Leaders

January 11, 2009

There are many definitions in the dictionary of what leaders are. I have picked up just one:” someone who acts as a guide”.

And a guide are those who we do not elect but who as heads of a list of nominees try to be our rulers in future legislatures. Persons who have been elected by others, a few, who believe their election will be the solution to the problems occurring at each time. Unfortunately what is good for a few does not happen to be good for many, and this has been proved along the centuries since Democracy (or so they would have us to believe) was installed in our lives.

To achieve leadership in olden times needed a cumulus of circumstances, among them to be a person capable to lead people in wars, a person with enough clairvoyance to make his followers risk their lives for whatever he wanted them. Unfortunately, or fortunately, this has ceased being so. A leader nowadays is a quite different person. A leader nowadays must be someone who can convince people that her/his intentions are the panacea for them to have a pleasant, easy life.

That so many believe her/him is the way for her/him to achieve what she/he seeks. And what is it that they seek? So far I for one see that they, whatever their political inclinations,  follow a political pattern that in cases favours the destitute among their co-citizens – which is today called socialism – and others follow what their predecessors in their very same political trend did, that is favouring those people powerful enough to make them do it.

But, both of those tendencies cannot but support what Capitalism has become, which is not the same thing as when it all began. As we all know.

Leadership must be won. Leadership, unlike Royalty, is something a person must achieve through conviction among those who are led that the leader is the one who can save them from all difficulties, economic or of welfare, that are encountered in the normal course of our lives.

And this leadership cannot be provided by those whose main objective is to achieve personal ambitions.

I am really fed up with everything I read and listen. And suddenly that saying came to my mind and made me think again on what is happening in the world.

I live in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, once attacked by Admiral Nelson and where he lost his arm and where he had to submit to the islanders and where he and his men( no women then) were cared by the Tenerife people as though they were their best friends. Things that happened then and that ceased to happen since. If I were to go to another Canary Island I would try to behave as those who live in that island behave, because we all have different ways to live and behave.

I wonder why Spanish and other nationalities do not have that way of thinking that was the usual thing many years ago. I remember when I went to Britain I tried to se how British acted and I tried to do what they did. I had no problems whatsoever.

Why colonialists did not act as their colonists acted is a product of human arrogance. Perhaps the people they colonised, morally, were far better than them, but was it religion that made them think otherwise? Or was it education where religion those times had a very important influence? I cannot say.

What I can say is that the powers of the world – where the US, Russia, China and India are included – see themselves as people that can invade and change the conduct of the locals by means that are deceitful – such as the implant of democracy – when what they are after is richness and control of natural resources.

On the other side of the oceans, immigrants want themselves be respected by those who they must respect in the first place. They want that their customs and rites be superimposed to those already in use in the visited country. I wonder whether they would tolerate British or Spanish or Russians or Indians or Chinese to superimpose their customs and habits if they were in the immigrants’ birth lands.

In my opinion this is the responsibility of laws and authorities of the welcoming countries and immigrant minorities cannot by any means demand that the local customs be changed to adapt to theirs.

The invasion of the coalition forces in Iraq was meant to change the customs and rites of that particular country, Democracy was paramount in that invasion, or at least that was the excuse. We all know what was really behind it.

Palestine is today the word in vogue. The State of Israel , as we all know, usurped the Palestinian lands, and it tries by all means to become the overwhelming power in the region. Instead of acting as Palestinians do Israel has wanted to impose its views and opinions and, most dangerous of it all, its concept of religion – often used with biased intentions – over the other religions of the zone, the Christian religion included although Israel has been wise enough to use Christianity for its own aims. Once and if everything is solved to Israel’s satisfaction we will then see Cristianity become another enemy of the Zionist State.

But coming back to Europe, my question is the question that every European asks themselves: why the immigrants do not respect the laws that are in force in the visited country? They were not called to be there, therefore they should take that circumstance into account.

The Law and its servers must see to it that those laws be respected, using all the means on hand, disregarding what the visitors may have in their minds as to the ways of living in the new country.

Elections, votes, parliaments, etc., are there for something. Or aren’t they?

What I can see from my sad chair is that everybody wants to deceive everybody using the methods everybody lays at their disposal to that end. If the word is racism, then racism will be the excuse. If the word is ethnic cleansing, then this will be the excuse

I am really worried about the turn  people’s opinions are taking about new situations in the world today, and they all have been as a consequence of frustrations with our own politicians that have failed us outright. We are disappointed with what we believed to be the panacea for our ills.

Democracy has become our demon, because that Democracy we thought to be our salvation less than a century ago, is showing now that it has been placed at the disposal of those it was meant to fight against.

As a result of this, we have turned our eyes towards far places : China, India, Russia; places that news that now reach us more easily than it used to be tell us are thriving in the economies of today. What old doctrines seemed to us – because it so was taught us at the time – the works of the Devil,  are now ended and the countries that held them have become the paradigm of our ideals. But people in those countries have not changed, well at least they have changed in ideals but I am sure they persist in their ambitions, as we also do.

