Free Hich Latest

“Hicham has lived in Nottingham for 13 years while he studied for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and worked at the university, where he has built up a large network of close friends. The huge campaign to prevent his deportation is a testament to this. He served as a member of the University Senate for two terms (2004-5) and on the Student’s Union Executive Committee, was President of the Arabic Society, was the editor of the influential Voice magazine for international students, and is the long-time editor of Ceasefire magazine , a political journal. He was a prominent member of the artistic group ‘Al-Zaytouna’, and weeks before his arrest performed the leading role in a feature play at Nottingham Arts Theatre. Numerous references have been collected from reputable professors and prominent members of the local and national community that testify to his integrity and strong roots in the city. He lives and works in Nottingham and has shown every intention of fighting his case, as he thinks he has excellent grounds to remain in the U.K.

It is clear from Hicham’s legal documentation that there could be no reason to disallow him bail and push for his removal before his set trial date, except that the immigration services are determined to remove him without allowing him due process. The fact that his initial arrest sparked widespread protest from students and academics, and extensive critical media coverage, suggests that the removal proceedings are a hasty, desperate attempt to divert attention from the disastrous handling of his initial detention. Even more tellingly, the significant focus of the police investigation on Hicham’s editorship of the political journal Ceasefire, his committed intellectual positions, and his extensive experience of grassroots activism, suggest that both his re-arrest and the subsequent attempts for swift removal are highly political decisions. This shameful charade is an affront to the very notions of justice and respect for fundamental human rights, which the U.K. government claims to champion. This should be resisted at all costs.

MPs Alan Simpson and Nick Palmer are pressuring the Home Office to stop the deportation immediately and allow Hicham due process.”

Contact your MP-


1. Protest this Wednesday 28/05/08 at the Hallward Library, University Park, Nottingham at 14.00. See here for the poster.

2. Write to those individuals in positions of power who have a say over Hicham’s fate and let them know that we will not tolerate this extrajudicial punishment of an innocent man.

Contact the University Registrar:

Contact Liam Byrne, Minister of State for Borders and Immigration:

Contact the Home Secretary: (for a draft letter, see the resources page)

3. Donate to Hicham’s legal fund….

Donations should be transferred to the account on the name of Camille Herreman ( sort code: 400205, account no: 81474715). If you think that you can help, contact Camille Herreman on this number 07961925788 to ask about any related information.

sort code: 400205
account number:81474715
iban number: gb44midl40020581474715
internation swift code: midlgb2140c

Press release Monday 26/5/08

University of Nottingham Graduate and Employee Facing Imminent Deportation Without Hearing

Hicham Yezza, a popular and active member of the academic community at the University of Nottingham, was recently arrested along with another student. After six days of detention, both were released without charge [1]. Hicham was re-arrested on immigration grounds. He now faces imminent deportation to Algeria wihtout due process [2]. There is widespread concern at the proposed, imminent deportation.

Hicham Yezza, know to his many friends as ‘Hich’, has lived, worked and studied in Nottingham for the past 13 years. He won a scholarship to study for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and was later employed by the University of Nottingham [3]. During this time, Hicham has built up a broad social network and developed strong links within the University and the local community. Read the rest of this entry »

Culture For ‘Em: Ikea!

(Hey it’s a bank holiday weekend so while it’s Monday it’s still the weekend…sort of) Well at last the slowly disintegrating chest of drawers collapsed thus fermenting the idea of replacement and as I had brilliantly repaired my chair (jubilee clips on the shaft, take that gas lift failure!) thus preventing waste and not increasing consumption it was permissible. And after much prevarication (probably really a couple of years) teeth were gritted and a solution researched, after no luck in the second-hand sphere I eventually settled on a combination of drawers and shelves that would both be strong and cheap compared to any other option. But alas it meant a 5 hour plus round trip to…Ikea!

An Ethnographic Survey of Globalised Northern European Furniture Retail Superstores in the Warrington Area.

i. The idealised iconography of the furniture buying couple.
The attractive affluent couple touring Ikea together (sometimes with newborn in pushchair) is surely western civilisations ideal- sex, love, consuming, this is what it is meant to be about, you work, you meet someone, you get a place together, you furnish it! Nirvana is achieved. Is it wrong that the only way to keep the waves of smugness these people project back is to imagine at least one of them is cheating or that child isn’t really his, they will break up within a few months, they have a family member captive in their cellars! Ok yes, that’s probably wrong, but…

