Charity Begins at Home

dfid_logo_largeFor all the bad press and the flak that the British people get across the international spectrum, it was satisfying to see recently that the UK is the only one of the G8 Nations, and only one of 6 countries world wide that met their commitment to spend 0.7% of the Annual GDP on International Foreign Aid.

This afternoon as I was sitting watching TV, I was subjected to a barrage of Adverts appealing for charitable donations for everything from clean water charities, to ones that protect working donkeys around the globe. However, one of them stood out to me and got me thinking. It was a call for people to donate to pay for support to be provided to the refugees of the Syrian civil unrest.

Now I feel sorry for the innocent people caught up in the horror of war. It is never a pleasant reality to have to accept when we learn of the suffering, hardship and risk to hard working, normal citizens of any nation on earth. These are the facts of war, people are displaced, put in harms way, used as human shields. It is hard to deal with the images that are flashed across the screen, being used specifically to emote and provoke a response within you.

Having worked in the third sector, I know all too well how it is the powerful effect of seeing children suffering, or animals that are suffering in silence that bring the money rolling in through the door. What you don’t see luxury trimmings that senior management enjoy every day behind the scenes. The fat pay cheques, the nice cars, the expensive dinners, the plush offices, the flights, the hotels suites, oh the list goes on and on. But we all know and chose to forget that this is all a part of running an effective multi billion dollar charity. Hell the budget that these charities use on television advertising could probably educate a small army of third world children each year.

It was not this that got me itchy though. The more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder, how it is that only six nations have met this commitment to foreign aid. Who are the biggest donors, who make sure they meet their promises, and what did the league of international aid donors look like?

Before we actually look at the top ten donors in the world, let’s just check who the top ten richest countries in the world are by GDP for 2013, courtesy of Forbes Magazine In order from the richest, the top ten are; Qatar, Luxembourg, Singapore, Norway, Hong Kong SAR, Brunei, USA, UAE, Switzerland, Kuwait.

So then I took a look at the list of the top ten International Donations in the form of Aid. These are nations that have been donating a huge chunk of their wealth as successful hard working and profitable countries to those less fortunate. So who are the top ten this time? Well according to the United Nations this time, they are; Sweeden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Ireland, Finland, France.

Amazing. Not one of the Arab nations, places rolling in the wealth of oil profits, places that are so wealthy they can afford to build fancy palm shaped islands and state of the art cities, no expense spared. These are nations that don’t blink an eye at squandering billions of dollars building a ski dome in a desert, or buildings that defy the laws of nature.

Yet, despite all that wealth, NOT ONE of them are listed in the top ten countries that donate to the well being of others. Truth be told, the UN website provides information on the top 25 nations, and not a single one of them are from within the Middle East. Yet, here I am on a Wednesday evening, sat watching an advert on British Television appealing for UK Citizens to donate £2 a month to funding aid work in Syria.

The Western world have poured billions of dollars into international aid efforts in support of Arab nations all across the world. From Palestine to Pakistan, Syria to Libya, Turkey to Mongolia. These are the very nations that call for Western blood and despise our way of life, yet when the chips are down they are perfectly willing to allow the aid agencies to come running with their good will and generosity, no thanks needed.

It is pathetic. How a nationality of people, a whole section of our creed of mankind could be so small minded that when it comes to being able to reach out and alleviate the suffering of those less fortunate than themselves, that the Arab people collectively seem incapable of putting their money where it matters.

I accept that this is not the rule that applies to every person within the Arab community, and there are sections of the UK Arab fraternity that are as active in funding aid efforts to the Middle East as some Western Agencies. However I am disappointed that collectively as a people, with nations as rich and powerful as they are, they are not leading the way by example.

If the UK were to stop it’s international aid commitments this year, we would be out of debt in record time. We would have huge swathes of money available in our coffers to build new roads, create jobs, build infrastructure to support a real first world nation. Thing is, as a people, we actually do care about what happens in the world around us. Despite the fact that most people think that the Brits are a little pompous, maybe a bit full of themselves, probably aloof, the thing is they really do have a reason to be.

It does bug me, and seem rude, yes I accept that. But when you have a nation that actually steps up to the mark, takes its responsibilities seriously and gives a shit about others before themselves, then I am sorry, but next time you want to go burn a flag or spread some hate, look at home. You might find you get more achieved when you start to sort things out in your own back yard.

Charity really does begin at home. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The first world needs to wake up and realise that we need to get it right at home, here in our nations, where our people are suffering and struggling; before we go running off to fix the rest of the world. Nature is cruel, it is harsh and it is unpredictable. You can’t save them all. I cannot help but wonder if the Euro Zone and Northern American Alliance were to turn off the tap of International Aid tomorrow, how long it’d be before the world went into total melt down. Sad but true, half this world rely on the backhanders and funds that pour out of the coffers of a very few nations that help to prop up and sustain a world in need, while the rich and greedy, just get fatter and greedier.

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Europe 2013 – The Fifth Reich?

The idea of the Third Reich was something that we became expressly familiar with through the second quarter of the last century. The German Empire was established by a power hungry megalomaniac hell bent of World Domination and German Totalitarianism. A single nation, under the leadership of one party, for the good of one race of people, come hell or high water. The effect of this madness? A war that wiped out millions of people, flattened whole cities throughout Europe and damaged the economies and geopolitical landscape of the Euro Zone for decades to come.

Fast forward sixty years, and the current German Chancellor seems to have pulled off what the Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler yearned to do without the shot of a single bullet, without the concentration camps, massive armies and widespread destruction of infrastructure, assets and the establishment. How? Simple, forget about using the dominance of force, and allow the folly of man’s greed play the power into your hands.

Europe 2013 is meant to be a United Zone of nations, brought together in a common interest, to give equality, diversity and collective prosperity to every member country right? Governed by a parliament, protected by a system of complex legal legislative directives, and operated for the preferential treatment of members through a variety of agreements and allowances that enable growth and development through trade, financial stability and equality.

In its simplest terms, the Euro Zone is an agreement which sort to unify Europe. In a world unbalanced by national policies designed to protect and ensure the stability of the national economy of a country, areas of global inequality in terms of workers rights and how the protection of these rights has lead to areas like the Euro Zone finding themselves incapable of competing against developing markets where labour is cheap and operating costs are low, the idea of a unified, equal and protected Europe was appealing to all.

Industrialised nations were only too happy to climb into bed with their lesser developed neighbours as they saw opportunities to secure markets for their skills, manufacturing industries and productivity. As prosperity grew, the union, flush with the proceeds of member nations keen on building equality to stimulate trade, grow internal markets and develop the region, was only too happy to distribute huge financial incentives in the forms of this grant or that loan to facilitate infrastructure projects which in turn lead to the stimulation of job creation, and promoted an internal demand for manufactured goods, skills and supply lines throughout the Euro Zone.

