Archive for October, 2011

Paulo Coelho talks to Big Issue

October 18, 2011
Big Issue

Big Issue

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

Brazilian author Paulo Coelho talks to Big Issue about his work.

Inspired by Paulo Coelho’s revolutionary strategy of distributing his work freely online, here is the transcript of an interview that appears in this week’s Big Issue magazine. If you see a Big Issue vendor, please consider purchasing a copy!

Interview: Steven MacKenzie

Aleph is currently a bestseller all over the world. Is the global success of your books proof that everyone shares the same fears and dreams, and people are not as different as we sometimes think?

Questions. I think people all over the world have the same questions. I would not say fears and dreams – probably also – but when I write a book I concentrate on my personal questions.

What I realise from reading tweets and comments from social communities is that although we don’t share the same answers – and we don’t – we share the same questions.

This is something that helps a lot. I don’t feel alone as a writer. Because you always ask yourself, ‘I’m writing this for myself, but does anyone else know what I’m talking about?’ And they do.

Having brought inspiration to so many, it might surprise some readers of Aleph to discover that you were undergoing your own crisis of faith.

Faith is not a straight line. It’s like if you climb a mountain. You have your ups and downs. Faith is at the end of the day an act of faith. I need faith to believe in God. Atheists also need faith to not believe in God. Like everybody else I have my moments of doubt.

Like The Alchemist, Aleph recounts a physical journey, which is ultimately a spiritual one. Why did you have to travel across a continent to discover something inside yourself?

In 2006 I was in my comfort zone; bestselling author all over the world, looking like I had no more challenges in life. And this is not good because life is a constant challenge. People tend to stay in the comfort zone because it is safe but if you don’t accept challenges you are dead!

Everyone is stuck in a routine and reluctant to leave their comfort zone. Nobody is really living …

Let’s not generalise Steven! Many people, but not everyone, otherwise I would not have any readers! It’s a tendency we have and we have to fight against it.

Some people aren’t fighting hard enough.

Yah true. We fear to change.

Do people read your books to help them fight?

My books can act as catalysts. They can provoke a reaction in a person that is already ready for change. I don’t think my readers are reading the books trying to learn how to change. You read a book at the right moment and then you see that you have already this volcano inside of you ready to explode and the book uncaps this volcano.

I would ask why you think your books become bestsellers, but do you know the reason?

There is no reason Steve! Reasons you give for deceits. You can give one thousand reasons to justify deceit but you can never explain success.

There is no relationship between a book that is satisfying for me and successful. All my books, and this I guarantee, I put the same enthusiasm and love. Having said that, you can imagine if I thought about half a billion people [reading my books] I would be paralysed. It’s natural that we try to please everybody so we cannot think about this.

You say in Aleph that ‘writing is, above all, about discovering myself’, so in which of your books have you discovered most about yourself?

All of them. But the turning point in my life was my first book, The Pilgrimage because I started to tell everybody I was a writer.

Do you think the way that Western society is constructed, with emphasis on material possessions, that we are programmed to never find fulfilment?

Everyone asks a lot of how, they don’t ask why. They want to know how to do this, how to do that, but we should ask more why should I do this, why should I do that. It has to with consumer society. How did you become rich? How did you become a bestseller? How did you become a journalist? Just change how to why it makes a lot of difference to life.

Is the world suffering an economic crisis because people are looking for the wrong things in life?

It’s the irresponsibility of politicians. You know, I know – we live in a big lie. Everybody knows but we close our eyes back to the comfort zone and one day it explodes and everybody is affected. Mostly poor people. I’m very pessimistic about this economic crisis. I don’t think it is over.

Your books contain a lot of omens and signs. Do these exist for everyone?

If you believe in God like I do, there is this intuitive language to God. But my language is not your language, my signs are not your signs. This is a very personal language.

You should believe in your intuition. Call it whatever you want, but you know when you are taking the right decision. If you believe in God, signs, or if you don’t believe in God, well, intuition, but normally you don’t look because it contradicts your logical world.

In Aleph, you also say that instead of fighting for God, we should fight against God.

