Archive for September, 2007
We’ve been listening to various radio stations in my house, thanks to a house mate relocating his digital radio to the kitchen. We’ve had some random stuff and some really great music, but what I’ve noticed is that so many of these stations have a really warped infotainment-based view of what makes for news. We’ve had David Beckham’s dad ahead of (and given double the time of) Freedom protesters in Burma, and we’ve had Lewis Hamilton’s Japanese GP win well above the Tory conference.
Its seems things have taken a nasty turn in Burma. I say that it ‘seems’ because information leaving the country is actually becoming much more scarce, and the military are apparently arresting (maybe even shooting) people for having mobiles, and have shot dead at least one journalist deliberately. Also, because it appears that some soldiers have reneged and begun fighting against the military, which, if it spreads, would be a disaster for pacifism but a victory nonetheless.
(There’s an Emergency Demonstration in London, starting at 11.30am in Trafalgar Square, on Sunday, ending 2pm Battersea Park).
I need not recap the details; the situation in Burma is dire and within the next two weeks the country’s fate will be sealed one way or another: the road to freedom or the road to even greater tyranny for decades to come. While it is important that these move for freedom is by and of the people of Burma, we cannot simply sit by and watch. Because of its connections with Burma, it is vital that people start their own protests at their local Total petrol station.
I have to start by saying that this post is a little overdue. Well, I did talk about the situation in Burma right when it started, but it was one of three signs of people power in the big wide world that I focused on. At that stage, this was simply an unusual protest, not a full blown Non-Violent Revolutionary Action being met with guns and tear gas. Am I glad the UK government has finally decided to speak out? Yes, in a way, but No in plenty of others.
I’ve thought of writing about the many pipe-dreams people have for techno-fixes to Climate Change/Chaos. And now irony has just played the ultimate card. Pipes in the Ocean to bring cool water to the top. Yes people, we have a pipe dream for solving Climate Change which involves pipes! I’m sure I won’t be the only person to write a response with the above title.
The One Laptop Per Child project made a significant announcement recently as it ventures forwards with its mission to get personal IT equipment into the hands of children across the poorest nations in the world. To me, this is a tough one, made more difficult by the environmental plus points to the new machines. At over $100 each, are there really not better uses for the money?
Its rather saddening to be reading a report about the upcoming Labour party conference that makes the whole affair sound more like a pop-show than a real chance for grassroots members to intervene in deciding the direction of their party. We are now firmly in the age of closed committees deciding how parties should run, and stage management of conferences with glitzy show piece addresses and little real debate is becoming the most common denominator in all of this.
I was having a chat not long ago with someone involved in campaigning who asked what seemed quite an obvious question, but then, when I thought about it maybe its not so obvious after all: “what do you pray for”. Well, I pray for activists and the stuff they get up to, unlike some people, who pray for some really quite bizarre stuff. I guess I’d forgotten that to most people, prayer is weird and tied to hierarchy, and that most people think all Christians must pray for the Queen everyday. Sadly, for many, this is still the case…
I’ve been watching the Google alert emails “Climate Camp” lately and spotted a couple of really quite disturbing pieces. The first appeared on a website called Spiked and the second appeared in the Guardian Online’s ‘Comment is Free’ section, both basically making the exact same argument: that somehow those of us who protested at Drax and Heathrow are in opposition to those who are currently camped at a much less publicised protest at Gatwick Airport.
There has been a call for British bloggers to speak out in defence of free speech on account of several significant political figures having their blogs shut down by their hosting company after it received letters from a law firm acting on behalf of the potential new owner of Arsenal FC. This is a very disturbing incident, but I shall leave it to my friend Peter Sanderson to explain the full case, as he’s followed it more closely than I have.