Posts from the ‘Personal Opinions’ Category

Operation of Osama Ben Laden’s Death: How the rest of the Western world may See it?

[Note to Readers]
I do not aim to offend in this blog. I have many American friends who I cherish dearly. I’m against terrorism, categorically but I feel I need to voice my observations of the recent events. I’m not saying I’m right or wrong, I’m merely discussing how I see things have played out. I will never condone what Ben Laden has done or what he and his followers stand for. Extremism is dangerous and closed minded but ignorance is not productive either. We have free speech, and agree or not, hear me out and see things from others points of view. I’m no expert but I have opinions.
Thanks for reading.

Early hours, UK time, on Monday, 2ND May 2011, it was announced by President Obama of the United States that the leader of Al Qaida , Osama Ben Laden had been captured and killed by a special team of US Navy seals.

The world has seemingly been split over this announcement. His followers, naturally angry and seeking vengeance, some, like myself wanting answers before I make judgement on the situation, and for others optimism and even celebration of the world’s most wanted fugitive who lead the terror attacks against the Western World culminating in September Eleventh.

Before I go into what I want to explore here. I want to make a few things about myself very clear first as I know this article may seem anti-american to some.
first of all, I am not an American. But I have seen terrorism by other organisations in the UK and have grown up hearing about terrorist attacks all of my life with incidents by the IRA and the Spanish group ETA.
secondly, I was in america, attending an American university, on the first anniversary of September Eleventh and attended a memorial service for two former students who died in the attacks. I was touched and moved by this experience and couldn’t understand how others could hurt innocent people in such atrocious ways and how other humans can hold such hate for those with different beliefs.
Thirdly, I watched all the events of that day unfold on TV. It was surreal. Still is now if I see footage. I could not conceive, hardly can now, almost ten years on that something of that magnitude could happen in the world in which I lived. I was about to go off to university the week later, and the fear that rolled through me was horrendous! I was devastated for those victims and their families and for the world as a whole, the world I would never see the same way again.
Fourthly, I believe every human being has animalistic rights, I.E. food, water, sleep, etc. Human rights are more complex, right for equality, right to free speech, and so on. I also believe that if you take away someone’s human rights then, you in turn have given up your own rights. There is a huge difference in my head between human rights and animalistic rights. I also believe, if you have wronged you should ultimately be punished and the worse the crime, the harsher the punishment. We’ve become to free with handing out new identities to criminals in fear of vigil anti groups. Good, let them come. Why should we uphold human rights for those who have stripped others of theirs.
And finally. What Ben Laden has done to Western people is horrendous and he’s a disgusting being. I can’t even title him with human because there seemed nothing human about him. All those who have perished and suffered because of his organisation and its acts were innocent human beings who deserved more and their families absolutely deserve justice.

Now to what happened, as we’ve been told.

I first must point out that since Monday I think the white house have changed the story at least twice with varying other accounts circulating the media realm. And although I do not believe everything I read, i do not discount everything I read either. [Even after my first draft of this article, more contradictory evidence has come to light].

The original story that came out on CNN from Obama’s live address was that Ben Laden had been found at a compound in Pakistan along with members of his family and was “engaged in a forty minute fire fight” which indicates to most people, that the Navy Seals were being shot at by Ben Laden and co. They later retracted this and said Ben Laden was unarmed but resisting capture while others engaged with shooting. [I’ll get to my thoughts in a minute].

They also said he was using women as human shields to which they later said his wife jumped at the US forces and was then shot in the leg where in their first story she had been killed.

The level of Ben Laden’s lifestyle had initially been reported to be extravagant and they valued the compound in which he was living at one million dollars to which they compared to the living conditions of many of his followers. This later was changed to a value of $250000, and pictures from inside the compound do not in any way reflect luxury. [Today, Pakistani officials revealed that it is likely, having been told by his wife that they had lived in the room in which they were found for the past five years]. Obviously, we cannot substantiate this claim. But the conditions were pretty poor.

It was also stated in Monday’s release that the president, his vice president and Hilary Clinton watched the live events unfold which on Tuesday was changed to, “for about twenty minutes, we didn’t know what had happened”.

OK, anyone who has seen either of these live press conferences will note the differences in “facts”. And while I grant them that some information, I.E. the identities of some of the dead or captured individuals may not have been ascertained, some other pieces of information would not have got lost in translation. The main two points for me are how long and how much of the “live” footage did the president and his pals watch. And secondly, either he was armed or he wasn’t. A “fire fight” would convey to anyone that both sides are fighting with arms. I do not doubt he “resisted capture”, most criminals do.

