Impressions on Peruvian Food

Blessings Mi Irieites,

We are at this moment in Lima, Peru’s capital and having a blast. While between press conferences and interviews, I’ve managed to tuck in to some of the dishes in this country of diverse culture. It is amazing just to witness the variety of fruits and vegetables that this place, the back bone of the Andes, has to offer.

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i’m tasting a blended smoothie, which includes bananas, almond milk, walnuts and one of Peru’s most favoured fruits, the “lucuma.” For the millions out there that don’t know this fruit, it’s hard to describe it really.

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Let’s put it this way, it’s about the size of an orange. The fleshy part has the colour of an egg yolk and it’s dry taste, is that of a cross between a roasted breadfruit and a baked sweet potato – just loaded with all the B vitamins. Incidentally, it is used here to make ice cream!

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Thanks Peru! Now being freshly energized with these healthy foods, Steel Pulse will definitely be giving y’all a great show tonight.

A Tribute to Rubin “Hurricane” Carter (1937-2014)

Hail Mi Irieites,


Middleweight boxer, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, became quite a controversial figure in the mid-70s thanks to icons like Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan. Born May 6th 1937 in Clifton New Jersey (a mere 6 weeks before Joe Louis became Heavyweight Champion of the World), Carter, after serving a series of time in Juvenile centres, joined the US army at an early age. It was in the army that he became an active pugilist, going on to turn professional by age 24.

Unfortunately, his career was stopped in its tracks in June 1966, when the authorities wrongfully accused him of a triple murder that took place in a bar in Patterson (not Floyd), New Jersey. And although he was not identified by the survivors of the shooting, a trial took place the following year finding him and a friend that was with him at the time of his arrest, guilty. There he was -sentenced to life imprisonment.

Carter and his supporters contested the sentence over the years. Finally there was light at the end of the tunnel when the judge declared him a free man, in November 1985.

But like l said, it was the likes of Ali and Dylan that brought home to the nation the injustice served on this individual. Carter wrote a book during his incarceration in 1975 titled “The 16th Round.” Dylan read it and wrote a song called “Hurricane,” of which he went on to perform it at the Trenton State Prison; the prison where Carter himself, was “residing.”

In 1999, Denzel Washington starred as Hurricane Carter, a film of the boxer’s journey to freedom from behind bars. By this time Rubin Carter was already living in Canada and, talk about lightening striking twice, he was arrested once again. Only this time he was mistaken for a drug dealer wanted by the authorities. They realised their mistake when they acknowledged that Carter, then aged almost 60, was not in his mid 30’s like the suspect they were looking for.

Once again, I have lucked out on meeting this incredible person. But his quest for survival through the injustice will always stay with me. Rubin went on to be quite an active speaker at many events. He earned himself, among other things, two honorary Doctorates of Law, in 2005. Steel Pulse announced his death yesterday evening while performing to our fans in Vail, Colorado. The “Hurricane” passed after a two-year fight with prostate cancer. He was 76 years old. We share our love and condolences with his friends, families and the supporters that believed in his innocence.

R.I.P. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Hail Mi Irieites,

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Sometimes the art of the writer creates a world bigger, bolder, and brighter than the one we live in.  Such was the case with Gabriel Garcia Marquez – the Colombian exile who was first a journalist and then one of the greatest writers who ever lived.  What impresses me most is his commitment to the truth and speaking the truth for all.  It was Marquez who said that he wanted governments to care about poor people, and that was what he was looking at when he evaluated a nation’s soul.  He made friends in high and low places, uniting people across the planet through the shared love of his art. That was his greatest achievement, and that is what artists have always aspired to. You will live forever, Gabo.

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Here is the last fragment from One Hundred Years of Solitude: “… races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”

I confess I must read more of his work, as should we all. “Love and justice through literature” – that was Marquez.

The Great Train Robbery @ 50

Hail Mi Irieites,

There have been speculations as to the exact date, but I will put it that today, April 16th 2014 marks the 50th anniversary since 9 men were sentence to a period of 30 years for their part in one of the biggest robbery in British history.

The Great Train Robbery took place in the early hours on the 8th August 1963. The Royal Mail train was scheduled to travel between Glasgow and London and was attacked by about 15 men, spearheaded by Bruce Reynolds. Ultimately, 2.6million pounds (the equivalent to 73,000,000 dollars, today), was stolen from the transport, which started one of the most infamous manhunt in British history.

Although Bruce Reynolds was the ringleader and Buster Edwards went on to have films made of him, the name that everyone still brings to mind of this wild experience was Ronald Arthur Biggs. Ronald Biggs, who recently died last December, became legendary when he escaped from Wandsworth Prison, only serving just over two years of his 30-year sentence. From there he went on the run all over the world for at least 35 years, spending much of his time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Steel Pulse was fortunate to link with Ronnie Biggs on quite a few occasions, in Brazil. “It is not often that one gets confronted with a legend.” It was at a time when Brazil was contemplating whether to extradite Biggs back to England, although they had no such treaty in place between the two countries. Biggs, being the father of a Brazillian citizen was given the rights to stay by the Brazillian authorities for that reason. But he was to lose those rights once the child, Michael (who went on to be a young celebrity), became an adult. Biggs went on to win his claim to remain in Brazil. So you can imagine how angry Britain was for not getting their way.

Mike, if you are out there, please make a link. It would be good to catch up on old times, bro….

RASpect: Sidney Poitier

Greeting Mi Irieites,

Here’s another day to remember, ’cause today is the 50th anniversary when Sidney Poitier won best actor for the film, “Lilies of the Field.”

It was no easy road for actors of colour, like Sidney Poitier in Hollywood, so to be the first black actor to win an Oscar back in 1964 was an incredible feat in itself.

Sidney was born on February 20th, 1927 in Miami of Bahamian parents. In his early acting years there were drama institutions for “Negroes,” as the term was put in those days. But he was not too favourable by those who attended due to him being ‘tone deaf.” Being able to sing was a very important credential for black actors, therefore Sidney was immediately at a disadvantage, not to mention his mono tone Bahamian accent that he tried very hard to get rid of.

But more success snowballed his way. With the racial climate of segregation as it was in the USA, he was chosen to star in 3 films after receiving his Academy award: “To Sir with Love,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and In the Heat of the Night. (1967).

Acting is not Sidney’s only forte. He went to direct many a great films; “Stir Crazy,” starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, is one that I can immediately bring to mind. And come this August will be the 5th anniversary since he received his Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

May I mention, that in our little ghetto world back in the UK as well as the Caribbean, Sidney Poitier was our pride and joy. No matter how brief he appeared on TV, we would stop whatever we were doing to watch who we thought was representing us…”Gwarn cuz, go deh!”

Ride On Sidney, ride on!

More Thoughts on the Pistorius Trial

Still Pissed off.

So Oscar Pistorius is on the witness stand and may I add that he has ‘added’ a lot more to his series of events than he initially placed in his final statement. Why are we not surprised? And what he has added still doesn’t make any sense. Comments like:

He whispered to Reeva to call the police. Well, if he whispered how did he expect Reeva to speak out to the police if he was all about keeping quiet because of “an intruder.” Would you not think Reeva would react in some kind of way towards that order? Why did he not respond back to her when he did not get any verification from Ms Steenkamp that she heard his demand to call the police, or that she heard that so called “noise,” too?

He said he had asked her to take the fan from the balcony before he fell asleep and she said she would. Therefore, she didn’t sleep the time he said she did. Plus, why was he so concerned about a fan when he had air conditioning in the bedroom along with its remote right next to his side of the bed? Are you feeling me on this one, Mi Irieites? Anyway, he goes on to saying that when he woke again to get the fan from the balcony, Reeva supposed to have said, “Can’t you sleep?” His reply was “No”, and then he went to get the fan. Now the question is, why would Reeva, who had just a few seconds spoke with him, go all the way down to the bathroom and go in to the toilet and lock herself in, in total darkness knowing that he was already awake? If he knew that he had spoken to Reeva only moments ago why would he not ask Reeva right away, (right there in the bedroom) who, according to him was obviously awake when she answered him, if she was there and if she heard any kind of noise? Please bear in mind, I have yet to come across anything in his statement or otherwise as to the reason why he would wake up in the middle of the night to get the fan. He has made no mention to being hot or whatever. Even so, it takes me right back to the point I am making and that’s why drag yourself out of your sleep to get a fan when the remote for the air conditioning is right next to you on your bedside table?

