In God’s Name!

thHDQGIV03Recently there has been a rash of suicide bombers and skilled and unskilled terrorist attacks. Over centuries we have witnessed carnage in the name of religion. Today religion stills plays a central role in conflict throughout the world. Or are the true perpetrators the dark deities of money and power.

The world press are talking about France and the atrocities that took place there in the past week, 7th / 10th January. The killing of the satirists of Charlie Hebdo was senseless; the later killing at the Jewish bakery was blind hatred and as senseless as the killing of the police woman. There can be no justification for such murder. It was an apparition of psychological control by outside forces. The problem with belief is that it lives in one season and that season can be determined by the believer.

If it is winter the abstract believer sees only dark and hears only the squawk and the squish of the landscape. Spring with its thrusting energies struggling for life, seems far off. Summer is but a distant lullaby and, autumn with its alluring contrasts, for some, holds only the drawn-out winter to come. Belief can contort all around you until all that you see are hopeless puppets living in a fairy-tale.

I have no doubt that religious belief can bring much joy and satisfaction to some, but the other side of the coin is the construct of man and the lust for money and power that follow as a shadow. It is therefore incumbent upon all who accept their faith as a blessing to openly condemn those who would portray their faith, in such a fashion, as to be mistook as the devil’s own handy work.

While France has captured the headlines there are many other parts of the world where carnage vents its ugly face. Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen have all suffered gravely from similar attacks. The list is long and unfortunately it is a list that quantifies hate.

Over recent months Nigeria has woken to excessive horror. In November 2014 forty-thZC9YPUWLeight (48) were murdered at a school assembly by a child suicide bomber. On New Year’s Eve, in the city of Gombe another child bomber failed to reach her target but killed one soldier and injured another. The next day and yet another child bomber failed to reach the target, a church, but died in trying. On January 9th, a child bomber killed a possible 19 and injured more than twenty in the city of Maiduguri. The following day, in Potiskum in Yobe state two more blasts as two children killed three (3) and caused injury to over forty.

The savagery of these events does not lie only with the innocent ruthlessly cut down but also with the use of children as bombers. These were kids who had no chance of comprehending the complex nature of politics; whose minds had previously been filled with dreams and aspirations, but in the immediacy wanted their mum. Used as cannon balls, as worthless individuals, to perpetrate atrocities on behalf of adults.

Such adults will never know understanding because their belief lives forever in winter. There is no intellectual capacity in the minds of these men, for they cannot comprehend the needs of others and therefore will never fathom the depths of themselves. They are trapped on an endless merry-go-round that never passes go.

In Peshawar Pakistan 150 people, mostly children slaughtered at a school by the Taliban. Why? Do not tell me that you have a ‘cause’. No ‘cause’ would use the bodies of children as a battering ram. Certainly, no ‘cause’ that has humanity. Barbarity is the last recourse of those who intuitively know that they face defeat. The past will not be re-invented and the harder they kick the closer their demise looms.

Likewise in Iraq, a 14 year old child taken from his home in Syria to blow himself up and in the process kill as many others as possible. He probably didn’t know where he was and almost certainly did not understand why he was carrying out this act of terror.

Suicide bombers are fragile beings, usually young and who have been brainwashed or forced by some fear into a philosophy that has closed the door on humanity. Any revolution, any struggle for power should at its bases have the majority as the winners of any outcome. The only alternative is to attempt to impose a dictatorship, a fascist regime.

To murder and to force the scattering of survivors by the razing of 16 villages as at th3R87WKY7Baga, north-east Nigeria, suggests a principle of victory at any cost, whether it benefits the people or not. Victory for the sake of victory has only power and money as a consideration. The ‘cause’ has been lost in the melee of the armed struggle.

Several groups who started with a clear vision have ended up as corrupt as those they oppose. In Peru, Afghanistan, in Nigeria and elsewhere those in opposition have succumbed to criminality through the sale of drugs etc. all in the ‘virtuous’ need to continue the struggle. The use of children and the criminality suggests a weakness. A weakness that oozes from their pores as a sweat would after a 10K run. They have entered and become a part of the world they oppose. They have wandered blindly in and, are unaware that their vision is crumbling.

Moreover, these terror attacks have given new life to weak politicians. Politicians that faced being ousted from office, now stand strong, statesman like, and speak for the nation. They can now revel in the adulation that was never intended for them. Governments are now racing to introduce new laws to curb the terrorist but in doing so will curb the freedom of all. The politicians now demand control over the internet to check our every thought. Big brother will seize the opportunity.