What has happened for this to be so? What phenomenon has compelled us to forget the old ideas and made us stick to the new system that those old enemy countries have adopted – apparently of course because their leaders still have the same ambitions the old idealists had?.

We should not admire those countries, we should try to make ours the best places to live in, with the best economic, healthy conditions that we have all the time pursued in our lives.

Amen. And excuse me for having turned so nationalistic but I am starting to believe that we should first of all make our home habitable.

This is a book written by a professional-journalist-become-historian, the reading of which I strongly recommend. I have been all my life a fan of history but unfortunately my school time was full with the history written by the Spanish historians belonging to the dictatorial regime. It is funny that the best writers dealing with Spain be of British nationality, John Gill is by his own right a perfect specimen of those authors. He has taught me aspects of the History of Spain which I was not conversant with and I must credit him with something difficult to find in a historian: accuracy.

Gill has lived in Andalucia for many years during which time he studied in depth what he later converted to written history, a book which is, in my opinion, a must in all libraries because it gives us indices on the beginnings of the human life in Europe and which, if perused carefully, answers to so many outstanding questions regarding the development of the human species.

http://johngillwrites.com/index.html is his website where he may be reached.

He has recently moved to a paradise island in Greece where I am sure he will continue to be the source of more enlightenment for his readers.

Andalucia – A Cultural History is available through Signal Books Limited, 36 Minster Road. Oxford OX4 ILY, or

http://signalbooks.co.uk

Change of Header

February 17, 2008

I’ve decided to change this blog’s header and found that the new one is a really relaxing panorama in green and ocean blue.

Reminds me of my island.

We live in our homes as we wish to. We place our furniture as we deem will be more confortable for us to go about our home. We get up in the morning and go to bed in the evening at the times our physical needs often require us. We believe or do not believe in a God or in many gods. We eat what we have been taught to eat and use our discernment for those meals that may not be advisable to eat. And how we must educate our children.

If we ever go to our neighbour’s home we find that they are acting as we do, although they may have strong differences in their perception of what comfortability is, what their God or gods should be, at what time they must get up or to bed, what their meals should be and how they educate their children.

So far I cannot see any problem. I let my neighbour live and he lets me live. No problem.

Then, why this upsurge of racism (I don’t believe it is racism), bigotry, or is it a sense of self-defence, with regards to the new-arrivals?

When we read in or listen to the communication media that an individual of our nationality commits a crime, slays a person or does something which is contrary to our way of thinking, to our sense of ethics, we are confident that the law will take care of him/her, and forget about the case just to find a new one on next day’s newsreels. Which we of course forget again as soon as we leave the paper aside or turn off the radio/tv.

But this does not happen with foreigners, with immigrants. If these immigrants dared to behave as those who were born in the same circumstances as we were do, then we do not forget. We do not pardon, we use our sense of self-defence to demand that they be expelled from our country, from our home. And our attitude also varies depending on where these immigrants come from, if they have our sympathy or not.

Of late we have been hearing, we have been warned against the Islamic terrorism, and we have immediately categorised not the term terrorism – which we may have been suffering in our own countries for a long time b y the hand of our co-nationals – no, we categorise the term “Islamic”. Is this religious bigotry or is it self-defence against a religion which is not the one we are used  to living with? Are some interested parties trying that we consider the term “Islamic” as the fundamental part of the whole expression?

Why do we not consider the term terrorism as the essential question here?

I have many Muslim friends with whom I have no problems whatsoever. They are religious people, I am not religious, they respect me I respect them and love them as they do me. I have many Basque friends on the same friendship terms I have with my Muslim ones.

Spain has suffered for a long time now the plague of the “Basque” terrorism, as one time  the British suffered the IRA terrorism. We have not asked the expulsion of the Basques from the Spanish territory and I am sure the British did not ask for expulsion of all the Irish people from the UK. Why then this different feeling towards Muslims?

Centuries ago the Jews were expelled from some European countries, among them Spain, for reasons which were not sufficiently clarified by historians, but that researches attribute to hatred, to religious bigotry, because the Jews were a part of our communities with special abilities in the economic sector. I wonder whether what we witness today regarding the Muslims is not a similar situation. I must draw your attention here to the fact that when the Arab domination in Spain, the three religions : Islam, Judaism, Christianity; had no problems of coexistence., as we see there are no problems of coexistence with the Jewish community in Iran and elsewhere in the world, except in those countries where the presence of Israel is more felt. I must say, notwithstanding, that a growing anti-Jew feeling here is being noticed after the problems in Palestine.

In my opinion the main cause of the resentment of our populations regarding aliens is not something that can be called racism or bigotry. It is a feeling of self-defence which our authorities have not been brave enough to ease up by applying the Law with all its consequences. Those of any religion or race who live in our countries must respect the Law as we do and must get the punishment the Law metes out in all cases it contemplates.

