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.

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!

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?

My Forty-Seven Favourite Words

Warning!  This is a long post!  But in honour of today being my forty-seventh birthday I thought I’d tell you about my forty-seven favourite words.

My Forty-Seven Favourite Words

  1. Love – Love is an obvious favourite because when it is going well the joy it brings beats any other pleasure into the ground.  Love can, of course, be awful, painful and embarrassing but the best of love brings out the best in us and I believe it always will.
  2. Justice – Justice to me is not an abstract term but a real almost living thing.  You cannot half believe in justice; in order for it to work properly, you have      to believe in it with all your heart.  I think it was Doctor King who said ‘injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere’.
  3. Dignity – Everyone deserves to have their dignity respected and everyone should respect other people’s dignity to.  Think how much better the world would be if people did that.
  4. Integrity – The people I most admire and respect and those who have high integrity.  They are true to themselves and the values that they believe      in.  My sister is a very integral person, she is a church going Christian and I am a Pagan but she does not discriminate against me because of my beliefs; she has way too much integrity for that.
  5. Creativity – In my humble opinion, doing creative things is the most fun you can have with your clothes on!  I also think that creativity is good for us as it helps to open up our minds.
  6. Inspiration – To be inspired is wonderful, almost on a par with being in love.  It’s the feeling that you can do anything, that anything is possible and its one of the best natural highs.
  7. Laugh – Oh you know we all need a good laugh!  The worst people are those who have no sense of humour, who would want to be like that?  Or spend time with anyone like that?
  8. Liberal – Time to get a bit political but I sincerely believe that being liberal is the only way to be and I cannot understand anyone who thinks otherwise.
  9. Democracy – Another political one but unavoidably so.  Democracy may not be perfect      but I think it is currently the best and fairest political system we have      and so it should be defended from enemies with and without.
  10. Caring – Caring is in some ways the easiest thing to do, at a basic level it is simply looking out for someone you are emotionally attached to.  If you      have to care full time for a relative then it can become hard but millions of people do it, sometimes because they have to but mostly because they want to.
  11. Open – I use this word in the context of an open mind, closed minds are sad things.  Everyone should be open to love, people, new cultures, etc.
  12. Experimental – No-one should be afraid of trying out different things, even if it finishes in an epic fail, sometimes you need to find out what doesn’t work in order to find out what does work.
  13. Exploration – Don’t just travel; explore!
  14. Feminine – In the past an often under-rated quality; fortunately more people appreciate it now.
  15. Strong – I’m not talking about biceps here, although there’s nothing wrong with that, but its inner strength that matters most.  Your strength of heart is what carries you through the dark.
  16. Kind – Avoid at all costs anyone who isn’t kind; they are not worth bothering with.
  17. Cheerful – Okay, no-one can be cheerful everyday but the people I like best are the ones who try.  I am always the cock-eyed optimist and I dislike negative people who try to bring me down.  I am quite capable of bringing myself down; I don’t need anyone else to do it for me.
  18. Compliment – Isn’t it nice to get compliments?  They invariably make me blush but I like them anyway.  I do try to give other people compliments because I see no point in being mean.  I don’t compliment things I don’t like; I always try to make what I say sincere.
  19. Human – Being human means being wrong a lot of the time but that’s okay.  When you think about it we humans are incredible.
  20. Humane – Being humane, to me, means caring about human beings even if you don’t know them.  You care about them because they’re fellow human beings and you hope they feel the same way.
  21. Natural – Natural is a great word that represents the entire natural world and all its wonders.  It also represents things that are easy in a good way.
  22. Gift – To be gifted is to be given a present or to have some sort of fabulous talent; both are very good indeed.
  23. Friend – A friend is a family member you got to chose for yourself.  I think its important in relationships to be friends as well as lovers.
  24. Eclectic – This comes back to open mindedness; the best artists, writers, musicians etc, all tend to have very eclectic taste, really it means that they like everything.
  25. Art – Art, to me, is a creative work of a very high standard that inspires people.
  26. Compassion – This is the part of you that reaches out to the next person and shares their joys and sorrows; without it we are bereft.
  27. Books – Books are so much more than paper we can learn from, they help us to explore, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.  They open up new worlds      of the mind and imagination.  I cannot imagine living without them.
  28. Reading     – This is something that those who enjoy cannot understand why everyone doesn’t love it. Reading is a state of being in a different zone with a book, lost to the outside world and entirely absorbed in your inner one.
  29. Writing – Obviously writing is a great pleasure.  It gives me the chance to      create worlds and characters, to play God.  I can moan to my diary, weave stories in my novels, and create poetry in my notebooks.  Although      sometimes it seems like a curse to be a writer, most of the time it’s a joy.
  30. Joy – Joy is that sense of being so happy you could burst.  And the best thing about it is its contagious!
  31. Poetry – This is sublime language put together in the most sublime way.  The best poetry bypasses the brain and speaks straight to the soul.
  32. Tolerance – Who would want to live in a world full of excuses for people to hate each other?       I don’t and I can’t understand why anyone else would want to!
  33. Wisdom – Wisdom is not intellect, wisdom is sense.  Your intellect can explain where rain comes from and how it is made.       Your wisdom will tell you if you stand out in it, you’ll get wet.
  34. Acceptance – Acceptance is key to resolving pain.  Yes, you need to respect other people but most importantly, you need to accept yourself.  If you’ve made mistakes in the past, (and haven’t we all?) the worst thing you can do is dwell on them.  Accept what’s happened and then you can move on.
  35. Spark – Ooh, the fire that lights up your brain, your heart, your soul!  It would be a sad world without it.
  36. Flow – Being out of the flow is the feeling of being out of sync with yourself and the world.  Being in the flow is a beautiful natural feeling.  It sometimes tempting to push to get the results we want but its always a mistake to fight the flow.
  37. Sensitive – This is a word that’s had a lot of bad      press because a lot of people think its means weak but in truth it means being aware of emotions, both yours and others and that is not a bad thing.
  38. Ground – This relates to the earth and the feeling      of being grounded.  Working in my garden helps me to feel grounded; there’s something about the contact with the soil that is beneficial.
  39. Ethical – The best people have a strong sense of ethics and being cruel and mean is anathema to them.
  40. Learning – I love learning new thing!  I always have and I always will.  Its like a hunger of the brain; it one of the things that makes life interesting.
  41. Shine – Everyone should shine as often as possible; what a lovely shiny world that would make!
  42. Smile – The cheapest and most natural high on the planet.  Never pass up an      opportunity to use it (except on the London Underground!)
  43. Listen – It’s amazing how many people find this really hard.  Take the time to      listen, especially to your loved ones, you won’t regret it!
  44. Communicate – Most of us don’t have super developed psychic powers, if you’re struggling, tell us.  Most of us will be happy to help.
  45. Empathise – Empathy is the thing that psychopaths don’t have.  Its what makes us      caring compassionate human beings.
  46. Cuddle – Not in a sexual way, but cuddling is such a lovely sign of affection, we should do it more often.
  47. Courage – Courage doesn’t involve shooting guns but having the guts to do what is right even against the worst sort of oppression, like refusing to give up your seat in a bus.  Thank you Rosa Parks; what a courageous woman!

