28 September 2006

2.6 billion

2.6 billion. That's the number of people in the world who have no access to basic sanitation facilities according to a recent UN report.

No clean water, no adequate toilet facilites. In a world where some countries spend billions of pounds on weapons, 2.6 billion people do not have clean water.

Of the 2.6 billion people worldwide without access to proper sanitation, about 2 billion live in rural areas, some two-thirds in sub-Saharan Africa and 37 percent in South Asia.

It's shameful, but because it's not happening 'to us' or 'on our doorstep' nobody seems to care.

Quality of prison life

The busiest jail in London is over run with vermin & cockroaches. The staff treat the inmates with disdain and assault is common place.

Prisoners may be in jail because they have committed crime, but does that mean they should be treated with no respect as a human being? Does it mean they deserve to live in rat infested jails? I thought conditions like these had died out with the Victorians.

Being a criminal doesn't mean you deserve to be treated in an inhumane way. Sure, commit a crime and you get punished. But if you treat a human like an animal, he'll act like one. It's disgusting that such a thing happens, and is allowed to happen.

27 September 2006

Climate change

Climate change is a fact. We abuse the resources on the planet, we throw chemical shit into the atmosphere at a rate the earth can't cope with. This wonderful planet, which has amazing balance in life, everything in proportion . A positive for every negative. But what is not accounted for is the ignorance and 'who gives a shit' attitude that we show it every day.

Resources are finite. The way we live our lives today is not sustainable. Is it too late to make a change? Who can know. What is certain though, it's not too late to try. Lets see what we can do.

The biggest problem is peoples response: "What can I do that will make a difference?" Well, as it goes, quite a lot. If you use low energy light bulbs instead of normal bulbs, little will change. If one million people use low energy bulbs instead of ordinary bulbs, it will make a difference. If five million make the change, again it will make a difference. And so on.

So you can see, what we do individually does make a difference, to the collective change. And that was just one example. Every day I learn of new ways I can make a difference. If I can do it, then it isn't that hard.

So turn of the tap whilst brushing your teeth. Walk to the local shops instead of driving. Re-use those plastic bags. Recycle your rubbish. Turn off lights when not in use. Reduce your central heating by a few degrees. I promise you won't notice, but if everyone done the same the difference would be immense. There are so many different ways, different things we can do. Lets not be the generation that destroyed the planet.

23 September 2006

Torture in Iraq 'worse than ever'

I really grieve for those poor Iraqis. Thrown into turmoil, their country invaded, and things have just got worse and worse.

Saddam is gone, which surely long term is a good thing. The problem is nobody filled the leadership void. So you now have security forces, militia groups and anti US groups running amok. There is no law and order. Murder is common place. And reports claim that bodies in morgues in Baghdad bear signs of extreme torture and abuse.

It must be a real hardship living in Iraq these days. Every day there is mass murder. I grieve for the poor innocent victims.

22 September 2006

Police force selects candidates on race

It's not easy being a police officer. Certainly not a job I could do very well. I'd be too emotionally involved if I were to turn up to a crime scene to see a woman whose husband had just knocked her senseless. I'd be too frustrated seeing all hard work I put in to removing degenerates of society from the streets put back there by courts who don't have the power to hand out real sentences that are justified by the crime committed. (Sometimes, it would seem, they don't have the balls to give out proper sentences either)

So when I see a police officer, I want to know that the person entrusted with enforcing the law was the best candidate from applicants for the job. That the person possessed the right qualities to do the job. I don't want to know whether that person is black, white, brown or yellow. Whether that person is male, female, gay or not. I really don't care. What is important is in a time of need, when a police officer is required, when action needs to be taken, that the person there is good at their job. Simple as. Ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, totally irrelevant.

Gloucestershire police force has been found guilty of trying to 'increase diversity' in its force by rejecting 108 candidates, whose only failing was the fact they were white, male.

Of course you have to lay the blame to some degree with the government here, who lay down targets forces are expected to achieve for increasing ethnic minority representation within the police forces.

Judge not on race, colour or creed, just on ability to do the job. It's not hard. Is it?

21 September 2006

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression and the right to freedom of speech. The right to hold certain beliefs. The right to express those beliefs. The rights of others. Respect for other people. Respect for other religions.

It's a fine balance. Sometimes people get it wrong. Some want it all their own way. Some feel they can criticise but want to be protected from criticism. Some wish to provoke without recourse to their actions, whilst reacting to any provocation, real or imagined.

