Riversmeet will be publishing my new book, My World Café. Here is
their first blog about it.
It is a stew of food stories, memories and recipes from around the world, ranging from popcorn to borscht, apple strudel to burritos, baklava to teriyaki. Each chapter includes a brief history of the food, a personal memory and a recipe. I am delighted that it is a collaboration with the artist, Laura Davis, who will be illustrating the book.
Here is an excerpt from the chapter on “Strozzapretti”:
Originating in Perugia, strozzapreti is hand-rolled pasta which roughly translates as ‘priest-strangler’. One explanation is that gluttonous priests so loved the pasta that they ate it too quickly and choked themselves. Another explanation is that women offered the pasta to churchmen as payment for land rents. Their husbands were so angered by venal priests eating their wives’ food that they wished the priests would choke on it. The most likely reason to me is that it was common practice for priests to visit parishioners’ homes after Sunday Mass and when the hosts tired of his visit, they would serve this ‘rough’ pasta to let him know that he had overstayed his welcome.
My World Café is my second book. Left Field: The Memoir of a Lifelong Activistwas published by Unbound in 2016. “David has lived a life and a half. The broken world needed people like David; it still does.” —Sir Tom Stoppard “This is an excellent and inspiring book. David is an adventurer and a freethinker, who did something truly useful with his life.” —Brian Eno
"Riversmeet focuses on high quality writing, performance and teaching which engages with contemporary issues by linking the past to the present."
Eighty years ago 1.2 million Jewish people were murdered by Nazis and their collaborators in Ukraine. Ukrainians, such as the infamous Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, were among the most notorious guards at Auschwitz and at other Nazi death camps.
The most notorious massacre of Jews was at the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev where more than 33,000 Jews were killed in a single operation on 29–30 September 1941. Many thousands of Romamet a similar fate.
The dead died, but the ideology that brought that about lived on, festering in the living earth above their corpses and ashes, waiting fortheopportunity foraresurgence. That opportunity is now.
In 2014, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi militia called Azov Battalion was formed to combat Russian separatism. It was incorporated into the national guard, and is today an official part of the Ukrainian military. Azov members wear uniformscarryingthe neo-Nazi Wolfsangel symbol, which resembles a black swastika on a yellow background.Thephotoabove isofAzov commander, Major Denis Prokopenk, saluting the Wolfsangel.
Volunteers have arrived in Ukraine to join them, a perverse echo of the International Brigades at the time of the Spanish Civil War. American, Canadian and European neo-Nazis have travelled to Ukraine to fight. Welcoming them Azov’s political leader,Andriy Biletsky,stated that, “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival.”
In recent days reports have appeared of Azov soldiers preventing people from leaving cities, and of Roma and LBGT people being tied to lampposts and smeared in paint.
Meanwhile the Ukrainian government has outlawed Leftist parties.
OK I am asked what would you do if you were in Ukraine?
Thirty years ago I was in Sarajevo, a city under siege. I was there in solidarity with the people of that city. The city's fighters were not on the frontline for PresidentAlija Izetbegovićor his political party. They were certainly not there risking and losing their lives to enrich the President’sfamily and otherlocal oligarchs. They were there to defend their homes and families. And they were certainly not saluting any flags.
Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy has suspended eleven opposition parties, using the same ratonale Putin invokes – they’re subversive with ties to our foreign enemies.
They are mostly left-wing or representing the 30% of Russian-speaking Ukrainians. The largest one, Opposition Platform, aren't a small party - they polled around 10% at the last free election.
After an earlier ban on three TV stations the head of the Ukrainian Union of Journalists, Nikolay Tomilenko said , “The deprivation of access to Ukrainian media for an audience of millions without a court order is an attack on freedom of expression.”
We hear a lot about Russian oligarchs, but very little about Ukraine’s, one of whom is Zelenskyy himself. With houses in London and Washington he has funnelled his $millions through the British Virgin Islands. Whichever way this war goes he’ll be OK. Here is an article from The Guardian.
The President ended his speech banning the parties with these words. “Glory to all our heroes”. These ‘heroes’ include actual Nazis who have become a part of state institutions, particularly in the military.
A friend recently said they were fed up with hearing about these Nazis. Me too. We need an oligarch and Nazi-free world before it’s too late. This is why
you rapper Lowkey for alerting me to this information about The
President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy. Former
actor and comedian. he has rapidly taken on ‘pin-up’ status in
the media as he leads his country’s opposition to the Russian
now seems he might never have gven up his acting career as The
Pandora papers suggest Zelenskyy may not be the “People’s
saviour” after all, but has a career somewhat similar to that of
the Russian President.
Pandora documents suggest he had – or has – a previously
undisclosed stake in an offshore company, which he appears to have
secretly transferred to a friend weeks before winning the
presidential vote. According to its findings, two of the offshore
companies belonging to Zelenskyy’s partners were used to buy three
lavish properties in central London.
said his goal as President
was to destroy “the traditional oligarchic order” and to replace
it with a “fairer system”. His
has embraced the same shadowy ways as his predecessors.
involve a bloody struggle with a foreign enemy. But the real enemy is
war itself and those who benefit from the bloody affair. They are often closer to home than we are told.
kids can see that and have acted on their knowledge and wisdom.
