Tuesday, December 31, 2013



I Wish I Had Known I was Beautiful Sooner. ~

Dawn McSweeney

In her own words and pictures


Mostly hidden is

the realization that closing the door on the house I've built

can be an intricate process

especially given my need to



go back and do it again


to ensure that yes,

there really is a monster under that bed.


The knowledge that once you can tear yourself away

from the checking

and the monster

you will be free.


The Liberation cleansing ritual

that I invented just now in a bathroom mirror,

under 2 out of 3 working lights

that involves in part

using my own fresh tears as warpaint

and praying to myself.


The scars I have given myself over the years

are mostly hidden by laughter,

some necessitate long skirts and anecdotes of ninja attacks

but I assure you,

the truth is not dinner convo

only rare and selective coffee talk

and then still with mostly averted eyes.


I mostly hide the fact that

if I wake up for any reason between the hours of 4 and 8 a.m.

there is a good chance I will be struck by the jolting nauseating panic

of being equally frightened of dying and living

and the certainty that both

will kill me.


And that I wish someone would comfort me back to sleep

because it's exhausting.


Mostly hidden is the moment you know

your path is changing,

and even if you feel the electricity in the air

the moment of the shift still strikes

like out of season lightening,

and you're filled with white bright knowing

and the smell of your best laid plans



Cosmic aptitude tests find Dawn ideally suited to be a gypsy poet, or your imaginary friend. She's developed a few more marketable skills, thanks to Mother Necessity. Her current (unmarketable) obsessions include lemons, Sharpies and various shades of green. She is a contributor to ForgetTheBox.net, thrilled to bits when people read (and preferably enjoy) her words. See what falls out in 140 characters or less @McMoxy.




Some people still do not believe in
Apparently, it is easier to believe in
Cherubs and angels and spirits in the sky -
There are still people who believe
The earth is flat.
There are still people who believe
God came out of the sky,
And made a man out of mud:
The Book says so.
No doubt life came out of the earth - 
Or the sky -
But God, the Potter,
Is a childish concept for rational adults
In our time.
The evidence shows
The process took billions of years.
Intelligent people
Will dare to look with open eyes, 
Beyond the dogmas and the pomp:
They will seek
A Greater Creator
Than their ancestors feared to imagine,
Or their parents dared to acknowledge. 
They will look outward - 
Far beyond the stars,
And inward -
Far beyond the atom,
They will seek to understand
The Truth
Beyond our understanding.
Give the Creator a little credit, folks.
His time is not our time.
God was not in a hurry to make a man.
Why are you in a hurry to make a God?
Come, let us reason together.
Phyllis Carter
Montreal, Canada
December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013


People who appear on TV
Calling themselves "mediums",
Claim to communicate
With the spirits
Of our departed loved ones.
They say our dear ones
Are still with us,
All the time,
Looking out for us,
Guiding and protecting us.
Always with us?
I wish !
How I would love to see and hear
My darling Cliff,
My mother and my father,
My brother,
My Zaidies and my Bubbies.
But I never see them or hear them,
Though they are part of me,
Deep in the heart of me,
Day and night,
Night and day.
But tell me, you who see the spirits -
If they are with us all the time -
Are they with me
When I am in the bathroom?
I would find that very uncomfortable.
Years ago, after my darling husband died,
I was in the depths of hell,
There was a great gathering of "mediums"
At the hotel near the Montreal Airport.
I went to seek out a medium
Who could communicate with my beloved.
I stopped at every booth,
"Do you know why I am here?"
Not one so-called "medium" had a clue.
Not one.



In Gods Name

During the late evening of September 28th or the early morning of September 29th, 1978, Pope John Paul 1, Albino Luciani, known as the smiling Pope, died only thirty-three days after his election.

David Yallop began his investigations into his death at the request of certain individuals resident in Vatican City who were disturbed by a cover-up of the true circumstances surrounding the discovery of the Pope's body. It is his conviction that murder was the fate of Albino Luciani and he presents this evidence in this enthralling book.

Over three years continual and exhaustive research, David Yallop uncovered a chain of corruption that linked leading figures in financial, political, criminal and clerical circles around the world in a conspiracy of awesome proportions.

To this day the central questions raised in In God's Name remain unanswered. A new updated edition containing additional evidence is now available.

U.K. Publishers Constable & Robinson.
U.S. Publishers Carroll & Graf.

First published: 1984     ISBN: 978-1-84529-496-0


Yallop proposes the theory that the pope was in "potential danger" because of corruption in the Istituto per le Opere Religiose (IOR, Institute of Religious Works, the Vatican's most powerful financial institution, commonly known as the Vatican Bank), which owned many shares in Banco Ambrosiano. The Vatican Bank lost about a quarter of a billion dollars.

This corruption was real and is known to have involved the bank's head, Paul Marcinkus, along with Roberto Calvi of the Banco Ambrosiano Calvi was a member of P2, an illegal Italian Masonic lodge. Calvi was found dead in London, after disappearing just before the corruption became public. His death was initially ruled suicide, and a second trial — ordered by his family — then returned an "open verdict".

The day before Calvi's corpse was discovered, his secretary also "committed suicide" by falling from a fourth floor office window at the bank's headquarters. A note was found which attacked Calvi for bringing the bank into disrepute

Yallop also offers as suspects Archbishop John Patrick Cody of Chicago, whom he believes Luciani was about to force into retirement, and Cardinal Jean-Marie Villot, because of his supposed theological differences with the new pope.

Yallop's book examined many of the inaccurate statements issued by the Vatican in the days after John Paul's death and received international attention, including demands from some senior churchmen for an inquiry into the death itself

Following Yallop's book, Robert Hutchinson's Their Kingdom Come: Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei appeared in 1997. Hutchison believes that several individuals within the church who were opposed to Opus Dei and who ostensibly died from heart attacks may in fact have been poisoned. Drawing on Yallop's thesis, Hutchinson suggests that this fate may also have befallen John Paul I.

  • In God's Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I, David Yallop. New York: Bantam Books, 1984, ISBN 0-553-05073-7
The neutrality of this article is disputed.


