democracy now

"When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman? From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may ( if ye will ) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty."


behind bars

Rap legend Slick Rick spent his 41st birthday,
January 14th, incarcerated in a Florida
immigration detention centre. Back in the
80s Rick was in the charts with Doug E Fresh
with The Show but now Rick's fighting deportation
to Britain, his birthplace, from where his
family emigrated in 1975.

Rick aka Richard Walters's career collapsed
in the 1990s when he shot his pregnant cousin
and her boyfriend in an argument where Walters
alleged they were trying to extort money. He
served five years and 12 days in jail then
saw his comeback album, featuring a who's
who of hip-hop inc Nas, Snoop Dogg, Outkast
and Wu-Tang Clan, bomb.

In June 2002, after performing on a Caribbean
cruise ship, Rick was arrested in Florida for
"deporting himself" and "illegally re-entering
the country". A new 9/11 inspired-law allowed
all felons with five years jail time not
born in USA to be deported. Walters spent 17
months in jail before being released then was
re-incarcerated last year, when the Department
of Homeland Security took up the case again.
Two months ago a US district court judge
ruled that he should not be deported but
Rick remains in the detention centre with
no official release date.

The US government must think terrorism
issues are now so minor that it wants to
spend so much time and energy on the security
threat posed by an aging black rapper.

also - believe it or don't


Brian Haw Art War

The artist has meticulously recreated peace campaigner Brian Haw's extraordinary array of protest banners, placards, posters, flags, teddy bears in peace T-shirts, mutilated dolls and heavily annotated curling press cuttings. This howl of outrage against the war in Iraq stretched right across one side of Parliament Square, opposite the Palace of Westminster, until the police arrived in the small hours of May 23 last year, citing the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, and confiscated all but a three-metre section.

Guardian Review


Exhibition Site for this exhibition at the Tate Britain

Wallinger's only real intervention is the line of black tape, which marks the radius of the one-kilometre exclusion zone from the centre of Parliament Square, within which the draconian provisions of the act apply. Two thirds of the exhibition falls within the danger zone, including the horrific array of photographs of children born with grotesque mutilations blamed on the use of spent uranium in bombs. The line then continues through other galleries, through Sir Godfrey Kneller's towering portrait of Speaker John Smith in 1707, proudly brandishing a copy of the new Act of Union, before finally running into George Stubbs' happy, spotlessly clean haymakers, politely chatting with the farm manager on horseback - a painting that is either a celebration of rural life or which "robs the workers of their individuality and denies the harsh realities of their work for sentimental effect," as the caption puts it.