July 2014

Background to Conflicts in Palestine and Ukraine

The Palestinians will never be destroyed, they will never disappear, we are not the Red Indians, we will not be cancelled from history just like this, no.

John Pilger’s 2002 film is a classic that unveils the terrible injustice done the Palestinian people when Israel was founded in 1948 and they were literally evicted from their own land to make way for another people. The Palestinians were given 22% of the land while the favoured people of the colonial gods were given 88%. After the 1967 war the Israelis occupied the Palestinian 22% and Israelis built settlements there. These settlements are considered illegal under international law but the ‘international community’ has taken no action against Israel for this. The whole history of violent repression and resistance flows from these injustices. This is worth watching.

Vladimir Putin is undoubtedly the most capable world leader. Here he outlines the background to the Ukrainian crisis from his perspective, which seems closer to what we have observed on video reports than the spin put on events by western media and politicians.

Shinrin-Yoku or Being in Nature


A study conducted across 24 forests in Japan found that when people strolled in a wooded area, their levels of the stress hormone cortisol plummeted almost 16 percent more than when they walked in an urban environment. And the effects were quickly apparent: Subjects’ blood pressure showed improvement after about 15 minutes of the practice. But one of the biggest benefits may come from breathing in chemicals called phytoncides, emitted by trees and plants. Women who logged two to four hours in a forest on two consecutive days saw a nearly 40 percent surge in the activity of cancer-fighting white blood cells, according to one study. “Phytoncide exposure reduces stress hormones, indirectly increasing the immune system’s ability to kill tumor cells,” says Tokyo-based researcher Qing Li, MD, PhD, who has studied shinrin-yoku.

This Huffington Post Article doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. I think we all know how good being in nature is for us but the scientific research is a good reminder of the necessity to plunge into nature as often as possible. Too, remembering that I’m not just going for a walk I’m practicing Shinrin-Yoku .. being there with awareness, is probably going to add something beyond pretentiousness.

Orthodox Jews against Israel

Orthodox Jews. I know nothing about them .. they seem alien, these men with black coats and long beards. But their spiritual strength and commitment to peace are obvious. They have opposed Zionism and the state of Israel from the beginning and they make it clear that Judaism is not Zionism. I have condemned the notion of a ‘chosen people’ in the past but these people undoubtedly understand their ‘chosenness’ in terms of service and humility rather than dominance and mastery.

The Next President of France?

Leader of a party labelled ‘far right wing’ Marine Le Pen comes across as extremely charismatic and much more intelligent than most politicians. In this enlightening interview with RT’s talented Sophie Shevardnadze, Le Pen expresses views more consistent with a left libertarian. She condemns the EU’s intervention and stance on Ukraine, blasts the EU’s austerity agenda, is concerned about the loss of sovereignty implicit in the TTIP and wants to pull France out of NATO.

While I understand that it is not always wise to judge anyone by what they say publicly I am attracted to rational straight-talking politicians who oppose imperialist interventions. While judging people by what they say is is inferior to observation of what they do it is better than judging them on what others say about them. Mme. Le Pen has a good chance of becoming the next President of France and that could be good for the rest of Europe and the world.