Somewnere in northern Spain, May 1, 2012 – M’aidez, m’aidez!
Doesn’t mean much does it? Unless you’re French, in which case it’s pronounced just like May Day, May Day, but means “help me, help me.”
It was the cry of U.S. Army Air Force pilots during World War II whose planes had been hit by shells or shrapnel. They were shouting “Mayday, Mayday,” because they, too, didn’t know French. Anyway, I don’t think it’s used any more as an international cry for help, but I still find it interesting.
There, I’ve contributed a little bit to your education :-)
Ironically, May Day, the International Workers’ Day, like Women’s Day on March 8, isn’t celebrated in the U.S., the country where it all began. Wikipedia tells us that the day was first adopted as a day of workers’ protests by the Second International in Paris in 1889 as a day for international demonstrations in commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, “which occurred after an unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at police as they dispersed a public assembly during a general strike for the eight-hour workday.
“In response, the Chicago police fired on the workers, killing dozens of demonstrators and several of their own officers…”
So it seems the Chicago police have always had a thing for violence! They didn’t invent it for the protests that accompanied the 1968 Democratic Convention!
But that’s funny! I don’t remember reading anything about the Haymarket Massacre in my high school history books! Why, you don’t suppose…No, of course not! Not in America!
Anyway, May Day was formally recognized as International Worker’s Day at the 1891 anniversary of the Chicago protests.
Subsequently, the May Day Riots of 1894 occurred and in 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam called on "all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May 1st for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace," according to Wikipedia.
“In many countries, the working classes sought to make May Day an official holiday, and their efforts largely succeeded…May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist, communist and anarchist groups and…has been an important official holiday in countries such as the People's Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba and the former Soviet Union.”
But not in the U.S. and Canada, where we celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September because “after the Haymarket Massacre,” we are told, “U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus he moved in 1887 to support the September Labor Day” that was supported by the U.S. Knights of Labor and the Central Labor Union of New York City.
Wikipedia adds that “right-wing governments have traditionally sought to repress the message behind International Workers' Day.”
Although it doesn’t name the U.S. or the UK as Fascist, right-wing governments – though recent developments indicate that’s indeed what they are fast becoming -- Wikipedia goes ahead to note that the official May 1st holiday in the US is actually called Loyalty Day (Pres. Ronald Gay-gun named it Law Day), and “the Conservative party in the UK is currently attempting to abolish the UK's annual May Day Bank Holiday.”
So today, Americans don’t have massive Workers’ Day marches like they have here in Spain calling for work, respect, and rights. And even the “Maypole Dance” at schools and the rather quaint and sweet custom of anonymously leaving home-made “May baskets” of candies on your neighbors’ doorsteps, which are things I can remember doing as a kid in Iowa in the 1930s and ’40s, have been relegated to history.
But today, Naom Chomsky tells us, “there is a nenewed awareness, energized by the Occupy Wall Street movement’s organizing around May Day, and its relevance for reform and perhaps eventual revolution… May Day started here….”
Amy Goodman is described by Wikipedia as “an American progressive broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist, investigative reporter and author.”
In her role as host of Democracy Now!, an independent global news program broadcast daily on radio, television and the Internet, she noted last week that “This year, the Occupy Wall Street campaign is hoping to mobilize tens of thousands of people across the country under the general slogan, ‘General Strike. No Work. No Shopping. Occupy Everywhere.’
“Events are planned in 125 cities. The Occupy campaign plans to protest in 99 targets alone in Midtown Manhattan, including the offices of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.”
I’m writing this on Mayday. So were the OWS campaigns successful? I hope so. We’ll soon know.
My beloved Sasha is still planning to come (a splendid doble entendre) on June 20, just a little over a month and a half from now.
We have been sizzling the airways since I told him last month that I had jerked off looking at his picture and reading my old “Another Night in Moscow” columns about him when we were living there together in 2007-2009. “I dream of the nights you’ll be coming in my mouth,” I wrote.
