Tendring Topics…….on line
‘Lord, make me chaste and celibate…….
but not just yet!’
This was said to have been a prayer of St Augustine of Hippo (no, not the
St. Augustine who brought
the Christian faith to the heathen English) and proves that saints are 'only human'!.
I think of
prayer whenever I read, or hear on tv or radio, about yet another international
conference on climate change resulting from global warming. There’s always a remarkable unanimity about
these conferences. The leaders of almost
every nation accept the reality of global warming resulting in extreme weather
conditions throughout the world. The
northern polar ice-cap is shrinking as are glaciers world-wide. There have been
killer typhoons in the South Pacific Ocean and
unprecedented monsoon floods on the Indian sub-continent. North America has had
searing heat and drought as well as floods and unseasonal arctic spells that
have stretched most of the way from Canada to the Mexican border.
Glacier, photographed by me in 1979.
There is now no ice to be seen.
Africa has had prolonged droughts and
has had both floods and bush fires, laying waste to hundreds of square miles of
Europe has had floods, mud-slides and avalanches. During
the winter of 2013/2014 the UK’s
weather was unseasonably mild but heavy storms battered and broke the sea
defences on Britain East Coast while elsewhere – particularly on the Somerset
Levels and the – hundreds of acres
of land, together with farms and homes, were flooded for weeks as a result of
continuous torrential rain. Last month,
our government produced plans for flood prevention to be carried out in the
next two or three years. If only nature
proceeded at an equally leisurely pace! Thames
The latest international conference on climate change was in
The world’s leaders heard scientific experts explain that a major cause
of climate change is the steady increase in ‘greenhouse gases’ produced by
fossil fuels; coal and coal products and fuel oils used in industry, in road
transport and for warming our homes. We
must, say the world’s scientists, urgently reduce the use of fossil fuels –
leaving some reserves untouched – if we want to save our planet for our
grandchildren and their grandchildren
The world’s political leaders agree. Reducing the use of fossils fuels must be a priority – but not just yet. The Chinese want to wait until their industrialisation has caught up with that of the
USA. The UKs leaders have got a general election
coming up. They certainly don’t want to
take any precipitate action that might cost them votes – or the support of
those giving generous donations to the ruling party. Beside in shale oil, another fossil fuel
obtained by ‘fracking’, the Americans are sending us cheaper fuel – and
encouraging us to wreck our own countryside by producing our own. Producing a cheaper fuel (never mind that it
produces greenhouse gases) is certainly a vote winner. There are very few votes to be gained in the pursuit of
clean and sustainable energy.
The result of the International Conference in
Lima? Well, no worth-while action will take place
this year. Next year, perhaps something
positive will be agreed – but I’m not holding my breath.
We’ll never know whether the prayer of
St Augustine to be made
chaste and celibate – but not just yet, was answered. Perhaps it was. It is the nature of the God revealed to us in
Jesus Christ to forgive sins of the flesh, particularly those who have
acknowledged and confessed their fault.
‘Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But still in love he sought me. And on his shoulder gently laid, And home
rejoicing brought me’ I think God may be a little less forgiving towards those who, from greed, national pride or
fear of election defeat, ignore the warnings of the wise, and are prepared to
sacrifice future generations to their own self-centred interests.
‘It’s not what is done……..it’s who it is does it’
The American Senate’s report on the conduct of the CIA in the aftermath of ‘9/11’ has brought the whole policy of the
at that time into the limelight. As well
as the torture of suspects under interrogation, there was their ‘rendition’ to
countries, Libya for
instance, where torture could take place without as much as raised eyebrow, and
there was the establishment at Guantanamo
Bay in Cuba, of a concentration camp of
which Himmler would have been proud!
