The Boy on the Beach

Drowned boy

The Boy on the Beach

He lies like a beached seal, washed up like human driftwood on the unforgiving sand.

He came from a war; fleeing towards peace, chasing freedom, safety and security.

His parents wanted all the things we have

Like a decent education for the children and a job that pays more than a pittance.

But most of all they wanted their children to be safe.

The boy thought he was going to a better place.

How right he was.

 

What has turned the Mediterranean into a graveyard?

A place where the unwanted die as the uncaring look on.

Right wingers beat the nationalist drum and raise panic in their wake.

The threatened become the threat as they mill around trying to reach safety.

When did fleeing persecution become a crime?

 

A policeman carries the boy’s body away

To a peace that he never knew in life.

 

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Respect.

As a woman and a human being I believe I deserve respect and I do not get involved with people who don’t treat me with respect. But it seems that everywhere I look now there are women being disrespected in horrible ways. There was Malala being shot in the head for speaking out in the belief that women deserve an education. There are Nigerian schoolgirls being kidnapped because they go to school. There are women being attacked and raped or having acid thrown on them in India for such crimes as refusing to marry someone that they don’t even like.

Now I don’t think for a moment that any of this is particularly new (unfortunately!) but perhaps because of the internet and the impact of social media on the global stage, I think these things are just being noticed more. And so they should be. A world where women face violence, harassment and persecution every day of their lives is not a world I am happy to live in. It is unacceptable that anyone, male or female, should be treated as if they were the dirt beneath someone’s feet. Everybody deserves to have their dignity respected. So don’t ignore any harassment that you receive or think that it doesn’t matter. It does matter because if you don’t speak out then people will think it is acceptable to mistreat you.

And don’t allow other to be bullied either. If you see someone being picked on, don’t do nothing. If you’re afraid to intervene, then go round the corner and call the police. But don’t just walk away. If we want this world to be better than it is today, then we have to make it that way.

The Rise of the Far Right.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller

I find it extremely disturbing that in the recent European elections the far right have been gaining votes all over Europe. UKIP in Great Britain and The National Front in France are just two parties that have made gains at the expense of almost all the others. It may just be a blip or a protest vote which will change when the General Election comes in Britain next year but as a historian I can’t help thinking that this is how Hitler started. Someone once said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

If good people give in to apathy then the fanatics win. If you have a vote, use it! Don’t let the fascists triumph! As W.B.Yeats said in the Second Coming, “the best lack all convction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” It is time for good people to be passionate; passionate about protecting our rights, passionate about protecting our freedoms, passionate about helping others to a society that cares about all its members, passionate about seeing that no-one is marginalised or ill-treated because of bigotry.

If we don’t defend the rights of others then who will defend our rights when we most need it?

Yes, I AM a Feminist!

how men see women

I am always amazed when I hear a woman say “I’m not a feminist but…” I cannot understand why any woman would not be a feminist. Being a feminist doesn’t turn you into a dungaree wearing lentil eating lesbian, nor is being a lesbian anything to be ashamed of. But so many women seem frightened of admitting to being a feminist. Why?

To me, being a feminist is about being a man or a woman who believes that no-one should be discriminated against because of their gender. That’s all!

So I would like to say “Yes, I am a feminist and I am proud to be one. I consider it nothing to be ashamed of frightened of. It helps me to embrace my political, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual power and I can’t see anything wrong with that!

Re-blogging The Year of Kindness

forpeace6

Firstly I would like to thank M J Wright for his fabulous idea to make 2013 The Year Of Kindness.

http://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/lets-make-2013-the-year-of-kindness/

Then I would like to thank Kozo for their idea about blogging for peace.

http://everydaygurus.com/2012/12/20/we-can-make-a-difference-right-here-right-now/

And finally I would like to thank the wonderful K M Huber for posting about all this so I got to hear about it!

http://kmhubersblog.com/2013/01/10/thursday-tidbits-posting-for-peace/

Thanks guys!

Say no to the thought police!

Ben Franklin quote

As ever, the world seems to be full of people who think they have a God given right to tell us what to do.  We get told that we can’t get married if we’re gay or that we can’t have an abortion if we want one or that its a good idea to let a load of armed guards into schools (and what happens if one of the armed guards has a bad day and goes beserk?)

There are always people who think that they know better than you do.  But don’t listen to them.  Only you can live the life you want.  If you’re gay and you want to get married, go ahead.  You want an abortion; have one.  You don’t have to listen to what I say but you do need to listen to your own heart.  Live your own life by your own rules.  As long as you’re happy and you’re not breaking the law or hurting anyone else; what difference does it make?