The Independent on Line edition today brings out a theme related to he increase of urban inhabitants, which in turn has caused depletion of rural areas.

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article2114489.ece

The newspaper deals only with the tendency of changing habitat among humans who prefer the life in towns rather than the more sedate life in rural zones.

People are little by little losing contact with Nature and turning their attention towards the comfort, luxe and other facilities given by modern highly populated centres. And, in my opinion, they are affecting the natural equilibrium of things.

Nature is a conglomerate of factors which, intermingled, contribute to a better development of natural habitats. That is what happens in rural zones, where the culture of fields, products that are staple in our feeding customs and which at the time serve to keep herds of the different animals that make up the fauna of farms and that are also necessary in the alimentary habits of the populations, is being abandoned little by little giving way to an industrial treatment of that culture and those herds.

That the inhabitants of a zone move to another zone that is superpopulated is something that affects the natural equilibrium. I have no doubt of that, and if we add to this that the new habitat is mainly composed by cement, iron, asphalt and other components of homes, roads, streets, big buildings… with a small proportion of green zones exclusively planted with ornamental or shady trees and shrubs and lawns, then we have that the ratio culture::population has been altered.

It is true that the world has grown in an extraordinary way. It is true that life in the countryside is full of problems, but there are more problems in town than in the countryside, and towns are far more contaminant than small villages.

The environment is affected, too. Plagues accompany people in their displacements and concentrate where people live. In this connection we can see the extraordinary proliferation of these plagues in towns, perhaps proportionally more than it occurs in rural zones.

I know it is almost impossible to make people change their views, after all we enjoy of freedom to move wherever we wish, but I suppose there are ways to convince them of the necessity to abandon that preference for big towns. One of them is the high rate of delinquency in towns as compared with that in villages.

The capitalistic system has made that this happens, industry is also replacing agriculture with the subsequent damages this change does to the places where we live.

I just felt I should give my opinion on this issue, an important part of our environment, no doubt, despite our unconscious ignorance of it.

There was a time when rulers considered that towns should have limited dimensions, that there were limitations to their demography, but that has been totally forgotten and I can see migrations are starting to affect our environment

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Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, the tyrant of that country, accused of genocide and whose anomalous trial has been kept going on all the time in our communication media, has been hanged in a secret place in Iraq with the presence of just a few persons. And it was convicted  for the killing of 158 Shia Iraqis.

I was under the impression because so the media took care to tell me, that Iraq masses of corpses had been found in Iraq owing to the hand of this tyrant, numbers were never given in exact quantities but they – the media or those who control the media – made me believe that the killings had been by hundreds of thousands. Whatever the number, which I repeat made me think was extraordinarily high, he was sentenced to death for 158 killings.

Why so when he could have been tried for many more deaths, which would have proved to the world that the invasion by the American-led coalition was the right step to take, although it was taken in violation of international laws?

I am afraid we, the public in general, will never know for certain what lay behind this execution, what were the real motivations for so a fast elimination of a man who in former times was a staunch friend of the U.S. of A., the same country which has now destroyed him.

But so much has been said that I somehow have reached myself a conclusion, which may be wrong though, of why so much haste in eliminating him.

It could not be an attempt at ending the violence in Iraqi streets which so many dead has caused because the violence will no doubt increase. It could not be the desire to do justice, because justice could had better been done if he had been tried for all the crimes that were imputed to him.

It cannot be but something else. Somebody thought that any more trials could throw light on the behaviour of many before the invasion of Iraq, during the war with Iran, or because of an assurance they had that the natural resources of Iraq were not properly controlled. Or his days as a staunch ally to the invader had ceased to exist and there were chances that the control of oil would be lost.

Whatever, my conclusion is, together with other voices that have uttered the same opinion, that Saddam was safer dead than alive, that trials were not secure for many and that it was convenient to turn a page in Iraq’s history.

Pity that history is almost never written by bona-fide historians.

And you will permit me to say that I very much doubt Saddam is dead.

Death Penalty

December 30, 2006

It is a shame that in the XXIth century there still exist people that see the death penalty as a capital punishment, when in most cases it might serve as a relief to those punished, and in all cases a relief to those who condemn them. I am not meaning in the latter case to those who do the work of trying them, but those who have legislated to that end.

In effect, I am of the opinion that in the Middle Ages they had a more practical sense of punishment when they put convicted to the stocks in a public exhibition of their faults. Conversely the still running custom in particular countries of cutting robbers’ hands make them a burden for the society, something that shoud also be discontinued because it attempts against the human rights, as does the death penalty.

