Category: Refugees

Jenny or Robert?

Jenny or Robert?


My Puzzlement


Brexit and Trump


I am writing this blog with questions to my Christian friends who are followers of Jesus.  Now, I am sure that, in a democracy there are many who would agree that in the field of politics, the fact that we are followers of Jesus will not stop us from see us seeing things from different perspectives. I have many friends in all kinds of political parties who, I am sure, are followers of Jesus.


However to all of them, as well as you my reader, I would want to ask these questions, and hopefully find some kind of coherent answer.


Here we go…
  • ·         As a follower of Jesus, why would I not want people to have health care, especially  if they could not afford it?

  • ·         As a follower of Jesus, am I not responsible to try my hardest to see that people have a home? Again I say, even if their economic ability does not give them the resource  that allows them to buy their own? Why also would I not want to see them clothed and warm? If you are asked for a biblical foundation for this thought, Luke 6.29 come to mind: “Give him your shirt also”.

  • ·         As a follower of Jesus, why would I want to support a policy that makes my nation and people more important than any other people? Matthew 25:38 comes to mind.  Am I not a stranger in this world holding the citizenship of another place? And more: Should not my citizenship of the other place impact my outlook in this place?

  • ·         Thinking historically, why would I want to push for Nationalism (as opposed to Patriotism), that says, “My Nation is Great. My nation comes first”? Would that make us think that we are superior to all others?  Wouldn’t that make me feel that Mexicans, Polish, Syrians and “whoever” are somehow lesser that my own people and my own nation? Would that not make me feel, somehow, that I was looking forward to the “Master Race”, which … oops!  Happens to be mine?

  • ·         On the political side; wouldn’t you agree that the Right wing politics around the planet have, somehow, given us the Hitler’s and the Saddam Hussein’s of this world?

  • ·         Again, on the political view of things: Why would I cheer at the demise of the EU? Do I really want to see the UK putting on the side things like worker’s rights, the Human Rights charter and other things like that.  Some are actually cheering the fact that we may have managed to wreck the whole project by our withdrawal. I see nothing to be happy about there.  I don’t want to see Europe become a collection of right wing nationalistic groups, with each country feeling that they are the superior one and that anyone who does not fit into their culture is unwelcome. May be those dissidents need to be got rid of. We all know where that leads too.

·         On a positive note, I do think that as a follower of Jesus my EU brother or my Mexican brother is my responsibility. I should want the best for him or for Her.


·         On a negative note I don’t think that the deprecation of women, disabilities, or other nationalities is in any way a positive force.


I understand the concern from my friends from the USA about the abortion issue. The problem is that exchange abortion death, death from no health care, no concern for refugees and other nasty’s raises possibly even worse scenarios. That is the problem with democracy and politics, its often having to choose the lesser of two evils – and the difficult choice of which one is the lesser along with the ensuing battle concerning which was the lesser evil and which wasn’t.


I understand the concerns of the jobless, and the need to blame someone, be it the EU, the last President, the governmental opposition, and, of course, never forget the immigrants.  The problem is, however, that these are not the makers of joblessness, the closed mines, the loss of the textile industry, or even car manufacturing.  


I was privileged, many years ago, to have a conducted tour around the British Leyland car factory, formally the Austin Motor Company, by my Aunt. She was not on the board of directors, but because of her financial nous they did not usually have a board meeting without her.  In that day (the 1960’s) the factory at Longbridge, Birmingham, employed some 25,000 people. When the whistle blew for the end of shift it was a site to behold. There was a veritable river of humanity pouring out of the factory gates.


The same could be said of the coal mines in Wales and the textile factories in the North of England.  It was probably true of Detroit too.


The thing is that in 1764 the UK went through similar labour throws, due to the invention of the Spinning Jenny. Workers broke into factories and smashed the machines. Why? Because one machine could produce together with a single worker, what hundreds of workers had previously been needed to achieve the same output.  So, it wasn’t immigrants or politicians that caused the job loss, it was a little piece of machinery called “Jenny!”

Are we at that stage again? However, this time it’s not the “Spinning Jenny”.  Maybe this time its Robert, as Nissan can run a car factory with 22 workers in Sunderland in the UK, and build 5,139 cars in its first year of production.  Maybe it’s not the Mexicans, Polish, politicians,   or whatever nationality you want to blame. Maybe its Robert’s fault! Eh! Sorry! 

Robotics.


I am sure that the New President of the US will be able to create Jobs for things like roads, walls (better to have bridges), locks and canals, using tax dollars.  Hitler was able to do that. I am still not sure that the UK will be able to replace the jobs that I believe we will lose, outside the EU mind you, even if the USA puts us at the front of the queue.


