New Zealand Mosque Attack

My heartfelt sympathies go out to the friends and family of this despicable crime. New Zealand and other decent countries deserve better than this awful tragedy. 

I watched carefully the response of people from all side of the political spectrum. It was incredible to see the wonderful response of the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden.

These sort of crimes could happen anywhere in the world. The fact that it happened in New Zealand was appalling as they had been immune to terrorism on the scale that has been seen other countries around the world.

1420a19e-497a-11e9-8e02-95b31fc3f54a_image_hires_174344

The different between other terrorist attacks was that it was carried out by a white supremacist someone who believed that his race is better than others and those people who were killed somehow deserved it.

Like others who have murdered in the name of an ideology the terrorist had to be radicalised a word that is often used to describe the process of someone turning from a normal human being into a cold mass murdering killer. I wrote a blog post in 2017 about how people become radicalised into becoming terrorists and it is often a long process that has taken place over time where people will look for answers to complex problems.

People will want to know the reason why the terrorist did what did and why he thought carrying out such an atrocity was the right thing to do. He will try to promote his cause in court and claim his a soldier in some sort of war. We often put ourselves in the position of the person carrying out the crime and wonder how and why they could carry out something so despicable.

These sort of actions don’t happen over night they aren drip-fed through media, television and news outlets that often portray immigrant communities in a negative light. We know there are bad people in all races not all are perfect we all have problems to contend with whether it is illegal drug trades, knife crime or domestic violence. Each community has its own share of problems.

ahradines

Just as the Islamic community now is being blamed for terrorist groups like Isis people believe in conspiracy theories repeating by far right agitators like Tommy Robinson. These sort of conspiracies are extremely dangerous. At the turn of the 20th century there was a publication printed called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In it was the ideas that somehow the Jewish people should be regarded with suspicion as they were seen as some sort of threat to world order and that they were the ones who wanted to over all control and domination.

The same lies is being spread by those on the far-right and those who choose to demonise all immigrants as bad people. This is how people like the terrorist become radicalised in the first place.

I always like to think I am a free-thinker. I am a humanist. I don’t believe in god but I do believe religion and political ideologies can have a strong influence on someones beliefs, and actions. Sometimes those actions have catastrophic consequences.

I want a life with compassion, hope, love, justice and hopefully peace.

 

 

Mum – Mothering Sunday 19

When someone dies people are on an edge mentioning the person who has passed just incase you might upset the person. It’s a natural response because you don’t want to feel you have upset them.

The month of March is a difficult one for me in the middle is mum’s birthday and around a week or so later is mothers day. It used to be a time when I would cook food or take mum out for the day and we would spend happy times with each other.

Now she is no longer around I try to spend these days thinking about the good times especially the last ten years of her life when we were particularly close.

It is 25 years in July since my father died and when I eventually met up with some friends on a summer camp a couple of weeks later I could tell people were a little nervous around me. I told people then and tell people now I don’t mind talking about what happened and I don’t mind being asked questions. I might get a little upset but that not because you asked the question or I was offended just a little pain recalling information and sad thoughts. We tend as human beings to limit our pain whether it’s numbing it with alcohol, drugs illegal or otherwise to reduce the hurt. Slowly coming to terms with this loss is all part of the grieving process and allowing ourselves to get emotional.

A23DC066-268F-4A0A-8838-B6291286B910

The people I say that we should watch out for that don’t show their emotion and I mean those who say that they aren’t upset or hurting inside. Bottling up emotions is dangerous for health both mental and physical. It will eat away at you for a long time and eventually you will reach a point when you might not able to handle that emotion in a safe and stable manner.

Girls and women in general are much better at accessing emotions as they talk to each other about them and process them in a more manageable way. Blokes on the other hand are crap with their emotions unable to talk your way out responses become violent and the person on the receiving end becomes a victim.

So we have another mothers day which I won’t ignore I won’t go overboard and build a shrine either but I will have moments when I can remember the good times I had and that’s what I have to take with me.

