Thursday, 28 August 2014

Cowardice and impotence in our leaders, drive more and more people to look for a better way of living

Reading the news online yesterday evening, I was elated to learn of the long-term ceasefire agreement, between the Israeli government and the people of Gaza, following fifty days of aggressive, almost non-stop, bombing of the densely inhabited enclave.

Clearly there is a long way to go, before the Palestinian population will be able to enjoy the full human rights, they justifiably demand, with full freedom to come and go as they wish, a lifting of the blockade and freedom to trade and so on, but a cessation to the constant shelling, which has cost over 2,000 lives, over 500 of them children and babies, and flattened much of the region, has to be a welcome sign.

As relieved as everyone is, there is also a great deal of anger, that the IDF seem to have the power to launch these attacks every so often, on a captive, civilian population, the world largely turning a blind eye…

In other news, I learned a report into the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal, revealed 1,400 vulnerable children had been sexually assaulted, gang raped, trafficked, beaten and terrorised over a period of sixteen years, their cries for help, ignored by police, because the situation was considered to be “culturally sensitive”, the perpetrators involved, being men, mainly, from the local Asian community.

Accounts like this, naturally, make me as upset as the next person.

And it occurred to me, that a similar theme links these two stories – incredible, inexcusable cowardice, when it comes to standing up to violent aggressors, through fear of being labelled a racist.  And tragically, letting a rogue state, or a predatory gang, get away with crimes committed against some of the most vulnerable people in our world, is actually likely to end up in even more racism, the neo-fascists exploiting the situation in both circumstances, as they always do.

Our senior police officers and heads of state, alike, seem utterly pathetic, contemptible and impotent in the extreme, allowing themselves to be held to ransom by a bunch of disgusting, brutal thugs willing to use dreadful racism of the past to intimidate anyone who dares to challenge their obscene behaviour today.

It’s no surprise that people are becoming disillusioned by politics generally, and politicians specifically. More and more are joining movements which seek a better way to run the world, a culture which thrives on compassion and ethics and co-operation and collaboration rather than the hellish chaos we’re enduring right now, which is always destined to be more focussed on competition and conflict.

The second part of this article will explore the way human beings have allowed themselves to be divided up into nations and faith groups, skin colours and sexual orientation groupings, the futility of that in a world crying out for people to connect and come together…

I leave for now, with a Primal Scream track, which should be an anthem for progressives throughout the world… Bobby Gillespie, of course, who was (as always) one of the first public figures to come out in early July, in support of the people of Palestine…

Monday, 25 August 2014

The 7 Stages of Grief and Loss explained

This is an update of a blog I wrote last summer.

I have been pondering loss a lot recently, watching the heartbreaking carnage and devastation which is going on in Gaza right now.

I've been thinking about how we, as observers, are experiencing the losses our Palestinian brothers and sisters are having to cope with day by day, hour by hour.

I know what it's like to lose a child.  But in my case the little girl was born dead and I had never had the opportunity to develop a relationship with her outside of the womb.  As any mother will tell you though, we certainly did develop a deep bond, through the 8 months I was carrying her, and losing her was almost too much to bear.  I could actually feel my heart breaking as the very lovely male midwife explained there was no foetal heartbeat, the baby had died, and we would now have to go through a very emotional labour and birth, knowing the only conclusion of that experience, would be me saying goodbye to my son or daughter.

So, I know what it is like to lose a child in those circumstances.

But I cannot begin to imagine the sense of abject, incomprehensible devastation of losing a son or daughter, who was alive and happy and well, a few hours ago, and has been killed, perhaps horribly maimed so that he or she is not even recognisable now, because a country has decided to inflict war on your people, misery on your family, extermination on your child.

Who could begin to understand what that must feel like, apart from other grieving mothers and fathers in Gaza.

But of course, I am hurting.  Like millions of others around the world, I feel a gaping wound open up, every time I see another son or daughter lying lifeless in the arms of the mother who cherished them, or the doctor who tried everything they could think of, to try to save them.

In the original article on Grief and Loss, I used a number of scenarios to explain what is going on at each stage of the grieving process. Now I am going to add in, what is probably happening when we are experiencing viewing these awful, mindless acts of death and destruction.

To try and make sense of that which is shocking us every time we see another image.