On April 1 – no “April Fool’s joke, I hope -- he wrote:
My beloved Dane,
How I want to come in your mouth! Can we do that every night? I have a lot of juice for you
I immediately responded:
Yes, my darling Sasha, every night. I am very thirsty. I want very much to drink your juice
Hurry, honey, hurry. Only two-and-a-half months
I love you and miss you very much
I hug you and kiss you,
Then on April 4 I had a more serious query from him:
My darling, what clothes should I bring for summer and then for winter? Should I bring a coat?
“A good question,” I replied:
It’s horribly hot here in the summer – 40 degrees (100 F) – But sometimes also rather cold in the winter. Yes, I think you should bring one coat, although the coldest I have seen here is minus 6 degrees (20 degrees F). You don’t need a lot of clothes for winter, but you should bring one coat plus clothes for fall and spring, when it is often 0 (32 F).
I am going to Morocco next Tuesday for three days.
I love you and miss you very much,
After I got back from a rather boring trip to Morocco, I received the following:
My darling Dane,
How was your trip to Morocco? Do you like that country? Of course, I worry about you, my dear I will bring you a lot of juice! You must drink it!
I hope you find my pipiska tasty
With all my love,
My darling, darling Sasha,
I forgot to say, maybe you prefer to come by bus; in this case, also tell me when and where. In either case, tell me and I will meet you.
Morocco is so-so, but I have to go somewhere to renew my visa, and that’s the cheapest place,
How happy I am that you will bring me lots of juice, my darling. I will drink it with great pleasure I always find your pipiska tasty. I can’t wait. Hurry, hurry, I am very thirsty
You – and your pipiska – I love very much, and await impatiently
Then the next day I got the following:
My dear Dane,
Can you drink my juice twice a day – in the morning and the evening? That would be so great!
I kiss you, I love you,
I replied immediately:
Yes, absolutely, my darling Sasha, and even three times a day if you want. In two months, you will be here. I wait very impatiently. How I want to drink your juice
Then I re-read and re-re-read his e-mail; and a couple of hours later, wrote again:
Today I again looked at your picture, re-read what I wrote about you when we lived together in Moscow, plus what you have written by e-mail, and jerked off again You are simply my inspiration Soon I will have the real you How wonderful that will be.
I love you and miss you very much. Hurry, honey!
And then just last Sunday, April 29, I got the following from him:
My darling, and what do you think of anal sex? I have never tried it and therefore don’t know whether it is good or bad, pleasant or not. Have you tried it? What do you think?
I kiss you, your Sasha
Ugh! Yes, I’ve tried it: The first time was with a Jamaican in Florida who had a huge 13-incher! Ouch! Then I had anal sex a few times with my lover in Seattle; and finally I had anal sex with my lover Yegor in Moscow while I was also suffering a very painful case of prostatitis. I still haven’t completely regained my peristaltic movements and in general don’t like giving or receiving anal sex. However, I wrote Sasha quite sincerely:
My beloved Sasha,
I’ve tried it several times, and generally it hurts and I don’t like it. I was always the receiver. I could never get it up to stick it in another man’s asshole :-( But I want you to be happy, and therefore maybe we will try it again. If it doesn’t hurt, then fine. But if it hurts, then I’m afraid I won’t be able to.
In any case, we will have a good time :-)
So, still waiting for an answer.
Andre Shk., my “once and future Soviet dissident” friend from Star City outside Moscow, so-named because that’s where many of the Soviet astronauts lived, sent me an e-mail recently saying that his father, a true-believing retired Soviet colonel 78 years old -- the same age as I am -- had died. The KGB>FSB has consistently hassled Andrei and prevented him from holding a job despite the fact that he’s one of the best English-Russian translators I have ever come across.
And getting somebody canned in Russia ain’t hard. All the FSB has to do is visit the boss of the operation and warn that Andrei is a security risk.
“Hi, Sir,” he wrote. He always called me “sir,” a title I was never quite comfortable with, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I let him continue to use it. I think for him it was a mark of respect.
Voila, the last string which attached me to mankind snapped: my father died this Sunday, and so did the remains of my filial duties. He died the way a true Russian would choose: in his village home after making a few liters of samogon (moonshine).
That's our life, and death...
“Sorry, I think, to hear about your father,” I wrote.
I know he was a great burden for you in many ways. You must have mixed feelings about his death. Yes, he was your father, but he also caused you lots of heartaches.
