Books & Blogs from Adrian Hawkes Blog

WALLS

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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Sitting Down Inside

Sitting Down Inside

Sitting down inside

Funny to see recently on Face Book the fact that Richard Dawkins is wondering if we need Christianity as it is not blowing people up, or saying that those that do not believe should be killed.  Maybe he needs to take an even deeper look.


What really puzzles me Is why people think that a forced acceptance of something, means that I or anyone else has really accepted that premise, belief, thought.  What a silly idea.


It also puzzles me that people think that if you are not allowed to speak something different to their point of view, their perspective then that is fine, they must be right, again what nonsense.


Yet this is our world, people have views that I don’t agree with, lifestyles that I think are wrong, attitudes that I think that if followed by lots of people will lead to their destruction and sometime the destruction of lots of others too, however I am not allowed to say opposite to what is the P.C. position, my view must not be heard? Now does that mean that the argument, position, life style of the others is so wrong that they cannot bear to hear anything opposite to what they have chosen right or wrong?


I joined a political party once, just to go along to the meetings and understand how they thought and how it worked.  I tried to sit at the back and keep quite.  One day they announced that they had made a terrible mistake, they had invited someone to speak to the meeting, and discovered he was a member of another party. They said obviously they could not listen to him.  I being very naïve asked a question, this was my question, “Why are you afraid to listen to another point of view or perspective, is our own position, argument, perspective, so weak that we cannot possible listen to someone we might disagree with and disagreeing with him come to understand our position, thoughts are after all are better? He is not from our party was the answer! “yes but does that mean we cannot hear what he has to say”?  The answer again, “you don’t understand, he is not a member of our party and so he will say what we don’t agree with so we can’t hear that”?  I gave up!


So we live in a world where people are being killed because they disagree, don’t believe what you believe cannot possible hear even a view that is different from the party line.  So this year in Brunei, Somalia, Tajikistan all banned Christmas celebrations as it might damage the thinking of the rest of the population apparently it was because of fear that people would be led astray. I wonder how weak the thinking of those people is? 


I remember one of those stories, apparently a little boy was would not sit down at the meal table, he was only small and insisted on standing to eat, I think his opinion was that the food went down better that way.  His Father got really upset and kept trying to make him sit down remonstrating with him with many words.  The little boy refused, in the end the Father got fed up with discussion and arguments, and putting his hand on the little boys head pushed the little boy down until he was sitting.  The little boy looked at his Father and recognised that he definitely  was stronger than him, but then he said, “Dad, I know that you have got me sitting down at this table, but I want you to know I am actually standing up inside!


There is a lot of us around that are actually standing up inside!

W. 642

Adrian Hawkes.blogspot.com

Edited By Karen Allen

Standing Up Inside

Sitting down inside

Funny to see recently on Face Book the fact that Richard Dawkins is wondering if we need Christianity as it is not blowing people up, or saying that those that do not believe should be killed.  Maybe he needs to take an even deeper look.


What really puzzles me Is why people think that a forced acceptance of something, means that I or anyone else has really accepted that premise, belief, thought.  What a silly idea.


It also puzzles me that people think that if you are not allowed to speak something different to their point of view, their perspective then that is fine, they must be right, again what nonsense.


Yet this is our world, people have views that I don’t agree with, lifestyles that I think are wrong, attitudes that I think that if followed by lots of people will lead to their destruction and sometime the destruction of lots of others too, however I am not allowed to say opposite to what is the P.C. position, my view must not be heard? Now does that mean that the argument, position, life style of the others is so wrong that they cannot bear to hear anything opposite to what they have chosen right or wrong?


I joined a political party once, just to go along to the meetings and understand how they thought and how it worked.  I tried to sit at the back and keep quite.  One day they announced that they had made a terrible mistake, they had invited someone to speak to the meeting, and discovered he was a member of another party. They said obviously they could not listen to him.  I being very naïve asked a question, this was my question, “Why are you afraid to listen to another point of view or perspective, is our own position, argument, perspective, so weak that we cannot possible listen to someone we might disagree with and disagreeing with him come to understand our position, thoughts are after all are better? He is not from our party was the answer! “yes but does that mean we cannot hear what he has to say”?  The answer again, “you don’t understand, he is not a member of our party and so he will say what we don’t agree with so we can’t hear that”?  I gave up!


So we live in a world where people are being killed because they disagree, don’t believe what you believe cannot possible hear even a view that is different from the party line.  So this year in Brunei, Somalia, Tajikistan all banned Christmas celebrations as it might damage the thinking of the rest of the population apparently it was because of fear that people would be led astray. I wonder how weak the thinking of those people is? 


