Afghanistan

Afghanistan – Pride & Prejudice – Part X

                      30th September 2014 The longest war in American history will last at least another decade, according to the terms of a garrisoning deal for US forces signed by the new Afghanistan government on Tuesday. Long awaited and much desired by an anxious US military, the…

syria-britain

Syria/Iraq – a time for cool heads

Home Secretary Theresa May’s Tory Conference speech – on Britons travelling to Syria: The threat we face from ISIL is made even greater by the fact that there are at least 500 British nationals who have gone to Syria and Iraq, many of them to fight. Where they have dual nationality, I have the power to…

censored

Censorship is OK for some!

So there are limits to freedom of expression after all! But not if it applies to Muslims. If Muslims protest, then it becomes a battle to preserve artistic freedoms and the rights of expression, regardless of the insult caused. Catholic theologian banned A female Catholic theologian has been banned by the Archbishop of St Andrews…

torture

Torture – a shared value?

                    “Kat Craig, legal director of the charity Reprieve, told the Guardian: ‘Yunus Rahmatullah faced 10 years of unlawful detention without charge, trial or explanation. Now that he has finally been reunited with his family, he wants answers. He wants to know why he was subjected…

extremists-box

Extremists – what us?

“Forget the sobering fact that the western-backed Saudi regime has beheaded dozens in public in recent months, including for ‘sorcery’, or that British troops infamously had themselves photographed with the severed heads of guerrillas during the Malayan war in the 1950s”. Seamas Milne in the Guardian, 18 September 2014. “Every year the American historian William Blum…

immigration

Immigration – Britain cannot do without!

            “Foreign students should be excluded from the government’s target for cutting non-EU immigration, the former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine has urged.[...] His remarks were supported by Labour’s shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna. “Government immigration policy and rhetoric has already done immense damage to higher education – one of the…

john-bennett

An English spiritualist’s Yezidi encounters

John G Bennett (died 1974) travelled widely in the regions now lying between the Turkish-Iraqi-Syrian borders in the early 1950s, visiting tekkes, zawiyas and other sacred sites, later settling in England to establish the Coombe Springs sanctuary for spiritualist studies. Saturday 31st October 1953 After Nimrud, we had an experience of quite a different order when we went…

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Dodgy Padres!

Wobbly church fathers,monks and rabbis! The Churches during the National-Socialist era Charles Marsh’s recent biography on the heroic Pastor Bonhoeffer provides some insights on the less laudable responses of the Churches to the Nazis in 1930s Germany. Christian teachings “could be commandeered in the service of Germany, especially when the German theological establishment prsumed the…

gaza

Gaza: merely a retaliation?

Ilam Pappe was brilliantly incisive in his recent contribution to Electronic Intifada: The present genocidal wave has, like all the previous ones, also a more  immediate background. It has been borne out of an attempt to foil the Palestinian decision to form a unity government that even the United States could not object to [...]…

That Special Relationship

    What is the nature of the special relationship between Britain and the US? “Britain’s special relationship with the US is so special only one side knows it exists” – Helmut Schmidt July 2014   In a remarkably frank articulation of London’s subservience to Washington, William Hague said in response to the Isis advances: ‘We…