Holy Week – Good Friday

Also known as Great Friday, Black Friday and Holy Friday. We have reached the most crucial part of the week.

We look at the accounts in the gospels and they speak of Jesus being arrested. Judas has carried out his final act and has told the Romans and the priests where to find Jesus. He has been paid. Later in the book of Matthew, we learn that Judas returns the money to the priests and then hangs himself.

Judas must have known as Jesus was taken away what would happen to Jesus his overwhelming guilt and betrayal cause him to commit what some Christian’s say is a sinful act.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 15.03.38

There is no doubt that in the lead up to Jesus crucifixion that there was terrible suffering. Jesus had prayed to his father that if he could be spared this sacrifice let it be done but this was not too happen and Jesus would die.

Jesus was brought before the priests and he was found guilty of blasphemy by claiming to be the son of god. He was sentenced to be crucified. The Romans were a pretty ruthless bunch of people and believed that by publically flogging someone and nailing them to wood it would deter would-be thieves and murderers from committing any crimes.

Jesus death Christian’s believe is a sacrifice for all bad things people have done. Taking on the sins of the world people can have a relationship with their creator.

Logic vs Feelings

“Insufficient facts always invite danger, Captain.”

“Space Seed,” Season 1, Episode 22

A quote from Mr. Spock in an episode of Star Trek where he chooses to see all the facts before making a decision. You have to look at facts before you can come to any conclusion.

How many stories over the past few weeks have we heard about the ‘absence of facts and evidence’. Taking, for example, the criminal court cases of rape against a number of young men. The cases have collapsed due to more evidence and facts being produced.

Unknown

Another instance where a family has taken their court challenge against medical experts whether or not a child has their life support withdrawn, echoing the heart-breaking case of Charlie Gard, I wrote about last year.

I looked on twitter after the National Television Awards to see a certain programme who had won an award for drama. Some complained and said that another fact-based drama should have taken its place “after all it was based on a true story”.

Our ability to objectively see life is driven by our feelings and not logic. I think this has become a real problem in 21st-century society. We should do and act based on our feelings, rather than the facts that are presented before us. It’s a dangerous path to follow as consequences occur after our feelings have been enacted.

feelings

Take for example the terrorist Darren Osborne his thoughts and feelings had been catastrophic in events that took place in June last year. His intent was murder. He had been reading far-right material that changed his mindset and turned him into a serious criminal. His feelings towards Muslims had been radicalised and those thoughts turned to what he perceived to be revenge.

We all make decisions in life from the morning we wake until the time we sleep. We can choose to act on feelings but most of the time it is governed by logic. I feel like staying in bed all day (like a lot of people) but we know we have to get up and deal with tasks during the day to function correctly.

We chose to make decisions about life and beliefs in all walks of life. Click on an ordinary video on youtube. Say for example The Beatles – Yesterday everyone knows the song. A simple inoffensive song about love from the most famous band in the world written and released in 1965. Most people would say ‘yes it’s a nice song’ or ‘its okay’ and others might not like it. So you have a thousand people disliking this song. My attitude is to think if I dislike something not to totally dismiss it and press the dislike button but realise to others that this song has meaning and it’s not hurting anyone. Why press the dislike button but rather allow others to have an enjoyment of the song?

You could say the same for other people’s beliefs in life. Take for example Jacob Rees-Mogg. I don’t agree with his views on gay rights and find his opinions on abortion abhorrent and small-minded. But he has the right to say them as he is entitled to his opinion.

My mother didn’t like a Marc Chagall painting I used to hang over my fireplace. Saying rather that it should be in my bedroom than the living room. But the fireplace was mine and the painting stayed. Just because she didn’t like the painting was inconsequential, the fireplace was mine not hers.

Decisions in life have to her governed by thoughts, opinions and logic rather purely how we feel about things. I am not saying I am perfect certainly far from it. If it was all logical decisions about my life I would like a greek god rather than the size of a greek temple. I make bad choices for most of the time but I would like to think I was able to exercise right in allowing others to speak and sometimes I do listen. I don’t automatically press the dislike button just because that type of music (rave) is total garbage. I don’t react to others opinion on art just because they feel it is good.

