Thoughts on Born a Criminal

I was there in the flesh

when a young man

was slaughtered in cold blood.

….

The last poem in my poetry book could have been written soon after Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson. It could have been written a day or week after, by someone who was at the scene. But it wasn’t. It didn’t need to be.

The template that saw others including Trayvon Martin murdered in broad daylight is all very familiar. It’s as predictable as ever. And when 2 years ago some of us convincingly put forward the case why it would happen again, many people who claimed to know more scorned us. Some said we were prophets of doom with nothing better to do. Others scoffed, claiming that these kinds of shootings happen all the times….That it is the media who are selective in reporting the incidents. Both groups had a point.

You can write a story today about what will happen in some US town next year to 80% accuracy in this arena. It will come to pass. If not next year, then sooner than later it will happen.

Because if you’ve lived on planet earth long enough, are alert, if you question what you are taught, and look for the alternative viewpoint in an argument, wanting to know the real truth, it becomes quite easy to spot certain patterns. The fallacies, lies and bigotry can easily be sussed out. You can smell the conniving, the lawlessness, the absurdities from a mile away. The worthless gossip and busybodying has a distinctive shade of green on it. When laws are used as tools to oppress minorities, your eyes light up in disbelief. When military budgets are more important than preserving life, it beggars belief. You become astounded when you learn that the presiding attitude in some quarters is it’s okay to prey on the weak and vulnerable in society. To prey on poor countries, to do anything and everything – as long as the authorities don’t find out/ as long as the authorities can ignore it – for profit. When the poor are made to pay for the mistakes of the rich, and leaders refuse to tread the purist’s way. All because of votes. Or wealth. Leaven that leavens the whole lot. A mental disease that corrupts a global village.

What’s more chilling is that there are people alive today who think it is normal for things to work this way. They have been conditioned to believe it is okay. They’ve never questioned themselves as to the morality of their actions, because, well – they have no moral code.

I can imagine that some of them think that asking questions of morality or ethics is for the weak minded. To them the strong minded just get on with it. Champions don’t ask questions which can arouse guilt….

They’ve never looked themselves in the mirror and dared to challenge their worldview – no doubt passed on to them by their parents or friends.

Brethren, there are people who think things should remain as they are.

After a while your eyes will open. Everything becomes crystal clear. The sustained inquiry has paid off. Even the quiet ones who never say a word can reach nirvana. They know, even if they don’t say it or show it. You can see it in their eyes that they know what the deal is.

And it makes you cry. Because essentially they are enlightened slaves.Locked potential. Untapped potential. Underutilised potential.

But then it makes you smile. Because the vanity within this bubble of lies is but for a time. Like history has often reminded us, its days are numbered. Its officers will die very sudden, painful and tortured deaths. Maybe during the end of civilisation as we know it, maybe before.There’s no redemption for the architects of evil. Lost souls destined for calamities worse than hell deserve just that.

My heart laments our world today. The reality of life on planet earth weighs heavily on my shoulders. Such are the predicaments of the 21st Century. Such is our cancerous shared destiny.

#philosopy #life #decisions

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Why Russell Brand is right

I should work for the guy, seriously, I really should. I think he talks plenty of sense, and I can learn something from him.

In his article, titled  ‘Why I oppose Anti-Semitism’  which he wrote after he was accused of anti-Semitism for supporting a boycott of European businesses profiting from the Gaza conflict, which is on Avaaz.org , actor and comedian Russell Brand had some undeniable truths to say, which if you think about it, are quite obvious. For example, he states that:

It is worth considering though that the sanding down of inconvenient facets of an argument allows a prejudicial version of reality to dominate. In its most extreme form this mechanic facilitates tyranny, more extreme in nature.

Removing the nuance of the civil rights struggle, slavery, the shooting of Trayvon Martin and failure to convict his killer, the social unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the killing of teenager Michael Brown can be condemned as unacceptable violence. With those details brought rightly to the fore the unrest is totally reasonable.

