Wednesday, 17 June 2015

'Nursing the World. Celebrating the Past, Claiming the Future', is a global snapshot in time reflecting on the state of the Nursing and Midwifery professions...

Thursday, 11 June 2015

'The Year of the Jubilee' the sequel to 'The Binary Year' ‪#‎Free‬ 11th to the 15th of June. ‪#‎Family‬ ‪#‎Fostering‬

Re-edited August 2014 On 01:01:11 Anna woke up to the New Year. She was 50, worked on global health issues, had four children, one husband and one dog On 01:01:12 Anna woke up to the New Year. She was 51; everything had changed...

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Re-edited August 2014 On 01:01:11 Anna woke up to the New Year. She was 50, worked on global health issues, had four children, one husband and one dog, On 01:01:12 Anna woke up to the New Year. She was 51, everything had changed...

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

‘I believe in free speech but I am not Charlie’

When I wrote my last post in November I did not realise how pertinent it would be nor the events that would follow in Paris this year.

The first thing I would like to say is I abhor the actions of the extremists who murdered the journalists at Charlie Hebdo, the police officers and the civilians peacefully going about their business. There was and is no justification for their actions.

In these atrocities there were brave Muslims including the police officer, Ahmed Merabet who lost his life and the shop assistant Lassana Bathily, who saved the lives of his Jewish customers. They were and are honourable men. Mr Bathily has been honoured with French citizenship for his heroism.

Following the Charlie Hebdo tragedy the coming together of so many to express their human compassion and value of the freedom of speech was and is moving.

It is interesting that now whenever there is a major event the ‘celebrity’ and ‘the man in the street’ feels the need to identify. So in this case there was the ‘Je suis Charlie’ placard. I did not write this logo on my social media not because I do not support those brutally murdered or freedom of speech but because ‘I am not Charlie’.

I am not personally comfortable with the caricatures and the tone of the cartoons in Charlie Hebdo. I probably would not use that medium in that way to discuss my views on the differences between religions but I do support their right to express themselves in a free society and to question the fundamentals of religious or political life.

I personally believe we should use our freedom of speech to debate and discuss our views and differences peacefully and respectfully. I think the Pope was expressing this view too in his recent comments but I was concerned with his comments on understandable retaliation because in a way he was giving permission for a violent response if a person is offended.

Former Archbishop Carey has warned that fear of criticising Islam has given Britain a self-imposed blasphemy law and I believe this is correct.

Representatives of the Kingdom Saudi Arabia were present at the Paris Freedom of Speech marches whilst simultaneously imprisoning the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi for peacefully blogging on freedom of speech, religion, ethics and social norms. He also faces 1000 lashes for daring to raise these issues and is considered blasphemous. 

Blasphemy laws are used to exert power, demand obedience and oppress innumerable groups. Aasia Bibi remains in prison facing a death penalty over a minor workers dispute where she a Christian was accused by her co-workers who were Muslim of blasphemy. 

All religions should be respected but they are not all the same. Their theology, means of salvation, moral codes and values differ. The laws and justice system expressed under Sharia Law is not one I would want in the country in which I live. This is my view based on the laws, actions and treatment of the populations living under this system. It is not phobic it is a considered opinion. I do not believe theft should be treated with amputation or death, I do not support the caning of rape victims. I do not support stoning for adultery. I do not support child marriage etc. Individuals should be free to debate, to challenge and to discuss peacefully and respectfully the differences between their faiths.

At the moment we appear to be tolerating the views of some who are intolerant. In most of the Western World there is respect for multiple faiths and tolerance of them which is right and proper. In some ways countries with a Christian background have put themselves at a disadvantage by not valuing their own freedoms, beliefs and key events like Christmas or Easter for fear of offending others. Fundamentalist Islamic countries are very secure in promoting their faith, values and customs in their home countries and abroad expecting others to respect them. They have no problem denying civil & religious liberties that would be demanded by them in the West, to others.

During the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack someone put up a cartoon showing the key difference as they saw it between Islam and Christianity. The summary of the cartoon was this. In fundamentalist Islamic countries there is the belief that if you do not convert to Islam or if you deviate from that faith you deserve to die, literally, in the here and now. It is not figurative, it is literal and there are innumerable examples of this happening. The extremism we see in the present day is a direct result of this belief. In Christianity the position is different the Christian defends the right to share his faith with others and risks the possibility of it costing him his life. This is a fundamental difference.

Tagged as: Charlie Hebdo, Freedom, Free Speech, Islam, Christianity, Paris,

Friday, 28 November 2014


The world has not improved much since my last post. There is violence, intolerance, abuse and hatred in evidence throughout the globe.

One thing that has been on my mind is how groups or governments will label someone as x-ophobic if they hold a view that is different to theirs.

To be phobic is not necessarily an ‘evil’ thing. It simply means ‘afraid of’. The Oxford English Dictionary describes a phobia as “An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”.

The inclusion of the words extreme, irrational and aversion all add layers of meaning which may or may not apply.

For example; I may have concerns with how some, who may call themselves Muslim, are behaving in the world today particularly in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. That does not mean I am Islam-ophobic. I have many good Muslim friends. I am interested in Islamic art, culture and traditions. I may have concerns relating to doctrine or practices based on the reality of the abhorrent activities some are committing globally justified they believe by their understanding of their faith. Their activities are a reality. My concern with regard to their activities is not extreme nor irrational it is valid and evidence based.

I may hold a different view to politicians or world leaders but that does not mean I am afraid of something. My view may be different to someone else’s based on my understanding, my reason and conviction. By labelling people in these terms we are denying that there may be a legitimate alternative points of view.

Most Totalitarian regimes have adopted this strategy. The view of the government of the day in these countries is the only acceptable view and those who express different views are often ill-treated and abused. This is how many human rights abuses start as has been clearly seen in innumerable countries including China, North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Cuba to name but a few.

Governments are not omniscient. We would hope they do their best with the level of understanding and skill they possess. They will make mistakes. We all make mistakes. All policy is not good policy. Hence at every change of Government in a Democracy, one side or the other, feels further changes need to be made. We must respect the laws of our democratically elected government but we are free to debate and hold differing points of view which may result in changes in the law at a future point.

I strongly hold that people should be free to calmly and rationally debate issues of importance whether they be moral, ethical or legal. Just because one group has decreed a position is now government policy does not mean it is right. It may be, but it may not be. In a free and democratic society each man must be free to look at evidence and come to a conclusion. That does not mean they are necessarily ‘phobic’ in relation to any issue.

Tagged as: Violence, Intolerance, Phobic, Totalitarian, Government, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, 

0 Comments | Make a comment
Free On-line education