Follow @JohnPlatinumG Yesterday I cycled over to Alcester for the Folk Festival (about 35 miles there and back). I used to do that every working day 19 years ago (48 minutes for one half of the journey was the fastest I ever did it but that was with a tail wind) and it was largely the same route I went yesterday, except I used to cycle up to Headless Cross, where I worked, instead of straight on down the Alcester Road. I use my bike in Birmingham for short journeys but it soon comes home to you when you are not as fit as you used to be, proving there has to be some correlation between age and fitness, as no doubt others have observed. Cycling everyday keeps you fit, and occasional stretches like yesterday, just show you what wicked tricks time can play on lazy people. On the way home in the evening I stopped for a pee, and got bitten by mosquitoes on my bare legs. Only the females bite. It was Kipling, not me, who said "the female of the species is more deadly than the male." My thoughts turn to poor Julian Assange.
I've been taking a bit of a break from writing blog-posts and articles in order to recharge my batteries and attend to a few neglected jobs about the house and garden. Although I have not been writing articles, blogs or poems, I have been writing letters and raising FOI (Freedom of Information) requests. Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli I am very proud to say published copies of my letters to the new Swedish prosecution counsel, Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who is acting for Sofia Wilen, one of Assange's accusers. The letters and the reason I wrote them are presented on his Professors Blogg.
Professor de Noli is an esteemed academic who has made a substantial contribution to medicine with his research into increased suicidal behaviour in the immigrant communities across Sweden's cross-cultural society, together with other research of a similar nature. His personal history is fascinating. He was imprisoned under Pinochet as a political anti-Fascist opponent. Valued intellectual friends of his were killed during the Pinochet dictatorship, and he later called for Pinochet to face trial for murders and other crimes against humanity. People who oppress others seem to attract one another and Margaret Thatcher opposed the extradition of her good friend Pinochet and saved what was left of his evil life. What is perhaps not as well-known is Professor Noli's accomplishment as an artist and painter. The portrait below is one he did of his fellow-prisoner and friend in Quiriquina Island Prison Camp. Reading details of this period of his life is disturbing but adds an important chapter to the history of anti-Fascism.
"Portrait of political prisoner Armando Popa. Marcello Ferrada-Noli. Drawing on paper. Quiriquina Island Prisoners Camp, 1974. Armando Popa was at the time medical student and a fellow prisoner at Quiriquina Island. The drawing was made in November 30th 1973, while we were in captivity at the camp. Armando Popa and his brother Ricardo survived and became physicians in exile, working respectively in Singapore and Stockholm, Sweden."