We all remember the cartoons which upset followers of the Islam faith. If these caricatures upset, why do they then respond in the same fashion against the Pope? Which image upsets? Which offends?

19 September 2006

The Pope's real threat

Originally posted here:


Please visit the link above, there are links at the bottom of it to other sources of information. The text, here:

Many people have written about the controversy over Pope Benedict's recent remarks at the University of Regensburg, where he quoted a medieval emperor about the barbarity of forced religious conversions. In a replay of the Prophet Cartoon madness, Muslims only escalated their rhetoric after the Vatican apologized for any offense the quotation may have given followers of Islam. Despite apologizing Wednesday for quoting Manuel II's words from 1391 (but not for its argument against violence in religion), Muslims burnt effigies of the Roman Catholic leader and staged demonstrations around the world:

Protesters took to the streets in a series of countries with large Muslim populations, including India and Iraq. The ruling party in Turkey likened Pope Benedict XVI to Hitler and Mussolini and accused him of reviving the mentality of the Crusades. In Kashmir, an effigy of the pontiff was burnt.

At Friday prayers in the Iranian capital, Teheran, a leading ayatollah described the Pope as "rude and weak-minded". Pakistan's parliament passed a motion condemning the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, criticised him hours after a grenade attack on a church in the Gaza Strip. ...

The head of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, said the remarks "aroused the anger of the whole Islamic world".

Similar comments were made in other Muslim capitals, raising fears of a repetition of the anger that followed the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper earlier this year.

All this has shown is that Muslims missed the point of the speech, and in fact have endeavored to fulfill Benedict's warnings rather than prove him wrong. If one reads the speech at Regensburg, the entire speech, one understands that the entire point was to reject violence in pursuing religion in any form, be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or Bahai. The focal point of the speech was not the recounting of the debate between Manuel II and the unnamed Persian, but rather the rejection of reason and of God that violence brings

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

This is really the crux of the argument, which is that argument, debate, and rhetoric are absolutely essential in forming any kind of philosophy, including religious doctrine. The words of sacred text do not cover all situations in the world, and therefore development of a solid philosophical body of thought is critical to growth and wisdom. That requires the ability to challenge and to criticize without fear of retribution, a difficulty that most faiths struggle to overcome.

Islam, on the other hand, doesn't bother to try. Benedict never says this explicitly, but Islam's demands that all criticism be silenced turns doctrine into dictatorship, which rejects God on a very basic level. A central tenet of most religions is that humans lack the divine perfection to claim knowledge of the totality of the Divine wisdom. Islam practices a form of supremacy that insists on unquestioned obedience or at least silence of all criticism, especially from outsiders, and creates a violent reaction against it when it occurs.

Islam bullies people into silence, and then obedience. We saw this with the Prophet Cartoons, a series of editorial criticisms that pale into insignificance when seen against similar cartoons from the Muslim media regarding Christians and especially Jews. It is precisely this impulse about which Benedict warns can occur in any religion, but modern Muslims show that they are by far the widest purveyors of this impulse.

Unfortunately, the Muslims are not the only people who missed the point. The New York Times editorial board joins Muslims in demanding an apology and an end to criticism of Islam:

There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.” ...

Muslim leaders the world over have demanded apologies and threatened to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican, warning that the pope’s words dangerously reinforce a false and biased view of Islam. For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence. And they denounce its perversion by extremists, who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.

The Vatican issued a statement saying that Benedict meant no offense and in fact desired dialogue.

The Times missed the point, too. They aren't satisfied with the explanation offered by the Vatican. They want a "deep and persuasive apology" for Benedict's temerity in criticizing the use of violence and rejection of reason in religion, and specifically using a six-hundred-year-old quote that insulted people who regularly insult everyone else, including other Muslims. The Times counsels surrender to the threats and the violence.

Benedict opposes both. That's the real threat behind the Pope's speech, and don't think the radical Muslims don't understand it.

18 September 2006

Holy war?

Yep, another post on this subject.

The Pope makes a speech in Bavaria last week. In that speech he quotes a 14th century emporer who had said that the prophet Mohammed had brought the world only "Evil and inhuman things" The Pope said the comment was a bit brusque. He never said he agreed with the comment.

Normally most of the world doesn't give a monkeys huff what the Pope says. But those few words in a long speech seemed to upset followers of Islam. How dare the Pope infer criticism on the prophet Mohammed.

As if Islam, Muslims & Mohammed can be considered above criticism?