Hopefully we can all think a little more like Spock.

chagall

Gun Control – Las Vegas

I don’t think I have ever spoken about gun control on this blog. But the tragic news today has made me think. 

Firstly, my thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends who have lost loved ones in this horrendous tragedy. It’s appalling to think that so many people lost their lives in such a way that is easily preventable.

This wasn’t a natural disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake. Something that couldn’t be avoided or stopped. This was a deranged terrorist (and rightly named) who brought carnage, death and suffering on an unimaginable scale.

las-vegas-strip-at-night-high-vantage-istock_000082066557_large-2

Yet I am still hearing that people in America will not move on the idea that there should be stricter gun laws in the country. I have heard commentators repeating their mantra that they should be allowed to access weapons as it’s this is their right.

All I can say is that thank goodness I live in the UK and not USA. It is almost laughable that a progressive country like the USA is allowing its citizens to carry out mass-murders without sensibly addressing the issue.

When the Dunblane massacre occurred in 1996 stricter laws in the UK were brought in and I believe made the country a safer place. I had to reassure my class at the time as they were frightened that a gunman could do the same in the school. They were genuinely worried.

171002122519-30-las-vegas-incident-1002-large-169

If ISIS had carried out this attack, USA would have reacted. If North Korea had done the same they would have bombed their country. The utter madness and insanity in this that America cannot and will not police itself. Believing their second amendment right outweighs the rights of those who tragically lost their lives.

The USA has collective denial. Some of those people who were affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy have campaigned for tighter gun laws. This was reflected in Barack Obama’s attempt and failure to change the country’s law regarding guns.

Everyone can own and drive a car with a license that’s attained by certain standards. These standards are legally required drive on UK roads. There are yearly checks made on a vehicles roadworthiness. Billions of pounds is spent implementing safety measures in vehicles so people are less likely to be injured or killed as a result of an accident. Yet America is not prepared to do so on guns which are solely designed to insure or kill. If you don’t know that a definition of madness is, this is it.

 

Chester Bennington

What do we do when someone we know commits suicide? How do we handle it? Do we mock them for being weak and ‘taking the easy way out’? Do we simply brand the person selfish? If only the answers to those questions were that simple.

I have tried to commit suicide. There I said it. I’ve wanted to. I don’t feel ashamed of saying it, but I am not proud of it. I don’t wear as a badge in a ‘feel sorry for me’ statement. My mental health has reached crisis point and it’s acknowledging that it’s got so serious.

Others have mocked people who have tried to take their own lives. A simple disruption to someones travel plans of a few minutes is met with derision on social media if they have found out that it was due to someone’s action at that critical point. It was someone on the lines or someone at the top of a building; cue the insults.

I don’t wish my worst enemy the thoughts of suicide. Believe me. If you have been there you know what it is like. Nothing that you could ever put into words or have a go at describing.

Chester Bennington’s death seems to some a natural consequence of a rock star lifestyle.

“He struggled for years with alcohol and drugs addiction” as is often reported in these cases. So do a lot of people, despite their wealth or fame, but suicide isn’t inevitable. It is the treatable manageable disease of depression which causes it. Depression and mental health problems aren’t helped by substance abuse although people seek short-term fixes to alleviate the suffering.

I have come to terms with my suicidal thoughts, I acknowledge them. If they get bigger than I can handle I know I have to seek help. Recognising they are serious is the first step. Stopping yourself getting to that crisis point by telling someone else you are feeling this way. I have done it numerous times. People will be happy enough to stick with you if they are good friends. It’s the pain of not reaching out to someone at that point that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Charlie Gard

This my be a controversial post and might cause some people to stop reading my blog. I am not here to deliberately provoke. But I am simply stating my opinion and thoughts.

