Tag Archives: media

Pulling down statues & burning buildings

I started out with a few comments on facebook today.  Really I should probably have known better.  But for better or worse what follows is what started out as a comment to someone who responded to a post I put up.  My answer started to grow legs so I thought I might as well make it into a blog post altogether.   Here it is.

I feel your angst and I am not on one side or the other because I think if we are to survive what is going on globally and have our humanity survive we need to try to keep our balance.
 
As an outsider looking at the history of the American Civil War and from doing my family tree I can see I have family who fought for both sides.
 
I will just take you up on your words because words are important = they bring war or they bring peace.
 
You said the confederacy fought to own black people. Yes they did but was it not more than that?
 
Were they not fighting to keep their way of life also? That would be the reaction of every one of us suddenly faced with losing everything.
 
I repeat here now…I am not defending the confederacy – I am trying to understand the minds and hearts of people in those times, just as I try today to see all sides of stories and events.
 
Statues don’t just celebrate people, or one aspect of a person’s life. They are markers of time and history just as buildings are. As we go through the next 10 years should we trawl the world and take down every building that housed a person, or establishment who oppressed any particular section of society? If so, better start with the White House in Washington, the Kremlin in Moscow, the British Parliament, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Palace of Versailles…do I need to go on?
 
We criticise the Nazi and other regimes through history for burning books. When the  Now we are deleting George Orwell? We are allowing Facebook and YouTube to censor not only hate speech (which I agree with) but we are allowing censorship of opinions that disagree with government opinion = that may be fine if you are in government, but not so fine if you disagree with them or their actions. Who is in power may not be tomorrow.
 
Did you know (and it’s a bit spooky that it’s a within a few years of being 1000 year ago) that prior to the year 1070 AD the Caliph’s Library in Cairo contained between 1.6 and 2 million priceless books covering all the sciences? Did you know that wherever the Arabs found old manuscripts and books from around the world they copied them. Many of the books they copied no longer exists outside of the Arab world because of wars and book burnings.  And today we travel around the globe looking for ancient secret knowledge!  Funny that!
 
Anyway in 1070 there was what is called the Great Crisis in Egypt – economic disaster.  History tells us that the foreigners and slaves (note here slaves in the Arab world were more than a bit different to slaves in America – that’s another story) in 1070 raided the library – one account says 25 camels carried away books and priceless manuscripts to light fires in the Turkish officers’ houses.  The bindings of the books were used to make shoes for the feet of their slaves.  Just for the sake of it much of the books were taken outside and covered over with dirt – they became known as the book hills.
 
Should every statue in every museum of a dictator, king or queen be taken out and smashed to pieces?  Yes, according to some e.g. the Taliban.  Where do you stop?  You can’t stop a mob so that is one reason I am calling for calm and reason.  Right now you are pointing to slave owners,  well, following that line of thought next should come Capitol Hill and all other US government monuments because they all sanctioned the demise of the Native American Indians – you know all about that.
 
Then, let’s turn to the Australians and their historic treatment of the Aboriginals – lets not forget the treatment of the Irish prisoners transported there, not all dreadful criminals, no just poor starving people stealing chickens or eggs – oh and the Irish children sold off by the Irish Government.  That would bring us to the need to burn down Dublin Castle, The Four Courts, National Library and Dail Eireann.
 
You see – I could really go on forever and what are we left with then?  Let’s not forget the current buildings that house current injustice systems, beliefs and make laws that oppress – or fail to repeal old laws to bring equality of ALL.  That would be every police station, court house (look all the miscarriages of justice, the FBI building (their recent debacle under Alex whatever his name is of trying to hide the sex trafficker of minors – Jeffrey Epstein.  Well, God alone knows whose house should burn for that – yet, the offices of the CIA, every government building right across the United States of America and Europe.  Let’s face it.  We were not perfect then and we are not perfect now.
 
When we finish with all those – remember the French Revolution?  Well, that’s when the real fun begins.  That is when we start looking at each other, our family members who disagree with us, our neighbors who don’t conform to the “new norm”.  O.k gonna cut right to the chase here and give two quotes “whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone” and “if they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the evening“.  Time to wake up, recognise, acknowledge and ALLOW everyone else to have their own opinion and their own life choices. Stop trying to erase a history you don’t want to acknowledge – your ancestors lived those days – don’t negate their existence because without them you would not be here today.
 