Those condemned to death do, in my opinion, thank their executioners for relieving them of their anguish, well perhaps not all of them because some believe they have done no harm and others are really innocent victims of judicial mistakes.

How many times have we read that a person who has been executed was proved after years innocent of the crimes they had been sentenced for? Incredibly and apparently the U.S. of A. has a record in this connection of people whose execution could be blamed on the system. That is the system can legally be accused of homicide, because those deaths can be attributed to neglectful circumstances. In that case you may imagine how many persons could be sentenced to death because of those mistakes, what with Judges, police, lawyers, etc.

On the other hand a state is always responsible for the education of its population, it is written in most constitutions, although in most cases this responsibility is assigned to parents for natural reasons. The death of a convict is somewhat the blame of the state and it is the state that should take the steps necessary to correct this anomaly.

In most civilised countries the death penalty has been rightly abolished. There is always a chance for those who commit even an abominable crime to learn that they were going through a wrong path. I am much afraid, though, that all of this is limited to good intentions and that real solutions are not applied to the persons involved in that process.

A full scheme to redress the system should be put into place and psychiatrists and psychologists employed in implementing it. Its cost will always be lower than having a non-repentant criminal free and walking among us.

The human mind, on the other hand, is not easily understood and there exist many kinds of murderers. Those who do it on an impulse, those whose mental faculties are alienated and those who are evil. We know that the law deals – or ought to deal – with the three in a proportionate way.

What is not proportionate is the kind of sentence applied. Terms of imprisonment should be proportionate to the crime committed, and those who belong to the third group I give above should be kept in jail for life.

As I say above a country is responsible for them, it cannot shake off this responsibility by simply killing them, it must pay its share of the guilt as well.

My opinion as always.

Our friend, Anticant, has an interesting discusion on democracy in his blog.

http://anticant.blogspot.com/2006/12/fixed-or-flexible.html

This discussion has made me think, as everything Anticant writes does, but what really amazed me was how people confronts the present circumstances wen we are made to believe that Democracy exists.

Those who have swallowed what the media and our leading politicians care to say have been thoroughly confused, they have come to believe that this we are enjoying nowadays is Democracy. Nothing farthest from reality.

The Iraq affair was the most evident symptom of a terminal democracy. The leaders of the countries who consciously knowing what they were doing and why they were doing it, ignored the clamour from thinkers among the general public who actually saw what was behind it. Nothing else that control of Iraq’s oil. But they, our leaders, went ahead with what they were told to do.

It is true that our present capitalist system compels the said leaders to ignore what the people think, apparently they act because they think they are doing good for the people, although the latter in their opinion manifest themselves in a contrary way. Politicians have ended up by believing that they are the owners of truth, or else they despise the public in way comparable to that shown by those people high up in the social ladder.

Justice is another proof that democracy does not exist, or at least does not exist in its pure concept. If we take, for instance, the cases of those persons suspect of wrongdoing, we can see that they are dealt with the same judicial pattern as far as bails are concerned. They are allowed to be temporarily free while a date for their trial is fixed, but they are allowed to be temporarily free if they pay an amount of money that in most cases cannot be afforded by the accused. The rich, however, have not that difficulty. Let alone their defence. Intended loopholes of the Law.

The electoral system is another deceit in this so-called democracy. Leaders are not subject to the Law when elections should be called because those leaders have failed to carry out their electoral promises. They keep ruling and they only decide when the time is most favourable for them. A fraud of Law that can be easily corrected but that it is not because that would not suit those who really matter in our hypocritical society.

And it amazes me, too, that the democratic pyramid is completely ignored. But it is ignored because those at the base are not for the task to be accepted in their full importance.

The real owners of Democracy, the people, are easily manipulated and accept – in many cases reluctantly – the perks that the capitalist system considers they should be satisfied with.

Food for the body, not food for the spirit. As Anticant so wisely says in Walpole’s words “all those men have their price”.

But I dare to say that there are still many men – and women – who cannot be bought.

On them lies the difficult toil to try to recover our rights.

Ethical Euthanasia

December 22, 2006

Euthanasia, from Greek eu = good + thanatos = death.

“Nazi legislation and Hitler’s ideas are reemerging in Europe via Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate on how to kill ill children.” … Carlo Giovanardi. Italian Parliamentary Affairs minister, March 2006.

http://www.euthanasia.com/page7.html

An Italian man who had been bed-ridden for a very long time, without the least possiility of recovering, has died presumably helped by a Doctor. It is the latest ocurrence of a Euthanasia case which has raised again the dilemma of assisted death.