Solidarity with the people of Ukraine who are in immediate danger.
writer Paolo Nori was informed by the University of Milano-Bicocca of
their decision to postpone his course on Dostoevsky following Russia's invasion of
Ukraine. "Dear Professor, the Vice Rector for Didactics has
informed me of a decision taken with the Rector to postpone the
course on Dostoevsky … This is to avoid any controversy, especially
internally, during a time of strong tensions."
commented, "Not only is being a living Russian wrong in Italy
today, but also being a dead Russian, who was arrested in 1849 for
belonging to a literary group that discussed banned books and spent
four years in a Siberian prison camp.”
the UK, Manchester’s Centre for International Contemporary Art,
Theatre and Film states that “we are in discussions” about
removing a statue of Engels in solidarity with Ukraine. It is unclear
how toppling the statue of a German philosopher who died in 1895 (22
years before the Russian Revolution) can soothe the wounds of
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
may take satisfaction at the seizure of Russian yachts following the
aggression against Ukraine, but might remain puzzled that this has
never happened to American yachts following multple US aggressions.
absurdity of this unbalanced Russophobia is par for the course for
those of us who have to take cover from the logic applied to
opponents of wars. Just look at the silencing of the few remaining
socialist MPs when told they must not be aligned with Stop the War
Coalition because it is anti-NATO. The fear we have when criticising
Israel’s occupation of Palestine for fear of being accused of
now the situation is dangerous for Ukrainian lives and for the future
peace of the world. We must emerge fron our mental bunkers and take
to the streets – against Putin’s war and against NATO’s wars -
past, present and to come.
you are tempted to say “what do you know about war, you cannot
speak for the people of Kyiv and Kharkiv.” My answer is f..k you. I
was in Sarajevo when that city’s people were under bombardment and
living and dying under similar conditions.
task is not to stop drinking vodka ot reading Russian novels. It is to stop the warmongers wherever they are. So
solidarity with Ukraine, with the anti-war movement in Russia and
join me at the protests taking place this weekend.
the attention now being given to Russian oligarchs will direct us to
the damaging effect billionaires have on our world today. Here is a
list of the ten richest men in the world taken from Forbes magazine.
Ваllmеr: ($61.6 b), former CEO of Microsoft
Еllіѕоn: ($63.9 b), co-founder Oracle
Вrіn аnd Lаrrу Раgе: ($68 b $67 b), founders of Google
Ѕlіm Неlu: ($72 b), with 40% holdings in Mexico Stock Exchange
Оrtеgа: ($81 b), owner of fashion label Zara
Zuсkеrbеrg: ($84 b), founder of Facebook
Вuffеtt: ($102 b), CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
are the ten richest Russians who, you will notice, are
poverty-stricken by comparison to the list above.
Usmanov (19.5 b), investor in Facebook and Chinese electronics
company company, Xiomi
Kerimov ($15.8 b), owner of distressed companies and gold producer,
Durov (7.2 b), creaor app Telegram
Melinchenko (17.9 b), owner of fertilizer company Eurochem and coal
Timchenko ($22 b), gas producer Novatek and petrol company Sibur
Michelson, ($24.2 b), gas producer Novatek and petrol company, Sibur
Alexperov ($24.9 b)m founder of Lukoil
Lisin ($26.2 b), majority shareholder in Novolipetsk Steel
Potamin ($27 b), organiser of private takeover of state companies
Mordasov ($29.1 b), CEO steel company Seversta
Murray former UK ambassador states that. “Usmanov is the UK’s
wealthiest man ...Through New Labour and the Tories Putin’s
right-hand man has always had the special protection of the British
state. I have never understood why …. Usmanov helped Putin suppress
Russia’s free media through compulsory purchase …. I sent a
classified report on his criminal activities from Tashkent”.
Reich, economist and former US Secretary of Labour has commented
recently, “When I graduated in 1968 the typical corporate CEO got
twenty times the pay of the average worker. When I became Labour
Secretary in 1993 the ratio was 61-to-1. Today it’s 320-to-1.
Capitalism is off the rails.”
Johnson has spent six holidays at this Tuscan villa as the guest of
Russian billionaire, Eugeny Lebedev. Just one reason why Usmanov and
other Russian oligarchs have been given eighteen months to move their
would recommend reading this from Craig Murray. He has moved from
being brave whistleblowing diplomat to articulate investigative
A new coalition of anti-war socialists has formed in Russia. In the run-up to the @ProgIntl Forum for Peace. Here is a translation of their manifesto.
“We are told that opponents of this war are hypocrites - that they stand not against the war, but for the West. This is a lie. We have never been supporters of the United States and its imperialist policies.”
Replace the words ‘West' with ‘Putin' and 'the United States' with ‘Russia' and you have Keir Starmer’s words about Stop the War Coalition.
Solidarity with the anti-war movement in Russia. We have everything in common with them and nothing but contempt for the Putins and Starmers of this world