These things have not been fabricated by the press. They were spoken by a white house official and the president’s spokesman at that along with the head of the CIA. And as I said, some things may have been unclear at the first press conference but not all. The value of the compound for one thing. If they had been monitoring it for almost two years, as some have reported, then surely they would know from local records the value. And please do not get me wrong, I’m not defending Ben Laden here, I’m merely pointing out discrepancies and questionable actions by the US officials, but suggesting he was living better than he was, and to actually compare his living conditions as they originally portrayed them to be better than his followers is like listening to a petulant teenager twisting facts to piss off friends of someone if that person has wronged them. I do not expect, despite the horrific things he has done, for government officials to play childish tricks like that. I’m not concerned with upsetting his followers but it looks bad on them and with other things that have occurred questions their integrity. These are meant to be our leaders, the ones we pay taxes to in order for them to run our countries, provide plans of protection and in return for our taxes and votes, honesty, integrity and working with a professional attitude on the world stage should be automatic.

The next thing that didn’t feel right to me is the timeline of the whole thing. I am not a military expert or pretend to be, I am a mere mortal who wonders about things. From several sources, originally, from point of entry, the whole thing took forty minutes. OK, I can realistically conclude the fighting and such may have been under ten, even five minutes long. So they shoot him, swab him or however they took the dNA and photographed the whole thing. Then they got onto the old communications systems and were like, “so yeah, you want Ben Laden’s body to keep?” to a few different governments to which none did and then they gave him a Muslim send off and dumped him into the ocean. Oh, and before that happened, they’d left Pakistan, took off in the helicopter, and left the other burning and landed in Afghanistan and took him to a hanger and then dumped him after his traditional ceremony in the sea. Then they called the boss, told them all about their adventures, got the DNA test back and returned to base. All that in forty minutes? It does seem though that the forty minutes timeline comes from the fighting which was again refuted by Pakistani officials saying only one man was armed and was shot upon entry. So no fire fight without an opposite team to fight with, right? The speediness, regardless of the actual time though is still alarming. No information was given to the Pakistani military, which I’ll go into more detail later, and they flew in, landed, did the operation and collected evidence, set alight to a chopper that was damaged and then called the Pakistani military to collect the survivors. A defence minister from Pakistan said today that at the moment they realised foreign aircraft was in their airspace, they deployed fighter jets but they didn’t get to the compound before the US Navy Seals left. So either, Pakistan are trying to cover their own asses for a lack of knowledge of foreign aircraft in their airspace or the US were that fast or, yes, there’s another option. A former aviator said they looked as though they’d been modified, and not like the traditional Black Hawks, more like the F117 Stealth Fighter The pictures of the jet left behind, it looked as though some adaptations had been done to the jet to bounce radar and quieten the propellors. Whichever version, the timeline is heavily in question.

Putting aside some naivities from both the US president and defence crew and the British prime minister who have said between them that it is a relief, a success and the troops can start coming home soon are statements I roll my eyes at. Cameron was responsible for the “relief” comment. Typical bloody Tory, isn’t scared of anything while he’s in his nuclear proof shelter. Thankfully his foreign secretary and defence minister are slightly more realistic on this front and have practically informed the British public, who haven’t ignored the news all week because of the local elections, that a terror attack is imminent. Thanks for that, Wil and Liam, but I can’t complain, at least you’re not living on Cloud cracking up land.

To Mr Obama and his crew who said they’d succeeded and the troops are coming home. Erm, really? Successful? OK, sure, wonder if you’ll be saying that if, God forbid another attack should happen. I truly hope not but the war in terror is not over, just because you captured a leader who hasn’t been doing very much leading in the past ten years has commanders, and devout followers. This is not over, you just lit the taper for the fireworks to start. And successful? You caught the leader of the Taliban, after over nine years of war, billions of dollars, thousands of lives lost and you consider capturing one man who’s been, by all accounts locked away in a room in Pakistan, next door to the army camp where your soldiers train Pakistani soldiers, a success? I don’t call it a success. Until we change the minds of these extremists, prove, [although this is going to be mere impossible now, was pretty damn difficult before but a million times worse now], to them that we are not what they think we are, the success element of this war has not been achieved. Or maybe, for the government it has. But that’s another conspiracy theory which I won’t detail here.

So to conclude that our leaders are actually morons or they think the general public believes that claptrap has little bearing on other things we still must discuss.

There are a few factors that closely relate here and I must be careful how I word some of my forth coming paragraphs. I am not accusing or assuming, just saying things how I see them from the things we have been told.

