Sunday, 28 December 2008

Justice; then, you might get peace!

We are seeing collective capital punishment by our side on the Palestinian families of Gaza. Just two days after Christmas, hundreds of men, women and children are being killed, wounded and traumatised by the armaments and ammunition we have produced and sold to our good friends and close ally, the Israelis.

Rather than understanding the reasons for rockets being fired into the border towns of Israel from Gaza, we prefer to make, yet again, a wholly disproportionate response. Revenge is sweet for our side and for the Palestinians. It ups the anti and invites ever more rockets into border towns that kill Israelis infrequently. Therefore, ours is a counter productive response, too. For us and the Israelis, we have to wipe out every Palestinian to stop their rockets. Stupid and barbaric indeed.

Our aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan sets a very bad example to our friends the Israelis who, quite understandably, use killing of civilians to similarly 'defend' their expansionist policies into ever more of the West Bank.

On the very same day that hundreds of men, women and children have died at the hands of the Israelis, our church leaders prefer to condemn the immorality of government policy. Yet, that did not include condemning government immorality in a decade of supporting the Israeli terrorism to supposedly stop the Palestinian terrorism.

As Peter Ustinov once said, "The Palestinians are the second victims of the Nazis". The one time oppressed are still the oppressors.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

My verdict on GW Bush Esq

We are coming to the end of an undistinguished eight years where, under GW and the 80% of the redeemed of the Lord who voted for him twice, we have seen what life is like under a Christian theocracy. President Bush is the most prominent evangelical Christian in the world. And, the Evangelical Alliance is proud of that fact.

The Lord’s rule through George W, has seen two major wars continuing to this day; our righteous empire ruling throughout the world as we control the economic and military power and control the structures and systems that deliver them; and, we have our supremacist nonsense in insisting that only democracy and Western freedom can be enjoyed by all the other nations of the world. In addition, of course, the evangelicals insist that only their Faith and their interpretation of the Bible is correct, wholly true and trustworthy and must be exported to every corner of the planet before, finally, the Lord comes. Evangelisation of the world is part of giving the nations of the world the gospel of democracy, the gospel of McDonald’s and the gospel of Western civilisation. Our attacks on two independent, sovereign nations have given Christian mission a splendid opportunity to place the Scriptures in the hands of Muslims - as they have been doing.

Eight years of Christian governance actually, in my opinion, is somewhat worse than undistinguished! And, in December, the ‘Today’ programme agreed. It announced that President Bush is the second worse president in the history of America and Dick Cheney is the worst Vice President. The devil has, indeed handed the righteous of the Lord all the kingdoms of the world for bowing down to him. Yet, no shame or even embarrassment from Christians for their President bringing temporal power with its attendant war, hundreds of thousands dead, prisoner abuse and torture!

Too late, too rough, too tough ...

but ideal for the tough to get going!

On route to returning Jon to home after his first term at Aberystwyth Uni, the two of us tried out a Welsh circuit that is not recognised as such. We soon came across one or two little indications as to why it is so little walked!

On the south side of Tal-y-Llyn at the foot of Cadair Idris, we began the ascent from Corris Uchaf. There is good parking by the recycling facility and an unusual raised cabin on four legs! As you come out on to the main road, there is a cleverly built but very simple, stone sculpture of a long-beaked bird - just three or four stones built up on each other.

The going is rough with very few well defined paths or any paths at all. One huge tussock sent me shooting forwards, sprawling face down that even my very fine approach shoes, on their first outing, could not save me. Superb tread and some studs have revolutionised my walking on steep ground. What I thought were my newish boots were almost treadless I discovered after three slips on steep, wet grass above Cwm Cywarch a few weeks earlier. On that occasion, for the first time since my original left shoulder dislocation, I very nearly took the shoulder out again.

The route to the highest summit has an unexpected steep slope on the left that we carefully approached thinking that it was crags. Instead, it was not vertical but 70-80% of dead bracken, grass and heather.

Nearer to the summit of the 666m trig point, there is some fine, steep ground amongst high vegetation to climb that made me remark to Jon, "This is good training for Mt Blanc in June and the soft, deep snow we are likely to encounter." Over the steep ground, the hill flattens to the one metre higher 667m before the trig point is reached. We soon shot off again but found the forest would not let us through. We traversed round to the left over the shallow ridge that we should have followed from the summit and down the other side to gain the gate and forest road.

We jogged down the gentle slopes on the forest road. Jon photographed an abandoned car we came across. He commented, "It shows how quickly and easily nature takes over." We soon came out of the dark, forbidding forest and turned sharp right; only to find that the land disappeared that we needed to get down to have any hope of getting home! This was a second, very steep slope that we gingerly struggled down, holding onto rusty fencing while trying to avoid the rusty barbed wire that hung down and out on our side. What was worse, was a ribbon of white water at the bottom that was essential to cross to get back. Thankfully, 20 metres upstream, we found the swollen stream divided and the island formed allowed us to jump onto it and jump off the other side. This, finally, began the long return walk.

By now, I was kicking myself for starting so late - 1140 hours - and, not being more careful about packing in the rucsac two or more torches. All I had, for the two of us, was my £16 headtorch that worked intermittently, as I found out two weeks earlier. However, we made steady progress up grassy and sheep chewed slopes without ever getting to the top of the Graig Goch ridge. Felled forest way below to the right and some kind of path brought us to the head of a huge valley before us and the street lights of Corris Uchaf way out in the distance. Thankfully, before it got any darker, we saw a track on the far left hand side that would make our descent considerably easier. To our surprise, we very quickly came across the very beginning of the track that was out of sight when we saw the track far off to the left a few minutes earlier. This was a real God-send because this track was not marked on the map. An hour later, we were finally back on the main road, through the village and to the reassuring car, once more.

This was a challenging, adventurous walk that might be easier if the outward route continues to take in Graig Wen at 454 m and then down the N ridge to cross the river at the B road before the long climb up to Graig Goch at 586 metres. More should try it.