Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Dark clouds, despair and designated destruction at Dale Farm, Essex

Travellers living illegally at Dale Farm, Oak Lane, Crays Hill,  near Basildon and Billericay, CM11 2YJ, Essex, are facing eviction.  Dale Farm is believed to be the largest illegal settlement in the land.  There are proposals by Basildon Council to remove the travellers, who are currently living on green belt land without proper planning permission.  A forced clearance is possible.  The existing buildings constructed without planning permission will have to be destroyed.  According to Basildon Council this dispute has been going on for ten years, and families have lived in these residences at Dale Farm  knowing that they are breaking the law. It is estimated that over 80 families are resident there illegally.  Some do live there legitimately on a scrapyard site, where planning permission was granted for homes. The land is legally owned by families of travellers.

The travellers' appeals to the High Court have failed, despite pleas for consideration under the UN convention of human rights, relating to children, and the poor health of an elderly resident.

Political activists have been forming a protest camp at Dale Farm.  The barricades will go up and an expensive policing operation looks inevitable, though many attempts to find peaceful solutions, involving local churches, continue.  The cost of removing the families and bulldozing the buildings on green belt land could be millions of pounds.

Vanessa Redgrave, the actress, has championed the travellers' cause.  

An awful Afghan August for US troops

This August has been the deadliest so far for US troops in Afghanistan.  Despite talk of progress in the decade long war, over twice as long as World War II for American forces, the death toll is the highest for the conflict. It is worse than July 2010, which was previously the deadliest single month.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Gun Law in Libya

There is concern about the amount of weapons on the streets of Libya today.  Many young men who are heavily armed could be difficult to control.  Care needs to come at this time of conflict so that cohesion rather than chaos reigns.  There are reports of violence and vengeance.  The stench of death can be smelt in hospital wards. Dead bodies decay around Tripoli.

There is talk of democracy, freedom and a brighter future.  But there is also fear about tensions and terrors, death and destruction because some will want to settle old scores.  Gun law rather than justice with order may already be on the streets of Tripoli.  Civil war is always bitter. Scars and deep wounds last for years.

There is no easy way ahead, but blood, sweat, toil, trouble and tears.  Gaddafy and his gang have had their day; they have left a bloody legacy.  Still they fight on and deny the people the peace and prosperity they desperately desire.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sitting ducks in Afghanistan

We don't seem to get it.  As perceived occupying forces, infidels and unwelcome foreigners, those associated with the British government are considered legitimate targets for the Taliban.  Their fighters are prepared to kill themselves and others, to rid their country of foreigners who threaten their independence.  A Taliban spokesman has said "We will become independent again from all foreigners, especially from the British."  Our historical record, which is remembered and goes back to the 19th century, in Afghanistan does not make edifying reading. We have bribed, caused bitterness and shed innocent blood.  Last Friday there was a double suicide bombing at the British Council compound.  At least ten people have been murdered.

The attack was at the time of the 92nd anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from Britain.  And British politicians think that we can do "vital work" there.

We are not welcome and our workers are sitting ducks.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Calling time on the Assad regime. Time for Assad to go.

Now key world leaders are asking for Bashar, the Brutal Basher, al Assad to step down as he has lost legitimacy.  More pressure and more sanctions are being brought to bear on the Assad regime of repression.  Sadly the small people will continue to suffer for his sins. The Syrian regime is in crisis.  The economy has deep problems. The health service is stretched to cope with the injuries, the many wounded from the troubles, the protests, and the demands for democratic changes. Thousands have already died during demonstrations.  The bullets of Bashar's men have been making the situation worse.

Not even rigorous and far reaching reforms can now wash away the blood on the despot's hands.  This dictator has lost the respect and support of his people.  It is the brutal military and special security services plus the support of some unethical nations that keep him in power.  How long will Assad cling on?  His days are numbered.

