Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

I am Malala

October 15, 2014

I am Malala, was one of the events at the Guildford Book Festival.

I would have attended, only the local Amnesty International group screwed up big time and booked a venue that was far too small. It was oversubscribed with a long waiting list, and that was before she was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Same night was Andrew Marr discussing his satire Head of State, and so Andrew Marr it was.

Malala, when she opened Birmingham library donated a book. The book she donated was The Alchemist, her favourite book and the book that has inspired her.

War correspondent Christina Lamb is co-author of I am Malala. The Zahir is based on Christina Lamb. She was one of the few journalists granted the privilege of interviewing Paulo Coelho on his latest book Adultery. She approached the interview with trepidation, wondering if once again a books based on her. Her fears were unfounded.

Guildford Book Festival 12-19 October 2014 at venues in and around Guildford.

Malala awarded Nobel Peace Prize

October 11, 2014
Malala Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Nobel Peace Prize

We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced. — Malala Yousafzai

I am proud that I am the first Pakistani and I am honoured that I am the first young woman or the first young person to be receiving this award. I’m thankful to my father for not clipping my wings and letting me fly. — Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

For once, a worthy recipient.

Cristina Lamb, co-author with Malala Yousafzai of I Am Malala, is appearing at the Guildford Book Festival. The event is oversubscribed, a long waiting list (which will now grow longer), a totally inadequate venue, and yet the organisers are ignoring all requests to relocate to another venue. They lack even the courtesy to respond. They seem more interested in tweeting drooling, sycophantic tweets promoting boring celebrities.

Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong use Firechat

October 1, 2014
net-savvy Hong Kong activists

net-savvy Hong Kong activists

Occupy Central pro-democracy net-savvy activists in Hong Kong are using Firechat to create local area peer-to-peer networks using bluetooth. This keeps them off the internet.

Note: Firechat is not secure, it does not use encryption.

The Internet’s Own Boy

September 20, 2014

Documentary on internet pioneer and activist Aaron Swartz.

Young Syrian Lenses

September 14, 2014

Documentary Film shot in Aleppo in Syria, between the 30 April and the 9 May 2014.

Activists holed up in Aleppo as seen through a lens.

The life of the media-activists is narrated through daily tragic episodes taking place in free Aleppo, which is under the siege of the brutal Assad regime for the last four years.

The group of young Media-activists from the Halab News Network emerges to be a real brigade of the Syrian Resistance against the Assad regime, they don’t use AK-47, they use cameras and passion.

When we focus on the brutality of ISIS and Assad, we must not forget there are ordinary people trapped between the two.

In fighting ISIS, we do not ally ourselves with Assad, as to do so is to betray the Syrian people.

This Land is Mine

August 17, 2014

Wonderful animation from talented graphic artist and animator Nina Paley that exposes the Zionist lie that God was an estate agent who handed Palestine to the Jews as His Chosen People.

Nina Paley uses a Zionist song as the background to her animation.

Israelite

Israelite

If the Jews can lay claim to Palestine, then so too can the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Turks and the British.

In the chaos in the aftermath of World War Two, European Jews practising terror and ethnic cleansing seized Palestine. Prior to then, Jews, Christians and Arabs lived together in harmony.

The ultimate victor to lay claim to Palestine will be the Angel of Death.

To fully appreciate the animation, please read the description of all the characters by Nina Paley.

Anglican Vicar of Baghdad: “Child I baptised cut in half by ISIS”

August 10, 2014

Warning: This is pretty horrific to read.

Andrew White at St George's

Canon Andrew White at St George’s

The five-year-old son of a founding member of Baghdad’s Anglican church was cut in half during an attack by the Islamic State on the Christian town of Qaraqosh.

In an interview today, an emotional Canon Andrew White told ACNS that he christened the boy several years ago, and that the child’s parents had named the lad Andrew after him.