Many of us will have heard of a theory that states there are 7 stages of loss and grief (some psychologists say 5).  The belief is that we go through 7 different phases of dealing with any loss in our lives, and this theory relates to all kind of loss, from the relatively mundane, such as losing our car keys, to the enormous losses we all have to face in life, such as the breakdown of important relationships and the death of cherished loved ones.

Although these stages go generally in order, we may find ourselves hopping back to previous stages, and if people get stuck on a particular level, this is when there can be a sense of hopelessness, this is often the point at which someone will consider counselling to help move them on.

I will try and explain what is happening when we experience any sort of loss, including loss experienced by someone we care about or feel connected to.  Because the human brain is full of mirror cells, which enable us to empathise and experience other people's pain as if it were happening to us.

Here are the examples then:

  • losing your house keys
  • losing a job
  • end of a relationship
  • witnessing the death of a child in Gaza

The 7 Stages

1)   Shock

You're simply stunned by the event of the immediate loss.
Inability to even comprehend what has happened, senses in temporary shut-down.
"God!!"  "Shit!!"

2)   Denial

Inability to accept what's happened.  "Everything's fine!  "This can't be happening!"

Keys - They're here somewhere, pocket, bag, kitchen table!
Job - They can't sack me, they've made a mistake, someone will come in and take us over!
Relationship - She hasn't actually left me, she'll be back!
Death of Palestinian child - It's not as bad as it looks.  The pictures are all doctored.  There's two sides to every story.  It's more complicated than people think.  Distraction techniques to relieve symptoms of stress, such as watching reality TV or reading celebrity gossip magazines. Using drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.  I don't understand the situation in the Middle East.  I don't like politics.

3)   Anger

Lashing out, losing emotional and physical control, looking for someone or something to blame for the loss.

Keys - Who moved my keys! This always happens when you make me late!
Job - It's the managers' fault for losing contracts!  I blame immigrants! I hated that job!
Relationship - She never loved me!  She only wanted me until someone better came along!
Death of Palestinian child - It's all politicians fault!!  IDF/Hammas are to blame!  Arguing with people online.

4)   Bargaining

Making internal deals with yourself or someone else, or with God.  If the situation changes, the outcome will change.  Pledging to make sacrifices for a better outcome.  Revisiting the physical place of loss in the hope of a different outcome.

Keys  - I had them in the kitchen, they must be there!  OK, I'll pick up your mother, now where's my keys!
Job - I'll take a pay cut.  I'll work longer hours.  Don't sack me, sack them!
Relationship - I'll change!  Marry me!  Let's have a baby!
Death of Palestinian child - Being completely preoccupied with media, in the hope of positive news. Cutting off friends and family who don't sympathise with the suffering. Going to church, lighting a candle and saying a prayer.

5)   Guilt

Taking on all the blame for the loss.

Keys - I should have put them on the hook.  I should have got a spare set cut.
Job - It's because I had time off for my bad back.  It's because I'm 49.
Relationship - I took her for granted.  I mess up every relationship I have.
Death of Palestinian child - I should be there in Gaza trying to help.  I should be more vocal than I am.  I should appreciate my own children more. I should have voted in the last election.  

6)   Depression

Overwhelming sadness, physical and emotional withdrawal from life and family and friends, loss of hope, despair.

Keys - I can't be bothered to look any more.
Job - I'm never going to find another job.  I'm on the scrap heap now.
Relationship - No-one else will ever want me.  She was the only one for me.
Death of Palestinian child - The world is heading towards Armageddon.  All world leaders are corrupt. Ordinary people can't overpower governments.  (There may be a return to the denial phase at this point, distraction with drink, drugs, sexual promiscuity, reality TV, shopping)

7)   Acceptance

Coming to terms with what's happened.  Acknowledging the impact of the loss while recognising life has to move on.  Appreciating how valued the object, situation or person was and ultimately a sense of hope that there will be happy times again in the future.

Keys - I guess I'd better get another set cut after work then.
Job - Let's organise a leaving party, and stay in touch after the redundancies.
Relationship - We had some good times, but it just wasn't meant to be. Joining dating sites.
Death of Palestinian child - Joining groups which share your views and have positive plans.  Co-operating to make an effective protest.  Boycotting Israeli goods and companies associated with the occupied territories. Finding places to purchase Palestinian goods to support their economy. Donating money to a worthy charity. Thinking about practical ways society can be made better, safer, more secure for that region and all children everywhere. Creating a memorial.

