Social media gets me down

I spend too much time on social media. I admit it. I cannot stop looking to see if someone has updated their Facebook or Twitter account. Most of the time they haven’t and if they do, it isn’t interesting. So why then do I spend so much time waiting for something to happen?

Social Media

I would love a digital detox. Take away my phone and laptop. Leave me with a newspaper and I will probably go through cold-turkey, but I have realized that social media is making me unhappy.

Yesterday, I read that there should be a pride march not just for the LGBTI community, but for those in the heterosexual community. Seriously? Are people that close-minded that they dismiss the pain and suffering that the LGBTI have endured over the years? It’s not only dismissive but adds to the anguish of those who are struggling with their own sexuality and trying to understand the feelings they have as they come to terms with who they are.

I regularly see vile racist comments on Twitter and Facebook. People think its somehow ‘justified’ in today’s climate while talking about religion and faith. When did we become so full of hate? I know I have to continually remind myself that there are a lot more people in the world who are caring, loving, accepting of others. It’s just that social media for me doesn’t reflect a caring world.

Tommy Robinson – Finsbury attack

Tolerant, caring and loving. Wouldn’t you want to live in a society that promotes these values?

The reaction on social media to Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was some of the blame and support. What is apparent is that he doesn’t promote harmony and togetherness, he promotes hatred.

“How am I a racist?” I have heard him ask time and time again. If you blame ALL Muslims for extremist actions, you are discriminating. I wouldn’t blame all white people for the attack that happened near Finsbury Mosque. I would say that their beliefs, whether they are born out of a warped distorted of a religion, is the same as an ideology that promotes segregation and hate.

I utterly condemn violence against innocent victims in Manchester and Westminster bridge. I utterly condemn violence carried out again the Muslim community in Finsbury Park. I want to live in a tolerant, caring society. Those who hold extremist views don’t.

Robinson’s views are abhorrent. They do nothing to stop the views of Islamists carrying around appalling acts. In all the years he has been campaigning, what has he actually done to constructively tackle these extremists? Shouting and ranting in places after something has happened is ignored by 99% of the country. People know he is misguided, ill-informed and does these for his own agenda and not for the common good.

I will stand with the Muslim community. I stand with these people. People who have been persecuted and blamed for far too long.

Grenfell Tower

As I write this blog post it as has been confirmed that the death toll has now risen to 30. It is such a sad and tragic incident which has left people, rightly so, wanting answers.

What does seem apparent is that residents were demanding that safety procedures should be put in place. People said that they had spoken to the council and they did not listen. How many times have we heard this? I can think of numerous times when residents have expressed concerns about something that’s happening in their area and they council have not listened. It’s all about the money and not about the people.

I have been amazed and taken aback at the the quick mobilisation of the local community. People of all religions and backgrounds working together to help those affected. I saw that and organisation called Islamic Relief were giving out water to those people who needed it.

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Where are the far-right when these things happen? Do they muck in and help? Or do they try to divide, separate and keep communities from working together? Well they have failed. They have failed this time and they will fail again in the future. It will not stop people looking out for one another. It will not stop those, who are from all over the world, living harmoniously with each other. This is what they hate.

I said it on social media and I will say it again. I would rather have 1000 muslims living in my street that ONE EDL, BNP, Britain First sympathiser.

Now that the election is over

I breathe a small sigh of relief to know that the election is finally over. But in my opinion that sense of relief is going to be short-lived. From the results, we can glean that the young people of this country have mobilized and others have stood up to the current government and saying no.

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This country has faced years of austerity where public services have been cut and budgets slashed. People and business are tired of not knowing what is going to happen with Brexit and how it will affect them long term. Businesses, however big or small, don’t like uncertainty.

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What is apparent to me is that people’s living standards will get worse. Things will become more expensive and more than likely we will head for a deep a lasting recession. What people voted for and what people will get longterm isn’t going to be the same.

 

Another Attack – London

When I woke this morning, I was filled with horror to realize that not only had there been another terrorist attack on our country, but my close friends were in London on holiday.

It was reassuring to know that they had posted on social media that they were safe. Then thoughts turn to the people who were killed and injured, someone’s family will be waiting again to hear from a loved one. Not knowing if they lie in a hospital somewhere or are in a place where they are supposed to be located.

Yet people I have seen will go to the uneducated and idiotic response. We have seen a world leader make statements about how all 1.6 billion of the Muslim religion should be banned from his country. How does this actually help the situation? How does that stop the terrorists carrying out such atrocious acts? It doesn’t. Simply it panders to the fear and ignorance.

Whether you like it or not these people are determined to carry out these acts and the majority of the time they are radicalized within their own country. This can be carried out on social media and the internet. Do we call for the banning of the net? No. Because we make the distinction that there is a very small minority carrying out terrorist attacks and not all people using information networks do so.

We understand these are a few people are fuckwits. Nothing else; they have no religion. They have an ideology, they don’t have religion. Greater education is needed of religion and it’s not enough to explain that this is a Christian country. It isn’t. But has been explored and understood.

London Terrorist Attack

I watched the events unfold on the television yesterday afternoon and was appalled that people were killed in such a brutal way. Innocent people from all over the world were caught up in this attack. I walked along Westminster Bridge two weeks ago and was amazed at the different nationalities that were stood there taking photos and selfies with the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in the background.

