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.

 

100 Battle of the Somme

I don’t remember doing any work on World War I at school when I was young. I think we did some on the Second World War I might be wrong. I certainly think that it is important that we teach not just young people about war but also everyone who is living today. A respect for the past and its atrocities is needed for a better future.

The Battle of the Somme started on the morning of July 1st exactly a hundred years ago today. It has been said that it was one of the bloodiest battles in the history of World War I. It is estimated that there were least 60 thousand casualties by the end of the first day and around 20 thousand of those men lost their lives.

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The horrors of the war are just unimaginable. People thought that it would be over by Christmas but seeing the wounded come and with horrific injuries, it must have been a sharp realisation to those in the front that it was going to take more effort and sacrifice than first thought.

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Some of the men were teenagers. A word that wasn’t used a hundred years ago once you got to the age at which you could work which was around fourteen you were considered an adult and joined others at work each day. Young men who signed up for the army before conscription was brought in were trained and sent to the trenches. Many never to return home to their loved ones.

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I think it’s more poignant to remember their sacrifice of their own lives for the freedom we have today. Those who have greed and hatred in their hearts aren’t welcome. Commemorating their loss is something that we all should do and take time out of our arguments and squabbles, however trivial some of them seem to be, to realise the events of 1916.

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.

Decent world

I don’t understand it. I cannot understand it. No matter how many times I have mentioned on Twitter that I want to live in a decent society where far-right extremists are not compatible with a civilised society. Then I am inundated with people with bile and hatred. People trying to justify right-wing policies.

These aren’t people who are in politics as a chosen career but they are repeating the beliefs and words of things that have been said to them by the groups such and EDL, Britain First and the BNP.

I believe in free-thinking and the ability to challenge anything someone says or does. What is their motive? I said in a previous post, take way the establishments and organisations that these people are linked to and what are they like as a person?

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These people are brain-washed. They have had lie after lie drummed into them for such a long time and they do not realise the harm that they are doing. It has now been stated that the accused has links to far-right organisations. They have had people commenting that the person who is accused of the murder is not the person they have seen in TV reports the claim he wouldn’t do that sort of thing. But really how well do we know those people we call friends?

I want to live in a decent world. That means everyone is equal. It shouldn’t mean that a certain group or religion should have first say on things. It doesn’t mean that we chose to feed and house just one race and forget the rest. We treat each other with respect and decency.

So I have decided I won’t comment and argue against these people as it’s futile it’s only when something terrible happens to them as a result of their hate and prejudice does it hit home. I am finding it is causing me to question my own sanity when I keep thinking what have we become as a nation when just being a normal human being in a good country is a struggle.

I really hope one day that they will see how hate and division cause so much pain to so many people.

RIP – Jo Cox MP

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These are the headlines as I write on this terrible day. I am upset that she has lost her life doing the thing she wanted to do and help her constituency lead a decent life in West Yorkshire.

As with the shooting in Orlando over the past weekend we have seen claim and counter-claim from various sides of the political debate. People appropriating blame where it certainly does not lie.

I made a simple statement on the Britain First Facebook site and said that if the person who has been detained made the comment ‘Britain First’ numerous times then their organisation would be proscribed as a terrorist organisation. After about fifteen minutes I expected that it would be deleted as they don’t like people criticising their vile beliefs. I was right and getting just over a hundred likes the comment disappeared.

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Britain First openly claimed that they will use “direct action” against Sadiq Khan to target where he “lives, works and prays”. The underlining racism that BF has and their hatred for Muslims and people who are seen to be colluding with them make them a dangerous organisation. I would rather have a Muslim living next-door to me than a member of Britain First. That is the level of distrust I have for this despicable organisation.

In all instances of any crime such as this, there has to be a full investigation and especially when there has been a murder it could take months. It is only a speculation at the moment that the alleged attacker has a disturbing motive for the crime but once it has been established the correct proscribing should take place.

Like others, I will continue to say that hate, division, and racist beliefs have no place in the UK or any civilised society. My thoughts are with Jo Cox and her family at this terrible time.

Take away the Religion

I was watching a clip on YouTube last night of Pat Robinson who, if you aren’t sure who he is, is a transphobic, homophobic and downright ridiculous man who spouts crazy bile in the name of Christianity.

Thoughts then turned to the people who had been killed by the gunman in Orlando and his crazed ideology that killing a group of LGBT people would be pleasing to his god.

As you know I am a humanist. I don’t believe in god, I used to be a church-goer but the belief and faith I had died a long time ago.

I thought if you take away the religion and look at how people act it proves a lot about who the person is in the beginning.  How is the person with their friends and family? What are they doing for the good of everyone?

Someone that causes harm and distress to others under the name of their religion should be ridiculed for what they are. If it’s some old irrelevant man who has no idea what true life is like and doesn’t realise the damage he causes isn’t a true follower of faith.

People assume that those who don’t have a religion to follow are bereft of morality and principles. This couldn’t be further from the case. Humanism is about treating everyone fairly as they are all beings that share the same planet.

Blame

There is always someone who will want to proportion blame other than the person who pulled the trigger on the guns. So far I have heard that the police at the nightclub were to blame, the lack of guns in the club and even the gay people who murdered should share the responsibility for their own deaths.

The appalling politicians and right-wing groups that latch on to what has happened and use if for their own gain. They proportion the blame to an entire religion which is wrong. Within most belief systems that there are the radical parts that will use this as an excuse to create mayhem and murder innocent victims. Many political parties have murdered in the name of their cause and under-pinned it with the belief that what they are doing is from god. It’s not. True religion does not kill.

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The key to getting to grips with this sort of violence has to be education and understanding. The Islamic faith does and has to condemn these sorts of atrocities that are undertaken in its name. The Muslim Advocates which speaks on behalf of Muslims in American has rightly condemned the killings of innocent LGBT victims. Something that does not get reported in the wider press and beyond.

There has to be a working together of ordinary people who will speak for all sides to condemn this violence. ISIS and its ideology are evil and that message should be broadcast throughout the world. Allowing the lunatics of the far-right and the homophobic part of the Christian church to use it for their gain should be stopped right at the beginning.

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Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

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