Let your light shine

I hesitated to write anything about the latest attacks by Daesh/ISIL/IS, but I’ve decided I might as well. Everyone else seems to have an opinion on it, so why not add my two cents worth? I think it goes without saying that what happened in Paris yesterday, was appalling, barbaric and wickedly cruel. As was the bombing in Beirut the day before. And the one in Turkey a few days before that. In the last couple of days, over 115,ooo people have died due to the actions of radical extremists. That’s not acceptable. Before we jump onto our soap-boxes, let us take note that Daesh etc etc, don’t just attack “Christians” (better translated as “Westerners”). They kill anyone who isn’t a member of their sect. That’s why they tried to blow up a mosque in Beirut. That’s why they bombed a funeral in Baghdad. Yes, the Qur’an says that “to kill an innocent person is to attack all of humanity”. However, their interpretation of “innocent” is quite narrow. It’s, “a member of their group”. As far as they’re concerned, everyone else is guilty: Christian, atheist, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Caluthumpian… I don’t think just bombing the places we think they’re at, is fully effective or efficient. Too many bystanders are killed. I wish, I hope, I fully expect that the experts are working on more subtle, more clever, ways of fighting¬†this menace. The first battlefield should be on the internet. These (insert very rude word) are using social media to recruit disaffected youth, zealots and psychopaths to their cause and this needs to be stopped. The CSI cyber team should be working on shutting them down. (I watch far too much television.) I also have my suspicions about who is funding them. It’s very disturbing to see pictures of these people in convoys of brand new four wheel drive utes/cars, waving expensive weapons. Someone is supplying them with armaments, money, transport, medical supplies, food, clothing… Why can’t we find out who that is and stop them? I think it goes without saying that their brutal attacks won’t endear anyone to their cause. I don’t think that’s their intention. I do fear that there are enough idiots out there, with extreme right-wing agendas and the political nous of a three-year-old, who will use the attacks as an excuse for their racism, cultural myopia and just plain fear of anyone who isn’t white and middle-class. I’ve already seen calls to turn back the flood of refugees from Iraq, Syria and Jordan, because they’re “terrorists in disguise”. That’s patently ridiculous but still, there are those who think this is true. This is falling into Daesh’s (Boko Haram/Al Quaeda/ ISIL/whatever) trap. They want to divide the world into: us v them/ Westerners v Middle East/ Christianity v Islam, because this will lure more well-meaning, religious, disadvantaged, discouraged and alienated young people to their cause. Do you want to stop them? Then don’t fall into their trap of hatred and suspicion. We must rise above their dark levels of bigotry and hatred, to live in the light of hope, love, fraternity, equality and justice for all. Don’t give in to despair. Don’t lose faith in the power of love, kindness and compassion. Don’t stop holding your little candle high. Even one little candle can dispel the darkness....

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And so it begins…

The Old Boy is on holidays. Apart from the look of jubilation when he came home from the last day of work, the biggest clue is the amount of cricket that’s being watched on the telly. I say “watched” but, let’s face it, there’s quite a bit of “snoozing in front of” that’s also going on. It’s a test match: Australia v New Zealand. That means the game will last for 5 days. (You heard me correctly, America and other non-cricketting countries: 5 looong days.) So far, it looks as though Australia will thoroughly beat the NZ team. It should help to allay the national pain inflicted by the All Blacks (NZ) team’s thrashing of the Wallabies (Oz) in the Rugby World Cup, a week or so ago. For those who don’t know, not all cricket matches last 5 days. There are also one-day matches, which is much more reasonable, but they last all day...all day! It’s the only game I’m aware of, apart from an extended match of “Risk”, that takes so long to play. It’s an anachronism in this era of instant everything. What surprises me is the number of kids who take up this sport. You’d think that, with the regular diet of one hour matches in most other sports, half-hour television shows and one minute cartoons, they’d find the sheer length of playing time off-putting. But they don’t. The best time to watch cricket is the last half an hour, especially if the scores are tight. Otherwise, give me a game of tennis any day of the week. Or Aussie football. (I’m really missing the footy!) I intend to do a lot of writing on this holiday break. I’m going to have to figure out a new spot to do it in. I’m used to writing in silence. I find any noise, even music, distracting to the point of not being able to put one word in front of the other. (I have friends who do all their writing to music and I’m in awe of them.) But, it’s the Old Boy’s holiday and he deserves the break. Hmm… Trust the English to come up with the sort of game that goes on and on and on, with occasional bouts of “that’s interesting”, that’s played standing out in a big field all day in summer. (Oh, that’s right, their summer is like our autumn. They obviously didn’t take the colonies into account when they invented this game.) Trust the English to celebrate the anachronistic, the eccentric, the gentlemanly polite traditions of a game that no longer suits the pace of the modern world. Maybe that’s why so many like...

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