Categories
Values and Beliefs

Maps : Finding ourselves and others

Recently I watched a wonderful programme on Channel 4 TV in the UK called ‘Keeping up with the Khans’ about immigration to the UK, specifically to a town called Sheffield. It had wit and charm and made every person into a human being.

There was one man on the programme from Lebanon. He had a problem finding his country on the map and was surprised to see how small it was.

He then could not find the UK. At first he thought that the USA was the UK. He then pointed to Turkey. He thought the UK was a lot bigger than it is. That thought was shared by another immigrant from the Sudan. He said it must be large because the UK is also called Great Britain, which logically should refer to size.  It seemed a good point. In fact, the UK fits into the state of Texas in the USA, not the USA, but just the state of Texas, about three times!

The  blue is the USA, the black is Texas and then it is enlarged to show the yellow, which is the UK, super-imposed on it to show the size of the UK in proportion to Texas and the USA.

The man from the Lebanon did not seem to realise that the UK is an island, a very small one at that. The man from Sudan had come over from Calais and knew the UK was an island.

Having a sense of the size of countries and the size of continents is very difficult if you haven’t seen comparative maps, if you only see your place in isolation, as it appears on a Sat Nav.

This is a map of the continent of Africa with many other very large countries super-imposed on it.

But on the news earlier the Swedish foreign minister when asked about migrant numbers said that the UK should do more as it is much bigger than Sweden. So I went on Professor Google!

The UK is about 94,000 sq miles (241,000 sq km) with a population of about 100 million and Sweden is about 175,000 sq miles (449,000 sq km) with a population of about 8 million. In my humble arithmetic, Sweden is about 2 times the size of the UK. And that is a foreign minister.

What is going on in our schools worldwide? Are none of us looking at maps? Are none of us seeing maps?

The problem with using Satellite Navigators (Sat Navs) in our cars or on our phones is that there is no context. You do not know where you are!

The algorithms of computers are not knowledge. They tell you what to do next so you don’t have to look or know anything much.

But maps reveal place and context. They also show size.

 

Image result for comparative size of europe and saudi arabia

 

 

This is for anybody that knows the above shapes are  a map of Europe with the Gulf states superimposed on it for size comparison. 

We need to look at maps to see where we are in relation to where other people are. It is a disgrace that our leaders cannot find the countries they are talking about or bombing on a map. They have no idea about where it is and what countries are next to them. Those being talked about or bombed also have little idea of where the place is that is doing that to them. Many political decisions rest on maps and we need to see them and understand ourselves in the context of others.

For instance, there is a mantra that many people repeat about a two state solution in the Middle East. But the areas they tend to talk about doing this to are not contiguous; they are not next to each other. They have no idea where anywhere is or the relation of one place to another or the size of the places and whether they are feasible because they have not looked at maps. Maps of the world. Maps of a region. Maps.

 

size-israel-uk

Comparison of the UK (in white) and Israel and the West Bank (in blue). The West Bank is the size of Dorset, a county (region) in the UK.

Two State Solutions

For instance: When the Muslim people living  in India fought for their own (Muslim) state the British Government  decided that a two state solution would prevent a civil war. There was to be a Muslim state and a Hindu state. in other words two countries based on religious belief. This process, which happened in 1947, was called Partition.

The British ceded the area now known as Pakistan, a huge, vast area, and another large, but smaller area that  was meant to be East Pakistan, as one Muslim state and India as the Hindu state.

However, Pakistan and East Pakistan are not contiguous. They are separated by a vast country, India, of which both the areas of Pakistan and East Pakistan originally formed a part. So of course the two state solution was geographically ungovernable as two countries (India and Pakistan West / East).

This tragic time ended up, instead, becoming a three state solution:

  • India
  • Pakistan,
  • Bangladesh.

Look at the map of the region.

Eight million people died during this partition. Nobody really talks about it.  Fourteen and a half million people were uprooted.

Not thousands, not tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands. 14.5 million moved from one state to the other and 8 million died trying to move in 1947.

The disputed territory of Kashmir between the border of India and Pakistan is huge, 222,000 sq km, the size of the UK

Of course if anybody bothered to look they would also find that Gaza and the West Bank are not contiguous.

  • Maps can be made showing geographical features such as valleys and mountains, oceans and lands.
  • Maps can be made showing political features, the borders and countries of the world.
  • Maps can be made showing population features, density of humans or other species of interest.
  • Maps can be made showing epidemiological features, the spread of diseases or traits.
  • Maps can be made of economic features showing the distribution of wealth or trade or tourism.
  • Maps can be made showing linguist features, the distribution of languages.
  • Maps can be made showing religious distributions or political-religious distributions as some countries are theocracies.

