Tag Archives: Paris

Brussels . . . The Pen and The Sword

pen photo

Isn’t Life perverse? I was going to attack Brussels on Tuesday after several weeks of planning. Not with suicide bombers intent on causing fear and mayhem but with thoughts and perspectives to challenge the present status quo.

Words, directed at changing thinking and questioning the direction Society is now being dragged in. Given the vile nature of what happened I can wait and begin my assault later, out of respect for what the relatives and friends of the dead and survivors must now be dealing with.

As one atrocity follows another do the perpetrators really believe they will grab the power from those against whom they carry out these mindless attacks? Do they honestly believe they will bring us to our knees, or that we will willing submit to their brand of leadership, which rules by abject fear and without human rights?

These attempts at subjugation do not subdue but quite the reverse. The credibility of Terrorism is steadily being eroded, if it had any in the first place, with an anger and a determination to resist that is swelling out of the rubble of the latest atrocity.

There is no doubt that there is much wrong with the world today that can be laid at the feet of Western Neoliberalism. What I find incredible is that there is much these terrorists could learn from the current state of affairs and show them what true domination is all about.

What they will find is that the power they seek is not to be had by armed violence. Whilst this form of Neanderthal aggression may succeed for a while, resentment of the abused rises up and eventually overthrows the suppressors, as our history records on countless occasions.

For the longest periods of control over the masses the pen wins hands down over the sword. If we look at medieval Society it was the power of the written document, Magna Carta, which ended the abusive reign of tyrants and set standards by which, right up to today, Society is keen to maintain.

Also at around this time the pen and the sword worked hand in glove as the Crusaders offered safe passage for pilgrim’s intent upon visiting the Holy Land. Gold could be deposited at one fort in exchange for a promissory note which could then be exchanged at another fort upon arrival in the Holy Land, where the gold was then redeemed.

Over the ensuing centuries the power of this simple ‘banking practice’ grew into a worldwide business, which today holds sway of our global Society and dictates the policy of many governments through its lending terms and practices. What we know is that the bankers have done a better job than an army or any other force, no matter of what size, to subdue and control Society for a historic period of time with the simple and non-aggressive application of debt.

The real threat from terrorism now comes with the new breed of jihadis who are achieving increased funding, more sophisticated propaganda generating better recruitment and the improved use of communications encryption tools and equipment. Here the pen is coming to dominate the underlying foundations of this form of violence, making it more sophisticated in application.

If we add to this the future planning of the so-called Islamic State who, we are told, have more than 31,000 pregnant women being used to create the next generation of terrorists, the picture becomes much more worrying.

Perhaps the power of the pen is now being recognised for what it truly is, the ability to shape thinking and actions. What is often lost sight of is that, as a species, we create our reality by what we think and come to believe in. A simple example is smoking, which dominated our lives when I was young but is now scorned for the life threatening habit it truly is . . . we changed our belief and changed Society.

Terrorist leaders are realising that if they are to make any lasting headway they must already be preparing the next generation of fighters and this can only be achieved initially by the pen. Once young minds are shaped by terrorist beliefs, commitment is gained and the indoctrinated are ready to use the sword. Certainly we know that you can shape a young mind to act out any form of atrocity . . . How many 40-year-old+ bombers have been reported?

What I find frightening here is that modern terror groups are breeding future suicide bombers of such vast numbers. It is here that terrorism could get seriously out of control, as increasing numbers of fanaticised young are sent out into the world to become ‘martyrs’ by hideous waste of young lives. The sword cannot compete with this type of onslaught. What will the Pentagon do . . . bomb or ‘drone’ 31,000 pregnant women?!

We have to fight ‘like for like’ and that will finally show us whether terrorism is something we want to eradicate, or whether it is a tool of western powers to keep us separated and in conflict with each other so that the old order may continue.

I don’t know the answer to that question. If the latter is the case then we may be facing a violent future that will distract us from impending and far more serious Natural disasters, which will overtake us long before those 31,000 babies have been effectively indoctrinated.

Until the next time

 

P.S. Cartoonist from around the world respond to Brussels attack:

http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-03-22/cartoonists-around-world-respond-brussels-attack?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Scan%20PRI%20list%20-%20Wednesday%20March%2023%20-%20MASTER&utm_content=The%20Scan%20PRI%20list%20-%20Wednesday%20March%2023%20-%20MASTER+CID_35a55534694e051a30c967c929e940bd&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=Cartoonists%20from%20around%20the%20world%20respond%20to%20the%20Brussels%20attack

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Paris: 2 Sinister Hypocrisies

As I watched the 40 world leaders marching with the people last weekend in Paris I was immediately struck by how out of place they all looked. Not one of these people we have given our power away to had any thought about freedom of speech and the press. It was simply a chance to get a lot closer to vast numbers of the people who elect them than they have ever done before in their political lives. It was blatantly a photo op to end all photo ops and not to be missed!

