And still, I am blind.

Sitting in the sun, we watch the shadows where the world

scurries in the gutters of manmade cruelties.  Look away

and see the comfort of your insignificant self,

close your ears to the din of bombing and the screams of dying children,

soft, listen to the drone of mosquitoes killing nightly a household of despair.

Love your son and daughter but close your eyes to the brute next door,

looking inward and insulating the hollow of your warm nest.

The sun that shines on me bleeds on others who are not my brothers,

they are someone else’s shame,

locked away over the horizon of the night.  Come the morning and the blindness will still

be here, the scales of so-called love affixed firmly

so that I can see what it is I want to see.

My blindness sees the sunshine,

my blindness sees no darkness,

Yet, I know, I know and still, I am blind.

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Human horror. Shout for it to stop!

How bad does it have to get?  For the right to buy a machine gun the Americans are prepared to accept untold numbers of deaths.  It’s the Americans’ call.  However, the world watches as those poor Muslims from Myanmar are ethnically cleansed.  No one seems to give a damn.

I’ve already ranted on about the turncoat Aung Saan Suu Kyi, but I should also not forget those evil military leaders in Myanmar who actually carry out these atrocities.  The UN has called the issue ethnic cleansing but that hasn’t changed a thing on the ground.  Poor old Bangladesh which is one of the poorest nations on earth is doing its best to accommodate the massing refugee burden, and the poor refugees keep coming.

I feel like swearing in print, why weren’t we born as common flies surely we wouldn’t be so cruel and disgusting to our fellows.  The world is building aircraft carriers,  nuclear subs, nuclear warheads, sleeker aircraft and smart vacations spots for the rich and still the refugees march on through the miseries that are their lives.

Should we not be ashamed of our collective uselessness, our callous disregard for our fellow humans.  Shout!  Shout for it to stop.

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4th March 1789

That was the date the US Congress met in New York and issues amendments to the original Constitution of the United States.

The second amendment states:

“A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of  a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The United States was in the throes of its beginning, there were only 13 states in the Union.  The war against the imperial power was won but independence was but 13 years old.  Anarchy reigned, though there was a huge amount of positive action by the founding fathers.  Although slavery was enshrined in the constitution it continued for many years to come even after the civil war of 1850’s.

The right to bear arms in a vast country in the throes of a great expansion and a violent political era certainly enhanced the case of that right.  Looking back it seems to make some sense.  The years that followed were violent indeed and for the best part of the next 100 years the United States was anything but united and an extremely violent place.

There were parallels in Europe where there were almost continuous theatres of war throughout the eighteenth century. Yet, here the populace was not armed to the teeth despite the almost continuous conflict and the angst after the treaty of Vienna in 1815.

So why today is the second amendment “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” so literally enacted to the point where mass shootings in Las Vegas have become the norm?

The figures are horrendous: Mass shootings: There were 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker, which catalogues such incidents. A mass shooting is defined as a single shooting incident which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant.

School shootings: There were 64 school shootings in 2015, according to a dedicated campaign group set up in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut in 2012. Those figures include occasions when a gun was fired but no-one was hurt.

All shootings: Some 13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and 26,819 people were injured [those figures exclude suicide]. Those figures are likely to rise by several hundred, once incidents in the final week of the year are counted.

Is it that the American nation has evolved in a way where personal independence is paramount to the greater good? Is it that they are one hysterical bunch of lunatics that have created a national monster, at once a home of democracy but also the home of unbridled violence? Will they ever see that gun control in a civilized society is the only way.  The world is already overloaded with hatred, what we don’t need is a bunch of self-centred egocentric idiots shooting randomly at innocent people.

America leads the world!  It sure is a crazy place.

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Brexit – Confusion – the poem.

Britain looks back to its former glory

Revising history and dreams of epochs new

Excluding friends and mistaking foes

Xenophobes moaning about empty nursing stations

Isolated, insular and dreaming still of money power

Trading, trashing, cashing in and cashing out.

 

Brave New Britain, breaks with bureaucrats

Racing outward and razing the bonds of Brussels

Escaping chains and euro notes and promises

eXiting the strangling weight of unknown faces

Illuminating the new world with influential freedom

Transforming trade for all our world

 

Blind and bothered, we are ashamed,

reviewing backward brave or silly votes

Entreating others to show the way

eXpecting leaders to know what’s what

Intelligence absent across the plot!

Tell us, pray,  when? where? and what?

I

 

 

 

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Don’t tread too softly.

In an age of political correctness, we are in danger of losing sight of ingenuity and new thinking.  Amongst the revisionists are all sorts of extremes, some trying to rewrite history, some trying to limit new horizons.