Ben Laden was “apparently” resisting capture, [no shock there, the guy’s been on the run for ten years, sitting under the military’s noses, both Pakistani and American alike and they shoot him in the head and stomach. There are varying versions of this story, the American one and the one from Ben Laden’s daughter. I wasn’t there, so only the ones in the room know what happened. But they admitted to shooting him in the head and chest, despite being unarmed yet resisting arrest. The change of story could, at a push be a confusion in translation but the incident happened on Sunday night US time, or there abouts, the first press conference was held on Monday where details of this so called “fire fight” was given and then Tuesday the story had changed to him being unarmed. Surely the first question asked or detail given, how did he die?

I’ve done a little public relations during my time and I know one thing for sure, talking to the press, it is imperative you give the correct information the first time around to the best of your knowledge. One minute, people had seen it all, OBama reportedly “watched Ben Laden killed” yet there was confusion still after a few hours of passing, with a brief undoubtedly being held prior to press? Such a huge announcement, no government in their right mind would rush that and give an not briefed report. If there was video footage, it would have been watched or should have been before anyone spoke to the press. We know there is footage, the seals wear cameras on their helmets. Hilary Clinton spoke today in Rome and said she didn’t know what they were watching when the White House photographer took the now rather famous picture. Seems everyone had a little amnesia about the TV get together all of a sudden?

This bothers me for so many reasons. I don’t give a crap if the White House make a huge public relations screw up, that’s their business and rarely should you trust anything that comes out of a politicians mouth, but what bothers me as a human being that he was shot in the head and chest and was unarmed. Some were armed, and killed as they attacked, fine, but no matter who it is, I have a problem with, dare I say it? Execution style shooting. I’ve seen enough TV and movies, read enough news paper articles and books to perceive disarm first if you can. No one is going to tell me, a man who has been confined to a specific area for a length of time, with no weapons can face off to at least one heavily armed soldier. The fact that they are refusing to release a photo of his body because the “images are too graphic” screams volumes to me.

I know many think he got what he deserved by being shot, no matter how brutally but to me death is the easiest way out. Even that side of the story, one minute it was a kill mission, the next capture where possible then, he had to be killed, he could never have been tried, etc, etc. The excuses, seem to me, keep on coming. I have a few words for you on that point of trial would have been hard, Saddam Husain.

It’s not only the apparent dodginess about the no photo, questionable timelines, contradictory tales in press conferences that bother me, and many others, but these government officials continue to harp on about human rights, democracy, the geneva convention and yet I see none of this practiced in this situation. I don’t blame anyone for hating him, he was a vile being but it seems awfully hypocritical of people on the one hand to be screaming human rights, democracy to countries like Libya and syria and Egypt and then in one mission show no regard to any of the so called principles they preach about.

Trials to prove guilt or innocence have been around for millennia and to kill someone who is not armed when you are with all kinds of technical weaponry, it feels barbaric. Europeans have come under immense attack today in blog entries because of our lack of exuberance for his death. I perceive our mood to be cautious, anxious and as the Arch Bishop of Canterbury said with several others, a man being shot dead so brutally unarmed leaves you feeling uncomfortable. I agree with them. Not because I think what he’s done is remotely OK, his actions were sick and depraved but he should have been captured. I’ve read many angry Americans talk about “innocent lives” and how those in the towers were “unarmed”, yes, I agree but by shooting him with such brutality doesn’t make that justified or right. Forget the moral side of humanity for a moment, there are far many other implications involved by shooting a man who you could easily have captured with a disarming shot rather than “blow his brains out”. But I’ll get to that.

Some people’s reactions to the announcement bothered me as much as the circumstances surrounding his death. People celebrated! They were literally dancing and jumping for joy at the news of his death. I know some argue that some Al Qaida members did the same after September eleventh and I didn’t like that either. No matter what a person has done, celebrating their death is rather tasteless, inhumane, and not at all dignified. And as I have pointed out all week, he was one man. One man who once upon a time, worked with the US government and yes, turned out to do hateful things but celebrating a death makes me look on individuals with a sense of sadness. There is far too much hate in this world, adding to it doesn’t make you the better person.

so, what would have been better? I don’t pretend to have all the answers. And to be honest, the handling of this by the White House has been a complete disaster. Conspirators have so much to go on. The mere things I’ve raised here to start with, the lack of a body, proof of images, timing politically will only fuel those fires. The accusations flying around now from the US that Pakistan officials knew Ben Laden was there and that was why they didn’t tell them about the operation.