Syria will be well rid of this regime. It's time for regime change.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Brutal Basher Bashar al Assad

Certain nations have been very slow to condemn the brutality of Bashar, Brutal Basher, al Assad's regime of terror and evil repression.  Hilary Clinton, however, has been calling for sanctions against the Assad government.

Assad, the brutal basher, has lost legitimacy to rule, so it is time for him to go.  Although he can appear as a charming and well educated young man, he is a political gangster who should to brought to justice for his evil reign of terror.  Like his father, he has shed much blood and criminally abused his people.

Shame on  any country that harms the innocent, peaceful protesters with legitimate grievances.

Shame on any country that curtails the freedom of the press.

Shame on any country that denies basic human rights and democratic freedom.

Shame on any country that persecutes Christian leaders and true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Shame on their leaders and politicians who are responsible for these evil ways.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Named and Shamed: Reece Donovan

Reece Donovan of Milton Court, Cross Road, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Essex, has been identified as the person who robbed injured Malaysian student Asyraf Haziq Rossli.  Apparently Asyraf was assaulted in Barking; his bike was stolen and his jaw was broken. On CCTV, shown throughout the world, a crowd gathered around him.  At first it seemed young people were trying to help him.  Asyraf was evidently dazed from his injuries and in broad daylight he had possessions taken from his rucksack by a young man wearing a baseball cap.  Reece Donovan, 21, has been charged with the robbery so he will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court very shortly.

If Donovan is convicted then he will probably be known as Disgraceful Donovan.  He is, of course, innocent until proven guilty.  Mistaken identity would be serious.  I thought that I heard his surname was Sullivan, and the thought of a David Sullivan being shamefully treated for an offence that he did not commit would be tragic.
There is concern that the speedy procedures of the courts could lead to miscarriages of justice.  Let's pray that there is not undue haste but due process of law and sound judgement in our courts.

The robbery has been strongly condemned, notably by PM David Cameron in one of his recent speeches.  Asyraf has received hospital treatment, media attention, and strong support expressed in words, cards and cash from well wishers throughout the country.  He has said that he will remain in England to complete his studies.

Friday, 12 August 2011

A Lost Generation?

Politicians, church and community leaders, and social commentators are asking the question: do we have a lost generation in England?  Do we have an underclass of young people growing up without morality and moral restraint?

There are clearly many theories and complex social problems surrounding the criminality of these young rioters, looters and louts who have taken to the streets over the last few days to wreck havoc, destruction and damage. Some people say that gang culture is much to blame for the recent arson, anarchy and thefts.  Others believe that bad parenting and poor home life, where a lack of discipline and decency prevails, explain many of the problems. A few put the cause down to environmental factors, including government cuts, social alienation, unemployment and the loss of opportunities.

One thing is apparent to me.  These juvenile delinquents have little respect for others, their neighbours, their neighbourhoods, their country, basic morality (thou shalt not steal), the police, those in authority, the rule of law, and God.  They live godless and self centred lives, without a social and moral conscience.  Some of them  have grown up thinking that they are free to do just as they please and anything what they want, without recourse to established morality, anybody else or the needs of others.  Their way of life is, in effect, based on: if it feels good , then let's do it.  They wish to do what is right in their own eyes.  Selfishness reigns supreme.  They are lost,  walking the broad way that leads to destruction and spiritual death.

  It is time for the true members of Christ's church, those called out of this present evil world where the good seed is choked and harmed, to reach out into the highways and byways to bring the gospel of hope and salvation to these needy young folk.

We need to look again at youth work, youth clubs, youth ministries and youth projects.  In the past we have managed to touch young people in deprived areas and places of poverty and poor social conditions.  Think of the Mayflower Centre in East London, London City Mission halls on council estates, and successful church youth clubs in the inner cities.

Church leaders and people in Christian fellowships are arranging for special prayer meetings, vigils, prayer and fasting sessions, to take place throughout this troubled land.