I am not sure how we created those new jobs that have been taken by the closure of mines, the use of robotics, as well as the outsourcing to cheaper labour economies.  Even the supermarkets make us serve ourselves these days.  Maybe we should invest in social care, hospitals, care for the elderly, social services, and maybe to do it taxes will have to go up?

So, 2017! Such new political policies. And are they really nice ones? Yes it’s the lesser of two evils. However, have we picked the lesser? Will we move backwards to where the poor get even poorer, where those who need health care can no longer get it because it is now too expensive, both in the UK and the USA.


I understand the arguments, particularly in the USA, but the UK too – where Christians feel that they have to not only agree with equality and fairness for people they disagree with, but they must no longer disagree.


They must, in fact, agree and change their opinions. The thought police are here these days, and we must now agree in thought action and word. Thinking like those we disagree with, but yet want them to have their say, and yes treat with respect and equality, even those we not agree with there view on marriage and whatever. 


Could it be that this is where the “Thought Police” have overplayed their hand they have pushed those who don’t agree to use the ballot box to give us Trump and Brexit.


Maybe the evangelicals, so called, have also overplayed their hand, and we will now get injustice, robbery of the poor, a downer on women, and – hopefully not- but maybe, just maybe, we are back to Caesar.








Adrianhawkes.blogspot.com

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Edited by K. Lannon

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Charity Starts at Home?

Charity Starts at Home?


The amount of times I have had people say this to me, and on social media, and in other forums it’s getting tiresome.   It’s used when I talk about helping refugees and asylum seekers, sadly Christian use it like scripture to me.  It not!  Scripture that is!
Can I ask what do we mean by this, where is home, your little house, your 2.5 children, your street, your country?  What are you talking about?
I supposed I can almost forgive those using the phrase who would not claim to be Christians, or Followers of Jesus, but for those who make both those claims I do have a problem.
Jesus tells us what is commonly called the story of the Good Samaritan. Of course at the time when Christ was walking around in Israel, now self respecting Jew would ever go to Samaria, as the woman at the well said to Jesus, when he asked for a drink of water, “you’re a Jew and you ask me for a drink of water don’t you know that Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans”.   Of course she did not know that Jesus had previously said to his disciples, “I must go through Samaria”; an amazing statement in of itself.
So let me counter that awful get out ‘charity start at home’ by reminding ourselves that Jesus said we are to love our neighbours, and then follows that statement by asking us to decided who are our neighbours, and the answer is not well pleasing to the people who never went to Samaria, as the neighbour turns out to be one of them.
In Africa I was speaking to a group and telling the story of the good Samaritan, I changed the story knowing that I was speaking to people of one particular tribe, and I knew that they hated another tribe so I made in my story the tribal member that helped a member of the hated tribe.  People came up to after the meeting and said, you should not have done that, people hear hate the people of that tribe, don’t you know, err der! Maybe someone should have told Jesus that too.
Recently I had the privilege of going to a regular happening at a local Synagogue, where well over a hundred refugees where being fed, clothed, and financed by the local congregation, every nationality and religion turning up for help.  I asked who is financing this and was told we are, at the moment its costing us about £30,000 a year.
The other very important point that I should make, especially to those who say they are Christians, follower of Jesus, is that Jesus commanded us to ‘love our enemies’.
So next time I say we need to be helping, caring for those pushed out by war be it from Syria, Eritrea or wherever,  I know that I have responsibility for my family, but maybe that other statement of Jesus is apposite ‘that you should do but this you should do also’ please don’t tell me Charity starts at home it’s just plain the wrong response.
Adrian Hawkes
adrianhawkes.blogspot.com
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Edited Gena Areola