And that is another point. Again with the hypocrisy. A camp near to the compound was where Pakistani soldiers were being trained by American troops. So that’s one thing, it was happening under their noses to. Another point is this, the US flew into Pakistani air space, raided a Pakistani citizen’s property all without consulting/informing the Pakistani government in fear of betrayal. I wonder how the US government would respond for a foreign military operation to take place without their prior knowledge? I know what would happen. Human rights, the Geneva convention and all such things would be dragged up and the Pakistanis would probably have to be disciplined by the UN or some international organisation.

To want information from a so-called Ally, and you in return refuse to share information that will happen on their territory? It seems as though its one rule for them and another for everyone else.

I don’t doubt there are corrupt individuals on the governments around the world. In countries like Pakistan, where the Taliban is supported by some, it wouldn’t surprise me. But it seems so unbelievably double standard that it makes me, as a British person rather angry.

The whole thing has more questions than answers around it. But I do not believe we have been given anywhere near an accurate account of events, nor do I believe we ever will. I cannot say in my heart I think it was handled well, especially politically. I do think he should have stood trial, disarming with a bullet to a leg/shoulder would have done it and they say he would have become the focus as a martyr. He already has. By killing him and then coming out to the public with such sketchy views and with no release of a photo, he already is a martyr. As I said earlier, Saddam was tried and he’d been a part of terrorism for a many number of years. Sure, there was no september eleventh but he was a disgusting being.

Even Hitler who was responsible for such disgusting acts was never killed by another’s hand. He didn’t stand trial either but he took his own life.

For pictures to be so graphical, more probably happened than we’ve been told. Pictures that surfaced of unknown bodies today online showed horrendous images and it really raises questions about lawful killing. A lawyer said today, it would be hard to ascertain what happened but he would have liked to see him stand trial. Another lawyer said this would pose many problems for international law. The US has said the killing was lawful under US law, but they weren’t in the US and international law would be upheld while on foreign soil. Lawful or not, it poses many awkward questions about their actions. If stealth was used they clearly meant to approach the compound quietly, granted but if radar blocking systems were used, this poses other issues.

Am I glad they caught him? I can’t say it had made any difference to me before. But now, they have, I fear severe retribution. Should he have died? In my opinion, no, death is an easy way out, how do you suffer in death? Do I think the body should have been brought back to the US? Yes, initially. May have avoided a lot of confusion. Should the photos be released? Yes, and the video tape although this will not quell the conspiratory theorists. Do you think he’s dead? I have no idea. A source, from high in the government told the Alex Jone’s show that he had been told by a general who he would name in front of a grand jury, that Ben Laden had died in 2001 from a medical condition and they kept it secret until a convenient time. Why wait so long? Because they wanted a reason to go to war and this hunt for ben Laden gave it. This and others have even suggested the US orchestrated the whole september eleventh. Do I believe that is true? I believe anything is possible but would like to think that some humanity remains in these people and that they are not the terrorists against their own people. Do I think, if this is the case and the war on terror was based on a sick fabrication, as VietNam was, is that right? No, money, time, intelligence and most of all valuable lives have been lost in this war. I hope for America’s sake, that they check their story, be honest about the events and motives, and maybe this will work out. Do you think they planned to kill him all along? yes, this I do believe. I don’t buy the graphical image crap. Husain was executed on television for goodness sake, if that wasn’t going to create a martyr out of him, nothing would. The pictures would tell a fuller story though I believe, and sorry to say it, but I think that’s why those pictures are staying hidden right now, to restrict us from some knowledge. Hey, they probably don’t trust us either, right? Not to mention the fact that it was suggested the instructions were to kill unless he wasn’t wearing any clothes as he could have concealed a suicide vest. The guy was apparently in his pyjamas. For some reason, logic tells me not even a crazy nutcase like Ben Laden would be chilling in his PJs, indicating he was planning on going to bed with a suicide vest on. He may roll over in his sleep and detonate the bugger. Not sure blowing up the place he was living would have sent such a message considering he had no idea the Navy seals were coming. I apologise for my sarcasm but being fed different stories from the official sources makes me rather annoyed. One minute, kill him, the next capture if he surrenders, and the next only don’t kill him if he’s in his bloody birthday suit? Come on guys, even those who think he got what he deserved and believe death was the best punishment, can’t you see what a circus this is? Doesn’t it concern you that whilst the officials spin more stories than Roald Dahl, high intelligent people who either still work for your government or have worked for them previously are questioning the protocol and pointing out things your government are not willing to admit.

