
And we dance.


Image result for anti Walmart Irish Tshirts

Image result for Anti-Irish imagesLONDON,  1966

Image result for Anti-Irish images
                                                        UNITED   STATES,  1881
Image result for Anti-Irish images

                                                                            ENGLAND, 1980s


IRISH  WAYS   (excerpt)

By John Gibbs

Cromwell and his soldiers came,
Started centuries of shame,
But they could not make us turn,
We are a river flowing,

800 years we have been down,
The secret of the water sound
Has kept the spirit of a man
Above the pain descending,

Today the struggle carries on,
I wonder will I live so long
To see the gates been opened up
To a people and their freedom,
To a people and their freedom.

The Irish Revolution And Native America


Éamon de Valera, President of the Irish Republic, made an honorary chief of the Ojibwe-Chippewa people, 1919 Éamon de Valera, President of the Irish Republic, made an honorary chief of the Ojibwe-Chippewa people, 1919

In June of 1919 Éamon de Valera, the American-born president of Ireland’s revolutionary government, was smuggled out of his war-torn homeland and onto an ocean liner for a long voyage to the United States where he was to launch a whirlwind, coast-to-coast tour that brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets of several major cities. The Irish political leader, who just months earlier had escaped from a jail in Britain, led rallies in New York (where he was born in 1882), addressed congressmen, governors and state legislators, and raised millions of dollars for the embattled Irish Republic, Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army. Despite the reluctance of an isolationist White House to interfere in British imperial affairs, and the outright opposition of the anglophile State Department, de Valera’s mission succeeded in bringing further international pressure to…

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Beautiful, beautiful women: Yusor Abu-Salha and her teacher

Eléctrica in the Desert

A picture of the slain Yusor Abu-Salha with her former teacher.
Yusor Abu-Salha (right) with her  teacher in the StoryCorps Booth. Yusor was shot to death in February 2015 in a hate crime in Durham, North Carolina / Photo Credit: StoryCorps



Yes, I remember it,
the day I’ll die, I broadcast the crimson,
so long ago of that sky, its spread air,
its rushing dyes, and a piece of earth
bleeding, apart from the shore, as we went.
On the day I’ll die, past the guards, and he,
keeper of the world’s last saffron, rowed me
on an island the size of a grave. On
two yards he rowed me into the sunset,
past all pain. On everyone’s lips was news
of my death but only that beloved couplet,
broken, on his:

“If there is a paradise on earth
It is this, it is this, it is this.”


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