All countries have some theocratic history to them, when they were mainly one religion or another. Some have remained theocratic. My map, below, shows a religious distribution to the best of my colouring in abilities.

Unlike the man from Lebanon trying to find his mother’s house on a world map, you cannot see yourself on a map of the world. You are not the centre of all worlds. You are only the centre of your own selfie.

Maps give us perspective.

I think, in a world of platitudes and political decisions by people who have no idea where we are talking about, or what we are talking about, we need to look at maps.

Here is a map of the world (minus the Artic and Antarctic):

Countries by main religion

The countries in Red are predominantly Christian.

The countries in Green are predominantly Muslim.

The countries in Purple are predominantly Buddhist.

The countries in Yellow are predominantly  Hindu.

The countries in Blue are predominantly Jewish.

A little perspective goes a long way.

Categories
Values and Beliefs

Killing God

What happened in Paris on Friday night?

What do the gun men think they were doing?

KILLING GOD

Each and every one of us is in the image and likeness of God.

That is every human since the beginning.

Not just one group of humans.

Every human.

Every time you kill one of us you kill the God in us.

That is blasphemy.

How do you think God feels about that?

How do you think God is going to reward the destruction of creation?

In the name of God?   Really?

Let us bow our heads in shame.

Categories
Science & Health

Peace on Earth- Solar Power and Power Games

I am watching Bitter Lake a film by Adam Curtis on the BBC iplayer. It is about a deal made by Roosevelt and Abdulaziz in the 1950s guaranteeing Saudi oil for letting Saudi Arabia play caliphate with the Wahhabi regime. We are seeing the consequences of these deals all over the world now.

For a long time I have wondered why we have not invested in Solar Power. There is the sun, powering up this planet, keeping it warm, sending photons of light that all living things rely on. Plants use this light energy to make matter (materials), transforming energy into chemicals. We eat plants or animals that have ate plants to release, from the chemicals, the energy we need to fuel our lives, our metabolic processes. So why can’t we work out a way of using light energy to fuel our homes and cars?

By this I don’t mean those primitive black boxes spread over acres of fields or roofs to make enough energy to fuel a kettle? I mean sophisticated small boxes that capture energy. We have small computers and phones. Why not solar panels? Cheap, small, easily manufactured, linked to small, quiet generators or capacitors? Why, after all this technology are we still making fire to fuel our lives, whether the fire is from wood, coal, gas or oil, it is still fire?

Seeing that film I realise there is too much vested interest in not coming up with cheap, small, solar panels. These would free everybody and liberate us from power companies, so of course they don’t want them, and from countries sitting on oil and gas reserves, so of course they don’t want them. Fracking is not the solution.

A bright entrepreneur should put up a vast sum of money for a reward to the person that comes up with this. That would fuel the research.

 

Categories
Values and Beliefs

The British/English Election and Scotland

I really don’t understand the election that has just occurred in Britain.

We had a coalition government between Conservatives (Tories) and Liberal Democrats (LibDem). Many LibDem voters from the previous election were cross that their party went into a coaliton with the Conservatives to form a government. They felt that being with the Tories compromised their beliefs. So this time around, what did they do to change that? Vote LibDem? Vote Labour? No, they voted Conservative. What???? Most former LibDem seats went over to the Conservatives, the party with which the LibDem members said they did not want to be associated. Go figure.

Then we have the Scots and their nationalistic party. This all started with the Scottish Nationalist party saying they wanted to devolve from Britain. There were only about 4 million people eligible to vote for or against this out of a population in Britain of about 100 million. Of that about 1.5 million voted to devolve to a separate Scotland. So they lost. Come the election all of Scotland (a mere 4 million voters) voted for the Scottish Nationalist party (SNP). What???  Then they think they will get more powers from Westminster. Well, this mere 4 million get 56 seats in Westminster Parliament when there are only about 630 seats for the entire 100,000 million others. Now I know we don’t have proportional representation, for which I am thankful,  but that is a lot of seats for very few people. The rest of us have about 1.5 million voters per seat. They have about 50,000 voters per seat. Not really fair. Even a party called UKIP which got 4 million votes only got 1 seat and the whole of Wales which has about 3 million voters, only has a handful of seats,  so why has Scotland got 56 seats? And why did those people who did not want to devolve vote for a nationalistic party? The result is that they have put in the opposite of what SNP says it is, the Tories. Go figure.