We must open our collective consciousness to new ideas and new sentiments even if, at first we find the ideas strange, puzzling or even repugnant.  The idea that any expression that may offend anyone should be avoided is ridiculous.  Consider the following; The Christians defaced Palmyra long before ISIS, Christianity was barbarous and cruel during the reformation and in earlier times, the theory of evolution is denied in many fundamentalist education systems.  The British Empire was largely funded on slave labor. All these statements are fact, many of them difficult to accept.

However, ‘that  Black folk in America get a rotten deal from law enforcement officials,  President Trump is unfit to be the leader of the free world’, are more contentious perhaps, but worthy of balanced debate.

There is reasonable and credible evidence to support these premised arguments but there are also alternative views. For example:

“Black folks in America live in less privileged communities that are more susceptible to criminal behavior, therefore Black Americans are more likely to be on the wrong side of the law.”

“President Trump is a radical thinker who is genuinely creative and essentially an honest man who says it like it is.”

The first is ill-informed, but nonetheless worthy of expanded debate, whilst the second is legitimate especially for those who ‘believe’ in their new President.

There are many of us who have beliefs that preclude either of these premises, but that should not excuse us from trying to understand where the protagonists are coming from. Cool heads and open minds are what is needed to hear, listen, engage and perhaps change opinion.

Who decides, what is offensive or not?  I think we have to temper our receptors and be brave enough to accept and listen to all shades of opinion, despite the fact, that there are those who are unduly influenced on either side of the moral spectrum.  Perhaps you will listen to preachers of hate and firmly reject them, others may be more susceptible and be influenced by these evil messengers. Likewise, the fundamental zealots of any religion see themselves and their messages as beyond criticism, hence to some of us, the denial of evolutionary theory is nonsense.

Who guards the gates of moral rectitude? We all do but be prepared to tolerate views that are not our own.  Be prepared to think about what these new ideas really mean.  Accept or reject them, but only after considered thought.  Don’t be afraid of the verbal bullies, gaging them won’t help, let them speak everyone deserves a platform of freedom.

 

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Listen to the crying child.

Listen, can you hear the children cry?

From earthquake street or Yemen’s misery

Do you hear the mother’s scream of pain?

As Aung Sang Suu Kyi lies, staring blindly on.

Do you hear the whimpers of the dying child?

As drugs so needed rush too late to their breathless side.

Do you hear the mother’s tears that soak the ground?

In tortured villages that ISIS found.

Do you hear the cries of empty bellies?

In Bangladesh’s soaking drowning fields

Can you hear the buzzing bombs?

That flatten towns and schools.

Listen! Listen! – Will you reply?

To quiet the cries of that child of ours.

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A new charter for the planet.

Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Monsoon flooding, refugee crisis not to mention the threat of nuclear war.  These are some of the catastrophes that face our planet this September day.  Add to that the deliberate acts of terror and one wonders if the human condition has a future.  Indeed does it deserve a future?

Amongst the most distressing issues are the deliberate acts of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, sundry acts of terrorism as well as the chaos in Africa and the consequent mass migration.  These are human catastrophes which are the result of human behaviour.  These can be fixed if the human race in aggregate wants to fix them. The U.N. is the evolved institution that is at the centre of world order, and it (the UN) clearly is struggling to maintain any discipline or uniformity of behaviour democratic or otherwise.

Behind the raison d’etre for the UN is the keeping of the peace and the rule of international law and the relief of human disaster.  There is a constant struggle against the differences rather than the similarities of the international community.  Some would say, that nationalism and religious fundamentalism are the key areas of conflict and they may be right,

However, this is an impossibly complex set of issues that harbour the yet more complex matters such as competitive individual and national needs. The management of relative wealth, education, health and welfare all crowd in, an accident of geography seems to mitigate against relative success. In addition, there are the vagueries of leadership and they range from unpredictable populism to totalitarianism.  The rulers ofNorth Korea and Zimbabwe are just two examples where the great mass of the world’s opinion agree that they are just plain wrong.  The former in addition to routine murder and torture of its citizens is threatening nuclear catastrophy whilst the latter is a matter of plain thievery and the wrecking of a prospering economy. There are many other examples of rulers and communities who to the majority of world opinion believe them to be wrong.

Wrong is a big word, and conditioned by the definition of what ‘right’ means.  Sadly, on the one hand, things like women’s’ rights, freethinking, are accepted in some nations they are not in others.  The death penalty is still used in numerous states, dictators seem to be able to rise to power in the vacuum of ignorance.

The U.N. is all we have, it is certainly imperfect.  However, it exists and the institution is the only forum for all these varied and complex conditions to be aired.  Messrs Trump, Mwgabe, Kim Jong Un, and others can have a theatre where their ideas are aired.  The UN has also limited powers of intervention and an inglorious history of failure.

Nevertheless, the UN is the only hope we’ve got, so lets all support it in any way we can, for without it the world would be an even more chaotic planet.

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