Even as a photo op it has become a joke, as we now hear that Netanyahu had Merkel ‘photo shopped’ out of the official pictures used by the Israeli media to record the event. Global unity and Freedom of the Press . . . You decide. (As an aside is it any wonder there is no resolution to the ongoing conflict in Palestine when there is a mind-set that nurtures decades of ongoing hatred such as this?!)

Cynical . . . Moi?! Try this for size:-

 Sinister Hypocrisy No 1:

In one of the largest demonstrations the world has seen in recent years, how could such countries as Russia, Turkey, Israel and Egypt, to name but a few, even contemplate attending with their track record of Human Rights abuse and the suppression of journalism and free speech. Also, if not impertinent, where did Saudi Arabia get the energy to attend, given how exhausting it must be to administer 1000 lashes to a blogger exercising free speech!

Then there’s ‘our Dave’ linking arms with his mates and wearing his best Remembrance Day ‘face’ for the march and then quickly scuttling back to inform us he would be giving MI5 greater powers of surveillance. Not only that but then he phones his ‘special friend’ Barak Obama to ask if he would give GCHQ greater abilities to invade the internet!

At least the US had the good sense not to attend, given their treatment of WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, which still reverberates across the globe. I remain confused on precisely what their official line on freedom of speech is however, in the light of their condemning the Sony Corporation for giving in to (alleged) threats from North Korea if they released their film The Interview . . . but maybe that’s just me.

Sinister Hypocrisy No 2:

This one really blows me backwards! How can these people turn up to such a protest when most of them are responsible for the whole ugly state of affairs we are now trying to deal with? Was it not George ‘Dubya’ Bush who declared war on global terrorism, supported by the crass statement to “Bring it on”? Well they certainly have sunshine, further exacerbated by an illegal war that added oceans of fuel to the flames his puerile macho language had already ignited in the Middle East!

The whole situation is made even more sinister as we are told that Al Qaeda, ISIS and all the other groups have been funded and supported by many of the countries represented at this demonstration, supporting a US led policy to control the Middle East and its oil.

If we then add to this TTIP and other trade deals being pursued by the US, in the deepest secrecy, to further subvert our democratic rights, all in collusion with these same attendees at the march, then how could they possibly look any of the people they were marching with in the face?

 

However, a tiny light shines from this, the grossest of political theatre. It was not those we have given our power to that organised this event but the spontaneous reaction of the 99%, driven by shock, horror and anger at yet another mindless atrocity and to which the 1% quickly invited themselves (at the taxpayers’ expense!).

Traditional Social dynamics are gradually changing, as the internet increasingly empowers us to quickly unite and speak out.  We must not lose sight of this powerful fundamental change, which the 1% fear more than anything else. ‘Terrorism’ provides them with the excuse to clamp down on us, as their hypocrisy about the subject becomes more and more evident.

Finally, I see that Cameron is showing up ahead of Labour in latest polling and I truly cannot see where he gets any credibility from whatsoever. However, to get our political environment into true perspective, I see the comedian Al Murray ‘The Pub Landlord’ is standing against Farage in May.

With all the ‘comics’ already in Westminster he seems to have the right sort of experience and qualifications although, with much respect, I fear we are no further forward in finding real solutions to Debt, Terrorism and the continued erosion of Democracy.

We desperately need new Visionary Leaders . . . and soon!

 

Until the next time

 

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Paris: Some Clarification

It seems as though my last piece has upset some and confused others and so I would like to try and put the record straight on the message I was trying to put across.

First and foremost I must state unequivocally that I am not for one moment advocating that we laugh at ANY religion. Far from it, as I argue in my book, religious belief is fundamentally necessary to us as a species and essential to help us cope with the challenges Life throws at us with monotonous regularity!

We are all different and as such need different beliefs to meet our own particular makeup, hence the wide variety of beliefs today. Unfortunately these well-meaning beliefs are subsequently distorted and abused to provide a power base and this has been the case for millennia.

Each belief has argued it is the ONLY TRUE belief and all others are ‘sinners’. If this were remotely true, with each religion giving the same message, then it is obvious that we are ALL sinners and ALL destined for hell! Hence the satire they have generated and which they have ALL endured with good grace. Only the radicals have reacted, sometimes in the grossest fashion because their own shallow power bases are easily threatened.

The major religions today became powerful by persecuting the other beliefs until the most powerful came out on top. The cost in human life and misery of these religious power struggles over thousands of years is a tragedy of monumental proportions and a permanent blot upon our history as a species.

