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maandag 12 mei 2014

An update on Sharmila Chanu

Dear Guido
Just a short update on Sharmila. She did receive your mail art and PetrolPetals. I owe you both. She received a fair bit of support from mainland India and abroad last month. There appears to be something happening. I am preparing for the worst but it may work out. After having kept her under indefinite detention without trial for 13 years in long periods of solitary confinement they are now putting on trial in both Imphal and Delhi. The trial in Imphal begins next Tuesday 13 May. The trial in delhi is 28th may. It gets a bit complicated to explain how they can do that. But in essence once the trial is over in Imphal she will be automatically released and allowed to die over a few weeks. There is no other possible verdict. If they find her guilty she is released based on 13 years time served. If she is found not-guilty she is released without conditions. I was keen to get her to trial in Delhi because it ended her isolation in Imphal and would have made no difference to her incarceration and force feeding in Imphal. The election results are on May 16 but unless Manipuris turn out to support her next Tuesday they appear to be behaving like Nazis retreating before advancing allied soldiers. They will kill her just before AFSPA is removed from Manipur.
I owe you a proper mail art more than that. I know that you can do only small things. But if people did small things it would be enough. Anything you can do even just telling one person would be very helpful. She isn't dead yet. By the end of this month the dust will clear a new PM will be in Power in Delhi, then a new CM of Delhi will be appointed. They can the trial out for months or years or they can get to a verdict within days. If they thought many people cared they wouldn't just let her die after torturing her and realizing they couldn't break her.
Thank you so much for the mail art. I received her last parcel two days ago. But when I tried to contact helpers in manipur the only people who want to talk to me are now are the government informants and they obviously don't want to help.
But things may become clearer over the next few months so I am rewriting to those who have helped in the past if you have time for one last effort. Another letter or anything you think might help.
with metta

zondag 11 mei 2014


Apparently Knights of Infinite Resignation are like troubadours who sit by a tower serenading a princess they can never save but wiki doesn't always get things right. I am seeking mail art for 
Irom Sharmila Chanu
Human Rights Defender
Security Ward
Jawaharlal Nehru I M S
Imphal East
Manipur 795005
We have been engaged to be married for some years just need to organize a prison break and art attack is one of the methods. How's it going I dunno maybe a few more years.
I live in a small village in Co Galway Ireland, Portumna. She would find it difficult to send mail art in return so I shall do so on her behalf. The reason I mention Portumna is that the Irish take poetry and art very seriously. In the Spring/Summer there will be Arts Festivals here so artists from around southern ireland will exhibit poets singers musicians dancers. I can send you the freebies they offer. Not expensive but how else will you get programmes for arts festivals from Portumna. To give you a measure for an ordinary poetry reading by locals maybe 100 plus people will turn up at the local pub to listen. This is a small village of no more than a few thousand souls.
That's the deal. For now I can send something kitsch from one of the local stores, maybe postcards of portumna or a pen with a green irish sheep on it. But come Spring Summer I can give you more respectable stuff.
If you check out her name you'll find out she's the real deal. Please don't signpost me groups I should really try. If you think anyone will listen more then please don't let me stop you contacting them for her. What I am offering is art for art. I am not a do -gooder. I am if you must press what Kierkegaard called a Knight of Faith unless of course wiki got that wrong too.
Desmond Coutinho she calls me her fiance and true supporter. To others if known at all I am called an international sex spy and man of mystery. I do have very bad teeth. Quick as you like I can send you something when you send her something and come Spring Summer you get the good stuff. She'll still be there.

About Sharmila

She has been campaigning via non-violent compassion (satyagraha) for the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which since 1958 has given absolute immunity to the Indian Army while on patrol in Manipur. She is a very simple woman and has been imprisoned for the past 13 years for long periods in solitary kept alive by naso-gastric intubation. She is a beautiful beautiful person. But she has always been allowed mail. And any positive contact does lift her spirits.

in English
 in French

Sharmila amongst the flowers

Sharmila on Wikileaks:


Manipur is an area that bind by The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 - AFSPA - under Indian Forces, for more than 50 years. The formulated provisions of the Act grant extraordinary powers to the Indian armed forces in the “disturbed areas” where it is applicable. The Act has been at the heart of concerns about human rights violations in the region, such as arbitrary killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances. Its continued application has led to numerous protests, notably the longstanding hunger strike by Irom Sharmila Chanu.

Separatist insurgency[

A separatist insurgency began in 1964, although momentum to a more violent phase did not occur until 1978.[22] The Separatists demand a sovereign state separate from the Union of India, a claimed lack of development, plundering of local resources, and a general discontent is part of their argument.[22][23][23] The international Human Rights Watch, argues that human rights violations by Indian Security Forces have only fuelled the insurgency.[24][24] It adds that the Indian Army have at times acted with impunity as anti-terrorism laws in the state make prosecution of human rights violators difficult.[17][25][26][27]
There are currently 34 groups, including non-violent ones, that demand independence from India.[22] In 1999, some of these groups coalesced into an alliance organization called the "Manipur People's Liberation Front." Of these, the three most prominent are the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), andPLA of Manipur. The UNLF is estimated to have 2500 active militants, the PREPAK with 1500, and PLA with 3000.[22] The Indian news organization, Rediff, wrote in 2004:
As of today, Manipur is the worst case scenario in the north-east as far as militancy is concerned. Apart from the fact that there are more militant groups in the state than anywhere else – at least seven prominent groups operate in Manipur – the rivalries between these outfits often leads to greater violence.[28]
The Kuki insurgent groups want a separate state for the Kukis to be carved out from the present state of Manipur. The Kuki insurgent groups are under two umbrella organisation, Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United Peoples Forum.[29]
The Zomi Revolutionary Army is a nationalist/separatist group dedicated to the defense of Zomis and the reunification of ethnic Zomi people in Burma (Chin State), Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts), and northeast India (Manipur and Mizoram). It aims to unite all Zomi people under one governing unit, known as a Zogam, meaning "land of the Zomi" under the Indian Union
The situation is further complicated because insurgent groups are not united in the same cause. The Nagas wish to annexe part of Manipur and merge with a greater Nagaland or Nagalim, which is in conflict with Meitei insurgent demands for the integrity of their vision of an independent state.[22] There were many tensions between the different tribes and have witnessed numerous clashes between Naga and Kukis, Meiteis and Muslims.

vrijdag 9 mei 2014


Artists’ Union England is a new trade union for professional visual and applied artists.
We aim to represent artists at strategic decision-making levels and positively influence the role artists play within society.
We aim to challenge the economic inequalities in the art world and to negotiate fair pay and better working conditions for artists.
We aim to work with other unions, arts organisations, government bodies and cultural institutions whilst remaining both independent and transparent.
We aim towards consensus decision-making, an active grass roots membership and involvement over a wide geographical spread.
From 1st May there will be a three-month grace period until 1st August 2014 in which there will be no membership fees. All members who join before 1st July will be invited to take part in a collective decision making process to determine the initial priorities and annual membership fee of the union.