The disease that Charlie is suffering from is extremely rare. Infact, there are only a handful of known cases around the world. This poses problems for those who are treating him in hospital as trials for medication and treatment will also be in the experimental stage and have no guarantee of success.

The medical staff in the USA that have treated people with this terrible disease have only treated those who were not at the terminal stage as is with Charlie. It is at a point where doctors feel that Charlie should be allow to die with dignity.

When do our emotions stop and clear thinking take precedence? I know when mum was dying it was clear that little could be done for her in the latter stages. I would have done ANYTHING to have her here now. I miss her dearly to this day but one of the things that I as well as other family members had to do was think what was in mums best interests and this is what the courts have explained to Charlie’s parents.

We are only human beings and don’t work miracles. We can only work within the parameters for what we know now as far as medical and scientific research allows us. There isn’t a magic solution for everything.

Raymond Briggs (the author of The Snowman) said that he always tries to write in his books the subject of death. As you know, very sadly the end of the Snowman, he dies. Briggs feels that children shouldn’t be hidden away from death and it should be explained that it’s a very real part of life and I whole-heartedly agree with him.

For someone who has had a very real experience of people dying I have had to look at situations clearly and not let emotions dictate what is in the best interests of the person. Friends, grand-parents, aunts, parents and beloved pets have all died in my lifetime. It is what makes us human to allow us to show utter respect in the last stages of someones life.

Good Grief

Who talks to you about grief when you are growing up? When my grandfather died in 1984, my parents went into silence and I was told under no circumstances was I going to see him. Another member of my family experienced the death of a friend and again I was told not to talk to him about it. Silence was the way to deal with grief.

IMG_9042.jpg

It was certainly a generational thing, as it wasn’t just applicable to my family alone. You didn’t talk when someone died. It not a healthy way I have learned to start to cope with someones passing.

Jeff Brazier was in a relationship with Big Brother contestant Jade Goody. They had two sons in that time and he was given custody of them when Jade sadly passed away after suffering from cervical cancer.

I always remember that when I was a teacher, there were a lot of lads that had so many problems due to losing someone. Usually a bond between them and a grandfather and the grandfather had passed away and they have an inability to cope and deal with the grief, which in turn, causes major mental health problems.

It’s about time that people talked about grief and I am sure that Jeff Brazier, through his own experiences, will be able to guide people in how to deal with the over-whelming emotion of losing someone.

Church and the Second World War

I have been reading again in the past few days peoples comments about how people responded to the terrorist attack in Manchester. It was again a stark reminder of the way that some people use this atrocious incident for their own political gain.

coventry-cathedral-is-extensively-damaged-in-german-bombing-raids-136394373067803901-151113164642.jpg

“We didn’t light candles and put on pop concerts” is the summing up of some. But we DID back then. It was carried out with the same dignity and decency, as we have seen in our towns and cities, in the churches and cathedrals around the country. The difference is now is we have brought grief to the streets. Primarily because this is not a nation (whether we like it or not) that does not adhere to Christianity as it once did.

Church attendance in the UK at the moment stands around 750k each week. A huge decline since the Second World War. This decline isn’t unique to the Church of England but to all established Christian denominations.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 12.35.34.png

The above graph is taken from The Church Society’s website. Further information is available on it.

A decline in church attendance doesn’t mean though that some people aren’t spiritual. When harrowing life events take place, a majority will still hold onto the belief in an afterlife. Some won’t necessarily equate it to Christianity or any other religious belief but a spiritual understanding of the world. Lighting candles and laying flowers is part of this.

When mum died I sat and talked to her in the care home. I sat for at least an hour telling her how much I thought of her and loved her. I told her that despite ‘her leaving’ that she would forever be in my heart. This is for me a non-religious way of coping with her death. A way of me acknowledging her passing.

People naturally will want a way of coping with such a shock. It isn’t wrong for some to lay flowers or light candles for people that they have never known or met. It is a way of showing solidarity and love for a nation in mourning.