Sunday, December 29, 2013


Suppose there really is a heaven and a hell:
The Church forgives all sins.
With the last rites,
The the worst criminals
Join Jesus in heaven.
Thieves, child molesters, rapists, killers - 
All are washed clean of their sins:
All their crimes, abuses and atrocities
Are forgiven -
Seventy times seven times.
And they recline with the elect,
Basking in the glory of Christ.
So where do good people go -
People who live normal lives
And do no serious harm to anyone?


pope francis
Pope Francis waves to the crowd during his inauguration mass.
Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images
Not so long ago, the Roman Catholic Church made a Pope disappear overnight. I fear Pope Francis risks a similar fate.
What is it with this Pope Francis? He dares to bring to life the message of Jesus before a world that is bent on making the rich richer and the poor disappear. He dares to voice the truth about dogma  -  the red herrings that the "religious" use to keep the multitudes in their place, focused away from reality - hocus-pocus - and silent about injustice and foolishness. Ah! such a leader!
Who speaks truth anymore? It is so rare as to have become unrecognizable. Everyone lies. Everyone manipulates to get what they want. And here is a man chosen to represent the most powerful government on earth, the Vatican, who dares to speak the obvious truths that no one in power has dared to speak for a very long time.
"Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth." What kind of earth? The one being messed up by the ultra rich and the endlessly greedy? When the poor inherit the earth, where will those pigs be living? On Mars?
I will not become a Catholic, but I am amazed and warmed by this new "Prince of the Church" who chooses to live, as much as possible, like an ordinary human being, and who dares to speak truth for all to hear.
May God protect Pope Francis from the Roman Catholic Church and from Big Bucks and other tyrants who hold power everywhere in our time, and from the lone lunatics who go about freely these days destroying the innocent.
Pope Francis will not be able to change the Church as much as the world needs the change - to recognize women as full human beings - equal, if not better and wiser than many men. He will not dare to acknowledge that abortion is sometimes kinder than bringing a child into the world to suffer for years. He may not be able to use the Vatican's enormous wealth to feed the millions of hungry children in the world. But, at least, he is trying to do what is right. Like Jesus, he is trying.
In his first Papal exhortation, Pope Francis writes:

New idols. Pope Francis writes that "worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings."

The world has created new idols through the worship of money, free-markets and consumer-based capitalism to the point where "human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded." We are currently witnessing "a globalization of indifference" where the poor are intentionally ignored.

Trickle-down economics. The term trickle-down economics has been used by financial conservatives to mean allowing the wealthy to do business without obligation of regulation or taxation. The profits made by big business then supposedly trickle down to lower levels of the economic ladder.

"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," the Pope writes. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."

Greed. Pope Francis points out that today's economy sustains greed. "While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. The thirst for power and possessions know no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule."

Indifference. Francis also points out that today's economy creates a globalization of indifference. "To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed."


Saturday, December 28, 2013


Dawn McSweeney
Happy Tree Yoga Guru and Thief
Dawn McSweeney
Dawn McSweeney
Dreamer, poet, yogi, badass. Hyperbolically sparkly. Infinitely whimsical. More than a little quirky. Head for the light, or the darkness will get you.
https://mobile.twitter.com/McMoxy?p=i 20 Dec
Give a man an inch, and he'll find a conversion chart so he can count that shit in centimetres.
Dawn McSweeney is still free to enjoy everything she  - and those she calls her "partners in crime"  - stole from me and from my family - with the help of a Montreal Police officer.
Detailed reports and rewards at  -  http://dawnmcsweeney.blogspot.com.

Friday, December 27, 2013


Imagine living a month without the ubiquitous "Made In China" label on anything you purchase. Now imagine that month is December.

One American family accepts this challenge from Chinese immigrant Tom Xia, who moved to the US as a boy and wanted to explore the material relationship between his new home and his native one.

The rules: One family must remove everything made in China from their home while not purchasing anything new with that label for an entire holiday season. There's comedy and tragedy in this intimate documentary, but more than that questions of family, success, and consumerism that swirl around our idea of personal identity.


Tom Xia and his dad Victor shop for their first Christmas lights. Photo by Michael Dwyer.

Xmas Without China explores the intersection of consumerism and immigration in American culture as the documentary filmmakers follow their friend and fellow filmmaker Tom Xia on an intimate journey to get to know his community. Tom has spent his life in between Chinese and American culture, constantly negotiating between his home life and everything else in the California suburbs where he's grown up since emigrating from Harbin, China at age eight. With deep ties to his extended family back home and increasing pride in China's huge steps forward in the new millennium, Tom is incensed by how China is so misunderstood by Americans, particularly in the media.

Devising a plan to put American fears of China in context, Tom challenges local families to go through the Christmas season without any Chinese products. At a neighborhood street fair, Tom meets the Joneses, a young family trying to keep their children safe during a series of Chinese toy recalls that has driven them to have their son tested for lead-poisoning. Taking on Tom's consumer "mission-impossible," the Jones family discovers that they're giving up not just their toys, plates, lamps, and clothes…but also the beloved hair dryer, coffeemaker, Xbox, and most of their Christmas decorations. With their house dark and their tree bare of Christmas lights, Tim Jones gets out his tools and begins making his own strand from American and Mexican electrical parts.

Nearby, Tom's parents are finishing construction on their new home, using Chinese materials to proudly build their American dream. While they conscript Tom to help them decorate their first Christmas tree, the Joneses struggle to live without their Chinese-made stuff in the huge storage container in their driveway, forcing them to seriously rethink how to celebrate Christmas. With the holiday approaching, and interactions between the Xias and the Joneses intensifying, Tom's dad warns him not to ruin the Joneses' Christmas with his challenge. As the challenge brings way more than anyone bargained for, Tom realizes that he's on a deeper journey to understand the complexities of his own divided loyalties between America and China, and both families wrestle with our insatiable drive to consume cheap products, but also with our desire for human connection and a sense of who we are in a fast-changing world.

Xmas Without China was produced by Alicia Dwyer, Michael Dwyer, Juli Vizza and Tom Xia.