I remember one of those stories, apparently a little boy was would not sit down at the meal table, he was only small and insisted on standing to eat, I think his opinion was that the food went down better that way.  His Father got really upset and kept trying to make him sit down remonstrating with him with many words.  The little boy refused, in the end the Father got fed up with discussion and arguments, and putting his hand on the little boys head pushed the little boy down until he was sitting.  The little boy looked at his Father and recognised that he definitely  was stronger than him, but then he said, “Dad, I know that you have got me sitting down at this table, but I want you to know I am actually standing up inside!


There is a lot of us around that are actually standing up inside!

W. 642

Adrian Hawkes.blogspot.com

Edited By Karen Allen

Not the Normal Blog

Oh dear at least 4 months of listening to argument on the EU, every news time, multiple programmes, we could all go crazy. I am already very unimpressed with the rhetoric on both sides of the argument, why should I get excited about such selfish, small minded, wrong values; by that I mean this constant ‘ how will the UK benefit, how will I be better off, ME, ME, ME, ME, . Sorry I think we should be thinking how are others better off, how are my fellow beings in the rest of Europe benefitted, how will our negotiations help the poor, the disposed, the homeless, the refugees, the widows and the fatherless. Instead what we have, from both sides, the selfish, we are the most important beings in the world. Give me a break!

When Funny is Not Funny…

When Funny Is Not Funny…

Some years ago I was with a white friend who was marrying a black African girl, it was great fun. They had an English / African wedding which was full of dancing and laughter.

Later in conversation with the young man he asked, “Would you like to see what the African Elders have given me as a wedding present?” 

Of course I was interested; he showed me an ornate stick. 

“What is it?”  I asked. I could see it was a stick, but I didn’t know what you were supposed to do with it.  

He laughed and said, “It’s presented to all young men who get married. It is a stick to beat your wife with to keep her in order.” Then he laughed. I did not! 

He then said, “I of course would not use it, I just think it’s funny.”  

I replied, “Well, personally I don’t think it’s funny at all. I cannot laugh at such a gift, such an action.”

You in your small corner and I in Mine

You in your small corner and I in Mine


When I was around 5 years old, I went to Sunday school.  I liked the people, I liked the other kids, but what I remember most is one song that they always sang. I guess I sang it too as I can still remember all the words; maybe you know it too. It starts off with, “Jesus Bids Us Shine” and ends with the line, “you in your small corner and I in Mine.”  I hated that line; I still don’t like it now.  I don’t think I liked corners and particularly not small ones; I certainly did not want to be in one.


When I was 11 years old I made my first trip, as the Brits say, “overseas”. I went to France with my school for a week. We travelled third class, as you could in those days, on a ferry across the channel to St Malo. Third class meant that you could not go inside the ferry; you had to stay on deck come rain or shine.  They did give you a blanket and you could snuggle up to the funnel to keep warm.

Refugees: the current issues – is there a solution?

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.


There is a lot of nonsense being spread around too, that the refugees are just economic migrants. Really? The millions from Syria are just after better jobs are they? I don’t think so!


We also talk about how many are coming to Europe, but in real terms it is only a small percentage of those displaced. In fact, in 2014 the UK took in 31,945 refugees compared with, say, Turkey’s 1. 8 million, or the 600,00 in Jordan. Tiny Lebanon, with a population of just 4 million of its own people, took in 1 million refugees. We need to be talking about the millions in places like Jordan, the overwhelming number in Lebanon and the massive camps in Turkey.  Some politicians tell us, “We are doing our fair share; we are taking a big slice of the cake.” Are we?

We also need to be asking the questions as to why the rich countries like Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia etc., at the moment seem to have no refugees from the war areas of Syria, yet they speak the same language.

Note also that in the Middle East those calling themselves Muslims have killed more people calling themselves Muslims than any other group has.

I note that a friend of mine in Poland has come under quite a bit of flak for persuading the government there to give refugee status to people from these areas that have some kind of Christian background, that we should just take all comers or none.  Well, I think we should, as countries, be taking those in need, but we should note that in many areas it is the minority groups like Christians and the Yazidis who have come under the most pressure. Many have even been thrown overboard and drowned from the boats that they were escaping on, by others who did not like their Christianity.  Many Christian groups also saying that even in the refugee camps the discrimination against them is too hard to bear.


I recently wrote to the UK prime minister with my suggestion for dealing with the problem. Sure, my solution would not deal with the short term issues; for that we have take in refugees. However, these problems are not going away any time soon.  The prime minister’s answer to me and others is that we have to deal with the source. Maybe, but who is going to do that, and in the meantime, what do we do?

