Vigil for the victims of New Zealand attack

Sometimes you feel helpless when bad things happen thousands of miles away. I felt I needed to show solidarity with those who are suffering.

In the days after the Christchurch killings I felt utterly helpless. In the past when I have seen such suffering I have been able to help by sending to money to those who need it. This time is different as how can you let people know that these people are not alone and we won’t sit silently allowing such hate and evil go unnoticed.

IMG_6828

I follow a north east group which protests against racism and those who chose to stir up hatred within the entire country. They felt it was necessary to hold a vigil for the people who have survived the massacre in New Zealand.

It was amazing to see so many gather in St Nicolas’s Cathedral, Newcastle. It isn’t surprising but very sad at the same time that we have witnesses the rise of hate-related incidents in this country and it parts of the world. People’s inability to leave in a harmonious way has led us into some terrible times.

B96A044A-81EE-4F9A-BBB9-5D0A7E56910F

The rise in social media and people sharing unsavoury views about certain groups has led some in our society to have views which I think are plainly warped. Their views about the Muslim community has been distorted by those who have played a dangerous divisive game for years. Spreading lies and mistruths for their own agenda.

IMG_6829

Thank goodness now the social media companies have started to crack down on those who spread hate. The main ones have put the brakes on those who spread hatred. They have decried their so-called action as attempt to ‘silence’ and ‘censor’ them. This only plays into the hands of the supporters as it gets them angry even though there are thousands of other ways in which hatred can be spread throughout the world.

IMG_6826

The evening was a peaceful reflection where there were members representing a number of faiths, including those from the Jewish and Roma communities, came together as one. As someone with no faith I still strongly believe in standing shoulder to shoulder with those in a minority who had suffered in such a way.

Dipu Ahad is a Labour councillor in Newcastle and was the person who introduced some people to speak about the attack in New Zealand. It was heart-warming to hear of the generosity of those who had reached out to the community on the other side of the world. As I said at the beginning of this post I certainly felt helpless at being unable to share my sympathies with those who were hurting but after this evenings vigil I felt I was able to give my support to the victims of hate and violence.

Advertisements

Tommy Robinson – banned from twitter

Stephen Yaxley Lennon or Tommy Robinson as he is more commonly known has been removed from a social media platform. 

Stephen Lennon is his name although he is has gone under other aliases and pseudonyms. Even to the point of using someone else’s passport to enter the USA illegally. I have said it before what he is a far-right extremist. He hasn’t done anything positive or made a credible contribution.

His various claims prove he is racist. When you cannot distinguish Islamists with ordinary Muslims you discriminate.

 “We are war with Islam – we have been 1400 years” No we are not. The only ones who claim that are people who cannot distinguish between extremists and ordinary Muslims.

“Islam isn’t a religion its an ideology” Nope. No one claims that. By every definition, in every book, Islam is the 2nd biggest religion in the world. It is 20% of the earth that followers that religion. If it was that bad why do people follow it?

I have seen in numerous videos Stephen Lennon asks ‘What have I said? In what way am I racist?.

Well. Let’s look at a Facebook post of his from a couple of weeks ago. He is irate that someone who has raped an eleven-year-old girl hasn’t been sent to prison. The person assaulted someone. Not rape. Before you jump down my throat yes the person in the article did something terrible, no denial, it’s not a competition.

IMG_0143

I look at facts. The person did a terrible thing. Stephen claims he raped the girl. He didn’t – the article makes no mention of that at all. So it’s lies. Then he goes on to complain that the person should be sent to jail and the reason he wasn’t as his wife doesn’t speak English. Engaging with people to justify anti-immigrant sentiment.

The article is also four years old. It makes no mention that other people are convicted sent to prison. This is what we mean when we say that he lies. He isn’t to be trusted. There are other examples of this. Yet, we are supposed to get out information and opinions about Muslims from him?

I am no angel. I have fucked up. I am not claiming to be an ambassador or spokesperson. What I do know is about religion and peoples beliefs.

Let’s look at some of his supports on twitter who have reacted to his permanent ban.

IMG_0140

A ludicrous statement. If he has done good things why are only a few commending him? Nigel Farage? No other modern politician has made any other credible contribution?

IMG_0138

Again. Another stupid statement. No one should be banned. Really? So I could continue to make threats of violence? Stalk someone etc. It isn’t a public platform. Its a privately owned company. Yet somehow, Twitter has gained monetary support from governments – incredibly stupid and false. Bordering on a conspiracy.

I could continue and give you other ludicrous examples. He has been removed from one social media platform. That’s it. He hasn’t been removed from facebook and others that I know of. This won’t stop his lies and racist beliefs it will compound his conspiracies and fallacies. His silly uneducated followers who don’t look at facts will continue to support him.

Social media detox

Over the last week I have been trawling facebook and reading various posts from organisations and groups I would never normally following or subscribe. It made me hate social media and humans even more. 