By voting SNP they have given the Conservatives an overall majority, which means that if all the other parties got together they still can’t outvote the Tories.  Why would the Conservatives bother with the SNP now? Why would they concede anything? Why would they bother with Scotland, a country with too few people and too many seats except, perhaps, to redraw the election boundaries?

No, I really don’t get it.

Categories
Art

Venice Biennale 2015

Venice.  La Serenissima. A city so beautiful that adding art to it may seem superfluous. But here comes the Venice Biennale. Lots to see on such a stunning backdrop;  quite a competition for your attention. However, the Venice Biennale is now at it’s 56th show and has therefore had about 112 years of practice of attention grabbing art.

So here is my view:

1)  The Pavilions in the  Giardini

Many nations have pavilions that they pay for and then select curators or artists to fill with works, some are themed and some are Art!

But the British are coming, the British are coming.

Well the English are, as I have rather gone off the Scots since the election.

In the British pavilion Sarah Lucas turned up the volume in many senses. Her pavilion was a huge colour field in yellow and at the inauguration, instead of another bunch of long, boring speeches, she had two brilliant musicians pump up the volume and rock it. Fab.

 

Sarah Lucas  Venice 2015

The USA pavilion had the fantastic Joan Jonas, I am a big fan and it was great to see a long line of people waiting to get in to such a totally and completely conceived and realised show,

 

Image result for joan jonas venice 2015

Joan Jonas Venice 2015

The Belgian pavilion had some great stuff; one of my favourite pavilions. Merged art and ideas.

The Danish pavilion was spare and lovely.

There is also a Giardini group show which had some great works including the excellent Jeremy Deller being very political.

2 In the Arsanale

Then over to the Arsanale. This is a huge place with many artists being chosen from around the world by the curator of the event, which changes each time.

The theme of the show this time was based on Paul Klee’s Angel of History painting and Gershom Sholem’s poem (who they managed to call Gerhardt Sholem !). But this theme been done before in 2006 at the Arnolfini’s opening show, which is a bit naughty.

But some brilliant work:

Adel Abdessad with a fabulous performance piece and the result of the work.

Daniel Boyd aboriginal painting

Sonia Boyd with a film of a performance at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which was so alive, current, engaging and modern but with undercurrents of identity and politics. Great stuff.

Theaster Gates film of the destruction of a church in Chicago. You needed to know the context to see it and then you can see the layers.

Steve McQueen’s film-great stuff. Great art.

Hiwa K from Iraq

Chris Ofili, wonderful paintings, especially the Green one. I walked in and almost out at first as they were very overwhelming. But when the room emptied I went back and fell in love. Not at all my taste, but I ended up just wanting to live in the room!  Total convert. Loved them.

 

Chris Ofili Venice 2015- this image doesn’t do it justice!

Christian Bottomski film of wheat sheaves and bells on the sea shore, really simple and really everything

Jumana Emil Abboudthe drawings, beautiful

Chantal Akerman film, which was fantastic as film and as installation. It made you walk among the screens and it was all sped up with a sort of road movie feel, but with no people, just landscape.  I loved it.

Some duds and lack of credits including a work called the Botany of Desire. Now I know the book of that title and the book is much better than the art work of the same name.

3 Then into the best in showsssss!

My favourites were not in the official biennale. They were in other galleries, or Palazzos, which are pretty amazing places to show art.

‘Slip of the Tongue’  with some brilliant pieces by Nairy Baghramian, Nancy Spero, Henrik Olesons (nails) and Petrit Halilay. Curated by Dan Vo who did the Danish pavilion too.

Jimmie Durham: this was almost best in show as I was totally absorbed and could have stayed all day/week. It is in a beautiful setting which helps, but he really used that and there is a wonderful book that accompanies the work- worth reading. The show is at the Fondazione Furla which is worth going to anyway, but with his work there, spend the day. Perfect use of some Morano glass.Really wonderful work

jimmie durham

Jimmie Durham

We were about to go back to visit the Jimmie Durham as it was so wonderful, but it was closed on the Monday so we went to the Fortuny Museum instead to see a show there, Pro Portio. What a place and what a show . Some amazing works including Marina Abramovich (sound work), Sol le Witt, Agnes Martin, Carl Andre and Fred Sandback, juxtaposed with the odd Botticelli and Durher anatomy books! Wow, The Italians are not precious about their wonderful art collections. Totally wonderful show and place. Brilliant curation. I could live there too! So it ended getting my Best in Show (a bit like Crufts I guess). I loved all the juxtapositions of ancient and modern at both this and the Jimmie Durham shows.

