Thursday, September 30, 2004

Jehova’s Map

In Jehova’s map each road is signed
You should study it well,
Otherwise t'is the Devil's Den you'll find,
On the roads to Hell.
There are many roads to many places,
In Jehova's map you'll find,
Many familiar faces,
Upon Satan's roads unlined.

Avoid the road to Purgatory,
Via Avarice and Greed,
Through to Bigotry
A road you should heed.
Beyond lies Lust,
Through the Valley of Sin,
Home of the unjust,
Don't go in.

Better you take the highway,
That leads through the Valley Of Peace,
Than the low way,
To the gambling dens of Fleece.
Follow the signs to Happiness,
And the City of Love,
Not the road to Emptiness,
Choose the road above.

I have travelled to Satan’s cave,
But found no meaning there,
No feeling I should save,
That I would want to share,
To touch my heart and mind,
Or answer heartfelt prayer.
Be not fooled by the Devil’s kind.
Stay away from Satan’s lair.

Avoid the motorways to Hate,
And the Fields of Destruction.
Take the road to Pearly Gate,
Where Hope is under construction.
Remember if you happen to stray,
By Satan’s roads you are not bound.
You can always turn and walk away,
And Evil walk around.

Pass the junction to Temptation,
For no sake but your own.
Choose carefully your destination,
On Jehova’s map all shown.
Make the wrong connection,
And you’ll miss the Pearly Gates,
That lead to Resurrection,
And who knows what other fates.


There are many destinies mapped out in the universal plan. We travel on many paths to our eventual destiny. The first path we travel is that which our parents are already on when we are born and on which we remain until such time as we are mentally and physically able to make independent choices. The many paths of destiny that have been laid out for us, crisscross each other like cross roads on a gigantic map. Each time we reach one of these crossroads, we have choices to make which influence the eventual outcome of our journey. At each crossroads, the path we are travelling is affected by the positive or negative flow of those we traverse which has a correspondingly negative or positive impact on our own destiny. At any such point we are vulnerable to the traffic flow. Sometimes our journey may tragically be shortened there and then by events out of our control. If we make the right choices and the dice rolls for us , we may continue our journey either in the same direction or choose another. This is what people call fate but it is in all probability part of the great plan, the learning curve towards enlightenment. Thus our control over our own destiny is at the very least tenuous.

Logically our individual destinies cannot be anything but inextricably linked to the collective journey upon which humankind is embarked Politicians in Israel and Palestine and all over the world where nations and cultures are in conflict, would do well to remember that the destiny of nations as well as individuals are therefore totally interdependent. No man or nation is an island. Individual well being is never assured if collective well being is suppressed denied or even simply ignored. This realisation is the only hope we have of building a world where we do not live in constant fear and threat from each other. We must build bridges not destroy them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Time for Iraq to stand up and be counted

Has the time come for the Iraqi people to stand up and be counted? They cannot go on blaming the coalition for the massacre of their own citizens by other Iraqi and Arab groups. The coalition has freed them from the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. In so doing it has presented the Iraqi people with a once in lifetime opportunity to put their suffering behind them and to have a say in the way their country is governed. They now have a chance to prosper in peace, if they want it and they will never have a better one; thanks to the sacrifice, not of their fellow Arab nations but that of the western coalition.

Iraqis must now ask themselves, why should American, British, Polish, Italian, Japanese and others continue to risk their lives for people who do nothing to help themselves and show nothing but hostility, to those who fight to bring them freedom and democracy? It is time the Iraqis and the Arab nations as a whole, took a hard look at themselves and the responsibility they bear, for having stood aside while Saddam Hussein murdered and tortured his own people. Had their fellow neighbors, shown any sense of duty or care for their Iraqi brothers when Saddam Hussein was in power, the Americans would have had no cause or excuse to launch either Gulf War I or II and they would not now, be in Baghdad or anywhere else in Iraq.