My Place in the Sun

My Place in the Sun

A lot of people have taken me to task because I have suggested that the E.U. referendum in the UK was very xenophobic.  I do happen to think that in all areas both sides of the argument exaggerated and said things that were not true, but if you think sovereignty (whatever that is) economics, democracy  or any of the other things swung it in favour of exit I am not sure where you have been.  What swung it was we want to stop immigration.  As I said before not all people who vote exit are racist, but all racists will vote exit.  Sure some will have thought about the other arguments, though how anyone could cut through the noise to any factual knowledge I don’t know.
I said from day one, people will make their decision on this campaign emotionally.  That’s how people make decisions; perhaps they shouldn’t but realistically that what people do.  So what swung the vote were nasty racist posters, and we must control our borders.  We need to stop people coming into the UK.  It’s putting pressure on schools and housing.  I wonder why no one ever asks how much pressure divorce puts on housing. How can we possible think or say that a lot of this rhetoric, posters and advertising were not xenophobic?  I wish someone could explain that it was not a xenophobic campaign to my non UK friends, who work hard pay taxes, and were not allowed to vote but are quite afraid now; maybe sharing the fear of the two million plus UK citizens who live in other EU countries.
 It seems perhaps surprising, but perhaps it shouldn’t be that London, which has the highest number of immigrants, and my area very, very many yet we voted to stay in. May be we understand the benefit of immigration. What is also surprising, but probably should not surprise me is how many of my non birth UK citizens voted out. Kenyans, West Indians, Sri Lankans, Bulgarians, who have UK passports, friends of mine, but voted out.  It’s that yes I have my place in the Sun I have the sun bed and my towel is on it, say don’t you come in and touch it.
Let me tell you some stories which explain why I should not be surprised.  Some years back I remember being in Switzerland, I was there with refugees who years before had come to the country escaping war, and lived in really hard conditions.  But as is often with hard working, innovative, creative refugees they have done well.  I’m glad, nice houses, nice cars, prosperous.  I was aware that there were new wars at the time and new refugees coming into the country, so I asked my friends “how is the country coping with the new influx of refugees”.  Their response; ‘Our country needs to do something to stop these people coming in’! 
Story two, when we started helping refugees and asylum seekers in the UK we were advised to take some advice from an expert who was running a large half way house for people, not refugees but people with problems, we met the said gentleman, he was obviously from Asia and his turban sort of gave him away as not being of original English decent. His advice was most helpful, but then he asked what are you doing, my wife explained that we were setting up homes to help refugees and asylum seekers, his response to that was ‘we don’t want those people in our country’ my wife glanced up at the turban without saying anything, he obviously read her thoughts, and responded with ‘oh that, me I’m English’.
Story three, another friend of mine was running a youth club, arrived one day and asked the main worker where are all the young people today, they are not in the club, don’t know was the answer, looking out of the window he notice a whole load of young people kicking a football around, Oh he said I see lots outside, oh no came the reply they are not young people they are Polish.
I have all along during this campaign for in or out of the EU felt that the end decision was going to be made selfishly, we never once really asked will it hurt other Europeans, is it best for them if we leave, what do the immigrants hear in the UK feel about the anti foreigner rhetoric even the economic argument was always the selfish one.
Now, again not surprised, is to hear the Christians saying Gods will has been done, really?  Why do people always think Gods will has been done, what a funny idea, why does Jesus tell us to pray that God will, should be done, if it always is?  I am sure that often what happens is not God will at all.  So we may say as the Muslims do Inshalla or as Christians say D.V Deo volente, “God willing”. God may be willing but that does not mean His will has been done.


Well now going back to that Brexit, was it what God wants.  I don’t know.  Personally to be non selfish, with all the wrong of the EU I felt it was better to stay in for lots of other peoples benefit, influence, the protections that the UK gave in negotiations to smaller countries.  I listened to others in Europe who worried that if the UK left it would hurt them, I did not want that to happen.  Am I sorry that I have said it was so badly racist influenced, no and sadly the post exit decision seems to have raised a terrible dragon of permission to be racist; with people shouting in the street go home, to various non UK people;   Sad.


So was God will done, I don’t think so, but I am not sad about that because I know God well enough to know he takes all situations to make himself known, and for those who love him He makes all things work together for Good.  So I am happy.

                                                                                                                                         
Adrian Hawkes

Adrianhawkes.Blogspot.com

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WALLS

Walls


I have just read one of our Independent schools ‘A’ level student’s research paper on the Berlin wall.  It made me think about the whole subject of walls, particularly as, as I write walls and barbered wire are very much in the news.
Supposedly walls should keep us warm and safe, at least if you have  roof on your house as well, however as we look though history walls have also had other uses and somehow get into our psyche, and it seems to me many times ending up with negative connotation.    In fact it seems to me that each time you see walls, proposed walls, or building of walls there is the feeling of failure, loss, or the fact that our world is in a bad place.
I guess the biggest wall of all is the Great Wall of China, built to keep our others who might attack which are why all of the walls seemed to have been built, on the basis we are all right and we don’t want you in or out in some cases so let’s build a wall.  In a sense a great symbol of failure,as it demonstrates that you need to be controlled, either by being held in or kept out.  What it cannot  do is control thinking, though those that build the walls, I think, really would like to be able to do that.
So let me just site a few walls to show what I mean.  Berlin wall of course was built to keep East Germans from running away to West Berlin, and thus loosing it key workers and intelligencer;  So really a failure of an ideological way of thinking.   Then maybe Hadrian’s Wall, built by the Romans, surly that must represent the failureof the Romans to control the Scottish Nation, or to conquer it so a wall was built to keep the Picts as the Romans called them out. The last standing division or wall in Europe is in Cyprus showing us the failure of politics, religion and ethnicity to get on and work together for peoples best good.
The fact that walls are a strong sign of failure the world continues to build them, demonstrating to all who can see how useless we are at getting things right, so between  1950 and 2010 the world has built some 50 admissions of failure.  In such places as Israel, India, Pakistan, Georgia and South Ossetia, Mexico and the USA a fence at the moment, but listening to the politics of the USA in 2016 it seems as though this failure need to be reinforced by a proper wall!  Then there is India and Bangladesh, North and South Korea, Spain & Morocco even in Northern Ireland ‘Peace Walls’ still celebrate the fact that people fail to get on.  There is a sand wall built between in the Western Sahara to seal out Morocco.  Shall I go on?  These are just a selection of the world’s walls. The border between Botswana and Zimbabwe is separated by an electrified fence. Malaysia and Thailand are separated by a wall, as are Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Iran and Iraq, and Kuwait and Iraq.


