British Nigerian Artivist Creates and Smuggles Dangerous Voice Amplification Weapon Out of Police Custody 16 August, 2022 Greetings. You will see t


British Nigerian Artivist Creates and Smuggles Dangerous Voice Amplification Weapon Out of Police Custody

16 August, 2022



You will see that, at the bottom right of this picture, Good Packing Company’s signboard displays its website: If you click on the link however, you will find the site inoperative. It has been since the day the picture was taken, when representatives of Palestine Action came calling. The website wasn’t destroyed by the activists - the company appears to have taken it down in anticipation of more public exposure than it wanted, in light of the visit. Here is Palestine Action’s press release: Ending Israel’s Impunity: Palestine Action Occupy and Destroy Israeli Weapons Transport Company.

I can confirm that I am in that picture, that I was arrested (a second time), and that I spent a night in a police cell (for the first time) in Cannock, Staffordshire.

Rather worryingly, in addition to the four activists, the journalist who took that picture was also arrested and detained overnight, and his equipment seized (after he had uploaded several photos). While we are rightly bothered by what has happened recently to Salman Rushdie, one can perhaps be forgiven for being sceptical about the politicians who have expressed horror while remaining silent about how increasingly dangerous it is to be a journalist here in Britain (I have mentioned Julian Assange and Craig Murray several times before, as I have done with Mumia Abu-Jamal in the US).

IMG 1136

During that single night in the relative luxury of a Staffordshire police cell, I thought of several political prisoners (Mandela being the most famous), including Patrice Lumumba, whose brief detention preceded his brutal assassination. Since the recent return of his tooth (his only surviving remains) to the Democratic Republic of Congo, I had felt the urge to write a poem. That morning in the police cell, I requested a pen and paper; was given a crayon and paper, and I started to write. I decided to dedicate it to a living prisoner, a man unjustly on death row in Ohio, USA, who I am proud to call a friend: Keith LaMar. On my release, I learned that Keith, whose execution date has been set for November 2023 (he continues to fight it) had embarked on a hunger strike, protesting the refusal of the prison authorities to grant him continued good communication with the outside world, in what might be the last year of his life. He spoke about his hunger strike in a very illuminating podcast interview, titled The phone as a weapon.


The ultimate success of this strike (and one from eleven years ago he also referenced) illustrates the power of protest, even when conducted individually, in the loneliness of a solitary-confinement cell in a maximum security prison. The podcast ends with a reading of his powerfully eloquent, defiant statement in response to receiving his execution date, in which he said, “... it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners ...” Such powerful words put things into context, and humble one into willingly accepting a night in a British police cell for protesting the ongoing terrorisation of the people of Palestine.

I was grateful for the time I had that morning to receive and channel the gift of Lumumba’s Tooth.

Exhibition 10 Launch-0796

Photo by Jazamin Sinclair


In that first picture above, I was being filmed singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Later in the day, I sang it again, with two other activists backing me, so to speak. That wasn’t filmed, thankfully, because I chose completely the wrong key! I had always dreamed of being part of a small vocal group, like The Chants, formed in Liverpool around when I was born, in the early 1960s. They feature in the screenplay I am working on, about Pastor Daniels Ekarte, the African Saint of Liverpool, a section of which I have recently sent off for consideration. Joe Ankrah, the leader of the group, is now 80, and still going strong. He’s not still singing, but painting these days, and he recently held an exhibition which included this painting of the aforementioned Pastor Daniels.

CWU strike

One photograph of me in a small group was taken on a picket line supporting striking CWU workers in Liverpool, about which I wrote this short account for Counterfire. Trade Union action formed part of the commentary I wrote when I performed at Ely Library in early July. I also talked about the ongoing, often fatal racism which African refugees encounter at European borders.

Robeson jpg

Click for online tickets

Edinburgh Appeal, 2

Thankfully, that won’t be a problem for me as I cross the notional border from England to Scotland in a few days, to perform both my plays at the Edinburgh Fringe. The problem I have is financial, and I would like to repeat the call for assistance to fund it. Since I made the appeal in the last newsletter, the clear success I had was in finding rent-free accommodation in a very generous political and musical home. A small number of people made some donations, and I am very grateful to them; but a lot more is needed to help me pay for lots of things, including travel, posters and flyers, pianist, and venue rental. Having had no success with several auditions I have done recently, the situation is worse than anticipated; so any help that can be offered and afforded will be much appreciated, if even in the form of a loan against future income. If that’s a possibility, let’s talk ...

Lawyer jpg

Click for online tickets

Coming soon...

Including the Edinburgh Fringe run (there are also currently two private engagements), my forthcoming public performances are as follows:
21 – 27 Aug, Edinburgh Fringe: Call Mr. Robeson @ theSpace, Surgeon’s Hall, (Also online)
22 – 28 Aug, Edinburgh Fringe: Just An Ordinary Lawyer @ C Place Studio.
(Also online)
Sept 4, online: Paul Robeson’s Love Song. (SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY BROADCAST) Tayo Aluko’s zoom room.
Nov 4, Eastbourne, E. Sussex: Call Mr. Robeson. Grove Theatre


Click image to view video (2m 56s)

Peekskill remembered. Sunday September 4, 1949 and 2022

September 4 is the anniversary, even down to the day of the week, of the 1949 concert and riot at Peekskill, NY, where American fascism, racism, anti-Semitism and anti-Communism converged and exploded around the figure of Paul Robeson. Paul Robeson’s Love Song was largely inspired by that event, so I hope to see some of you at that special commemoration.

Parting Shots. Voices

In his narration in the YouTube clip above, Sidney Poitier stated that “those who wanted his outspoken voice stilled threatened violence...” I’d like to pay tribute to a male quartet of voices that have indeed been stilled recently: American campaigner in London, 94-year-old Eric Levy; Nigerian writer and film maker, Biyi Bandele; Nigerian geographer and father of one of my dear friends and school classmates from Lagos; Professor Akin L Mabogunje; and here remembered by the ever-insightful Mumia Abu Jamal, Albert Woodfox.

Msimelelo Mbali

I’d now like to share with you some voices to enjoy, musically. A while ago, I came across this fabulous South African bass, singing O Isis und Osiris, an aria that makes me wish I was a bass myself. Barry Manilow’s One Voice, is beautiful, and contains the lovely lyric, Hands are joined and fears unlocked / If only One voice / Would start it on its own. Lastly, in tribute to trade unions that, here in the UK at least, are providing the only meaningful opposition to a horrendous government, Billy Bragg’s There’s Power in a Union.


Finally, there is one more - almost lone - voice I’d like to share, particularly with my fellow Nigerians, as our country prepares for elections next year. This 12-minute video is one of a series produced by NINAS – Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, who argue that the 1999 Constitution under which, what they describe as the “slave plantation,” or “the crime” of Nigeria is governed, is a fraud that needs to be dismantled before any elections happen, and if we are to avoid continued terror, bloodshed, and believe it or not, feudalism.

That’s all for now. Do please share this as you see fit. I shall be taking my voice (hopefully lubricated and strengthened by support from some of you) to Edinburgh in a few days, and will hopefully be able to report some successes from there in forthcoming newsletters.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.

Tayo Aluko

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Summer solstice

Dawn at Prince's Park, Liverpool. Summer Solstice, June 21, 2022

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