In the early years, dogmatic Christians repudiated the Gnostics ... those who sought knowledge. 
Today, there are millions of people who do not want to know. They want to adhere to the old teachings and bow to their leaders and their customs ... and don't bother me with questions. Anyone who presents doubt is quickly silenced in one way or another.
When I started exploring the critical question of the divinity of Jesus, one of the nicest men in my Anglican church said, "You were sent by the devil to disrupt the lesson". All I had done was ask which version of the bible the reader was reading from.
Obey, "Conform", my first minister told me. That was a huge mistake. 
I asked to be baptized because I felt I wanted to be baptized, not because someone thought I should be baptized. 
I invited Jesus into my life at a critical time. I was widowed. I had lost the love of my life, my husband, Cliff  Carter. I was unemployed. I was homeless. I was scorned by members of my Jewish family. I was suffering from cancer and the effects of chemo therapy and radiation. I was bald. That was the least of my worries. I was reaching out for hope, a way to go on living in spite of all the fear and pain.
I was reaching for something that made sense. And at that time, I felt that Jesus was real and he was with me, and he was good and he had the power to heal and make things better. I was not alone. No matter what any person said or did, I walked with Jesus - if not the flesh and blood Son of God - in a way different from everyone else - he too was a victim and he had come through. Somehow he survived, and so could I.
Since then, I have continued to ask questions. Intellectually, I am not a believer. But there is an aspect of me that is very spiritual. Strangely enough, science gives me hope that there is a Creator who made everything and sustains all the universes. Don't laugh: String Theory - and not the bible - gives me hope, if not faith.

I have always asked questions. I am an investigator by profession. A Pinkerton detective in the 1970's. Before that, I was a detective for Buck Fortin of West End Investigation in Montreal.
Before that, I was a curious journalist concerned with justice, always justice. Even as a child, I was driven by a profound need for justice.... not for myself, but for the underdog, the innocent, the victim of bullies, the bird with the injured wing, the stray puppy, the twelve year boy who was insulted by a sassy girl. 
And my curiosity was boundless  - even annoying. As a little girl, I was always asking my father the same question over and over again, " Daddy, why?" Always, "Daddy, why?"
And my wonderful father told me stories and took me to second hand book stores and to the movies and he took me for long walks and answered  my questions. And when he did not have the answer, he took out his volumes of The Book of Knowledge and searched for the answer. My father loved books and I loved stories. And so, as I grew up, I asked questions. I always ask questions.
Phyllis Carter

Closer To Truth is the definitive series on Cosmos, Consciousness and God, a global journey in search of the vital ideas of existence. It is the most complete, compelling, and accessible series on Cosmos, Consciousness and God ever produced for television.

Closer To Truth explores fundamental issues of universe, brain/mind, religion, meaning and purpose through intimate, candid conversations with leading scientists, philosophers, scholars, theologians and creative thinkers of all kinds. The shows are a rich visual experience, shot entirely on location in high definition with multiple cameras generating rich production values. The visual lushness of the high definition, on-location productions, combined with the intriguing titles of the shows, builds audiences already interested in mankind's greatest questions.

Public fascination with questions of Cosmos, Consciousness and particularly of God has grown substantially in recent years. Public debate has been intense, often heated.

Closer To Truth presents to mass audiences these leading-edge ideas in an approachable, rational and balanced manner, and introduces the human personalities behind these ideas. By meeting these change-making characters close-up, the thinkers behind the thoughts, visiting them in their homes, offices, labs, gardens, churches and temples, Closer To Truth humanizes riveting ideas and makes them more accessible and more relevant.

It is the mission of Closer To Truth to become the most publicly prominent venue for heightened understanding and thoughtful discussion of Cosmos, Consciousness and God for broad television audiences.

Closer To Truth has 117 episodes on Cosmos, Consciousness, God being broadcast, with more in production Each 30-minute episode features four to seven of the world's foremost thinkers. The series as a whole features 128 (growing to ~200) such authorities, each taped in detailed conversations (between two and eight hours), in what we believe to be the most comprehensive and definitive treatment of these topics ever presented in visual or electronic media. An invaluable record of today's best thinking, this new edition of Closer To Truth includes, in addition to the high-definition television series, an extensive internet site, and resource materials for educators and life-long learners.

Closer To Truth is hosted and executive produced by Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn. It is produced by Getzels Gordon Productions. Peter Getzels is Closer To Truth's award-winning producer/director.

Closer To Truth is Robert's life journey to grasp Cosmos, Consciousness, and God, visiting those who think deeply about existence, meaning and purpose. He goes to MIT and Harvard in Boston; Cal Tech and UCLA in Los Angeles; Berkeley and Stanford in San Francisco; Oxford and Cambridge in England; Princeton, Notre Dame, NYU — and for a gathering of cosmologists, to the glaciers and hot springs of Iceland.

Each Closer To Truth episode presents Robert embarking on a personal exploration in search of answers to a single Great Question. The audience joins him as he travels to meet world-renown experts, four to six per episode, each of whom brings a different viewpoint or perspective. Between experts, Robert summarizes the previous conversation and sets-up the next one with a bridging segment, represented with visually interesting footage. Each episode concludes with Robert providing a summary observation, which may not be a definitive "answer" but will always draw viewers "closer to truth."

Each episode is structured as a stand-alone program so that first-time viewers can understand and enjoy it. But there is logic and flow to the architecture and order of episodes, and an arc to the series as a whole, so that many viewers will be drawn from one episode to the next.

Robert does not avoid conflict or fear ridicule. Conventional wisdom and convenient consensus are put to the test in every episode. Robert challenges current belief and welcomes serious controversy. He will accept uncertainty but not sloppy thinking. His search is what Closer To Truth is all about: a passionate, detail-rich exploration of Cosmos, Consciousness, and God.

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As Robert says, "I do not promise that you will find Ultimate Truth. I do promise that you will be exhilarated... getting Closer To Truth".



Sunday, December 22, 2013


There are millions of really nice people -
Who don't want to know.


The debates will go on
For as long as the rich can stall.
The simple truth about global warming is this -
There are two clear sides to the issue:
There is reality
There is money.




Paul Leroy Robeson (April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) 


"You Are the Un-Americans, and You Ought to be Ashamed of Yourselves":

Paul Robeson Appears Before HUAC

Many African-American witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings in the 1950s were asked to denounce Paul Robeson (1888–1976) in order to obtain future employment. Robeson, an All-American football player and recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa key at Rutgers, received a law degree at Columbia.

He became an internationally acclaimed concert performer and actor as well as a persuasive political speaker. In 1949, Robeson was the subject of controversy after newspapers reports of public statements that African Americans would not fight in "an imperialist war."

In 1950, his passport was revoked. Several years later, Robeson refused to sign an affidavit stating that he was not a Communist and initiated an unsuccessful lawsuit. In the following testimony to a HUAC hearing, ostensibly convened to gain information regarding his passport suit, Robeson refused to answer questions concerning his political activities and lectured bigoted Committee members Gordon H. Scherer and Chairman Francis E.Walter about African-American history and civil rights.

In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled that a citizen's right to travel could not be taken away without due process and Robeson' passport was returned.