Of course, some losses are much easier to come to terms with than others, but the belief is, that we will still go through each of these stages as we process the emotions associated with the loss.  So in some cases we'll go through all 7 stages in one hour or one day, in more devastating circumstances, it will take months or even years to feel like life is moving on.

Sometimes, people might find they always get stuck at the same stage of grief, such as anger or bargaining or guilt, and whether they're dealing with failing an exam, or losing a train ticket, or having an argument with their spouse, or missing out on promotion at work, they just can't seem to process the loss beyond that stage.  And that can be a good indication to get extra support, and go and talk to someone about what keeps happening.  Because if we can't fully process loss, it's harder to commit to things in the future, without this fear of having to deal with an ending one day.  And that fear of loss and endings, might not be conscious, so we recognise what's going on in our minds and hearts, it could be completely unconscious, and we don't even know why we are always the the one who dumps the other one, in relationships, or why we always walk out on a job.

In terms of death and mourning, as a general guide, psychologists and counsellors would expect it to take about 2 years to come to terms with the death of someone close, who is actually in our lives, a parent or grandparent, sibling, partner, child or close friend.  When the first set of anniversaries come around, their birthday, wedding anniversary, anniversary of their death, we can find ourselves back at the anger stage for a while.  By the second anniversary, the sense of loss will usually have lessened considerably and be replaced with some level of hope.  When people are still deep in mourning, 2 years on from the death, some benefit might be gained from getting help with coping with the sense of grief.

As I write this, of course, my thoughts and love are with the people of Gaza.  We continue to apply pressure for a peaceful resolution and a fair future for all Palestinians.  -xx-

Friday, 22 August 2014

If you care about what's happening in Palestine, here are six pages you absolutely should be following on Facebook

If, like me, you are deeply concerned about what's happening in Palestine, the following Facebook pages will give you a wealth of information and latest reports, a place to connect with others who share your views and values, suggestions for how you can get involved and maybe even make a few new friends.

Please feel free to add further suggestions in the Comments section.

  • Follow the links
  • Click Like 
  • Click Follow
  • Get Notifications 
  • Click Share

Eran Efrati, 29, was born and raised in Jerusalem. After graduating high school he enlisted in the IDF, where he served as a combat soldier and company sergeant in Battalion 50 of the Nachal Division. He spent most of his service in Hebron and throughout the West Bank. In 2008, he was discharged and joined Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers working to raise awareness about the daily reality in the Occupied Territories. He worked as the chief investigator of the organization, collecting testimonies from IDF soldiers about their activities. He also guided political tours and to the West Bank and worked to educate Israeli youth about the reality of being a soldier in an occupying army. His collected testimonies appear in the booklet “Operation Cast Lead” and their most recent release “Our Harsh Logic”. Since leaving Breaking the Silence,he is a researcher into the Israeli military, the U.S. military and the arms trade ,his investigative reports appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Today he is active with the Israeli groups Anarchists Against the Wall and Boycott from Within.

Rania Masri is a human rights advocate and environmental scientist. She is a national board member of Peace Action, a member of the board of directors of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, the Arab Women's Solidarity Association's representative to the United Nations, and the coordinator of the Iraq Action Coalition. Rania has written about peace and justice, racism, the sanctions Against Iraq, and the occupation of Palestinian lands in local, national, and international news magazines, and has spoken extensively at conferences and universities throughout the United States and Canada. She has been interviewed on numerous networks, including CNN, Fox National News Channel, Pacifica Radio, Radio Canada International, "Voice of America", Washington DC's "The Round Table", Arizona's "Perspectives on America," California's "Middle East in Focus," NPR national, NPR's Talk of the Nation, and several NPR affiliates. Rania has a doctorate in forestry from North Carolina State University, and a Master's in Environmental Management from Duke University. She is currently the director of the Economic and Environmental Justice Program at the Institute for Southern Studies.

Ilan Pappé, whose PhD is from the University of Oxford, is professor of history at the University of Exeter in the UK, and co-director of the Exeter Center for Ethno-Political Studies. Until 2007, he was a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Haifa. Pappe, a Jewish Israeli, born to a German Jewish family in Haifa in 1954, has been described by the Palestinian Salman Abu-Sitta (a prominent writer on the Palestinian right of return) as "an honourable academic with integrity and conscience". He is one of the Israeli "new historians", a group of historians who are so-called because their writings, based on access to material recently released by the British and Israeli archives, has started to undermine myths about the foundation and early years of the Israeli state, myths that were promoted by an earlier generation of Israeli historians who were more concerned about building up the self-image of the new state than in historical accuracy.  Dr. Pappé is a member of the Advisory Board of the Council for Palestinian Restitution and Repatriation (CPRR), an organization which declares that "every Palestinian has a legitimate, individual right to return to his or her original home and to absolute restitution of his or her property."

