Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A country decends into further bloodshed......

It's been a long time coming but it now seems that Egypt is closer than ever to a civil war. How the populist democracy chant of the western media roared on  the Arab spring.... thinking that we the readers......all supported the roaring..... simply because it was done in the name of Democracy.

Sometimes, there is an arrogance about democratic nations who insist that all nations should be democratic.

I first visited Egypt some 30 or more years ago, and traveling through the Suez canal, on a supertanker barely able to make it through, with out scraping the sides ......[the super tankers sides not mine]......... I was 17 years old, and until I was 16 years old I have never been abroad, never had a passport. I don't recall there ever being an immigration desk at Mablethorpe, so in my house a passport was a luxury item.

But at 17 years old, here I was in the land of the Pharaohs fascinated by some of the place names, the heat, the sand [and therefore the dust] and by the shear exuberance of the local tradesmen.  I brought a leather hold hall, which to this day I still use, the quality of which I have yet to find since.

And so fast forward some 29 years it is late 2009, and as a middle aged 17yr old, I find my self back in Egypt for the first time since the trip through the Suez. This time I was looking at the burnt out wreck of a large expanse of warehouse, it's contents a mere smouldering wreck. But the warehouse could have been anywhere quite frankly, but it was in Egypt, a country that lured me back to be  fascinated once more.

The sand was still the same, the heat certainly was, the tradesmen just as exuberant. However, now instead of leather bags, I am buying exotic middle eastern jewellery for two late teens girls. They've seen my leather hold hall, they prefer jewellery.

During this trip, I was treated to a visit to the pyramids, a ride on a camel [obligatory it seems] and a guided tour around the key exhibits in the Cairo museum. I was even treated to a late night laser show at the pyramids.....sounds tacky ?.... actually no. Something quite different it turned out.

But seeing the latest headlines

..........you are left wondering how a state like Egypt can so rapidly descend into this madding violence. The news source for this report is not important, nor whether the photos are propagandist, but when you look at the content of the photo's, the sheer madness of a people who brought us the pyramids is quite disturbing.

Of course what is happening in Egypt today isn't new or unique and it sure as hell is not about who is right and who is wrong........ but when I look at that leather bag I brought 30 years ago it doesn't remind me of bloodshed or madness.

In my life on this planet for 50.5 years there have been endless bloody disputes and conflicts and as each one is seemingly solved another one springs up.

I recently commented on someone else's blog my support about the re-introduction of the death penalty in certain cases of murder and in reply someone chastened me as to my inhumanity.

Thinking about it is absurd to suggest that those of us who call for the death penalty for the likes of Ian Huntley, Dale Cregan, Mark Bridger and the rest..... are somehow inhuman and debase the human spirit. You only have to look around you each day to see that the human spirit is already debased.

For sure there is a huge swage of the human race who are good, honest, moral, non violent people, but as a race...... erm .... erm.... we have the capability of extreme violence, all in the name of our human rights..... killing another human being because he doesn't support your political stance ?

Is there ever a time it is acceptable to kill good, honest, moral, non violent people ?

There may be reasons why one nation or one group within a nation set out on a path of violence and death on another nation/group {delete as appropriate} and the reasons for doing so are never that straight forward.

For me as a child it started out very simple, the cowboys were the goodies, and the red indians were the baddies, the Allies were the goodies and the Germans were the baddies [they bombed our chip shop], the soldiers were the goodies and the aliens from outer space were the baddies, the cops were the goodies and the robbers were the baddies and so on and so forth..... but as a 50.5 yr old teenage boy you realise it is never that simple.

Remember the good old days of the Miss World contest.... Eric Morley - so Miss Bolivia what do you want to achieve as Miss World ? ...... Miss Boliva [all tanned and in gorgeous swim suit and pink satin sash...] flutters her eyelashes and smiles at the camera and says...... world peace...... oh how we fluttered our eyelashes and smiled back at the TV......

We are you now Miss Boliva when we need you most ?

Others can carve out 
their space
in tombs and pyramids.
Our time cannot be trapped
in cages.
Nor hope, nor laughter.
We let the moment rise
like birds and planes and angels
to the sky.
Eternity is this.
Your breath on the window pane,
living walls with shining eyes.
The surprise of spires,
uncompromising verticals. Knowing
we have been spared
to lift our faces up
for one more day,
into one more sunrise. 
[Imtiaz Dharker]