Monday, 31 May 2010

A sad day

I have never condemned the Israeli government for their actions in the Gaza strip. I think there is a lot wrong on both sides, with both sides acting in fear and I can't imagine how it would feel to be there. I take no sides in that and never will. I can never understand what it would be like and would never pretend that I could.

Today though I think there is no choice but to condemn the Israeli government (not Israelis) for their attack on a group of unarmed humanitarian aid workers. Unaffiliated journalist who were there, have reported that the Israeli military attacked before they even got to the boat. I cannot understand how a group of unarmed humanitarian aid workers could ever be described as a legitimate military target.

Those people have now been "arrested" by the Israeli government. I have no idea what crime these white flag carrying aid workers might have been arrested for. Maybe they were arrested for trying to get aid into an area that the Israeli military have blockaded? Maybe they were arrested for raising awareness and leading the UN to condemn the blockade?

I know people who are affiliated to the aid convoy, and, for the most part, they are not pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli, they just don't like to see people with insufficient food or medical supplies. These murdered aid workers just care about human life, in great contrast to the army who classed them as a military target.

This is a sad day. We don't know what has happened to those who survived the brutal attacks. We don't know if there will be a full investigation, or if anyone will be held to account for this awful act in international waters. We don't know if governments will stand up and say that this was truly unacceptable behaviour, and call for the release of those "arrested" and a full inquiry into how this decision was made.

I hoped the days when things like this were allowed to happen were over. The flotilla gave me hope. People who cared about human life were willing to take huge risks to help others. People who cared have been punished for caring in the most brutal way imaginable.

This is a sad day. There are no words left for it.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Con-dem Nation?

Today Cameron has become Prime Minister.

I'm staying optimistic but I still have one big problem with "Big Society".

I am very pro democracy. I believe that we vote for representatives to act for the good of society. I believe that they read the research, crunch the numbers and come to the best conclusions they can.

I know this is idealistic but it is what I believe.

I believe that big society goes against this. It is a return to the concept of "there is no such thing as society, only individuals and families" in disguise. It is saying people should all act in their own interest. And that to me is anti society, anti community and anti democracy.

I think Cameron's first speech was encouraging. I think Brown was dignified. But I am dispirited right now as I have no idea how this is going to work.

Interesting times. Yes. But big society? I want real society. I want real community. I want real democracy.

We'll have to wait and see if we get it.