Miko Peled is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. He has credibility, so when he debunks myths that Jews around the world hold with blind loyalty, people listen. Miko was born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family. His grandfather, Dr.  Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence.   His father, Matti Peled was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and the Sinai.  Author of "The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine"

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. Since his early years as correspondent in the Vietnam War, Pilger has been a strong critic of American and British foreign policy, which he considers to be driven by an imperialist agenda. The practices of the mainstream media have also been a theme in his work. His career as a documentary film maker began with The Quiet Mutiny (1970), made during one of his visits to Vietnam, and has continued with over fifty documentaries since then. Other works in this form include Year Zero (1979), about the aftermath of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, and Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy (1993). Pilger has long criticised his native country's treatment of indigenous Australians and has made many documentary films on this subject including The Secret Country (1985) and Utopia (2013). In the British print media, he has had a long association with the Daily Mirror, and from 1991 wrote a regular column for the New Statesman magazine.

Noami Wolf Author, social critic, and political activist, Naomi Wolf raises awareness of the pervasive inequities that exist in society and politics. She encourages people to take charge of their lives, voice their concerns and enact change. Her international journalism includes the investigative report “Guantánamo Bay: The Inside Story” for The Times of London, and as a columnist for Project Syndicate her articles have been published in India, Philippines, Egypt, and Lebanon. She’s a frequent blogger on The Huffington Post and writes cultural commentary for The Guardian, The Washington Post, and Harper’s Bazaar.  A graduate of Yale and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Wolf was a consultant to Al Gore during his presidential campaign on women’s issues and social policy. She is co-founder of The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, an organization that teaches leadership to young women, and The American Freedom Campaign, a grass roots democracy movement in the United States whose mission is the defense of the Constitution and the rule of law.

You can connect with me, also, on Facebook or Twitter

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Kelly McGonigal TED Talk : How to make stress your friend

Incredible TED talk given by health psychologist Kelly McGonigal

Kelly McGonigal talks about the biological response we know as stress, and how it's been drilled into us from health care professionals that stress is bad for our health, to the point where  so many people are getting stressed about being stressed.

She offers scientific evidence to back up the value of a more natural relationship with stress, so that we are again in control of our bodies.

She talks about my favourite hormone, Oxytocin, and its role in promoting physical resilience to stress.

Brilliant lines from her talk!
  • When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage 
  • And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience
  • Stress gives us access to our hearts
  • The compassionate heart finds joy and meaning in connecting with others
  • Under stress, your pounding physical heart, works hard to give you strength and energy  
  • And when you choose to view stress in this way, you're not just getting better at stress you're actually making a pretty profound statement   
  • You're saying that you can trust yourself to handle life's challenges 
  • And you're remembering that you don't have to face those challenges alone

Now watch her talk for yourself, and see if you too, can start to feel differently about stress!

Three powerful speeches about the crisis in Palestine, that will blow you away

A few weeks ago, a group of us watched these three talks, and were completely spellbound...

And we were so moved, we started finding our own ways to protest against Israel's illegal occupation, and to use our own talents to keep sharing information and raising awareness, because, as the first speaker warns, we ignore the plight of Palestinians, at our own peril...

Anti Semitism is not anti Zionism.

I read this articulate piece, written by the Admin, on the Official Eran Efrati Facebook page, and feel inspired and compelled to share it everywhere...