Sometimes yes.

Can you elaborate?

Fighting for God we see now. Christian fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism… They give their lives because the message is a powerful one: you are martyr. I’m a Catholic so I know what I’m talking about!

People start justifying their lives because they need raison d’etre – they need a reason to live. They are trying to convince themselves about their faith.

Fighting against God. It is everywhere in the New Testament, moments when the great prophets – even Jesus – fight against God. When He says, ‘God, why did you forsake me?’ on the cross.

Then you have this intense relationship with God that is not a relationship of submission. There are moments when my wife and I, or you and your friends, need to fight the good fight! Not fighting to destroy but fighting for our beliefs. And by fighting for this you learn a lot.

However, if you accept everything, if you do not ask why or how, you are not living, just obeying a set of rules. Like a lamb.

Your books are banned in some countries such as Iran. Why would they be considered dangerous?

Why they are dangerous? Ask them, ask them! Any idea may be dangerous, it depends on the culture that absorbs it. I don’t think my books are dangerous, I think that writing implies the revolution of the writer itself. So I don’t know why some books are banned here or there. I don’t ask questions. I have internet, don’t worry.

You don’t worry because you can publish your stories online?

Using the Iranian example, after Aleph was published my former publisher in the UK translated the book and I put it online because I knew they will not allow it to be published in Iran. You won’t believe me but we have had 317,000 downloads of this Farsi edition.

Aleph in Farsi

You lived through dictatorship, imprisonment and torture in Brazil during the 1970s, what advice would you have for those being oppressed in Iran or Syria, or other places we don’t know about? What got you through the experience?

You remember at the beginning of our conversation about losing our faith? So, I totally lost my faith. When I was released I thought, this cannot happen to me. This is not fair, this is not just, God does not love me. It took me seven years to get rid of this experience.

It is very difficult to give advice because when you are in jail and when you are tortured you don’t exist anymore. After you are released, the prison remains in your soul. In my case, there was only one thing that healed the experience. It was time.

But I see people leaving jail today and going back to the streets and I am so proud of these people. They are so brave, they are so courageous.

The only thing I can do is join organisations like Amnesty International, become a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations, or be on the board of the Doha Center of Media Freedom, and use my influence to avoid these situations. But honestly, give advice? I can’t because my reaction was – I’m not ashamed, I know what I’ve been through – but it was not the best reaction in that circumstance.

But would you be the man you are today without that experience? Was it an important part of your spiritual journey?

I doubt, Steven. Probably my period in the mental institution was very useful for me, but I don’t think you need to be arrested and tortured to arrive where you need to arrive. This is the only thing that I would gladly erase from my past.

I see friends from that time who never recovered from this. For every three people who succeeded in overcoming their ordeal, seven are broken for life. Nothing justifies being arrested simply because you have a different idea.

How important is your Brazilian identity to your writing?

I’m very proud of my country. Your roots count a lot. [Brazilians] don’t have this wall separating emotions from the physical reality so what some cultures would think is too abstract I’m not ashamed to write.

Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin are fans. Do you think your work has ever influenced them?

I don’t know. [Putin and I] had this photo session together. We talked for 15 minutes in front of the press and then he asked the press to leave and we spent two hours talking. Of course, I’m not going to tell you what we talked about.

Oh, secrets!?

It was a private conversation. And I thought, ‘He’s so busy [but] he’s talking to me here’. He was enjoying the conversation.

Madonna is quoted on the back of my edition of The Alchemist. Do people like her phone you up asking for advice?

No, never.

Have you met her?

I met Madonna in Cannes and I thanked her for her support but they don’t call me. I called Will Smith because every time he is interviewed he usually talks about my books. So I used Twitter and said, ‘If any of you has a possibility of finding Will Smith’s phone number please give me because I want to thank him’.

Was he happy to hear from you?

I hope he was happy. People often forget to say thank you. And I’m very thankful.

Forbes magazine named you last year as the second most influential Twitter user after Justin Bieber …

More influential than Lady Gaga and Barack Obama!

Not bad.

