On The Music Box: Jori Hulkkonen
(Marie Spartali Stillmann – Madonna Pietra degli Scrovegni)
I am that
I am that which is highest.
I am that which is lowest.
I am that which is All.
-Mother Julian of Norwich
So it seems that there can be a bit of change in the world. Now, if the public will only keep the fire to the feet of the New Democratic Majority….
Must Scoot Along… Much To Do!
On the Menu
Negativland – Gimme The Mermaid
Noor Inayat Khan
Poetry: Hadewijch of Antwerp
Negativland – Gimme The Mermaid (a big thanks to Morgan!)
copyright-copyfree-copyright-copyfree-copyright-copyfree-copyright-copyfree— The ongoing struggle…
“She was a woman who, between courses, could be graceful with her elbows on the table.”
“The Romans would never have found time to conquer the world if they had been obliged first to learn Latin.”
“I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.”
“Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.”
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”
“When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘Present’ or ‘Not guilty.’”
Noor Inayat Khan
Noor Inayat Khan lived a remarkable life of self sacrifice for the cause of freedom. Brought up in the mystical Sufi tradition, Noor abhored violence but she willingly volunteered for the dangerous task of being a secret agent in occupied France.
Noor was the great great great granddaughter of the celebrated Muslim ruler of Mysore – Tipu Sultan, who in the 18th Century fought the British, stemming their advance into South India. Ever after the British held the family with high suspicion but her father Hazrat Inayat Khan did not pursue a political path. Instead Hazrat Inayat Khan was responsible for bringing the great spiritual tradition of Sufi mysticism to the West. In particular Hazrat emphasized the role of music as a means of promoting spirituality. Hazrat Inayat Khan married an American, Ora Meena Ray Baker Noor (distantly related to Mary Eddy Baker founder of the Christian Science movement) The couple married in Paris and settled in Russia. Hazrat Inayat Khan was also the father of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan who was later to take on the leadership of the Sufi order in the West.
Noor was born in Russia in 1914 and after a brief spell living in England the family relocated to France. Noor believed in the principles of ahimsa (non violence) but in the face of overwhelming Nazi aggression of 1939-40 she felt compelled to take an active role in the liberation of Europe. (see link at end for her discussion of non violence with her brother Pir Vilayat) Therefore Noor decided to flee France and getting on one of the last boats to England, she was able to sign up in the WAAF (the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) where she trained as a wireless operator. Since Noor stood out as an accomplished wireless operator and was also bilingual in French and English she was invited to join the SOE on a perilous mission as a radio operative in occupied France. She was told about the potential dangers but Noor was quite eager to participate and also working as a radio operative did not compromise her principles of non violence.
Not everyone was certain she had the temperament to be a secret agent. One cynical British spymaster remarked she seemed over emotional to be a spy. However his judgement may well have been due to her bold statement at her interview. She said after the war she may well return to India and fight against the British for Indian Independence. Some officers were shocked at this but others were impressed by her fearlessness and boldness. Her British commanders also expressed a little bewilderement about her “Sufi mysticism” which would have been unusual for the time. Later however the chief British spymaster went on record as saying she was the most remarkable person he had met. Noor always remained a great patriot to India and was a firm believer in Indian independence, but in the circumstances she found herself, she was willing to fight on behalf of Indias occupier, such was her belief in freedom.
In 1943 Noor was dropped into enemy France and began sending radio messages from around Paris. She proved a good operator in the field and was said to have done her work very skillfully and conscientiously. Unfortunately soon after arriving the Prosper network was broken up by the Gestapo, leaving her as the one remaining wireless operator. Her superiors in England recommended she return such was the high likelihood of capture. However Noor refused to return, instead playing a vital role as the last remaining wireless operator in Paris. At one time she was nearly caught when the Gestapo stopped her whilst she was carrying her radio machine. However she was able to bluff her way past saying it was a home cine film projector. Remarkably the Gestapo believed her and for a time she escaped.
However in October Noor was betrayed, possibly by Renee the wife of her first contact. It was believed Renee sold information to the Gestapo for a small amount of money (1000Fr) . A few hours after her arrest Noor attempted an audacious escape across the roof and nearly succeeded but for a British air raid that led to a sudden tightening of security. Thereafter Noor was sent to Germany and kept in shackles in solitary confinement in the civil prison at Pforzhei. Having a strong belief in the truth not once did Noor reveal any information. Saying only she was an operative from England. It is said that her resilience and tenacity and endurance had an effect even on the hardened prison chiefs of the Gestapo. After enduring 9 months of tortuous imprisonment Noor was transferred with 3 other SEO to the Dachau concentration camp where she was executed with a bullet to the back of her head (just days before Dachau was liberated by the Americans). It is reported her last words before being shot were liberty Another report by a witness says a guard tried to force her to say “Heil Hitler” she refused saying “One day you will see the truth”.