The Pope regrets some people take offence at his words. So he apologises. Not enough for some people, it seems. It would appear the apology would only be acceptable if the Pope were to get down on bended knee and pledge allegiance to Allah!!

Meanwhile, the nice, peaceful, loving followers of Islam burn effigies of the Pope, protest and threaten violence.

And now, 'Al Qaeda' issue a warning, vowing to wage war on worshippers of the cross. They threaten to 'break the cross and spill the wine'

Right. And this all makes neutral observers of this situation believe that in fact the Pope has slighted followers of Islam, and in fact their religion is one of peace??

There are two options. Either Islam is a violent religion, whose followers believe that any who criticise or fail to bow down to Allah deserve to die - Spreading the faith by the sword - or the Isalmic faith has been abused by these people, used for their own end.

The evidence is there, draw your own conclusions.

A simple request

If anyone who passes by this blog happens to have a good understanding of the Koran and the teachings of Islam, please get in touch. I am curious to learn what I don't know, and so far have been unable to find a reliable source of information. I'd appreciate if anyone can help.

And still they complain

During Sunday service yeterday, the Pope offered an apology to any and all Muslims who happened to be offended during a speech he gave last week.

It seems however that it is not enough for some people. His apology was not heart felt enough. Perhaps if he were to lay down and receive 50 lashes as punishment, maybe that would suffice?

A totally crazy situation. The argument has been hijacked by extremists for political reasons, taking the comments out of context, and using them for their own purposes. And the peaceful followers of the Islam faith demonstrate their displeasure by attacking churches and burning effigies of the Pope....

Apparently there is a moderate majority who follow the Islam faith. I would suggest that this 'moderate majority' do something to reclaim their religion from the extremists.

An apology has been offered. Have the good grace to accept it, understand that no offence was meant, that comments have been taken out of context, and lets move on.

Junk food kids

Everyone knows that kids eat too much junk food. Ready packed meals, crisps, chocolate, junk, junk & more junk. Obesity is a big problem in the UK, following the US model of eating more than you need whilst not getting any excercise.

Recently, some people have started to take notice and tried to make an effort to bring about changes. TV chef Jamie Oliver started a camapgin to bring in real food (i.e. freshly prepared and cooked that day) into schools for lunches, a better choice of fresh fruit and vegetables and removing some unhealthier options.

There have been many studies which prove how a proper diet can improve health. There is also proof that a proper diet improves behaviour rates, and helps kids concentrate better. Avoiding soft fizzy drinks stuffed full of sugar is a good start.

And ultimately, it's parents who need to take responsibility for how kids eat. Parents need to encourage children to eat a better variety of foods, and to get off their lazy asses and go outside to play. Fresh air and excercise.

Instead, we find that outside a school in Yorkshire, two mothers are instead running a 'Junk Food Meals on Wheels' service. They take the childrens orders for fish n chips, burgers, sweets, chocolates, fizzy drinks during morning break and bring the food over at lunchtime.

Julie Critchlow & Sam Walker. You should be ashamed of yourselves!

15 September 2006

Pope Benedict upsets the Muslims

It seems the over sensitive Muslim community has been taking offence at recent comments made by the Pope. Pope Benedict XVI made comments in a recent speech how the concept of Holy war is 'contrary to God's plan'.

The Pope's comments are not anti Islam. He was making the point how science and philosophy in western culture have separated themselves from faith, leading to secularisation in Europe.

Secularisation has made it difficult for the West to understand cultures where faith is fundamental.

During his speech the Pope reflected on dialogue between a Byzantine emperor and an 'educated Persian' on the subject of Christianity & Islam and the truth of both. Pope Benedict specifically focused on the distinction between Mohammed's teaching on Jihad & Christianity's view that spreading faith through violence is wholly unreasonable.

I don't see why this would upset anyone? It is a valid point, made well. The use of violence in any form to force someone to conform to your own views is wrong. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God.

You can read the Pope's speech here:


11 September 2006


I've rewritten this post at least four times. It's hard to put into words sometimes, without wanting to be misunderstood or mis-interpreted.

Today is the fifth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade centre in New York. In total 2,749 people lost their lives in those terrorist attacks. Innocent victims. They were especially in my prayers today.

Also in my prayers are the thousands of innocent victims who have lost their lives since the attacks in New York. All human, not one less important than the other. All equal before God.

I pray for remembrance of those lost, and for the hope of a better world in the years to come.