Will your life change in any way? Will you continue to live where you live, and to garden?
l don't think you lived with him, did you?
Write if you feel like it.
Apparently he felt like it. “No, I didn't live with him,” he wrote.
And I wouldn't say it was he who was a burden to me. Rather it was I who was a burden to him, being a rotten egg in his family nest, in which the worship of power, be it open or secret, is a form of religion. On the other hand, that's the trait of the majority of Russians who view all who stick to different principles as traitors.
In that respect I was as much of a burden to him as I'm a burden to this nation. Indicative in this respect is the very reaction of the majority of my kith and kin, first, to the death of my mother, now to the death of my father: in the first case it was secret relief, now it is genuine grief.
Of course, my life is bound to change after his death. They didn't harass me much while I acted as a baby-sitter to my ailing father. Now that he is gone, I'll be much surprised if they won't do their best to strip me of all means of subsistence: father's kiosk, garden, and, quite possibly, apartment in Zvezdny. Whether they'll succeed or not, I do not care because my work is nearing completion. For me my work is the most important thing right now. What happens after its completion, what I'll do and where I'll live, it doesn't matter much.
Anyway, I seriously doubt that I'll continue living in Putin's Russia...
It’s alarming that “they,” the Russian government, would force him into destitution. But the KGB has a long and unforgiving memory. I wrote:
God, I hope they don't do all those things to you. What will you do? Thank god you have your work, and that it is almost done. I am quite worried about your future, while knowing there is absolutely nothing I can do to help.
Please stay in touch,
I haven’t heard from him in several weeks. What does that mean?
The nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, continues to bore in on civilizations around the world, including the United States, while Obama and the rest of the world’s ruling elite pretend nothing is happening.
Akio Masumura, a renowned and highly respected former ambassador to the UN, tells us on the EnergyResources web site that Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata, was invited to speak at the Public Hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 22, 2012, on the Fukushima accident, which took place just over a year ago.
Matsumura reports that “Murata strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4 -- with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet above the ground—collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced.
“He stressed that the responsibility of Japan to the rest of the world is immeasurable. Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries.”
Matsumura reports that “I asked top spent-fuels expert Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Asst. Sec. for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Dept. of Energy for an explanation of the potential impact of the 11,421 rods. I received an astounding response from Mr. Alvarez:
In recent times, more information about the spent fuel situation at the Fukushima-Dai-ichi site has become known. It is my understanding that of the l,532 spent fuel assemblies in reactor No. 304 assemblies are fresh and unirradiated. This then leaves 1.231 irradiated spent fuel rods in pool No. 4, which contain roughly 37 million curies of long-lived radioactivity. The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements. If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of cesium-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.
The infrastructure to safely remove this material was destroyed, as it was at the other three reactors. Spent reactor fuel cannot be simply lifted into the air by a crane as if it were routine cargo. In order to prevent severe radiation exposures, fires, and possible explosions, it must be transferred at all times in water and heavily shielded structures into dry casks.
As this has never been done before, the removal of the spent fuel from the pools at the damaged Fukushima-Dai-Ichi reactors will require a major and time-consuming re-construction effort and will be charting in unknown waters…
….Based on U.S. Energy Dept. data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools. They contain roughly 336 million curies of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 – roughly 85 times the amount of Cesium-137 released at the Chernobyl accident, as estimated by the U.S. Nat’l Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima- Dai-Ichi site contain nearly half of the total amount of Cesium-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies…)
It is important for the public to understand that reactors that have been operating for decades, such as those at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site, have generated some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet.
Many of our readers might find it difficult to appreciate the actual meaning of the figure, yet we can grasp what 85 times more Cesium-137 than the Chernobyl (figure) would mean. It would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival….
In a separate letter to Matsumura, Alvarez stated that “there are several people I know in the nuclear industry who are well aware that spent fuel pools at power reactors pose potentially serious hazards. But they prefer to keep silent on this matter….”
And do you even know about the dangers to the world civilization posed by the Fukushima tinder box? I doubt it. I don’t think even my friends on the U.S. West Coast – Seattle; Ashland, Or; and Los Angeles – know the real dangers that the Fukushima accident and its encroachment via prevailing winds and the Pacific Ocean pose to them. We can only hope for the best. Another tsunami or earthquake could do us all in.