All well and good while the system is working. Everyone seems to be equals, there is a collective system of bringing concerns to the table, discussing them, and working together to resolve any issues. Legislation is worked out, debated and determined to the benefit of all the member states, bringing into effect a national style of identity across the board in all EU Member Nations. Employees suddenly have equal rights from Romania through to France. Members from any member nations enjoy freedom of travel/movement. Protections are in place to protect savings, business, trade, infrastructure, natural resources, the environment and the collective economies of every member of the union.

Courtesy - Derek Bacon - Getty Images

Courtesy – Derek Bacon – Getty Images

That is, until something goes wrong. Cue the global financial meltdown of the last five years. In these unprecedented financial times, it is clear to see the cracks in the system. Equality? What equality. For the first time in half a century, German dominance has once more taken centre stage as Angela Merkel shows time and time again over the last few years the reality of what equality means for Greek and now Cyprian citizens.

What truly beggars belief is the complete madness of fiscal policies that the Euro Zone seem willing to implement in nations on the edge of the system, places where it would seem to be of little consequence whether the idea is of sound and logical design, but drawn out more from a need to appease voters at home, than the equality or future reality for real, honest citizens of this United Europe. In a market desperate for stability, direction and a clear sense of responsibility, all we see are leaders rushing to dodge the bullet, pass the buck, and make sure at whatever cost that they are protecting their own national interests. Bugger the United Europe in this instance.

The worrying trend for me is the way in which at every turn along this torturous road it has been the German politicians that have really been calling the shots. Since the demise of the world money markets, we have seen any number of wealthy European Economies fall into fiscal woe. Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal to mention but a few. Yet in these cases billion dollar bail outs were handed out freely, without bringing a nation to its knees. Now however, when it comes to less important member states, economies perhaps not viewed as critical to the Euro stability, that we see the reality of what equality means to the German powerhouse. The sad thing is that when it comes down to it, no one within the Euro Zone has the financial muscle to stand up to Angela Merkel, and for this reason, she is able to bull headedly put the very future of Europe at risk to maintain credibility back home.

There is an argument that says Cyprus has become a safe haven for Russian Billionaires who use it as an off shore centre of storing large deposits of dirty money, and for this reason, why should German tax payers foot the bill to bail out the Cyprian government in their hour of need. I would love to see this argument used in Switzerland should heaven forbid, it ever need a financial bailout. Regardless of who has banked their money in a nations financial banking system, how does this translate to fairness when a fiscal demand attached to a bailout offer sees consideration given to taxation of ordinary savers who have placed their hard earned money into accounts throughout a nations banking system.

Stop for a single moment and consider what savings are. I have listened to numerous financial experts who freely wag their chins on Radio and National Television suggesting that savers should be exposed to the same type of risk as anyone investing their money in any type of investment based on the expectation of a payment of interest on their savings. For the vast majority of people, savings are exactly what they would suggest. Deposits made into what is perceived to be a safe and secure domain to prepare for a capital purchase at some time in the future. Why do we use bank? If it were safer to keep my money stored under my bed do you not think I would do this? The only reason we place our hard earned capital into a bank account is based on the idea that for the 95% of the population that are not wealthy, the bank is the only safe institution where we can store our money while we go through the motion of saving up for that deposit on a house, a new car, a family, education, business idea.

If we perceived a savings account as a financial risk, would we use it as a way of keeping our money safe? If we were told openly and honestly that in real terms, this is NOT a savings account, but a vehicle of investment, a loan in effect to the bank, and there was no guarantee that we would get out of it as much as we put in at the start, would honest, hard working, average people be at all interested in depositing any sum of money into a savings account?

Quite honestly, if this was the truth they were forced to print in the literature of a savings accounts terms and conditions, I could see the sales of home safes going through the roof in the next five years. If you are looking for a fairly good stock market investment right now, Chubb would be a pretty good bet!

All jokes aside, it is astounding to me, or any lay person, that anyone with access to the top financial economists money can buy, would even consider the proposal we currently see on the table in Cyprus. A tax on savings is ludicrous. Do you WANT to start a run on the banks? Are you seriously looking to destabilise the rest of Europe? I mean come on, can you honestly tell me that no one considered that a possible result of such a proposal would be that savers in every European Country in financial difficulties right now, would not look at the proposal in Cyprus, put two and two together, and realise that, just maybe, their own savings could now be at risk?

I am no economist. I do not work for any government, nor do I confer or speak daily to financial experts, and even I can figure out that this is a potential risk. Why? Simple. I am a saver, with funds in a large British Banking institution who is wondering if my savings could ever be pounced on if the UK gets into choppy waters. We’ve already been downgraded by one financial institution, indicating that they are expecting us to have difficulties in repaying our debt. What can I draw from this? At some point in the future, it is likely if not certain that the UK will default on its payments. When this might happen, who knows. It is even possible it will never happen, however, for someone out there, it is a very real possibility, and for that reason, it is a very real concern to me.

So what do I do? Rush down to the bank and draw out my savings? How many other people throughout Europe are asking themselves the exact same question right now? How do we now AVOID a run on the banks?

For many people, this is quite simply a fore runner of a tax on wealth. This means that for 5% of the worlds population, they are really itchy about having to pay more on their vast sums of money, so they would prefer to see 95% of the worlds population suffer to foot the bill so they can continue to live in the lap of luxury.

Fair? Where is the equality in that? No, I am sorry this is not balanced Europe. This is not a place where it does not matter what you bring to the table. When it comes down to the crunch, it is the people with the power, in this instance our good friends the Germans’ that are calling the shots. If it is not in their interest to offer a bail out plan, then to hell with it, they will bring the EU to its knees before they see any more of their taxes paid out to help their neighbours in the Euro Zone. So that concept of equality, openness  fairness? Yes well, it works when it is in our interest to see it work, but when risk is put before us, and you expect us to come to the rescue, expect your lives to become a living hell while we do it.

As a simple worker, a person much like the majority of the sixty plus million people living in the UK, all I can see from where I stand is a super powerful Germany becoming a dictatorial leader within this Europe on our borders. When ludicrous fiscal policies are being put forward, debated, considered and insisted on by the weight of a financially powerful nation within a Union, I would suggest that the union is not quite a union. I cannot help but wonder if there are people behind the strings, hell bent on collapsing Europe. Plunging the world into an economic melt down like no other. Let us be quite clear. When the normal man is losing everything he owns, there are powerful institution’s, and hugely wealthy people making money as a result of the collapse. Is this what is really going on in the Euro Zone?

I cannot believe that the German’s do not know what they are doing. I am not able to believe that no one in a position of power has not been able to consider the very things that I have written about above, without considering the risks associated with these actions, and for this reason alone, I cannot help but wonder what the real reason behind it is. For a long time, people have talked about a single currency, a worldwide monetary system, the phasing out of dollars and cents, and the introduction of a financial monetary system for the digital age. Is this how they are going to do it? Force the collapse of one major economy? It is only logical that the collapse of one single national economy will start a chain reaction around the globe.

