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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Islam- A German point of view

Very few people were true Nazis, but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come.

My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.

We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is a religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.

The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous. Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China 's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And who can forget Rwanda , which collapsed into butchery? Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany , they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

Now Islamic prayers have been introduced in Toronto and other public schools in Ontario , and, yes, in Ottawa , too, while the Lord's Prayer was removed (due to being so offensive?). The Islamic way may be peaceful for the time being in our country until the fanatics move in.

In Australia , and indeed in many countries around the world, many of the most commonly consumed food items have the halal emblem on them. Just look at the back of some of the most popular chocolate bars, and at other food items in your local supermarket. Food on aircraft have the halal emblem just to appease the privileged minority who are now rapidly expanding within the nation's shores.

In the U.K, the Muslim communities refuse to integrate and there are now dozens of "no-go" zones within major cities across the country that the police force dare not intrude upon. Sharia law prevails there, because the Muslim community in those areas refuse to acknowledge British law.

As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts - the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Dr. Emanuel Tanya

Thoughts for our time: Frederick Douglass 1818-1895

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.”

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

“...I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land... I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of 'stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.' I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. . . . The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—devils dressed in angels’ robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.”

“I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong"

“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Photo minute: Dolphins- masters of the sea

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thoughts for our time: Socrates 470 BC-399 BC

The unexamined life is not worth living

Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live

From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate

True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing

Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou are in, continue firm and constant

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher

He is the richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature

I cannot teach anybody. I can only make them think

Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle

Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel

He who is not contented with the good he has would not be contented with what he would like to have

If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change, free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is an unalterable law and no amount of pretending will alter the reality

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less

Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty

When debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser

Employ your time in improving yourself by others men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured so hard for

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new

I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world

Photo minute: Don't mess with my bitch

Two male lions fight over a female; winner takes all

Photo: Minute: The cliffs of Sussex in England

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fr Francis Gleeson- The Irish saint of the trenches

Fr Francis Gleeson’s bravery as a WW1 chaplain is renowned, says James Fogarty
FRANCIS Gleeson was one of the thousands of Irishmen who served in the First World War. But he did not go to fight. He provided spiritual and physical comfort to the second battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers. He was their chaplain, a role iconically in portrayed in the painting, The General Last Absolution of the Munsters at Rue du Bois.