Also, the terrorists have caused a fissure in our society. For those who oppose democracy it is a welcome boost, for those who believe in democracy it is a loss. The anti-Muslim marches in the German town of Dresden that had 200 walkers in October had 25,000 on Monday 12/1/15.

The press don’t help either, so intent are they with their own political agenda. On Monday’s march in Dresden the Daily Mail reported 40,000, the Independent gave the figure of 25,000 and qualified their coverage by informing readers that there were counter demonstrations of 8,000 in Dresden as well as 4,000 in Berlin. However, France 24 news channel suggest that the counter demonstrators equalled 100,000 but gave no evidence for such a claim. Please, don’t try and brainwash me. Perhaps you believe us to be feeble. At a time of heightened tension we do not need such bias reporting as that of France 24. Give us the facts and let us make up our own mind. Freedom of thought!

I have no angst that the French comedian Dieudonne has aired his views and don’t agree with his arrest. We also have TV stations giving air time to al Qaeda claiming to have ordered the killings and in praise of those who carried out the murders. The same piece incites others to do as the French killers have done. (Was this appeasement?) I don’t like anyone promoting murder and would not give them air time. I could never condone the murder of an innocent.

 

Furthermore, many media outlets have refused to show the cartoon that sparked thethXK46FOCW killings. Nor will they show the most recent one produced by Charlie Hebdo. In the eyes of the fanatic division is a weakness. We must surely ask if tolerance has a gate that it will not pass through, especially if that demand for tolerance comes from an intolerant source. And, can we permit religious fanatics to dictate to an increasingly secular society?

I am not afraid of the views others hold as long as they are willing to discuss them rationally and openly and without violence. We learn and grow from such dialogue. I am not afraid because if we both grow then everyone benefits.

Will God end the pain? No. God is in the living not the theory.

thB7HQI3MQJe suis Charlie

 

 

Don’t Roll the Dice on Slavery!

 

The sun was shining and somewhere around the world people were sunbathing, splashing in the water, having a barbecue or just zonking out in their back garden with a beer or two. Life is ok man, when the sun shines and you have some money to spend. Hey, lazy days, we love them. We call them stress busters, happy tune time, or chilling. Cool, for those who have the time to laze.

‘Hey man, don’t change the music. I’m into the blues, its soulful man. It’s rocking my boat.’ And there he lies, without understanding, listening to the blues.

There’s a pounding at the door, reluctantly he gets up to answer it and opens the door to the police. Several questions later and he has worked out the story; his next door neighbour has been keeping slaves. ‘Hell!’ He didn’t even know. He thought it was all a big movie thing and media talk. He grabbed his phone and texted a few of his friends. While waiting for their response he went on the net.

Wow! The information came at him thick and fast. In 2007 it was reported that 5000 child sex workers were in the UK, most had been trafficked into the country. ‘That’s puke zone!’

www.jrf.org.uk/publications/modern-slavery

In 2013, 1,746 cases of slavery in the UK a 47% increase on 2012 and the figure was likely to be much higher. He thought, ’Where have I been living! Slavery, next door!’ People being trafficked from places like Romania, Albania, Nigeria and Vietnam.

www.modernslavery.co.uk

More figures, he wants to turn his phone off but can’t. He’s on the BBC site with several cases of sexual exploitation and forced labour. He reads one of an 84 year old man and a 10 year old deaf girl. ‘Oh, puke!’ A gypsy site in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire 2011, (he doesn’t even know where it is) twenty four men set free, some after years of slave labour. The same place again in December 2013 more vulnerable men freed. Loads of it!

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london

The door is pounded again. His mates pile in to find out what happened when the cops came calling. There were now four phones on the go and one laptop. In between gasps of astonishment and a barrage of swearing, the facts continued to roll in from places some had had holidays in.

Devon & Cornwall – 8 Czech nationals freed and 8 arrested all of foreign origin.