Testimony of Paul Robeson before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, June 12, 1956


Mr. ROBESON: Could I say that the reason that I am here today, you know, from the mouth of the State Department itself, is: I should not be allowed to travel because I have struggled for years for the independence of the colonial peoples of Africa. For many years I have so labored and I can say modestly that my name is very much honored all over Africa, in my struggles for their independence. That is the kind of independence like Sukarno got in Indonesia. Unless we are double-talking, then these efforts in the interest of Africa would be in the same context.

The other reason that I am here today, again from the State Department and from the court record of the court of appeals, is that when I am abroad I speak out against the injustices against the Negro people of this land. I sent a message to the Bandung Conference and so forth. That is why I am here. This is the basis, and I am not being tried for whether I am a Communist, I am being tried for fighting for the rights of my people, who are still second-class citizens in this United States of America. My mother was born in your state, Mr. Walter, and my mother was a Quaker, and my ancestors in the time of Washington baked bread for George Washington's troops when they crossed the Delaware, and my own father was a slave.

I stand here struggling for the rights of my people to be full citizens in this country. And they are not. They are not in Mississippi. And they are not in Montgomery, Alabama. And they are not in Washington. They are nowhere, and that is why I am here today. You want to shut up every Negro who has the courage to stand up and fight for the rights of his people, for the rights of workers, and I have been on many a picket line for the steelworkers too. And that is why I am here today. . . .

Mr. ROBESON: In Russia I felt for the first time like a full human being. No color prejudice like in Mississippi, no color prejudice like in Washington. It was the first time I felt like a human being. Where I did not feel the pressure of color as I feel [it] in this Committee today.

Mr. SCHERER: Why do you not stay in Russia?

Mr. ROBESON: Because my father was a slave, and my people died to build this country, and I am going to stay here, and have a part of it just like you. And no Fascist-minded people will drive me from it. Is that clear? I am for peace with the Soviet Union, and I am for peace with China, and I am not for peace or friendship with the Fascist Franco, and I am not for peace with Fascist Nazi Germans. I am for peace with decent people. ....

Mr. ROBESON: Whatever has happened to Stalin, gentlemen, is a question for the Soviet Union, and I would not argue with a representative of the people who, in building America, wasted sixty to a hundred million lives of my people, black people drawn from Africa on the plantations. You are responsible, and your forebears, for sixty million to one hundred million black people dying in the slave ships and on the plantations, and don't ask me about anybody, please.

Mr. ARENS: I am glad you called our attention to that slave problem. While you were in Soviet Russia, did you ask them there to show you the slave labor camps?

THE CHAIRMAN: You have been so greatly interested in slaves, I should think that you would want to see that.

Mr. ROBESON: The slaves I see are still in a kind of semi serfdom. I am interested in the place I am, and in the country that can do something about it. As far as I know, about the slave camps, they were Fascist prisoners who had murdered millions of the Jewish people, and who would have wiped out millions of the Negro people, could they have gotten a hold of them. That is all I know about that.

Source: Congress, House, Committee on Un-American Activities, Investigation of the Unauthorized Use of U.S. Passports, 84th Congress, Part 3, June 12, 1956; in Thirty Years of Treason: Excerpts from Hearings Before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, 1938–1968, Eric Bentley, ed. (New York: Viking Press, 1971), 770.


Saturday, December 21, 2013


Doesn't she look sweet?
But here is the truth about Dawn McSweeney
This is the real Dawn McSweeney
Happy Tree Yoga Guru,
Dawn McSweeney
I have had no Christmases since Dawn McSweeney robbed me of every precious thing I had worked for all my life, every precious gift given to me by my beloved husband, by family and friends through all the years. And then - because the Montreal Police refused to act - along with those she calls her "partners in crime", Dawn McSweeney went on to steal everything my father had worked for all his life.
As I was being attacked, I managed to call 911.
The Montreal Police I called to help me -
helped the thief instead.
Marlene Jennings,
Member of Parliament
Quebec Deputy Police Ethics Commissioner
stated at two public meetings in Montreal,
"Mrs. Carter's rights were violated three times."
Six months after  Dawn McSweeney robbed me -

After I had been pleading with the Montreal Police for six months, Dawn McSweeney finally returned my belongings - that is - the ones she didn't want.
If I didn't die then, I won't until I get back everything Dawn McSweeney stole.

The robbery took place on October 7, 1996 . Now it was mid March, 1997. I believe it was March 17, St. Patrick's Day.
With my heart aching, I carried the suitcase full of empty jewel boxes to the Montreal Police station on Mariette Street in NDG. It is a big old school building taken over at that time by the Montreal Police as their NDG headquarters. The place was dark except for a dim light in the entry hall. There wasn't a sign of a policeman or a police car.

It was the edge of a bitter cold evening. I crossed the street and knocked on the door of a house facing the station. I sat crying my heart out on the icy steps while the people there phoned 911. They were told that I should return to the station and ring the bell. Then a police officer came and answered the door.

What joy it would have given Dawn McSweeney to be witness to my agony when I opened my boxes and cases and found she had stolen everything I had worked for all my life, every precious gift, my every treasure. A lifetime, gone at the hands of a malicious and greedy teenager with the help of the Montreal Police and my mother, a mentally troubled old woman.

The suitcase had been full of my rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, silver, gold, opals, diamonds, amethyst, onyx, topaz, designer works of art. She had taken everything - and spitefully sent back all the empty little velvet and cardboard boxes with friends from my church that had gone to 4995 Prince of Wales, NDG, to recover my things when Dawn called.

She had even opened one box from the bottom and removed my husband's rings from a pill vial, replaced the cotton in the vial and put it back in the middle of the box where I had hidden it among my lingerie and socks, and she resealed the box - at the bottom.

How did she know where I had hidden Cliff's rings? She had been listening when my emissary had gone to the house on my behalf a few days earlier and begged my mother specifically to return three of my most precious items, identifying them by labels I had affixed to all my belongings - stored in the house - some since 1988.
How do I know Dawn was listening behind the kitchen door? She opened the door and laughed and told my messenger and my mother that she and Alex - her boyfriend who had moved in with along with her a few days earlier - had heard every word.
And the Montreal Police - do nothing.

Mid-March, 1997: I showed the police the suitcase full of empty jewel boxes. Then they ostensibly "opened" an investigation. Two male and one female detective came to my place and dusted for fingerprints and finally took the suitcase and the cardboard box to test - they said - at their lab. It really looked serious, official, lots of gadgets. I thought, "At last ! At last !"