ii. The Refugee Discourse of Commodities
Wandering along the proscribed path (hey it took 2 ½ hours to get here, I’m getting my expensive fuel’s worth) you go among and past many staged living areas, suggestions on how to furnish your home, fake bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms. It made me think that this was a refugee centre, an emergency camp where instead of people, all the furniture had been saved and then arranged back into how it was in the evacuated homes (or a new combination based on a rigorous determination of the owners taste or lack thereof). At last we have done away with valuing human life and consumer society has got its neoliberal priorities right and is rescuing objects not puny humans. Or perhaps less drastically this was a refugee centre for upper middle class people, who pay private insurance for just such an eventuality. Cover that includes saving the bourgeois family’s furnishings as well as them. There’d be three levels of cover Bronze, Silver and Gold (maybe even a fourth, Platinum! Where they just airlift out the house whole with huge cargo helicopters) which explains why you get fake cardboard computers and TV’s, that’s the Bronze level. At Silver you get real ones provided for you (but a bit old and manky), at Gold they bring yours with you and set them up in the Ikea camp and have a dedicated IT support team on 24 hour call- I say Darling I want to email Imelda and tell her how many poor people died in the slums when the flood came but I can’t remember my password, oh the stress!

iii. Warehousing Expectations
It really all comes down to- is there still stock on the warehouse shelf? While pre-checking stock will save you some misery you still might be trumped in shop by a rush on the items you came for. Is it paranoid to think that every person ahead of you has come for exactly the same items you have and they will snatch them all up? Erm yes, it is, but…couldn’t hurt to race ahead, and maybe kick a few over as you pass. So after the Disney-esque ride through the showroom the realities of life step in, dream all you like, but you need cash and the items being in stock to even get entry to the Ikea dream! So in dark shelves the struggle to realise your flatpack enabled fantasises is made or broken. The façade of the showroom is untenable without the hard reality of warehouse work, workers of the world unite! For my paltry items (chest of drawers and some Ivar shelving) all was well.

iv. The Rise of the Machines
Frankly after the sweaty (it was a very sultry day) trip and heavy items there is nothing better than the Ikea ice cream, now the staff only sell you a cone, then you go to a machine where you place the cone in a little round metal holder and press a button, the machine then raises the cone towards the nozzle and excretes softy ice cream type substance. The shop staff have to be eyeing that and seeing their future, a future where they are not needed yet where will they get the money to buy softy ice cream? Oh the automation dilemma of labour. Also people go a bit mad with the free refills on soft drinks, then wander around with a bloated bladder all fizzy sugariness like doped zeppelins full of piss.

v. Transitory Logistics
They used to not allow you to take the trolley thing to your car, you had to bring the car to the load dock, but in Warrington to increase parking space they have abandoned that and you can wheel over to your automobile (a fine Peugeot 406 saloon [diesel/vegoil], oh yes that’s how I roll). Then figure out a cunning way to get 226cm long uprights inside and shut the boot. It may be a negligible skill but frankly I am really good at loading things and making the best use of space. On a location shoot I once got two transit’s worth of gear into just one van, largely to avoid having to come back, do another load and thus end up working about 20 hours that day instead of the meagre 17.

vi. The Journey as Flight
Not on this occasion but once before helping a friend buy and transport two bed frames we had them tied to a Fiesta roof, but in such a way and they were of such shape that they acting like wings and as we drove they wanted to take flight. So we stopped inverted them (didn’t really help, more like sails maybe), re-roped and with hands stuck out the windows holding on we slowly made out way home.

vii. Creative Destruction
Before you build your new piney nirvana you must remove what is there, much heavy lifting and ultimately hacking the crappy old stuff apart and chucking out the door. Then- a blank space, a quick vacuuming later and- a clean blank space. You have furnishally cleansed the region!

viii. Play Roles in Construction
I think the best toy is Lego, I loved it as a kid and it’s possibly the only reason to have children, so you can buy them big Lego kits and build them under the guise of ‘helping’. Putting together Ikea furniture is like a big real Lego kit and almost as enjoyable. Now with Lego there are two types of user, the dullard who buys the kit and builds it. That’s pretty well much it, they are not creative or questioning. The second type is the creative anarchist, you eye kits not for what they are meant to be, but what they could contribute in parts to your own creations. Yes when you first buy it you build the manufacturers design, you also do the suggested-in-picture ones (more just to keep your hand in, see what the latest thinking form Lego HQ was), but really after that the real creation begins, that curvy bit, that transparent bit, the angled bricks, the wheels etc etc! You combine them with your other Lego and you achieve your vision, a wholly original and fantastic creation made of many disparate sets. Sadly this is not so easy (or advisable) with Ikea stuff unless you have- a. loads of money and b. a huge house. So mostly it’s building to their plan and some alterations to fit your space if needed (some were) and contrary to hack stand up comedians ancient material the instructions are not hard to follow (it might be they are a basic intelligence tests, those who self identify as mystified by them helpfully out themselves as stupid) and generally there are not bits missing. Now some copyists of Ikea do fall prey to these clichés but with Ikea I have never had a problem, maybe I’ve just been lucky. Also always scan through the whole instructions, sometimes the steps are better in a different order, always get an overview before reducing to discrete construction sequences, always see the forest not just the (pine) trees.

