Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Save the Children honour Tony Blair for his ‘humanitarian work’

November 20, 2014

This is sickening, (alleged) war criminal and profiteer Tony Blair honoured by Save the Children.

They not only gave him this award, but it was at a glitzy stomach churning charity event.

I am lost for words, offensive, disgusting, appalling, sickening ….

This is a man who hobnobs with some of the world’s worst dictators and corrupt politicians, sleaze does not begin to describe Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi and Hosni Mubarak count as his cronies.

His latest has been to advise brutal ruler of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev how to sanitize human rights abuses and killing of unarmed protesters, for a retainer of £7 million a year.

The revolving door, the political-media-charity establishment. Chief executive of Save the Children (UK) is Justin Forsyth, who was an adviser to both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He was appointed in 2010 on a salary of £160,000.

Save the Children done themselves a huge amount of damage with this glitzy charity bash.

I will be telling a local Save the Children charity shop exactly what I think of them, and I urge others to do the same.

Paulo Coelho and his wife Christina help support an orphanage in Rio to support the kids from the favelas. I do not see them being honoured by Save the Children. Nor the many unsung heroes who work in the field, nor the volunteers who man their charity shops.

Save the Children has lost all credibility with this award.

In Revolution, Russell Brand tells of going to a glitzy Hollywood charity bash, and being told it was mandatory for the success of his career.

The latest Band Aid circus regurgitation, a line up of a bunch of tax dodgers. Adele refused to take part. That it was reelased on tacky X Factor, says it all.

A group of African musicians have recorded Africa Stop Ebola to raise money. Was you aware of that?

If you really want to help, make a donation to MSF.

In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein documents the abuses by Big Business green groups, including oil drilling on a nature reserve.

This is why I do not support Big Business charities and green groups.

If we want real change, assuming you are not happy with money being transferred from the poor the the rich, the trashing of the planet, then effect real change.

Children lead the anti-Mubarak chants

February 8, 2011

Last Wednesday and Thursday Mubarak Rent-a-Thugs tried to reclaim Tahrir Square. They were beaten back and Tahrir Square was held. With the arrest of journalists, lawyers and human rights activists, there was the fear the ground was being prepared for a bloodbath. Friday the Muslim Brotherhood mobilised their supporters and Tahrir Square was secured.

Sunday, the Day of Martyrs, Muslims and Christians embraced in Tahrir Square. It has once again taken on a carnival atmopshere, men, women and children.

A media centre has been established. People are encouraged to download their footage. This is then uploaded to the wider world. Lampposts are tapped into, power points for people to charge their mobile phones.

We have seen Frank Wisner, the Mubarak bagman in action. He has argued against democracy in the Arab World. His father, also Frank Wisner, when at the CIA organised at least three coups, including the coup in Iran against a democratic government which brought in the Shah – Arbenz of Guatemala (1954) and Mossadeq of Iran (1953).

Wisner the Mubarak Bagman is regarded as the architect of the torture and extraordinary rendition with the help of Torturers R US in Egypt.

The dominoes fall. Who next, the craven Palestinian Authority, the evil ayatollahs and mullahs in Iran, the corrupt House of Saud?

Egypt in revolt
Suleiman: The CIA’s man in Cairo
For Israel in Egypt, A Delicate Balancing Act
US envoy’s business link to Egypt
The Empire’s Bagman
Egypt’s military-industrial complex
Media Crackdown
The Empire’s Bagman
Protests Demanding Mubarak’s Resignation Grow Stronger
Rebel Diaz – Which Side Are You On?
Egypt: A New Spirit of National Pride
Egyptian people give Obama and US a lesson in democracy
Thirteen Senses – Into The Fire
Today we are all Egyptians
Middle East Peace Process
A million Egyptians take to the streets
We lost our fear
US urges reform in Egypt?
Egypt: One by one the dominoes fall

Suffer the Children

December 20, 2010
Suffer the Children - Andrew White

Suffer the Children - Andrew White

One does not have to spend a great deal of time in the presence of Canon Andrew White, aka the Vicar of Baghdad, to learn what drives him: His strength of faith. His love of Iraq and its people. His love of St George’s Church of Mesopotamia. And above all else his love of the children in his life and the love they have for him.

Suffer the Children is an account of the children in his life, told from his and their perspective.

I was at a dinner with Canon Andrew White and picked up four of his books

Iraq: Searching for Hope (2005)
– By The Rivers of Babylon (2008)
The Vicar of Baghdad (2009)
– Suffer the Children (2010)

the profits of which go to FRRME, of which Canon Andre White is president.