I find myself interested less in what the CIA and their political masters did, but what they didn’t even attempt to do. The outrages of ‘9/11’ were planned and carried out by El Qaeda, the dominant jihadist terrorist organisation of the day. At the head of El Qaeda was Osama bin Laden whom the CIA tracked down and killed, without so it seems, making any attempt to capture him. It certainly stopped him from revealing, in the dock, the support El Quaeda had from the CIA in their campaign of terror against soldiers and civilians of the
Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi Arabian, so were the overwhelming number of the terrorists who had successfully planned and carried out the destruction of
‘ ’ on ‘9/11’. There was not an Iraqi or an Iranian or a
Syrian among them. Twin Towers Saudi Arabia
practises and preaches the noxious perversion of Islam that has been taken up by El
Quaeda and their successors IS or Islamic State. Compared with Saudi
Arabia, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq
and President Assad’s Syria
were havens of freedom and tolerance.
Furthermore, it is known that prominent Saudi Arabians helped finance
Islamic State in its early bloodthirsty progress in Syria
– and possibly continue to do so today.
The USA, and the UK the USA’s ‘special relation’, invaded Iraq on the pretext that the Iraqi government had been involved in ‘9/11’ and that it possessed ‘weapons of mass destruction’, neither of which claims had even a scintilla of truth. Hundreds of British and American service-men died as a result, together with thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. Nor did we bring peace and prosperity to
Iraq. Since our departure Iraq has never
been at peace and is currently under attack by Islamic State. We have now sent in hundreds of British
troops ‘to train Iraqi forces’. How long
will it be before those troops have to defend themselves against IS attack and
we find ourselves dragged unwillingly into a third ‘Gulf War?’
Again, in support of the
USA, we went to war in Afghanistan
because their Taliban government was protecting the bases of El Qaeda. Within months El Qaeda had moved those bases
to Somalia and Yemen – but the
Taliban fought on. We have, after ten
years and goodness knows how many deaths on both sides of the conflict, withdrawn all our combat troops. They may not have been defeated but I am
quite sure they wouldn’t claim to have gained a great victory. My guess is that in six months time a
fundamentalist Muslim government (it may not be called Taliban) will be ruling Afghanistan and
all those mini-victories, for education, for women’s liberation and so on, will
have been lost.
Meanwhile Saudi-Arabia, the inspiration and (I believe) clandestine supporter of Islamic terrorists, remains unchallenged as one of our ‘trusted allies’. We buy their oil and we sell them our armaments and don’t ask too many questions. As I have said before, nowadays it isn’t ‘what is done’ but ‘who did it’ that is of greatest concern to our Government and that of our American allies. What a pity that not even the combined efforts of the CIA and MI6 can manage to establish that Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein and President Assad, conspired together to carry out ‘9/11’!
This will be my last blog before Christmas, probably the last blog in 2014. It’s the season of good will and I’d very much like to wish all humankind a Happy Christmas and New Year.
Sadly the news seems to get worse from day to day. World-wide no early effective action will be taken place to counter climate change. On the other side of the world, in Sydney Australia, a jihadist fanatic has held the customers and staff of a busy café hostage – a situation that resulted in the death of the fanatic, of the café’s manager and of one of the customers, a barrister in her thirties with two children. Worst of all was the massacre by the Pakistan Taliban of 132 children, and nine members of the staff, at a school in Peshawar in north-western Pakistan – a crime even more heinous than that of King Herod’s slaughter of the 'Holy Innocents’ in Bethlehem two thousand years ago!
For ‘good news’ we are told about the new vessel – half a kilometre long! – that is being built in
to exploit new fields of (greenhouse gas producing) oil that lie beneath the
ocean floor off the north of Australia.
The production of similar enormous vessels to extract and process submarine oil
fields is planned for the future!
It’s the ‘season of good will’ and I have to confess that I feel very little good will towards politicians who are prepared to sacrifice future generations in their pursuit of immediate economic or political advantage. I feel even less good will towards those who torture or murder their fellow men and women in the blasphemous belief that their crimes will earn them the favour of God, and none at all towards those, whoever they may be and whatever their cause, pretext or excuse, who harm or kill innocent children.
That said, I do wish a very Happy Christmas and a New Year of Peace and Hope to all readers of this blog and to all those who, with love for humanity in their hearts, are striving to make this sad world a happier place, and to work towards an answer to our prayer, Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven’.