And now in 2016 European countries again want to put up walls offailure in Bulgaria, in Greece, certainly the UK has spent millions on its own wall of failure on French territory, to keep out those from the so called Calais Jungle. I would have thought that the world and its leaders would be embarrassed to keep using such high profile symbols of their failure, but it seems not.


It seems that the current Pope thinks that building Bridges is a much better idea than building walls, maybe he has a point.   I know that as a follower of Jesus that should makes us generous rather than selfish and if we want to build failure walls because we perceive people as our enemies, the Jesus instruction is to Love your enemies.  Walls don’t work.



Adrian Hawkes

Adrianhawkes.blogspot.com

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Refugees: the current issues – is there a solution?

Refugees: the current issues – is there a solution?

I was privileged to have been able to speak at the United Nations on the subject recently. The reality is that this is the worst refugee crisis since World War Two; actually, in regards of displacement and movement of people, it’s worse. According to UNHCR there are currently 59.5 million displaced people in the world at the moment.

In the UK there is a lot of anti-immigration press, telling us how many “illegal people” there are and the fact that they are taking jobs, school places, and homes. This has created a great deal of tension and distrust.  Many of the figures quoted are not true, and when you look at real figures from reliable sources you find that the story is very different.


There is another story too, that is not being talked about much and that is one that needs to be brought to Europe’s attention. In Europe, UK, Germany, and Italy particularly, there is a need for young workers who pay tax. The reason being that in the UK and other European countries the indigenous populations are getting older.  Most of us have things like state pensions, paid from taxes.  When these were originally introduced with a male retirement age of 65 and female retirement age of 60, life expectancy was between 68 and 69, very different to today predictions. The current life expectancy in the UK is heading towards 100 years. Who is going to pay for all those retired people? Whose taxes will fund it? We need the refugees’ help to do that.  Politicians don’t have very much to say about this.

Politics

POLITICS

I don’t usually write anything about Politics, but the recent elections at which I did vote, seem to me to be setting a trend that require lots of us who, maybe think differently, to say something.

An Iraqi friend of mine recently said to me, maybe there is a problem with democracy in that stupid people get to vote; perhaps we should have an exam before people are given the franchise?

Recently listening to the debate in a ladies’ hairdressers, waiting for my wife, who had just commented on the problems for the kidnapped girls in Nigeria, I was staggered to discover from about 10 plus people there, she was the only one who knew that girls had been kidnapped.  They moved on in conversation to various other world shattering events, but it seemed to me that my wife was the only one who had a TV that showed any news programmes.  The world affairs, local and national politics seemed at such a low level of interest to them I wanted to scream argh…

It isn’t that this stuff isn’t out there it is, but as most of the main three political parties are saying the message has not got through, perhaps that is because they shy away from the real facts to try and be popular to those who don’t listen to them anyway.

Nutty Newspaper Nonsense

Nutty Newspaper Nonsense


I reached the ultimate in surprise this week when I was asked if I knew that black people are able to receive a free oyster (bus and tube pass) if they live in London.  Come on all my black friends if you did not know this – get one – problem is I do not know where from.


The young lady who was telling me this story went on to tell me that the person who had told her this great piece of news, when told, “No, that is not true”, looked at her with that knowing look that says “Oh, that’s what you think”.


It really is nutty nonsense from people who read certain types of newspapers that come out with this stuff, and then when you tell them no it’s not true, prefer to believe their fairy tale rubbish rather than any real facts.

Some of the other apocryphal stories I have been told are as follows, usually by wide eyed people who when, like my friend who told me the story of free travel, are told “no, it’s nonsense”, look at you as though you are the stupid one.  Here are just some of them.  ‘Did you know that they now give foreigner’s free cars’ ‘It’s terrible that you can only get a house on the council if you are not English’  ‘Did you know that immigrants get £120.00 per week unemployment allowances’ and so on, I have heard lots more, I must admit that I had not heard the one about black people getting free travel until this weekend.  Nutty stuff or what?


Bureaucracy and Pendants

The Phoenix Community Care story – Chapter two  Bureaucracy and PedantsSomeone said they liked the   first chapter of the story and asked, “When is chapter two coming?”  I thought, ‘Sounds like an interesting idea, I’ll give…