As I said in a recent post, I am really having a problem with humans and how they interact with each other. How they talk in the street is somehow more censored, less brash and in a lot of cases not has highly offensive. The posts I have seen over the last week have been horrendous.

types-of-social-media-content

There have been people who have made repugnant remarks and people are allowed to say what they like to a certain extent. The case of Cambridge Analytica is certainly not lost on my quest for a calmer and more harmonious mind. Facebook on the whole for me is a great experience keeping up with friends and family all over the whole is amazing. But some don’t see it in such a peaceful way.

I have been searching for a solution. I don’t want to delete my facebook profile. But I have made changes to how I see things and those people and organisations I spoke of have been blocked. This is the same as those people who randomly share information and news that cannot be verified or looks like it is fake. I am not talking about those people who share baby photos or endless photos dumped from the 200 they took on Sunday at some kids christening. Filter the crap ones out!

So I will try not to let social media get me down. Detox anyone?

 

Conspiracy theories the new religion

You used to be laughed at if you believed in conspiracy theories and not the truth. Now the tables are turned. You aren’t normal if you don’t believe in them. 

I am really having a hard time with the internet and humans at the moment. I have spoken a few years ago about the ridiculousness of conspiracy theories. People who have revisionistic ideas about how they view past events and some atrocities claiming certain things didn’t take place.

I want to know why people believe in conspiracy theories and can this be linked in the same way that humans attach religion to themselves by giving their lives meaning, purpose and hope.

The fact that as humans we look for an explanation of events and occurrences. We want to know why things happen. The part of our brain the amygdala is the thing that kick-starts the processes of emotion. It starts out processing fear of something so when we are confronted with that which should scare us into running eg. enormous cat with a mallet chasing after us.

Our evolutionary brain helps us decide that which is a real or false threat. Then we look for the reason why something happened. One assumes that in child-psychology and development as a young person grows constantly as the question  ‘why?’ – a characteristic that parents no doubt will attest.

Our brains are processing that all that information and it’s not to say some conspiracy theories are all false, some do in fact turn out to be true. Someone, like myself, claims to be a free-thinker we are able to process quite clearly that which is true and that which is complete bullshit.

Take for example these posts from The Daily Star I have collected over the last year. These are all headline news topics written and presented to get you to (click bate) click and read. If you were to only get your news and information from this one site you probably be a nervous wreck unsure whether to the world is coming to end by either freezing to death, nuclear war or being fried in your own juices due to a heatwave.

c9f9dc7440e8630d49efa3fe9ab579bf

30f143f902a08f8c2870b106f78df411

When I was researching this post I found it fascinating that some people have a propensity to believe in conspiracy theories and this then moves on to confirmation bias. So even if you have all the facts in front of you people will still tend to trust their own thoughts and beliefs. That which you think is true is confirmed eg. all Chinese people eat green rice. You will seek out that information which confirms your belief rather than rationally choosing to look over information provided to form a new opinion. You don’t challenge facts and information even though you are told otherwise which leads to belief perseverance.

Every time I hear or read of some spurious claim on social media I have to test the information rather than relaying it others to make sure I am not sharing blatant lies. Our connection to social media now has allowed being sucked into all sorts of conspiracies and falsehoods.

Religion tends to rely on higher powers and hierarchical structures to confirm and guide people in all situations. Lots of people will claim that they are not a slave to anyone else yet allow facebook sites, twitter accounts, fanatical leaders to provide them with their own assumptions of the world.

So for me, I think those people who dance behind the pied-pipers of conspiracy theories are just the same as those who readily make decisions about their own lives according to how their holy scriptures or priests tell them. There’s no such thing as a free-thinking follower of religion neither is there someone who subscribes to organisations who promote and encourage ridiculous conspiracies.

Cameron Dallas

Cameron Dallas is very good looking. That’s it.

I watched the Netflix series ‘Chasing Cameron’. Oh, my goodness. It’s a car crash of a programme.

Let me explain. Cameron is a ‘Social media influencer’. What the hell is that? That’s what I asked when I saw it. Basically, someone who has a lot of followers and gets attention from most of the teenage girls. The title of the programme explains neatly what the programme is about. It is people chasing someone who is good looking. That’s it, nothing else of real importance happens.

What I found bizarre about the programme is that Cameron and his cronies call themselves ‘The talent’ without having any visible worthwhile gifts or qualities that contribute to society. Jumping up and down on a stage and throwing bottled water at someone isn’t talent, a monkey could do that and probably be more entertaining.

‘Touch every single girl lives in a way that they have never been touched before‘ is the horrific opening ‘prayer’ to one of their shows. The fact that a request of the almighty that each of ‘the talent’ has the energy for the show is ludicrous and should be mocked for what it is. A higher being is sitting mulling the world’s problems and he makes an exception and blesses a bunch of hormonal teenage girls in a room watching guys make complete fools of themselves while being charged hundreds of dollars for the pleasure. At least when we screamed at the Beatles they were performing something worthwhile. This isn’t.