“I’m almost in tears because I’ve just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half,” he said. “I baptised his child in my church in Baghdad2. This little boy, they named him after me – he was called Andrew.”

The fact that Andrew’s brother was named George after St George’s Anglican Church in Iraq’s capital demonstrates the strong ties the family had to the church there. The boy’s father had been a founder member of the church back in 1998 when the Canon had first come to Baghdad. Canon White added, “This man, before he retired north to join his family was the caretaker of the Anglican church.”

Though the move north should have proved safer for the Iraqi Christian family, the Islamic State made sure that it became a place of terror. “This town of Qaraqosh is a Christian village so they knew everybody there was part of their target group,” said Canon White. “They [the Islamic State] attacked the whole of the town. They bombed it, they shot at people.”

The Islamic State group captured Qaraqosh overnight Wednesday/Thursday after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.

The boy’s family, along with many other townspeople, have now fled to Irbil. However, news reports suggest this may be the Islamic State’s next destination.

Anglicans at the forefront of relief

The violent takeover of parts of Iraq by the Islamic State is threatening to bring about what the UN has said would be a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the beleaguered nation.

Canon Andrew White said that Anglicans there have been working hard to provide a lot of support for the Christians who have fled Mosul and Nineveh to the north, as well as the many other minority groups targeted by the Islamic State.

“Anglicans are literally at the forefront of bringing help in this situation and there’s no-one else,” he said adding that the church is supplying much-needed food, water, accommodation and other relief items thanks to financial contributions from supporters overseas. The church’s activities are led by a Muslim, Dr Sarah Ahmed.

“We need two things: prayer and money. With those two we can do something. Without those we can do nothing.”

Those wanting to donate can do so at http://frrme.org/. As regards prayer, Canon White said, “I have three ‘P’s that I always mention which is for Protection, Provision and Perseverance. We need protection, we need to provide for those people and we need to keep going.”

It’s clear from social media posts on Facebook and Twitter that members of the Anglican Communion right across the world are praying for this situation. Many have also indicated their support for persecuted Christians in Iraq by changing their social media avatars to the Arabic symbol for ‘N’ denoting Nazarene which ISIS has been using to identify Christian homes.

Leaders speak out

In recent days, Anglican leaders from countries including Egypt, Wales, Brazil and South Africa have all expressed their dismay at the situation unfolding in Iraq.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, issued the following statement today on the situation in Iraq, shortly before he travelled from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea.

“The horrific events in Iraq rightly call our attention and sorrow yet again. Christians and other religious minorities are being killed and face terrible suffering.

“What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people’s right to freedom of religion and belief, as set out under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom’s doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history.

“The international community must document human rights abuses being committed in northern Iraq so that future prosecutions can take place. It is important and necessary for the international community to challenge the culture of impunity which has allowed these atrocities to take place.

“With the world’s attention on the plight of those in Iraq, we must not forget that this is part of an evil pattern around the world where Christians and other minorities are being killed and persecuted for their faith. Only this week I received an email from a friend in Northern Nigeria about an appalling attack on a village, where Christians were killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Such horrific stories have become depressingly familiar in countries around the world, including Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

“We must continue to cry to God for peace and justice and security throughout the world. Those suffering such appalling treatment in Iraq are especially in my prayers at this time.”

Other Christian leaders have also spoken up about the situation in Iraq including Roman Catholics, who, in England and Wales, have designated Sunday, 9 August, as a Day of Prayer for Christians in Iraq. The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch yesterday wrote to the UN, following an emergency meeting of Patriarchs, calling on the UN Security Council to “fulfil their responsibilities in stopping this genocide”.

Notes

1. The brutal, extremist group, which claims to have fighters from across the world, announced the creation of a “caliphate” – an Islamic state – across its claimed territory in Iraq and Syria a month ago. Learn more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28116033

2. Baghdad is part of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf http://www.cypgulf.org which is part of The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, a Member Church of the Anglican Communion.

