Tag Archives: war

When Will people Realise That Countries Are Just Lines, Drawn In The Sand With A Stick?

Now I don’t know about you, but

I don’t think…
the primary purpose of your life, of my life,
and the entirety of the human race
Is just to blindly consume to support a failing economy and a faulty system
For ever and ever
Until we run out of every resource
And have to resort to blowing each other up to ensure our own survival.

I don’t think…
We’re supposed to sit by idle
While we continue to use a long outdated system
That produces war, poverty, collusion, corruption,
Ruins our environment and threatens every aspect of our health,
And does nothing but divide and segregate us,

I don’t think…
How much military equipment we’re selling to other countries,
How many hydrocarbons we’re burning,
How much money is being printed and exchanged
Is a good measure of how healthy our society is.

But I do think…
I can speak for everyone when I say…
We’re sick of this shit.

* I don’t own the rights to any of this, it all belongs to the brilliant Enter Shikari.  I’m sure they won’t mind my sharing it with you, but it sums up how I feel today!

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British Troops withdraw from Afghanistan

Monday the 27th October 2014.  At last the day the last British troops have left Afghanistan.

I have repeatedly voiced my opposition to our involvement in the conflicts in the region.  In my view our involvement has been counterproductive.  We have seen young men across the Middle East and even at home become more radicalised.  Arguably the region is less stable than when we began and it is thought by many that we are less safe at home than before the invasion.

It has been conceded that the Taliban are still in control of large areas of the country, Afghanistan now exports more heroine now than it did in 2001.  The conflict has cost a huge amount in both lives and money.

It has always been my view that the invasion of Afghanistan was illegal and immoral.  It is estimated that at least 20,000 Afghan civilians have died during the conflict and I would dearly love to see both Tony Blair and George W. Bush stand trial for war crimes.

Having said all of that I salute every member of our armed services who served in that region.  I salute the 453 British Service personnel who paid the ultimate price.  I salute the thousands of armed forces personnel who have been wounded and maimed and I salute the families of our service personnel who have had to come to terms with loved ones serving in the region.

I salute the bravery, sacrifice and fortitude of each and every person affected by this conflict.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them!!

75 Essential Albums – Day #15 – U2 – War

Here goes with day 15 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

U2 – War

In the days before Bono turned into a self obsessed, egotistical prick U2 were a band who made high energy political and relevant rock music.  They were four young men with something to say and they wanted to say it loudly, with feeling, with anger and boy did they mean it.

War was their third album in as many years and was by a distance their most political.  The previous albums ‘Boy’ & ‘October’ had begun to break the band outside of their native Ireland ‘War’ was about to catapult their name into the conscious minds of music fans across the globe.

The album opens with one of its strongest and most political songs.  The thumping aggressive drum beat and squealing guitar leads into Bono shouting, “I can’t believe the news today -I can’t close my eyes and make it go away” despite Bono’s repeated denials the song, with it’s anti-war message, is thought by many to be a reflection on the ‘Bloody Sunday’ killings in Londonderry when 14 civil rights protesters were killed by the British Army.  The controversy around the song and its deeper meaning did much to propel the album into the limelight.  The Anti-war theme continues on ‘seconds’ with its warning about nuclear holocaust, something that was very controversial and political in the UK at the time as there were increasing protests about the stationing of US Nuclear weapons at the airbase at Greenham Common in Berkshire.  It is easy to underestimate the political significance of these issues at a time when the UK was recovering from the Falklands war.

The political theme is very much what holds the album together, it gives a sense of what many young people were thinking at the time.  ‘New years day’ offers commentary on the battles the polish miners were having in their desire to break away from the Soviet Union.  This at a time when the Iron Curtain was still firmly in place and the cold war was still very real.  Who would have thought that only 5 years later the soviet block would begin to crumble.  The song holds out just this promise, a hope for a new beginning, an emergence from the darkness.  Despite the anger in some of the songs ‘War’ does offer something of a rallying call.  There are statements of love, faith and dreams, a promise that if everyone stood together they could make the world a better place.

On Drowning Man, a song about a man weathering the storms of life we get glimpses of how important Edges guitar was to become to representing U2’s sound.  On ‘Two Hearts’ we get funky basslines and a danceable rhythm and in 40 we return to promises of faith and renewal.  What War did was send a message that political music could be a force for good, that it could give voice to a generation and that people did not have to simply accept things as they were.  It also marked a change of direction for the band, it gave them the pace and direction that was later to see them become, for a time at least the biggest band on the planet.  The album is an important milestone in rock history.

That Friday Feeling – Suspect Device

That Friday feeling is a place to share something with the world.  It could be a song, a poem, a painting or a photograph, anything at all.  There is but one rule.  Whatever it is must touch you on an emotional level.

Either drop me a note with a link and I will post here or leave a comment with a ping back to your own blog.  Join in and share that Friday feeling 🙂

This week I am sharing a song by my all-time favourite band and from an album that undoubtably changed my life and the way I think.  Suspect device by Stiff Little Fingers

Yes it’s true, the United States really is the greatest country in the world – but in what? – Stop the War Coalition

Wow, I just came across this article and thought it worth sharing.  I think it throws up some really interesting issues.  Check it out and let me know what you think. Yes it’s true, the United States really is the greatest country in the world – but in what? – Stop the War Coalition.

AMERICAN politicians are fond of telling their audiences that the United States is the greatest country in the world. Is there any evidence for this claim?

Well, yes. When it comes to violence and preparations for violence, the United States is, indeed, No. 1.

In 2013, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. government accounted for 37 percent of world military expenditures, putting it far ahead of all other nations. (The two closest competitors, China and Russia, accounted for 11 percent and 5 percent respectively.)