We witness throughout the episodes the breakdowns, tantrums and a guy suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration treated with prayer. We also witness Dallas himself being berated for sneaking a girl on to the tour bus. This is alongside other teenage boys, who are living in the same area. His lack of awareness and blatant inappropriate behaviour is beyond astounding.

heteronormative world

I don’t mind gay people just wish they wouldn’t be so gay.

The closet is a lonely place. Really lonely. If you aren’t true to yourself you will never find happiness or love. I spent the 80s and some of the 90s in the closet and it made me miserable. I felt I couldn’t tell anyone that I was gay because of the rejection and fear it would cause.

Footballers and pop stars are no exception. There is an underlining fear that if you do come out then somehow your life will never be the same and that’s true to a certain extent. There is a fear that you won’t be accepted in the wider world. Best to keep things quiet and live a heteronormative life.

IMG_0562.jpg

I said it hundreds of time ‘Im not gay’ not only to others but to myself. Its speculation and inquiry that has lead to a lot of denials. Social media rushes to defend those who have publicly denied their sexuality. But as I always argue it’s not about whether someone is gay or straight it’s about honesty.

We value honesty above other virtues. Sometimes it can be brutal to hear but I would rather know in the end. Denial of sexuality isn’t honest with others and most importantly yourself. I have experienced first hand the damage that it can do psychologically to someone who is struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.

I watched a programme about Liberace and how he was in utter denial about who he really was and his sexuality. Eventually, his denial would lead to his death as he contracted HIV and refused medical treatment for the condition. This maybe an extreme example of denial but ultimately and sadly it’s consequences.

I think when you are mature enough and brave enough you should tell people who you are. The ones who stick around and are with you years later are the ones who love you. There is a reason why those people are in the past. Things do get better and it may not be great at first. My mother didn’t speak to me for days when I came out to her but it did get better and we were closer than before.

Newcastle another Rotherham

When sexuality is distorted,  a deviant streak is created.

I, like others, are appalled at the crimes that have been uncovered in the north east of England. Men who have abused, coerced and forced girls into sex. Plying them with alcohol and illegal drugs to satisfy their needs.

Racists will, with almost certainty, try to capitalise on the situation and likely be planning a march in Newcastle (I wrote this a few days before a march organised by EDL was announced) to air their righteous indignation with a dose of ‘told you so’ about those bloody foreigners . If only life was so simple as their minds. It isn’t clear cut as that and I will attempt to explain why.

Sexuality and human relationships are complex things and where equality and gender is considered. If one sex is seen and superior to another, distortions and conflicts will arise.

In many religions the man is considered superior to the female. Stemming from thousands of years previous that, because the man is physically stronger than the female, she is therefore considered inferior. A woman should stay at home and a man go out to work to provide for the family. But to most in the western world we know that’s bollocks.

We have progressed and gender equality is written into law, although, as recently commented there is still a long way to go when it comes to giving men and women equal pay.

newcastle-crown-court-pa

There are still those who consider women to be there for the man that they should serve the man. You only have to look at tabloid newspapers and hear general conversation where women are considered ‘birds’ and other words which I won’t use here.

If this attitude towards women is ingrained in a culture as it used to be in the UK decades ago planting yourself into another culture where women are seen as vulnerable and open to exploitation this distortion will occur. It’s no secret that the men convicted in other towns and in Newcastle were from a predominately Pakistani heritage. It only becomes racist if you say that all men from this background are into child exploitation.

For me the problem has been the lack of knowledge and education, not of those who perpetrate such crimes but those who have been in power to stop them. Police and Social Services have been too complicit in turning a blind eye to the problem. They haven’t understood the culture and background of the men and dismissed the girls as being wayward and out of control.

What if then these men targeted boys? It would have been dealt with immediately. The imbalance of our attitude towards each sex is highlighted. You would be considered a pervert if you targeted someone who was a male and 13 years old but because they were female well they get what they deserve.

Our attitude should be that both boys and girls of that age are children in the eyes of the law and that where the investigation should start. People have been for a long time unable to say what they feel in fear of offending a part of a community.

I rang into a radio show once to talk about a restaurant that in was trouble with council officials because they wanted to call it ‘The Fat Buddha’. Officials believed this would offend the Buddhist community. It was absolute nonsense. There was a time when the Buddha starved himself and then gorged himself to find ‘Nirvana’ or enlightenment. In some parts of the world the Buddha statue itself is seen as a symbol of prosperity if the person rubs the Buddha’s belly.

nintchdbpict0002673164601

It’s this lack of understanding and knowledge that has caused so many problems. We have place religious understanding and knowledge of communities to one side and allowed officials to make ridiculous statements and decisions without consulting others first.

I understand how and why these men exploited vulnerable women and young girls. Doesn’t mean I don’t condemn these repugnant crimes. Education and understanding isn’t the same as being complicit or condoning such behaviours.