The Art of Terror

Terrorism comes in many forms – it is the 4th anniversary of the horrific mass slaughter of socialist teenagers on the the island retreat in Norway. There it was a white Right Wing extremist. We hear of these attacks more and more often – last week France, this week Germany. We hear much less of similar attacks that happen to people all round the world – but where the victims don’t look like us so the media choose not to report it.

We have an inbuilt biological function. When deep in our subconscious we perceive a danger [real or imagined] there are physiological and mental processes going on – sometimes called Fight or Flight – involving increased adrenalin,  blood flow and heart rate in our body along with insecurity and mistrust in our minds – and a deep sense to do anything to survive. It is a base instinct that can be used against us by the clever.

Terrorism wins when we either change our way of life because of their actions – or we learn to hate; either way THEY win.

I always find it strange that when a white person does bad things they are considered mentally ill [the German pilot who flew his plane into a mountain killing all passengers on board]. When black people do bad things they are considered wild animals. When Middle-Eastern people do bad things they are “Islamist” terrorists – and ALL Muslims should be kicked out of the country as a result. Hardly a fair and balanced response – and so the bad guys win again.

I had genuine fear when I watched the Republican National Congress of 2016. Mr Trump got “Christian” Republicans booing USA taking in Syrian refugees, he blamed Hilary Clinton for the creation of ISIS and all civil unrest in Middle East – and spoke of an “Islamic” attack on the ‘LGBT Q’ community. Q??? I think we know – disgusting. But this man is closer to the White House than anyone believed possible.

Hollywood use all kinds of tricks and mind games to scare us in thrillers and horror movies. The nature of the genre is to play on our deepest fears.

But fear is a mental process – a choice we make in our minds. Mark Twain once said I have spend too much of my life worrying about things – most of which never came to pass. Fear in a movie theatre watching the latest blockbuster is one thing – but fear of the future, the other, the worst outcome – all achieve nothing. If there is something we can do constructively then do it, don’t fret about it. If something is out of our control – look for what options we can take. Be pro-active rather than live in fear. Some people won’t travel in an aeroplane because they fear flying yet we know you are more unsafe crossing the road. When fear controls your action – fear has won. Terrorists want us to hate them because that is the way they keep the battle going.  Perhaps that is why someone once said ‘Love you enemies”. Love does indeed drive out all fear. The two emotions have trouble co-existing in the same mind.

President George W Bush launched his “War on Terror” and we all know how that turned out. We can fear the other; the person who looks, lives and speaks differently to us because their back ground is different to ours. Or we can choose to embrace multiculturalism. Will it always turn out that we get on with all people – probably not – but it is time to move on from the “cave-man” mentality that says the other is bad because they come from a different cave and I must protect my cave to the death.

In the recent EU referendum fear was weaponised – “I want my country back” was used to demonise everyone from European civil servants in Brussels to immigrants to an undemocratic elite who control our every move. “Take Back Control” was the solution – Jon Stewart said recently “You want some person to give you your country back because you feel that somehow you are the country’s rightful owner. There is only one problem; this country isn’t yours. You don’t own it. It was never yours to own. You don’t own patriotism, you don’t own Christianity, you sure as hell don’t own respect for the bravery of the military, police and firefighters.” There are groups who feels superior to others in our society because they feels they ‘own’ the land, the moral high ground, the true values, the true faith, the history – and they will use the greatest weapon ever invented FEAR to hold onto, or get back, what they believe is theirs by right.

Fear is an acronym – False Events Appearing Real. When we allow not knowing all the facts to make us respond in a way we would not under normal circumstances; we are allowing our base instincts to take over. Remember Fight or Flight? We are capable of doing anything to survive. Human beings are capable of the most heinous crimes. Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross stated that given the right/wrong situation or circumstance we human beings are capable of doing anything to each other. We call terrorists “monsters.” But the scariest thing of all to consider is that they are actually just people; people just like us.

When we watch the horror of the world around us we have a choice; to live in fear or to believe for something better. Don’t let the bad guys win the battle for your mind.