Within minutes of this attack, the vile Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) former leader of the EDL was in the middle of London near to the scene ranting about Muslims and how the country was at war. He claimed that ‘we’ had been at war with Islam for 1400 years hinting that since its inception that somehow Islam wasn’t a religion but brandishing an entirely with the mark of terrorism.

Let me tell you Mr. FUCKING Robinson or whatever you call yourself that this time last week I was treated in hospital by a Muslim doctor wearing a headscarf. Had it not been for her quick thinking and response to my illness I may not have been here to type these words. She wasn’t thinking about ending life she was there to save it.

I relish the day when I do meet you. When I do get the opportunity to tell you the damage, hatred, and poison you rant about is pathetic. You are no better than the terrorists that carry out these vile attacks. If I am a liberal Marxist leftie or whatever the fucking stupid label your organizations brand us with I would rather be that than the hate-filled, bile encrusted fuckwit that you are.

Black lives do matter

From 1988-91 I studied Theology at Overstone College. It was a predominately black church where the congregations were made up of the West Indian community in the UK. For someone like me a young lad from the northeast it was a shock to the system being placed in a totally unknown culture. But it was one of the happiest times in my life.

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America’s ‘shoot first ask questions later’ policy is causing innocent young men to die needlessly on the streets. I watched online a video of Ronald Johnson who was running away from the police at the time when he was shot and killed. I have to get my head around USA law that says that a police officer can use deadly force if they ‘reasonably believe’ that someone has a firearm on them. Even if they don’t see it they can use force to kill.

The CNN article that I linked goes on to explain that each case is determined individually and that the prosecutors should way up the information leading to the police using deadly force.

I can understand that each case will have to be assessed but what I still cannot understand is the necessity in the USA to have so many guns. The lack of gun control laws is alarming for someone born and raised in a country where it very rare for you to see policemen holding guns.

Black lives matter as much as white, hispanic or Jewish lives. But what seems to be emerging that you are more likely to die at the hands of police if you are a young black man.

It’s alien to me. I never saw or heard of any racism at my time at Overstone and I would have been horrified and distraught at the police deliberately targeting any of my friends.

Stop the world 

What on earth is going on with our society and other countries?

  • Two unarmed black men shot and killed in the USA
  • Over three thousand incidents of hate crime reported to the police in the UK last month
  • Five police officers killed in a sniper shooting in the USA
  • Hundreds dead in Baghdad in a terrorist bombing
  • Two dead at a music festival before its even started in Scotland
  • New prime minister voted in who has a poor record on LGBT rights

These are just some of the stories I have been reading about this morning. What really is going on? Has the world turned in on itself?

Hate is the keyword in all of these. Hating on black people or gay and lesbian community. Lack of tolerance and education has caused this. Justification of religious freedom to deny decent equality laws.

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Let’s get rid of proper education on relationships in schools as we are terrified to teach children to be aware of dangers that lurk in all areas of life. Terrified of standing up to people who spout hatred and bile about muslims or other religious groups.

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I bet not many people know that the Mayor of London met with Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to discuss the rise in race hate incidents that a occurred since the vote to leave the EU. Mr Khan broke his fast during his time in Ramadan for Iftar.

There are those who think that people of different faiths and nationalities cannot live side by side in harmony. There are those who are determined that their hatred will somehow win over the rest of the country. I have said it time and time again these people will NOT win. I prefer to live in a world where there isn’t fighting or death. Where people can share their differences and respect them.

There has to be reform of gun control. There has to be the continual stamping out of race hate and crime. Those who perpetrate these crimes should be punished. Those who use deadly force again another person without proper justification should be made to face the consequences.

 

More Brexit silliness

I have been thinking about this post for a long time. I have been wondering how to make sense of it all. For someone who is innately miserable and depressive, I am trying to see the good.

I said in my last blog that we need to pull together as a nation and work for the good of everyone. That seems a far away dream at the moment when rolling news items talk of awful incidents of racist attacks on people who are British citizens but were born in a different country than the UK.

Racism and abusive hate speech should be socially unacceptable. It should be condemned right from the beginning from all political parties what every their differences of opinion may be.

The turmoil within the Labour Party adds fuel to the uncertainty. Within times of crisis, it has been said that the country needs an effective opposition to hold the government to account and to ensure that we come out if this crisis as unscathed and intact as we were before Brexit was announced.

We need to reassure each other that things will be okay. There might be some rough moments but those in the communities should reassure the minorities that they are welcome in our country. Our country is better than racism and hate. Despite the lies that have been bandied around by both sides its time for reconciliation and hope.

The result

I woke up about 7am and looked at my phone to utter shock and dismay. The majority of the people in the UK want to leave the EU. It had been said at the beginning that it was going to be close but it would be the remaining vote that would get the overall majority. This wasn’t the case.

The simple claim that we could automatically funnel the supposed £350 million from the EU to the NHS has been proven to be false even Farage backtracking to claim he never said that in the first place even though it was a big decider in voting to leave.

Billions have been wiped from stocks and shares and I already have seen an advertisement on TV for those people who have lost money and how to claim compensation. This won’t last for today and the stability that we experienced before the referendum will not continue over the coming months and years.

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What do we do now? I am a firm believer in democracy and freedom but when the country decides to vote in such a way that yourself might not agree with we have to respect the majority.

I will continue to fight inequality and racism where ever I see it. I will champion the immigrant who has left their country due to war and conflict. If they need somewhere to go I think our country should be welcoming. You won’t see closed borders despite what the leave campaign have argued.

I will roll my sleeves up and get on with life.

the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!