If I were a person in the same position as this Italian I would do the same thing, I would clamour for death and the termination of an anguished process with no hopeful remedy even in the far horizon.

Euthanasia always brings up dissidence on the part of Churches whose opinion has always been contrary to any assisted death, but I wonder whether they are not contradicting themselves when they preach mercy. Because Euthanasia properly administered is not but a case of mercy towards a person whose mental and physical feelings are unbearably and irremediably excruciating. 

There have been international forums which have convened to debate the issue, and so far nothing has come out of it. No conclusions positive to Euthanasia have come out of these forums and people keep suffering the world around because laws usually do not permit it. The Netherlands has been the first country in Europe to legalise Euthanasia and consequently The Netherlands has been the object of harsh criticism by the Catholic Church, as have been Belgium, Switzerland and France for having legalised it, true that all under diverse premises.

The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Body has condemned Euthanasia and I wonder which this Body is defending: Ethical principles or religious principles, the latter being something I very much doubt really exists. Because ethics is at the core of all human rights and a human being has the perfect right to dispose of his/her life in those cases where her/his existence reaches extreme suffering.

There is another point to be taken into account in Euthanasia and that is that the problem arises because it is “assisted”, someone else other than the dying person must contribute to her/his death. And that is where ethics mainly intervenes. The Law should provide for  incontrovertible reasons to be wielded to justify the assisted death, but it should be left crystal clear that the responsibility for the action lies exclusively on the dying person who has so determined that his/her life be extinguished.

I wonder what  the reaction would be of those persons who so adamantly condemn Euthanasia if they were the protagonists of the case: Would they stick to those  principles or would they have mercy on themselves?.

Have they ever asked themselves this question?

Apologies

December 21, 2006

I have been absent from this blog for a couple of days or so, as we were very busy starting a new forum, a brother forum, the reading of which I strongly recommend. I expect I will be resuming my normal activity here – not much recently – as of today.

For those interested the link to the new forum is:

Respect Discussion Group

http://michaellee.modernwriters.org/index.php

I am sure you’ll enjoy it.

Faith and Churches

December 18, 2006

I read on the BBC page today http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6188465.stm that the Episcopal Church in the US has split as a consequence of the Church having ordained gay bishops.

While I am strongly against any judgment by any human over homosexuality, considering as I do homosexuals as equal to heterosexuals in their rights, that a religious church takes so a decided view on what they consider a problem as to justify their abandoning the so-called fold, does nothing but weakening that particular church, and I believe it does do no harm to all concerned.

Indeed, I do not understand why churches have to be strong in detriment of their faithful, why in so many cases they must be a state within the secular state, their spiritual decisions so much affecting the general going of countries, or, as the case object of this post, affecting the physical conditions of their inhabitants.

Homosexuality has ceased being a taboo in our society today, scientists having found the cause of this sexual tendency, but churches seem not to be ready to bow to scientifical findings and they stick to old principles, something that does not say good for the truthfulness of their religion, as all Christian churches advocate understanding, comprehension of their faithful altogether. If they think homosexuality is a sin, then their principles should oblige them to despise all of the members of their community because all of them commit sins against their tenets, human beings that they are. If they think that someone with a sin should not belong to the hierarchy, then they are committing a sin of false modesty.

All men and women are made equal under God, no sex, race or any other differences would make a human being inferior to others.

And, in my opinion, the power of churches should not prevail over the power of a human being. Nobody is entitled to tell me what I must believe or how I must behave provided that my behaviour does not mean offence to any one.

And I am not against the dismemberment of churches, faith is so individualised that their existence does not seem justified, at least not as far as spirituality is concerned.

But, again, that is only my opinion.

Darfur

December 17, 2006

What is happening in Darfur is at the least eerie. The media try to conduct their news released in a way that apparently the legal government of Sudan is the one responsible for the problems affecting the country. The government of Sudan insists on not accepting foreign observers.

There is here the usual component that supports the confused situation in that country : religious rivalries. Islam (again) against Christianity. Islam expelling Christians, scores of thousands of people abandoning the country onto bordering countries where, again, the persecution continues – if we believe the media.

Here again I prefer using my logics to consider what happens in Sudan, most particularly in Darfur.

