UK & US Governments assist war crimes

Today is the second anniversary of this blog, set-up to raise money for Unicef. The other reason for setting it up was to help raise awareness and boost the profile of national and international causes (as well as my rants about various elements of life). One of my earliest blogs was about the ongoing war between the Israelis and Palestinians and how the Israelis continue to persecute the Palestinians. I believe strongly that not enough is being done to stop the Israeli Government from killing innocent civilians, in fact the UK and US Governments are actually assisting their war crimes, by supplying arms to Israel.

Now the war has struck up again. I will hand over to Amnesty International on the campaign to put a stop to this illogical and immoral support of Israel: 

 Gaza: Stop the arms, stop the killing

It began just after four o’clock on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Four young boys, all cousins from the same family, were playing football on a Gaza beach.

The Israeli shelling rained down – killing all four children. The mother of one of the boys was pictured crying out in despair outside the morgue in Gaza.

Since the Israeli military offensive ‘Operation Protective Edge’ launched on 8 July, scores of civilians have been killed and injured. This deadly battle has wreaked further havoc, punishment and devastation on Gaza’s blockaded population, with Gaza’s children caught in the crossfire.

Indiscriminate targeting of civilians is against international law. But countries, including the UK, continue to supply weapons to Israel and potentially facilitate these war crimes.

How many deaths will be enough?

The horrific human toll of the violence is mounting. The past eleven days of violence have seen at least 237 Palestinian deaths (52 of them children) and more than 1,700 injured.

Thousands have fled their homes, or what was left of them. Those that stayed are being denied basic services: over half of Gaza’s population is now without water.

And with the ground invasion now under way, we expect the numbers of civilian casualties and the destruction of Gaza’s crippled infrastructure to increase.

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spoke out against Israel’s retaliatory shelling, dubbing it ‘deliberately disproportionate’ and amounting to ‘collective punishment’.

Palestinian armed groups have also launched dozens of indiscriminate rockets into Israel. Two Israelis have been killed.

We are not innocent bystanders

Last year the UK sold £6.3 million-worth of arms to Israel. We know that some arms sold by the UK government have been used to commit human rights violations in Gaza in the past.

And if the UK continues to supply arms – even indirectly – it is likely the UK will be helping to facilitate war crimes.

Stop all arms sales – don’t facilitate war crimes

We’re urging the UK government to suspend all arms transfers to Israel.

We also want to see:

  • the UK government to call on other states to stop their arms transfers to Israel, Hamas and any other armed group until there is no longer a substantial risk that such items will be used for serious violations of international humanitarian law or serious human rights abuses.
  • an end to indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

Our action to the UK Government is part of a campaign by Amnesty activists around the world to halt sales in their countries and call for a UN arms embargo.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

 

Advertisements

My name is Michael Caine…

Our road is an eclectic mix. When Maggie Thatcher put council houses up for sale a few decades ago, the resulting social implications is an interesting cross -section of society, living together un-harmoniously or harmoniously, depending on the severity of occurrences. Problems can range from noise to racism; domestic problems to varying degrees of alcohol intolerance (or too much tolerance; parking to dangerous dogs and even……chicken killers. Yes i thought i had heard it all until our neighbour next-door but one accused our next door neighbours of sabotaging their chicken. Animal politics is an issue too, our two little jacks are sandwiched between a grumpy spiteful cat and a giant alsatian.

I have woken up to a fight in the street with the women chucking flower-pots all over her partner’s car, the other next door slinging suitcases into the road and dont even get me started on Halloween.

When i used to sell poppies, i got an insight into the block of flats on our road. From the outside, its just a boring square building but on the inside it is a hotch potch of different tastes and age brackets all swirled together, with the resulting mix of smells and sounds fusing together as you walk the communal stairway. Unsurprisingly, the older lady gardener has her front door surrounded  by greenery, some doors have children’s scooters outside, while others give no hint at what lies behind until the door is open. A polish chap answered the door with so mch smoke behind him that I thought he was about to do an episode of ‘Stars in Your Eyes’….’tonight Matthew i am going to be..’. Then a child pops up behind his legs and I wonder if he will be a smoker too when he grows up or whether he ill completely rebel because of his smokey childhood environment.