Media is of course where this form of tyranny is most obvious. When the Daily Mail present a story on benefit fraud or the consequences of “spiraling” immigration no nuance that interrupts the tide of their righteous rage is allowed to survive, no mitigation, or broader context, all that remains is a salient nub, pulsating with poisonous data.

I don’t see Israeli military action in Gaza as a religious issue. For me it seems to be the action of an extreme right wing government that has strong economic ties to right wing organisations in the US. These affiliations are economic, not theological and are defined here with typical expertise by Noam Chomsky.

It is the exclusion of the sane majority that allows extremists to prosper. The insanity across the Middle East is so deeply terrifying and giddyingly futile that most people, despondent and bilious want to look away. We know the US can’t be trusted. We know the UN are inactive. We know something has to be done to stop the violence in Gaza and the new medieval horror of ISIS but who can we trust? Our own governments, about who we know nothing for certain except they lie and pursue their own ends, sexing up and dumbing down, arming then attacking, fair-weather friends but perennial weapons suppliers?

Surely, even Brand’s accusers must agree with him here??

Tell me whether it isn’t the case that most if not all of the troubles of the last several hundred years around the world have been as a result of a prejudicial version of reality dominating. A result of poisonous ideas which were perpetrated, and which gained traction simply because those who were asking the moral questions, who dared to challenge the absurd, hegemonic, discriminatory and religious taradiddle, were pushed to the side. In most cases until when it was too late.

So to Brand’s list of Civil rights struggle, Slavery and Trayvon Martin etc., I can add the Chartists, the Suffragettes, I can add the Anti-imperialists and freedom fighters. The likes of William Wallace, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and Che Guevara. I can even add Yasser Arafat, the Arab Spring leaders in Tunisia and Algeria, and dare I say Julian Assange.

It’s unfortunate that politicians have created a ‘dictatorship’ on ideas. A system whereby the truth is heavily compartmentalized depending on who is speaking, where they are speaking from, on whose side they lay, etc. The big media houses are accomplices in this deception, and  have been infected with this cancer that you don’t report the truth if it puts your interests in a negative light, if it compromises a country, some ally, some powerful (often horrible) people or if it reveals some uncomfortable facts about the owner of the media group. Before you start, your mission is defeated, unless if your original intention, in reporting  whatever it is you end up reporting was  to mislead, twist or muddle the facts.

Its bullshit because then what you remain with are labels on people by virtue of their background, status, education, skin-colour, etc, and not because of the content of their character or even substance of their argument.

Which results in media not reporting the truth, but the prejudicial version of reality dominating. So, some people who have quite a lot of sense to contribute to matters that affect the world are wrongly perceived as the other, trouble makers tinkering with the status quo, fiddlers out to accrue power, with little of real value to contribute to societal discourse. And when that happens, the insults and false accusations begin.

No wonder some of us turn to the Guardian, or the likes of Vice or Slate when seeking unsanitised, unbiased news, and not to CNN, BBC, FOX or Al Jazeera.

Standing up against the bullies

 

SWarsi

There are many kinds of politicians in the world today.

In Britain, there are those who are in politics because they think they have something constructive to contribute to society; Those who are in politics because they want to take over the world; Those who have been told they are special and must be leaders; Those who have come to believe they are special, probably due to social status, and so have concluded that politics was a natural choice; There are those who want to be in politics because that’s what their parents told them (its in the family, blah blah blah); Those who like arguing; Those who joined politics to try to make a point/ statement; Those who were sent to Eton (or some other private school), and figured that a stint at Cambridge or Oxford was the quickest gateway to the Westminster club; Those who went into politics because their best friends did so; Those who went into politics because they were persuaded to do so; Those who are seeking influence, fame and/ or  power; Those who have raw political talent and are passionate about a political career (e.g. Benjamin Disraeli, William Hague); Buffoon politicians (e.g. Boris Johnson); Protest politicians who are opposed to some issue (often a minor one); Those like the previous type, but who also happen to possess the gift of the gab ( *hint*: the colour purple); Racist Politicians (the BNP types); politicians who ‘accidentally’ fell into it, and who don’t really know why they did so (although they won’t publicly admit it); Politicians whose more popular sibling was more experienced and refined, and deserved nomination to leadership but who somehow snatched that nomination for themselves  ( e.g. Ed); and then in addition to all these somewhat dysfunctional groupings, we have the rare types: politicians who have conviction but have an agenda that defines them (Michael Foot & George Galloway); finally, we have those with conviction, are not afraid to tread the narrow and lonely road – those without an easily discernible agenda.