But don’t expect your politician “leaders” to sound the alarm.
Waiting for me when I returned from Morocco was an e-mail from Igor, one of my former Moscow sex/apartment-mates who is now living with his mother in Moldova. I had already paid for an operation on his coccyx and sent him $ 100 for medicine and other necessities before I left, and I was nearly broke from spending almost $ 500 on my Morocco trip.
But in his e-mail, he wrote:
Dane, if you can, tomorrow I need $ 50 to take my stitches out. I have no money for bandages and antibiotics….:-( If you can, send it tomorrow. Help me!
I love you, kiss you, miss you. Your loving Igor.
Poor kid! I know he needs medicine. Maybe I could patch together $ 50 to last him till my Social Securty check gets deposited May 9. I re-counted my money. I could – barely. So I sent it and a message:
Hello, my darling Igor, I have little money, but I am sending $ 50. I know you need it. With love,
And then I received another e-mail in the final days of April. He was feeling much better. Thank god, he is healing; but now he wants 450 euros – almost $ 600! -- to get his driver’s license for a big-ass Kamaz truck and get a Bulgarian passport to come visit me in Spain!
Anyway, he wrote:
Dane, thanks for helping me, that you exist! My leg has already healed, my coccygeal cyst is healing…we are on the mend!!!
I have to get a profession, and I have already worked on a Kamaz. Can you help me, Dane? I will pay you back everything. Thank you in advance. I miss you, kiss you, await an answer.
But I had to give him some bad news:
My dear, loving Igor,
how happy I am that everything is normal at last :-), that your leg and coccyx are healing :-)
Unfortunately, I don’t have the money now for a driver’s license for a Kamaz :-( I think I already told you that I didn’t have the money for an operation and medicine, etc., and for a driver’s license for a Kamaz. I think I said that maybe in the fall I can, but I absolutely can’t now. I’m very sorry, because I want you to find work and come to Spain, but now I simply have no money :-( I’m afraid that I won’t have it before September or October :-( Forgive me, honey, but right now I simply don’t have it :-(
I love you, and I will send you the money as soon as I can, but I don’t have any now :-(
I’m very, very happy that you are feeling a lot better now :-)
Write me when you have time.
I don’t expect to hear from him until he has another emergency. By that time, Sasha will be here and we’ll see how much money I have. Obviously, Sasha is my first priority.
Spain, my newly adopted home, is in another fiscal crisis. Unemployment has hit 24% -- to all intents and purposes, a quarter of the country is without work – and it has slid into its second economic recession in three years!
It faces a "crisis of huge proportions", a minister warned last Friday, and Standard & Poor’s rating service has given Spanish government debt a two-notch downgrade, bringing it to the credit level of the Italian government.
According to Yahoo News, “the government has already rescued a number of banks that were too exposed to a decade-long construction boom that crashed in 2008, and investors fear vulnerable lenders will be hit by another wave of loan defaults due to the slowing economy.
“With the economy shrinking, Spain has little hope of meeting tough public deficit targets this year even as the government makes tough cuts.
“Conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, in office since December, has passed an austerity budget and introduced new laws to try to make the economy more competitive.
“On Thursday Rajoy said he was determined to stick to austerity measures even though they are aggravating the economic slump, and calls for growth measures are on the increase around Europe.
“Half of Spain's youth is out of work, and figures are unlikely to improve for some time as government spending cuts this year worth around 42 billion euros hold back any potential for growth.
“The government expects labor reforms passed in the first quarter that make it cheaper for firms to hire and fire to produce results next year. Many firms have taken advantage of new rules to lay off more staff.
“‘It's a very challenging situation. I don't think that the banks are cornered yet, but the government must come out soon to say how they will address them,’ said Gilles Moec, an economist with Deutsche Bank.”
Fortunately, I’m not in the labor market, nor will Sasha be when he gets here. Hopefully we can continue to subsist here in our little “love nest” for the foreseeable future.
Happy Mayday! :-)
This day years ago:
2010-5-1: Chapt. #301 - Lord, I’m comin’ home