Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

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.

Posted on July 27, 2006 in Politics by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish2 Comments »

This is a plug for one of the best articles I have encountered on the politics of multiculturalism. I have bemoaned this political agenda before but found the article by Kenan Malik published in Prospect Magazine to be quite enlightening, intelligent and coherent.

Thanks to Northwing for publishing the article in full. As is stated there:

I was prepared to search hard for a British Asian rebuff of multiculturalism. In the end I didn’t have to look far. Kenan Malik, a Mancunian, born in India, has written some excellent material on the subject.

Go and read it. It is well worth ten minutes of your time.

Posted on July 27, 2006 in Politics by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish5 Comments »

It seems to me that Lebanon was well on the road to being a good friend to the ‘West’. Having been ripped apart by years of endless war and occupation, it was a budding democracy, a friendly nation in an area of the globe where our friends are few. The Syrians were wielding less power although admittedly, Hezbollah with it’s Syrian and Iranian links, money and arms were still a force to be reckoned with. Until that is, it’s neighbour and the only other democracy in town decided to punish the whole country for the sins of the few. With the nod and blessing, of course, of that mastermind of world politics, George W. Bush.

The way Israel has conducted business since it forced itself upon the world stage has never ceased to amaze me. The sympathy I felt with the Israeli people back in the 1967 war with Egypt (when I was young and green) quickly evaporated as more and more they used the tactics of oppression and genocide with the regular forays into peace talks at the end of their US supplied missiles. For a people who have suffered as much as they have over the centuries, culminating in the Nazi atrocities, I find it odd that they have so easily squandered the worlds sympathy.

As Mike Power fittingly reminded me today, the state of Israel was founded on terrorism, largely against the British. Many of the men who went on to lead their country during the next 30-40 years were once wanted terrorists responsible for bombings, attacks on civilians and wholesale slaughter. It has even been said that it was these people who introduced the tactics of terror to the modern Middle East.

Sixty years later it looks to me that little has really changed. The Palestinians are no better off or nearer a united state of their own and now the bully has embarked on an action of state organised terror that could bring the entire Middle East into conflagration. And the one country that could, over the years, have put an end to the lunacy, stands on the sidelines plying them with more and more lethal weaponry and egging them on.

And to my shame and anger, the British government, once itself the target of Israeli terror tactics, blindly toes the American line.

Posted on July 2, 2006 in Politics by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish3 Comments »

The Foreign Affairs Committee has reported on the so-called ‘War on Terror’ – which I believe started life as a Bush inspired slogan to rally American bloodlust – only to conclude the obvious fact that every sane individual in the UK told them before they decided to illegally and stupidly invade Iraq. The threat to the UK from al-Qaeda has increased and the Iraq war has provided a boost to extremist groups and is a ready-made recruitment campaign for those that practise terrorism.

It was all too obvious and predictable. You can just about expect the USA to have ignored the warnings – after all they had never faced terrorism on their own doorstep, they are led by the righteous right wing who feel it is their duty to mould the rest of the world in their own image, and, perhaps importantly, they had never really faced the kind of enemy they were going to meet in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But the British? We know only too well how years of soldiers in Northern Ireland created resentment and opposition and played into the hands of the IRA. We know only too well that an Empire made in our own image and crafted carefully over centuries can crumble and fall in a few short decades. But most importantly we know that fighting wars in places like Afghanistan have always resulted in a hiding to nothing. In short – they are both unwinable wars. If the attack on the World Trade Towers was retribution for decades of US meddling in Middle eastern affairs – which it was – then how can any thinking person not expect future escalated terrorism from the debacle that is Iraq?

Future acts of terror on UK soil will be Tony Blair’s lasting legacy. And that of all the stupid, short-sighted MP’s who voted in favour of this doomed and disastrous policy.

Posted on June 14, 2006 in Politics by Andy @ Yellow SwordfishComments Off

Id38001Scottish tax adviser Ron Jones was just leaving a bookshop in Riyadh when a terrorist bomb exploded some 15 feet away from him. It was 2002. He was rushed to hospital and once there was promptly arrested and taken into custody by the Saudi Arabian equivalent of the Gestapo. The only aim of the Saudi authorities was to get a confession from Jones, 2 other Britons and a Canadian, that they had planted the bomb. The Saudi’s obviously didn’t give a damn as to who was really behind the outrage – here were four hapless foreigners from countries that the Saudi’s knew would not kick up a fuss as the economic dependency on their oil and cash would be at stake.

For the next 67 days Jones and his comrades endured a regime of continuous torture at the hands of Saudi animals that obviously took an orgasmic delight in inflicting pain and suffering. The only aim – to force written and video confessions. They started on his feet in good, ‘tolerant and peaceful’ Islamic tradition. The soles of the feet are beaten with canes and, in this case, pick-axe handles. When the feet can take no more – the same treatment is repeated on the palms of the hands and then the buttocks. He was hung from walls, blindfolded and deprived of sleep. Fire and burning were threatened.

As everybody knows, eventually of course, they succumbed, as would anyone. Their ‘confession’ was broadcast to the world and the UK government turned a blind eye. After all, we wouldn’t want to upset the Saudi’s would we by lodging a complaint? But the worst and most damnable crime was still to be committed against these men.

Our own government and Foreign Office has supported the Saudi authorities in their attempt to seek punishment for the torturers and even just an acknowledgement of what occurred. After the initial help and counselling when these men were freed, the Foreign Office has turned their back on their attempt to get some justice for their ordeal at the hands of another State. They have intervened, supporting the Saudi argument that the State – and it’s state-employed torturers – has immunity from prosecution. The British government said it was intervening only to ‘preserve the principle of state immunity and not to condone torture‘. Except, of course, this is exactly what they have done.

What they really meant was: We can’t go getting tough with the Saudi’s old chap. They might be frightfully repressive and intolerant – tyrannical even; and yes – of course we know they use torture at the drop of a hat – but don’t you see old boy? We’re a little dependant on their oil and money. Wouldn’t do at all to upset them, not over a silly little thing like this.

And these are the people who represent you and me and are paid to protect and to serve. Hypocritical bastards.