Tag Archives: letter

Video: Patti Smith Reads Letter to Friend & One-Time Lover Robert Mapplethorpe

On March 9, 2014 at MoMa PS1, in memorial of her friend and one-time lover Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith read a letter she wrote to him a few days before he died in 1989, but that he never got to read. The letter is included in her book, “Just Kids.”

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Prominent Canadians Support Neil Young As He Fights for the Rights of the First Nations Communities

Photo via The Globe and Mail.

A group of Canadian authors, musicians, and climate scientists today (January 20, 1014) released a letter of support to the “Honor The Treaties” campaign.

Here is the text of that letter:

On his Honour the Treaties tour, Neil Young is doing what poets do – forcing us to examine ourselves. This is hard enough on a personal level and it can be even more difficult when we are being asked to examine the direction in which our country is headed.

The time has come for Canada to decide if we want a future where First Nations rights and title are honoured, agreements with other countries to protect the climate are honoured, and our laws are not written by powerful oil companies. Or not.

Neil’s tour has triggered the Prime Minister’s Office and oil company executives. They have come out swinging because they know that this is a hard conversation and they might lose. But that should not stop the conversation from happening.

Instead of focusing on Neil Young’s celebrity, Prime Minister Harper should inform Canadians how he plans to honour the treaties with First Nations. This means ensuring the water, land, air, and climate are protected so the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations and other First Nations communities be able to hunt, fish, gather plants and live off the land. Canada signed a treaty with them 114 years ago, and this must be honoured.

The world is watching as we decide who we will become. Will we disregard the treaties we have with First Nations? Will we continue to allow oil companies to persuade our government to gut laws, silence scientists, and disassemble civil society in order to allow reckless expansion of the oil sands?

We are proud to stand with Neil Young as he challenges us all to think about these larger, more profound and humane questions.

Now is the time for leadership and to honour promises that we have made, not personal attacks.

Michael Ondaatje, author, Officer of the Order of Canada
Margi Gillis, dancer, Member of the Order of Canada
Clayton Ruby, lawyer, Member of the Order of Canada
Dr. David Suzuki, scientist, Companion of the Order of Canada
Dr. David Schindler, scientist, Officer of the Order of Canada
Stephen Lewis, Companion of the Order of Canada
Joseph Boyden, author
Gord Downie, musician
Sarah Harmer, musician
Naomi Klein, author
Dr. John Stone, scientist
Tzeporah Berman, author
Amanda Boyden, author
Neve Campbell, actor
Wade Davis, author
Dr. Danny Harvey, climate scientist
J.B. MacKinnon, author
Dan Managan, musician
Sid Marty, author
Andrew Nikiforuk, author
Rick Smith, author
John Valliant, author
Ronald Wright, author

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Watch & Listen: Bob Dylan’s Infamous 1963 Tom Paine Award Speech

Dylan accepting Tom Paine award.

Fifty years and two days ago an inebreated Bob Dylan shocked an audience of liberals at the Emergency Civil Liberties Union’s (E.C.L.U.) annual Bill of Rights dinner when on receiving their prestigious Tom Paine Award, he launched into a rant (see below) that in part attacked members of the audience as well as those on the stage with him.

In the days following the speech a letter was sent by one of the organizers of the dinner to all the attendees of the dinner defending the E.C.L.U.’s choice of Dylan to get the award that year.

Dylan ended up writing an open letter which was really a long poem (on page two of this post) in which he tried to explain where he was coming from when he made his speech and what he was talking about.

The video below is taken from Martin Scorsese’s “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan” documentary.

Transcript of the full speech:

I haven’t got any guitar, I can talk though. I want to thank you for the Tom Paine award in behalf everybody that went down to Cuba. First of all because they’re all young and it’s took me a long time to get young and now I consider myself young. And I’m proud of it. I’m proud that I’m young. And I only wish that all you people who are sitting out here today or tonight weren’t here and I could see all kinds of faces with hair on their head – and everything like that, everything leading to youngness, celebrating the anniversary when we overthrew the House Un-American Activities just yesterday, – Because you people should be at the beach. You should be out there and you should be swimming and you should be just relaxing in the time you have to relax. (Laughter) It is not an old peoples’ world. It is not an old peoples’ world. It has nothing to do with old people. Old people when their hair grows out, they should go out. (Laughter) And I look down to see the people that are governing me and making my rules – and they haven’t got any hair on their head – I get very uptight about it. (Laughter)

— continued —

Use this link or the one below below to get to the rest of this post.

Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s Open Letter About Penal Colony Brutality


It’s now been widely reported that Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has started a hunger strike to protest conditions at Russia’s Penal Colony No 14, where she has been serving a two-year sentence since August of 2012 after being convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.”

But most people haven’t read the actual text of Tolokonnikova’s open letter (published on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 in The Guardian), in which she announced her hunger strike. You should read it.

Here’s the letter.