We are teetering on the edge of oblivion. In our life time, money, the way we buy and sell, our value system and how we trade will change. For this to happen certain things have to take place. Look for example at how the British people have resisted the Euro. The offer 20 years ago of a single currency, an inter dependence, a great new world was a bridge too far for simple people. The idea was shunned, and so back to the drawing board they went. So if you can’t get people to buy into an idea openly, how do you introduce the idea? You create a set of circumstances that demand that people have to adopt your idea to survive. Bring the world to the brink of a financial melt down, threaten peoples savings, lose people money in bank collapses, bankrupt a country or two along the way and what happens? You will cause a panic like never before. Introduce a solution, in a single currency, a digital trading system that does away with paper money and plastic credit cards, and means that you store your financial certainty in your body in the form of a chip or some such device, safe, secure and never again at threat from being lost in some scary international collapse, and every single person will buy into your idea without batting an eye lid.

How certain are you now that Germany are not behind some weird kind of world domination conspiracy? Didn’t the Third Reich want to own the world?

I am not one for a conspiracy theory if I am honest. There are too many ifs, buts, ands, etc. Questions without answers, and assumptions without evidence. I don’t like assumption. However what I am saying is that there is something more than meets the eye going on here, and if it looks like a dog, sounds like a dog and feels like a dog, then sorry it is a dog!

I don’t know exactly what is going on, but one thing I am certain about. We will see a very different world soon. It is going to happen in our life time, and not for the first time in my life, I am certain that these are the end of days as we know them. Something very different is coming and it is coming soon.

Gun Crime in America – One Man’s Analysis

The modern press want us to believe that it is a free, adaptive and resilient press core that report on issues that fall into the category of public interest. They want us to accept that they work diligently on behalf of their public readers, and keep us informed of stuff that is of key interest to the people, gives light to subject matter that would prompt debate, and inform others of key motions, opinion and the stuff going on around us that is going to help to change public opinion or create new perceptions or ideas to flow. This is the ideal world that the press wants us to believe they provide us right?

So why then did I have to find out about a key public address made in a special session of the US Congress, to key leaders of the US Administration that are currently looking for ways to change guns laws, through a post on FaceBook?

I found this article really interesting, and very informative, more so because I struck me that coverage of this speech failed to make public coverage in any of the press that I could find, yet the ideas presented resonated with me, and I am sure thousands of others.

The reality here? If what your saying does not fit with what the Leaders of our Nation are saying, if it does not suit the agenda of the Press Core, if it is the truth, and nothing but the pure unadulterated truth, then the people that apparently matter are not interested. Shame on them!

Here is the content of the speech I speak of.

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Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good &evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact.

What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws.

Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him.

To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”
– Darrell Scott

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” – John 8.32

Please do what the media and the US Government have failed to do. Pass this on. Tell your friends and family to check it out, it is well worth consideration and our time to ponder it.

Now or Never for UK – Opportunity 2012

I saw an advert on the television last night. It must have been the very first paid for television commercial of 2012 on ITV1 here in the UK, and it was paid for by the Sun. The advert said simply come on Britain, let’s make Britain great.

2012 is a year of golden opportunity. It is a time when if we are proactive, cleaver and decisive, we can forge out a new place for this Nation in our future. It is a year that opens a multitude of doors to us that can give us strength, stability and independence from the rope of austerity throttling at our necks.

I am one of many people that are not British that call the UK my home. I may not be born or bread, but as a person that has lived, worked, loved and lost in this land for over a decade of my life, I do feel passionate about the future and success of my home country. I desperately want the UK to succeed, almost as much if maybe not a little more than British people themselves.

2011 was a hard year, and while I do not imagine that someone is going to wave a magic wand and make everything perfect in 2012, I do feel that 2012 is for Britain the dawn of a new era of British potential. We have taken a battering through 2011, now it is time to pull together, rediscover that British pride and re-establish ourselves as one of the leading nations of our global economy.

For much of last year I watched and listened as the people of Britain, the press and even our government talked doom and gloom. We became our own worst enemies in 2011, and in many ways I feel that Britain has lost that indomitable attitude of survival against every odd that makes this nation stand out from the crowd. We fell out of touch with that ability to dig deep and find a solution, work out a plan and fight for our lives, homes, communities and nationality.

100 years ago Britain would never have stood for the French talking down at us. We fought two world wars against German oppression, and won! We built trade routes and developed relationships. We made mistakes, learned and adapted, built from ashes and rose up better, stronger and proud of being British? So where is that spirit today?

In 2012, the world comes to Britain. We are the focus of world attention. This is for us an opportunity to open our doors to new opportunities. It is a chance to build bridges, forge new alliances and bring renewal and opportunity to British shores. Do we really need Europe as much as we are lead to believe?

There was a time when much of Europe were either at war or opposed to the British Nation, yet as a nation the British people forged on, and at one time were the world power to recon with. While I do not condone Imperialism, quite the opposite, however I do believe strongly that far too much credit is given to our reliance on the European Economy. At a time in our past when we hardly ever traded with our European enemies we were still able to rise up as a World Leading Power.

2012 is a time to look further afield from a Europe that wants to bully and isolate us. What the European Leaders fail to consider is that there is a whole world out there. It would be stupid to ignore the fact that emerging economies are no longer here in the heart of Europe. Africa is rapidly becoming a new powerhouse for production, potential and opportunity. South America is a developing continent that presents unthinkable opportunities to those willing to go and get them.

To the German and French, I would say that sabre rattling is pointless when the very Europe that you have worked so hard to build is literally on the brink of collapse. Yes agreeably the economies of European countries have become intrinsically entwined over the last fifty years, and we have been at fault in committing ourselves to the European cause too whole heartedly.

However, I would consider that the reality of the situation is that Europe in actual fact needs the UK a little more than it is willing to admit. The German and French governments may well think that they are immune to the UK withdrawing from the EU as a preferential trade partner, but consider for one moment that the major buyers of German and French technology today are us the UK? So we loose BMW, Audi, Mercedes and VW, but there is Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Chrysler, Dodge and oh so many other potential suitors to fill the gap. Can German manufacturing really stand to loose the UK market? Can French Brands really afford to loose revenue from the 66 Million people that live in the UK? I some how doubt that either could afford to loose us any more than they can afford to loose each other.

The British people have put considerable finances towards propping up ailing EU Nations. What would happen if we were to turn around and demand repayment of these loans now? I’m sure that it is not quite as simple as this, and that we would probably only hurt ourselves in the short term by taking any such action, but I do wonder what the effect to the European dream would be if we did. Anyone can play hard ball. The Germans and French would do well to remember this.

Much of the UK Domestic labour force is made up of migrant workers, many of whom enjoy the freedom of movement under the EU Treaty on Freedom of Movement for EU Citizens. If it were true that the EU didn’t need the UK economy to prop it up, I would humbly point out that for a good few of the EU Economic regions, much of their infrastructure is made up of currency earned by their Diaspora community’s resident in the UK, working and living here, sending money back home. Due and careful consideration should be given to this fact by the Governments of Romania, Poland and Hungry. I’m sure they would hastily reconsider isolating Britain if hundreds of thousands of migrant workers were suddenly packed off back to their nations to find work and earn a living back home.

