Sunday, October 26, 2008

Terrorists of disarming charm

Anyone who has been bullied at school or at work will know that bullies generally have not learnt how to love themselves or accept their failings. Picking on someone weaker than themselves is one of the few ways available to them to help them cope. They have low self-esteem so they try and reduce the self-esteem of those they attack.

It is interesting how often governments follow the bullies example. Things are going badly, self-esteem is low so lets launch a gunboat, wave the flag and bully a scapegoat. Just as you can never trust a bully with power so you can never trust a government with power. You can guarantee that power will always be abused. 

In September prime minister Gordon Brown and the UK government's self-esteem must have been at an all time low as their popularity plummeted. Following the lead of bullies everywhere they looked for a victim.

You really couldn't make this up if you tried. On the 8th October the UK government misused their draconian Anti-terrorism Act against the interests of another state, freezing all the financial assets of that state in the UK. 

Which state did the UK government choose, North Korea, Myanmar, Sudan, Zimbabwe perhaps? No these states are already on the government's list. So which state joined this list of shame. Would you believe Iceland? Unbelievable - but in the daft world of government true.

This, of course, is the Iceland famed for its friendly, happy people. The country that consistently comes in the top three best places to live in the world. A country with excellent social services and equitable distribution of wealth. A country - by the way - that has no armed forces and spends a record breaking 0% of its gross national product on weapons. A country indeed that puts the UK to shame. 

According to Vision of Humanity's Global Peace Index Iceland is the most peaceful nation on earth - ranking 1st of the 140 nations listed. The United Kingdom comes a disgraceful 49th and the USA a jaw-dropping 97th. Icelander's trust each other, have very low levels of crime and a very high respect for human rights.

Two weeks later something happened which shows just how wonderful people can be. Icelanders are not terrorists appeared on the Internet asking people to sign a petition to help stop the abuse of the UK Anti-terrorism Act. In a few days nearly 51,000 people from Iceland and the UK have signed and the numbers are rising all the time.

With the kind of disarming charm that only a "terrorist nation" like Iceland can muster Icelanders are not terrorists is full of the most amazing postcards that wonderful people have sent to Gordon Brown. Go and have a look at them now and sign the petition whilst you are there!

Update 30/10/2008 
The number of people who have signed is about to top 70,000. And I have just noticed this quote in the Independent: 
"The Labour MP Austin Mitchell, who chairs the all-party British-Icelandic parliamentary group, urged David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, to resolve the impasse. "Our government has been heavy-handed and abrupt in dealing with the Icelandic problem," he said. "We should have helped but we bullied and made the problem worse." The Icelandic government said that Britain had "set a tone that is difficult to get away from".
The emphasis is mine and maybe, just maybe,  there really is one honest politician left in the UK.

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Blogger Aquila ka Hecate said...

It's a true indicator of the insanity of civilisation - violence ( financial violence included) may only flow one way, that is down the hierarchical pyramid.

Iceland is not allowed to bully back, is it?

Terri in Joburg

Blogger Brian Charles said...

Not the first time the still substantial might of Britain has been levelled against Iceland - nearly came to actual war in the 70s over fishing for cod. Iceland, whose economy largely depends on fishing, won - but the sight of a larger military power attempting to intimidate a very much smaller one was not edifying.

And, if I remember rightly, this was by no means the first inappropriate use od the terrorism legislation. Wasn't it used, for example, against some women who wished to read out the names of the war dead at the cenotaph? Politics of the bully indeed.

Blogger Paul said...

Terri, yes you are right violence is something that has a one way road down the hierarchy. Any change in this status quo is met with absolute shock and horror.

Brian it was Maya Evans who was arrested at the cenotaph by a large brave contingent of police for reading aloud the names of soldiers who had been killed in Iraq. She was actually arrested under the Serious Organised Crime Act of 2005. Clearly to the government grieving for the dead is a serious organised crime these days which just about sums up the police state we are rapidly entering.

The police are being very politicised it seems. Large swathes of the population feel they are targeted just because of who they are. The police are so disinterested in crimes against ordinary citizens that most reported thefts solicit no more than a crime number for insurance purposes. As many people cannot afford insurance most of those no longer report crimes as there is absolutely no point. Only last week a journalist reported that he went to the rescue of a man who had been attacked in the street and then rang the police. Four hours later no policeman had attended. Attempts to flag down passing police cars proved futile and one police car that pulled up at traffic lights dismissed the journalists attempts to get them to take action before they drove off.

Yet - a sign of the paranoia of power - when I was with a small group of pensioners, students, pacifists and Quakers protesting at Menwith Hill large numbers of police and police horses were mobilised to wait for one elderly woman pacifist cross a yellow line. I could be charitable and say that maybe word has got round the police force that Sieze the Day are Britain's best band and there was a free concert at Menwith Hill but I somehow doubt it.

And so we walk like the dead towards the death of freedom.

Blogger Paul said...

And then there was 80 year old John Catt who served his country in the second world war. Who was handcuffed and arrested under the Terrorism Act by our wonderful police because he was wearing a T-shirt suggesting that Bush and Blair be tried for war crimes.


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