You don’t look for this. You may imagine when I read this I was very surprised. I’m really crossing my fingers for Justin Bieber to use his celebrity to do something. He is very young but I hope he can use his influence to do something good.

You update your blog and Twitter very regularly, do you feel like you owe your readers something, or do you feel some responsibility towards them?

No, no. There are people who go there and agree. There are people who go there and disagree! I try to use my blog to share stories from different cultures.

At this present moment, all bridges are collapsing; economic, political, social. There is only one bridge still standing: the cultural bridge.

I may not understand your political system, I may not understand your religion but I understand your story. I understand your painting. I understand your music, your dancing. There you have this bridge. It is my responsibility as a writer to do my best not to allow this bridge to collapse.

Writing is not only limited to books. We have different platforms. Use your Twitter, use Facebook, use your blog, use whatever you can use but don’t forget this responsibility.

Interview with Paulo Coelho published in this week’s Big Issue.

For once an intelligent interview!

Shock doctrine: Play up the budget deficit, use it as an excuse to hit the poor, the elderly and other vulnerable sectors in society. Homelessness is rising.

Support your local Big Issue seller. Make this a sell-out issue.

Maybe it has already sold out. Just when you want one, not a single Big Issue seller to be found on the street today.

Independent booksellers currently have Aleph on offer at £5 off, ie one third off cover price. Support your local independent bookseller.

Good news Paulo Coelho fans in independent bookshops

Re:Creation

October 17, 2011
Re:Creation

Re:Creation

Re:Creation a biblical oratorio, telling the biblical story from beginning to end, music by David Perkins, adaptation of biblical verses by Derek Wensley.

It is not often one gets to meet the composer and lyricist of an oratorio, but on Saturday evening I got to meet both.

I was at a performance of Re:Creation with The Occam Singers and New London Sinfonia at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford.

The inspiration for Re:Creation the sacred choral music of Handel, Bach and Haydn. A work in five parts.

Let there be light. In part one repeated over and over again. First quietly then slowly growing until reaching a crescendo with a crash of cymbals. A glimmer of light, slowly brightening until one is blinded.

Either the second or third part, I lost track, more avant-garde. Hints of Bernstein and Gershwin, hints of Tubular Bells. There was again hints of Tubular Bells in the fourth and fifth parts.

God makes a comic opera appearance high up in the pulpit where he suddenly pops up, performs his piece, then pops back out of sight again. This appearance would be even more dramatic if spoken not sung as it would then stand out in contrast.

Both David Perkins and Derek Wensley took part in the performance, David Perkins on keyboard and Derek Wensley singing in the choir.

David Perkins is a writer of musicals, films scores. He has played keyboard at the National Theatre as a tribute to Scot Joplin.

Derek Wensley a United Reform minister now retired. Re:Creation is biblical story of ‘the God who was and is and always will be’.

The Occam Singers is a 40 strong chamber choir based in the Surrey village of Ockham. It was from the same village the medieval philosopher William of Occam, he of the sharp razor.

New London Sinfonia was formed in 1987.

Re:Creation is available as a limited edition double CD. I now have three copies and programme signed by David Perkins, Derek Wensley and one of the lead female singers.

Art @ Costa evening first Tuesday of the month (same day as farmers market) at Costa Coffee in Swan Lane, Guildford.

An African Christmas 6-30pm Saturday 10 December 2010 The Occam Singers at St Nicolas Church Guildford.

Ricin the terror plot that never was

October 15, 2011

Ricin! A plot! A hoax! Or hyped by the Blair government to justify ever more draconian anti-terror legislation and the war with Iraq?

It was bizare, if fiction dismissed as not credible.

It was the aftermath of 911, the security services jittery, Tonly Blair trying to justify war with Iraq.

to be cont …..

Good news Paulo Coelho fans in independent bookshops

October 15, 2011

Aleph is currently on offer in independent bookshops in England at £5 off the cover price.

The entire Paulo Coelho back list is on offer at three for two.

Now is the time to support your independent bookshop, to get in those much desirable Christmas presents.

If your local bookshop does not have a Paulo Coelho display, has not got these books on offer, please ask them why not.