“The scenes of enthusiasm are extraordinary,” he wrote on May 8, 1915, the eve of the Battle of Aubers Ridge. “I ride on my horse. Give absolution to [the] battalion during rest in [the] road...The men all sing hymns, ‘Hail Glorious St Patrick’. I go further up — near the trenches, and bid goodbye to all. So sad.”
Many of the men, recruited from Kerry, Cork, Limerick, and Clare, were killed. The roll call was described as “the saddest imaginable” by Fr Gleeson in his diary, which, along with his correspondences, is housed at the Dublin Diocesan Archives. “Some had lost brothers, others cousins, but all had lost good and faithful comrades.”
“What a day for all the Munsters,” he wrote in his diary on May 9. “We lose at least 350 men, between killed and wounded and missing. Spent all night trying to console, aid, and remove the wounded. It was ghastly to see them lying there in the cold, cheerless outhouses, on bare stretchers with no blankets to cover their freezing limbs... Hundreds lying out in cold air all night at Windy Corner. No ambulances coming. They came at last — at daylight.”
Fr Gleeson did not just provide comfort. According to the book The Irish at the Front, published during the war, the chaplain was not afraid to put himself in danger. During a bombardment of the trenches, “Fr Gleeson stuck to his post, attending to the dying Munsters... Indeed, if anyone has earned the VC, Fr Gleeson has. He is a credit to the country he hails from, and brought luck to the Munsters since he joined them.”
Gleeson’s courage was mythic during his life. In his biography, Goodbye To All That, Robert Graves, writer and WWI veteran, wrote that “Jovial Father Gleeson of the Munsters, when all the officers were killed and wounded at the first battle of Ypres, had stripped off his black badges and, taking command of the survivors, held the line”.
This seems improbable and Gleeson does not mention it in his diaries. One of 13 children, Gleeson was born on May 28, 1884, in Eastwood, Farrenderry, just outside Templemore, Co Tipperary, and he was ordained in 1910. When war started he volunteered and was appointed chaplain by the War Office in November. While romantic — he compared the Munsters to the Wild Geese — he was never jingoistic. “If... advocates of war were made to be soaked and caked and crusted with cold, wet trench mud, like these poor soldiers, and to wear those mud-weighted coats,” he wrote in December 1914, “they would not be so glib with their treatises on the art of war. These militants should be made undergo a few nights in cheerless billets [and] mud-river trenches to teach them a lesson. What is it all for at all?”
But he was committed to freeing Belgium, although he was critical of what he considered the anti-clerical policies of his allies, the French. Eventually, the daily horrors took their toll on him. In November 1915, his contract expired and he was glad to leave the front. “I am sorry to be leaving the dear old Munster lads,” he wrote, in a letter, “but I really can’t stand it any longer. I do not like the life, though I love the poor men so much. Will you please send me the papers regarding my discharge?”
After recovery, he rejoined the 2nd Munsters in France in May 1917. The correspondence he received from the families of men who were missing, wounded or killed gives some sense of his role. “He was the only one left to me, but it pleased God’s holy will,” said Mrs E Thompson, from Cork, who wrote in December 1917, to thank Gleeson for informing her of her son’s death. “Father, I will ask of you to try and seek some firm account for me and try to relieve the mind of a poor, broken-hearted mother.”
In the opening days of 1918, Fr Gleeson received a letter from a Mrs Margaret Burke, from Kerry, whose husband was missing. “Up to this, I was in great hopes of having good news, but now I am beginning to despair, for I know that if he had only half a hand he would have sent me some line long ago,” she told Fr Gleeson.
“Tis only God alone knows how I feel, for he was an exceedingly good husband. But God knows best. I will be delighted to get any further news from you.”
But not all the letters contained bad news. “I also had notification from France, stating he was taken prisoner on the 10th of the 11th at the Battle of Ypres and is unwounded...” wrote one relieved relative. “I was troubled, but he is still living and well, but the poor prisoners will not get much to eat from the Germans.”
In December 1917, Elizabeth Heaney, from Dublin, informed Fr Gleeson that her son, a veteran of Gallipoli, “was taken on the 10th just after the day the engagement took place and is in the best of health, not having received a scratch in the encounter. He is all I have in the world and the best and kindest creature God ever gave to anyone. He loved you very much and spoke about you in every letter...”
Answering and receiving these letters was upsetting for Fr Gleeson, as he confided in June 1915. “I got 12 letters today; just after reading them. What answering they will take tomorrow. I like to give these poor people all the solace I can, anyhow, but still there’s no limit to the sorrowing inquiries. The tragedy of these letters....One letter was from a broken-hearted girl... Then, the mothers! Oh!”

Father Gleeson left the Munsters in February 1918, before completing his tour with the British army in May 1919.
James Fogarty

Helene Fischer - Ave Maria (German) Beauty and talent in one

A Day At Knock Airport

I had to catch a plane for a one -day stopover at the weekend. I had many air miles behind me in my life and considered myself a seasoned traveler, having landed and taken off at most major airports in the world from Shannon airport to Sydney Australia and what was in between, and where mean was normal, but none quite measured up or down to a day at Knock airport in County Mayo.  

This was an airport built on a bog on the top of a small mountain. Alright, maybe it is a hill. But anyway, this was Ireland as it used to be as I remembered it with rose tinted glasses, greeted by women here of the comely kind who doubled at the reception desk, the information kiosk, and I’d swear one of them did the bathrooms as well. A stressed and hopeful passenger became relaxed again because she was told to be at reception, as a heavy iron safe lay half open behind her with paper money spilling out onto the floor. No one seemed to notice but me. Another mature receptionist grappled with a pencil on a mangled invoice for it seemed she had long viewed computers with great suspicion. I don’t blame her. Dinner was served a-la-carte just like your mother made it, though a lot more expensive than free.  Over priced covered everything for sale and if you were of the mean kind, whether you liked it or not, you still had to pay the €10 development charge before you got through the security gates or on a plane.

These gates was where friendly ended and a dose of reality began. A sign told you not to take any sharp or dangerous objects on board, pressing home the issue by drawings of same that included a gun in case you missed the point. Still in high spirits after being intoxicated by the Irish welcome that we are famed for, I was met by a security man, who must have wished that he was 20 years old in 1938, after just joining the Nazi party. “Any oils, creams or lotions” he barked at me. I politely answered that I had a very small bottle of eye drops. Sensing prey, he barked again: “ Must be in a clear plastic bag and visible.”  I took it out and lay it on top of my even smaller travelling bag. “There it is” I offered. “Must be in a clear plastic bag” he barked again, buoyed by the 4 strapping Irishmen behind him. It helped that he was English with a Yorkshire accent to stand my ground.
“No, there it is as clear as water.” He ignored me while telling me sarcastically that on the wall was a vending machine offering 2 plastic bags for €1. “ No” I growled at the little man with the syndrome that goes with it, “There it is”  