There are single mums trying to make a living, divorced mums trying to merge families together and Mums (and Dads) that quite frankly scare the s*** out of me. There are those who try toretend they are elsewhere on the social scale, clinging on to materialistic trappings like a clematis trying to get to a better garden. Then there are the ‘Boo Radley’ style questions… such as ‘are they father and son living together or are they a gay couple?’, ‘Is that their Dad or brother’?

Most of the time we go about minding our own business, but when you stop and think about your neighbours, all doing the same as you, earning a living (or not), coping and not coping, it makes you think about whether UK society is different to other countries because of our culture and politics or whether behaviours are similar because we are all human?

I never forget while in Malaysia, being told, on a visit to a village, how the neighbours were clubbing together to sustain the livelihood of a widow and her children.

Here i wonder how long it would take for us to realise she had been widowed and then how long it would take to help her?

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Changing education (part four)

I wholeheartedly agree with the questions we pose. Pupils and students are the best judges of a good education, yet they are often the last to be consulted. They say education is like Piccadilly Circus – if you stand there for long enough it will come back round again – this is what is happening with the current Government’s approach and it is deeply concerning and thoroughly depressing.

This blog is for UNICEF – please support the campaign here.

Today a Sudanese woman who faced 100 lashes and execution for renouncing Islam and marrying a Christian was sentenced to death. She is also 8 months pregnant – angry? Then sign the petition by Amnesty for her immediate release – here.

Surviving with grace

4: It all adds up

So far I’ve looked at the systemic failure of our current system, explored some of the external and internal pressures demanding radical change, and suggested what that change might begin to look like. In this final part I’ll consider the influence of formal exams and the need for a different approach.

What you measure is what you get

There’s an old truth that what you measure is what you get, which is to say that examination systems can themselves introduce counter-productive bias. If you put a premium on narrow academic performance then you will skew the rest of the system around it.

This is not about dumbing down; quite the reverse. It’s about asking much more rigorously whether how we test is fit for purpose, which in turn means asking more seriously what the purpose is.

Consider this: if I was managing a call centre…

View original post 840 more words

No holding back

It is hard to be English. First is the requirement to be subtle and satirical. This is why I ‘broke free’ from my Britishness shackles in Florida and immersed myself in the carefree approach to gas guzzling over-sized 4×4 motoring without a ‘tut-tut’ in sight or ear-shot. I also enjoyed being able to park everywhere and unashamedly guzzle pancakes and gush over Minnie Mouse without anyone sneering at me. I did all this while dosing up on vitamin E from the sunshine and buzzing from all the megawatt customer service smiles I received everywhere I went. So when I returned to the wet, grey and miserable looking UK I have to confess I momentarily felt like jumping off a bridge. Then I slipped back into being British, which is essentially our coping mechanism for living in predominantly shit weather with not much to look forward to apart from fish and chips on Fridays and something good on the telly, like Mary Berry’s cooking shower Kirstie Allsopp, to remind you how the ‘better half’ live. If only we all lived like those characters in the Working Title films assisted by computer graphics to make the winter seem cosy, the summer seem..well sunny and the budget to live in a period home and drive a mini or an Audi.

But joking aside, thankfully I live in a western country that is stable and not likely to experience an uprising anytime soon, well not since the riots in London of 2011 anyway……I still don’t know what that was all about. Doubt that anyone who shops in Waitrose had anything to do with it though, David Cameron would testify to that. Apparently he believes Waitrose attracts people who use more than monosyllables to communicate and are unlikely to holler like fish wives at their children, because they wouldn’t dream of asking the nanny to bring the children shopping too.

Moving on from middle-class bashing, Amnesty International deal with crimes against humanity world-wide and I like to support their petitions. The recent petition is for Obama to support the UN in intervening to prevent the religiously motivated massacre in central Africa during which women have seen their children killed in front of them just for being in the wrong religion. Sign the petition here.

This blog is for UNICEF – find out more here.

Thanks for reading.