Again, although I have dealt with the things I know through reliable resources and mentioned a few speculations, most of this is my opinion. In parts, I must sound to some as though I’m defending ben Laden or those who protect him but I just want to show that hypocrisy is writhe in our world. Human rights for the guy who killed a three year old child, new identity, new life and the same for a mother who stood by and watched her child slowly murdered over repeated abuse, both horrific people yet some think it’s OK to shoot an unarmed person in the head and chest and fly into airspace and carry out military operations without the prior knowledge to the country in which you are in.

as I opened, I said a person’s human rights are revoked if they violate another’s human rights. I do not discriminate that and do not believe ben Laden deserved to be treated well or right. But I do believe in the right to trial. And these people who “ordered” to kill him are the same people preaching human rights and democracy to the world. America’s military are in libya, and other conflicted countries fighting for human rights yet how does this look? It’s almost like they played into the Al Qaida’s hands. By killing him, they’ve created a martyr, with or without the photographs. already some are calling the sea in which he was dropped, “the Martyr’s sea”. even the Muslim funeral they claim to have given him in which they said he was treated better than any of his victims has been deemed wrong and was deemed religiously improper.

Regardless of what we think of him and the awful things he’s done. What about those who love him? Because clearly they did. Again, not saying he should have been allowed to be free but what about those who are left behind. He had children, that was their father. Regardless of his actions, regardless of their beliefs, they may hate him for all we know, but what about their rights? The adults in that compound may or may not have had a choice whether to be there or not. But there were children, young children, a two year old child. They, despite their parentage, are innocent and deserved a little humanity. They deserved the right to say goodbye, take his body, surely? If they had wanted too. Because the US killed him, did that mean they had property of his body too? With Islamic scholars it to not be a proper Islamic burial, and the burial at sea, even ordinary people question what was being covered up?

I think anyone in their right mind would have shown ben Laden nothing but contempt but if captured, if tried, then executed, many wouldn’t be writing articles like I am, or questioning the government’s actions at all. We are meant to live in a world of democracy and fairness. At least that’s what is preached on a daily basis. it’s the reason Nato has countries militaries fighting in Libya right now. How can we on one hand fight for human rights and preach about it and the Geneva convention and such, then say killing an unarmed man is justified. I understand why many of the Clergy have said they feel uncomfortable with that factor, only made worse by the wheel of stories. As Christians, they feel that seeking vengeance is a ugly matter and destroys the soul and its God’s duty to ultimately judge and punish. It seems very unchristian-like and looks more like vengeance than a form of justice.

Whatever the truth, the Americans who celebrated in the street with effigies of Ben Laden’s head with the statue of liberty will never understand why the rest of the world questions the US actions and decisions. maybe it’s merely a difference in cultures. The death penalty has been dormant for many years here now and most Europeans don’t see death as a punishment. Maybe it’s the maturity too. Europe’s history spans millennia while the US is still only half a millennia old.

Average people are questioning the so called facts. Mainstream media is questioning in ways I never expected to see in regards to Ben Laden. And this is probably why, Europe’s not dancing with joy. We know there are repercussions to come from Al Qaida, but more than that, there will be repercussions to come from this muddled mess of what I think the US hoped to be a dramatic victory. At home, maybe they have got that, worldwide the mood is quite cool and curious.

However the international world moves forward from this, however we are divided by views or beliefs, there’s one thing certain, this is the start of something huge and the pantomime to come out of the white house this week will do the US no favours internationally. They may have killed the leader but it took more than one man to commit all those terrorist acts. The world will be watching, with an anxious air.

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Disabled Britain in the Workforce

With this week’s Vision conference being held in the UK, many questions about equality and access to various areas of society are being asked. Various organisations, including the RNIB and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association are two of the main blind charities who are involved in many campaigns to better the lives of the blind and partially sighted people around the UK.

Some of the campaigns have included, transportation with the AV addition to the bus network and shared surfaces along with improvement to access of many services.

One of the questions raised on the social network twitter by the guide dogs account was are the government policies hindering or helping people into work? I know personally, the schemes seem very helpful once you can get them but it’s the attitudes of employers and the lack of implementation of the disability discrimination act that are preventing visually impaired and other disability groups from gaining full employment.

67 percent of visually impaired people of working age are not employed, the same figure that this country saw during the 70s So why? It’s very unlikely that 67 percent of working age visually impaired individuals don’t want to work, so what is the reason? From my own experience, it’s a lack of work experience on the individuals, not having the same opportunities of many of their peers during their younger years. Working with money is not possible and some other environments are unrealistic for visually impaired people to work. But above all, it’s the attitudes of potential employers. Many times, most can gain an interview and still are not able to gain employment. Continued rejection can lead to a psychological barrier and the added fight to gain equal access can make it harder for disabled individuals to keep on fighting.