Noor was an exceptional person who had an impact on whoever she met. She was described as being dreamer and otherworldly with a capacity for clairvoyance. Her biographer said she moved with a different rhythm to other children. Like her father Noor was also a gifted musician who also studied medicine in Paris. Her children stories were published in Figaro and a collection of traditional Indian stories, Twenty Jataka Tales, appeared in 1939.
Although she was an Indian Muslim who passionately believed in Indian Indepence she was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for a cause neither her nationality or religion compelled her to fight for. After her death she was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre and the George Cross (1949).
Poetry: Hadewijch of Antwerp
May your service of love a beautiful thing; want nothing else, fear nothing else and let love be free to become what love truly is.
The Madness of love
The madness of love
Is a rich fief;
Anyone who recognized this
Would not ask Love for anything else:
It can unite Opposites
And reverse the paradox.
I am declaring the truth about this:
The madness of love makes bitter what was sweet,
It makes the stranger a kinsman,
And it makes the smallest the most proud.
To souls who have not reached such love,
I give this good counsel:
If they cannot do more,
Let them beg Love for amnesty,
And serve with faith,
According to the counsel of noble Love,
And think: ‘It can happen,
Love’s power is so great!’
Only after his death
Is a man beyond cure.
Imagining we possessed what she kept back for herself.
What is sweetest in love is her tempestuousness,
Her deepest abyss is her most beautiful form;
To lose one’s way in her is to touch her close at hand.
To die of hunger for her is to feed and taste;…
We can say yet more about Love:
Her wealth is her lack of everything;
Her truest fidelity brings about our fall;
Her highest being drowns us in the depths;…
Her revelation is the total hiding of herself;
Her gifts, besides, are thieveries;
Her promises are all seductions;
Her adornments are all undressing;
Her truth is all deception;
To many her assurance appears to lie—
This is the witness that can be truly borne
At any moment by me and many others
To whom Love has often shown
Wonders by which we were mocked,
Imagining we possessed what she kept back for herself.
After she first played these tricks on me,
And I considered all her methods,
I went to work in an entirely different way:
By her threats and her promises
I was no longer deceived.
I will belong to her, whatever she may be,
Gracious or merciless; to me it is all one.
To Live Out What I am
My distress is great and unknown to men.
They are cruel to me, for they wish to dissuade me
From all that the forces of Love urge me to.
They do not understand it, and I cannot explain it to them.
I must then live out what I am;
What love counsels my spirit,
In this is my being: for this reason I will do my best.
Whatever vicissitudes men lead me through for Loves sake
I wish to stand firm and take no harm from them.
For I understand from the nobility of my soul
That in suffering for sublime Love, I conquer.
I will therefore gladly surrender myself
In pain, in repose, in dying, in living,
For I know the command of lofty fidelity.
I do not complain of suffering for Love:
It becomes me always to submit to her,
Whether she commands in storm or in stillness.
One can know her only in herself.
This is an unconceivable wonder,
Which has thus filled my heart
And makes me stray in a wild desert.
We know of Hadewijch only what comes from her writings. She wrote in the Brabant dialect of Middle Dutch, and she perhaps came from the area around Antwerp. She knew French and Latin and was familiar with contemporary chivalric poetry. She appears to have been a beguine, perhaps the mistress of a beguinage.
At some point she was criticized for her views, perhaps forced out of her community, and separated from women for whom she cared. Her need to keep in touch with them and to continue to teach and encourage them seems to have led to her writings: 31 letters (Brieven), 14 descriptions of visions (Visioenen), 45 poems in stanzaic form (Strofische Gedichten), and 16 to 29 poems in mixed form (Mengeldichten).
Hadewijch also compiled a “List of the Perfect,” naming 86 persons, living and dead, whom she described as “clothed in love”; the list includes a beguine who had been executed, probably in 1236. It is from the datable references in this list that Hadewijch has been assigned to the mid-1200s.
(Lord Frederick Leighton – Wedded)