Wednesday, 25 April 2007

The Great War for Civilisation

This book by Robert Fisk is well worth a read. It may have 1286 pages, not counting the addenda, and it may take a while to peruse, but I recommend it to those who wish to understand the Middle East today.

The lack of concern for human life shown by the folk from all sides stands out. The tortures, imprisonment, brutality, murders and general callousness shown by Arabs and Persians, Americans and French, by British and Saudis, by Muslim and so called Christian never seem to end. Everybody is under threat from someone, so all fight back, often before they are attacked. Muslim groups fight their own leaders and each other. Dictatorial leaders brutally put down any suspected of rebellion, whatever their religion.

And of course the West comes to bring 'democracy.' As long as that 'democracy' leads to capturing the oil fields for themselves. 'Democracy' can be foisted on Iraq, but not Saudi Arabia, they are our friends after all. Iraq can be made 'democratic' especially if Israel wants it broken up. It never fails to surprise me just how influential Israel is in American politics. Another surprise is the weakness before this of the 'Most powerful man in the world' the president of the United States. Serious questions need to be asked here by the American people, especially those sent to die for a cause not their own. The president elected on the back of $345 million dollars from big business and oil money (his business) gives out contracts, without tendering first, to those who backed him. The oil fields are guarded more heavily than peoples lives. Just who and what is running the American government at any given time I ask? What is the purpose?

Israels behaviour is clearly seen as outrageous. Not just the land grabbing, but the treatment of the Palestinians who object. Israel may have been returned to the land God gave them, and that is what I believe, and God may still have a place for them in this world, but the must turn to their God and do things his way. This they do not do. None of the leaders have been religious Jews. Most of the settlers appear to have an unhappy habit of being Americans who think they are winning the 'wild west' all over again. God wants all to know his Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, and knowingly firing 'Hellfire' missiles into ambulances full of women and children is not the way to do it! A change of attitude and a clear answer to the Palestinian problem is urgently required if there is to be peace in the Middle East. However, I do not believe this will happen. It is not for us to know they way God is working in Israel, it is for us to know God through his Son, and then live for him where we are. Pray for Israel, but ask the Lord what he wants, not what we want.

I reckon this book covers around five million deaths in the time span presented to us. So it is not the sort of thing to read out to the kids last thing at night! But Fisk's travels in Afghanistan (where he meets Bin Laden) , Iraq, Iran, Saudi, Algeria, Pakistan ( a friend of the West even though the Taliban and Bin laden may be based there. And don't mention their nuclear arms please), and elsewhere show several things. People from all backgrounds and cultures, religions or not, can be kind, helpful and well worth knowing. It also shows they can torture, murder, and hate forcefully and brutally. Politicians from all sides are assailed from all sides by all sides, and usually compromise by taking the easy way out. Or what benefits them the most. All tell lies, all misuse their own forces as well as the enemies (real or imagined) all justify their actions and rarely are called to account. Mostly what we see is suffering. Suffering of the innocent, call them insurgents, terrorists, or threatening, call them anything, but justify the murder and pain and walk away seems to be the order of the day.

Fisk does not attempt to offer a 'fix' for the area he has covered. However, he does let us see the results of our meddling among people we once despised and now fear! Political chicanery, regarding the locals as unimportant or 'lesser peoples' has come home to roost. We have pushed them too far and now bear the cost. The unwritten answer is to let them have the freedom they want in their lands. Ensure 'democracy' exists in all the lands, not just some, and stop using them for ourselves. There is an amazing lack of understanding in the west of the Muslim mind.
A thought that we are more 'civilised' and a great fear of what we do not know.
Especially when it now resides amongst us!