Listening to all the commotion, a kind and bemused lady behind me offered me a plastic bag to break the stalemate as Yorkshire man started to shrink at yet another Irish rebellion for now the strapping Irishmen on his side of the fence looked at him with unsaid words that could only mean ‘What an asshole…’  
Safe at last on the free zone side of security check I thanked the lady while reminding her that it must have been an Nazi moment for Yorkshire man. Thinking of peace terms she said, “ I suppose rules are rules.”  I answered helpfully that that was said to the Jews just before they entered the gas chamber.

The plane that I was on was called Sky Bee airways. It did exactly what it said on the tin. It looked like a bee and sounded like one too, or an un-serviced lawn mower. But I was free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I was free at last just before it took off when I thought it was going to land again……

Barry Clifford 

Dogs: A Child's Best Friend.....

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

There Are Two Types of People With Depression - Which One Are You?

It's coming up to the one year anniversary that I've been what I'd describe as a very active mental health advocate, and one of the things I've realised over this time is that broadly speaking, people who suffer from depression can be divided into two different categories.
One class of people want to recover from depression, and channel all their energy into doing so. They're the ones who work with their doctors and commit themselves to therapy - and if they can't afford therapy, they bury themselves in more cost-friendly alternatives like self-help books and free online therapy. They make sure they eat well, do their best to sleep well, and even though it may be the last thing in the world that they feel like doing, they force themselves to exercise.

When I talk to them, they ask me:
"Danny, how did you recover from depression?"
"Do you have any tips on how I can get better?"
"Do you think there's more that I could be doing to recover? If you think there is, then please tell me, because I want to recover as soon as possible."
And because all their energy is dedicated to recovering, they usually do so, and they go on to live happy, healthy lives.
The second group of people, on the other hand, do not want to recover - rather, they've convinced themselves that they're always going to suffer from depression, and as a result, their goal is just to be as comfortable while suffering from their affliction as they can.

And because they don't believe that they can get on top of their illness, they tend to do few of the things that would actually help them get on top of it.
After all, going to therapy isn't exactly the most fun thing in the world to do, so if you're goal isn't to recover from depression, then why would you do it?
Same with reading self-help books and doing free online therapy - in the short run, you'd feel more "comfortable" watching TV or playing with your dog - so if your goal isn't to recover from depression, then why would you bother?
Same story with healthy eating - it's easier (and it tastes better!) to let yourself go then stick to a healthy diet, so if your goal was just to be as comfortable while suffering from your illness as possible as opposed to recovering from it for good, then you're going to eat that hamburger with a large chips and Coke on the side instead of eating grilled chicken, a salad and a bottle of water.
Exercise, too - anyone who's suffered from depression will tell you that there are days when you feel so tired that going for a run or playing some sport is the last thing in the world that you want to do - but people whose goal it is to recover from depression pull themselves out of bed and force themselves to do it, because they know that doing so will help them recover. However, people whose goal isn't to recover from depression tend not to, because it's more comfortable to stay in bed.
Like I said, people whose goal it is to recover from depression usually do, because they throw themselves into doing so and gobble up the fruits of their labour.
On the other hand, people who don't have the goal of recovering from depression - people who just aim to be as comfortable while suffering from their depression as they can - tend not to recover, because their goal of "comfort" as opposed to "recovery" does not lead them to do the things that they need to do to in order to recover. As a result, depression rarely leaves them.
So I want to ask you point-blank:
What sort of person are you?

Are you the sort of person who has the goal of recovering from depression and is committed to doing so?
Or, are you the sort of person who aims to be as comfortable as you can while you suffer from depression, and as a result, don't do the things you need to do to recover?
If you can honestly say you're the former, then keep doing what you're doing and you'll get there eventually.
If you're the latter, then I strongly encourage you to really think about what you want out of life.
If it's what you've basically been getting up until this point, then by all means keep doing what you're doing. As they say, if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.
But if you want something more - if you're sick of feeling exhausted, if you're sick of feeling miserable - hell, if you want to be happy, again - then I recommend changing things up. If you want something more, then your goal needs to be to recover from depression, and you need to commit yourself to achieving it.

Whether you choose to pursue "recovery" or choose to pursue "being as comfortable as possible while suffering from depression" is of course, entirely up to you, and I make no judgment as to what choice you make. All I hope for is that you make your choice based on the future you want for yourself.

Danny Baker