If you think you (reader) are without sin then here are a few conscious prickers – we are guilty of injustice, cowardice and abuse as much by inaction as action:
  • have you ever passed a person in the street with his hand out asking for help (money) and not helped?
  • have you passed an injured animal or seen an animal being mistreated and done nothing?
  • have you ever suspected someone was being beaten or abused and stayed silent?
  • what have you done (forget about facebook and you clicking finger) anything concrete in the interests of promoting help or equality for lesbian, gay, transexual, transgender, autistic, mentally challenged, emigrant, substance abuse victims, sexual abuse victims, evicted families who can’t pay the rent or mortgage, kids expelled from school because the “don’t fit in”, GMO production, abuse in the production of poultry, fish, meat (remember ultimately we eat this, so technically these are crimes against humanity also).
  • Are you planting trees, sorting your rubbish properly, asking where your rubbish goes, asking where your food is coming from?
  • Have you ever written to or contacted your nearest local government rep to complain about an inequality or mistreatment of anyone?

I’m stopping there.  My point is we are ALL still making mistakes today, we are ALL guilty of not taking the right action.  And it remains to be see where current riots about distant and recent past events are going to end.  There is positive, healing and correct action.  There is destructive and damaging action and who knows how history will view that?

Let’s all just take a deep breath before advocating for the next piece of destruction and push other people’s buttons – other people who may not be able to ever stop the road they are now being pointed towards by our approval on social media or otherwise.  Words are the most powerful weapon on earth.

End of Lecture.

The End of COVID-19

Yes, as far as I am concerned – it’s the end of COVID-19.  I am not giving it any more of my precious time and attention, after I write this post.   Exactly two months into my awareness of it, the following are my conclusions on it and some other stuff.

EMERGENCE OF THE VIRUS

COVID-19 and every other virus like it did not emerge because of bats in Wuhan, China.  Yes, the virus emerged probably in Wuhan but for other factors.  And there is no point in blaming China because what they are doing there is being done across the world – in every big city from Dublin to New York and every industrialised agricultural area… or maybe the phrase should be intensive industrialised farming might be the phrase to use.

LOCKDOWN

On the face of it, lockdown was instituted across the world in order to prevent the complete collapse of the existing Health Services, hospitals etc.

DID COVID-19 DIRECTLY KILL?

I don’t believe so, in the majority of cases.  It was just the last straw for many people who had one or more contributing factors – they were elderly, had heart and/or lung problems, had low immune systems, were in some stage of other serious illnesses.  I think it is more than possible that some died because ventilators overwhelmed their last shred of resistance.  And finally, the humanity factor of being isolated and left alone in their fear and distress most certainly did not help – and, in my own mind, this last factor is the saddest part of the story.

WE WILL SUFFER THE EFFECTS FOR A LONG TIME TO COME

The emotional, psychological and financial impact of COVID-19 are going to affect a great many of us, especially in the developed countries for a long time to come – especially the children and those already experiencing mental health and human condition issues.

Our governments and how they handle the aftermath of the virus is (possibly) going to be the most influencing factor in the severity of what may or may not turn out to be a recovery.  I say “possibly” because we might escape the probability/certainty? of their bungling by taking our individual recovery into our own hands.

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR RECOVERY

What I write about above is in the past for me because I intend to at least TRY to take responsibility for my own recovery into my own hands – or should it be MIND?

MY HEALTH

The biggest lesson I have taken from the COVID-19 event is that the most important aspect of my health is my IMMUNE SYSTEM.    I need to become more pro-active in taking care of it if I want to stay away from our broken Healthcare Systems across the world.  My best weapons are:

  • Being as happy as I can be 24/7 because you can’t be happy and stressed at the same time.  Stress is a HUGE factor in wrecking our immune systems.  I will do that by drastically reducing time on my phone – especially Facebook, which is the most depressing and fear-thriving app/platform I know of.  Choosing happy, uplifting, inspiring films etc and tuning in as little as possible to international news.  Once a day is even too much to be tuning into the feed of fear.  Keeping in touch with a circle of friends – not just clicking the Like buttons on social media – that’s not keeping in touch -that’s pretending to keep in touch.   And why are we all texting instead of talking anyway?  Avoidance measures – plain daft and isolating.
  • Examining my diet and taking whatever supplements I think I am not getting enough of – and that definitely entails taking Vit C every day because we don’t store it.  Getting at least an hour of sun exposure  throughout the day to keep my Vit D levels up and also keeping any eye out that I am not lacking in necessary Amino Acids which most people incl medical profession don’t seem to pay much attention to.  In Egypt it seems to be pretty standard for doctors to prescribe a multivit to every patient that shows up – can’t hurt.
  • Sticking to my exercise – at least 2 hours on my bike every day if at all possible
  • Going to sleep when I am tired – even if it is 8pm.  Getting up with the sun and going to be when it’s dark is the natural body cycle anyway!  Egyptians are the best people I know at taking a nap every chance they get 🙂 so smart!
  • An on-going evaluation of my priorities in life, what is important to me and what isn’t, what I really need/want and what I don’t.