Suffer the Children, his latest, was one of those I picked up.

Talking to him before the dinner and listening to what he had to say after dinner, one thing that came across very strongly was his faith and the love of his people, especially his children. There is a special place in his heart for his children.

Suffer the Children looks at the children he knows, starting with his own strange childhood. The children are given their own voice.

We all have a childhood. Canon Andrew White is no exception. He first tells us of his own childhood and growing up. He grew up in a religious household, it was where he acquired his faith and it has never left him. If nothing else an unusual childhood. Learning of anti-Semitics, he dressed as a policeman and went and guarded a local Jewish cemetery. He spend a lot of time with elderly friends, looking after them and handling their chores. On a Sunday he went to three different churches. From an early age he knew he wished to go into medicine and be a priest. He was told he could not do both, but has managed to do both, first studying medicine, then for the priesthood.

A powerful and very moving book.

Signed copy! For my lovely friend Sian. Merry Christmas.

St George Foundation

December 16, 2010
St George Foundation

St George Foundation

I was at a Victorian Christmas Carol Concert at St Mark’s Church. A wonderful production by the children of nearby St Mark’s Primary School, all in Victorian dress. The collection was for St George Foundation, something to do with children, but beyond that I took little notice.

On my way out I had a brief chat with Rev Ian Hedges, thanked him for a wonderful evening and said I was once again very impressed by the children of St Mark’s Primary School.

Ian was chatting to a man, and I do not know why, but we got into into conversation about piracy off the coast of Sierra Leone and the destruction of the inshore fisheries by EU-subsided fishing off the coast.

It turned out he was Philip Dean, founder of St George Foundation.

I knew the destruction was bad, but I did not know how bad. Philip told me how on the local market there used to be fish half the length of a man, now they were lucky to catch fish barely the length of a hand. The fish catch had plumetted. There is also a problem of illegal fishing by South East Asian boats which the government it trying very hard to stamp out, but they don’t really have the navy power to do so. I was shocked how close the fishing vessels came. A mere couple of hundred metres offshore . Fisherman find their nets are full of the detritus of Western civilisation. What was a sustainable fishing industry has been destroyed. The fisherman have now resorted to the more lucrative business of piracy. [see Somali-argh]

I suggested he contacted Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who has launched a sustainable fishing campaign, with a tie-in Channel 4 series in the New Year. Maybe Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall would like to see what EU-subsidised industrial fishing has done to the sustainable Sierra Leone in-shore fishing. [Dumping dead fish in the sea]

Philip was in Sierra Leone and was shocked by what he found, a war-torn country, children living on the street, many of the girls forced to work as child prostitutes. Most people would have tut tut and gone home. But not Philip, out of his own pocket he decided to rent a house to house and feed the children.

He managed to find enough for a year’s rent, but he wanted to have a buffer of three month’s financial security and his resources did not stretch that far. He prayed and prayed. He cursed God when the money was not forthcoming, then an order came through (Philip has his own business), the money was exactly the amount he needed. He decided to take no profit from the order, it all went to cover the three month buffer.

Is there such a thing as divine intervention? Philip believes so. Taking children off the street does not make him very popular. One day he had to change his travel plans due to threats from local gangsters who were none to happy that he had taken their working girls off the street. As a result he found himself at a hotel where he would not otherwise be. He found himself chatting to the only White people at his hotel. It turned they did not expect to be there either, there had been a problem with their original hotel. He explained why he was there, and that he needed to build a house to house all his kids. They told him they were in Sierra Leone looking for a project to support. They offered to build his house for him, an offer he readily accepted.

Why therefore, I asked, was there no mention of your work when the collection was taken? To my surprise he said they already know. I looked at him in amazement.

He then told me when he got back from Sierra Leone he realised the immensity of the task in hand was not something he could support or finance on his own. He needed help. He set up St George Foundation as it was a name everyone could identify with and St George’s Day, 23 April, could be a focus for fundraisng.

He wrote to every school in Hampshire. The one that responded, and responded with enthusiasm, was St Mark’s. He told me how all the children at St Mark’s ‘adopted’ a child at St George Foundation. At Christmas they each gave a Christmas present. He said a pallet had been sent out by container in September and had just arrived.

One of his projects was rice growing. I never knew Sierra Leone grew rice, but apparently before the civil war the country was a major rice grower. In the war everything had been destroyed, including the tools. The World Bank did what it is best at, destroyed what was left of the local rice growing by dumping subsidised US rice on the country.

Thanks to the US, EU, and World Bank, the country has seen its two staple food supplies destroyed. Now dependent upon imports, the price has soared.

St George Foundation was getting through 1 tonne
a month of rice, something they could not afford. Hence the rice growing project, the surplus being sold to raise money.

St George Foundation not only provides a safe environment for the children to live, it also helps to send them to school. The good news is that two of the children may go to university.

They have also been able to reunite many of the children with their families.

A few of the children were brought over to England. A visit to Guildford happened to coincide with the Queen handing out Maundy Thurday money at Guildford Cathedral. Meeting the Queen the children must have thought they had gone to heaven.

I was very much reminded of Canon Andrew White, aka Vicar of Baghdad, and his love of the children of Baghdad and how he has rescued many from the streets, a small group he brought on a visit to England. I mentioned the work he does and suggested reading Suffer the Children.

As I thought of this I also thought of Paulo Coelho and his wife Christina and the support they give to the street kids in Rio.

As these words are typed, I think of Charles Dickens and how he higlighted the plight of Victorian children, which brings me back to the little urchins who made such a wonderful evening with their Victorian Carol Concert.

I am pleased to report that the collection for St George Foundation taken at the Victorian Christmas Carol Concert raised £200.

St George Foundation can be found on facebook.

Synchronicity: The coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer


November 16, 2010
children - Illustration by Ken Crane

children - Illustration by Ken Crane

What is treason?

Walking down the street, the prophet asked: “aren’t we all children of the same Eternal Father?”

The multitude agreed. And the prophet went on: “and if that is so, why do we betray our brother?”

A boy who was watching asked his father: “what does betray mean?”

“It means to trick your companion in order to gain a certain advantage.”

“And why do we betray our companion?” insisted the boy.

“Because in the past somebody began all that. Ever since then, nobody knows how to stop the wheel. We are always betraying or being betrayed.”

“Then I won’t betray anyone,” said the boy.

And so he did. He grew up and suffered a lot during his life, but kept his promise.

His children suffered less and endured fewer hardships.

His grandchildren did not suffer at all.

In search of rain

After four years of drought in the little village, the parish priest gathered everybody to make a pilgrimage to the mountain; there they would join in communal prayer to ask for rain.

In the middle of the group the priest noticed a boy all wrapped up in warm clothes and covered by a raincoat.

“Are you crazy?” he asked. “It hasn’t rained in this region for five years and you’ll die of the heat climbing the mountain!”

“I’ve got a cold, father. If we are going to pray to God for rain, can you imagine the climb back down? The downpour is going to be so heavy that it’s better to be prepared.”

And only after these words a loud roar was heard in the sky and the first drops began to fall. The faith of a boy was enough to work a miracle that thousands of men were praying for.

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Also see

The children of Iraq have names

Rebuilding the world

Buying time

What’s So Amazing About Grace

Why Forgive?

The Fifth Mountain

Suffer the Children

The children of Iraq have names

November 8, 2010

The children of Iraq have names.
They are not the nameless ones.

The children of Iraq have faces.
They are not the faceless ones.

The children of Iraq do not wear Saddam´s face.
They each have their own face.

The children of Iraq have names.
They are not all called Saddam Hussein.

The children of Iraq have hearts.
They are not the heartless ones.

The children of Iraq have dreams.
They are not the dreamless ones.

The children of Iraq have hearts that pound.
They are not meant to be statistics of war.

The children of Iraq have smiles.
They are not the sullen ones.

The children of Iraq have twinkling eyes.
They are quick and lively with their laughter.

The children of Iraq have hopes.
They are not the hopeless ones.

The children of Iraq have fears.
They are not the fearless ones.

The children of Iraq have names.
Their names are not collateral damage.

What do you call the children of Iraq?
Call them Omar, Mohamed, Fahad.

Call them Marwa and Tiba.
Call them by their names.

But never call them statistics of war.
Never call them collateral damage.

— David Krieger

This beautiful poem by David Krieger is reproduced by Canon Andrew White in his book Suffer the Children (2010).

David Krieger is editor of Today Is Not a Good Day for War, a book of poetry.

Canon Andrew White, who I recently had the honour and privilege of meeting, is the Vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad.


August 3, 2010

are the Most amazing creatures.

Come about to explore,
to play the game,


so free and playful
are still children when they die.

In old age
they are still young
still the same beings
going back to where they came from
for another beginning,
another chance
to quest for the eternal freedom
from bondage of the cycles of life and death.

— Carolena Sabah

Carolena Sabah starred as Athena in The Witch of Portobello based on the book of the same name by Paulo Coelho.

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