I appreciate that parting from Europe would be painful. I realise that there is much to replace and lots to do before we could effectively replace the dependence on Europe that we have been lulled into, but it is for our very survival as a nation that we must take these steps. The UK cannot be pushed into a corner and be told to stand to attention at the cost of our Sovereignty, identity and independence. We should never allow our neighbours and partners dictated to us how, when and what we shall do.

To those of you that shout and scream that we need Europe and without it we are but lost, I say this to you. There are several hundred nations in the world. Many of them survive without being a part of any great union. They thrive and develop without preferential trade agreements. They learn to adapt, overcome difficulty and become proud, independent nations, fully in control of their future, fully dictating their own destiny.

Instead of pouring billions of pounds into the infrastructure of greedy European economies, Britain would do well to refocus its attention abroad. So we need food. Zimbabwe needs agricultural infrastructure. Yes, there is history between Zimbabwe and the UK. Yes there would be very challenging political hurdles to cross, but the history is exactly that. Leave the hurt of yesterday in the past, and work with a nation that is hungry to develop.

Support the people to become better capable of producing the crops that would feed their own nation while providing enough of a surplus to plug a hole in the UK food supply chain. I’d rather see a deal worked out to support an emerging nation like Zimbabwe, than get back into bed with Germany that is unwilling itself to commit any of its own resources to a European Central Bank, yet is perfectly willing to expect us to contribute towards European Bail Out funds.

I would be far happier to see concerted efforts to get trade agreements established with nations like India, China, Brazil and so many other sources of economic potential. I believe we’d gain far more from putting attention on our own domestic identity, and worrying less about the tide of a failing EU. When things are going wrong, you have to eventually stand back and realise that no matter how much money you throw at it, it’s not going to fix the problem.

Europe was always destined to failure. It is a union made up of unequal partners, great egos and different national interests. A Europe built on trade agreements is a possibility yes, but a Union of European States is impossibility in itself. To have laws passed down to us dictating who can fish where and when from a power that has no local understand, no practical knowledge of the British Industry, from a body that has failed to undertake any form of dialogue with the people it affects in making its decisions, is completely ludicrous.

To be told how many hours we may work by a European parliament made up of nationalities who have built their nations on siesta’s with different agenda’s, when our nation has been built on hard work and dedication through generations of British families is madness.

To pay taxes to a Europe that can’t even agree on its own Central Bank, and who’s members cannot agree on who contributes what, is throwing hard earned money down the sewer. These are just a few examples of the hilarity and fundamentally flawed agenda of a Union of European States. There are endless multitudes of stupid errors, unrealistic laws and inflexibility by an institution that is so robustly arrogant it is little wonder that it never gets anything done.

This is not the Britain we learn about in history class. This is not the Britain that got us here today. This is not the Britain that is going to bring us prosperity and success in the future. It is high time that Britain got tough. We must for our own sakes take hold of our country from its very core and shake it thoroughly. It is now that we must call ourselves into full attention, rise up to the challenge, draw in our belts and buckle down to the hard work that lies ahead. Miss this opportunity Britain, and we are dead in the water.

2012 is the year we really need to think about the work of rebuilding a Bigger, Better, Britain.

Africa should take a leaf out of the History Book

It is not hard to see that every society through time have struggled through cultural, social and economic development. It is not hard to see how the weight of power has swung from one side of the globe to another as this cultural integrity shifts. Call it if you will the industrial revolution.

The lesson for Africa here is to stop and examine history and try to learn from it. It is more proactive to be aware of the mistakes of others in the past, and work to avoid the pit falls of the error of their ways and achieve the end result more efficiently and effectively.

Africa has a common flaw when it comes to trying to engage unity and cooperation. We far too easily fall into the trap of blaming the cultural divide, the issues of tribalism, the diversity of our religious beliefs and the battles we fight for Ethnic Dominance. As African’s we look at the world around us and we miss the opportunities that face us in a tangle of emotion, stubborn ignorance and a shameful lack of willingness to learn.

We are not the only people to have walked this path of discovery. Nay is it not fact that several hundred years ago Britain as we know it today was a land of war mongering savages? Did not the tribes of Celtic worriers wage war against Anglo Saxon settlers and Scottish Celts? Were the Irish not regarded as heathen by the Lords and Ladies of the land? Was crime and corruption not rampant while people lived in poverty and depravation similar to what we see in Africa?

Come to think of it, let’s be honest. Every civilised society that claim to be world leaders have gone through some form of internal strife as they forged out their identity and worked their way through their very own industrial revolution. China is a fine example. It was at war with itself for much of the last century, yet today it is very possibly the next world power to step up to its role as a global leader. India has battled colonialism, ethnic diversity on a grand scale, and religious and tribal indifference that is still a volatile pot of intricate acceptances and allowances of its people, constantly simmering quietly away. Even the mighty USA went through its war of attrition.

The end result in every case has been the realisation by the communities within these nations that war is futile. It is important to maintain your identity. It is comforting to be able to take pride in our nationality, and have a sense of belonging, but in the bigger scheme of things we are all human.

The colour of your skin does not matter, the tribal dialect you speak is irrelevant to your worth. The city or town or rural location of your birth is insignificant when you really think about it. The tribe you relate to or identify with, or the church that you attend. These are all things that make us individual, give us character, bring us identity and give us wealth as members of our society. They are the foundations of our makeup. As a community we gain social capital from a richly diverse and multi-national/multi-cultural society.

Mormons have built mighty organisations throughout history. Christians have made scientific breakthroughs. Islamic Muslims have made fascinating discoveries in engineering, while Hindu’s have achieved much in Medical Sciences. African’s have pioneered Infectious Diseases’ controls and Europeans have learnt much about social enterprise. Chinese people gave us paper, and Egyptians gave us writing. The Americans took us to the moon, and the Russians built the largest flying machine to ever take off.

We could carry on listing the achievements of man, but to do so would mean we would miss the point. Regardless of who we are, where we come from, what race, creed or nationality we claim, we are all members of our society, our community, our national identity. As an African nation we should seriously learn to look beyond the differences of individuality, learn to see the bigger picture, and overcome our resistance to diversity.

We need to learn to stop looking to the past for excuses, and learn to look back there for reminders of what not to do today. Let us not make the mistakes of others. Let us not seek to find blame, but learn to find solutions. We can become great, achieve much and get there faster than anyone else before us. When you go out tomorrow, stop to think, what have I done today to make my society a better place. The next time you meet that person that speaks slightly differently to you, or looks a bit lighter or darker than you, search to find their inner worth.

When we learn to tap the inner gold that lies within our people regardless of who they are, we will learn to become a formidable force on the global stage. Africa will one day be a world leader. It’s just up to us how quickly we get there.

Is Al Qaeda really Al Qaeda?

Trapped in a hole in the ground and begging for his life, yet another bully has met with his comeuppance. You have to wonder how many of the dictators around the world are sitting huddled in their den’s contemplating their own immortality right now as horrific pictures of Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi are beamed around the world.

