Friday, July 29, 2005

Infinite love is the only truth. Everything else is an illusion.

I've always been rather partial to a conspiracy theory or two. Did man really land on the moon? Was Diana's death an accident? Is there life out there? For the most part, I tend to believe them, and I'm not sure whether that's because I've rationally concluded they must be true, or whether I just like the idea of mystery and and well kept, life altering secrets.

Lots of people find it very easy to dismiss conspiracy theories, being naive enough to think the government doesn't hold things from us, 'for our own good', and yes, if I'm honest, it probably is for our own good. The whole world erupted in mourning when Diana died, so can you imagine what would have happened had it been found out that actually MI6 were behind it. I mean, afterall, we couldn't have the mother of the future king married to an Egyptian Muslim, could we?

David Icke pushed the conspiracy boat out a little too far though. The Royal Family are actually reptiles, taking on human form, the Bush family perform human sacrifices and drink blood, and that the Holocaust was actually down to a small group of Jews who financed Hitler.

I honestly think it's naive to believe we know everything, but is it more naive to think that one day we will know it all? Will we find out who actually shot JFK? Does the Holy Grail really exist? These are things I'm sure we'll never know, but people are dying to find out. However, I'm not too sure whether people hype these events up in to being things they really aren't. Maybe they are just simple answers, waiting to be found, or even already have been found.

However, I'm afraid I'm going to have to stick with the sci-fi geeks, and agree that the truth is out there. I may never get to know what all the truths are, but there's something exciting about believing there's a whole unknown world of answers that we have no idea about. And anyway, the people who dont believe in conspiracy theories are the same people who, as children, went around telling the kids on the playground that Father Christmas wasn't real. There's no shame in believing in the unbelievable sometimes...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The character of a man is known from his conversations.

I started this blog with the intention of not talking about more personal things, but, maybe that was a naive starting point. Tonight I went to my local with my brother, and I got talking with a man I've spoken to several times before. There's not going to be any real conclusion to this post, or a lesson or moral, I just wanted to write about him. He's from Northern Ireland, in his 50's, with the brightest blues eyes you've probably ever seen, and he's called Jimmy. The first time I met him, I was wearing my United shirt, and he came over to shake my hand. He insisted on buying my pint, and introduced me to two of his friends (a Jamaican guy and a City fan). He had followed United his whole life, travelling up and down the country to see the away games, he told me. He used to take his younger brother to the games, sit him on the rail at the front, then go back in the crowds to watch the game. At the end, he would come and pick him up. As his brother got older, in to his teen years, he'd be taken to the games, and would get in to fights with all the opposition fans. His eyes filled up when he talked about the kickings he'd seen between the fans.

He's just a genuine bloke, who wears his heart on his sleeve. He tells me stories about Belfast, and football, and family and I could listen to him all day long. Instantly, I felt like I wanted to know him, which is a strange feeling for a twenty something to have for a fifty something, I imagine, but he really is a good man. An honourable man, who appologises if he swears in front of a woman, who will buy everyone at his table a drink, and who would give his word to a stranger, and you could bank pretty much anything on him keeping it. I hope I have half as much appeal and charisma when I'm his age.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

It's easy to quit smoking. I've done it hundreds of times.

I'm a reformed smoker (nothing beats a bout of pneumonia and a determined girlfriend to make you quit, I can testify to that) but I refuse to turn in to an ex smoker who constantly whinges and complains about smokers. Those evil smokers, behaving in exactly the same way you did until that changing moment in your life made you quit.

"My grandma just died of lung cancer from smoking, and that made me quit straight away... I can't understand people like you who still smoke when lung cancer is wiping so many people out." This is the worst kind of ex smoker for me. What an obnoxious, self centred and ignorant point of view. Firstly, because how much can you argue with someone who has just lost a relative, but most importantly, theirs isnt the first grandma, grandfather, father, mother, brother, auntie etc. to die. The awareness of smoking causes cancer and death only arose when YOU lost someone? Oh please.

Then there's the ex smoker who sits in pubs, complaining about the smoke. It's a pub, pubs are smokey. Pubs were smokey when you smoked, and they're still smokey now. The whole world doesnt get reformed because you decided you were going to quit smoking.

