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What's new

Nonviolence News October 2017t

Editorial: Democracy in Northern Ireland

Eco-Awareness with Larry Speight: Cogntitive revolution

Readings in Nonviolence: Compassion and Compassionate Integrity Training

Eco-Awareness with Larry Speight: Appreciating nonhuman nature

Readings in Nonviolence: Disarming the nuclear argument

 

Billy King

Issue 111: July 2003

[Return to related issue of Nonviolent News.]

Campaign for Real Smells (CRS)

I am starting a campaign against artificial smells (just send in your £20/€30 fee) [and you can smell a rat for free - Ed]. Well, I am against real horrible smells too and there can be underlying causes (bad ventilation, stale food, toilets not cleaned etc) which need radical action. A little bit of a bad smell indicates some action is required, e.g. to air a room or get out the scrubbing brush. But what happens today? Mainly, get out the aerosol. Just a squirt hides the dirt (well, partly, and you then have the mixture of stale and artificial smells which is the worst of the worst). Apart from any possible assault on our nostrils from artificial smells, the idea that a room in a house should smell 'country fresh' (whatever that means) is just plain stupid.

I have had the fortune or misfortune to visit numbers of nursing homes north, west and east of this island and I can safely say that the worst nursing homes tend to be those who are the heaviest users of aerosol smells. Why? To hide other smells. But if the smell is obnoxious all you are doing is masking it and confusing your senses - the smell hasn't gone away, just masked by another more overpowering smell.

If you do want different smells to enhance rather than hide, and smell is an important sense we humans possess, go for the essential oils which you know are honest to goodness smells not cooked up in a lab by a chemist trying to make complex sets of chemicals to create that 'fresh' feeling - and large profits for the company. And flowers are just the job too - lavender, honeysuckle, meadowsweet, jasmine, roses. Please let everything come up smelling of roses and not of complex chemicals. Our senses have enough to cope with as it is. My own favourite? Sandalwood soap from India to shower with. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Though you may remember the old adage, if your nose is running and your feet smell then you're upside down.

The War of Terror

It is not so much the War on Terror. It is the War of Terror. Bush and his bushwhackers are happy to allow the so-called 'War on terror' to be used in what can only be called state terrorism. It is good to see that some of the British media have continued to take a critical stand on the 'War on Terror' and the Iraq war in particular (the BBC and the British government having their horns locked in a bitter struggle - I don't always hold the BBC to be a great impartial reporter but in this case it is acting bravely and honestly, it is the British government who are trying desperately to hide their actions and deceits).

One British paper which has been facing the facts is the (London) Independent. Its 26th June issue took a look at the 'War on Terror'.

"12,117 people have vanished from their homes since 11 September 2001 in the 'War on Terror'. They have been branded as terrorists, enemy combatants, 'material witnesses' or just undesirable aliens. Most are in secret jails with no access to lawyers or the Red Cross. Some have been interrogated by the CIA and MI5 using 'stress and duress' tactics. Others have been sent to be questioned in countries where torture is commonplace. They are subject to no judicial process. They do not know if they will be locked up for months, years or even decades. To their families, they are simply missing."

There have been at least 28 suicide attempts at the USA detention/ internment camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (why the hell the USA still has a naval base there is another question, one of US imperialism in the region) and the servants of the USA government can now label a US citizen as an 'enemy combatant' and therefore with no rights. Around the world, right wing governments were handed a carte blanche for atrocities after September 11th.

But what goes around, comes around. Apart from the denial of basic human rights, the US, Britain and others are stocking up on trouble for the future. And when the boot is on the other foot (as when US soldiers were captured in the Iraq war) it is the US that is the first to call 'foul'. All of this augurs badly for peace, human rights and stability around the world. The politics of the last atrocity, and tit for tat killings and reprisals, does not work. Look at Israel and Palestine. Let us hope that the USA can learn this lesson before there are more fearful atrocities like September 11th. But at the moment Bush, the US administration, and many US citizens, seem like slow learners.