I think this categorization pretty much sums up most of Westminster for the last 150 years or so.

However, isn’t it commendable that Sayeeda Warsi, the first muslim woman to sit around the cabinet table in Great Britain, appears to belong to the last category; that such a person is the first person to resign from government in 11 years over a point of principle !?! I think its commendable.

As I pointed here, I believe when wrongdoing occurs at the scale of the Gaza crisis, a true leader of a first world country such as Great Britain must stand up and confront the aggressors without bias or favouritism. If America is the bully Britain must criticize her. If Egypt errs, Britain must warn her, if it’s Saudi Arabia causing trouble, even then Britain  must speak up in the strongest terms possible.

In my view, doing otherwise demotes one to a mere spineless pretender; a leader by name only, but who is fickle and can’t confront the tough issues. A bit like Neville Chamberlain.

Aren’t Westminster politicians often known to sell Britain as being a bastion of freedom from oppression? Where people have equal rights and where the law prevails? Why then are very few people standing up for the massacre in Gaza??

So I’ll therefore applaud Baroness Warsi and in blowing her trumpet, and declare that resigning from cabinet was a great move Sayeeda Warsi! You have shown rare leadership for the children of Gaza, for peace, for Palestinians; for all the anti-racists; for anti-apartheid brothers and sisters; for those fighting discrimination, for those fighting warmongering and hegemony; for those who value life (whether its black, white or brown); for those who truly would like the world to be a better place ( irrespective of nationality, religion or sect). Well done Sayeeda Warsi! Well done!

Never mind the nay sayers, they’ll always be there to accuse and denigrate anybody who disagrees with their partyline.

5 tech advancements I look forward to (if I live long enough)

I doubt I’m the only person to think this way. I couldn’t possibly be. People rarely think of something that’s never been thought of before.

So, what are the 5 most exciting things you look forward to in terms of advancements in technology?

First a disclaimer: Like most normal people on the planet are bound to feel, it would be great if a cure for Cancer was found. It would be absolutely wonderful if a cure for H.I.V was discovered, if Dementia was defeated and Alzheimer obliterated.

But I’m not really referring to that kind of thing.

I’m also not referring to utopian sentiments of a world devoid of trouble.

No disagreements, no confrontation, no fights – everyone be nice.

It would be wonderful if the dynamics that prevent trouble could be found within mankind, for all of mankind,  and the world would undoubtedly be a much better place to live. But irrespective of whether such harmony is achievable or not, that’s not really what I’m referring to.

What I mean is what things, tangible gadgets, innovations you will be able to buy in a shop,  have you thought of  (or can you think of) which we could see in the near future or which scientists have the potential (outside sci-fi) to bring to the real world, and which are terribly exciting stuff as far as you are concerned?

Without this question sounding like a call for speculative ridiculous contraptions, for me the 5 that top the list, and which would smash my appreciation of technology are as follows:-

1. Driverless Cars . Forget Google glass, imagine getting into your car, typing a postcode (e.g.  HP22 5BG), and <–| Enter, then sitting down to watch your favourite movie, show, to reply to emails , or more importantly, to catch up with some sleep. Several hours later, an alarm alerts you that you have arrived in Aylesbury, your destination.

It would save me tons of time, my efficiency would shoot up overnight.

What if it runs out of fuel?

