The return of violence

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On 16 June 2016 Labour MP Jo Cox was brutally murdered outside her constituency surgery. A week before her birthday this well-loved woman with a young family was killed by a man in broad daylight.

I am shocked as well as the rest of the nation, and the world.

While the police has not made official announcements, there is a lot of speculation in the media that the attacker shouted “Britain First” during the attack. It seems that the attack was premeditated and sustained. It appears the attacker had far-right sympathies, if not actual connections.

Everyone is writing about this at the moment, so why am I joining in? I am writing this because I have a simple point to make.

Brexiteers are morally responsible for this crime.

They may not have ordered the attack. The attacker may not be one of them. They will certainly not benefit from it. Yet I blame them.

Should the Cox atrocity become a stick to beat Leavers with? Yes it should. Isn’t that unfair? No it isn’t.

A healthy political climate is a dynamic thing. Polarisation and anger, hatred and tension breed monsters. Monsters commit violence on the innocent. The murderer of Jo Cox is such a monster.

The EU referendum started as an intra-Tory battle and has turned out to be a fight for the moral heart of the nation. Let us remember of few things about the leadership of Leave.

  • They are enemies of human rights

Hard core Tories and the fascists of UKIP have been campaigning against human rights, your rights, for years. Human rights are not about evil Muslim hate clerics who cannot be deported. They are about YOUR life, your rights. Sadly one realises that they are threatened always too late. You do not want to be the hapless crab that cooks as the temperature increases slowly. The erosion of human rights will take away those of migrants and foreigners first. Then it will take yours.

  • They are enemies of the working class

The Tories who support Leave are the hard right elements of the party who care about their business buddies and personal interests. If you are an average Joe, they don’t care about you, never have never will. Nigel Farage is a posh fascist who plays funny to win over working class people he would not spit on, never mind share a beer with. Boris is even worse.

  • They are enemies of democracy

Hard core policies have failed at the ballot box time and time again. Yet they now achieve the aura of a movement, of momentum, of a majority through the trick of the referendum. This is not democracy, this is a coup.

I apologise to my friends and neighbours who support Leave. I know they are not racists and bigots. If they were, I would not be able (or allowed) to live amongst them. Yet the leadership of Leave are racists and bigots. The Labour elements in them are just deluded fantasists, the few that have joined Leave.

Let us return to the Cox atrocity and why I think it can be attributed to the poisoned political climate emanating from Leave.

If a Muslim man, in a bout of moronic fanaticism kills a couple of defenseless commuters shouting Allahu Akbar, would we think that he is a psychopath acting on his own? While he may well be a psychopath acting on his own, we will call him a jihadist and go bomb ISIS in retaliation (and we should).

If an English white man in a bout of moronic fanaticism kills a woman on the street shouting Britain First, would we think that he is a psychopath acting on his own? Yes, and he will be. Yet we do not want to blame the neo-nazi, fascist, rotten hatred-peddling ideology that informed his thinking. We will avoid at all costs to make the connection between such hatred and the angry anti-everything nationalism of Leave.

Is this the right thing to do?

Should you base your decision on the 23rd on the murder of Jo Cox?

I think you should.

Hands in blood

@iGlinavos

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In the name of Haribo you die

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A long, long time ago, someone in a country far, far away developed a new sweet, lets call it Haribo. People were so impressed with the new soft delicacy they felt that they needed to tell everyone about it. By peaceful means a trend developed. Soon, the creator saw Haribo as means to power and domination. A leadership developed, devoted to the expansion of the sweet. Those who did not fancy it were put to the sword. Appreciation for it spread, by choice or compulsion.

Fast forward to the modern era. There are millions devotees of the sweet, billions even. As new flavours were developed factions appeared, some are devoted to the strawberry ones, some to the peach ones, there is a small minority of deviant cola lovers. While the vast, vast majority of Haribo devotees are peaceful in their enjoyment of the sweet, some are more forceful in their view that everyone should adopt it as their one and only desert choice.

Now, historically, things are way more complex than simple choices over your favourite flavour. Favourite sweets are laden with politics and sectional interests. There have been millennia of oppression, poverty, discrimination over one’s sugary delight choice. Yet a strange thing has happened. Young men, from counties where their love of Haribo is unrestricted, have become so upset about perceived injustice to other Haribo lovers that have decided to kill those who do not like Haribo. They have become radicalised it is said. To make matters worse, a lot of countries have elevated their love of Haribo to an official creed and seek to promote it. One of those is a radical band of very hard-core sweet lovers, who urge all Haribo devotees worldwide to kill those who fancy other sweets.

Radical Haribo lovers are now blowing up stuff left and right, in countries officially devoted to Haribo, and in others too. What is one to do?

After a series of recent attacks, non-haribo loving nations have declared themselves to be in a state of war with the Haribo lovers wishing to kill in its name.  But how does one wage war against a radical idea? Is it sufficient to say invade the most Haribo-mad nations and remove from power those who advocate sugary terrorism? How will that help, when the Haribo fighters abroad are actually natives of non-haribo nations?

