Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Where is the "honour" in any killing?

An Iraqi teenage girl has been brutally murdered by her father in an "honour killing" after she fell in love with a British soldier in Basra. She had fallen for the soldier that she knew only as Paul, when she met him at a charity where she worked as a volunteer. Her father was arrested, but Iraqi police took no action. His wife has since left him and is in hiding.

The MOD have suggested that the case raises questions about the training given to British forces in understanding cultural values in a city where 47 women died in "honour killings" last year. Of course, we are appalled and disgusted - but does this also raise the question (again) of what are Britain and the USA achieving in Iraq?
Where is the honour in death and maiming due to war - be it soldiers, civilians, or in this case due to a family matter (possibly the western intervention a factor)
I woke up with this in my head this morning , so am sharing it here:

Sixteen Seasons

Seventeen Springtimes you have seen
when new shoots pushed through barren soil
and grew despite the heat and dust
where plans are made and women toil
to raise their young to grow in love
to find their own way in this life
and learn despite the pain and strife.

Seventeen Summers I watched the moon
rise in yours eyes then bless your sleep.
I stroked your raven, silken hair.
As if from harm this would you keep
from darkness in the world. And hate
would never cross your path to reap
the fear that’s strong and hidden deep.

Seventeen Autumns passed with you,
so beautiful at work or rest..
I thanked the God that brought you here
Each noon and night and day was blessed.
Till those who try to change our lives
Brought peace to us from their western world
and flags of freedom flew unfurled.

Now Winter you will not have here
And I will never touch your face.
What “honour” this, what father’s love
that takes you from your rightful place.
When Allah Akhbar is the call
does Allah feel a mother’s pain
and honour in this life remain?

Sunday, 27 April 2008

"My Beautiful Mummy"

This book, by Michael Sazhauer, has caused a bit of controversy this week. It apparently deals with the issues encountered by children who have parents (mostly women) who have had cosmetic surgery to supposedly enhance their looks.
The author is a plastic surgeon himself, with a thriving cosmetic surgery business of his own - no doubt this book will enhance his business, if not the customers/patients who he operates on. I have not read the book, only the reviews and comments, but it appears that the publishing industry can at least be defended against accusations of promoting immoral values and such like.
The book won’t be available in bookshops, because it is only being published by a "vanity press"It won't be on Amazon or other online booksellers and it hasn't even been assigned an ISBN to make it easily findable. It has been said, however, by the Newsweek journalist who reported about it, that the author has produced a better piece of marketing than many trade publishing houses could ever have done. Also that without the article, no-one would ever have heard of this book or this surgeon !

I don't for one minute condone the content of the book - but it's food for thought about self-publishing and advertising yourself, don't you think?

Teachers Striking? Good luck to them !

Well, Ed Balls, the Minister for Schools, has said that most teachers do not want to strike. Of course they don't! Same as the other like professions - nurses, doctors, fire brigade, ambulance service, police - none of these want to hurt the people they are working with, but sometimes there is no other way to get through to this damn government.

Having myself taught across the whole age range, from primary to secondary to further education (though primary is my speciality) Though the job is VERY important and brings immense satisfaction (usually !) I would NOT recommend teaching as a vocation to my children, (and it pains me to say that) I know the anguish that it can cause and I know the tremendous amount of out of hours work that is involved - mainly due to our education system of testing, testing and yet more testing. Add in a ridiculous amount of target setting and the sorry discipline situation and it sometimes seems like there is little incentive to become a teacher at all.
Which is what the strike is all about.

If a suggested pay rise is paid at less than the rate of the pay back of a student loan, if you have worked all day and been up till midnight preparing the next day's work, if your job is often not even classed as a "profession" anymore - would you really want to go into teaching? Once again, it seems that those who have a vocation in life are being dissuaded from following it, by systems that do not work and are devised by "ministers" who are way out of "ordinary" life. Yes, today's strike is a day's work missed for pupils (and some parents) but one day's sacrifice could mean a future's change for the better.