Friday, 24 January 2014

Buddhist terror

seems like an oxymoron. That's largely because the likes of the Dalai Lama and his celebrity admirers in the West have given the faith good PR. But terror has never been alien to those of the Buddhist faith. The Buddhist clergy in Japan were strong supporters of the regime there in the 1930s and 1940s. Japan of course has never had a Muslim population, and even today there is almost zero immigration, so the "Muslim question" doesn't really arise there.

In Burma things are rather different. In the 1990s and during most of the first decade of this century it seemed as though intervention would be the only hope for the people of Burma, with thousands of political prisoners, the winners of the last free elections, in 1988, dead, in exile or locked up, and human rights non-existent. However, the corrupt elite still running that country have begun, in small ways, to see the light. There is a measure of democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi is out of jail, and got elected. But one minority, the Rohingya Muslims, are being subjected to terror and slaughter on a massive scale. This is not being much reported. The one Burmese leader who is known in the West, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been shamefully silent on this. (If you have not seen the rather good film about her, 'The Lady', starring Michelle Yeoh, then do.) Time magazine deserves credit for highlighting this dreadful situation, thanks Harry's Place for putting it out there too. Here is an extract from its report:

Although there has long been tension between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority in Arakan, the situation deteriorated rapidly after three Muslims allegedly raped and murdered a Buddhist girl in May 2012.
On June 4, 2012, not long after the alleged rape, Buddhists stopped a bus and invited non-Muslims to get off. Then they let the bus go on a short distance, stopped it again, dragged approximately ten Muslim passengers onto the street, and beat them to death. After that, the violence against Muslims became organized and genocidal. Buddhists launched coordinated attacks against Muslim villages and neighborhoods all over Arakan state. Dozens of Muslims from across Arakan told me similar stories: Buddhist mobs, protected by police, showed up screaming anti-Muslim slogans and demanding that the Muslims flee. They brought guns and knives, and the Muslims who stayed behind—in some cases because they were physically unable to flee—were shot, speared, and hacked. Some of the rest made it to other countries to start their lives over, but most of the displaced are in the dozens of squalid camps across Arakan state. The penalty for leaving these camps is three months’ imprisonment—if a Rohingya is caught by the cops. If caught by the wrong civilians, it could be lynching. The Buddhists burned the Muslims’ abandoned homes and possessions to cinders. Some Muslims eventually retaliated, and a much smaller number of Buddhists died or were driven into camps of their own after riots across the state.
So, Muslims are being slaughtered. George Galloway, where are you? Are British youth training as jihad warriors to go to Burma and save Muslims from the Buddhist terror? If not why not?

I only ask.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

I dare you not to be offended

by this image

which is of the mug I drink my tea from every morning. It's apparently the same image the BBC was too cowardly to show recently when it featured on T-shirts worn by two members of a studio audience . I bought the mug several years ago, from Cafepress, and link to Jesus and Mo from this blog. I am a Christian, and I find Jesus and Mo amusing. Maajid Nawaz is a Muslim, and finds this image inoffensive. He is a Liberal Democrat too, but perhaps he'll grow out of that. There are now death threats and calls for a fatwa on Maajid Nawaz, because he refuses to be offended. This is what the Telegraph had to say:

Muslim politician Maajid Nawaz tweeted a picture of a t-shirt with a crudely-drawn cartoon entitled ‘Jesus and Mo’ which he describes as an “innocuous” and inoffensive.
However the image has caused fury among some members of the Islamic community who believe images of the prophet Muhammed are forbidden.
More than 7,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the Liberal Democrats to suspend Mr Nawaz.
Some have even suggested a fatwa should be placed on him while others have threatened they would be “glad to cut your neck off”.
Even the controversial MP George Galloway has waded into the row, tweeting: “No Muslim will ever vote for the Liberal Democrats anywhere ever unless they ditch the provocateur Majid Nawaz, cuckold of the EDL.”
What is happening in England? What?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Thursday event in Strasbourg

Well? What would YOU ask me?

English Speaking Union

Thursday 16th January 2014 at 18h00
Strasbourg Press Club, 2nd floor, 10 Place Kléber
In a year which will be dominated by elections ESU Strasbourg’s first meeting in 2014 will focus on politics. 
Jane Griffiths, a valued member of ESU Strasbourg, was for several years Labour MP for Reading East which she won from the Tories back in 1997! Having lived through the up and downs of political life at first hand she knows how Westminster works.  
Come and talk to her on 16 January to find out what goes on behind the scene. What makes you want to become an MP? How do you go about it? What does an MP actually do?  
We shall be in conversation with Jane and this will be the chance of a lifetime to put your questions to a former politician who now lives in Strasbourg. Find out what life after Westminster is like! 
Come and put your questions and share your views with us! 
Please register now at
Drinks and “galette” will be served after the meeting.
Admission: Members €5 Non-Members €7.50 Students €2.50


Following the appearance of a picture of the delectable Martin Salter on Reading and District Labour Party's Facebook page, posing in rubber boots in an effort to seduce the voters of South-East England into supporting his brain bank John Howarth (prop. Public Impact Ltd, remember "Your Better Off With Labour"?) - I can't show it to you because that corrupt little clique have blocked me, can't imagine why - what could a granny in Strasbourg do to spoil their little games? - and coincidentally hearing a clip from The Westminster Hour on the BBC about what it is to be a Blairite (I am), I got to thinking. What I thought was, things are not always what they seem. Here is a letter sent by the then MP for Reading West to the government whips in 1999. Then it was that the whips were in the process of sending MPs' voting records to their local parties to aid them in the process of reselection - or not, as the case may be - for the 2001 election. Have a look at it. You will see that he is recorded as having been absent without authorisation on a number of occasions, and he seeks to have that record changed to record a series of deliberate (and of course principled) abstentions. In short, for the record of 10 unauthorised absences (for one of which he was fishing in India but pretended to have food poisoning later) to six deliberate abstentions. The whips complied. No skin off their nose. Note too that he highlights a bit of bullying he did on behalf of the government, hoping no doubt for preferment, which was not forthcoming.