ix. Tool Use
Apart from the basic screwdrivers (crosshead, Philips, pozidrive in a variety of sizes are good. A flathead, Stanley knife and Allen keys) always have a mallet. If you’re whacking wood with a metal hammer (but do also have a small steel hammer for light nailing, no good whaling on a tack with a sledgehammer) it will knacker the wood, use a wooden or rubber mallet and if on a visible surface consider a cloth to protect the finish. Also consider spicing the construction up with some glue or doing the building naked save for a butt plug and some body glitter!

x. End Stage Aesthetics
So if you have overcome the myriad challenges to acquiring your new furniture (measuring, choosing, saving, buying, transporting, building) you now have some new stuff and if you have done it correctly it- a. works and b. looks right. It is always pleasing to increase your spatial efficiency while retaining or increasing functionality. Pure form or pure function are useless abstracts in some shelves or some drawers, they must do both. Can you keep your socks in them and do they look better than the decrepit white laminated 70’s chipboard monstrosity you made do with before? If yes, you have now achieved your woody goal. Enjoy!


Because it is sometimes useful I did open a Facebook account last year (primarily for reasons related to Burma protests), but since then have maybe logged on twice since! But now I have joined the Hicham Yezza group to keep abreast of any breaking news. If you wish to find me there I am-

RickB TenPercent

However I prefer the informal (and ad free) networking of blogs and the fine people who read and even sometimes comment on them (thinks: must run a de-lurking drive, c’mon don’t be shy, comment already!). It seems more an anarchistic realm than the social networking factions. More pioneering perhaps.


BBC’s spearhead into America Matt Frei is interviewed in the Independent, *sigh*

Frei is perturbed by the insularity of the Washington DC bubble, where government policy is drawn up in a highly-intellectual but not cosmopolitan environment. “In London, you walk down the Edgware Road and it’s like the West Bank, you walk down to Piccadilly Circus and you are surrounded by foreigners, you are steeped in international juices and in Washington you are not.”

So at least he acknowledges the beltway elite (at least in an interview) but why the West Bank comparison, what does this mean about his perception of ‘foreigners’? Is the other at home in a war zone?

The journalist has himself enjoyed the liberation of expressing himself in print. “Writing for television is an act of castration, essentially. Good television is about what you leave out, so you don’t use any adjectives and don’t describe what you can already see. It’s quite an unsatisfying form of writing because no-one ever remembers what you’ve written.”

Whoa there Matty, phallo-centric ego much?

He is convinced that the cause of war in Iraq was not oil but rather the President’s desire to settle a score with Saddam, and that the culprits for the current mess are Donald Rumsfeld for trying to “do Iraq on the cheap” and Condoleezza Rice for viewing that country as Germany in 1945 rather than “Germany in 1761, a post feudal tribal state split into different fiefdoms with a relatively low literacy rate and no industrial base”.

Like most of his media class he reduces geopolitical, imperial and cultural complexities to an elite soap opera and that literacy?

Hussein was returning to a very different school system from the one he left in 1975. Early in his rule, Saddam was credited with creating one of the strongest school systems in the Middle East. Iraq won a UNESCO prize for eradicating illiteracy in 1982. Literacy rates for women were among the highest of all Islamic nations, and unlike most Middle East school systems, Iraqi education was largely secular.

But, in the decade after the 1991 Gulf War, UNICEF estimates, school spending plummeted by 90 percent. Teachers’ salaries dropped to $6 a month and buildings deteriorated.

The US says Saddam starved the schools to spend money on his palaces, but many Iraqis say United Nations sanctions are to blame for crippling the school system

Quite apart from it being the supreme war crime not a ‘mess’ ‘on the cheap'(and did sanctions then Shock & Awe have something do to with that eradicated industrial base?) maybe faulty comparisons to European history betray the historical and cultural blindness, the tribalism inherent in the invaders …and their media partners.

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Sailors fighting in the dance hall

Posted in Culture(!), Imperialism, Music. Tags: . Comments Off on Sailors fighting in the dance hall

Right Spite of the Clown

Boris Johnson will not renew an oil deal with Venezuela which provides cheap fuel for London’s buses once the agreement ends later this year.