Anti Semitism is not anti Zionism.
Anti Zionists do not believe they are inferior.
They do not believe in oppression of others.
They do not believe in obsessive nationalism which makes their country better than yours.
(Nationalism and obsessive patriotism by ANY country in this day and age is an unhelpful scourge on the earth)
They do not believe in systematic corruption and crippling countries in wars and debt to make immense profits for themselves while ignoring the poor, destitute, the harshly done by.
They do not treat people like they are just another business transaction.
They do not believe in racism.
They do not believe everyone but themselves should get off this planet.
They do not believe in wanting to strip the world of peace and harmony by ruling politics, banking and media with lies, unfairness, scams and trickery.
They believe everyone is equal.
If you believe everyone is equal then you are an anti Zionists- you just hadn't given yourself a name yet.
If people still somehow can't understand, then they are unwittingly mind-controlled racist Zionists (regardless of their nationality, race, religion, social standing, whatever) unable to think for themselves, supporting destroying the earth and supporting the upheaval of it- economically, fiscally and racistly- they too, just hadn't given themselves a name yet.
They have one now.
The masses are Zionists by proxy- swallowing up the propaganda they are fed by Zionists to take the heat and focus off the masks they wear, and they ignore and mindlessly dismiss the harsh realities which enables them to forget that they have more in common with us than with their own Zionist oppressors.
They have become mindless sheeple.
They can be saved with re-education.
Zionists don't even like or respect the very people who defend them and do their dirty work for them- they only like and respect other Zionist Jews.
#AntiZionist #LoverOfAwakeAntiZionistJews


Please feel free to share it too, as often as you can, to educate, inspire and help people find the courage and confidence to talk about the injustices they see around them.

Please do Like and Follow the page I read this quote on:  Official Eran Efrati Facebook Page

You can also, if you would like, follow me on: Twitter oFacebook

Monday, 18 August 2014

Four reasons why the world has united in compassion and love for Gaza, and in condemnation for Israel

As millions of human beings around the world feel compelled to express their outrage at Israel's latest wave of military attacks on unarmed civilians in Gaza, both the Israeli government and personnel serving in the IDF, have seemed genuinely surprised by this outpouring of condemnation for their aggression. A Channel 4 News blog reported, serving Israeli soldiers asking the news crew, but why does everybody hate us?  Which of course seems astonishing to most of us, having been exposed to the endless sea of heartbreaking images of dead and maimed children, some lying peacefully, almost as if they were asleep, but for the tell-tale abrasions over their faces, others so badly mutilated they're almost unrecognisable as the little human beings they once were.

It is hard to see how anyone could not feel sorrow, compassion, guilt for the colossal loss of life, Operation Protective Edge has inflicted on the Palestinian community, indeed the sense of loss we are all feeling right now.

News about the conflict is known to be heavily censored within Israel (and to a lesser degree, also censored around the world, within mainstream media) and it would need to be, to keep attracting the 100,000 young Israelis who join the IDF's conscription programme, each year. There is a growing protest movement among Israelis themselves now, although as one person recently tweeted: But how many of them would happily give their homes back to the Palestinians they belong to? 

Perhaps more than we think.

But not enough.

Israeli government spokesmen have hit out, at the world wide movement to boycott produce grown in the occupied territories and within Israel itself, claiming people who get involved with the #BDS campaign are as damaging to the state of Israel, as Hamas and Hezbollah, by constantly "delegitimising" Israel, through refusing to recognise it as a trading partner.

Which much please #BDS campaigners no end, and that movement is certainly growing all the time, with the Buycott app among the top downloads now for smart phone users.

But what has compelled ordinary people, in their millions, to use their voices and take this stand, and get involved in this political conflict, at this particular time in history?  After all, the conflict as we know it, has been going on for nearly a hundred years, dating right back to the infamous Balfour Declaration of November 1917  (Read more here.) And for those of us on the left of politics, the problem of Israel (as John Pilger calls it, rather than a problem of Palestine) has been a feature of much debating, campaigning... since we were teenagers.

But what has suddenly made so many people, people not normally interested in politics, identify with the humanitarian crisis happening in Gaza this time?

A number of things have fallen into place this time, giving us a unique window in history to bring about change, in a way many of us didn't dare hope for, in decades gone by.

The first obvious factor is the use of social media now, particularly Twitter.

Back in December 2008, as the IDF were launching their Operation Cast Lead (which would go on to see 1,400 Palestinians killed, the vast majority of them innocent civilians), there were less than 10 million regular Twitter users, world wide, and the service was nowhere near as sophisticated as the experience we now recognise as Twitter. Today there are more than 270 million active Twitter accounts, and sharing information, photographs, video footage, news articles and blogs, is both extremely easy and instantaneous.

This latest conflict has been replayed, moment by moment, in real time, across the world, the graphic and distressing images of children, killed and mutilated by Israeli bombs, have been re-tweeted hundreds of thousands of times.

Real little children.

Girls and boys.

Sons and daughters.

Just like our children.

Out playing in the street one minute.

Dead, the next.

Missing arms and legs.

Faces blown off.

Hardly recognisable as the sweet little things they were, just a moment ago.