Soon afterward, the police told me "There were no fingerprints." They did not say there were many smudged prints. They insisted there were none.

How is that possible? I handled those things. Dawn McSweeney handled those things. Debbie McSweeney handled those things. Boxes that were returned by them were initialled with the letter "D" in felt pen to show they had been checked by either Dawn or Debbie McSweeney ! Friends from my church who picked up the boxes and cases handled them. But the detectives insisted that there were no prints whatsoever. Does anyone wonder why I don't believe them?

The detectives told me that Dawn McSweeney and Alex Lavergne had agreed to take polygraph tests and then changed their minds - "on advice of counsel".
Day after day, night after night, year after year, I plead for the return of my precious belongings while, somewhere in the darkness, the Yoga Guru, Dawn McSweeney, and those she calls her "partners in crime" continue to enjoy all the benefits of everything they stole from me and from my aged parents, and from my siblings and their children -  with the help of the Montreal Police.

And the Montreal Police - do nothing.

And so my battle continues, relentlessly, day and night, until everything that Dawn McSweeney and her partners in crime return everything they stole from me and from the Rubin Family and until the criminals and their accomplices pay for their crimes.
I am offering a $5,000. reward for the return of everything Dawn McSweeney stole from me and from my family, and I am seeking a lawyer to sue the Montreal Police for their participation in these crimes.
The lawyer who wins my case can keep the entire amount I am asking for, $100,000. for damages the Montreal Police caused me and my family through their negligence, irresponsibility and their repeated refusal to take appropriate legal action against the thieves and their repeated refusal to make any attempt to recover my precious belongings. I do not want money. I want what is my own.
Detailed reports are open to the world at  http://dawnmcsweeney.blogspot.com.
More than 121,000 people worldwide have read my reports,
But there is still no justice for
Victims of the Montreal Police.

Friday, December 20, 2013


When a criminal cries out for attention,
The commercial media grabs him up,
And gives him hours, months of publicity.
The thug appears on daytime TV shows -
Before and After,
All slicked up and groomed.
He is interviewed and photographed,
And published,
And paid richly for his time.
He is followed day and night
By the adoring press.
Hotels, restaurants, hair dressers,
Forgiving Christians,
Provide him with loving care.
In fact, he becomes a celebrity,
A media star.
His name and his image
Are embedded in the World Wide Web -
For eternity.
But when a person has committed no crime,
But has become the VICTIM of criminals ...

Thursday, December 19, 2013


CBS THIS MORNING brought us the story of Stephanie Lee. This young woman has suffered one loss after another. The grandparents who raised her died suddenly. Her husband was killed in the military. There was a hurricane. One nightmare after another. Pregnant and suffering labour pains, she drove away from the path of the hurricane. Now alone with two lovely young daughters, Stephanie Lee is facing terminal cancer.
But here's the dream. Stephanie Lee met a reporter for Esquire magazine and the encounter led her to scientists exploring a new and all encompassing plan for finding the exact cause of her cancer through genetics.
There is a brilliant light in the distance. But how far away is that miracle cure? Stephanie Lee is hoping and so are millions of cancer patients. This research could change the world and lift the veil of pain, fear and loss from multitudes of people around the globe.
Here is the story of Stephanie Lee's dream.
Phyllis Carter

The story begins with Warren receiving an email on May 7 of this year from Stephanie Lee, whom he had met in 2005 in Mississippi when working on a story called "Mississippi Goddamn," about how Hurricane Katrina had affected military families. Lee told him she had just found out she had colon cancer. We quickly learn that Lee, "a fine-boned beauty with an intimidating reserve of tensile strength, a single mother whose face settled easily into stoicism and whose eyes lit up with challenge and dare," had lost her husband in Iraq two months earlier, when she was seven months' pregnant, and that she gave birth to a daughter three days after Katrina. Warren and Lee kept in touch through Facebook. Shortly after she messaged Warren that she had colon cancer, she found out that it was stage four.  Warren says he "was on the phone with her the day she was told she was going to die."

We then cut to the introduction of Schadt, where we learn not only about his scientific career and disdain for molecular biologists, but his idiosyncrasies. "No matter the season, he still shows up at both work and most social functions in a uniform of white polo shirt and hiking shorts. He still drives fast enough to terrify his colleagues, though instead of going to work in California on a motorcycle at a hundred miles per hour, he now runs two miles to catch a train to New York City, where he then runs another mile and a half to his office." He is "squat and powerful, his imposingly lumpy brow a phrenologist's dream and his nose the size of a crab apple," they write. Schadt now has everything he needs to pursue his vision, they write, except patients: "He needed someone like Stephanie Lee."

The story now seesaws between Schadt and Lee. Junod and Warren treat Lee with more care and measured language than they expend on Schadt, and I think we understand why. Schadt is a public figure, accustomed to seeing his name in print; Lee is not. What's curious, however, is Lee's attachment to Warren. They seem to be more than Facebook friends. They seem like close friends. Junod and Warren don't say that, but one wonders: How did Lee, who lives in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, on the Gulf, connect with Schadt on the Upper East Side of Manhattan? When they cut back to Schadt, they write, "On June 22, two days after he'd found out about her diagnosis, Schadt called her in Mississippi and told her about a research study he was conducting..." But how did he find out? I guessed that Warren and Junod must have put them in touch. And in an interview on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show on Nov. 27, Junod said that's what happened. That's something they should have told us in the story.

Lee was accepted into that study. Junod and Warren carefully emphasize an important point here: The study is intended to study tumor genes to identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited with drugs to kill the tumors. Its purpose was not to save the lives of its subjects, but to assemble data that could help save the lives of many others later on. For Schadt, who was not a doctor, Lee was not a patient. She was a subject.

We then get much, much more about Lee and her treatment in Mississippi, where she is receiving the best available therapies--what's known as the "standard of care." Nothing Schadt's research might suggest as a possible treatment could be tried until the conventional treatment had failed.

Back in New York, where it has taken more than a month to obtain Lee's tissue samples for study, Junod and Warren walk us through the initial analyses. Here, Junod and Warren betray their fascination with big numbers. Schadt and his team are going to compare Lee's genes with the genes in her tumors, from which they would learn something about her cancer and the mutations that led to it. But the data "would contain millions of bits of genetic information" and "would exist right on the edge of incoherence." Schadt and his colleagues "would strive both to make sense of it and complicate it." The genes in Lee's tumors would be compared with reference databases and plotted against Schadt's network models with their "billions and even trillions of connections." The result would be similar to a model on Schadt's screen, "a blue sphere of genetic entanglement that resembled nothing less than the universe itself." The "mutant particularities of Stephanie's cancer" would "cohere into a malign galaxy the relative size of Andromeda."

This gives us a powerful image--or does it? Do we understand anything about Lee's case by knowing that the data can be made to look like some blue and red concatenation of dots? We're now probably 10,000 words into this story--and we still know little about Lee's tumors, little about what Schadt has found out, and nothing about whether any of his billions of data points will help her.

By Oct. 1, Schadt had an answer: There was nothing they could do.

Schadt admitted "that he was 'not a cancer expert'" and sought out those at Mount Sinai who were. And now, very late in the story, we are told for the first time that three of the mutations in Lee's tumor genes were transferred to a fruit fly for further study--not by Schadt, but by Ross Cagan, another researcher at Mount Sinai. Was he one of those molecular biologists still relying on the old paradigm that Schadt had proven to be false? We're not told. But now Lee's hope of a cure seems to rest with Cagan--not with Schadt, who had found molecular biology to be ridiculously easy. Have Junod and Warren pulled a bait-and-switch on us? Even Cagan's promising lead, however, will not be acted on until Lee has surgery to remove tumors that have spread to her liver--the treatment she likely would have received if she had never connected with Schadt.

But other doctors who reviewed the case suggested that Schadt and Cagan might have more time to continue the work, because Lee had a 40 percent chance to survive for five years. Here Junod and Warren's interest in adding drama to their narrative leads them into a heartless error. "Of course, after three or four years, the patient would die; they always do." That line is offensive. It's untrue, and it's a cruel thing to say to readers with cancer. It's a cruel thing to say to Stephanie Lee. If people with cancer have a 40 percent chance of five-year survival, then they don't always die after three or four years.

The story ends with Lee facing surgery in New Orleans. In the Nov. 20 update, Junod and Warren write that the surgery was successful, and that more tumor tissue had been frozen and sent to Mount Sinai, where it would undergo further analysis. Schadt emails the writers to say "I hope that we look back on this five years from now and just smile at all that has been done since, how this was really the beginning of it all."

That's how they wrap up the update. After all the time we've spent reading about the smartest biologist in the world (or something close to that), we are left with a single clue that actually came from somebody else's laboratory. The writers describe Lee as Patient Zero, because they think of her as the epicenter of "a whole new way of killing cancer."

That was the story's promise, and that was the promise for Stephanie Lee. And Junod and Warren have let all of us down. Lee believes the work at Mount Sinai will be her salvation. When her surgeon came to check on her after the operation, he asked if she had any questions:

She didn't ask about pain or recovery or risk. "Please freeze my tissue so they can analyze it in New York" was the only thing she said.

* * * * * * *
If you're looking for "a whole new way of killing cancer," don't turn to the journals. You'll find it in Esquire.

There Tom Junod and Mark Warren write about a scientist who says the difference between others' research and his is "the difference between medieval alchemy and chemistry."  Trained as a mathematician, he picked up biology from textbooks. "Molecular biology, after pure math, struck him as ridiculously easy," Junod and Warren write.

Some of this puffery seems to come from the mouth of the scientist, Eric Schadt (photo)--chair of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine's Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences in New York and director of its Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology. But Junod and Warren make no effort to tone it down.

Eric SchadtAnd they are quick to add their own accolades. He worked for Merck, where it was true at one point that "half the drugs in development started in Schadt's lab," they write. "Then he told Merck they wouldn't work."

That's because Schadt's research had taught him "that the underlying faith of molecular biology—of all biology, since Watson and Crick had elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule—was false." Molecular biology is not only ridiculously easy; it's a fraud.

We can say one thing about the story: it leaves little doubt where Schadt stands.

Schadt's road-to-Damascus vision was that pursuing links between genes and disease "was a strategy doomed to fail, because disease arose not from single genes or pathways but rather out of vast networks of genes and pathways whose interactions could be understood only by supercomputers guided by abstruse algorithms." The only hint in the story that some had doubts was that Merck declined to bankroll Schadt's new strategy, after he'd spent millions developing drugs that wouldn't work. Or so Junod and Warren report.

But that didn't stop him for long. He soon found "a gambler" to support him. "Well, not really—he heard from Mount Sinai, a century-and-a-half-old hospital and medical school on the East Side of Manhattan," Junod and Warren write. With $150 million from the investor and philanthropist Carl Icahn, Mount Sinai hired Schadt to "claim the future of biology."

It goes on like this. The problem, as you've probably figured out by now, is that this account of Schadt's peerless intelligence appears to rest solely on what the reporters were told by Schadt himself. How do we know that he is anywhere near as smart as he claims to be? What we'd like to read is whether Schadt's view of his own intelligence is shared by any other biologists, who are in a position to know far more about his work and influence than Junod and Warren. As far as we can tell from the piece, the writers naively accepted everything Schadt said, without making any effort to check it out.

In 2009, The New York Times published a short profile of Schadt, in which Lee Hood, a pioneer in the study of pathways and networks of genes, said that Schadt "has the ability to take what everyone knows and think about it in novel ways. He is exceptional at thinking outside the box." That is far more persuasive and helpful than Junod's and Warren's "the underlying faith of molecular biology...was false." Indeed, Hood and Schadt were two of the co-founders of a company Merck bought, which is how Schadt wound up there. The short profile in the Times, which has none of the flash and radiance of Junod and Warren's prose, tells us a few important things that Esquire should have told us as well--but perhaps interviews with others would disrupt that crackling narrative. And what's more important? I suspect Junod and Warren would say, "The narrative!" I would argue for the reporting, even at the risk of slowing the narrative a trifle.

Instead, Junod and Warren are asking us to take their word for it: This guy's a crackerjack, and we wouldn't be writing about him if he weren't. Now close your trap and let us tell the story. The authors' reliance on our trust is unfortunately undermined by their swaggering storytelling, their hyperbole, and the constant straining for the edgy metaphor. They sound like a couple of guys eager for a barroom wager: I'll bet our guy Schadt is smarter than any damn scientist you can find!

It isn't enough for them that Schadt is a smart guy with a good idea; he has to be the smartest guy with the best idea--the only idea! To fit Junod's and Warren's mold, Schadt can't merely challenge his colleagues, he has to prove their entire careers are built on a lie.