On the subject of reading…

I have heard that a lot of people read one book at a time but they are obviously not me.  Gary comments on the number of half read books I have lying about the house and he is constantly amazed at how I can switch from one to the other but its just something I’ve always done so I don’t find it odd.  Perhaps its because I’m a Gemini and we’re supposed to have butterfly minds and be able to flit from one thing to another with ease.  But I thought some of you might be interested in what I’m reading at the moment.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell

A Small Dog Saved My Life by Bel Mooney

Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson

The Real Witches Kitchen by Kate West

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

This list is not exhaustive either.  They may be a few lying around that I’ve started and forgotten about; that happens a lot.  But reading is essential to me, books, magazines, newspapers and sauce bottle ingredients if there’s nothing else around.  I have always read and can’t imagine not doing it.  I can’t understand people who don’t read and worse still, who brag about having never read a book!  What a stupid thing to brag about!  If I was stupid enough to have never read a book I’d want to keep it quiet!

I don’t understand people who say they don’t have time to read either; do they never wait for anything?  Okay Gary doesn’t read many books nowadays but he devours the newspapers everyday and always takes a book on long journeys and holidays.

Reading is so easy and so interesting and can take you to different planets and different worlds; you can learn so much so cheaply and easily.  You don’t even have to buy the books; that’s what libraries are for!  So let’s hear it for the pleasure of reading; hip hip hooray!

The Things That Make Me Human – Doubt

It is part of the human condition to always doubt ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with wondering if what you’re doing is right; in many cases it just shows that you care because you’re worried about upsetting people.  And because none of us really know for certain what tomorrow will bring, this sense of not knowing makes us tentative and doubtful.  If I do this,that or the other, will it work out?  Who knows?  But if we don’t try, we don’t get.  Life is full of risk and in the end you have to take chances otherwise you wouldn’t be living.  A lot of people are afraid of dying but to my mind it seems to be a shame to be afraid of living.  As I have just said, a certain amount of doubt is inevitable but you should try not to let the doubts control you; it should always be the other way round.

And finally, always suspect people who say they have all the answers.  Never trust anyone who doesn’t doubt themselves for as W.B.Yeats said “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”  People like Hitler and Stalin rarely doubted themselves because they were arrogant psychopaths; I’d rather be a doubter than be like that.