Before I begin, let me say that my own hands are clean. My family background is mostly Swedish and none of my known ancestors was ever involved with slavery of mistreatment of darker-skinned people. I have nothing against black people per se  and judge individuals more by the content of their heads than by the skin covering them. Indeed, I have known a number of blacks whom I considered friends.

But what a mess the George Floyd incident, as unfortunate as it was, has grown into! It seems that every time one turns around, there’s another protest incident involving not only black people but also whites and others who think (wish?) they were black. The slogan of the day has become, “black lives matter,” as though brown, yellow and white lives did not count for a fraction of a ha’penny. To me, LIFE matters, although I see rather less than no hope that that will ever become a slogan.

Such things are not new. Is anyone besides me old enough to remember who Stokely Carmichael was? The purported founder of the “black power” movement that cast such a pall over the 1960s, that’s who. Among other things, their clenched fist / raised arm salute was frighteningly reminiscent of what was symbolic of a certain other group only some twenty years previously.

The difference is that now all non-blacks seem to be running scared, falling all over each other in a rush to issue (hopefully) conciliatory statements and, astonishingly, to change the way they run their own lives and businesses. Even the Uffizi gallery in Florence, home to many acknowledged art masterpieces, is setting some of those aside in order to make way for a “black presence” display. Even the producers of The Simpsons TV program have announced that they will no longer have black characters voiced by white actors. (Just wondering: does this mean that some white actors will lose their jobs as a result?) To me, such fear-inspired overreactions are just plain wrong! So far as I know, such things do not constitute any part of the political demands of any black groups. I suppose much may have to do with wishing to avoid having masses of unruly people who just happen to be black gathering in front of ordinary business places and defacing those premises with graffiti or whatever. I fail, however, to see that as much of an excuse for cowardice.

So much for real democracy!

Worst of all, various groups have taken to pulling down or destroying statues, including some with no apparent relation to slavery, and other monuments. Whatever could they be thinking? Even here in the USA, where many statues in the South are likely to represent Confederate officers, they still reflect part of our history. Yet even a certain University is now backing down and removing the Rhodes statue, notwithstanding that a fair number of blacks have benefited from the scholarship that still bears the Rhodes name. Will the removal of such pieces somehow make blacks’ lives better? Or is this all intended to make the perpetrators merely feel better, being out of sight equating to being out of mind, at least for those with weak minds. Forget about any artistic value that statuary may have! Why not destroy all statues and plunge us into Muslim-type aniconism?

I can’t help thinking that, if there are any living descendants of the subjects of such destroyed statues, they should sue the destroyers thereof. My own reaction to any who dared to threaten, destroy or deface any property in which I have an interest would be rather more harsh.

Investigation of police misconduct and regulation of police action is another matter for another day.

Chaos and Chuckles

I hadn’t originally intended to fly to Germany, but it became necessary due to a family emergency. It was initially supposed to be for a few weeks, a month at most. Ultimately, it dragged on for over two months due to constant flight cancellations and the travel situation on the Continent. Usually, arranging for travel by train wouldn’t be difficult. But, as Germany. the Netherlands and France agreed to keep their borders closed until 15 June for all but essential travel, that was postponed until then. Continue reading “Chaos and Chuckles”

Vale, Dame Vera

Dame Vera Lynn passed away at a spry, youthful 103. She was one of the last members of a great generation, a generation that went through the Great Depression, the Second World War and the Cold War. She represented something increasingly rare in today’s vulgar world: class, decency, humility and grace. Even though she has not recorded new music for some time, her retirement was well-earned and she certainly accomplished more than enough in her lifetime, the fact that she remains so instantly recognisable, so well-loved, stands as a testament to her great talent and presence. She will be missed.

A bit overdue?

The process of decolonisation was complex and sometimes fraught. There were times when the best efforts at maintaining unity came apart — India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are good examples of this. At times, there was something that looked good on paper and would, had it worked out, have resulted in good results. The West Indian Federation is a classic example of this. (The Central American Republic is another, but that’s for another discussion) But sometimes, a situation was complex enough that it required an entirely different set of measures. Continue reading “A bit overdue?”

I can’t breathe!

More to the point, I simply cannot believe what gets into people. It’s certainly more than understandable that many are distressed, outraged, angry, etc. over the death of George Floyd in police custody. I am all of that myself and applaud the immediate firing of the police officers involved and the subsequent bringing of charges against the principal offender. Continue reading “I can’t breathe!”

Going, Going…Gone?

As the weather was even good for rocket launching I decided to give my 1969 Trabant 601 a blast. That Antonine wall needs breached.

Durham is nice, good for the eyes apparently, and a full tank would get me there.

Ahh Durham, home to a place called Barbara Castle, I’ll drink to that. I put my seat belt on and went the distance. Safely, of course.

The Trabi broke down just like a satellite dish. I’m in a bit of trouble here and a bloke that looks like Ilie Nastase is giving me the evil eye.

Stay home. Stay safe. Nuff said.

Life in a Time of Covid

I write this at a time that I should have been packing up for a flight to Denmark before continuing on to California. I’m clearly not. Rather, I’m sitting in suburban Trier listening to the sound of aeroplanes flying to and from Luxembourg. Passenger flights remain suspended, but cargo flights are still coming and going. Continue reading “Life in a Time of Covid”

Chibber at the Art Gallery

It was more a case of save your money for God’s sake than art for arts sake that I suggested to my good friend, Chibber, we explore an art gallery rather than paint the town red, white and blue in a drinking establishment. This was, of course, pre-covid days.

At first hesitant by my complicated and sophisticated reasoning, rolling my Rs and elongating my Es, I could see my brainwashing was working and he agreed to enter the Chamber of Magical Dreams. Think he thought he was going to Disneyland.
Continue reading “Chibber at the Art Gallery”