As we have evolved we have come to recognise these abuses and that there may be more than one way of gaining religious succour. The internet is certainly making us more aware of both our sameness and differences and through this we are making great strides in global religious tolerance. A true accolade to our contribution to this evolutionary process.

However the old ways die hard and today we see the traditional abuses of religious belief being perpetrated, yet again, in a blind lust for power. Today however it is not applied by a myriad of religious labels but simply by one . . . Terrorism! These radicals are not working with the full blessing of their religious institutions, indeed they are being castigated by them and the genuine followers of those beliefs.

Here we get to the heart of what I was writing about. I do not seek to laugh and humiliate the religious beliefs that are so important to all of us. Instead I seek to isolate and humiliate terrorism. It is not a religious belief but an abuse of genuine religious belief. The manner in which it is being operated is to intentionally strike ’terror’ into the world at large in order to bring Society to its knees and take power.

As I read comments on Twitter over the last few days I am aware of people subduing their usually forthright voices or dropping out of conversations on the subject. That is fine but we must be aware that this bully boy tactic is beginning to rob us of our hard won freedoms, as fear takes over and we become frightened to speak our minds or walk freely in our streets with our families and friends.

Not only that but the current agenda is seeking to take us back to distorted values that would have women become no more than goods and chattels, as they were only a few hundred years ago. I don’t know about you but I for one could not rest easy with this. Women have a massive amount to offer and have been suppressed from playing their part in Society for too long now.

Crunch time is fast arriving as our security services now openly admit that they are struggling to maintain a safe environment in which to live our lives, as these groups gain some successes and attract more young naïve recruits as future bomb fodder. Hiding within Society these groups are able to carry out their atrocities, making the task no longer one for the security forces but for Society as a whole.

We have to stand up in unison and demonstrate to these groups that we will not be intimidated for much longer. They must be isolated from the religions they declare they represent and leaders and true followers must join with everyone else, as they are now doing, to put a stop to the spreading cancer they are now inflicting upon Society.

It is here that I am advocating laughter as a powerful tool with which to defend ourselves and discredit the distorted values these groups operate under. By standing up and using the humour of cartoonists, as was so effectively achieved by Steve West in the Guardian last week, I believe we can break its sinister image and growing hold over us . . . but it will take a united global Society to do this.

We are in unprecedented times and this could represent the catalyst with which to re-empower the 99% in manner none of us has previously contemplated, bringing a sense of pride back into Society that has been knocked out of us by the 1% over the last few decades. What have we possibly got to lose?!

May I also suggest that, in the light of what I have written here, you go back and reread my previous post (See ‘recent posts’ on the right here) and the powerful message to terrorists the original cartoon by Steve West gave out. Hopefully you will see these messages in a different and more caring light.

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

 

Paris: A Solution . . . Or Not!

FRANCE-ATTACKS-MEDIA

AFP pic, January 8, 2015

In amongst the mind numbing stories coming out of France yesterday my attention was drawn to the strong and succinct message from the Guardians cartoonist Steve Bell http://tinyurl.com/ken7jkv. reminding me of a story as a child growing up in South London.

In those days I would play safely in the streets with my friends, much to the annoyance of a single man in his late forties who would regularly complain to our parents about us, although we never caused damage.

One day he came out of his house and because his hat was askew one of my mates started laughing, to which we all joined in. He got very angry and tried to chase us but we were too quick for him. Every time we saw him after that we would start laughing and pointing at him for no apparent reason, there were never any words, just laughter.

After a few short weeks he found his complaints to our parents fell on deaf ears and his anger gradually subsided. Eventually an unspoken truce broke out and from then on we got on fine with each other, in the awareness that the victims can turn and be more devastating than the bully.

We know the devastating power of global media and the effect it can have upon shaping public opinion. From Edward Snowden to global warming and MP’s with their hands in the petty cash or a colleague’s underwear, it can be unrelenting and wreck reputations with ease.

Why, oh why, is it not being trained upon terrorism now, with cartoonists like Steve Bell applying their incredible talents to setting the whole world laughing at any and all terror groups? Think about it. Laughing is one of the most humiliating and sobering tactics if applied properly. If every newspaper in every country fought back simultaneously terrorism would be cowed, once and for all.

Why? Because I believe it would achieve three objectives:

  1. It can isolate and make fun of terrorism alone and NOT the religious beliefs and true followers that are being manipulated and maligned by these cults.
  2. In so doing it would draw the fangs of this odious practice by ridiculing the whole concept of terrorism.
  3. In ridiculing terror it would make it less macho, alienating these cowardly groups from the young impressionable minds they prey on for their source of ‘bomb fodder’.

Our sense of impotence can be overwhelming against continually cowardly acts, by a hidden enemy that hits the unsuspecting and quickly runs back into the obscurity of the crowd it has just attacked. Taking on the might of the world media however is a whole new can of worms, as their dastardly acts are brought front and centre in a whole new deprecatory manner, proving yet again that the pen is mightier than the sword!