The most amusing ex smoker can also be found in a pub. Knocking back shots, sipping on beer, downing doubles, then in a slurred voice saying "Schmoking is weally weally bad for you". Thanks for the warning, you know what alcohol does to you? Liver diseases (including the ex smoker's favourite, cancer) heart damage, much increased risk of stroke, depression etc. And you're telling the smoker they're damaging themselves? How about the fat person? Obesity is one of the biggest causes of all stomach, breast, kidney and colon cancers.

Saying this, I'm not anti-anti-smokers. To a certain extent, I understand that now they have given up, and are in situations where they breathe others smoke, they are frustrated. But please, please no high and mighty attitudes. Don't forget what it was like when you were one of the club.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

'Burn all Muslims' reads the graffiti found all over Leeds today, according to the news. To be honest, I'm surprised it's taken so long for people to brand all Muslims in the same way they have the boys who bombed London last week. The morning of the bombings I went in to my paper shop to hear the manager having a rather aggressive conversation over the phone. He hung up, and said to me 'Bloody Arabs, I dont have time for them, especially after what they did to London today.' In the week I was sat in my local, overhearing a man talk of 'those Muslims' meeting in 'their synagogues' (nice one, Mr Well Informed) talking about how to kill 'us British'. In my last post I was talking about being scared, and here again, we find another example of British people who frighten me.

So yes, there are more than enough ignorant people dwelling here, and I'd like to think the average person would be more aware than that, but probably not. The people behind these bombings are just 'extremist Muslims' interpretting the idea of 'Holy War' in a more modern setting, right? No, not in my opinion anyway. These people aren't Muslims, they just think they are, and had they not just blown themselves to bits, they could have done with a brushing up on their Qur'an.

There are several rules given for Holy War in the Qur'an and Hadith, such as no tree should be harmed, especially if it's bearing fruit. No sheep should be killed, no monastries destroyed etc. etc. So I'm looking through to find the part where it's acceptable to kill a load of innocent people on their way to work.
- “Fight in the cause of Allah. Do not be embittered. Do not be treacherous. Do not mutilate."
- "Do not kill the children, the aged or the women."
- "...let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly." and "don’t be spiteful or unjust".

These London bombers were not Muslims, or at least, were not behaving in the way Islamic scripture tells Muslims how to behave. They were not acting in the name of Allah. Somewhere, along the way, they hugely misinterpretted what was written to guide someone in the path of being a 'good Muslim', and someone needs to put other misguided 'Muslims' straight... and whilst they're at it, could do with shaking a few other ignorant yobs, who think 'Burning all Muslims' is the way to get us out of this horrible mess.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Who ya gonna call?

When something tragic happens, on a large scale, it creates incredible unity. Unity of different races, classes and religions, is the cliched way of describing it, but it goes much deeper than that. Unity between grumpy old men at the local pub, who never say a word to each other, but on a day of such tragedy can look at each other and without saying anything can understand what the other is thinking. It unites the two busy strangers on the tube who before wouldnt have even acknowledged the other, but now have a shared oneness. The man at the paper shop is united with his customer as he hands over the day's news (which will become tomorrows chips wrapping) for 30p.

When 9/11 occurred (or 11/9, if I'm going to be pedantic) the world was United. It was America and the rest of us against them, whoever they were. They were faceless extremists from the East, on a mission to kill innocent Americans to get the world's attention. It was sickening and wrong, and we could easily hate them. We didnt want to understand or rationalise their actions because they were 'other', they were not us.

In London last week we suffered an attack, a much smaller scale, or proportional maybe, but a mass killing of the innocent nonetheless. Again, to get the attention of the world. To show the world that they were a force not be reckoned with. The difference is this time they are us. British people killing British people. There have been plenty of 'We are not afraid' campaigns being thrown around, and I wouldnt expect anything less from us lot. The truth is, I am afraid. I am afraid that some 19 year old British kids up in Leeds think it would be a good idea to go down to London with a back pack full of explosives and blow up a load of innocent people... That is scary, and I dont know how anyone could escape that kindof fear. Something does need to be done though... whether it be said in the mosques, or by our Tony, but something, before this spirals out of control.