A short comment on the Gaza conflict

I think one thing we have to understand is that it is the politicians that are screwing over the citizens of Palestine and Israel.  Hamas, Israeli government, US, UK, all other silent western governments are ABSOLUTELY HAPPY to see war and destruction so long as they have their own personal gain. I urge you not to take a political side or support a political ideology.

The ONLY way forward is reconciliation between people.

Fun, friendship and God at YMCA Europe Festival

Yesterday was Day 4 of the YMCA Europe Festival in Prague.  It was a ‘quieter’ day in many respects for the Mission Possible team I am working with.  We had no formal programmes but the day was still full of non-stop opportunities to meet people and share with them a little bit of what makes us tick, and receive some inspiration back too.

The theme of the day was the ‘City’ and all 5000 participants were given the opportunity to get out into Prague, see some of the sights and visit different aspects of the YMCA’s work in Prague.  It was on top of the huge hill that overlooks Prague that I met probably my favourite people of the day – a group of friendly and kind-hearted residents from Southampton YMCA.  Unfortunately, the few minutes I spent with them meant I lost the rest of my team for 45 minutes in central Prague!  But they were eager to help me find them and that really touched me.

I also met Hani from Gaza YMCA, helped the volunteers clearing up the dining hall for a couple of hours, hung out with the unique Sarah Prescott, enjoyed a great Stop Poverty concert, met loads of other great people and our team supported the Hong Kong delegation who were leading a service in the Tent Chapel – they had seen how great we were at engaging young people with our inclusive ice breakers that they asked us to invite people to their service – we filled the Tent Chapel for them 🙂  It is quite inspiring to see that what most people desire is to be included, certainly a lesson to take back home.

Today we have 3 formal programmes culminating in the worship night.  It’s gonna be a long tiring day but I can’t wait for it to get started.

An excited YMCA Black Country festival goer at the Stop Poverty concert:

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Racism and Propaganda

Just a quick post with a couple of examples of the huge mountain of propaganda and racism that stands between the people of Israel and Palestine and a peaceful co-existence.

  1. The first example is a story recently published in Israel’s oldest daily newspaper.  It describes how Israelis (who are occupying Palestinian land) have persuaded the army to prevent Palestinians (with legal work permits) to board the same buses as them and there are plans for the Palestinians to be provided with separate buses.  This should really set alarm bells ringing – have we seen segregation on public transport anywhere before?  See the report here.
  2. The second example is a shocking report by an Israeli organisation that observe the messages that Palestinian children receive from their media.  Palestinian Media Watch report that during the 8 day conflict Hamas broadcast disturbing ideological messages to the people of Gaza, the tamest of which is ‘Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.’  If you’re interested in the full report click here.

There’s a long way to go to genuine peace and genuine justice…..

How would we like it?

Maybe this picture gives a tiny clue as to why the Palestinian people feel a tad oppressed.

I suggest the only way forward is to give half of Britain to the Palestinian people to set-up their own homeland, and then over the next 50 years allow them to reduce native British occupied land to a few towns in Yorkshire and the Blackpool seafront, and cut us off from the rest of the world.

How would we like it?

Feeling disturbed and helpless

I’m so disturbed by developments in Gaza. Please, please, please don’t assume that Israel are just defending themselves. It must be horrific for Israeli citizens to take cover because of rocket fire. But multiply that horror 100 times and you’re maybe close to what Gazan civilians are experiencing.

Please watch this video and put yourself or your loved ones in the positions of those involved. This violence on both sides has to stop but with the US giving their full backing to Israel’s action I can only see hundreds of Palestinians being killed in coming weeks.

Wounded children

Clever, clever Israel getting busy whilst the world is distracted by Libya and Japan.  This story not even in the top-6 BBC news items this morning.

Gaza Strip:  Israel launches air strikes

Also, with all the other news going on I seem to have missed the UN Resolution stating that Israel can carry out indiscriminate air strikes on children.  Clumsy me.

Apologies for being emotive and sarcastic.

Extreme Weather Conditions of Solihull: Part 5

My series on the immoderate meteorological events in the suburban conurbation that is Solihull has come full circle.  It is almost two years since ‘The Great Drift of 07’ which led to 17 members of the Womens Institute being trapped in John Lewis for at least 15 minutes.  Since then I have written about the floods, freezing fog and drizzle that have inflicted these brave people with hardship.

And today is no different.  Certainly not as bad as the Great Drift but there were at least 2cm of snow covering the pavement this morning.  Understandably there was pure disgust at the school gates.  What were the council thinking leaving it up to individual schools to make a decision about closure!?  It is very dangerous out there.  I expect there will be no bread left in the shops by the morning and it is only a matter of time before the water pipes freeze up. 

It looks like we’ll have to go to Starbucks to keep ourselves nourished and warm.  The staff of this rock of society always manage to get into work.  Which is good because we wouldn’t want the profiteering at the expense of Ethiopian farmers to stop, would we?  Or prevent some of their well earned revenue from reaching the good cause that is the Israeli Arms Fund as they had to spend a lot of money this Christmas.  I heard they sent a lot of presents over to their neighbours in Gaza over the festivities this year.

You know how easy it is to get carried away with spending during the holiday season so can I urge you all to dig out your snow shoes and a ski poles and make your way to your nearest Starbucks lest the evil stop.