Time for us to consider others quite a bit more. Time for a radical overhaul of Middle East policy, and time for the United Kingdom to stop being a lackey of the corrupt United States Government. Time also for the American people to take their government back into their own hands. If, that is, they have the courage and if they have the desire.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Church Services on TV

What is it about televised church services? Why do they have to go to a large cathedral to portray Christianity? I am watching a service for Easter from Coventry cathedral. The cathedral is a vast open space built after the second world war to replace a building destroyed during the blitz. Those in charge decided to rebuild the church and offer forgiveness to the enemy. Since 1940 this church has worked worldwide to bring reconciliation between enemies. This is a work that needs to be congratulated.

However, the service involves the usual Anglican choir, loud organ, and leader led responses. All this leaves me cold. There is no spontaneity here. No reaction to Jesus the man, and what he has done. Indeed, what he is doing. The hearts may be right, the performance is wrong.

Yet this is what the public see. They do not see lives changed, just nice folks being nice. We need church services on TV which reflect the church as she is today, not an image that suits television producers expectations. We need to see one of the lively young churches which abound through the land. Certainly they have been featured on occasion, and 'Spring Harvest' has hosted 'Songs of Praise' on occasion, but far too often a church seen on television is old fashioned and worse, out of touch, or middle class.

Still, at least the secular liberals are forced to portray the church so many despise. The message that 'Christ died for our sins, and was raised for our justification.' is published and heard. Now of course, I must let him live in me and live it out. That way his message will be seen in a cold lonely world, full of need and desperate for the Love of God to reach them.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Easter Weekend

I almost missed the Easter weekend. I knew it was coming but suddenly it is upon us. Today I suddenly realised is Thursday, clever of me, and this means tomorrow is Friday, Good Friday! The intellect is straining now. This weekend is therefore the Easter weekend. This explains why the traffic is rushing by my window so early. Everyone is desperate to be off and relaxing at home, or wherever. Sainsburys will be crowded with shoppers stuffing the bags full of groceries they do not need, desperate to ensure they will not starve to death during the break. Only one person died at Easter, and he rose again, so relax a bit folks. Come Tuesday, all their bins will be full of uneaten food, wasted when thousands starve elsewhere in this world. And in this house when I consider it.

Strange experience watching people flock to their breaks. The idea of a few days off is meaning;less to someone with too many days off already. A day or two of work would be an experience, and now the weather is improving, the sun shines and one day soon the warmth will reach us, the idea of work seems inviting. Of course this depends on what work actually is available. So far, nothing. I may as well just continue to sit here and peddle this rubbish day by day eh? What's that you say...? Oh!

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Another Essex Spring Day

You can tell by the cloud overhead. Not dark, but not quiet what one would call light either. The difference between Essex and Edinburgh is striking. Here the East wind is several degrees warmer, in Edinburgh it always cuts through the natives like a knife. There is cloud here while the sun shines on Edinburgh (no I will not say 'Sunshine on Leith' - drat! I did.) this is unusual. Now Easter is approaching we can expect the snow to return at any moment.

Easter! This occasion in which we remember the dying and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth for all our sins, in an attempt to reconcile us to God! We celebrate this by buying over wrapped and overpriced needless chocolate eggs, sending overpriced cards and indulging in a long weekend romp. Sometimes we even consider the religious side of it, but hey! lets not be a fanatic about this eh?

Sunny Easter (hopefully) approaches. The kids will be out en masse shoplifting, the parents, if not dozing at work, will be otherwise occupied, and most probably uncaring, well some of them anyway, not all parents are bad even if the kids are. many at this very moment are crowding Stansted Airport waiting for the 'Easyjet' to Spain. Their idea of fun is to sit in a bar drinking foul Spanish wine or imported lager, read the 'Daily Mirror' or 'Sun' daily to ensure they do not miss anything important, and spend the rest of the day catching cancer lying in the sun smoking cheap fags. I envy them......

Sunday, 1 April 2007

April Fool

First day of April. Several papers and no doubt, radio and TV stations will have played 'April Fool' jokes on their followers today. I sit here, cold, hungry, tired and wondering how I got into this mess, thinking there is only one 'April Fool' in this house.

And it's me.