It will, I have no doubt, comfort us and make us forget those offenders as soon as they are tried and imprisoned as they deserve under the Law.

If we see that the Law defends us, then why still sustain a feeling of self-defence?

I may be wrong, though.

A Plea for Peace

January 24, 2008

Anticant has started a campaign for Peace in the World which I heartily support.

I invite all readers to join and spread the news around.

A guilt sense?

January 24, 2008

I have been reading a novel by a celebrated British author and one phrase caught my attention: ” …, most guilt is irrational.”

Rational beings, among whom humans find themselves, in the present days receive an education, are taught to discern which is good and which is bad, which is honest and which is dishonest. This education started in the early years of our lives set a code of conduct for the rest of it, a code of conduct that, depending on how ingrained it is in our consciences, serve us to be admitted in the folds of our societies. Fortunately much of this code contents have been erased, modified or perfected to make this world of ours a more livable, nicer place – not always achieved as we all know.

Do we have a sense of guilt, as we have those of sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell, to which the sixth sense has been added although I believe this extra sense is a combination of the other five.

Is there really the likelihood of having irrational guilt? In my opinion there is not. Guilt is a term that defines admission of having done something badly or wrongly and be repentant for it, except in the cases where the guilt is not admitted by the individual but is considered to be it by others. In this connection Justice has much to say.

But coming back to the beginning of this post, I wonder why the author made this assertion and I am wondering whether any of the possible readers of this post has something to say, if really “most guilt is irrational”, or there may be irrational guilt to some degree in the human being.

I find it advisable and opportune to reprint here this Declaration that so much was sought after and so much has been neglected – in some cases hated  – by those whose duty it is to uphold it around the world.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights – English (English)


Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Preamble

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore,

The General Assembly,

Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11

  1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
  2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14

  1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15

  1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16

  1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17

  1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21

  1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  2. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
  3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23

  1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26

  1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27

  1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29

  1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.


© The Office of the High Commissioner for Human RightsOHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

+41 22 917-9000
udhr@ohchr.org

“We should not depend on the bloody American military any longer”.

“Sir Arnold was watching the French general intently:  ‘Do you perhaps envision a time when we’d want to go to war with the United States?’ A hush spread around the room. while La Porte paced, his face in a sudden scowl, his ponderous body impressive for its agility. ‘We already are at war with the Americans, in every aspect of life and business except militarily. But militarily, we cannot be. We are too weak, too dependent on all their systems, hardware, and even the most modern weapons. We have soldiers and arms that we can’t properly equip, move or control, without Washington.’

—-

“We French do not have a ‘special relationship’ with the Americans, unlike you English…..”

—-

General Moore stared at La Porte a full thirty seconds more. Then he seemed to think of something else. He relaxed, smiled,and stood up. “I believe our business here is over. As for the fate and future of Europe, we in Britain consider it tied permanently to that of the United States, whether we like it or not.”

—-

These are excerpts from a novel by world-famous author Robert Ludlum, The Paris Option, in this case of a meeting held by generals of several countries belonging to NATO.  HarperCollinsPublishers, 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8JB – www.fireandwater.com.

——————

 Another best-selling Welsh-born novelist, Ken Follett, also wrote a novel, a Corgi Book reprinted in 1987 in Great Britain by Hazell Watson & Viney Limited, Aylesbury, Bucks, which, in accordance with its preface “is a true story about a group of people who, accused of crimes they did not commit, decided to make their own justice”  and this is part of its Cast of Characters:

Dallas

Ross Perot, Chairman of the Board, Electronic Data Systems Corporation, Dallas, Texas.

Merv Stauffer, Perot’s right-hand man.

Five more executives of Electronic Data Systems and

Tom Luce, founder of the Dallas law firm Hughes & Hill

Tehran

Several EDS Corporation’s executives headed by Paul Chiaparoni, country Manager.

It deals with the evacuation from Iran of these American executives carried out by a team commanded by Colonel Arthur D. ‘Bull’ Simons.

The book includes real pictures of the named people and situations in Tehran’s street immediately after the ousting of the Shah.

———

I have included these two books here because they had been written by two very popular authors and my intention is to maky a summary of how popular authors and books can influence the opinions of ordinary people for or against any particular person or country, as is the case of the former in the latter book and the latter in the former transcriptions.

I realised this because I am now reading Ludlum’s novel and compare it with the present situation in the world, where there appear to be antagonisms between the populations of Europe and America and I have thought that perhaps these antagonisms have been provoked by the reading of novels like those under review.

The book by Follett exalts the personal qualities of Ross Perot, after the book was written a candidate to the Presidency of the US.

What do you think of this likely influence of best sellers in people’s attitudes and stances?

In my opinion readers should be very careful not to admit those books prima facie, and consider sensibly what the implications of their contents may mean for the coexistence among us.