Amnesty – fifty years today

Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International, lighting the first Amnesty candle – the small light of hope.

Thank you Amnesty!  You really have changed the world.  Because of your continuous fight against injustice everywhere the world is now a better place.  Here’s wishing for the time to come when the world no longer needs you.

Advertisements

Deporting Rania

I just stumbled upon an appalling piece of news.  The Home Office wants to deport  a severely disabled five-year old girl.

Brief background . . . she is half-blind, has epilepsy and quadraplegic cerebral palsy.  She came to the UK from Algeria on a six-month visa to give her mother a break and seek treatment for her condition but because of the seriousness of her condition, she was allowed to extend her stay in order to receive further treatment.  She has been staying with her aunt and uncle who apparently want to adopt her.  Now I don’t know the circumstances regarding her birth parents but I do know there is still a lot of stigma attached to epilepsy in Algeria so although we can all speculate, t’is sufficeth to say, mothers will do anything to protect their child.

The little girl is doing really well in our compassionate country and we should be proud of that.  She has overcome many difficulties and is responding well to treatment.  And she is attending mainstream school which is remarkable in itself.  Her family here are dedicated to her but if she is sent back to her home country, there is a very real possibility that she will not survive.

I know the morally-challenged hard-faces at the Daily Fail and readers thereof will be sneering and accusing her family of nothing more than trying to get free NHS treatment but even if that’s true, so what?  So bloody what?  Again, what loving parent wouldn’t move mountains to improve the quality of their child’s life?

Basically, not only is the poor girl fighting a life-threatening condition but she is now facing deportation to a country that a) doesn’t have the means to treat her condition and b)  still widely believes that epileptic fits are caused by demonic possession.

Deporting this child would be cruel and shameful.  And the stupidly frustrating thing is, it’s just not necessary.  Please sign the petition here and urge the dreadful Theresa May to reconsider her ruthless decision to deport little Rania.

No-one is Illegal

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

I’ve been wondering recently whether to put a Kindle on my birthday wish list.  It’s not my birthday yet folks so don’t panic but you have to realise that in my house I have to start dropping the hints early-on and at regular intervals so they become fixed into the minds of all my family because that way there’s a tiny, teeny chance that I’ll get at least one thing that I want.  Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Anyway, these kindle things.  They’re popping up in more and more places.  Every time I go into the rest room at work I see yet another colleague with lunch in one hand, kindle in the other.  And at swimming club, the bloke who sits next to me has one.  My friend bought one recently too because she says they’re great for taking on holiday and I have to say, that’s probably the biggest advantage.  It must be nice to read a book by the pool or on the beach without said book falling apart due to sand, beer,  salt-water, tequila’s, sun-cream, ice-cream, wine etc. getting all over it.

So Book or Kindle?  Let’s see . . .

  • Convenience – the holiday thing as mentioned above.  But at least you can share books.  I suspect that not many people would be prepared to lend out their Kindles.  You finish one book on holiday and then you lend it to your friend/sister/whoever and they lend you one back that they’ve just finished.  And there are book shelves in most hotels anyway where visitors take and leave books so you needn’t really take any books with you unless there’s a particular book you want to read.
  • Takes up less space.  Yes, but my book shelf wouldn’t look half as homely with one little kindle sat there instead of my musty collection of books.  In fact it would look really quite lonely.
  • Much easier to read in bed.  Got me there.  I find it really hard to hold my book when I’m led in bed, especially if it’s a large book or a hard-back.  I just can’t get comfy and my wrists start to ache after a while from trying to keep the book open with my thumb.
  • E-books are cheaper.  Yes but it would take a lot of e-book purchases to cancel out the initial cost of the Kindle.  In any case, there are second-hand book shops.  Used books are cheap.  And what about the little corner book shops?  Amazon, on-line Waterstones and what-not have already started to cripple the independents.  How can they ever hope to compete with a Kindle.  And there are the public libraries.  Oh, erm Gideon and Cammy-boy are getting rid of those aren’t they.  Well the central libraries will still be there (I think. Hope).  I can’t see those libraries lending out Kindles although I’m sure there will come a time when libraries are lending out e-books.
  • Kindles make great gifts.  Well that depends on how much you want to spend.  I often buy books as gifts for friends and family.  I love buying people books for their birthday.  It’s  so easy.  You just choose something that’s appropriate to their views or personality and they love that you’ve given them something so thoughtful.  And I love the ritual of writing a witty, personal message on the inside cover then dating and signing it.  How can I do that if the Kindle replaces real books?

Well, there you go.  I think I’ve just talked myself out of abandoning the lovely, pulpy book for a Kindle.  Yes, for me there’s just something about the good, old-fashioned book that can never be replaced by electronics.  It’s the smell.  The feel.  The look.  I love my books.  And I love my beloved book shelf that displays everything I’ve read over the years – each book instantly there to refer to, talk about, hold in my hand and marvel over how much I loved it.

But . . . . wait just one cotton-picking liddle minute you silly girlie.  You’ve forgotten one crucial factor.

Yes, how could I forget the most important issue?  The impact.  THE impact.  Me, who named myself after our lovely planet and consistently banged on about the protection thereof, has recklessly failed to consider the environmental impact factor of  both the Kindle and the book!

[Please turn away now while I partake of some serious self-beratement]

So I did some research and t’would appear that although the production of one single Kindle uses up tons more energy than the production of a seemingly pure and innocent book, from hereon-in it gets much worse for the poor book.  In fact, the pulped version turns into a eco-nightmare compared to the e-book. I won’t go into detail because it hurts too much but trust me, I’m mortified.

Gutted folks.  Truly gutted.  But I have to stay true to my eco-me and so, taking all things into consideration, I have come to the decision that (sob, sniff) the books are not as kind to the environment as Kindles are and it is with the greatest of sulking begrudgement that all my future book purchases will be either used books or e-books.

When I get my Kindle that is.

One Love

Bob Marley

6th February 1945 – 11th May 1981 

Aged 36

Me only have one ambition, y’know. I only have one thing I really like to see happen. I like to see mankind live together – black, white, Chinese, everyone – that’s all.

That’s all.

Not much to ask for.

Simple.  Basic.  Powerful.

Bob Marley – a spiritual force with a desire for peace and justice that was expressed with depth in his music.

I hope you’re jamming somewhere beautiful Mr Marley.  After thirty years without you on this good Earth, your legendary music is still playing.

I Love This

The Power of Words

Change your words. 

Change the world.

Bluebells, Caves, Lakes . . . and not a lot more

Well what do you expect when we get two long weekends back-to-back and the sun shining throughout?  Nothing to do with the fact that my synapses are refusing to fire up and I can’t seem to put anything together that would be worthy of reading.  What’s that saying?  The mind is willing but the . . . erm . . . never mind.  The photo’s will have to do – taken in Rydal Water – a family favourite that we visit often over the seasons.  Although there have been some treason-like mutterings from within recently that go something like . . . not there again!  Can’t we think of somewhere different?  And that’s just the husband!  It’s mutiny I tells ya!