And all this is being experienced on a moment by moment basis, by millions of users of Twitter, all following the #Gaza hashtag or #Palestine or #BDS or #BoycottIsrael.

Back in 2008, most of us got the majority of our news from our daily papers and the news channels when we happened to be at home.

Not any longer.

Firstly, we can all get BBC News 24 and Sky News, along with RT, Al-Jazeera and Democracy Now! on our smart phones and iPads.

At home, at work, on the journey to work, during coffee breaks, as we lie in the bath at night and even in bed.

And that's just televised news.

For most of us, now in 2014, the first place we go for the latest news is Twitter.  If something is happening out there in the world, someone will be tweeting about it, and big human interest stories, such as the bombing of the al-Shifa hospital, went viral in minutes.
There is no longer time for editors of corporate media channels to censor what is getting out. Twitter has been so brilliantly irreverent of established news outlets, and so effective at what it does, and the way live rolling news is delivered, literally into the palm of your hand, that Sky and the BBC simply cannot compete with it.

Indeed, some, such as Channel 4 News, actively embrace this new method of gathering and delivering news, and Jon Snow took a team out to Gaza, at the end of July and was tweeting reports, as and when he experienced the situation, because that's what people wanted.

Real news, in real time.

Not a sanitised, edited, version of what the BBC thinks we can cope with or what Reuters thinks we have a right to know.

So that is the first significant factor in the way people have engaged with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza right now.

Secondly, we have a growing generation of young people all around the world, who are naturally, and healthily cynical, sceptical and totally irreverent when it comes to the establishment in their particular country.  And particularly, this is true for us in Britain, where the past few years seem to have exposed the recognised establishment - the Church, the Government, the Police, the Press, the Banks - all as endemically corrupt.  And most people under the age of 30, see no reason at all why they should show respect for these so-called pillars of society.
And this same revelation has been going on right around the world, so we have seen the rise of activist organisations like Anonymous and the Occupy movement. And all the attempts to discredit those activists and dismiss their campaigns and protests as a load of hype, have failed. The movements continue and go from strength to strength, with each new scandal they expose, within the corridors of power.

The third reason why so many people have responded to the crisis in Gaza with an outpouring of compassion and love, is because many of us... no, most of us... are living with some degree of oppression too, from our own right-wing governments.  Clearly not to the degree victims in Palestine are having to cope with, thank God, but we can easily connect with their suffering, their anger and resentment too. There seems to be a world wide agenda, by the rich and powerful, to inflict misery, in whichever way is possible, on the vast majority of its citizens, always the most vulnerable citizens.

The disabled.

Physically and mentally.

People of colour.

The unemployed.

The homeless.


Single mothers.

Students from poor backgrounds.

All attacked in various ways by a right-wing government controlling a right-wing press.

Or is it the other way round?

It's not fair, and people have had enough.

The forth element, I think, which is growing all the time, is something that I have written about on this blog many times in the past, and that is a desire within so many of us, to build a better society.


The desire for a nicer life for all, a life where we can fulfil ourselves, in whichever way that feels meaningful to us.

Less stress.

Less illness.

Less isolation.

Less conflict.

Conflict in our working lives and conflict in our personal lives and of course conflict on the world stage. All of it drains so much from us, physically and emotionally, so that life is just about surviving, when it should be about growing as a human being.



Building healthy relationships with others, and a healthy relationship with our self.

Links to some of the previous articles on  this blog, on this subject:

You Need a Cuddle? - There's an App for that!

At the very core of our being, as humans, is the greatest drive of all - the need to belong, and the need to be loved

Have you had your dose of oxytocin today? When was the last time someone gave you a really good, warm, genuine hug?

Depression, attachment and love

Sleeping next to someone you love reduces stress and can even protect you from heart disease and cancer

These are the reasons I offer, to explain why so many of us have become actively engaged in the protests against the oppression of innocent civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.

I suppose we also hope that if people around the world can come together in their millions, to exert pressure on leaders, to force Israel to sign a peace deal and adhere to the UN Resolution 242, which requires Israel to withdraw its forces from illegally occupied territory, and back to the 1967 borders, then we will have confidence in making our voices heard collectively, where other atrocities are going on.

Some say that's incredibly optimistic.

Many of us feel, we have to try.

As the researcher, and activist and public speaker, Eran Efrati summed up in a lecture recently:

"What's going on in Palestine, is a humanitarian crisis..... All of us want to be in the right place, at the right time, when history is knocking on the door, and history is knocking right now, really loud, in Palestine.  We need to be on the right side of this humanitarian case."