It is time to watch and pray, time to seek God's wisdom, and time to see the power of God touching these lost sheep so that they are plucked out of devil's hands.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Catastrophic criminality in Croydon

Croydon burns this evening.  Shops, residential properties and businesses are ablaze as a result of sheer criminality.  Fear is on the streets and people are afraid of the fires around them.  Young yobs have torched premises, deliberately causing damage and danger to many residents.  Parts of Croydon now look like a war zone, especially Reeves's Corner around Church Street.  The public need to be well protected from these waves of violence. It must be heartbreaking for the people living there seeing their precious possessions and property being destroyed. Politicians and people in authority are urging parents to bring their children home and off the streets. Croydon seems out of control in some sectors. The Fire Brigade officers are really stretched.  Emergency services have considerable problems.  This current chaotic situation in Croydon could lead to serious injury and loss of life.  It is a catastrophe.

Havoc has hit Hackney

Law and order have broken down on the streets of Hackney, London E8.  And now violent scenes are being shown in South London around the Lewisham and Peckham areas. Shops in Rye Lane, Peckham, London SE15, are on fire and flats are being destroyed.  Anarchy and arson are clearly evident. This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we should be supporting the Metropolitan Police in their attempts to restore law and order.  Mrs Teresa May, the Home Secretary, is right about the situation: there are absolutely no excuses for this violence and looting.  This lawlessness by criminals must stop and they should be brought to justice. These riots are symptomatic of delinquency and moral declension in our inner cities.  Youths without morality are revealing their spiritual bankruptcy.  They are wild, wicked creatures of darkness.  They are a disgrace.  They have shamed their families and communities.

Anarchy on the streets of Tottenham, N17

Images of lawlessness have been broadcast across the UK on our television screens.  Arson, looting, stone throwing, vicious violence against the Metropolitan Police and their vehicles, criminal damage resulting in the destruction of homes and businesses, these disgraceful actions by "mindless people... intent on causing violence" have angered Tottenham residents and the nation.

It is claimed that much of the anarchy on the streets around N17 was caused by outsiders and troublemakers who took advantage of the chaos.  They allegedly came to steal and to bring havoc to the locality.  Some businesses and residents will now find it difficult to continue working and living in Tottenham.  It has been said that these riots and destructive events have "ripped the heart out of the community."

There was a breakdown in law and order.  Let us hope that the Met. Police and community leaders will be able to restore, rebuild and revive this troubled town.  Justice needs to be seen, and criminals need to be brought to justice so that they are punished for their crimes. Some are demanding corporal punishment for major crime. (Major Crime and Corporal Punishment? It's an old joke!)

What kind of upbringing did these delinquents have?  Without parental discipline and the good example of a father as a positive role model, they have become wild and wicked.

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Hebrews 12:8, to quote the 1611 Authorized Version of the Bible, now celebrating 500 years of influence.  I wonder how much biblical influence and Christian teaching these "bastards" had?  Some of these crime ridden estates are sadly breeding grounds for bastards, kids out of control, where teenage pregnancy rates are unacceptably high.  Absentee "fathers" and ill mannered mothers are failing to bring children up with social skills and a good understanding of decorum and decency.  I bet that there would be evidence of irresponsible parenting if one looked into most of the backgrounds and home life of these lawless looters and destructive delinquents.  There is often a clear correlation between bad parenting and criminal behaviour.

Many who travel to see Tottenham Hotspur playing at White Hart Lane (though the ground is in Tottenham High Road) may be quite unaware of the area's high rates of crime, teenage pregnancy, unemployment with serious social problems: gang violence, racial tensions, drug dealing, and gun possession.

There some large churches and Christian ministries in Tottenham, London N17; they bring a message of hope and good news in what has been described as a "hurting community". May they rise to the challenge to bring Christian caring, sharing, and bearing the burdens of those in need.

We live in times when community care, cohesion, co-operation and Christian ethics are sadly missing.  Selfish, sinful and stupid behaviour that does so much harm has been very evident in Tottenham, N17, in the London Borough of Haringey.


River Stour