Ellsworth Kelly Red, Yellow, Blue, 1963 Olio su tela, 231 x 231 cm Collection, Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght, Sant Paul-de-Vence Cliché Claude Germain, ©Ellsworth kelly

Ellsworth Kelly “Red, Yellow, Blue”, 1963, Collection, Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght, Sant Paul-de-Vence Cliché Claude Germain, ©Ellsworth kelly-  at the Pro Portio show 2015 Venice

 

Sandro Botticelli (Firenze, 1444-1510) "Ritratto di donna", 1485, Tempera su legno 61,3 x 40,5 cm Private Collection, Bruxelles

Sandro Botticelli, “Ritratto di donna”, 1485, Private Collection, Bruxelles – also at Pro Portio Show 2015 Venice!

Also, I should mention the ‘Venetian Blind’s, a series of concerts by bands led by artists in the amazing Palazzo Grassi  with free cocktails to cheer the spirits. Martin Creed played- I shall ignore the Scottish bit and claim him for good old Blighty! Fab.

 

Categories
Science & Health

The busine$$ of health

wards

 

 

We are coming up for elections in the UK and the National Health Service (NHS) is always on the political agenda. However, nobody has the real discussion. They get bogged down in waiting lists and costs and rationing.  But none of us has really decided what the NHS is and what we want. We confuse medicine and health and we put them into a strange administrative stricture called ‘business’.

We have taken on a ‘business model’  for health and health provision. (We have taken on a business model for everything it seems and money is the root of all decisions rather than what it is that we want; our values and aspirations). This business model has probably come from the USA where health is a very big, private business with large vested interests that want to keep it that way.

In a naïve, at best, and daft, at worst, way we have fallen for this model while having an NHS which was set up with a completely different, and in many peoples’ mind better, aspirations. We are in danger of losing the NHS.  I have nothing against business. I have a lot against turning everything into currency. You know the definition of a cynic: ‘a person that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing’. I do not want health to become a mere cost, rather than a true value.

Let me explain what I think business is for those who spend years and lots of money doing business degrees and ending up as Business Administrators- which is not the same as being a business man or woman.

Business has one model really:

  • Buy cheap, sell dear.

In other words, business is about making a profit. It of course looks at getting customers in to spend their money and be loyal to your brand, but the real ethos is, buy cheap, sell dear.

Point number 1: For the NHS to take on this model is deeply and profoundly stupid. The NHS is not set up to make a profit. It is about curing people of an illness (the medical model). That is what it was set up to do: treat people.

The NHS is not free. All the people that work in it are paid. It is given money by the tax-payer to do that. It is a good use of taxes. Those people that are paid to work in the NHS then in turn pay their taxes.

There is a problem in that the NHS is generally used by people who do not pay taxes: children and older people, but the families of the children and the older people themselves have paid taxes into the system. In fact, there is a separate tax for Health and Welfare called National Insurance. The major problem with all British Governments is that they do not ring-fence that money and use it for the purpose it was set up for. It has become just another form of tax, when in fact it is meant to be a public insurance for health care.

 

Point number 2: The whole point of hospitals and doctors is to repair you and hope you don’t come back. The one thing the NHS doesn’t want is customers. It does not offer a loyalty card for frequent users! It should not offer a card for those that don’t use it to get some sort of discount. It is there for when we need it.  If we were all healthy we would not be using the NHS and that is really the goal. So the NHS is only there for when we are not healthy and is not touting for business.

Businesses need people to buy their products so that they can make a profit. They spend money advertising their goods to attract people to buy their brand and then hope they like it so much they will come back and buy more of it, that they will feel it value for money, while the business also makes a profit. That is not the medical model.

Of course that is the medical model for which the NHS was set up. The health model needs each individual to take responsibility for their health. The NHS is a safety net for when things go wrong, rather than promoting its services, touting for clients.

Some businesses think they must diversify. This is usually a big mistake. Because you had a good idea and made it work does not mean you are the source of all knowledge and ideas. If your idea was a food product, it does not mean that you should go into fashion or home furniture. This is the big mistake of many an entrepreneur. We see it on programmes such as Dragon’s Den where successful entrepreneurs forget themselves. They had one good idea and maybe some luck. This does not make them the world’s expert on other ideas (or politics, education or health).

Point number 3: We need to decide what Health is and what Medicine is and what Social Care is and what Care is and then act on our findings and aspirations.