Is this all a bit too convenient, people say? Why are we so outraged when some Haribo lovers blow up some kids (without asking them what is their favourite sweet moreover) in airports in marmite loving nations, and we are not equally outraged when Haribo strawberry flavour lovers blow up the kids of peach flavour lovers? Could this all be the conspiracy of ice-cream makers, to make us fight each-other while they take over the sweets market? Could it be the fault of those health food fanatics that admit no love of anything sugary?

Is this the fault of the Haribo loving community itself? Some say that all this horrible stuff taking place everywhere, all the damn time, is giving Haribo (as a sweet concept) a bad name. Admittedly if people are willing to come kill you if you write a book criticising Haribo, or draw a cartoon of the Haribo creator, or say you don’t like Haribo, or whatever it is that some Haribo lover despises, then there might be a problem with Haribo itself?

What to do?

Could we just say, in non-Haribo devoted countries, that enough with this shit, next time you damn crazy Haribo lovers kill someone on account of your obsession with sugary deserts we will damn drop an A-bomb on the headquarters of the damn Haribo obsessed shit-hole where your leadership is celebrating these atrocities?

This, sadly, would not work. It has been tried in the past. When groups of liberation fighters (incidentally also Haribo lovers) were sending missiles to their neighbours (jam lovers), the jam guys levelled their villages, even waged some intense war campaigns bombing the shit out of their schools and hospitals and the like. This seems to have led to no resolution to the regional Haribo-jam conflict.

A long time ago, a group of particularly nasty jackbooted marshmellow lovers almost conquered the world. They had the habit of executing everyone living in villages where an attack on their troops generated from. This sort of collective punishment however led to no end to marshmellow resistance, and resulted in the eventual demise of the mustachioned leader of that particular band of sweet lovers.

Nuking places in reprisal to Haribo atrocities is such a powerful image, and so appealing, someone might sooner or later actually do it. It will nonetheless lead many, many more Haribo fanatics to carry out more and more of the damn Haribo related atrocities that we are trying to prevent in the first place.
Lets do this instead.  We will not ban love of Haribo, in all its flavours, in non-Haribo nations. But we will expect Haribo lovers to finally do something about the fanatical elements of their community. We will make sure that when whole states who love Haribo celebrate the atrocities in its name against us, we will remove from power the sugar crazies. We will try to do this without vaporising everyone around, but shit will get nasty for our troops and their citizens.

We need this to stop, really. We are sick of reading about Haribo and worrying about getting killed every time we get out of the house because some god-damn crazy sweet fanatic may think this is a good day to blow up some piece of public infrastructure. And hear this Haribo lovers, unless this shit stops, someone less accepting of different flavoured sweets will come along and start dropping the bombs, and we will all be in a worse place, sugar lovers or not. Take your sense of bloody injustice and your fanatical sugar opinions someplace else, don’t blow my kids up because you are a medieval loving, half retarded, sweet obsessed lunatic.

 

@iGlinavos

PS. Haribo™ had nothing to do with the writing of this satirical piece. I in fact don’t like them, maybe the cola ones, just a bit.

Syria: Why Cameron and Corbyn are both wrong

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How do you bomb back to the stone age people who already live in the stone age (with Toyotas of course)?

This week a great debate has taken place in the UK, as to whether Britain should join with France, the US, Russia (and everyone else for that matter) in bombing Syria. The UK is already involved in military action against Daesh, but they have been attacking targets in Iraq, not within Syria.

Cameron, the PM, in Parliament has argued for authorisation to expand a bombing campaign to include targets within Syria, trying to convince MPs that this is necessary in order to safeguard national interests.

Corbyn, the new leader of (old, so very old) Labour has failed to fall in line and back the plan. He argues that the PM has not made a convincing case on how a Syria expedition will help make the UK safer, and also complains that there is no plan for Syrian reconstruction after the (hoped) defeat of Daesh.

They are both wrong. Cameron in fact has made no convincing case that bombing Daesh will make the UK safer, at least in the short to medium term. He also has no idea what to do about Syria (no-one does). British action against Daesh directly will probably increase the chances of a retaliatory attack in the UK (Paris style perhaps).

Corbyn is wrong in saying that a comprehensive plan is needed before engaging Daesh directly. He is also wrong on the security issue in the long run. Britain will not be safer if Daesh establishes a long lasting caliphate.

Should the UK then join in the Syria fight?

I think bombing alone (never-mind with or without Britain) will not defeat Daesh. Everyone is doing it already, with gusto after the Paris attacks. More bombing is likely to be of little strategic value.

I also think bombing will increase the security threat to the UK. To make matters worse, we do not know what to do about Syria and while we are trying to work something out, bombing in itself does not offer a path to a solution.

Nonetheless, I think Britain should join in.