Finding a job is hard for anyone in this economic climate, but for disabled individuals it is much harder. Employers, despite sometimes having the fats will not want to deal with the process of access to work programme which can take weeks and months to implement. They would possibly sometimes be more interested in hiring someone who can instantly start work without any adaptations than to wait for a perfectly capable disabled candidate take the position because of the support that would be required.

It would be interesting to know tho many of those employed are employed in the disability realm or assistive tech area? My guess would be a fair few. And the stereotypical jobs of call centres and such would be high on the check list I have no doubt. However, why should we as disabled individuals be restricted to these areas when sometimes, we may have the intelligence and the ability to do so much more. It sometimes seems, that either if you are outstandingly brilliant in an area, such as law, or you are willing to work in a demoralising position such as call centres, then there is very little support for disabled individuals to get into a job.

I’m not saying that this is true in all circumstances but it seems to be the norm. The attitude of, it’s a job, take it and be thankful should not even be relevant. The same argument is said about the tax dodgers but why should it be any different? most of those, can work in any job, but with retail and most base line jobs being out of question for most severely visually impaired people, why should they be imprisoned by their disability?

The truth is, once a visually impaired person gets into work, they are more likely to continue to come across accessibility barriers. When computer systems change, they are not always designed to work with people’s screen reading technology and then again they may struggle to work. In a lot of situations, it can work well and most disabled individuals can continue to move up the employment ladder. But with the percentage of the unemployed being so high in the visually impaired community, it is a small celebration to have.

Until the country actively acts on the disability discrimination act and actively promotes employing from all sectors of disabled groups while providing simple access to support for those individuals in work, the figure will continue to remain stagnant or increase because with the many cuts, more support will being pulled and the focus on disabled individuals is becoming very blurred. The government, with its new strange views on disabilities could be leaving millions of individuals in very difficult positions. They want to get people into work and create this “big society”, well I suggest they remember who is actually included in their society!

Night Time Thoughts

Everyone around me,
Considers me with a sneer,
I must have done something wrong,
They refuse to come near.

The way people treat me,
Has changed yet of late,
I should have foreseen this coming,
It is all down to fate.

I should have ignored them,
I should have left well alone,
But no, I had to persist,
And now I’ll end up on my own.

People just pick me,
From a tree at will, I’m a toy for their enjoyment,
Make me move or stand me still.

My feelings mean butt nothing,
As they scrape their shoe across my back,
Don’t worry about that nobody,
And they walk away and laugh.

Something for your amusement,
A charitable case sometimes it may seem,
Why do I insist on such fancies,
Such extravagance in only dreams?

No one is my friend by choice,
It’s all on duty’s head,
Make yourselves feel good to know,
As I lie alone in my bed.

And while you’re happily living,
A life full of joy,
Spare a moment if you please,
For the piece of junk you left on the floor.

I know this must sound quite awful,
Self hatred you may suggest,
And yes it is my self loathing for me,
And on this I do not jest.

I despise who I am,
Dislike where I be,
And no matter what is said,
I hate that you dislike me.

How Do You See Me?

I’ve always perceived my blindness as a part of me but it seems as though society may have a very different view about what being blind is truly about.

A recent documentary shown on the BBC has made me think long and hard about how the “sighted” world views us as blind people. I know who I am and I’m comfortable with every aspect, I’m a performer, i’m a student, I’m a fundraiser, I’m a writer, I’m a woman, and I’m blind. It’s a fact of my life but when I walk down a street with my trusted guide dog by my side, what am I to others? The blind woman with the guide dog. And this does bother me.

As a blind individual, we are then categorised with so many stereotypes and the majority of us hardly come close to any of those bad habits that some blind people are guilty of. We are not all recluses, we do not all rock, and we do not all need someone to take us everywhere and do everything for us on a daily basis. There are a percentage of us who work, study, own our own homes, have families and live active and social lives without adhering to even one of the stereotypes the general public like to believe we are a part of.

I see some tweets from ignorant sighted people who believe we cannot watch movies, or should not be walking down the street, are shocked to see an attractive blind person or indeed that we are incapable of having sex. Those of us who are out in the world and are interacting with abled bodied people are forever questioned about our abilities and when those individuals are enlightened, utter shock seeps from their every pore.

Blindness does not stop us living our lives and yet still, documentaries are giving a very slanted view of what being blind is really all about.

The one positive point, I, as a blind person took from this BBC documentary, called “the blind me” is that it also represented the flaws of the sighted world and their treatment of blind individuals. Some sighted people patronise the blind, or think us to be stupid along with deaf as they walk away giggling about the blind girl who will not know they just left and I’m happy to say this is not true for all sighted individuals. But to those who have ever used a person’s blindness against themselves, shame on you. It’s not big and it’s not clever. Just remember this, most of us have sighted friends who can tell us about the rude gestures or even our own hearing can betray your rudeness and ignorance.