WHAT I HOPE FOR ON A GLOBAL SCALE

HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS

Everyone knows our healthcare systems in Ireland the UK and the US (I don’t know much about EU) are a complete joke.  Nurses are not paid enough and the hours hospital doctors and nurses work are little short of legalised slavery.  How can exhausted people be expected to care for people properly?

US$5,500 is the bill in a New York Hospital for a nurse to lance a peronidal cyst, without any form anaesthetic, no other form of medication, absolutely nothing required, no packing materials afterwards, just to lance it, clean the area and stick on a bandage – WTF?  Look there is something radically wrong there.  And I don’ think our Irish hospitals are much better.   I would like to see a complete audit of all our hospitals individually to see where the costs arise that, apparently, are making it next to impossible for thousands of people to get attention for serious medical conditions.

I would like to see governments taking more interest and promoting better self help care in the areas of mental health and in the form of nutrition, alternative therapies and stress management.  Prevention is better than cure and we need to create a healthy community with less need for serious healthcare for as long as possible.

EDUCATION

I hated school, beyond reading, writing and maths it was mostly a waste of time in my case and, sorry to say, but my secondary school teachers were definitely not up to much – I don’t know if it’s the same today.  But I think the prevailing ethos of dependance on points and exam systems that grade students on their ability to regurgitate data has long been recognised as a failed system.  I don’t know why we perpetuate it.

There are increasing numbers of our children falling out of that system every year.  Things need to change.  I am sorry for my grandchildren who have to go through the current systems and glad I am not a parent now because I don’t think I could stand to watch my kids though the system again.

FARMING

I would love to see a return to small farming or something like that – maybe that means people going back to keeping a few chickens in the backyard – if not prevented by local laws, growing more vegetables ourselves, more bee-keepers etc.  The lakes of pig-slurry can’t go on indefinitely, – it is obvious they are a breeding ground for the next virus mutation.  The cruelty and the lack of morality in industrialize animal farming and food production results in us eating meat that has a bad energy and bad vibration about it – can’t be healthy for us – I say that without even going into what these animals are fed with etc.

OTHER WORRYING TRENDS

BIG BROTHER

I would see the inclination of world governments and people in power behind them such a huge corporations and private interests as one of the biggest unrecognised threats to our existence today.  This becomes obvious in the increasing surveillance measures everywhere – cameras, cameras everywhere and now they want to track us (they already do to an extent) through our phones.

People are Products – to Facebook, Google etc. we are not users, we are products.  They don’t just sell to us, they sell us, our information and our data.  They dehumanize us.

Freedom – Countries where people think they are republics and democracies, without Emperors, Kings & Queens are living a delusion.  What is the difference between the behaviors of the individuals we “elect” and the Emperors of old?  Not a lot when you really think about it.  We just live under the illusion of freedom.  We have more laws and law ENFORCERS now across the globe than we ever had.   We are as much or even  more enslaved to big business today than we were enslaved of old.  Time to take a stand I think.

Peer Policing, Judgements, Convictions, Social Taboos – Personally the most disappointing thing I noticed the past two months was a spiralling growth in peer policing and the subequent trial by social media and lynching (metaphorically) of our fellow citizens.    I understand it is all completely fuelled by fear, but it is damaging and dangerous.  What do I mean?

  • The harassment, judgement and hanging on social media by some people obeying lockdown of the people they perceived to breaking it.
  • the now erupting arguments between those in favour of continuing lockdown versus those who want lockdown lifted
  • the ensuing (and I would imagine going to explode) fights between those who want to force everyone to get vaccinated against everything and those who want the right to refuse vaccination for themselves and their families
  • the fight between those who believe the virus came from doing something with rats in China and those who believe it comes from our damage to the environment
  • the fight between those who believe there is a virus and those who believe it is some kind of hoax pulled by governments and the New World Order to enslave us all
  • the fight between the US citizens who support the Democratic Party and those who support the Republican Party over the virus and how to deal with it – and most importantly the need to find someone to blame for it all.
  • the fight between the ones who want censorship and those who want freedom of speech
  • The fight between the religious and the agnostic, between the liberal and the conservative, the fight between the Right and the Left, the fight between the American Whites and the American Blacks??? the fight between the American police and the black community.