A united western front against Daesh is important in terms of symbolism. Joint action may lead to a ground assault where everyone collaborates to defeat Daesh on the ground. Turkey’s actions last week (downing the Russian jet) makes this more difficult, but everything is possible.

Britain is a key component of NATO, a key European defense partner. It is not possible that it passes on the war on Daesh. Parliament should vote to authorise action, despite the numerous problems with that choice.

Does this sound too George Bush? Too War on Terror? It probably does. Maybe we are beginning to see things like the Americans did after 9/11. There is a difference though, Daesh claimed the Paris attacks as many others. It has a geographical presence and a territory under its control we can wage war against. This is not another Iraq invasion.

Will innocent people die? Yes, inevitably. Is this blood on our hands? Yes, probably. Why am I proposing that we do it then?

Let me ask you this, firstly, if Cameron does not act and there is another attack in the UK, wouldn’t you immediately advocate action against Daesh? Do we need to wait for them to attack us in order to act?

Secondly, if democratic states run by legitimate governments do not react to significant threats like Daesh now, who do you think will be calling the shots after the next election? Hollande is doing everything he can think of both due to the threat that Daesh represents for France and Europe and because of the threat of Le Pen winning the presidency.

Corbyn’s pacifism is great and principled, but if the public feel threatened they will vote for those who promise security, and they may well be fascists. We do not have FN in the UK, but we could, and if this keeps up, we will. Do you think that if Le Pen replaces Hollande, she will worry about collateral losses?

Am I sure about this? No, I am not sure about anything. Neither is Cameron, Corbyn, Hollande, anyone.

Britain needs to join the fight and do it now.

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We are where we are, but one needs to act

@iGlinavos

In defence of the Republic

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As every thinking person in the world I am disgusted by what happened in Paris yesterday. France is my country as London is my home and Greece my origin. I cannot do anything to help with what is happening, so I will just share some thoughts on this blog.

The despicable attacks in Paris raise a number of key issues.

Firstly, Europe has a problem in Syria. ISIS is claiming this attack, as many others. We knew for years now that Syria would be a problem, policy makers knew, everyone knew, yet nothing happened to help resolve the conflict. Now everyone is involved in the war in Syria, and France will be more active for certain. President Holland called the attacks an act of war, so retaliation is a given. Syria has been the spawn of the medieval murderous theocracy that is ISIS and has sparked an unprecedented humanitarian and refugee crisis that again Europe does not know how to deal with.

ISIS needs to be defeated militarily and the situation in the middle east needs to be brought under control. I guess the majority of my readers will agree with this.

Secondly, Europe has a security problem. While one can fight the enemy (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq and wherever they crop up, one cannot address the internal security problem effectively. Israel is the proof of this. The more repressive a state becomes, the more widespread the threat becomes. Islamic terrorism is a monster that cannot be defeated by internal security.

Paris had already combat-ready troops in the streets. I went to visit the centre last month and around all tourist attractions were groups of 4-5 soldiers with automatic weapons. Same in the metro, same at railway terminals. The attacks still happen. If you place a soldier on every street corner, the attacks will still happen. In Israel, in an environment of almost total security lockdown, you have attacks carried out with knives, people driving trucks onto bus-stops.

The way to minimise the chance of attacks is to create a total surveillance and total security state that is totalitarian, nazi like. This is not a compromise most people are willing to make. This is a compromise people should not consider making.

The values of the Republic need to be preserved against this threat. Abandoning human rights and personal liberty is no win over extremism.

Thirdly, Europe (and the world) has a problem with Islam. Yes other religions have conducted atrocities, yes atheist regimes have committed crimes, yes everyone has their hands dirty. Islam has its hands dirty today, now. Islam in its current expression, interpretation and practice has managed to generate the kind of blind fanaticism that has people shooting innocent civilians point-blank, throwing bombs on unarmed crowds and think it just.

I am not suggesting here that Islam has to be supressed. I am suggesting however that Muslims worldwide need to mobilise to purge their ranks of these murderers and fanatics. Islam in its current incarnation is not a religion of peace. Christianity was not a religion of peace, but it became one. Atheism was not consistent with peace, but it strives to be. Muslims need to act now, do more, save their religion from the medieval fanatics that have come to define it.

Fourthly, the injustice, inequality and marginalisation that have become the hallmarks of financialised capitalism are feeding fanaticism. The ruling class needs to comprehend that the young men who join medieval factions like ISIS would not do so if they had a future in a capitalist liberal world. Europe needs to rethink its social contract to re-absorb the ‘losers’ of the system in society. Nothing can be solved at home if this is not addressed, and fast.

We need therefore to defeat ISIS in its homelands, preserve the values of the Republic in France and in Europe, help Islam purge itself of the fanatics and ameliorate the excesses of capitalism. If we do this, we will have a future of security. If not, the public will turn to the fascists in a desperate effort to protect itself. Do not kid yourselves, Le Pen as president would make everything worse.

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@iGlinavos