Just take a moment to think of how, if you are sighted, you perceive a blind individual, and if you are blind, do you really think the sighted world has an accurate assumption of what you as a person are all about? If you could dispel only one stereotype, what would it be? And is it fair for the sighted world to continue to make assumptions?

Personally, I believe there should be more representation of people with disabilities within different media outlets wherever possible and should definitely be more represented within soap operas that are meant to be close to representative of British culture as possible. And if those creators decide to develop a part, research should be done honestly and realistically instead of making blind people either into rocking wrecks or super heroes that can drive ten ton trucks.

I know how I see myself, but I also know the majority of the sighted world see me as a lesser individual with limited independence and desires and goals for my own future. Ah well, I’ll keep proving them wrong, shall I?

Friendship

Hands of friendship can be so rare,

But once joined in harmony,

Forever they will stay,

To continually support us forever.

 

Minds of companionship will mould together,

Having their own identity but

Still finishing each others sentences,

And although they change they’ll still be connected.

 

Once hearts of friendship bind,

They beat together in a musical rhythm,

No one can break it,

It will forever beat on tirelessly.

 

Friendship is a valuable asset,

More so than stocks and shares,

If you find a friend worth keeping,

Then their friendship will be compelled toward you.

Like magnets we find our true friends,

No matter of geography, age, race,

Gender or crede,

And forever the twines that hold us together will strengthen.

 

The ropes that guide us as friends,

Will take us on many adventures,

Even when there’s space and time between us,

A strong friendship will overcome anything.

 

Before you count the friends you have,

Remember all of these things,

How many hands, minds, hearts,

Hold you with strong rope,

Never to let you go.

 

A friend will stand beside you,

A friend will hold your hand,

A friend will hug you tightly,

Or give you the berating you deserve.

A friend will wipe your tears,

And tell you where you went wrong,

A friend will also hold you,

When all else seems to have gone wrong.

A friend will stay until you’re better,

Only leaving when they know you are strong,

A friend will hold your hair in a hangover,

And then tell you how you screwed up.

 

A friend is there without being asked,

They come at their own will,

They instantly have all the answers,

Even if its just wait a little.

 

A friend tells you you look fat,

She tells you when you look thin,

She’ll throw the ugly dress you bought out,

And appraise you on the shoes.

A friend will laugh at your mess-ups,

Only when she knows its right,

She never needs to be told what’s wrong,

Her heart is telling her why.

 

So if you are lucky like I see I am,

And hold ropes of friendships tight,

Then tell your friend how much you love her,

And never say goodbye.

Thank her for the sisterhood,

Thank her for her truth,

Thank her for her loyalty,

And in return she’ll most definitely thank you.



PC, have we gone mad?

so everyone knows we are currently facing a possible pandemic of the H1— whatever crazy code they have given it, or as most of us are referring to it as, “Swine flu!” We think we have escaped the Politically correctness for a brief moment but then hey, there’s always one or two sneaking up on us to correct us so we can fit happily into our wonderful little PC world.

Apparently, the majority of us are not taking this possible pandemic seriously, myself included. Sure, people have died and some of the despicable comments made by assholes like the Ryan air boss, who happily put forth his argument that only Mexicans and Asians living in the slums will contract the virus, are completely unnecessary but I still feel its a million miles away right now. I guess, with the death toll in the UK being at zero at the moment, it is not much to worry about and vigourous testing and vaccinations are occurring to prevent major damage so I see no reason to panic just yet. The world finds it hard to take anything seriously when the media are constantly shoving doom and gloom down our throats. I eat doom for breakfast, gloom for lunch and sheer depression is a huge helping for dinner. The desensitisation of constant coverage and alarm bells will always lull us into a false sense of panic. I don’t buy into it now. Anyone remember SARS and Avian Flu from a few years ago? Look what happened? It was terrible for those involved but not a global pandemic as they predicted. so I guess we’ll see what happens won’t we?

Anyway, that is beside my point. My gripe with the media has nothing particularly to do with this except you know they will happily jump on this band wagon and roll down the streets at 100 miles an hour once this gets out there properly. I’m surprised my twitter hasn’t been buzzing from CNN and Sky News yet about us having to change the name of the current potential pandemic.