If Pistorius were as paranoid as he wants us to believe, would he not do a thorough security check around the entire building before going to sleep, as a rule of thumb? He claims that he heard the bathroom door slam and that’s how he knew some “intruder’ was in there. This story was nowhere to be found in his initial statement. To place more fuel to this fire, he stated that he heard the bathroom door “slam shut.” If so, why would Reeva go to the bathroom in total darkness and enter the toilet area then “slam” the door shut? If an intruder were sneaking around why would he/she slam the door shut, in the dark?

We must all bear in mind that at least 5 witnesses said they heard a woman screaming followed by shots that night. Why would as much as five witnesses, living in different locations all hear the same thing? Why didn’t one say “well I heard a dog barking or a hyena or wolf howling followed by a swishing sound? Furthermore, all the witnessed hear the shots in the early hours, close to 3.00am that night. Why didn’t one say, “Well, I heard the shots at 1.00am”or another say, “I heard it about 4.30am?” All witnesses said the heard the shots and screams roughly the same time, given a minute or two, as a time difference.

How will Pistorius explain the damage to his own bedroom door? How does he explain the blood splatters in different parts of the house, other than the bathroom and where he left her downstairs?

Why would someone move a body after it suffered such mortal injuries, and take it downstairs? What was to be gained in saving Reeva’s life by moving her body? Commonsense tells us all that she would be more harmed by moving her body.

Another point we should not overlook and that is the fact that when the police asked Pistorius for the password for his cell phone, he said he had forgotten it. How convenient.

In all honesty, the prosecution has been very weak; weak to the point where I wonder if they are purposely intending on losing this case. The defense now will spend all the time trying to chip away on the text messages showing a disgruntled Reeva and will be trying to show that she was a needy and jealous person, too. This should cancel out the accusations of Pistorius’ going off on tantrum syndromes and bad tempered behaviour, said by people that know him. The prosecution doesn’t need any witnesses really; and if they do, why not use all 107 of them? No one gives a damn about we the taxpayer’s money, anyway. All they need to do is hone in on Mr. Pistorius’ statement and they will get everything they need.

The question still is, does Pistorius deserve an Oscar for his courtroom performance?

A Prayer for Rwanda 20 Year Later

Yes, Mi Irietes,

Today, April 7th 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of one of the saddest days in African history. It was the beginning of the Rwandan Civil War that lasted a good part of 100 days. It was estimated that a total exceeding 800,000 people were massacred during that time. That’s just about 20% of the population of which 70% of were of the Tutsi tribe; one of the three main tribes in the country.

The war started when an aircraft carrying the Rwandan President, Juvenel Habyriman and the Burundi President, Cyprien Ntaryamira, both from the “Hutu’ tribe was shot down a day before, while attempting to land in the capital, Kigali. Both Presidents and their delegates were all killed. And although things have been brewing between the Hutu and the Tutsi tribe for several decades, this was believed to be the catalyst that triggered off this genocide in 1994.

But this horror will also be remembered for the moral blindness of the UN, the USA and Great Britain. History condemns these nations for standing by and watching – without action. France too is condemned for giving their moral support to the governing Hutu faction, who carried out this genocide.

What was even more sad to remember, were the thousands prisoners that paid their captors to shoot them as oppose to be cut to pieces by their captors with a machete. The movie “Hotel Rwanda,” starring Don Cheadle, just cannot compare to the harsh reality that took place 20years ago.

Like I said …”It’s time to sip from the cup of peace, let’s strive for racial equality,”

Peace Party. Rwanda has made great strides and is rising from the ashes. But we – all humanity – must never forget. Love over Hate.

Remembering Marvin: 30 Years After

Hail Mi Irieites,

Though still out of action, I just had to take a few moment to think of Marvin Gaye, struck down 30 years ago today. I was fortunate to have seen him many years ago back in England at the American Embassy. It was not long after that he made his comeback hit, “Sexual Healing.” Not many acts can get a second chance of success, but Marvin certainly did ’til the tragedy happened.

His biography, Divided Soul - was a real eye-opener. I read it the moment it came out. While studying it, one could clearly see that he was destined to be killed by his father. As a matter of fact the gun that killed him was actually a Christmas present he had given to his father, Marvin Senior. An epic tragedy on every level.

May his children continue to be proud of the songs this man has produced for mankind.

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