An interview with Dr. Amitabh Mitra, the many varied lives he leads, treating extremes of physical trauma and sexual assault at a global level and writing love poetry, creating art on his huge canvases and publishing Southern African Poets are his passion
We are about to launch ‘Unbreaking the Rainbow” an anthology of Struggle poetry and we do so under the dark shadows cast by ominous clouds that have blackened every nook and cranny of our beautiful country and we grieve for the fallen and for the wives and children that have been left to bear this terrible heartache through this catastrophe.
It seems so ironical and coincidental that many of the poems in the anthology “Unbreaking the Rainbow” laments the present political and socio economic conditions and the poverty and inequality that exist in our society to-day.
Another tragic event on the 16 August 2012 that has left a dark red stain on our fragile democracy, 34 protesting Lonmim miners mowed down by live ammunition, what has happened on the dusty windswept hills of Marikana in the North West Province will haunt us for decades to come. The incident is reminiscent of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 and of other massacres around the world, the Jallianwala Bagh public gardens massacre in Amritsar City in 1919 the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing city in 1989 and the present massacre of people in Syria by an unrepentant regime.
All revolutions are fought on the backs of the working class and it is the working class that brings to power politicians to public office. Once they occupy the political throne and not very long there after their memories become blurred and they suffer from bouts of amnesia and forget their allegiance to the working class. You cannot make a bureaucrat a Revolutionary but it is easy for a political activist and revolutionary to become a bourgeois reactionary bureaucrat.
Trade union rivalry is like two diametrically opposing warring political factions vying for power, there are no holds barred and like a lethal Molotov cocktail it is bound to explode.
The National Union of Mine workers and affiliate of COSATU which is aligned to the ANC the ruling party is a formidable opponent considering it connections to the ANC and COSATU . In recent strikes we have witness the unruly and unlawful behavior of striking workers whose Unions are members of COSATU, who with impunity have destroyed public property and injured innocent citizens going about their lawful business. The strange thing is that not a single live bullet was fired at these rampaging mobs by the police, and in a lot of cases police passively looked on with a docile sedate decorous look plastered on their faces.
On the 100th year anniversary of the ANC as a liberation organization this leaves a terrible blotch on its conscience (if it had any) stained with the blood of its own black brothers.
There will be a lot of speculation and blaming from all sides, with no one taking responsibility for this terrible tragedy. Spin doctors deployed by all parties will be having a field day trying to do cosmetic surgery and pulling out their best public relations paraphernalia out of the hat to try and window dress what happened on that windswept hillside of Marikana.
To leave you with a sobering thought from the words of Mosjuoa Lekota Quote “ Who waved the right to life that day and ordered that people be shot? Death is final and nothing can reverse it. This was something that was avoidable if we had stuck to the provisions of the constitution.” Unquote We will never know the truth of the events that unfolded and what really triggered this unforgettable tragedy.
In another ground breaking event the Live Poets Society (LiPS) will be launching Unbreaking the Rainbow – Voices of Protest from New South Africa, at the Point Yacht Club on the 05 September 2012 at 5:30 pm . The anthology is the Brain child of Dr Amitabh Mitra a medical doctor from East London who delights in dabbling in Poetry and art.
His latest venture is a culmination of a series of Collaboration with Poets from all walks of life, which has resulted in a fine collection of Protest and struggle poetry featuring works from thirty three renowned poets from all over South Africa including many LiPS patrons, Sarita Mathur, Fiona Khan, Betty Govinden Graham Lancaster, Brett Beiles Jam Marie Spital, Dr Deena Padayachee, Kobus Moolman, ‘Kogie Singh, Irene Emanuel Ravie Naicker, Vivagalatchmie Naicker and Danny Naicker among others.
Published in March 2012, the Anthology saw its inaugural launch on the 06 July 2012 at the National English Literary Museum at the Eastern Star Gallery in Grahamstown. For Dr Mitra, this launch was particularly important as it represents the voices of contemporary South African poets expressing in their unique diverse styles, and giving vent to their thoughts through their poetic emotions.
The foreword was written by Ela Gandhi, a struggle activist who happens to be the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi the father of passive resistance and non violent civil disobedience who inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights and freedom across the world
“These poems reflect the ethos of the present from the eyes of a group of diverse people, and diverse experiences of the past. Not the work of liberation activists but certainly an interpretation of what happened and what is happening. An important window into the hearts and minds of South Africans, not necessarily the majority but certainly a formidable section,” says Gandhi in the foreword.
All the Poets that have contributed to the Anthology and lovers of the written and spoken word please programme your GPS and Navigate your way in the direction of the Point Yacht Club and be a part of this very important Launch of “Unbreaking the Rainbow”
WHERE :- Point Yacht Club –Victoria Embankment Durban
DATE:- 05 September r 2012
TIME :- 17h30 for 18h00
ADMISSION :- Free
Convener Live Poets Society (LiPS)
Cell:- 083 282 0865
Amitabh Mitra Anna Hamlin Arja Salafranca Betty Govinden Brett Beiles croc E moses Danny Naicker Deena Padayachee Fiona Khan
Gary Cummiskey Geoffrey Haresnape Gillian Schutte Graham Vivian Lancaster Khadija Tracey Heeger Kobus Moolman Kogi Singh Molefi Vincent
Kau Naomi Nkealah Patrick Tarumbwa Peter Horn Harry Owen Hugh Hodge Irene Emanuel Jean Marie Spitaels Jennifer Ann Lean Karen Lazar
Ravi Naicker Sarah Rowland Jones Sarita Mathur Shabbir Banoobhai Sonwabo Meyi Stephen Marcus Finn Sue Conradie Tauriq Jenkins
Vivagalatchmie Ananthavallie Naicker Pratish Mistry Raphael d’Abdon