Censusible behaviour

We 'did' the religious part of the Norn Iron census recently (NN106) so it's only fair to do the Republic's one too. The Northern Ireland census revealed 13 people claiming to be 'Rastafarian' and 12 claiming 'Satanism'......and Catholics at 44% of the population (not as high as some people were predicting) compared to 53% Protestant (well, that was the estimation). So, what were the results south of the border? Unfortunately the detailed results on religion aren't out until next April but it looks like 'everyone' is up. With the population increase the number of those proclaiming themselves Roman Catholic went up from 3,228.3 thousand in 1991 to 3,426.6 thousand in 2002; but the increase in Prods and various others was even more marked - 'Church of Ireland' (including those simply labelling themselves as 'Protestant') went from 89.2 to 115.6 thousand; and Presbyterians and Methodists also increased (the latter added 5 thousand to their 5 thousand in 1991 - doubling in size!). 'Orthodox' went from 400 to 10,400, 10,000 more, and Muslims from 3.9 thousand to 19.1 thousand. The vast majority of increases in most of the above come from immigration (27,000 immigrants since 1991 indicated they were Church of Ireland, Presbyterian or Methodist). Of course how people describe themselves doesn't mean that people necessarily have an active involvement with that religion or denomination.

'Other stated religions' went from 19.8 thousand to 40 thousand so we await the results of the details with interest next spring. Those with 'No religion' also went up, from 66.3 thousand in 1991 to 138.3 thousand in 2002. We hope to give you to low down on those more detailed figures as they emerge in 2004......watch this space to see how your favourite religious minorities fared. And, as Dave Allen would say, may your God go with you.

Not including Shane McGowan

The Catholic Church in Ireland has been having a hard time of it, mainly though not exclusively over clerical sex abuse scandals, so that when it does something positive it now tends to get ignored. This piece is about the Catholic Church, or should I say about the Roman Catholic Church because it concerns the Popes of Rome. Now I could lash into some of the Prod churches (some are sanctimonious holy huddles and consider they've had their reformation and they're damned if they're going to change any more). But what I wanted to do this July Aye edition was take an extract from an official Catholic document, the current year's 'Irish Catholic Directory', though my quotes below come in turn from the 'Annuaria Pontifico' which I presume is the Papal yearbook.

Apostolic succession is an accepted part of Catholic thinking and teaching but it certainly wasn't easy going. If anything it simply points to some of the bitter controversies of old. Take these extracts:

('AD' 657) "St Eugene I was elected during the exile of St Martin I, who is believed to have endorsed him as pope."

(966) "Confusion exists concerning the legitimacy of claims to the pontificate by Leo VII and Benedict V. John XII was deposed on 4 Dec 963 by a Roman council. If the deposition was invalid, Leo was an antipope. If the deposition of John was valid, Leo was the legitimate pope and Benedict was an antipope."

(1045) "Sylvester III was an antipope if the forcible removal of Benedict IX in 1044 was not legitimate."

(1047) "If the resignation of Benedict IX in 1045 and his removal at the December 1046 synod were not legitimate, Gregory VI and Clement II were antipopes."

"Benedict IX (third time), 8 Nov 1047 to 17 July 1028 (d. c. 1055).

"From 1309 to 1377 Avignon was the residence of a series of French popes during a period of power struggles between the rulers of France, Bavaria and England and the Church. Despite some positive achievements it was the prologue to the Western Schism which began in 1378."

"Gregory XII (Angelo Correr), Venice, 30 Nov (19 Dec) 1406 to 4 July 1415 when he voluntarily resigned from the papacy to permit the election of his successor."

"This brought an end in the Council of Constance the Western Schism which had divided Christendom into two and then three papal obediences from 1370 to 1417..."

Hope that's cleared that up then. Though maybe the first true antipope will come when a woman is elected who has nephews and nieces..... PS The Pope in 1690 who would have been praying for King Billy and victory in Ireland against King James was Alexander VIII (real name Pietro Ottoboni) who was pontiff for less than a year and a half when he died. [Aren't you the champion of totally useless information? - Ed] [It's what I excel at - Billy]

Well, it's the ould summer break, so have a good one, climb a mountain or jump in a lake. May the road rise to meet you, except for cyclists like myself where the greeting should be more like 'May the road slope downhill at a gentle angle so you can get up a bit of speed, and may you not meet any ferocious potholes'. But that doesn't roll off the tongue just so easily. Anyhow, have a good rest/break/holiday/the weather you want. See you in September again......not my favourite time of year, that, the return to school seems to encapsulate the busi-ness of life. But, until then, slán, ciao,

Billy

Who is Billy King?
A long, long time ago, in a more innocent age (just talking about myself you understand), there were magazines called 'Dawn' and 'Dawn Train' and I had a back page column in these. Now the Headitor has asked me to come out from under the carpet to write a Cyberspace Column 'something people won't be able to put down' (I hope you're not carrying your monitor around with you).

Watch this. Cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman pass by (because there'll almost certainly be very little about horses even if someone with a similar name is found astride them on gable ends around certain parts of Norn Iron).

Copyright INNATE 2017