Posts Tagged ‘Humanity’

Posted on November 19, 2006 in Religion by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish8 Comments »

According to Pakistans independent Human Rights Commission, somewhere in the country a woman is raped every two hours and one is gang-raped every eight hours. And this is thought to be a vast under-estimate as most rapes are not reported. And why are they not reported? Because rape cases are dealt with in strict Sharia courts and victims have to have four male witnesses to the crime – if not they face prosecution for adultery. And the punishment for adultery? Lashing, if you’re lucky – stoning if you’re not.

If this isn’t a sick abomination then I don’t know what is. Laws made by men for the protection of men that allows them to degrade and use women as they choose. And this is, I believe, the 21st century.

But now, in a test of President Musharraf’s stated commitment to a moderate form of Islam, the National Assembly has voted to amend the laws so that rape can be tried in civil courts – where it belongs. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told parliament after the vote:

It is a historic bill because it will give rights to women and help end excesses against them.

But here is the bit that amazed me. Religious parties boycotted the vote, saying the bill encouraged “free sex”. They called the new legislation “a harbinger of lewdness and indecency in the country”. The leader of the six-party MMA Islamic alliance, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, said the bill would “turn Pakistan into a free-sex zone”.

So, raping a woman knowing she has virtually no chance or recourse to justice does not encourage “free sex”? This is not indecent? Not to mention inhumane. And they want to bring these laws here…

Posted on October 6, 2006 in Our American Friends by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish5 Comments »

James Smithson was an English chemist and member of the Royal Society who died, leaving a small fortune, in 1829. The estate was left to a nephew but stipulated that should the nephew die without children, the money was to go to the United States of America to create ‘an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men in the city of Washington.

Well, you know the rest. The nephew either didn’t or couldn’t procreate and despite a legal appeal by the Brits and some worries from the Americans over how they were going to spend the money, the eventual outcome was the Smithsonian Institute that dominates Washington with it’s now 17 (I believe) separate museums and other numerous research centres. Taken as a whole, the Smithsonian is indeed, a remarkable endeavour.

Now for the interesting bit. James Smithson never visited the USA and had no known affiliations with the country. And to this day, no-one really knows what prompted this generous bequest worth, at today’s prices, around nine and a half million pounds.

Posted on September 29, 2006 in Bush Effect by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish5 Comments »
Lamar Alexander, Wayne Allard, George Allen, Robert Bennett, Kit Bond, Sam Brownback, Jim Bunning, Conrad Burns, Richard Burr, Thomas Carper, Saxby Chambliss, Tom Coburn, Thad Cochran, Norm Coleman, Susan Collins, John Cornyn, Larry Craig, Michael Crapo, Jim DeMint, Mike DeWine, Elizabeth Dole, Pete Domenici, John Ensign, Michael Enzi, Bill Frist, Lindsey Graham, Charles Grassley, Judd Gregg, Chuck Hagel, Orrin Hatch, Kay Bailey Hutchison, James Inhofe, Johnny Isakson, Tim Johnson, Jon Kyl, Mary Landrieu, Frank Lautenberg, Joseph Lieberman, Trent Lott, Richard Lugar, Mel Martinez, Robert Menéndez, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Mark Pryor, Pat Roberts, Jay Rockefeller, Kenneth Salazar, Rick Santorum, Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby, Gordon Smith, Arlen Specter, Debbie Stabenow, Ted Stevens, John Sununu, Jim Talent, Craig Thomas, John Thune, David Vitter, George Voinovich, John Warner.

I know very few of these 65 names. But I know what they did. These are the US Senators that yesterday voted for the infamous S.3930 thereby declaring that the constitutional rights of every American no longer fully apply. When the Bush administration sign this into law – and it is, after all, a Bush-inspired piece of legislation – any individual, be they American or foreign, can be arrested and held without charge, can be tried by a committee of the administrations choosing, can be refused knowledge of both the charges and evidence against them and can be held indefinitely. Oh yes – and I believe I am right in saying that it also retrospectively clears the Shrub and his administration of any crime that they may, or are about, to commit. Sounds familiar… sounds like the good old Soviet Union that America spent years denigrating.