Well, it should be smart enough to refuel itself? You’d kind of expect that from a thing that can drive itself.

It would do more. The 15 minute morning commute to the office would be a time to have a cup of tea, and read a newspaper. I’d be able to spend more time with my family while we are on the move (and we’re always on the move). Traffic jams would be tolerable as your mind would be distracted, watching TV, your favourite drama or sleeping.

2. Mind Reader: Just so we are absolutely clear, I’m talking a device, not a person. Whatever form this gadget will take, tech doesn’t get better than this. Epic in every meaning of the word. Point ‘the sensor’ of the device not to your wife, but towards that politician who seems to smile all the times … what’s beneath that smile? Going to meet your banker? Well, take this along, and before you sign that document, listen to his mind for a few seconds…just in case someone isn’t thinking you are making a huge mistake.

3. the D.I.A.D.T: your average general practitioner or doctor is probably overworked, overpaid, has a massive ego, a pseudo-salesman for some large pharmaceutical giant, is possibly on the payroll of some insurance company/ lobbyist group and probably thinks he / she is God.

Not to worry, the D.I.A.D.T (Disease or Infection Automatic Diagnosis and Treatment) will put him/ her in their place. Picture this:- Imagine walking into a state of the art medical centre, your body ridden full of disease, nasty microbes and illness, and being directed into a gadget chamber by a friendly medical practitioner, a chamber in which some routine medical tests are to be undertaken: Urinate here, Spit there, drink this – it’ll get rid of the usual suspects, dab that under your armpit, it’ll analyse your sweat, oh and attach these tiny electrodes to your head and wrists for a few seconds, we need to check your neural oscillations, heart rate and several other tests. Suspecting a broken rib? Right, stand here, and press that for the X-ray…

None of that invasive and archaic blood sample collection nonsense that can delay treatment (and cause unnecessary pain). No nasty moody nurses to argue with. No NHS Bureaucracy obsessed with gagging orders and secrecy to worry about. No time wasted in waiting rooms that have dodgy deathly odours.

No MRSA.

Minutes later, some clever analysis informs you exactly what is wrong with you, prints out a prescription and recommends a further meeting that same day, or  several weeks later, to monitor your progress. If additional tests are required, the machine immediately informs you and alerts nearby medical staff, who then quickly come to your assistance. Guess what, it can even make appointments on your behalf, it can call the mobile or landline phone number you provide, to remind you of your appointment (or in the event that you miss an appointment, to re-book one). It’s a friendly and generally helpful robot-doctor, than can perform some clever tests but also thoroughly disinfects itself – ready for the next chap.

How awesome would that be? The convenience, the efficiency. How many hours of valuable medical staff would it save? We could place some of these gadgets inside supermarkets or within shopping malls so that the location of your medical examination / appointment can be anywhere in the country, not just at your GP clinic’s physical location? Surely we could do that?

4. Sea Explorer: Remember how they say aeroplanes opened up world travel to the masses? Well, imagine what kind of device would open up sea travel to the masses? Considering land is only 30% of the earth.

I’d like to swim side by side with Orcas, hear the echoes and songs as they swim the vast oceans. I’d like to mingle with dolphins, swim and race along with them as they play. I’d like to whisper to sea turtles, to the great Leatherback and rare Hawksbill.

5. P. S.A. Projectile Shield Armour.  So, an electromagnetic field can do fancy things with electricity right? And your platoon has these tough armoured trucks which are heavy, safe and functional for the battlefield? Well, what about when you are on foot, and a  concealed sniper from the terrorists’ camp decides to shoot in your face? Aha!

Imagine a ‘field’ (it may not be electric or magnetic in nature) that can divert or repel things thrown or shot at you? No need for bullet proof or Helmets that cover your face (and make you appear unfriendly to the children of the locals)

Maybe I watch too much Tv (btw I don’t own a television set), but how many people who are sent into war, and who don’t make it back alive, could that device save – had it been in use?