This wasn't the first time Esquire put this in such stark terms. Junod and Warren were partly cribbing from Junod's 2011 profile of Schadt in Esquire. Entitled "Adventures in Extreme Science," the story carried this subhed: "From Crick and Watson through J. Craig Venter, we had all our eggs in one basket — molecular biology, gene mapping, whatever you want to call it. It failed. And now we're counting on this guy."

Schadt's networks of networks do take molecular biology into a new area, but they don't prove it failed. Quite the opposite: Schadt could not do his work if the human genome had not been sequenced. Molecular biology is the universe in which Schadt operates; gene sequencing and mapping are the tools he must have to do his research. Schadt is doing what all scientists do--building on the success and failures of the past. Molecular biology might not have cured all disease--apparently the standard by which Schadt wants to judge it--but it has succeeded brilliantly at providing the tools and the data Schadt needs to construct his networks.

If Junod and Warren understand this, they are unwilling to admit it. And let's face it: The story of a revolutionary scientist overthrowing decades of work costing hundreds of billions of dollars is a far more exciting narrative than the story of preliminary research that is likely to be years away from doing anyone any good. By Schadt's and Junod's own standard--curing disease--Schadt has so far failed more completely than molecular biologists. They've cured a few; he hasn't cured a single one.

Looking back through the record just a little bit, it seems there are reasons to be skeptical of Junod's work. If you're a fan of Michael Stipe and R.E.M., you might remember this, from an Esquire profile of Stipe originally published in 2001 and republished online Jan. 4, 2013:

He had sat down in the booth of the old-line coffee shop in L. A., declined the waitress's offer of eggs and coffee, and then unscrewed the top of the sugar jar and eaten heartily, first with a spoon and then, as the jar emptied, simply by tipping it into his mouth.

Whether you remember it or not, you might be interested to know that Junod later admitted making it up. Junod and Esquire's editor, David Granger, defended themselves by pointing to this in the subhed:

He is the singer for a great band, but he's a bit... generic. Hell, in order to make him a great mythic rock-'n'-roller, it's almost as if you have to make half the story up. So that's what we did. But only half.

And where is it written that Junod and Granger have to make him a mythic rock-'n'-roller? If he's generic, by which they must mean dull, they should do a profile of someone else. They also noted that the original story linked to annotation that showed what was true and what was false. That link does not appear in this year's re-publication. At the time, Peter Carlson of The Washington Post wrote, "Basically, every scene involving Stipe's eccentric or idiotic behavior is fiction."

On the other hand, Junod is a two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and a 10-time finalist, according to Wikipedia. So what do we conclude? Magazine editors prefer overheated prose to facts? I can't figure it out.

The Schadt story--which runs about 13,000 words--was headlined, "There's a Whole New Way of Killing Cancer. Stephanie Lee Is the Test Case. An Amazing Story by Tom Junod & Mark Warren." (Raeburn's rule: When the editors have to tell you it's an amazing story, it probably isn't.) The story appeared online around the end of October. I can't find a date on it, but Esquire published an update on Nov. 20 entitled "Patient Zero: One Month Later." (The story's URL suggests it appears in the December issue of the magazine.)

To keep readers' attention for 13,000 words, Junod and Warren needed rich central characters--there are only two of them, Schadt and a patient named Stephanie Lee--and a crackling narrative. And on those points, they deliver. The story is gripping, and the characters are engaging.

But what we really want to know is what is Schadt's whole new way of killing cancer? And did it save Stephanie Lee's life?

The story is a disappointment. There is no new way of killing cancer. Not yet. For Lee, it's more than a disappointment. It's a false hope. She thinks the research in New York will save her life.

Schadt, Junod and Warren report, says her chance is one in a thousand.

Paul Raeburn



Wednesday, December 18, 2013



Mwacha asili ni mtumwa -
He who renounces his ancestry is like a slave
Swahili proverb

Over the five hundred years since Europe began its process of world domination, the traditional societies and cultures of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas, have suffered great and often violent and disastrous change. Far from being the 'civilizing' influence its apologists claim it to be, the European presence was often the most destructive event ever to have occurred among the people who came into contact with it.

The vast majority of such cultures simply did not survive the shock of the collision, whilst those that did lost much of their original traditions and ways of life, as well as their cosmologies - their conception of the universe, and of their place within it.

In Africa, it is these cosmologies which bind all peoples together, for ultimately the entire continent is interconnected - not only on the real level of people and trade, culture and beliefs, but also in supernatural and metaphysical terms. Everything is bound and connected, known and relativised... tales relate the lives of founders of lineages, tribes, civilisations and kingdoms; they relate encounters with spirits and supernatural forces, battles with them, kingly figures, ritual leaders, images of nature and people and the things known and unknown which held them together. The tales talk of dreams as much as they preserve the remembrance of the past in the form of oral history. They were a way of educating children. In short, the universe itself was explained, and known.

These last five centuries have witnessed the mass extinction of human cultures, each one of which was unique to the world. Each loss is irreversible, and only adds to the increasing impoverishment of mankind as a whole. Sadly, this process of change and destruction has only accelerated in the twentieth century, as the Europeans finally gave the world its formal independence.

The new cultural entities that resulted - nation states - are largely artificial creations whose boundaries were decided by European interests, invariably ignoring older boundaries that may have existed between various groups of peoples and cultures before the Europeans came. As a result, the new post-colonial nations often have no strong historical or cultural roots, for they are essentially European creations.

Economically, they are still largely controlled (or owned) by European or North American multinational corporations, on whom their crop markets depend, and on whose governments they rely for loans (to be paid back with swingeing interest) when things go wrong. This phenomenon is called neo-colonialism.

The new countries are also politically unstable, in part because the original political, social and judicial structures which ensured a degree of peace or status quo were long ago discarded; the new Western-style governments which have taken their place are easily corruptible, notably by those who can afford to pay: Western companies and governments. The end result, of course, is the colossal mess we know today, fed to us via news reports about civil wars, brutal dictatorships, embezzlement of entire nations' resources in Swiss bank accounts, coups d'etats, famines and epidemics, and the plight of isolated and powerless peoples such as the Ogoni of Nigeria and the Okiek of Kenya.

Meanwhile, who in power - political or economic - gives a damn about the people of these countries? The majority, certainly in Kenya, are now poorer in both money and material terms than they were immediately after independence. Culturally, their entire ways of life have been changed, from their sense of identity to their religions. And despite the best efforts of certain enlightened African scholars, leaders, and indeed some non-African organisations, the changes cannot be unmade.