Evil Dictators

Evil Dictators – where to start? They say the moment you bring Hitler into an argument you’ve lost – so i’m bringing him in at the start so those of you who think I’ve lost the argument can give up now and have a cup of tea or a mug of Vodka or something else to your liking.  Some say World War II was the last time there was a clear distinction between good and evil – but I disagree on many counts. Firstly, Hitler scratched where many people were itching; like Thatcher i think he came up with all the wrong answers but at least he heard the anger and frustration. It was similar angers and frustration of people who felt ignored, economically and politically hopeless and angry at people they believed were getting a better bite of the cherry than they were. Hitler preyed on the worst of human nature and created the ‘Scape Goat’ – a people group to hate, and they still do it today – the Jew, the Muslim, the Pole …. the other [anyone will do] and let’s vote Brexit to give the establishment a kicking. The irony being that it was the Government not building enough houses, schools and Doctor’s surgeries that created the pressure not the immigrants who came looking for a better life – and when they voted to kick the establishment they supported Trump, Putin, Gove, Farrage, Leadsom & Boris Johnson.

In World War II we went to war with the Dictator. In Iraq we intervened and invaded, in Libya we intervened but didn’t invade, in Syria we neither intervened or invaded – it seems we got it wrong every time. Damned if you do/ damned if you don’t. In Turkey the army attempted a coup which would have put a military dictator in power but the coup failed and they are left with a cunning leader who will now clamp down on any opposition: Which is better a benign dictator or a corrupt democracy???

In the UK we now have an unelected Civil Service of bureaucrats, an unelected Head of State, an unelected Second Chamber [House of Lords] an unelected Prime Minister and an unelected New Government – yet people chose to leave the European Union because it was considered apparently undemocratic! Dictatorship with a democracy????

In the USA they will soon have a Presidential election to choose the most powerful person on the planet and half the nation won’t even bother to vote. Perhaps apathy is the greatest Dictator of them all????

The UK has just gone through one of the greatest acts of democracy ever experienced in the country with the referendum on membership of the European Union. However, the level of debate and lies on both sides leaves democracy morally bankrupt. The vote was only given by an arrogant Tory PM who only wanted to heal divisions within his own Party and thought he had the vote in the bag – but be careful what you wish for. His own nemesis Boris Johnson saw an opportunity to pander to the Tory Right and so led the campaign to Leave without ever expecting or wanting to win – Whoops Apocalypse! Now a vile racism, not seen in decades, has been released onto the streets of Britain. Added to all the angry people who never wanted a referendum and voted to Remain will be a growing number of people who will day by day discover they were sold a lie; there will not be subsidies for farmers and fishermen equal to what came from the EU; there will not be regional money and grants for Wales, Scotland and Ireland; there will not be lower immigration because our ageing population and low skill low pay economy demands immigrants; there will not be £350M extra per week for NHS.

I hope when all that anger gives way to voice and action that someone with integrity is listening and responds with hope, vision and policies for a better future – because if the wrong people are listening and come up with simple solutions to complex issues …… well I don’t want to end with Hitler,  but if the cap fits!

Another French Attack

Tonight the news broke of yet another French terror attack. My ears pricked up as my wife DeeDee in presently in the South of France. She landed in Nice airport yesterday and then headed down south on the train with the Med on her left and the beautiful French countryside on the right. Tonight in Nice, as people celebrated in the street and families watched fire works a truck drove straight at the people and ploughed through the crowds for two kilometres – killing more than 70 people before the police shot the driver through the windscreen.  weapons and explosives were found in the truck. My heart goes out to the bereaved and pray the arms of God are wrapped around the French nation.  There are many causes worth dying for but none worth killing for. It is only through working together and co-operation that we can ever truly win. Love always trumps hate – let the terrorists read this and tremble – they will never live in peace till they lay down their guns. Peace is not the absence of war or the overthrow of an enemy but the sound of children laughing and playing in a world set free.