We know that China buys oil from Sudan. When Sudan had no oil not one country in the world cared for what happened over there. Those times Muslims and Christians coexisted in a way that appeared not to be of interest to the international corporative media. But Sudan-before-oil had problems, its people starved.

In my opinion the religious feeling has been aroused in Sudan because it so suited the international corporative media who, as you know, always support the “established order”.

Who has raised hell in Sudan? There is an old French saying that encompassed in olden times everything that had no apparent explanation : cherchez la femme (look for the woman), in today’s times everything that happens in the world should be applied the expression : cherchez le petrole (look for the oil).

In effect, if there is a conflict anywhere that conflict is caused by no more no less than oil itself and the eagerness of oil corporations to control everything related to oil. Frontiers have problems because of oil, religions have problems because of oil, races have problems because of oil, in sum oil is the axis around which everything political and military spins.

And in the case of Sudan oil is again, in my opinion, the reason of it all. There are problems in Africa in countries where so far there were none, Nigeria is one case. And those problems are caused by oil.

And it is extremely intriguing that those problems arise in places where China has sought this precious resource if it wants to thrive in its intent to become a superpower. And those who do not want it to become a superpower will always put spokes in China’s wheels.

The religious or racist or otherwise causes of all the conflicts are just a means to render our hearts soft and propicious towards those conflicts and the solutions that the really interested parties seek in pursuit of their control a la “big brother”.

This post was inspired by something I read in our brother blog Tygerland here:

http://tygerland.net/2006/12/16/creating-a-fuss-over-darfur/#comments

Dictators

December 14, 2006

General Augusto Pinochet did not give his judges time to pronounce him culprit of numberless crimes against the humankind. Pity, but the great man had to undergo the worst treatment a former leader can suffer: public despise and being subject to the law of men. His discredit accompanied him to his death, and this circumstance for a man of his characteristics is even worse than death itself.

There has been diverse luck for other dictators: Hitler – a coward that he was – suicided; the Military Junta in Argentina had to have an immunity law to escape prosecution, although it seems now that there are people interested in bringing about the possibility of judging them for the crimes that they, as Pinochet, commited during their dictatorship; in Spain there was a different situation: Franco died in his bed of a long illness and those who backed his dictatorship made for a political transition to take place and thus avoid unnecessary shedding of blood, but this post has a different focus, a focus that seems to be forgotten by the media or by politicians, even in many cases by the population: who propitiated those dictatorships?

A man by himself cannot be a dictator, a man must have a strong support – mainly by the military – to put a dictatorship into effect. But in most cases those persons use to escape unscathed from the dangers that they in other cirumstances would be exposed to. Clever people I should say.

Why are those persons forgotten when normality is settled in country? Why are they not sought out and tried and condemned under the corresponding law?

Adolfo Suarez was the first President of the Spanish government in the “normalised” Spain, but Adolfo Suarez was a member of the government of Franco. Manuel Fraga is a respected politician nowadays, but Manuel Fraga was a Minister with Franco, a Home Minister for that matter, and we all know what a Home Minister has to do in dictatorships.

I am not seeking revenge, not by any means, I am only trying to find out what makes us people forget and leave things as they are presented to us by the media and those who hold really the control of a country, dictator or non-dictator, because much that we may be convinced of the contrary, the people holding the strings of this puppet theatre will keep being the same ones as before.

The banks and big corporations that enjoyed the dictatorship, also enjoy the democracy. They keep having the same perks they had before, without the slightest shade of a doubt. You just need to glance around you to check that this is true.

And when, for instance, Blair decided to launch Britain onto a war with Iraq, he despised the public opinion, in exactly the same terms a dictator would have acted. The same thing happened with the then President of the Spanish government: they preferred to ignore the people’s claims for peace and do it their own way.

In sum: dictatorships nevertheless.

But under the disguise of a democracy. Let’s not be deluded.

There is a very interesting discussion at http://mrzhisou.wordpress.com/2006/12/06/green-from-brown/

Whose reading I recommend. Exchange of ideas in environmental problems might lead us finally to a conclusion of which is the best to solve them.

What a government must not say is try to convince us that the measures it takes are conclusive to reach a solution, when it is clear that these measures, as those taken by Gordon Brown, will not propitiate the reduction of carbon emissions.

If Gordon Brown had said the British government was considering the likelihood of changing to cleaner alternative energies, then that would be starting to work properly, but what he proposes in my opinion just makes contamination dearer and there is no reduction in emissions in perspective.