Originally published by Anglican Communion News Service.

A common cry of Christians not only in Iraq, but across the Middle East, is why has the West forgotten us. That cry could be particularly aimed at churches.

The last few days, the atrocities committed by ISIS, appears to have woken the world up. That documented by Canon Andrew White merely the tip of a very horrific nightmare.

I was shocked when I saw the Kurds withdraw, as they are the only ways capable of taking on ISIS.

At least US, UK, and France had finally decided to act, with both military action against ISIS and humanitarian aid to those most in need.

The Kurds urgently need heavy weapons, ammunition.

The West should have intervened after the First Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was defeated, but the West allowed him to regain control.

With the second Gulf War, the West destabilised the country.

Al Maliki is a disaster as Prime Minister and must be removed.

The atrocities being committed by Israel in Gaza, has led directly to support for ISIS. ISIS has already mounted incursion into Lebanon.

If Israel defeats Hamas, into that void will step ISIS.

In London, Islamist supporters of ISIS, now control a London estate, with the ISIS flag flying over the entrance. Islamists from UK and France are fighting with ISIS. Now UK and France have mounted military attacks on ISIS, we can expect those Islamists if they return, to carry out terrorist attacks in UK and France.

It is wrong, as the media does, to refer to ISIS as a terrorist organisation. They are an insurgency that carries out terrorist atrocities.

Westminster Paedophile Ring

July 2, 2014
Cyril Smith

Cyril Smith

Politics is the last refuge of child sex abuse deniers. The police dealt with this and changed the culture, local authorities are beginning to change the way they deal with it, the media are keen to investigate it. — Simon Danczuk

In the 1980s, a Tory backbencher Geoffrey Dickens with a track record of exposing paedophiles, threatened to name names in high places. He had been burgled a couple of times, had death threats. He did not name names, instead, he handed a detailed dossier to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan. And what did Leon Brittan do? Seemingly nothing, though Leon Brittan has repeatedly changed his story.

Until recently, he claimed he knew nothing, denied all knowledge of the dossier. Today, he released a statement saying he handed the dossier to his officials and no evidence was found. But surely, do you not hand the dossier to the police, and as Home Secretary call for the allegations contained in the dossier to be investigated? Apparently not. A second statement was then issued, claiming the police were informed.

The dossier has gone missing.

Activities of Cyril Smith were well known. They reached the ear of then party leader David Steel. David Steel, personal friend of brutal dictator of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu. What did he do? Er, nothing, he did not think it to be a matter worth pursuing.

The Cabinet Office blocked the name of who had nominated Cyril Smith for a knighthood. The person who made that nomination was none other than David Steel.

A Labour MP in the 1980s, handed to the authorities, a detailed dossier of paedophiles. No action was taken.

Lord McAlpine used money, power, influence and intimidation, to stop any inquiry into his activities.

Today, on World at One, Simon Danczuk, who has written a book on Cyril Smith, was subject to a very unpleasant interview for desiring an inquiry into the Westminster Paedophile Ring and the missing dossier.

Simon Danczuk has been put under pressure, not to name names.

Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris were active for five decades. They were untouchable. They could only have been untouchable if they had friends in high places.

A lot of questions. We are not seeing many answers.

Aid workers at risk

July 1, 2014

Aid workers in conflict zones are at risk of kidnap, of being killed. Now they face a further risk, prosecution for aiding terrorists.

And it is not only aid workers. We have seen journalists targeted in Egypt for talking to the Muslim Brotherhood.

It is contrary to International Law to deny medical treatment to an enemy combatant. Aid organisations face prosecution if they do.

Hamas is deemed a terrorist organisation because Israel deem them to be. This has forced most aid agencies to pull out of Gaza.

A school in Gaza, is providing music, is teaching no-violent resistance. Lack of funding means they will be probably be forced to close.