Lincoln (lovely cathedral) – 9 freed from forced labour and seven arrests made.

www.falmouthpacket.co.uk/achive/2014/09/17

www.thelincolnite.co.uk/2014/09

th9EDTYYGJSlavery, “more prolific and lucrative than ever”. An estimated 30 million slaves worldwide with the criminals making around $150bn. The air turned blue with ‘bloody’ being the softest term and, utterances of surprise from everyone in the room. Pizza and drinks were ordered. The race was on to find the worst case. More than 10,000 slaves are in the UK, says Frank Field, Labour MP. ‘Where are they all?’ Horror! Two-thirds of children saved went AWOL again once the traffickers found out where they had been resettled. There was genuine surprise at the ruthlessness of the traffickers.

The pizza didn’t last long.

www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/08/

Everything stopped, it was quiet, and someone made coffee. There was a kind of telepathic understanding; as cyclists they could raise money. A ride was not a problem, a 10K run, they could handle, but this needs to be different. It would need to be something that got a lot of publicity. Not a gimmick, but everything is a sort of gimmick, but this was bloody serious stuff.

Ideas started to flow: a 10K run, but every entrant had to buy a T shirt to participate. Not a black on white one, more colourful, different but bold with the message crystal clear. A mosaic of colour as the runners pounded along the route of the run. Organise a cycle through London at peak time. How many guys could they call on to help? Who do they know is a graffiti artist? Do an outrageous stunt for ‘You Tube’, a twitter campaign, a sit down outside TV studios and sell badges and car stickers.

All these ideas were considered as, here today but gone tomorrow. They need something lasting. Trucks with their sides painted roaring up and down the country, with smart art work/graffiti. A plastic bag levy, the proceeds to be pooled to help the victims. A £10K/$15K prize for the best idea for an anti-slavery campaign; sponsored by either government or big business.

Set up a national/international competition for graffiti artists to design an anti-slavery poster. The work could be displayed in local museums for an entrance fee of £1/$1.50. People would then be able to vote on line for the local winner and later for the national winner. Of course that needs a logistics expert but then good causes generate good people/organisations to help.

A photo taken with a pop star, TV star or film star for a fee of £10/$15, with all proceeds pooled for victim support or help towards costs.

More coffee and a good stretch as juices start to fade. ‘Who fancies a beer?’

‘We should leave it to the government.’

‘Oh, no, you should read this! They’ve shamefully let big business off the hook by dropping the supply chain option from the Modern Slavery Bill.’

‘And?’

‘It means that the big boys can still buy goods from suppliers who use slave labour.’

‘Here’s one, called double criminality; whatever the charge it has got to be exactly the same in other countries otherwise the shysters get away scot free.’

‘I’ve got one, a children’s charity the ECPAT, they say that the Bill is too narrow and does not have enough about victim support.’

‘Stuff the government then! They’ve lost my vote.’

‘Make that two. Wait a mo. (hands are raised) All five!’

Later.

‘Look I’ve found another!’ It was a letter to the Telegraph newspaper about 3000 thO9KC4HY2trafficked women being used in prostitution at any given time in the UK.

www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/11109347

‘What’s the point; those guys could go down town any weekend and find loads sprawled out, wide-eyed and legless; cheap as well!’  Laughter.

‘What would be your dream scenario?’

‘Blockbuster movie with all the action heroes, you know, Rambo types; flying all over the world taking out trafficking gangs.’

‘Name that movie!’

‘Doom Traders’

‘A Cry of Innocence’

‘Bounty Men’

‘Sex: Make it about Love’

There’s a lot of laughter and lots of cooing.

‘What about a game? Some evil nutter with a serum infects trafficked women and kids and men who catch the disease must pay for the antidote. Millions are infected and we need to find the baddies. Special hit squads are set up; the player must pick his team, outline his strategy, then get in and clean up.’

‘What would you call it?’

‘Keep your zip up’           The Iron jockstrap!

‘Drop your pants and die’

‘Don’t let Johnnie roam’

There is much laughter.

‘Seriously, what about Killing Darkness’

A holler of oohs and aahs brought the group a lot of attention.

Barman calls over, “You lot are loud tonight.”

‘Just deciding how to kill off the slave traders.’

Barman, “Oh yeah, read something like that in the paper.”

A conversation starts at the bar.

Warning: GovernmentthPZ03VNK6

Don’t rely on the government! A new toothless law won’t help. We already have sufficient laws. It’s a game politician’s play, to be seen to be doing something but keep the costs down and the big boys smiling, hence no supply chain legislation. They tell the police to take action but don’t increase their budget. They speak loud for a short period and then let the whole thing slide back into the abyss. They treat people like children with a short interest span.