Our NHS is really for healing those who have become ill. It is good at acute care. It patches you up and then you are meant to be able to take care of yourself as a grown up individual. You are meant to be able to maintain your own health, that is called homeostasis and is the root of all our health, our ability to carry out our lives, our Activities of Daily Living (ADL) such as breathing, walking, feeding, excreting, communicating.

Some of us cannot do all these things and need constant help. That is care.

Some of us lead unhealthy lives and put ourselves at risk. We are repeat offenders/customers in the NHS. But that is our choice and entitlement.

We need to decide about the NHS at a fundamental level as we have some great things about it and some very poor things about it.

We keep blaming it for the poor health of the nation, but firstly, it was set up for acute care and secondly, the British are just culturally not very good at health. We are very good at medicine and clinical care. We do have public health and health promotion, but it is very badly done. We are good at epidemiology, the causes of a disease upon a people, a population. But we are not good at being healthy. We do try to promote health, but we tend to do it in patronising and infantilising ways, merely irritating those we are aiming our good intentions at. It is often carried out by people who do not really understand what they are saying, grasping at the latest poor research findings of a rather weak correlation, such as more people in the summer drown than in the winter and then ending up with some profoundly stupid proposal (should we ban summer or swimming?).

We train our doctors and increasingly our nurses in what is called the Medical Model. It is very successful at diagnosis, finding out what is wrong with somebody by inventing tests and investigations to see which part of us is not performing well, say our haemoglobin or our pulmonary circulation. By investigation we diagnose and then we treat, medically, with pharmacological drugs or by surgery. That’s it. It does not cure your life. It fixes the part that is wrong. The NHS was set up to do that. It should not be accused of being bad at other models as that was not its point.

In the UK we have not decided what health is and who should care about it and who should care about us so we do not know what it is and what we want and what we are willing to do as a nation.

In France they have. So perhaps we can look across the channel to them. The difference between France and Britain, according to the presenter Melvin Bragg is that ‘France is cultured and Britain is civilised’. I think he has made an important point there.

The French have a philosophy of health and of hospitals. They build them differently. They look at health differently. They have a different education to us. All school children study philosophy. They are not embarrassed about having discussions about meaning and context. We are.

The population of France cares about its food. We don’t. We will eat any old crap so long as it is cheap. They care about many of the basic things that we don’t care about. They have a culture of beauty. To have a care service run by people who don’t care about how things are is never going to work.

So while patching people up is done very well by the NHS, caring isn’t. We are civilised people in the UK,  so we care about people, but we are not cultured so we are a bit careless about  how we care, what care we offer. We don’t have a great culture of care. How can you be taught to care by someone that doesn’t care for themselves or others?

When I was young I had school cookery lessons by a woman who taught us to cook food that was really nutritionally poor and had no flavour to it. I got the impression she had never eaten sumptuous food or been exposed to a variety of cookery books and had her imagination stimulated.  How could she teach us to eat well if she had not experienced what that was? She lacked food culture.

We need to learn how to improve the health of the nation. That is a philosophical debate about personhood, independence, community, tax, care, identity, homeostasis, ADLs, ethics and values. It includes funding. It does not include business. Health should not be a business. It should be an ethic. How we care about ourselves and each other. What we want and how to achieve those aspirations and values.

We were told, when we privatised everything, that we would have better services. All we have seen is larger profits for share-holders. A country that does not own its own infrastructure is not really a country. Why would you fight to defend Thames Water, Eon, Glaxo’s, Pfizer’s or Virgin Trains?

We were told that efficiency is the model for business (profit is, actually). Efficiency is a method of getting maximum profit. Speed to get to the end is the goal of many businesses. There is a cookery programme on TV where chefs compete to see who can make the fastest omelette. Really?  Why would you want to eat the fastest omelette rather than the best? We have made many valuable commodities into puerile entertainment to generate money. But we must put our values and aspirations back on the agenda.

Point number 4: We must stop the internal market in the NHS competing for money on false objectives.  How fast you can do something is not the root of medical practice or care. Time and motion studies should not be the ethos of the NHS.  Competition among health care providers has not been shown to provide better care.

The NHS is fabulous at treating illness. It is not fabulous at caring. It is very poor at holistic care. It has the right ethos, but needs better training for caring. We do not have a culture of health and that is what we need in our population and in our NHS. But we must not throw out the NHS because it does not do what it was not set up to do. It was set up to cure. It does that very well. We may want to extend it to care and health, but we need a debate about who should be doing that and what it is we want. It may need a separate structure for health care or it may need a cultural shift, an educational change. We need to keep business out. Health should not be conflated with business, nor should the NHS.

