Sunday, 30 October 2011

Voices crying in the wilderness by the steps of St Paul's

Surely the protesters and the priests at St Paul's Cathedral can come to some sort of arrangement so that people can safely enter the building.  The closure of the building could have been avoided.  Now there has been the sad resignation of Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser, who was canon chancellor of St. Paul's.  He had sympathy for the protesters and wanted no violence to take place if the protesters had been removed forcefully.

This is a time for dialogue and peaceful protest, but some of the pseudo protesters, who have put tents there for a day time occupation, should leave.  The area is an eyesore and the protesters need to move on to another location.  There needs to be a law against a permanent protest encampment.  There needs to be a limit of the duration of an encampment.  These protesters have no right to live there for as long as they wish.  They need to take the views and needs of other people into account.

Perhaps the priests should start preaching at the protesters, then baptise and confirm them.  After that they would hardly go near a church again.

Syrian protesters are slaughtered regularly

Peaceful protesters are being killed regularly by government security forces.  Scores are reported to be dead over the last few days.  The death toll rises and world leaders are appealing for the bloodshed to end, but the country looks like a civil war will occur, especially as the level of opposition is gaining strength. The majority of the people would like to see the removal of the Alawite minority rule under  President Bashar al Assad.  There is no democratic framework or free press in Syria.  Bashar continues to appear charming and reasonable while his troops and henchmen shoot opposition activists in the street.  Despite growing condemnation in the Arab world he remains calm, confident, composed, assured and dignified when interviewed by the media.  He is quite unlike the stereo-typical tyrant and despot.  Some of his comments show that he appears out of touch and unaware of the terrible suffering of his people.  He seems cocooned in his peaceful world of family harmony and untroubled comfort.  This must be a facade, as he is a very intelligent man with a good grasp of political events and he is no doubt well briefed by his security advisors. But Bashar chooses to play the role of the unassuming and frugal leader who wants reform.

He may live humbly and be a humorous and charming chap at dinner parties and social events, but there is an iron fist and bloody hand beneath the velvet glove. His opponents have felt the daily harshness of his regime.  They know the reality of his "reforms": repression, torture, bullets and brutality. They hold Bashar al Assad responsible for so much suffering.

Some may want Bashar al Assad to remain because they fear some of the alternatives, such as a state of chaos,  Islamic extremism and bloody factional conflict.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Manchester City thrash United at Old Trafford

Few people expected Manchester City to thrash their rivals at Old Trafford by six goals to one this afternoon.  It was a comprehensive victory that was helped by the sending off of defender Johnny Evans for a foul on Mario Balotelli.  City were able to punish the 10 man team and rip the United defence to shreds.  It was a joyous occasion for City fans who have never enjoyed such a sweet and massive win on United's home turf. United fans are finding it very hard to take such a humiliating home defeat. This marks a very low point in the club's history, but United will bounce back to winning ways.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Ten years in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan started ten years ago today, on 7 October 2001. Most people in the UK and USA no longer believe, if they ever did, in the Afghan war.  It is not winnable.  Afghanistan is in a mess of corruption and inner conflict.  This military conflict has cost too many lives.  In the last five years the loss of life has increased dramatically, as there were relatively few casualties in the first five years.  It has not been worth the terrible loss of life, both civilian and military deaths.  Analysts admit there have been tragic mistakes, which have been very costly indeed.  The public have been sceptical about the goals.  The military public relations and propaganda failed to convince us of the necessity and value of this conflict. History indicated that it would end in failure, loss of life and wasted expenditure. It was sadly a disaster ridden enterprise.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: 2011 film

After all the praise from critics, all the rave reviews, excellent cast of top British actors and hype about this version of the John Le Carre novel, I was disappointed with the film.  The dismal sets, drab colours, bad hair days and slow pace did not help. Quite depressing and morbid. The seventies were much brighter than this, unless you were in East Berlin.  It did lack pace and suspense at times. It was heavy going and ponderous too often for my liking. Some scenes should have been cut as they added nothing to the film.  So I am not surprised to hear that cinema goers throughout the land have been walking out before the end and pronouncing the film very dull and boring.

The acting was good and there were some great cameo performances.  It does make way for a sequel with George Smiley back at the Circus and on the trail of Karla.

It fails to be as good as the Alec Guinness TV series, but that may not be a fair comparison as the TV series had many episodes to deal with the intricacies of the plot and develop the characters.  I much preferred the TV series, which was vastly superior.


River Stour