From 2004 to 2013, the United States was also the No. 1 weapons exporter in the world. Moreover, given the U.S. government’s almost continuous series of wars and acts of military intervention since 1941, it seems likely that it surpasses all rivals when it comes to international violence.

This record is paralleled on the domestic front, where the United States has more guns and gun-related deaths than any other country.

study released in late 2013 reported that the United States had 88 guns for every 100 people, and 40 gun-related deaths for every 400,000 people―the most of any of the 27 economically developed countries surveyed. By contrast, in Britain there were 6 guns per 100 people and 1 gun-related death per 400,000 people.

Yet, in a great many other areas, the United States is not No. 1 at all.

Take education.

In late 2013, the Program for International Student Assessment released a report on how 15-year old students from 65 nations performed on its tests. The report showed that U.S. students ranked 17th in reading and 21st in math. An international survey a bit earlier that year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the ranking was slightly worse for American adults. In 2014, Pearson, a multinational educational services company, placed the United States 20th in the world in “educational attainment”―well behind Poland and the Slovak Republic.

American healthcare and health fare even worse.

In a 2014 study of healthcare (including infant mortality, healthy life expectancy, and mortality from preventable conditions) in 11 advanced industrial countries, the Commonwealth Fund concluded that the United States ranked last among them. According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. healthcare system ranks 30th in the world.

Other studies reach somewhat different conclusions, but all are very unflattering to the United States, as are studies of American health. The United States, for example, has one of the world’s worst cancer rates (the seventh highest), and life expectancy is declining compared to other nations.

An article in the Washington Post in late 2013 reported that the United States ranked 26th among nations in life expectancy, and that the average American lifespan had fallen a year behind the international average.

What about the environment? Specialists at Yale University have developed a highly sophisticated Environmental Performance Index to examine the behavior of nations. In the area of protection of human health from environmental harm, their 2014 index placed the United States 35th in health impacts, 36th in water and sanitation, and 38th in air quality. In the other area studied―protection of ecosystems―the United States ranked 32nd in water resources, 49th in climate and energy, 86th in biodiversity and habitat, 96th in fisheries, 107th in forests, and 109th in agriculture.

These and other areas of interest are dealt with by the Social Progress Index, which was developed by Michael Porter, an eminent professor of business (and a Republican) at Harvard. According to Porter and his team, in 2014 the United States ranked 23rd in access to information and communications, 24th in nutrition and basic medical care, 31st in personal safety, 34th in water and sanitation, 39th in access to basic knowledge, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, and 70th in health and wellness.

The widespread extent of poverty, especially among children, remains a disgrace in one of the world’s wealthiest nations. A 2013 report by the United Nations Children’s Fund noted that, of the 35 economically advanced countries that had been studied, only Rumania had a higher percentage of children living in poverty than did the United States.

Of course, the United States is not locked into these dismal rankings and the sad situation they reveal about the health, education, and welfare of its citizens. It could do much better if its vast wealth, resources, and technology were employed differently than they are at present.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of priorities. When most U.S. government discretionary spending goes for war and preparations for war, it should come as no surprise that the United States emerges No. 1 among nations in its capacity for violence and falls far behind other nations in providing for the well-being of its people.

Americans might want to keep this in mind as their nation embarks upon yet another costly military crusade.

When commenting on WordPress is a bad idea!

I came across a really interesting  and useful piece of advice today.  Unfortunately for me it came about 18 hours too late!  The advice came in the form of a post from Opinionated Man.  The advice “Your audience is not your friend”.

I have been writing this blog for a few months now and for the most part it has been a really positive experience.  I am getting a reasonable number of hits on my site and the numbers of people commenting and following my blog is slowly growing. I have just followed the Writing 101 and Blogging 101 courses as I firmly believe that you can always learn something new and there was always the chance that I would gain a bit of inspiration.  As these courses drew to a close we were encouraged to reach out to other bloggers to help build our networks.

In my reader I searched for topics that interested me and hit upon a post criticising Western Governments for committing funds to rebuild Gaza after what was described as Israel’s ‘Defensive War against Hamas’.  Now most commentators worldwide have roundly condemned Israel’s recent actions and I made what I thought was a balanced and measured comment on the blog. I should have looked a little more deeply before commenting and admittedly I should have known better.  The writer you see identifies themselves as an Israeli activist and the tone of the posts made it unlikely in the extreme that the writer would engage in a conversation that disagreed in any way with the posters views.  As a result I was subjected to a torrent of thinly veiled abuse, accused of being anti-semitic and ill educated.

This was my first negative experience with a member of the WordPress community.  It’s not something I want to repeat :/  I most certainly echo Opinionated Man’s advice.  You should of course reach out to other bloggers, but do check the tone of a blog before commenting on subjects that are controversial and likely to provoke strong reactions. If in doubt either do not comment or be prepared for a bad reaction.

On WordPress as in life you live and learn 🙂

Why we are bombing Iraq & Syria

Why we’re bombing Iraq and Syria: Statement by Barack Obama and David Cameron clears up any confusion

As told to Audrey Bailey.

You may be confused about why we are bombing Iraq and Syria. So we will make ourselves very clear.

We support the Iraqi government in the fight against ISIS.

We don’t like ISIS, but ISIS has been supported by Saudi Arabia, whom we do like, and Saudi Arabia is now supporting us in bombing ISIS.

We don’t like President Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but not ISIS, which is also fighting against him.

We don’t like Iran, but Iran supports the Iraqi government against ISIS.

So some of our friends support our enemies and some of our enemies are our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.

If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they might be replaced by people we like even less.

And all this was started by us invading Iraq to drive out terrorists who weren’t there until we went to drive them out.

We hope you now understand.

Source:  Stop The War Coalition