Executed in swift fashion, dealt some of the mob justice, which I do not doubt he deserved, a once mighty leader was reduced to cowering in a sewer like the rat he really was. It has been a stunningly successful year for the various coalition forces around the world as first Osama bin Laden was knocked from his perch in Afghanistan, then there is the annihilation of their second in command Atiyah Abd al Rahman in August, and then again in September Anwar al Awlaki’s impact as the voice of Al Qaeda was wiped out in a drone attack in Yemen.

That’s two Libyan figureheads wiped off the face of the earth and several Al Qaeda leaders killed. In terms of terror this has to seriously hurt the ability of terror organisations that rely on the likes of Gaddafi for support and the propaganda hype that they generate. A serious impact on the leadership of Al Qaeda yes, but certainly does not eliminate the threat of an organisation that is cloaked in subterfuge.

I have never really understood the attraction of Al Qaeda. An organisation hell bent on fundamentalism and avoiding Western influence, it would seem that it does more to hurt its own people more than the world it hates.

An arm of Islamic religion, the fundamentalist ethos goes completely against the tolerance and peaceful nature of true Islamic beliefs. I am struck when I read that one of the key issues with fundamentalists is the fact that Western people are occupying Arab lands forcefully. Examples sited are Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq and a few other Arab nations. Out of the main ones mentioned, the only one that I can see that Western troops occupied forcefully is Iraq. In all the other theatre’s of occupation, Westerners are resident by invite just like Arab’s are welcome to be resident in our nations.

At no time do Islamic fundamentalists point to the fact that it is harmful for Islamic Arabs to live in Western cultures. Let’s consider that our presence in Arab nations is so unacceptable to the fundamentalist’s theology then it stands to reason that living in the heart of the Western Christian society is sinful and wrong as it completely exposes Arabs to the temptations and sinful ways of Western culture. Why therefore do we find more mosques in the UK than Synagogues?

The reality is that Arab culture is more comfortable in the moderate, accepting, tolerant Western society that it is in its own back yard. Islamic Arabs living in the UK are able to live as human beings, enjoying the rights and protections of the Declaration of Human Rights. They appreciate with acquiescence that our Western beliefs allow them to practice their religion without prejudice, live without persecution, work or learn without discrimination and live within society as a useful and productive members of our community.

This is in stark contrast to Westerners who reside in Arabic nations. Confined to compounds for their own safety or more believably to ostracise them from the local population Westerners are not allowed to integrate with nationals.

Visitors working in Arabic nations have their passports taken and held to ensure that workers cannot fall into debt and leave the country without settling their accounts. Westerners are educated separately and are never allowed to participate in Arabic society in the way an Arab person would in a Western nation.

A Westerner is very defiantly not allowed to practice their spiritual belief freely. Christians are not allowed to build a place of worship in an Arab nation, and they are most defiantly not allowed to evangelise in an Arab nation.

Talk about hypocrisy! However it is not double standards that I was pausing to consider. No I was more wondering how it was that Al Qaeda has become so popular. Lets consider what an Islamic Arab has to look forward to.

They are brought up in a strict religious environment, made to pray multiple times every day, force fed religious text as part of the learning syllabus. Woman are prevented in many places from being educated, are forced to dress in odd manners, do not participate in any form of social capacity, and in many cases are to be hardly ever seen and never heard.

Laughter is not allowed in public, you either are part of the wealthy elite or part of the common people. There is no middle ground. It is illegal for Westerners to own land in many Arabic states, not something peculiar throughout the world these days, but again in contrast to the freedoms granted to Arabs in Western nations.

Arabs very defiantly do not enjoy the freedoms of the Declaration of Human Rights. Woe that you should be gay in an Islamic country. Choose a life of crime and you pay heavily for this transgression. Be a woman caught in adultery and face the humiliation of being stoned in public while your lover gets away scot free.

Many Arab and Islamic nations live under dictatorship where freedom of choice and freedom of expression are not permitted. Everyone lives under a cloud of suspicion and fear. The internal police and secret services act with impunity, and people are subjected to a life of fear and intimidation, where simply thinking the wrong thing could get you killed. Women face the reality of forced marriage. Love and emotion are something you are not allowed to display in public. Is this the life you choose freely? Is this what anyone would openly agree as their way of life if they were openly allowed to make an informed choice?

So, how then can we really become the enemy? Is the Arabic hatred of the West really some complex issue that we fail to fully understand or is it merely something as simple as jealousy? Is it that fundamentalist Islamic theologians seen the West as a corrupting force throughout the world? Or is it something a little more sinister?

Jealousy, very possibly a reason or part of the overall reason, but a little too simplistic to stand up to the ferocity and complete hatred that is aimed at Western Society by the fundamentalists. So do they really consider us to be the evil that threatens their world order? Possibly, but again I am not convinced that this explanation could stand up to scrutiny when you consider that Western culture openly embraces Islamic practicing Arabs into their society.

What if it was all about money? Maybe simplistic if you think about it, maybe far too simple to warrant proper consideration, but I am reminded that no matter what the cost to humanity, war makes money. War makes rich, powerful people even more rich and powerful. People that have claws in dark and evil places which normal laypeople wouldn’t even consider. Claws that manipulate and control people in ways we could not begin to understand or consider.

What would drive someone to fly an airplane laden with passengers into buildings filled with civilians? What could cause such desensitisation that members of our own society could stage an act of terrorism against innocent commuters who committed no crime other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and what causes the leaders of these mean to consider that such grievous acts of violence against innocent non combatants is acceptable rules of engagement?

It has been only recently that we have seen the true nature of the power that wealthy people wield. A perfect example of this is the fiasco that recently surrounded News International. It is only the fact that such transgressions occurred in a democratic nation where the public still maintain some level of control and can hold their leaders to some sort of accountability that a type of justice was brought to bare.

You only have to stop and analyse the power that some drug lords have from their strong holds in South America. Places like Mexico or indeed across the globe in Burma are almost completely controlled by drug lords and their death squads. Are the people used as hit men really killers that have no care for human life? No the reality is that these thugs we refer to as drug lord’s prey on vulnerable people of circumstance. People brought to a desperate place by poverty, hunger and intimidation, people that are almost left with no opportunity other than choosing to work for the drug barons.

The sad fact is that these individuals that make up the private armies of drug barons never enjoy the fruits of the risk they run in being the strong arm of the cartel. They are manipulated and coerced into being something that they really are not. It is this ability to gain control over vulnerable people that allows drug cartels to hide behind people that really don’t deserve to be in the position that they find themselves when the long arm of the law descends on them.

My theory is that Al Qaeda are not much different from these South American drug rings. It is not an unknown fact that Osama bin Laden used the proceeds of Afghan Heroin to fund the actions of Al Qaeda. It is also openly known that Osama was once seen as an ally of the West as they funded him in his battle against the communist USSR invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980’s.

During this time Osama enjoyed the substantial wealth he had from his roots in Saudi Arabia, the millions poured into his coffers by the American Administration, and the proceeds of millions of dollars from his Heroin exports. As the USSR broke down in the 1990’s and the Cold War in effect came to an end, Afghanistan suddenly became less attractive to the Russian warlords and so funding from his US bosses began to dry up.

It is never long for the free Western Press to find a story and it was when people began to read that the drug trade was the core funding of the Islamic Al Qaeda movement that bin Laden and his organisation became a thorn in the US Administration’s side and funding from the US completely evaporated. Cut off and isolated as a result of his drug operation, it is not unimaginable to believe that bin Laden felt abandoned. Could this be the real reason for his vendetta against the West?

Was it something as simple as our loathing of drug barons that sparked the global terror movement? But fundamentalism is born of a religious movement I hear you say. Yes I would agree that Islamic fundamentalism uses the Islamic faith as it’s guise to hide the reality that ultimately the core operation of Al Qaeda is infact all about the movement and sale of drugs.

Al Qaeda could very well be an organisation of drug lords that cleverly use a religious fanaticism to hide their true identity as drug barons. Hiding behind an army of fanatics that are coached and brain washed into believing that they are fighting a holy war against the influence of the West, when infact their leaders are in reality practicing the very essence of Western capitalism behind their backs.

Could it not be that something as simple as the power and control of the Heroin trade through the world is at the very centre of the terror campaign that Al Qaeda wages on the human race. I mean it seems to me that they don’t really care who they are killing as long as they are killing. Terror on a global scale is their aim, and even if that terror is levelled against their own people, it keeps the focus away from what they are really trying to protect.

The millions of dollars that they make every year through the export of illegal drugs to the Western world is far too great a loss to incur for the leaders of Al Qaeda to allow focus to fall on their true operation. The billions of dollars that the Western world makes as a result of the War on Terror means that it is in our interest to turn a blind eye to the reality of the problem and instead go after militant groups fighting a guerrilla war that we clearly have no hope of winning.

It seems to me that all too often society has to find the confusing and complex meanings to problems that in reality are very simple in their nature. As society we never get to the bottom of these issues, nor do we find solutions to them as we are always seeking to make difficult decisions about something we don’t completely understand when we should really be looking at the basics. If something appears to be far too difficult to comprehend then really we should be thinking again. It is human nature to seek to simplify things. When something is too complex or too hard to undertake on a regular basis then it is fair to assume that the people involved in doing it are going to get it wrong. Keep it simple stupid, remember?

I cannot help but wonder if the same principle can be applied as I’ve laid out in this blog. Is all the fuss about Al Qaeda just a smoke screen for some rather greedy and very materialistic, powerful people who hide cleverly behind vulnerable people, easily manipulated by their hunger to have something to believe in, to make more money? Are we all going on about and spending ourselves into oblivion for something as basic as a battle against drugs, and if this is the case, wouldn’t it be prudent to think again about our approach to drug control? Something to consider for another time, I am sure that I’ll be writing in the future about alternative methods to control the scourge of drugs in our society and maybe put an even greater dent in the side of Al Qaeda.

The War on Terror – 9/11 Ten Years On

“Did the war on terror open the door for the Arab Spring?” a very interesting question that was raised this evening during the BBC’s Question Time Program.

I’ve never really been a big supporter of the idea that war opens any form of doors, other than the door of misery, pain and destruction. However, it is an unfortunate truth that there are cases where the use of force is necessary and acceptable in order to achieve a balance that is more favourable to the greater good of mankind.

I think the primary concern of this question is to establish exactly what the words “War on Terror” exactly mean. It is essential to establish the key target of the war on terror and trace any link between that target and the basis of the Arab Spring itself. I also believe it is important to ask if the efforts and gains, if any, of the War on Terror could have strengthened the cause of the Arab uprising.

The words “War on Terror” I think are an unfortunate choice of rhetoric used by an administration that was lead by a man who saw himself as a crusader for the good of his nation. The words have been used far too loosely by far too many people in power to explain or justify military actions that under any other guise of explanation would be questionable. I would also suggest that the largest players in the coalition in this war have been very selective in their choice of targets, primarily focusing in on one or two groups that challenge the safety and security of these key players. It is for this very reason that I suggest it is paramount to establish exactly who the legitimate target of this war is in order to understand its impact globally.

In a layman’s eyes the “War on Terror”, would generically indicate that Terrorism of any kind in any theatre would become a credible target of such an effort. In a global world you would imagine that such a war would be co-ordinated by a universal governing body such as the United Nations, NATO or some such similar organisation. I feel it would also be fair to assume that any direct action taken against any terror organisation would be unilateral and while secrecy and operational safety should be of paramount concern, it would be naive to assume that collateral damage to civilian targets would not be a consequence of this war. For this very reason alone, it is necessary for the governments and powers in leadership within the various theatres of operation to be in agreement with any action undertaken in order that accountability falls squarely at the feet of the people who can and should be held accountable for the results of such actions.

However the grim reality is far from this idealistic assumption. The War on Terror in reality is a coalition of like minded governments with a very specific target in mind. Ultimately, I do not believe that the war on terror is aimed at any particular human target, but more specifically, using a disguise and subtle subterfuge, was more aimed at the control of a commodity. I highly doubt that there would ever be any evidence of this, however I don’t for one moment believe that as the wider public, we were fooled by the reasons given for going to war in the regions that were selected to raid under the guise of  the war on terror.

If you consider the two main theatres of operation in the War on Terror, admittedly pre 9/11, Al Qaeda clearly had a strong and powerful presence inAfghanistan. Targeting their training camps, going after arms dumps and strongholds in the Tora Bora region seemed sensible. Weakening the Al Qaeda threat was the apparent goal of this operation, and the desire to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice was something we all bought into. Perhaps however we didn’t really bother to look beyond the headlines in the press, or the stories being spoon fed to us as the general public by the media.

I am not implying that the press were implicit in the greater deception that was going on through the War on Terror. I firmly believe that seasoned politicians skilled in the world of “Spin”, are masters of hiding the truth and manipulating the media to their own advantage. Do not believe that people in the know within media circles were blind to what was going on in powerful places, but I honestly believe that the world of international politics and press coverage work hand in hand on the basis of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. In this way the public are fed the story that powerful individuals, organisations and governments want the public to see.

Had we been shown pictures of homes burning, innocent Afghan people being killed and routinely displaced from their homes and lifestyles, children without clothing, water, schooling, shelter and very often wounded or killed by our forces actions, would we have been so keen to allow the War continue in our name? War is a cruel and dangerous game. Civilian casualties are inevitable and when you start to fight a guerrilla war against an enemy which does not recognise the conventions of war, innocent lives are unavoidably caught in the middle, frequently used as a human shield. Is this the type of warfare we would so readily have supported had its reality been blitzed across our screens.

In the ten years since 9/11 I am often struck by the frequency that those powerfully emotive pictures have been splashed across the front pages of our newspapers, or shown on the television news. Vast sums of money have been spent on telling the story of 9/11, discussing what went wrong, how to prevent another 9/11, listening to the heart wrenching personal tragedies that unfolded after 9/11. In stark contrast to this, how many times have we seen any footage of the disaster that has befallen the Afghan people? How many stories of personal suffering and great loss have we heard from the Afghan point of view? I mean let’s be honest for a moment; do we imagine that the Afghan people chose to allow Al Qaeda to set up in their back garden? Do we imagine that people, who have lived with conflict for over 40 years, chose to allow a dangerous and evil element of mankind to establish training bases in their nation?

Let us understand that for years the Afghan people had lived under the tyranny of the Taliban. Since their rise to power in Afghan politics in 1994 the Taliban inflicted an oppressive and violent version of Islamic Sharia Law, under which the people ofAfghanistan, especially the women were left with few if any rights, power to vote, or the basic freedoms that we take for granted in our society. Amputation, flogging and even death were common punishments for things as trivial as a word spoken out of place, right through the genre of crimes.

The fear imposed on the Afghan population was total and complete in that no one would dare consider an uprising against such an oppressive and violent ruling party. I think that in the first instance this is an indicator that anyone that accepts that the War on Terror opened the door for an Arab Spring fails to consider. Domination is not only a physical exertion of power over others; it is the mental state of mind of the people that fall under this domination.

We must consider whether the people affected by the dictatorship of these wicked people are capable of rising up. Is it in their blood to fight against their own people? Let us not forget that civil war is costly, ugly and means that families are often fighting against one another. In a community as tightly knitted as the Muslim community of the Arab Middle East, it is uncommon if not almost unheard of for civil war to erupt. Granted there are violent power struggles within the ruling elite of the area, however it is infrequent that the people feel capable of taking power into their own hands, so is it indeed possible that through the process of the elimination of tyrannical leaders through the Middle East that the people felt an empowerment?

I come back to my original point of the mobilisation of the popular press by political propaganda that convinced the population of the West that we had no alternative but to strike first in a pre-emptive measure in order to protect ourselves against the potential of another catastrophic civilian terror attack on our soil. I cannot help but feel that through the eyes of the media we were hoodwinked into believing that there was a clear and present threat against our nations.

Please understand that I do not for one moment want to suggest that the attacks of 9/11 were not a cowardly and despicable act against the innocent civilians of a sovereign nation. I do not wish to lend credence to the belief that attacks like 7/7 inLondonor the Madrid Train bombs, or theBalinight club atrocity are in any way legitimate or explainable. Terror is a wicked, cruel and cowardly attack by a weak and small minded few against a powerful nation through its innocent civilian population. There is no place for such evil in our world, and I support the idea that action is necessary to battle against the people that would choose terrorism as a weapon of war.

However, there is a right way and a wrong way to target such people. Taking the battle to the back yard of a population that on the whole is generally opposed to the actions and doctrine of such individuals only serves to radicalised another whole generation of young people. Watching their own families and friends killed in a battle to protect our people, a people the Afghan people have never seen, have never met nor care to think about only serves to create a new and vivid hatred of our society within a generation that have looked at Russia, Pakistan, the Taliban and now the West as wicked, violent and oppressive occupiers and dictators.

Is this serving the eradicate Terrorism or breeding a new and even more dangerous breed of terrorist? Al Qaeda are not stupid when they specifically target young vulnerable men that are easy to manipulate and radicalise with images and visual media of an occupying force that are seen to be causing massive casualties on their home soil. They are not stupid when they preach their message of hate among the youth and vulnerable within our own societies. They know that so called “Home Grown Terrorists” are the ultimate weapon in their arsenal.

It was common knowledge among leaders prior to 9/11 that there was an uncomfortable acknowledgement among Arab Nations that the Taliban regime was radical and far too oppressive in their leadership withinAfghanistan. So we are left to wonder whether diplomatic discussions between our Arab allies and our nations would not have lead to the Arab world turning on the Taliban and in effect using Arab power to remove an evil and ominous threat. It is questionable whether the Arab world would infact have gone to war to oppose the Taliban, but surely it would have been better to use an Arab lead coalition if this had infact not been possible?

It is also difficult to understand why when the Taliban offered to hand over Osama Bin Laden on the delivery of proof of his involvement in 9/11, that theUSAdeclined the offer saying that they would not negotiate with Terrorists? Does this mean that theUShad identified the Taliban as a part of the terrorist threat? That is something that has never been explained. In addition, I cannot help but wonder when you hear the US Political mechanism say that it has a mountain of evidence against Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, why it was never used to bring the conflict in Afghanistan to a peaceful resolution and allow a lawful and criminal procedure to take place. Was it infact the case that theUSAfelt it was necessary to stamp its authority within the international community as a world leader and military super power that would not allow anyone to attack its people without suffering retaliation and humiliation of an occupation and regime change at the insistence of the American people?

Al Qaeda and the Taliban were very early on identified as potential targets of the War on Terror. Very quickly after the battle started in the Afghan theatre of conflict,Iraqwas identified as a clear and present danger under the assumption that its weapons of mass destruction could be used against a Western Nation. As Al Qaeda was fragmented and split up as their strongholds inAfghanistanwere obliterated, we begin to see the emergence of Al Qaeda in other areas of the world, more notably,Kenya, the Philippians,North Africa,Pakistan,Iranand various other hotspots around the world. However, Al Qaeda in these other locations have not been pursued as aggressively or fervently with military aggression as is the case with Afghanistan and Iraq.

War on Terror? The question mark begins to grow as the ten years since the world embarked on this war seeking to eradicate terrorist organisations spirals endlessly into the dust of our future. It is now widely acknowledged that the war on terror can never be won, nor should ever have been embarked on. Granted significant progress has been made through the elimination of powerful and evil targets, but at what cost? Personally I do not believe that the price paid for the removal of Sadam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden was the dawn of the Arab Spring. For that matter I do not agree that the cost in human lives both those of innocent Arab nationals, nor the lives of our precious and brave service personal should ever have been sacrificed on such a whim.

So am I calling the War on Terror a whim? After 9/11, the emotive pictures of human beings falling to their deaths from a burning hell of steel, and the knowledge that thousands of people were pulverised to nothing more than dust and bits of flesh and bones as the twin towers crumbled to the streets of Manhattan became a huge asset in the propaganda arsenal of a mighty nation. There were people within the American and Western political infrastructure that were itching for a war. It didn’t take much for the images of a London Red Bus or the knowledge that 52 people perished in the attacks on British soil to be used to emote the British public into outrage.

Cast your mind back if you would to June 1996 when the IRA detonated the biggest bomb on the British mainland since the war injuring 212 people. Over a wide passage of time, the IRA was and still is responsible for many of the worst atrocities of terrorism in theUK, however many of the leading perpetrators of violence on British soil in the name of the IRA are now serving time. In December 1988 the then dominant international terror group the PLO brought down a PanAm flight over Lockerbie inScotlandkilling 270 people. We discovered that the reality was that the terrorists had originated fromLibyaand in 2001 a Libyan national was imprisoned for the attacks. These are just two instances of terrorism inflicted on our nation, where no war on terror was perpetrated in response to the attacks, and while long and detailed investigation was necessary, people have been brought to justice. IRA bombers are still currently serving time in British Jails, and while political leadership saw fit to release al-Megrahi the Libyan locked up for the PanAm atrocity, it is proof that a diplomatic and legal channel is possible for justice to prevail.

So let us consider these points then. Firstly, what is the real target of the War on Terror? Personally, while Al Qaeda is defiantly a target of our military efforts, I cannot help but believe that the real target of the war on terror was the control of oil within theMiddle East.

Secondly, Al Qaeda were based in Afghanistan, and while there was a lot of rhetoric and sabre clashing from Sadam Hussein at the time, was Iraq ever really a threat to our national safety? I think that we can all agree that after it became evident that weapons of mass destruction never existed, that the war inIraqwas anything but a war on terror. Personally I do not for one moment feel safer as a result of the war inIraq. Truth be told I worry more about the future as terrorism becomes more technically advanced and tricky to detect. Had politicians been more cautious about entering into war, and taken the time to work out a logical and internationally agreeable response to the attacks by Al Qaeda, we would not be faced with the mess of an Iraq in tatters, insurgency activities launched against innocent Muslims, international soldiers and anyone who would oppose the terrorists, who see themselves as working, sleeping and living in very real danger.

Thirdly, I can honestly say that I firmly believe that had we the public been shown the reality of the war on terror, its effects on other innocent people and the overall reality of its success that we’d instantly have withdrawn our support and approval of these actions. The American, British and other nationalities involved in the coalition are on the whole, beautiful, generous and kind people. We are proud and have a strong sense of morality. I do not believe that had the people in power been honest with us that the war would ever have taken place.

So does this make the war on terror a whim? Yes. It is clear that in haste the authorities of the day mislead us, the governments of the time were eager to show their muscle on an international stage, and in the wider game of intimidation and domination we have gained nothing, if not ultimately put ourselves in even greater risk.

Now if I am able to sit down and come to this conclusion, it is not worthy of even asking if as a result of this fiasco of the war on terror that the Arab people looked at what was happening and thought, hang on, we want a part of this. Do you honestly imagine that the Egyptian people looked at Iraq and thought, “Hmmmmm, Iraqi people are democratically free, but live under constant threat of political persecution if suspected of being an insurgent, live day to day wondering whether the next insurgents suicide bomb is going to take them into the blackness of death, or lets be honest, where they are going to find work, survive, get a home or build a life” and thought, “Hell yeah, we want some of that!”

Are we expected to believe that the Libyan people thought, “Right let’s oust Gaddafi and descend into a tribal feud that will tie up our nation for generations to come”? Are we meant to believe that the Syrian people relished the idea of rising up against one of the most brutal dictatorships in the Middle East with the idea that the sacrifice they would have to endure in order to gain their freedom? Is a noble and diligent quest for freedom and the destruction of evil worthy of giving credit to the war on terror? No, the Arab people are a sophisticated, knowledgeable and dynamic people. It would be foolish to imagine that through the actions of the western world, the Arab people felt emboldened to stand up for their rights. This is a process of revolution, and revolution takes time, effort, long term hardship and oppression.

Africawitnessed a revolt against the oppression of the colonialist invaders through the 20th centaury. Did that mean that the rest of the world watched and thought what a wonderful idea, lets rise up against our oppressors? It did not. Liberation struggles began within each nation at a time that the people reached a point where they couldn’t stand the torture of a second class lifestyle under a powerful minority any more. The birth of the guerrilla struggle is nothing new. Throughout the ages of mankind’s history, there are catalogues of examples of the underclass rising up against an oppressive ruling class. Human beings by nature are tolerant beings, but pressed hard enough we are liable to break under the pressure and seek to find a way to freedom.

I think that the true reality of the Arab Spring is born in the roots of human history. Education and the modern capabilities of social media offered a unique opportunity for like minded individuals to call out for a change. The call echoed through the massed population and the seeds of a revolution were sown, the fight for freedom was born. No one specific conflict can be pointed to as the initiation of the Arab Spring. Personally I believe that the Arab people are far more capable and resourceful to have to wait for the West to show them the way. It is not impossible for a people of any race, capability, situation to come together in opposition to their treatment at the hands of a brutal regime. I do strongly believe that for this to be facilitated, there must be a channel of provision, a facilitation of capability for the uprising to take force, and I also have an inclination to believe that in many ways the West has chosen to allow the Arab Spring to gather pace in yet another attempt to gain power and influence in a theatre where they are desperate to gain control of the oil resources.

My reason for this conclusion lies in the African theatre, where we find ruthless, cruel and violently oppressive dictatorships that have been allowed to remain in power unchecked for decades.TunisiaandEgyptwere left to struggle through their revolution unassisted while the British were quick to rush to the aid of the Libyan rebels in order to protect their investments in Libyan energy reserves. Terrorism inSpaingoes unchecked. The Chinese treatment ofTibetis tantamount to extermination, and the genocide that continues inDarfurwith a complete unwillingness on the part of the powerful nations that called for the war on terror to fight in the side of the righteous is scandalous.

This two faced hypocrisy is something that so many Arab people have pointed too, and it is this very factor that totally discredits our actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and any other theatre that we enter into. Till we gain an understanding that we must win the hearts and minds first and foremost through due diligence and leadership by example we will never win this battle to gain understanding. In our daily effort to bridge the gaps of culture and religion, we struggle to be tolerant and accepting of different attitudes and points of view, yet on an international front we destroy the complete perception of being a multicultural and tolerant society.

As we reach the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, I look back and my heart screams for those who were stolen from our hearts and lives inNew York. As I sit and ponder the results of the war on terror my heart aches for the lost lives of the Arab sons and daughters that died for no fault of their own other than to be alive in a war torn country. Most of all my tears run for the lives of service men and woman that have been sacrificed for a futile cause. To learn that educated men today acknowledge that we can never win the war on terror, despite the fact that we have significantly weakened Al Qaeda and disrupted their capabilities makes me wonder how much it was all worth. Does this admission of incapability infact now mean that now that we have begun this struggle that we will always have to be vigilant and in a war ready state or actually at war in order to protect our way of life? Are we really safer today than we were on that fateful September morning? When does the tit for tat vengeful sting go out of the situation and two sides bitterly opposed through our actions lay down their arms and discuss their differences to seek for a realistic and logical solution? When do we stop loosing our loved ones and stop the bloodshed? These are the real questions we need to be asking our politicians. These are the answers we want from our leaders. But I guess more than anything, I would really love a frank, honest and truthful admission of guilt from the people that stormed into conflict without giving long and realistic thought to the consequences of their actions.

As a rule of thumb I believe there is one question that a politician should always ask himself or herself before making a decision to commit their nation to conflict. The question is very simple and is only two words long. This is the lesson we all need to learn, and the question that outweighs all other considerations: …..”What If?”