We are where we are because neither the Arab nations nor the West have acted from a foundation based on civilised principle, i.e. doing what is right rather than what is expedient, over the last thirty years. The compromise of good practice and sound principles in international affairs has jeapordised the outcome of events. We must wake up and understand that one can never attain the right solution by applying the wrong equation, to any problem. The right outcome can never nor will ever be achieved by compromising on what we know to be right. Wrong can never be right. This is the lesson the international community must take on board in the execution of national and international politics.

It is time to admit that the United nations can never be an effective arbiter of civilisation or international law whilst it is founded on the ill conceived often corrupted principles that pervade its entire structure. A United Nations that harbours despotic and corrupt member governments within its walls can and never will be anything but partially corrupt. Such a body will never be able to act effectively to protect the innocent from state barbarity. We need not look further than the genocide in Rwanda, the chaos in Zimbabwe, the slaughter in Sudan and the persecution of the Iraqi people by Saddam Hussein for over thirty years, to know this to be true.

In the absence of an effective international body responsible for the application of civilised rules of international behavior, countries will inevitably fall back on unilateral action to resolve problems and the world will continue to flounder from catastrophe to catastrophe. Until we understand that the serving of the common interest is the key to self interest, we will go nowhere worth going to.

Now is the time for the Iraqi people to show the world a better way. Their destiny lies not in the hands of the UN or the USA but in their own hands, if they did but realise it. It is what they now do that will determine what course the UN and USA will follow, not the other way around. Say yes to freedom. Say yes to democracy. Say yes to justice and above all say no to terror and the USA will become their client and not their master, their friend and not their enemy.

Refuse and we must bid them goodbye and leave them to their fate, which may be far worse than the suffering inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein. It is up to the Iraqi people. They must understand that we cannot nor will not go on dying for nothing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Mr. Putin at the crossroads of destiny

So Mr. Putin has decided to use the recent despicable events at Beslan to reinforce his hold on power by appointing regional governors himself, thus denying the people the opportunity to vote for their own representatives; thereby tightening his influence and grip on power. This is the oldest trick in the book, used by despots the world over since the beginning of time. Russia is fast returning to the dark ages of autocratic rule, her fragile democracy dissipating like water from a steaming kettle.

This is not the solution to Russia's problems, nor will it make Russia safer from acts of terrorism. One does not make Russia or any other country better, safer or stronger by diluting democracy. The stifling of democracy can only inhibit the production of ideas and the elements of competition essential to efficiency and innovation. Autocracy asphyxiate initiative. It turns people into automatons and inhibits expression and invention. These fundamental elements of freedom are what have made the United States and Western Europe so successful and so vibrant.

The centralization of power cannot protect Russia from terrorism but better public awareness, good intelligence, shared intelligence and well trained efficient security services can help reduce the risks.

Likewise, centralization cannot eliminate corruption. If anything it may increase it or at least provide greater opportunity for those higher up the ladder of power, once ensconced, to indulge themselves and in so doing spread the corruption outwards as well as downwards to a much greater degree even, than is the case now. The corrupt always depend upon the corruptible.

The only way to reduce corruption is to make those at all levels of power more accountable to the people they represent and this can only be done where democracy and a free press prevails. In young democracies there are always those willing and able to take advantage of a situation to manipulate the people to their own ends but the people learn quickly who they can trust and who is and is not corrupt. It is they, not the state who will root out the corrupt and make the leadership accountable. As a well known British politician once said, "you can fool all of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time". What is needed is a strengthening of the foundations of democracy. Weakening these foundations will only weaken Russia in the longer term.

I say this to Mr. Putin. You stand at the crossroads of your own as well as Russia's destiny. You have the opportunity and the choice to serve your country well or badly. You can go down in history as either one of the greatest leaders Russia has ever known or you can be remembered as just another self serving despot, in a long line of self serving despots. That choice and that responsibility lies in your own hands Mr. Putin and I hope, we all hope, you choose wisely.

Is it better to build bridges or destroy them? Is compassion, understanding and collaboration better than vengeance, ignorance and confrontation? Which of these building blocks will build the better world? The answer is surely obvious.