John Pasmore's Occassional Blog


The Maori Revolution


Recent fascination with all things South of the Equator continues. The BBC reports that New Zealand activist Tame Iti pictured above has been arrested for planning what would amount to revolutionary or terrorist activities (depending on one’s perspective). Iti has been an activist for indigenous rights as well as a business person, family man and entertainer. 17 others were arrested and it seems there are two very different versions of what his group was doing or about to do; ranging from the authorities view that they intervened and disrupted a guerrilla-style training camp to the more benign view that the group was more comical than dangerous. In any event, Iti had been under surveillance for 18 months, and as a vocal supporter of Maori sovereignty the event sends a message that Big Brother, as one might suspect, is certainly watching.

Development Down Under


For some reason Australia has been a recurring theme in the media that crosses my path. The picture above is from an article in The Guardian and says, more or less, that the Aborigines were a bit more developed than scientist may have believed. Unrelated to the article and prior to reading it, I watched Ten Canoes this week. A kind of spoken word recounting of an Aboriginal myth that is more entertaining than that probably sounds.

More so than Australia as a recurring theme, development and the idea of what constitutes development as been a greater theme. I am reading Walter Rodney’s, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” and he frames development for the individual as: “…implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility, and material well-being.” That seems fine, and it’s hard to argue than even for those people who are worst off in a country like the United States are still much better off than most in many other places. And, for me, I wonder if development in terms of greater well-being for a few at the expense of many others (I believe the prosperity of rich countries is generally at some expense to less powerful) is truly development.

The Future


The Tate Modern in London tossed up a show on Global Cities. As you can imagine the World is getting smaller and more cramped putting great strains on the environment as well as on everyone who has to navigate the increasingly burdened streets, subways and sidewalks. The photo is: Saõ Paulo: an apartment building for the wealthy overlooks a favela, ironically called Paraisópolis (Paradise city). Photo: Luiz Arthur Leirão Vieira.” And illustrates another aspect of our new Cities and that is the disparity between haves and have nots. The questions raised are compelling. One question is how optimistic should we be that we haven’t created problems s large and complex with mega-cities that we are reaching proportions where solutions are too complicated to implement. Check it: Tate Modern