Clearly, so many of us are feeling this too.

I'll leave you with some links to look at, some people to follow and some online groups to join to meet like-minded people:

John Pilger- Palestine is still the issue

FB Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK)

FB International Solidarity Movement

Stop The War Coalition on FB

Official Eran Efrati FB page

Palestine Campaigns on Twitter

Dr Belal Dabour on Twitter

Dr.Bassel Abuwarda on Twitter

Where ever you are,

Have hope,

Stay safe.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Wherever we live, the Gaza crisis is proving to be a defining moment in our personal lives, and in the history of our species

This weekend, over a million people, worldwide, have been marching in protest of the escalating crisis in Gaza, where almost 2,000 Palestinians - the vast majority of them civilians and over 400 of them little children - have been killed by the Israel Defense Forces, since they launched their most recent assault on the Gazan population, "Operation Protective Edge".  

That assault begin on July 8th, 2014.  

It should be noted that on Twitter, the earliest rumours of David Cameron's cabinet reshuffle were circulating on July 8th.  

Seven days later, most of his ministers who had ever spoken out on human rights issues, had been sacked.

This blog is drawing no conclusion from those details, nor making any allegations, simply reporting facts, and leaves others to draw their own deductions from those facts.

Yesterday, 150,000 demonstrators marched in London alone.  These regular protests are growing in numbers and passion, with every passing week, and show no sign of losing momentum. On the contrary, everywhere you go now, in Britain certainly, everyone is talking about the situation in Gaza.

The atrocities of course, have been going on for over 40 years, but it is only really now, at this critical moment in history, where the extended family of mankind has joined together to condemn the Israeli government and those leaders around the world, who (misguidedly) continue to support the oppression and slaughter of innocent Palestinians.

Frequently compared to the holocaust and the apartheid regime in South Africa, few believe now, the situation can continue indefinitely, with campaigns to boycott all Israeli goods and any company allied to the Israeli government, and growing numbers of individuals and organisations declaring they no longer wish to be associated with Israel.

Add into this, the inundation of horrific images and accounts, coming out, thanks to social media, in real time, as the bombing is happening.  Real bombs, real children, real body parts, real screams and tears. A growing number are using words like Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide, with few really challenging the use of those expressions, now we have all seen the images for ourselves.

Individual families and friendships have been torn apart, as those supportive of the State of Israel, struggle to understand why the rest of the world is condemning their actions.

This shocking humanitarian crisis is proving to be a defining moment in our personal lives, and in the history of our species.

Some incredibly inspirational, informative, powerful and moving films have been posted on Youtube, expressing people's understanding and feelings about this growing humanitarian disaster.  

Here are just some of them...

"This Land is Mine" is a video from Nina Paley, originally posted on Vimeo.
In the end of this video appear the text "Copying is an Act of Love, 
please copy and share.".

Renowned Jewish American thinker Noam Chomsky tells Press TV 
that Israel has committed major war crimes in Gaza. Part One

Renowned Jewish American thinker Noam Chomsky interview.  Part Two

Dr. Belal Dabour, a physician at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital, talks 
about the health crisis in Gaza and the tremendous damage done to the area’s infrastructure
by Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.

Was the killing of unarmed Salem Shamali in Gaza a war crime?
The first shocking allegations about what the Israeli unit on the ground were ordered to do.

Incredibly moving Artist Taxi Driver video from 2nd August. 
A whisper is sometimes more powerful than a scream.

Mesmerising talk by Eran Efrati was filmed in Denver, Colorado on March 3, 2014 
as part of The Soldier and the Refusenik U.S. tour with Maya Wind. Eran talks about his experiences in the IDF and then more broadly discusses Israel, its relationship to the U.S.
and the global expansion of militarism.

19 year old school student Barnaby Raine gives a stonking speech on why he's proud to be Jewish protesting against the massacre of Gazans. Don't let the media tell us that being against Israel's atrocities, and the Israeli State occupation of Palestine is anti-semitic.

And finally...

Heart-breaking video, mind-blowing song from Amicable Rebels
"For the children of Gaza.... who were born innocent..."

If you would like to donate to one of the charity appeals, here are some links:

United Nations Relief and Works Agency - Gaza Emergency Appeal

Disasters Emergency Committee - Gaza Crisis Appeal