I’ve been thinking about the perilous mentality of the 52% of Americans who think torture is all fine and dandy. And then I saw a neat little video piece on the BBC this morning which casts a few French people in the exact same spots in June 1944 and now. It’s here:
The fades from then to now are brilliantly done, actually. The words that emanate from the people’s mouths, even more meaningful. The hardware, somewhat aged, remains, much of it. Along with 9367 dead in Omaha beach Cemetry and hundreds of thousands elsewhere…
Daisaku Ikeda, 3rd president of the SGI, a lay Buddhist organisation, has remarked many times that when his brother, a Japanese soldier, was captured at the end of WW2, he fully expected to be treated the same way that the Japanese had treated their captives, (i.e. dreadfully). To his surprise, he was fed, clothed, given medical treatment and finally sent home to a land with a huge economic package in place (The Marshall Plan). He wasn’t tortured and imprisoned for the best part of a decade.
The reactions in the NOTW article and other tabloids have been suitably strong, and that I think, is the reason for it’s publication in the NOTW. It’s to gauge the mood and set the trend; there’s an election looming! He’s out-stepped the Tories in right-winged-ness!
However, on the No10 website there’s an article where the PM confirms that our community policing is to stay (see Neighbourhood policing “here to stay”). In this, and combined with the above, I see his communal spirit pushing through. It’s a recognition of the fact that communities, to a large extent, police themselves.
For instance, it’s well known that large matriarchal figures exist on the large estates and have a huge governance on the internal running of schools. Ask any teacher. This governance is totally outside the law. It’s a fact of life.
I see Brown’s overall words as trying to offer a concrete substance to this fact.
But it’s the way it’s done that’s bad. It tars all young people with the same brush, when clearly, we and they are all individuals. I don’t think it’s a one-size-fits-all solution, like a National Service for free. Altruism comes from within, and to impose it from without isn’t altruism and doesn’t enforce a sense of social responsibility. Quite the opposite. People will see it as Big Brother, like Comrade Stalin forcing the crowds to smile for the camera. They’ll smile, but they’ll hate it and reject it.
But it’ll please the Colonel Blimps and outraged-from-Tunbridge-Wells types for a bit. It may keep their votes his way.
…if the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds. – Nichiren Daishonin, from his writings, page 4. Written in 1255.
On being woken today by my clock radio, I heard that one of the two soldiers killed by the ‘Real’ IRA attack threw his unarmed body on top of the 19 year old Domino Pizza delivery boy, Anthony Watson, to shield him from the bullets. This was initially reported here in The Belfast Telegraph. Almost to no avail, though. The gunmen advanced towards them and shot them all as they lay prone on the ground.
We’ll soon determine which of the two young men it was, but I’m reminded of the words of the prophet Jesus, someone whose sayings have been an excuse for much of Irish and the World’s troubles.
“Friend” refers to a fellow human being, and the act is one of those continuing, astonishing acts by ordinary people that remind us that there is “good” as a concept, in humanity.
Following this act, another bunch of hoodlums called the ‘Continuity’ IRA have killed a policeman, as if to validate the justice of their cause and make a point of their own power. The timing is no co-incidence. The real reason is that were being left out of the show and shown to be ineffectual. Their twisted logic meant that they had to do the same.
But what is really heartening, is to see the large public response of disgust to the killings and worry about the consequences. With the obvious exception of the Omagh atrocity (also the rira), the people of Ireland as a whole have had nearly 15 years of peace and a buoyant growing economy. They don’t want to return to the bad old days of thuggery and protection rackets. Many children now don’t have an actual memory of those times, only the stories from others.
But the response is mainly verbal, from vox-pop interviews on the street and phone-ins, say. We need more than a few flowers.
What I’d like is a nice big symbolic gesture from these people to show that the few thuggish families behind all this stuff won’t be tolerated.
Can I suggest, that en-masse, thousands gather and clean up the crap graffiti slogans that litter the walls of Northern Ireland. Call it Direct action for freedom from fear! I’m thinking particularly of the blood-red one pictured left. The symbolic demonstration that ‘this is too much’ to the people nearby (who are the ones doing it, make no mistake) will demonstrate that the people won’t tolerate this stuff, and if they don’t stop, they’ll be outed. Leaving it to the council isn’t good enough if you really, really want peace.
The painted walls as tokenised history should be next to go, but the reality of this red crapis that it legitimises the evil ideas and actions of a few thuggish types. If you really want peace you should be prepared to assert your right to it. Like the young soldier who threw himself onto the pizza boy.
Mr Compy has had a bit of bother recently. Now he’s got a RAID 5 array holding the OS & data. I intend to keep data and backups on the RAID5 array but instigate a RAID0 for the OS and Programs partitions. Hopefully this will give me speed & reliability. Mind you, it already sounds like Concorde on afterburners so hey, what’s another two discs gonna do?
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