We have lost a quarter of our independent bookshops in the last year. We will lose the rest unless they have our support.

HarperCollinsUK have a lot of explaining to do. Why is it only this week they have told independent bookshops of the release of Aleph when it was released on 1 September 2011?

What’s gone wrong with our bookshops?
A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

The spritual value of pilgrimage

October 13, 2011
midday mass Aylesford Priory

midday mass Aylesford Priory

A pilgrimage is a journey there and back to some sacred or holy place. The journey is as important as the destination.

Pilgrimages are fashionable. Pilgrimages are now big business, travel and tour companies have jumped in on the act. But a pilgrimage is not leisure, it is a devotion.

326 AD St Helena went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She discovered relics of the Cross.

The destination may be a cult of a saint, holy relics, a spring.

Walsingham is a house, a replica of a house in the Holy Land.

The medieval concept of a pilgrimage was as a penance, atonement, to ease passage through purgatory. If you were wealthy enough you paid someone else to go on pilgrimage on your behalf.

Shrines were destroyed during the reformation. Henry VIII needed the wealth of the Church to finance foreign wars. Martin Luther railed against shrines and relics, proclaimed the path to salvation was through faith not superstition.

A pilgrimage is a journey, you go there, you come back. It is an experience, maybe a life changing experience, you come back changed, hopefully a better person. The journey is the pilgrimage.

Brazilian writer Paulo coelho was obliged to walk El Camino de Santiago as a penance. He had a guide. He walked back and forth over the same route for several days. He was not aware of this until it was drawn to his attention by his guide. His focus was on his destination, not the journey. He had to be reprimanded several times by his guide.

When we go on a pilgrimage we let go of our everyday life, it is a quest, an adventure.

Pilgrims should walk El Camino de Santiago on their own. They will meet up with fellow travellers. There are as many reasons for being a pilgrim as there are pilgrims, each has their own reason.

Are we following the right path?

In The Shack, Jesus tells Mack there are many paths to God. If we are on the wrong path, Jesus will set out to meet us.

Paulo Coelho lost his way. He was advised to go on a journey, to not return until he rediscovered his faith. He went on a spiritual journey on the Transiberian railway. [see Aleph]

A Pilgrimage can be fun. The Canterbury Tales is a series of bawdy tales written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century.

You go home, you bring something back.

In The Shack, when Mack went to spend a weekend with God in the shack where his daughter had been brutally murdered by a child serial killer he came back a changed man.

When Paulo Coelho walked El Camino de Santiago he was told he had to bring something back. His guide had painted a painting. Paulo Coelho wrote The Alchemist.

The destination is usually recognised or designated as holy or spiritual.

There are a large number of spiritual and holy places in the British Isles. As varied as the ruins of Waverley Abbey to the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral to sacred stones on remote moorland.

In 1061 a lady had a vision to build a house at Walsingham, a replica of a house in the Holy Land.

Bernadette encountered an apparition, a lady. The lady told her the spring water had healing powers. From this sprang Lourdes. Of Bernadette we hear little more, she was despatched to a convent.

Paulo Coelho writes of this in By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. He also writes of Charismatics there in the winter when all the visitors have gone home.

Auschwitz is not somewhere we usually think of for a pilgrimage. Those who have been there describe it as a grim desolate place, of being able to feel the evil.

Auschwitz had such a bad impact on Paulo Coelho that he thought it the after effects of a bad drugs trip. He encountered a man in a vision. A man he was to meet some weeks later in a coffee shop in Amsterdam.

To tred the Holy Land is to follow in the footsteps of those who went before.

When Canon Andrew White speaks of biblical associations and places in Iraq, the awe in his voice is palpable.

When you go on a pilgrimage expect the unexpected!

Loosely based on a talk by Father Philip North at St Nicolas Church in Guildford. Father Philip North is the former administrator of the shrine at Walsingham.

Of those present at the talk, all had been on a pilgrimage, many had been on several pilgrimages. But they were a self-selecting group. To put in context, the following evening I was at a meeting at North Camp Methodist Church. Of those present not a single person had been on a pilgrimage, not only that, at least one person asked what was a pilgrimage, another asked what had it to do with prayer!

