General

General (14)

"How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?" - Dr. Samuel Johnson

The Declaration of Independence in 1776, the formation of the US constitution in 1789, and the first 10 amendments to it, collectively known as the “Bill of Rights” passed in 1791, are the three most significant sets of documents that have contributed towards shaping the political history of the US. The core principles embedded in those documents form the basis of US democracy, and the functioning of the Congress (legislative), the Supreme Court (judiciary) and the President (executive).

Why do I hate the World Cup? For the same reasons Lenin did. The brain of the Bolshevik revolution liked listening to classical music like Beethoven’s but he gave it up. It interfered with his work. His mind had to focus on one single pursuit – the revolution. Everything was sacrificed to that. Hence music had to go.

The priest too, as radical Christian, is a revolutionary. He is and cannot not to be. For the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. A Kingdom which ‘suffers violence’ so that ‘men of violence take it by force’ (St Matthew, 11: 12). Heaven demands that Earth should submit and conform to its dictates. Admittedly it costs me nothing to forsake watching the Cup because I loathe football. It bores me to death. Why should I avidly gaze on morons in shorts kicking around a pig’s bladder? But this is not about taste – it is about the revolution.

Jerusalem the golden, with milk and honey blest...a glorious hymn begins. Golden city indeed. The seat of King David. The heart of salvation history. The theatre of Jesus’ ministry, cross and resurrection. The place from where, Muslims believe, Prophet Muhammad journeyed to Heaven. The New Jerusalem, the emblem of the final destiny of humanity, the Book of Revelation says. Superb!

‘...So many lobbies...Masonic lobbies...This is the worst problem’ Pope Francis said. Indeed. Very problematic lot. Blessed be the Holy Father for fingering that not–so-holy Craft. Have you occasionally being given a funny handshake? Like a finger scratching softly your palm? Not the nicest feeling. Maybe they are ‘queer’(Horribile Dictu!). Or, more likely, Masons...

Conversely, you might be a grand Elect Perfect & Sublime Master. Or a Knight of the Sword of the East. Or a Knight of the Pelican and Eagle. Or a patriarch Noachite. Perhaps a Prince of Libanus. A Chief of the Tabernacle. Or a Knight of the Brazen Serpent? Or a Grand Elect Knight of Kadosch? If you understand any of this hocus-pocus you yourself are a Mason. But you won’t tell me. Murky stuff. Whistleblowing on such mysteries might spell catastrophe – even death - for you.

‘A gold filling in a mouth of decay’, playwright John Osborne so damned the Royal Family. Yet, decay or not, that piece of gold glitters away. Indeed, it sparkles. The Royal baby, that little scrap of humanity waiving his tiny hand glimpsed on TV, will have melted the heart of even the fiercest misanthropist. People are born suckers for things like that. Well, why not?

Egypt is on the brink -- not of something better than the old Mubarak dictatorship, but of something even worse. Two years after the revolution that toppled a dictator, Egypt is already a failed state. According to the Failed States Index, in the year before the uprising we ranked No. 45. After Hosni Mubarak fell, we worsened to 31st. I haven't checked recently -- I don't want to get more depressed. But the evidence is all around us.

The Boston bombers have given Chechens a bad name. Yet, philosopher Wittgenstein believed that a Chechen held the key to the secret of life’s riddle. Read Leo Tolstoy’s beautiful Caucasus tale, Hadji Murat, and you might enter into that secret, insh’allah.

The story’s hero, Hadji, is from Chechnya. A tribal chieftain of that proud, warlike people in the Northern Caucasus. Since the middle 18th century the Chechens have resisted Tsarist Russia’s attempts to subjugate them. Thus Tolstoy describes a Russian army raid on a village. It is senseless violence. Houses and trees burnt, children killed, mosque and fountain polluted. Outrages that only strengthen the people’s determination to fight the aggressors. Yet Chechens are far from united. Shamil, a rival chieftain, has imprisoned Hadji’s son and the father is led to collaborate with the Russians. A violent end is the hero’s destiny – maktub, it is written...

Editor's Comment This is a reasonable article overall, I concur with many of the points. However, it missed out references to many pertinent points, for example the Falkland Island war, and the sinking of the Argentinian ship that was moving away and outside the military exclusion zone; this was a war crime. She also labelled Nelson Mandela as a terrorist, and sided with notorious fascist dictators like Pinochet in South America. On the positive side, she took the country out of the debt. And set the wheels in motion for economic recovery by encouraging business, increased ownership of houses through the sale of council flat. The article also makes an error about her being evicted by back-stabbing colleagues. On the contrary, she started to become really arrogant and dictatorial; hence, senior MPs in the Cabinet like Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson, men of character and substance took a stance. Her eviction ironically was needed and good for democracy, it demonstrated the limits of power.

To be honest I had a love/hate relationship with Mrs Thatcher throughout my political formative life. I remember clearly how much I admired her strength of character, resoluteness and impeccability in the way she run her party and the country but I also vehemently hated some of her very blinkered extremely right wing conservative policies.

I still remember how I lost my voice shouting anti Thatcher slogans at a National Union of Student's led demonstration against her most lunatic students' grants cut policy. She angered me along with thousands of other students all over the country when she suddenly stopped students’ maintenance grants. It forever changed the fate of university students and opened up a floodgate for successive governments to cut further and further the university students’ funding including the introduction of the unfair tuition fees.

On 27 April 1945 Benito Mussolini, founder and leader of fascism, was shot dead by Italian communist partisans. They had found him hiding under a German military topcoat in a fleeing convoy. A day later the dictator’s body was strung up upside down in a Milan public square, the mob then subjecting the corpse to unspeakable indignities.

By any reckoning, an inglorious end. Amazing thus that Mussolini still has fans. (Past ones included Englishmen like Winston Churchill and Austen Chamberlain who warmed to fascist anti-communism.) Such as Paolo Di Canio, feisty head coach of Sunderland football club. Which prompted the resignation of former Labour Blair politico David Milliband, the club’s vice-chairman, with an ensuing kerfuffle in the media. A droll saga that will rumble on, you bet.

If you say it is true that you (Germany) massacred and burned six million Jews during the Second World War, if you committed this massacre, why should the Palestinians pay the price? (Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)

The logic in the above statement is flawless; unable to refute the argument, Western leaders responded with emotional outbursts. If they were to pose the same question to their masses at home, they would see that a significant section of their population hold the same viewpoint as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The context of his remark reminded me of the courageous boy [1], who publicly stated that the Emperor has no clothes, while everyone else remained silent in a state of ‘denial’ or due to ‘fear’.

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