The Dresden hell – a war crime that is yet to be heard.

Unless you are a historian, there are stories about World War 2 that still emerge as if they are new reports, unheard of before. New reports of more suffering. I am talking about the Dresden bombing. The British and allies were relentless in their attack, turning the city into an inferno, with few survivors and unimaginable suffering to children, adults and the elderly. That, as a nation, we inflicted this suffering, is hard to comprehend.

The Independent printed the witness account of a British prisoner of war who saw the suffering as soon as the bombs started to drop and later helped to recover survivors, sadly most of the city’s families had not only died but melted in the scorching heat. In his account he tells of the relief when they finally encounter survivors in  what he describes as the Devil’s work – people cooked alive as they submerged into roads melted into hot tar. He knows no nationality, no blame just suffering and the human beings who survived and those who didnt.

To find out more about Dresden, 70 years ago, read Victor Gregg’s account here.

This blog is for Unicef.

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An unproportionate reaction from Cameron and Obama

I cant think of any other conflict in history where the word ‘proportionate’ is used to justify a massacre.

Palestinian people are being oppressed and they are using terrorism as a final ditch attempt to buy freedom. It tends to happen (South Africa apartheid…..World War 2). Obama and Cameron seem to be chained into this illogical thinking that is at odds with mainstream public opinion. The answer is to free Palestine. Why have the Israelis got Cameron and Obama by the balls? Even the British media seem to work hard to ensure ‘balanced’ reporting, which appears to be more in favour of promoting the Israeli PR machine.

The Israeli bombardment is barbaric and wrong, international support (from people with brains and a conscience) is waning and pretty soon Cameron and Obama will be swimming 7up the river of political suicide floating on palestinian blood.

In contrast to the political lunatics, I was heartened to hear of the protests in London reported on the Huffington Post. Lets hope fighting stops and a peace deal is arranged before more vulnerable and innocent civilians lose their lives.

This blog is for Unicef.

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Dogs with apps

We have 2 dogs, they are so small they are barely there. However, like most small dogs (and humans), what they lack in size they make up for in personality. The older of the two likes running for balls (any type of ball, from ping-pong size right up to giant gym balls). My husband once had a job at a golf driving range, my dog didnt know which ball to pick up first, i swear i could almost make out steam coming out of her ears at the sight of o many balls. She will also retrieve sticks and will attempt any size, whacking ankles as it swings dangerously up and down either end. When you play tug of war with the stick she will hold on to it with such grit and determination, that you can lift her straight up into the air.

My other dog (the younger daughter), is not remotely interested in balls or sticks, but point out a pheasant or a squirrel and she is there in a shot with turbo-charges up her tail. She even attempts to climb the tree to get o the squirrels. She is not terribly bright. In the summer she will endure heat-stroke sunning herself in a hot spot. In the winter she gets so close o the woodburner that you burn your hand if you touch her coat. She refuses to be picked up by anyone below the age of 18 and her tail has the clever knack of forming a ‘s’ shape when she is having a poo.

Now most children would love to have dogs like these in their house. This pleasure is somewhat lost on my daughter. Since last Christmas she has longingly looked at a robot dog called Teksta in the local toy shop. It does everything my dogs do and things they dont (such as back-flips, wi-fi and the ability to work with apps on a tablet). My daughter also mentioned to me  that it doesnt poo or smell. Maybe that is the future of pet ownership – robot pets.

I did find it funny when my daughter was playing with Teksta and the ball and right next to her was my dog patiently waiting for her ball to be thrown.

This blog is to raise money for Unicef. The charity’s latest campaign is to save and protect children caught up in the conflct in Susan – find out how you can help here.

Thanks for reading.

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

 

A D-Day diary

“The clock struck 7. I could no longer sleep for the sound of planes and guns. As I stirred, I saw a plane fly past our dorm window. It must be the invasion”.

This is an excerpt from a diary written by a teenager as she awoke at her boarding school on 6June 1944, less than 10 mikes away from a British naval port on the South Coast. She also talks about the sight of huge cranes, amphibious tanks and military vehicles filing through the village a few days before. In her dairy entry , she describes how she tries to get answers as to what is happening from her teachers, all of whom seem to have their head buried in the sand or just brick wall enquiries so as not to cause panic amongst the pupils. What astonishes me is that the guns she could hear were not from the British naval port, they were from the coast of France, such was the intensity of the gun-fire.

She was clearly worried but the only news could be sourced from the wireless at break-time or rumours from pupils and a whole lot of scaremongering about the Germans invading.

Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and it was a great opportunity to read what that day must have felt like for a teenager whose only source of information was the sound of gunfire and the odd limited update from a crackly wireless and whether there was a star, a stripe or a cross on the planes overhead.

It makes me think about the conflict in places like Syria and African regions such as the Congo and how powerless children still feel when it comes to wars waged by older generations. Thanks to D-Day, she never experienced the horrors of conflict on her doorstep, but the guns echoing across the English channel as she woke felt as close as if they were 10 miles down the road.

This blog is for Unicef, a charity that also helps vulnerable children in war-torn areas world-wide.

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Women at War

I recently had the pleasure of watching The Iron Lady featuring Meryl Streep on TV the other night. I had settled down for a quick tour through the channels on a Sunday night expecting for there to be nothing but tripe. I wasn’t able to see it at the cinema as hubby would have enjoyed it as much as watching wallpaper hanging.

Two things struck me most about the portrayal of Maggie Thatcher: 1) the influence of Dennis Thatcher and 2) her lust for confrontation and war. There is a scene when she is writing to all the families of men killed during the Falklands war, sympathising with their loss by sharing the fact that she too is a mother. I’m sure that will have gone down like a lead balloon with many grieving parents. At the end of the film you are left with the question “Was it all worth it?” as she had to battle for absolutely everything to achieve in her position in that era hence the nickname ‘the iron lady’.

On my kindle I am reading the diary of a woman in her fifties surviving the WW 2 blitz in London. She is in a very unhappy marriage and blames all the ills of the world, including the war, on men. In her diary entries she states that ‘this is a fools war for men are fools’. I think she would have found it hard to believe that decades later the first female prime minister would start a war.

My daughter’s audio-book is written by Michael Morpurgo about a girl in WW 2, who loses her cat when her family re-locates so that British and American forces can practice the D-Day landing in her village. My daughter listens enthralled as we wait in the car for the school bus each morning to find out how the hunt for the cat is going and the girl’s terrifying journey into an area where soldiers practised with live rounds of ammunition. In the story, the girl meets an African American who helps her find her cat and her and her family become friends with this soldier and his accomplice and no longer feel hatred towards the ‘yanks’. The story covers loss as the girl waves goodbye to her father when he goes off to fight and hears of the deaths of her teacher’s husband, her friend’s father and the friend of the African American who was killed in D-Day practice. The girl wouldn’t have been much older than my daughter and the bravery that was forced upon everyone, no matter how young or old, was incredible. It is great that children’s authors like Michael Morpurgo can bring history to life so that children have a sense of what it was like in war-time through the eyes of another child their age.

On the whole it is women and children that have to tolerate life in a conflict that is beyond their power to stop. But women can instigate it too, as in the case of Maggie Thatcher….but all her advisers were male……was she just a puppet??

I am blogging every day for Unicef and am aiming to generate £1 a day for the campaign. If you would like to donate and help Unicef’s work for vulnerable children world-wide, please visit my page on the Unicef site.

Thanks for reading.