ISIS now controls vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. Canon Andrew White runs St George’s Church in Baghdad. They run a clinic, provide food, education. They do not discriminate. Canon Andrew White is a peace negotiator. Does this mean he cannot talk to ISIS or the Sunnis linked to ISIS?

Banks act as a conduit for money for aid organisations. Fearing prosecution for money laundering, they are now refusing to transfer money.

Canon Andrew White at Alton Maltings

June 20, 2014
Andrew White Alton book signing

Andrew White Alton book signing

I never knew Alton had a Maltings. Signposting needed from the town centre.

An excellent job done on the interior of the building. Strangely, you enter at rafter level. A large meeting hall (ideal for concerts) and a cafe. I did not explore the lower levels, but was told contained meeting rooms.

Tea was served in paper cups. Not good for the environment. The coffee I was told was single sourced.

Following a blessing in Aramaic, Canon Andrew White started by giving the background of how he came to be in Iraq.

At age ten, he was asked by his teacher, what would he like to be.

An anaesthetist and a priest.

You cannot be both, and you are a Pentecostalist, and they do not have priests.

Andrew was an anaesthetist at St Thomas in London, where he headed the cardiac arrest unit, then gave it up to be a priest.

Christian theology he did not find very interesting,and changed to oriental studies, part of which included studying in Israel at an Ultra-Orthodox University.

He became a curate, then a priest, and was then sent to Coventry, to be part of the peace and reconciliation unit. It had until then focussed on Europe. With his background in the Middle East, it changed focus to Middle East.

He was sent to Iraq, to St George’s Church, an Anglican Church that was derelict.

At first he was not wanted, you are bombing us. No, it is not I who is bombing you.

He had a minder. One day, the minder told him he was invited to dinner. He was to be guest of the two sons of Saddam Hussein. He at first decided to decline the invitation, but his minder pleaded with him to say yes, else he and his family would be executed.

Originally, St George served the diplomats, the military, but when it proved too dangerous, the Iraqis.

First week one hundred, second week two hundred, third week, three hundred, fourth week four hundred. Not bad growth rate, one hundred a week. Eventually six and a half thousand.

More than just a church. A food distribution centre, a school, a clinic.

Several types of service: wacky for the children, Anglican for the Embassy, very formal Catholic for the Iraqis.

The service at St George’s is in Aramaic

Iraq had a very good education system, Iraqis were well educated. It has now collapsed, those with education and the means, have fled the country, leaving behind the poor and uneducated.

More than looking after the church, also involved in peace and reconciliation.

Prior to 2003, there was not a problem of sectarian violence. One was an Iraqi. Now one is a Sunni or a Shia. Under Saddam Hussein, Sunni minority ran the country, now it is a Shia majority.

ISIS aka ISIL is an insurgency and a terrorist organisation. It is well funded, paymasters are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

The country has de-facto broken into three.

In the last year, over 1200 of the congregation of St George has been killed. In the last two weeks, 1000 have been killed.

People fled Baghdad as deemed not safe, back to their homeland, back to Mosul. Minerva is a Christian area. It is this area that has been overrun by ISIS.

Churches need to take much more account of what is happening in the Middle East.

Next week, Andrew returns to Iraq, to begin reconciliation talks with Sunni leaders.

Running the church, its various programmes, reconciliation, all costs money. It is only made possible by the generosity of people in the UK. If every church, held but one collection for the work that is being done, it would make a huge difference.

Sales of books went very well.

The meeting had been publicised in other churches. Farnham Parish Church had a poster in the porch. More though needs to be done communicating with the wider community. The press invited.

The dire situation in Iraq will only improve if the government changes, and is inclusive of all Iraqis, including the Christians, who are the minority of the minority.

The talk was filmed, and it is hoped once edited, to have uploaded to the net possibly as early as Sunday. It will be added here once available.

Andrew White is author of several books, including Vicar of Baghdad and Faith under Fire.

Andrew White is recipient of the Wilberforce Award.


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