Of Kenya's forty-two officially-recognised tribes (there are many more in reality), about half - roughly 70% of the population - have lost the majority of their traditional ways. By this, I mean that their essential cultural institutions have been almost entirely 'Westernized' - society, laws, religions, cultures, marriage customs, their economic mode of life, dress, and music.

Christianity is the most visible agent of change in Kenya, though ironically the religion has its roots in the colonial experience. It was used by European administrators to create an African elite - albeit one far beneath the rank and influence of the European settlers - which served the colonial administration in the form of clerks, policemen and minor officials.

Christianity was also used as a 'pacifying' influence, through which it was hoped that the 'natives' would recognise the moral superiority of the colonists, and so not oppose them. The Christian missionaries of course themselves believed in their own righteousness, and in their right to impose by hook or crook their cosmological views and values upon the locals. Sadly, too many such Church missions organised around the very same principles are still active today - their aim, as ever, to convert the 'pagan natives' to the Love of Jesus, at whatever cost. For more on this, see my contextual essay about Kenyan Religions & Beliefs.

The Colonial Experience

The east African Republic of Kenya is a young nation which did not even exist 150 years ago, and which only achieved its independence from the British in 1963, after a long and bloody struggle against its colonial oppressors.

It's a kind of irony that Kenya was not even conceived by Africans, but by European politicians, militarists, colonists and administrators at the end of the nineteenth century, who had between them agreed respective 'spheres of influence' in East Africa. This period, which is seen by historians as one of the crucial stages in the escalation of inter-European rivalry which ultimately led to the First World War, was called the 'Scramble for Africa'. In East Africa, Britain received control of what is now Kenya and Uganda; the Italians were given free rein in Abyssinia (Ethiopia and Somalia); and the new nation-state of Germany received the area to the south of Kenya, namely modern-day Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

Mount KilimanjaroAt no time in this period - or indeed throughout the seventy years of abusive colonialism which followed - was ever more than fleeting consideration given to the people who actually lived in East Africa, and whose lives were being turned upside-down by the Europeans.


The arrogant disregard shown by the new overlords was even set down in black and white in the form of Kenya's borders, which were determined not by the languages or distribution of its peoples, nor by their cultures or traditions, and not even by geography, but by military interests and even haphazard whimsy, which is how the southern border with Tanzania came to be defined.

The German Emperor Wilhelm I, who had been given control of what became Tanzania, very much wanted possession of Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. To appease his ego, the British (in the form of his grandmother, Queen Victoria) relented, and through the 1886 Anglo-German Agreement the otherwise straight border was drawn with a large kink around Kilimanjaro, so that the mountain was entirely included in German-controlled territory.

The period of colonialism which followed was a litany of abuse, oppression, fear and misrule. Although the British had spent much of the nineteenth century opposing slavery (after much pushing from the Anti-slavery Society), it became abundantly clear that as far as the government was concerned, this had been not so much for moral reasons as for financial, military and political gain: an opportunity to hit its rivals.

Within a decade of venturing into the Kenyan interior, vast tracts of Kenya's most fertile land were being stolen by the British for their own farms and estates.

The theft lasted for several more decades at the beginning of the twentieth century, and included the sacred mountains of Mount Kenya (Kirinyaga), Nyandarua (the Aberdare Range), much of the Rift Valley, the far west north of Nyanza (Lake Victoria), and over eighty percent of Maasai grazing lands. Access to the land was restricted by barbed wire fences and armed sentries, although some people were tolerated as 'squatters' (on their own lands!), so long as they agreed to spend part of their labours for the benefit of the new landowner.

To make way for these farms, millions of people were uprooted and forced to settle elsewhere, often in crowded 'Reserves' or 'protected villages' (nothing other than concentration camps) on inferior land controlled by the British, where the movements and activities of the 'natives' were severely restricted. As though losing their land and freedom was not enough, large numbers of livestock were also confiscated or forcibly sold by the colonial government, ostensibly to prevent overstocking (logically, in a Machiavellian sense, for most of the land had been stolen), but in reality to protect the investment of the new European ranches.

Other Africans were forced into the urban labour markets of cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru to become dependant on the cash economy (if they were lucky enough to avoid unemployment), whilst others were conscripted into the army to fight in the white men's wars, notably in the First World War.

Others were simply taken from their homes and used as forced labour, and were whipped, beaten or imprisoned if they refused or attempted to escape. And if an entire village was unlucky enough to have chosen to oppose the colonial government, they were brutally 'pacified' by military patrols, who seemed happy to massacre entire villages in their mission to quell 'dissent'. Needless to say, never was a penny in compensation ever paid to those dispossessed by the new order, unless one counts the farcical 'land treaties' by which some embattled local leaders were obliged to cede control of their land for a pittance.

Colonisation was officially-sanctioned theft on an unimaginably large scale - that of entire peoples and, ultimately, of their cultures. Needless to say, the British did not see it that way. They convinced themselves that people who wore skins, who lived in 'mud huts', who used bows and arrows, and who perhaps worshipped their ancestors and dozens of spirits - in short, a people whom they did not understand - were nothing other than 'savage' or 'primitive'. I have a 1934 book called 'The Story of the World in Pictures', which refers to the Kikuyu as 'Middle Barbarians', yet even this is something of a complement given that that accolade was four ranks higher than the status of 'Lower Savage' accorded the Vedda of Sri Lanka, among others.

These savages and barbarians, the Europeans believed, certainly could not have developed the supposedly advanced notion of land ownership; therefore, they thought, all the land in Kenya was rightfully theirs to take.

Apart from such twisted and racist logic, also helping the colonists smooth away their guilt and doubts, if such guilt and doubts ever existed, were the Christian missionaries who followed them, and who had in many parts actually preceded the establishment of the colony, paving the way for a more efficient conquest. From the coast to the far west of the country, they went loudly proclaiming the heathen status of the natives, or worse: some tribes were accused of devil worship, others of worshipping multiple gods or ancestors. All these preconceptions, needless to say, were completely false, and arose both out of utter ignorance as well as simple racism.

Of course, there was nothing more primitive than the British point of view itself - its disregard for entire peoples, traditions, lands and customs; its persistent misinterpretation of facts to suit their own purposes; the unwillingness of the British to consider Africans as equals; their racism; their views that Africans were 'heathens'... The only really dark thing about the continent was the European's ignorance of it: as the Nigerian author Chinweizu wrote in his short poem "Colonizer's Logic":

These natives are unintelligent -
We can't understand their language.