Father Philip North was given a copy of The Pilgrimage to thank him for his talk.

Since publication of The Pilgrimage in the mid-1980s, the numbers of pilgrims on El Camino de Santiago has risen exponentially, with sharp peaks in Holy Years.

I walked Father Philip North to the station. He asked had I walked the steep hill up to Lincoln Cathedral. I think he was quite surprised when I said many times last winter. I could have added I was a contributor to Capturing Lincoln Cathedral, a must have book on the cathedral.

St Nicolas run an annual pilgrimage to Walsingham.

Bishop Christopher (of Guildford Cathedral) is planning a pilgrimage to Walsingham sometime October 2012.

Pilgrimage to Aylesford Priory with the Knights of St Columba
The History of the Pilgrimage to Compostela
Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela today

Finding God in the Shack

October 12, 2011
Finding God in the Shack

Finding God in the Shack

Finding God in the Shack is a rehash of The Shack with errors.

It starts off with a synopsis of The Shack, only problem is it is riddled with errors. Not a good start.

At this point I will reiterate the advice given in Finding God in the Shack, read The Shack first, if you have done so, then please continue.

Finding God in the Shack is essentially a reader for The Shack, it looks at the theology of The Shack and asks did William Young get it right. And there is a lot of theology in The Shack!

The Shack, is not, as Roger E Olson wrongly states, a book about the Great Sadness, though it is in part. It is a philosophical discussion of the nature of God, Mack’s relationship with God and the need to forgive.

The Great Sadness is a burden Mack has to bear. His daughter goes missing, believed killed by a serial child killer, her body is never found. Mack blames himself, he blames God.

The One Big Question: why is there suffering in the world? Why does an all powerful, infinitely good God allow suffering? Maybe God is not good, maybe he is not all powerful, in which case who is more powerful, maybe he simply does not exist?

We have free will. Evil is the absence of Good, in the same way Dark is the absence of Light. We can handle Evil in theory, but how in practice when it brushes against us? How do we handle the brutal death of a child?

There are those who will say it was God’s will. Really!

When a child plummets to their death, was it God’s will? Did God give a little nudge, because God delighted in seeing the child’s head split open when the child hits the ground?

Maybe God does sometimes intervene. How often do we hear it said it was a miracle that so and so survived? But mainly God does not intervene.

Were God to always intervene, we would have the Law of Unintended Consequences, the Laws of Physics would not work. We cannot have it all ways.

Roger E Olson warns of using proof texts to prove a point, the Bible speaks with many voices, often contradictory voices, and yet he is too often guilty as charged, worse still, he then gives contrary examples that contradict the point he has made.

Roger E Olson says if you do not go to church then you are not a Christian. He then gives examples of bad churches that he himself has left!

I would turn this on its head and say there are many who go to church who are not Christians. Simply going through the motions every Sunday does not make you a Christian.

This is to ignore Holy Men who lived a life of solitude.

Paulo Coelho tells a story, or more likely retells a story. A priest goes to visit a man who does not attend church. The two sit in silence before a fire. The priest removes an ember and puts in the hearth. It goes dull and cold. He then puts it back in the fire and leaves. Point made.

Some need community others do not.

Is Christianity all happiness and light? There are are many examples of Christians who have had doubts, who have suffered depression. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy for example.

Paulo Coelho had doubts. He went on a spiritual journey which he recounts in Aleph.

Jesus warned that those who followed him were not embarking on an easy journey.

Roger E Olson confuses feeling depressed with depression.

Roger E Olson does not like the ending of The Shack and arrogantly constructs his own. He does not believe that after what happened to Mack he can rebuild his life. Why not? He had long conversations with God. He saw that his daughter Missy was happy where she was, that she did not blame him for what had happened, that she had forgiven her killer. Yes, he will feel sad, as he will miss her.

There are many well documented cases of people forgiving acts of depravity. One only has to look at the Truth and Reconciliation hearings in South Africa.

