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.

 

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?

On Shampoo and Stereotyping.

Shampoo

Yesterday I was in the supermarket and I saw this product which is labelled as shampoo for men. I instantly thought ‘do men really have different hair follicles or different dandruff from women or is this just a sales ploy?’ There has been a lot of fuss on the net recently about the Bic pens for girls, which is basically just a pink pen; I can understand with some things that men and women might need different things but for pens or shampoo? So in the interest of scientific experiment I have just gone upstairs to the bathroom and washed my hair in this men’s shampoo.
I shall let you know if my hair falls out or I start gazing lovingly at drill bits and hogging the remote control!

The Rise of the Modern Freak Show.

Freak Show 1

There is what I find a disturbing trend on the TV nowadays and that is what I call the modern freak show. There are programmes about people who have terrible crippling disabilities and diseases and the cameras are delving into every aspect of their lives.

I know that some good might come of this in helping publicise rare medical conditions and perhaps encouraging research into these disabilities and if it helps people in the future then it can’t be all bad.

But personally I never watch these shows because it would make me uncomfortable. There’s an element of schadenfreude about this sort of thing. It reminds me of the old Victorian freak shows where they would charge admission to look at badly deformed and disabled people.

Obviously the programme makers have permission to do these programmes or they wouldn’t be broadcast but I just find this whole sort of thing extremely unpleasant. Am I wrong? What do you think?

I hate fox hunting!

cute foxes

I hate fox hunting because I think it is unbelieveably cruel!  I can understand that if someone is a poultry farmer and a fox gets into their hen house then they might have to shoot it to save the lives of their hens.  But if they must kill it, then do it with a quick clean shot.  To tear a panic striken animal to pieces with a pack of dogs is an act of barbarity that should not be allowed in the twenty-first century.

Some people will say it’s traditional but that is a pathetic argument.  It’s the same argument they used to try and justify slavery.  If it was traditional to be a peodophile, then would that make it okay to be one?  Of course not!  Just because something is traditional doesn’t make it right.

And there are those who will say it is a sport.  No; tennis, football and rugby are sports.  Ripping wild animals to pieces with dogs is not sport; it a an act of gross brutality.

 

My big bit/little bit theory.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=464334032902

I had to share this video because I think it is really special!  And it chimes with what I call my big bit/little bit theory.  What I mean is that if you separate your rubbish for recycling then you’re doing a little bit to help make the world a better place and it’s easy to think that that little bit doesn’t matter but if everyone in the whole world does that one little bit then it becomes a great big bit.

I think we have to remember that it’s hard for one person to do a lot but collectively we can change the world.  It’s the small acts of kindness, the little meaningful things we do that really can create change.  The cynics we say that things are getting worse and there’s nothing we can do about it.  But I think that as long as people do small things to make the world a better place not just for the environment for the people who live on this Earth then things will get better.

And when we help others and the planet, we are helping ourselves.  By improving things around us we improve as people and that can only be a good thing.  You don’t have to try to change the world on your own but collectively we can and do move mountains.

What do you think?