Categories
Values and Beliefs

I am not Charlie

What terrible events have occurred over the past few days all over the world as well as in Paris. Massacre upon massacre. What end to this killing? If we are all God’s children then the people doing the killing  were killing God.

That is blaspheme.

The Paris shootings have featured a lot in the media. I think these Paris shootings need some unpicking.

Firstly the Charlie Hebdo Shootings.

I do not condone the shootings. I can’t stand the loss of all those people. I thought the final shoot out with the brothers was inevitable and that it was more like a film script, or one of those dumb-ass dvd games, than real life. But real people died and real people had been killed. I think the brothers and many like them have been groomed in a way similar to the way that paedophile rings work. So, amazingly and perhaps because I am an adult, a grown up,  I felt sorry for them. Their lives sound like a car crash. That made them vulnerable to dodgy men with fascistic ideas. BUT, and the is a large BUT, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were insulting and racist.

I do not think the French are renowned for their sense of humour.. They may use satire, which is only a little up the humour scale from sarcasm, which is itself next to bitchiness.

I am pleased that countries such as Egypt have developed satirical magazines even though I personally loathe most satire. I find it not only offensive and in the UK  lavatorial, but childish. But if Egypt or France or Algeria have them and poke fun at their politicians that is fine. That is their right. It shows a mature, grown up politic that can stand being the butt of a joke.

If an Irish person tells an Irish joke that is ok. If a Nigerian tells a Nigerian joke that is ok. If a Muslim tells a Muslim joke that is ok. But if a French person tells a Muslim joke that is not ok. That crosses a line. So you can tell jokes against your own culture or race, but not against others. You can poke fun at nations, other nations then your own, but you need to be careful not to poke fun at ethnicities and cultures. The world has changed. It is not centred at Eton or Harrow. White Western Christian Males do not get to say what is and is not ok anymore. Time to grow up and get a perspective.

As to the butt of this particular joke, I think that there is oversensitivity here, but I understand it. However, I think that Muslims need to realise that a prophet is a man, not a God. There is only one God and that is not Mohammed. As Mohammed is not God, he cannot be blasphemed. I think that needs to be realised.

But it is insulting to make derogatory remarks about him by people of another culture. I think that the insult is felt even more keenly because the joke may not have been targeted only at the prophet, but also at his followers, what used to be called the Mohammedans and is now called Islam. If a Muslim made a rude cartoon about Christ I imagine there would be a huge outcry. I hope Christians would not be stupid enough to kill people over it, but some might and I think many people would feel insulted. The ‘Life of Brian’ film made by the Pythons was made by while Western Christian men. They got a lot of stick for it. Imagine if it had been made by Muslims.

I agree with Freedom of Speech, but what comes out of your mouths has an effect on people. You cannot shirk all responsibility for what you say. Of course we all need to temper the effect things have on us, how we feel about what people say. But we also need to edit what we say. Some things are insulting, hurtful or rude. All of these things you should try to avoid doing. Sometimes we are clumsy in what we say, But this was intentionally insulting people and Charlie Hebdo has to take some responsibility for being crass, insulting and rude.

I should add that recently we have had people making vile random remarks online at people- cyber bullying trolls. They have been prosecuted.

So while I completely condemn the Hebdo shootings I think the cartoonists should not make insulting cartoons about other people’s cultures.

Secondly The Kosher/Cacher Supermarket shootings.

I vividly remember after 9/11 many Muslim people saying that we should not blame all Muslims for the Twin Towers. So what was the Kosher supermarket? Are all Jews to blame? Not again this stupid. Surely it is somebody else’s turn? How about Fiji? I don’t know why Fiji, a random choice, but then racism is random and stupid.  I apologise to any Fijians out there who I hope have a sense of humour and get the point, but surely it is someone else’s turn?

The shootings at the supermarket were racist. Deeply, deeply racist. No excuse. Just racist. Stupid and racist. Got it? They were racist. The gunman was racist. Racism is stupid so the gunman was stupid. Fascist and stupid. Racist. Please do not dress it up as anything else. Please do not hide it in French rights or Palestinian rights or Fijian rights. It is Fascist, Racist Crap. End of.

And for any Muslim out there reading this:

If God chose the Israelites ( the same God, by the way, as the God that Mohammad proclaims) who are you to say He chose wrong? That is blaspheme.