If you cannot forgive, let go, it consumes. If we all exacted an eye for an eye, we would as Gandhi once said, be living in a world of blind men.

RAN revels whilst rainforests are destroyed

October 12, 2011
FSC legitimises rainforest destruction

FSC legitimises rainforest destruction

PRESS/SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE: Today as Rainforest Action Network and Awardee Naomi Klein REVEL, Primary Rainforests Continue to Be Destroyed in Their Names

http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2011/10/release_today_as_rainforest_ac.asp

– Once again Ecological Internet’s true global rainforest action network questions the dominate paradigm that primary rainforests exist to be industrially logged …. The Rainforest Action Network and Forest Stewardship Council are first time industrial primary forest logging which must end immediately. Standing, intact primary rainforests and all old forests must be fully protected from certified and carbon forestry, and restored to continue powering global ecosystems and advance local communities.

October 12 , 2011

Earth’s Newsdesk & Rainforest Portal, projects of Ecological Internet
http://www.ecoearth.info/newsdesk/
http://www.rainforestportal.org/
Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

(Earth) – Today San Francisco based Rainforest Action Network (RAN) will throw yet another swanky celebrity filled party to REVEL and congratulate themselves for logging primary forests to protect them, and to raise further money for such “rainforest protection”. RAN continues to hold to the myth that primary rainforests – 500 year old trees in millions of year old ecosystems – should be “sustainably managed” for consumption such as toilet paper and lawn furniture. Noted author Naomi Klein will be RAN’s guest of honor, receive an award, and has been vocal in defending the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) brand of disaster capitalism.

RAN is one of biggest threats to world’s rainforests and inhabitants because of their founding and support of FSC’s massive primary forest logging over an area estimated at the size of South Africa. RAN holds out first time industrial logging of primary and other old forests as a solution to rainforest loss. RAN’s campaign against Disney promotes the use of FSC “certified” paper from first time industrial primary rainforest logging in Indonesia for their paper supply. THERE IS another option – learning to live without old forest timbers.

“There is no such thing as ‘Ethical Primary Forest Timbers’, and this isn’t some minor difference of opinion over tactics,” explains Ecological Internet’s President Dr. Glen Barry. “The issue is whether enough old forests and other intact terrestrial ecosystems exist to proven the collapse of our shared biosphere. Even FSC which is supposedly the best murderer of old forests gets 60% of their timber and fibers by destroying primary forests. And whether green NGOs collecting money for rainforest protection should support and benefit from primary rainforest logging. Without access to old forests and RAN greenwash, FSC would fall apart. We continue our demands that RAN resign from FSC immediately, or continue to face boycott.”

Ecological Internet’s campaign to get big NGOs (BINGOs) out of the business of supporting primary rainforest and other old forest logging has been going on for 3 years, starting during RAN’s 2008 REVEL. After negotiations with RAN’s management broke down on two occasions, Ecological Internet and tens of thousands of other have protested RAN on nearly a dozen occasions. Promises have been made and broken by RAN to evaluate their FSC affiliation. RAN claims to be changing FSC from within, but there has never been any proof of this. Sadly the once proud RAN has resorted to censorship, character libel, and stonewalling to hide their treacherous forest destruction.

### MORE ###

Large connected expanses of primary rainforests – and other intact old forests and ecosystems of all types – are required to sustain global ecology, minimize abrupt climate change, and provide for continued local community advancement from standing old forests. Best scientific estimates are that large, natural, fully operational ecosystems across at least half of Earth’s surface, water and oceans are required for Earth’s biosphere, all species, and the human family’s survival.

It is ironic this year’s RAN rainforest awardee – anti-corporate author Naomi Klein, who popularized the expression disaster capitalism – supports RAN and FSC’s forest destruction. FSC’s current prying open of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s rainforests for first time primary forest logging is disaster capitalism at its worse. It is troubling Ms. Klein in her apologist writings for RAN’s greenwash can envision a world without oil, tar sands, corporations, and capitalism; but not one without cutting 500 year old trees in millions of year old ecosystems for toilet paper and other consumption.