As Irregular Times points out, the oath a US Senator takes is to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic’ – not defend the people or the country; the Constitution, that has served them so well and so long and now lies at the bottom of George Bush’s shredder.

I wonder how many of these 65 individuals will come to regret this black day.

Posted on September 6, 2006 in Media by Andy @ Yellow SwordfishComments Off

You don’t have to be very old to recognise the mug shot of Myra Hindley taken at the time of her arrest in 1965. It’s the one the media delighted in trotting out with depressing regularity up to her death in prison 37 years later; every appeal, every lobby for her release, every politically ’safe’ decision by successive Home Office Ministers to keep her behind bars. I wonder just how many times this picture – perfect for the media purpose with the dark, demonic eyes – was splashed across the front page of the Sun or the Daily Mail, guaranteed to bolster public hatred and outcry at the very thought that this woman could be let loose into the world.

Myra Hindley was England’s scapegoat. Hers was the face of the devil personified. She was the one chosen – largely I suspect because of this very picture – to represent all the evil that we could conjure up and then safely put in a box and forget about. As long as Hindley was behind bars, we were all safe and God was in his heaven. Hindley’s crimes make depressing reading but she, herself, murdered no-one. She lured victims for her lover, Ian Brady, a psychopath of the worse kind, and she is known to have watched him murder and assist with burying his victim’s bodies – but she murdered no-one. During her 37 years behind bars, she watched other murderers sentenced and released knowing that in the end, she was the media’s symbol and a politicians worst nightmare. This woman, victim of a terribly violent father who fell under the spell of a truly evil personality was sentenced and kept in jail by nothing more than media frenzy.

But now she is dead and the media needs a new candidate – a new symbol. And they have found him. Soham murderer Ian Huntley. The tabloid media, and no doubt the ‘drones’ as Xinomorph called them this morning, was outraged yesterday because Huntley nearly managed to commit suicide and that will never do. They can’t bear the thought that they should lose their symbol so quickly – goodness no, he’s good for another 30 years at least.

I heard one person in an interview say that Huntley must be protected from further suicide bids because he has to stay alive in jail as that is our just retribution. This comes from the camp that says prison should be hard and uncomfortable, that prisoners should suffer every day for their crimes. These are the people who kept Hindley in jail for a term that was out of all proportion when compared to other prisoners. And now they want it to be the same for Huntley. This is not what justice is supposed to be about. Imprisonment serves two purposes; to protect the public from someone who might offend again and to remove the criminals freedom.

What could be worse than having your freedom removed? Why do these people want more than that? An ‘eye for an eye’ is just as barbaric as the original crime itself. The only ‘freedom’ that Huntley and others in his position might be allowed is the freedom to end their own life but that, says the retribition brigade, is too good for him. Huntley knows he will never see freedom again – he knows he is the next Hindley. He should be given the choice that every person has – that one freedom should not be denied.

Posted on September 3, 2006 in Religion by Andy @ Yellow SwordfishComments Off

Every year, we are told, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spends a long weekend with his former graduate students for an informal debate on issues of the day. A topic is chosen and they seclude themselves away for some serious discussion. The topic of this years debate, which is going on as I write this, is the hot chestnut of Evolution v Creationism – or as many of our American friends choose to call it – Intelligent Design. And of course the main difference this year is that the old professor chairing the debate is no longer Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger but is now Pope Benedict XVI and is, as such, able to dictate Catholic doctrine.

We are assured by people close to the Pope that the debate and any conclusions it might reach are unlikely to be made public and that further, Benedict has tended to accept evolutionary theory in the past and sees no conflict between evolution and the hand of a creator. Good for him. It seems to me that if the Vatican came down hard against evolution not only would the resultant chaos of such a stance send shockwaves across the world for years to come but would ultimately lead to the sort of humiliation for the established church that it has undergone before when taking on scientific progress.

A doctrine that officially denies evolution would hand power to the kind of dark ages mentality that already, in many parts of the USA, has a stranglehold on politics and could, ultimately, cause schisms in western culture that haven’t been seen since the middle ages in Europe. To the Pope and any Catholic protagonists of Creationism I have only one comment:

Remember Galileo.