Just imagine how you would feel, watching the media unite on our behalf to cower the terrorist bullyboys across the globe.

Let us now turn to the ‘Or Not’ as, in reality, I think this suggestion would open another can of more slippery and slimy worms the size of an Olympic swimming pool. Would it be in the best interests of the media’s lords and masters to come to our rescue? I think not!

It would unbalance traditional power structures that are both suppressive and VERY profitable. Terrorism not only supports a lucrative international military/industrial complex, it also continues the policies of ‘divide and conquer’ that have suppressed us for millennia, by ensuring we continue to fight against each other.

Indeed only recently the Pentagon declared that the war on terror would continue indefinitely. Of course it will, there is too much at stake for it to be resolved easily or quickly. Indeed I am sure that there is satisfaction amongst the global ruling classes at the widening gap between Muslim and non-Muslim in France, as this sad affair stirs animosity to new levels in a country with the largest Muslim population in Europe.

The internet is uniting us in a manner never before possible in our history, placing this traditional means of ruling by ‘divide and conquer’ under serious threat, as the growing levels of abuse now directed at us, including surveillance, confirm. Terrorism may suit the minority but it will also unite the majority through its obscene actions.

It is feeding the global will to unite and preserve our freedoms of speech and movement, we simply have to find the means . . . No pressure!

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Paris: Humour is the most constructive form of criticism J T Coombes

Charlie Hebdo

I remember the Irish comedian Dave Allen in the late 60’s and early 70’s with his hugely successful comedy series The Dave Allen Show. He touched a nerve in people with his deep irreverence for political power but most famously his taunts at the Catholic Church.

No stone was left unturned as he lampooned the ritual and pomp. His frank material earned the show a risqué reputation on such occasions as when he depicted himself as the Pope and his cardinals doing a striptease to music. Other sketches again depicted the (sometimes extreme) realities of day to day church life, with priests beating their parishioners and each other, Dalek sounding priests in confessionals and the Pope with many exaggerated Italian accents, telling Allen in a Chico Marx style to “getta your bum outta Roma”.

Allen was no fool and his inner wisdom and balance meant he was able to laugh at himself as acutely as his mickey taking of others and their organisations. He lost the top of his left forefinger above the middle knuckle after catching it in a machine cog. This provided him with a vast amount of humorous material which found its way into his act.

He joked on one occasion of it being worn away by strong drink, as he regularly dunked it in the whisky glass that was a permanent feature of his act. On another occasion he told a long and convoluted ghost story that concluded with something “evil” attacking him in a dark and haunted house. Allen retaliated by grabbing and biting the attacker, only to find, when the lights came back on that he was biting his own left hand!

What his humour was able to do, as all good humour should, is to make us aware of the need to closely examine beliefs we may well have outgrown and that are no longer fulfilling the purpose they once did. With Allen he was able to demonstrate that we had evolved as a Society and as our religious beliefs were not prepared to evolve with us they were becoming less meaningful.

Throughout this period the Catholic Church never overreacted and I for one, although not a Catholic, respected them for taking it all ‘on the chin’. If only they had taken on board what was happening they may have been able to staunch the steady flow of followers from their churches since.

There is no doubt that the present shallow financial values used to measure our happiness and life are proving useless in offering strength and reassurance as we face the growing pressures of globalisation and financialisation of life on this beautiful planet. We need the spiritual part of us to receive sustenance and the myriad of religious beliefs that abound are evidence to this.

We are all different and are reassured in ways that most suit us. A Jew would not sit comfortably with Sufism, nor a Christian with Shamanism etc. We find what works for us and what we are most comfortable with. It cannot be forced upon us and no one belief is the ‘Only Right Belief’ above all others.

Globalisation is forcing these very beliefs, which have been used over the millennia to keep us apart, to now work together, with a growing recognition that they all have their part to play.

The atrocity that occurred in Paris yesterday demonstrates a blinding immaturity and lust for power that has haunted us for thousands of years. Like Dave Allen, Charlie Hebdo was pointing a humorous finger that should cause questions, not violence, demonstrating yet again how mighty the pen is over the sword!

Those who caused these young men to waste their lives uselessly lack the wisdom to realise that they will never achieve what they crave because they are alienating the people, not motivating them to rise up. Who in their right mind would want to follow and support such callous behaviour? It’s a ‘no brainer’

As the tributes flow from all races, colours, creeds and genders, united in a global repugnance of what has occurred, I sense us leaving the old behind as we venture into our new Global Village. It somehow seems apposite therefore, to sign off with the same words used by Dave Allen at the end of his shows:

“Thank you, goodnight and may your God go with you”

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes