Some small sense

We fight and wonder at how a country can find this form of behaviour acceptable, never mind to pass it into law. How the ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill can possibly be happening. How Ugandans, as people just like us and no more or less intelligent, can believe this to be right and true. How the words of American missionaries can skew an entire nation’s perceptions.

I wondered this too. And then I saw this photograph:

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And now in some small sense I understand a little. This photograph shows a Ugandan boy’s hand in the hand of a missionary. I understand why people listened to them. Because the missionaries brought food to stop their children starving, while the rest of world impassively watched. The missionaries gave their children’s lives back. How could you not listen?

And now as a world we cry unfair. And it is unfair, it is more than unfair. It is horrible, unjust and cruel. But we left their children to starve. How can we cry unfair?

A thought, an opinion. Not an oppression.

Many of my friends have Tumblr, and proclaim that it’s excellent. As a blogging platform, it’s nice to see what they have to write. What gives me a slightly repulsed and itchy feeling about it is the morality of it. Some of the things said on there definitely deserve publicity and people to be aware, but how aware do the majority of people become from something on Tumblr? A very small proportion of the internet use Tumblr, and it is a social *media* platform. Not a social change one. So slating people who were brought up in a different time, or attacking countries and organisations on the internet does, in reality, very little to help those it should. Sometimes the reasons are justified, sometimes it is an overreaction.

For example, there was much talk about a boycott of the Olympics. I believe this would be a silly idea, it would not send a clear message about any laws in place, it would allow the Russian government to segregate further from the West that is demonising their country, an image that many Russians have already. And the Western media does kind of pillory them over anything, but anyway… But we can all agree that the laws there are unacceptable, as are the laws in Uganda and Iran and other countries, and there have been suggestions that the companies such as Google and the Guardian should start sending money to them to counter the money their governments are using to persecute LGBT+ people. While the persecution is terrible, this idea is almost breathtakingly daft. These organisations are companies, businesses, not charities. It is not their role to aid those in peril, and they would have no way of going about it. Also, where do you stop? Is it practical to suggest that all companies should use their profits to counter all inequality in the world, to stop prejudice and help every starving child, every women not allowed to drive or leave the house? These companies are Western companies, they are nothing to do with the countries in question. When Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other countries intervene, they are doing it with a vast knowledge of the situation on the ground, how to act and react and how best to help those that need it. Tumblr and Google are neither of these, with none of the associated abilities. This would, again, allow the political uproar from the governments in question and the closing of international borders, leading the situation for those inside to be worse, and the world simply not to know.

Although the authors of such posts protest for equality so vehemently, they show a startling lack of practising what they preach. Many of the posts there are satire, and although many know this, a worrying number do not realise it’s just not true. Did they not research before posting? For example, the story that suggested that the person in charge of the rings opening at the Winter Olympics in Sochi was found murdered was satire, as most people know, and could be discovered with a quick Google. But many people believed it. And after Nelson Mandela died, a poster was posted saying David Cameron was a ‘top member’ a student organisation that wore ‘Hang Mandela’ T-shirts and went on an anti-sanctions fact finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid group. Actually, as could also be found with a quick Google, there was no evidence that Cameron was ever connected to the T-shirts, conservative university groups at the time did wear them, but there is no evidence Cameron was involved, and he said at the time that the mission was wrong. Also, although one of the greatest men there has ever been, Mandela came to the conclusion that the ANC ‘had no alternative to armed and violent resistance’ and advised others to request weaponry from the People’s Republic of China. The atrocities associated with illegal gun running notwithstanding, or that I mean to use this as a negative slur to his character, hardly Gandhi. And was this mentioned? No, it was not. Cameron was betrayed as a nasty liar. Whatever you believe of the situation, I hardly think that’s fair. Many other things have also been twisted out of proportion. The Manning case, for instance. Manning is portrayed as a ‘political prisoner, relegated to the rubbish heap of US history’, and says Manning ‘spoke up’ against people who remain free. Certainly they do, unless you wish to arrest the Department of Defence and almost every military organisation on the planet. Manning is treated as a guiltless target. What about the servicemen and women whose positions and identities were revealed by this, risking or potentially losing their lives? What about those nationals who worked with the military, now identified for their families and themselves to be in danger? Are they of no consequence? Or do they not matter to the posters, because they simply have not thought of them, caught up in the drama on their screen? Again, hardly fair.

Tumblr is an ‘ain’t it awful, someone should do something’ idea. But who? Are they doing anything? The view presented is not balanced; while the perfect world may be the ideal, it will not come overnight without removal of freedom or individuality, and even then it would not work. Our perfect world will probably never happen; we cannot stop pain, suffering and disaster, it’s a part of existence. So while you strive to your dream, which no-one should abandon, who will protect the world we have?

I am aware it’s slightly ‘keyboard warrior’ writing this, but I am not trying to change anything, neither am I saying anything should be done. I am not trying to impress my opinion upon others, I am simply putting it down. But it is not the same as those on Tumblr. Does that make it wrong?

Every little t’ing…

IT IS VERY HARD TO REVISE IN MY HOUSE!

My exam is on Tuesday. And the next on Wednesday. And one of my housemates has been smoking weed since he finished his exams. Last week. And it makes me feel sick. And the other on the floor below me? Well, he just has his girlfriend round all the time. And I hear giggling at all hours. Oh well, that one could be worse.

WHAT?!?!

So. As you probably know, I didn’t get onto the course I wanted at uni. So I’m now a medical failure, on a Biomedical Science course, hating it and hating me for every time I have to force myself to say it. And not wanting to be on a course I never applied for and hate, I naturally assumed that I would not be part of the departmental open day. Because we’re at uni, and you can’t use people for effectively work without them volunteering or you paying them. Right?
Apparently wrong. Apparently our course, which is already a byword in my uni for being ridiculous (3rd year psychology students in our 2nd year lectures and complaining to staff that they’re too hard. We liked those lectures. Being made to write up *every* lab report for *every* lab we did, every week. But they only want one in. And it’s a large part of our grade. And there’s another lab report they want in as well, because they feel like it. And there’s exams before *and* after Christmas. On the first day back. And if we did all the reading, labs, lectures, dissections and writing up they tell us we need to without the extra reading that’s our only chance of getting a 1st, we’d be working 20 hours a day. Excluding eating or sleeping. Or anything. And the medical course now requires a 1st to get onto. And they don’t listen to anything we say in feedback. And we have lecturer that say ‘Oh, because of your lack of engagement with my lectures, you can do this one yourself. So, the next lecture…’ and skip one. And lecturers that refuse to put the slides online. And recording lectures is forbidden unless you have a mental health or disability services note to expressly say that you can) has decided it’s compulsory that all students help on the departmental open day. They have sent us emails with where we have to be and when. And no, we didn’t get even told before this, much less asked. This is what I got sent:

Finishing off ‘crew’

• Arrive at BMS HQ at 15:15
• Collect the questionnaires and ask the visitors and students if they have any further questions
regarding BMS, the course, the University or living in the city. If they ask you a question you are not
sure the answer to, say so, and direct them to a member of staff. If the student is sitting alone waiting
for their parents to return from a tour, engage them in conversation.
• If needed direct the visitors to the toilets and then accompany them to the exit.
• In your way to the exit tell them that the University will be very happy to hear from them.
• In case of required, give the visitors directions to get to the Tram Stop, the
Railway Station, the bus stops or car parking.
• Finish at 15:30 or when there are not any more visitors around. Before departing liaise with X-organiser, Y-organiser or Z-organiser and ask them if there is anything more to do.

Kind regards

No signature. Or name. Yes BMS, if you want me to go and tell every child that comes in to never apply to this course unless they want to fail it or to work in a library solidly for 3 years, then a lab forever more, or if they don’t mind crying every time someone mentions work…

Sure, I’ll help.

We will remember them

Remembrance Day today, Remembrance Sunday yesterday. Days to thank those that fight for our right to voice our opinion on their fighting, for our freedom, and to thank those that paid the ultimate price.

When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow, we gave our today.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

A Poem for Remembrance Day

“The inquisitive mind of a child”

poppyWhy are they selling poppies, Mummy?
Selling poppies in town today.
The poppies, child, are flowers of love.
For the men who marched away.

But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy?
Why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child, men fought and died
In the fields where the poppies grow.

But why are the poppies so red, Mummy?
Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child.
The blood that our soldiers shed.

poppyThe heart of the poppy is black, Mummy.
Why does it have to be black?
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief.
For the men who never came back.

But why, Mummy are you crying so?
Your tears are giving you pain.
My tears are my fears for you my child.
For the world is forgetting again.

 

We will remember them.

Hill climb

So, yesterday I had a day off uni, which was great. Intended to do all the work I hadn’t yet done and do some extra reading. I did nothing. Wrong, not quite nothing. I went for a run. Picksel came with me, being my housemate this year and saying he needed to increase his fitness. This was all good, until we ran up the steepest hill in the city. Our city has a *lot* of hills. It’s known for them. This one was 17.1% gradient. And yes, I did keep running all the way to the top, although by that point Picksel was walking and, I suspect, keeping up. He said he had to stop there, dizzy, so we did, and a little later he told me to leave him to walk home and carry on running, so I did.

He got home fine, just so you know. Yes, there was a contingency plan.

But, I spent all last night talking to Mum and MamaSmurf (at a decent hour) and Bobbi (the rest of the night!). So now sitting here with the interesting observation that black coffee is more tolerable boiling hot. And realising there’s a games night in the mess tonight, so I won’t be back early. And I have to be in the barracks at 0600 on Thursday for an ex.

This is going to go….*well*.