It gets to a point where political correctness is almost, if not more annoying than the constant gloominess of our news reports. In the UK alone, in the past three or four years, we’ve been subjected too various tactics by what I like to call the ‘do gooders” of our society, preaching what we should and shouldn’t say and what is appropriate to do and not do. Quite frankly, i give as much a toss about their opinions as I do about the inaccuracies of the daily weather report. But nevertheless, it pisses me off when I’m told by certain figures of so called authority and people of some importance that I cannot call something by a certain name in fear of offending! Currently, we are not supposed to call swine flu by this supposed offensive word because of the apparent connection to pork. The pork council believes it being called swine flu will cut down on the sales of pork, quite honestly, I’m offended by this. I know it is an airborne virus, as has been stipulated in the media, [quite accurately for once], so then why would I take it upon myself to stop eating pork? you have to be completely stupid if you think by ingesting a good old bacon sandwich will cause you to contract an AIRBORNE virus! I am offended that they underestimate my intelligence so profusely. They state in an article that there was little reference to pigs having the virus, yet medical professionals have stated the virus consists of a pig strain flu virus. hmm, I see the connection, don’t they?

As if that was not annoying enough, the Jews have now jumped along for the political ride and have stated it is not deemed right to call the-influenza by the name of Swine Flu as it is not coacher for Jews to eat pork. OK, so am I about to lose the plot or what? what the hell is the correlation with calling something swine flu that has nothing to do with eating pork and your religious beliefs? Really guys, you are about to make a normally sane young person lose the plot completely. So you can’t call it swine flu because the fear of pork sales dropping, even if it has clearly been stated it is an airborne virus and you also can’t refer to swine flu if you’re Jewish on account of eating pork is against your religious life style. OK, that makes about as much sense as the rest of the political correctness bullshit circulating our world right now.

If you guys want to read these articles, here are the links below.
Please feel free to comment.

Pork council article
Article on the Jewish point of view

Current Affairs

I decided to write some of my opinions of what is going on in our crazy world this week. I think it’s going to become a weekly thing.

First of all, the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment is swine flu. So here is what I heard on the news from a medical expert. Swine flu is seemingly originated from a pig that had a mixture of a human virus, a pig virus and a bird virus. All three viruses culminated into one virus that has the potential to become a pandemic. The original source is supposedly a four year old boy in a small village in the East of Mexico who lived close to a pig farm where they suspect the infected pig was. Mexican authorities are being criticised for the lack of action taken as in the same village people have been suffering from respiratory infection that hold similar symptoms to those of the swine flu. Two cases have now been confirmed in Scotland and those people are responding well to treatment. The total death toll in Mexico City has risen and I suspect will continue to do so for weeks ahead. But has the media once again blown up this issue? I personally think that although news needs to be reported and it is obviously serious as flights to Mexico from the UK have been grounded, calling this virus a potential pandemic and such may be going over the edge a little.

A few days ago I was commenting how much we protect our children from dirt and germs. My sister has just had a baby and everyone is like, make sure he’s warm, sterilise this, wash your hands and all those good tips that we say when new babies are born, but I question whether as the western world we are too clean in our approach to life? I mean, children need to build up their resistance’s to bugs and viruses, because without them we are doomed to be sick as adults. Interestingly, this expert stated that because this virus is so new, that young adults are the ones that are potentially going to fall victim to this disease and not the usual victims of flu. So what is the answer? The way I see it, if you’re completely over protective of your children and never let them eat a piece of dirt as a child, they will probably die from one of the many child hood diseases. On the other hand, if people do what my mum did and let me eat whatever delicacies I could find in the back yard or local park, then I am likely to fall victim to this new strain of flu. Great! So nothing we do actually makes a difference. That’s like telling me being healthy is actually a bad thing. Wow, never thought I’d hear the medics say that.

Moving on, to another hated topic of mine. If I have to hear one more word from the media about the goddamn recession and “credit crunch” I might just flip! OK, OK, so it’s happening, we know that, but I kind of like what the Chancellor did in his budget and completely fantasise about the economy and where it might be in a year’s time. Fair play to Mr Darling if those figures aren’t adding up, at least he’s taking a positive approach to the bloody situation rather than sitting on his arse and complaining and moping about it. You know what? we’ve had recessions before, we survived and let’s face it, Britain has more social benefits than ever before. Personally, i say let’s get rid of those people who keep whacking out kids only to claim benefits and refuse to get a job because they’d rather sit on their ignorant backsides and watch Jeremy Kyle and compare their stupid lives that have no potential to amount to anything but a dozen kids that show no respect to anyone or anything. Wow, that was harsh eh? O well, it’s my blog I can say what I like. hahah.

I think I’ve ranted enough for now. There will be more, I promise.
That’s all for now,
M.J.

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