### ENDS ###

For more information:
Greenpeace and RAN Out of FSC Primary Forest Logging Now!
http://www.facebook.com/oldforests – Ecological Internet’s campaign page

EARTH MEANDERS: The Great Rainforest Heist: Greenpeace, WWF, RAN, FSC and REDD+ Conspiracy to Log Earth’s Last Primary Forests for Their Protection – http://j.mp/RainforestHeist – essay and draft

Farnborough patients denied patient choice

October 11, 2011

This institution belongs to the people and the people do not want it run on a competitive model. — Baroness Bakewell

The NHS is an icon for British people. If you sign the death warrant of the NHS you will not be forgiven. — Baroness Billingham

The British public fear losing an altruistic health service to one which is market based. — Baroness Williams of Crosby

There is a failure towards any responsibility of equality. — Baroness Williams of Crosby

Patients living in Farnborough are being denied patient choice, they are being told they have to go to Basingstoke not Frimley Park which is just up the road.

Patients are not being told they have a choice. If they try to exercise patient choice they are told no, you have to go to Basingstoke. If they really push hard, they may get referred to Surrey PCT but not Frimley Park which means they could be sent anywhere in Surrey.

Instructions have been handed down from Hampshire PCT telling local doctors and dentists they must send their patients to a hospital in Hampshire, not their nearest hospital Frimley Park.

This instruction has nothing to do with medical needs or what is convenient for patients but to satisfy the market.

This is a farce. It is claimed Hampshire PCT has told doctors and dentists in Hampshire they must refer patients to hospitals in Hampshire. This is to ignore medical need and convenience of the patient.

This is market forces determining patient care!

Frimley Park no longer local hospital for Farnborough and Aldershot

It begs the question why local doctors and a dentists are going along with it when it is not in the best interest of their patients.

I have requested a copy of the instruction that Hampshire PCT has issued.

Is what we are seeing a sign of things to come, the final destruction of the NHS?

Block the Bridge

A Time to Dance

October 10, 2011

It is not often I get the chance to listen to the afternoon play on BBC Radio 4, a pity, as it is usually very good.

I caught it in parts today. I was overcome by a strange sense of deja vu. It was earie, I was reminded of The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho.

A lone dancer was dancing on the South Bank in London. She had people entranced. More and more joined in. They started to dance in Manchester, all across the country, then across the world. Then one of the dancers died of exhaustion.

All was narated by a reporter, with others giving their views. Even down to BBC Radio 4 news reports.

I kept doing a double take, was I not listening to the news, not a play. It was so well done.

I had an wierd sense this was Athena.

The drama was improvised.

I’d love to know, had they read The Witch Of Portobello?

A Time To Dance

Egyptian military massacre Coptic Christians

October 10, 2011
Islamist holds up cross and leads crowd in chants against military council

Islamist holds up cross and leads crowd in chants against military council

I was there when it began. Some soldiers got pushed a bit. Then they attacked, beating people and sound of sustained gunfire filled the air. — Sharif Kouddous

Egyptian State TV is completely distorting tonight’s events. Airing interviews of soldiers saying Copts began by beating and shooting them. — Sharif Kouddous

Everyone blasting state media coverage. Aghast that reports were they attacked the army. — Sharif Kouddous

Last night I was getting reports from Sharif Kouddous of the military firing tear gas and live rounds into a crowd of peaceful protesters. Eye witnesses spoke of military vehicles driving at high speed into the crowds. As many as 25 killed, many more injured.

Coptic Christians were protesting against the burning down of a Coptic Church, others had joined their peaceful protest as a show of solidarity and to join in protest against the military. The response of the military was violence directed against the peaceful protesters.

A very odd responce from the leadership of the Coptic Church. They blamed infiltrators for causing the trouble. This is at odds with those who were there and is simply to regurgitate state propaganda. The Coptic church leadership had a bad reputation for being in bed with the previous regime. It appears nothing has changed, they are now getting in bed with the military dictatorship.

Today Islamists and Copts took to the street to show they were united against the military ruling council.

Coptic Christians Massacred in Egypt Protest
Violence and Bloodshed in Egypt: An Eyewitness Account


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