Oh God!  I’m going to stop there – it’s just too fucking exhausting!  Everyone has a position on everything!  Fine, that’s ok!  What is NOT ok is the growing need that seems to be expressing itself in people to HAVE EVERYONE ELSE CONVERT to their position on EVERYTHING!  That is the beginning of fascism and a return to Nazi politics and control.  Yes, all driven by fear.  It might be funny if it weren’t so sad.

So, that is me, done and dusted now, got everything on the subject of COVID-19 (I hope!) off my chest, and ready to get on with my life.

How Good Is Your Focus?

I’m pretty sure that if I could focus my mind a bit better I would have no problem making stuff happen – maybe even be able to move stuff around the room lol!  That is not to say that I don’t do pretty well as it is, all things considered.

However, my timeout during COVID-19 is really showing me how my concentration skills and willpower have gone downhill in the last 4 – 5 years.  Having said that – and I am thinking out loud here, I am not 100% sure if it is a problem with my willpower aka self-discipline or me giving myself permission to be lazy.

Maybe more importantly – my timeout is showing how my feelings, attitude and moods are affected and, to a degree, controlled by what I see and hear.

You see, at the beginning, two months ago, I was tense (but didn’t really acknowledge it), on auto-pilot and a bit directionless.  Should I do this? Should I do that?  How long would this last?  How to make the most of my time?  How to be productive?  See, still on the old millwheel!

If you are having thoughts like the above, here is a really good piece from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Instagram about the pressure to be productive

Then I started to relax and gain somewhat of a balance (or so I thought). In actual fact what I did was give in, more or less completely, to what took my fancy in the moment (or so I thought again).  No harm in that, after all I did deserve some time out (my justification)

Started a great health routine (maybe not)

So, for SEVERAL days I started out really excellently – wake at 4am (without alarm clock), 1 hour Dr. Joe meditation followed by about 90 mins on the bike along the Nile and some countryside.  Back to Mara House, shower, breakfast, coffee.  Now, in all fairness, we have a degree of social distancing going on here in Egypt, but even without that, I would not be going out for the rest of the day anyway – just too hot for me.

So the rest of the day is spent on my bed (because it is easier for my back than sitting on any chair I have), with the laptop.  I have a lovely little table that sits like a bridge over my legs and has enough room on which to rest my arms also – very comfortable.

Some days I was very good – did lots of work on writing my family history stories and also my book about the private lives of Mohamed Ali’s family. BUT, if I sat on the bed and first turned on YouTube, then mostly my entire day went on watching “Magnificient Century”.  Yes, I felt guilty at first, then I accepted it as relaxation.  Oh, how we lie to ourselves!

How a film series affected me

I know I am rambling here… the thing is, in the beginning the series really gripped me, the set furnishings, the clothes, and of course the true story line.  I was rooting for Hurrem Sultana, the underdog, the slave who rose to be an unstoppable power in her own right.

However, I found myself turning against Hurrem – she just turned out to be too much of a bitch for me.  Plus they changed the actress and how she dressed – colors all wrong for her (red dresses with red/ginger hair, for God’s sake!).  Hurrem now look more like one of Disney’s wicked witches – they have even changed her crowns to reflect that.

So, now when I would finish watching the episodes I no longer felt good or even ok.  I felt apprehensive about whom Hurrem was going to kill next.  Added to that I liked her sons, not so much her daughter because she’s like Hurrem, and I liked her stepson whom eventually she will succeed in having executed.  That’s the worst part, I already know the actual historical facts.  This is now the biggest help to me NOT to switch on YouTube first thing in the morning!  But I am quite sure I will watch the series to the bitter end.

Hooked – Addicted!

This addiction to the series and inability to switch off from it once I started had me questioning my lack of willpower.

Along with my inability to switch off the show after an episode or two (they are really good with the cliffhanger endings on each episode!), goes a decreasing ability to focus in my meditations.  Now, I don’t know how these tie in with each other, or if they do, but I do notice these two facts.

Today, I searched on YouTube for ways to strengthen my power of focusing.  If you are thinking about the same then below are some of what I have found.