My mad suggestion is that we lease land for 99 years and start a new big city; like a new Hong Kong.  We put it under the laws and administration of a country like the UK. We use aid budget to fund jobs in the new land, creating new housing, roads, schools, hospitals and general infrastructure, charging a levy to the EU for asylum seekers that they did not take. The country setting it up has first bite of infrastructure contracts, thus benefiting its GDP.  The new occupants are given passports, possibly stamped and not allowed to work or receive benefits in Europe, a bit like the stamp on Channel Island passports, who of course hold UK passports.  Mad? Of course it is, but we need a mad answer to such a mad situation. I am glad as I watch the global response to such madness, that there are other mad people out there that think this is a possibility. Recently an Egyptian multi-millionaire offered to buy an island to do just what I am suggesting. Another rich philanthropist in the USA also wants to buy an island, and then in the UK Lord David Alton recently put the whole idea to the British House of Lords. (http://davidalton.net/2015/07/10/2015-the-year-of-the-refugees-just-put-yourself-in-their-shoes-full-house-of-lords-debate-and-government-response-and-a-reply-from-a-north-korean-refugee/)

I started by saying I was privileged to have been able to put the problem to a UN audience recently, but talking is not enough. We have to do something. I am glad that the pressure being put on the government by the ordinary person is having some effect, and note that the UK will now take 20,000 refugees. Even Iceland has offered places for 10,000. In terms of the pressure being put on governments by their populace to do more, at a recent march to put on the pressure in London, I was amused by some of posters. One youngster carried one that said, “A refugee can come and stay at my house and play mine craft.” Though I thought the best was one that said, “We need to be more German,” especially as the UK had just agreed to take 20,000 people over five years on the day that Germany took in 40,000.

Adrian Hawkes

w.1056

Edited By: Kirsty De Paor

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Fences on Cliff Tops

Fences on Cliff Tops

Fences on Cliff Tops

Often times when we make new laws or change old ones, we are not thinking of the consequences unseen up the road.  We would do well to do so; even when those decisions or laws are made with the best intentions in mind.

Early on in the UK, a law was brought in to make tenancy of rented housing more secure.  The good reason for it was that some people were being put out of their rented house for very little good reason.  However, the unforeseen consequences were that for a period it actually created homelessness. People were reluctant to give others a room in their house if they thought they would turn out to be a bad tenant.  That of course was not the intention, but that was what happened.

I wonder, as I look at recent changes in legislation in the USA and the UK, if we are heading for unforeseen circumstances that we will not like. Of course, from a legislation point of view it may have been done for good reasons like equality and freedom, but are we really sure of the outcomes?

I don’t know, but I do wonder what our new freedom so called, our new equality so called, the removal of fences if you will; I wonder what they will bring up the road.  I wonder if they will have good or bad effects on our society.

It is a bit like that fence on the cliff top, the very low one with the sign that says it is dangerous to step over the fence.  Then of course, in the name of freedom and equality someone questions why it is dangerous, and they step over the fence and walk around on the wrong side of the fence. Then they shout, “Look I am okay! Nothing has happened to me! Who said it was dangerous?”

Then there is a great furore and complaints to the local authority about taking away our freedom to walk on the cliff top, and putting up wrong signs, and questions as to who made this rule anyway.  Eventually, even though the powers that be know that the cliff in question has erosion at its edge, the fence is removed; the signs are taken down.

Of course the first fence crossers  were just dancing around very near the said fence, they were only interested in challenging the fence, they were not interested in getting a better view, their wailing, running, and dancing was close to where they crossed over.

But now we are all free to walk where we like. We can go to the cliff edge.  It may take time but it will come, when one or two stand right on the edge of the cliff to admire their view. There is nothing to stop them, no fence, no danger signs; they are just expressing their freedom to be there.

The cliff gives way and they are plunged to their death on the rocks below.

Maybe the fence had a purpose after all?

Adrian Hawkes

10/07/15

adrianhawkes.blogspot.com

Edited By: Kirsty de Paor

W. 519

FENCE ON CLIFF TOPS

Fences on Cliff Tops

Often times when we make new laws or change old ones, we are not thinking of the consequences unseen up the road.  We would do well to do so; even when those decisions or laws are made with the best intentions in mind.

Early on in the UK, a law was brought in to make tenancy of rented housing more secure.  The good reason for it was that some people were being put out of their rented house for very little good reason.  However, the unforeseen consequences were that for a period it actually created homelessness. People were reluctant to give others a room in their house if they thought they would turn out to be a bad tenant.  That of course was not the intention, but that was what happened.

I wonder, as I look at recent changes in legislation in the USA and the UK, if we are heading for unforeseen circumstances that we will not like. Of course, from a legislation point of view it may have been done for good reasons like equality and freedom, but are we really sure of the outcomes?

I don’t know, but I do wonder what our new freedom so called, our new equality so called, the removal of fences if you will; I wonder what they will bring up the road.  I wonder if they will have good or bad effects on our society.