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Sunday, August 28, 2016
Firstly, it is human nature to move from country to country. We have always done that and we will always do so. One benefit is that we spread culture and we learn from our travels, much like the pollination of bees and birds.
Secondly, when we travel we take with us what we know best: our own customs and culture. This is not always a good thing, but on balance it does work. One example where it does not work is the full cover, including the face burqa. In those native lands where it is the custom for the woman to completely cover up that is the way it is. However, in countries outside of that small circle it is not acceptable and it should be banned and enforced. This is mostly a security measure which requires that the population, without exception must show their faces.
Now we move to modesty. In the Arab world it is the custom that women cover themselves, either totally or 99%. I believe this is done for the purpose of promoting a society free from the temptation of the flesh. In Western societies women have the right to wear whatsoever they wish, within the norms of decency. That allows a very wide latitude of choice for women and in the process has the very opposite effect in that a man's attention is fixed on things sexual.
From the Western world we look at the Arabic customs and all that we see is oppression of women. However, when we talk to the women we find that they are comfortable in covering themselves to hold their beauty only for their husbands. Certainly their customs do seem unnecessarily draconian on women, but then their society is not plagued by so many of our own problems.
Enter Summertime at the beach. We have been living with Arabic women entering the sea fully clothed in their street wear. We have tutted and said how ridiculous but they were left alone to bathe in public as they saw fit. Now someone has designed a very beautiful and charming garment that adheres to all of the criteria of Islamic dress, but it is a bathing suit. It is only marginally more conservative than bathing suits of yesterday that protected the modesty of white women.
The mayors of 31 French seaside towns have decided, in their lack of common sense to ban the Birkini. They are in fact telling women they must take off more of their clothes to swim from their beaches. Not surprisingly the Supreme Court of France has struck down these banns, probably because they are unconstitutional, but really because they are stupid and provocative.
I don't want to be too hard on France as they have had a lot of problems as a result of hardline Muslims and a lot of people have lost their lives. However, this is making problems where none exists. Muslim women want to at least cover their hair, and at the extreme they want to completely disappear behind the cloth. Except for uncovering their face they should be left in peace to wear whatever they want, as are all other women in France.
At one time or another Frenchmen have invaded so many countries that belonged to other people. They carried with them their own customs and culture, somethings have been retained by the locals, and some other parts the locals found to be disgusting and insulting and have been rejected. The Birkini is simply a statement of the Muslim woman's modesty and conservatism. Intelligent people would celebrate that and stand with the woman and defend it as her right.
It's not broke so it does not need to be fixed!
Copyright (c) 2016
Sunday, August 21, 2016
This week's column is unusual in that I have written and published a serious work of non-fiction which is now available for sale on Amazon.co.uk and Kindle.
Down through the years I have always questioned life as presented to me, especially the things we take for granted through customary use. I think its healthy to ask ourselves why do we do things the way we do? Can we do ordinary things any better? Answers to questions such as those is what has led the world to improve itself constantly.
I found myself observing people very keenly, especially people from countries where traditionally they have been short of stature, but now in those countries can be found some very tall folk. What happened to suddenly change that? It does indicate that everything is changing.
Then, someone close to me died and that got me thinking about the end process; and at the same time I considered the beginning sequence of life. Does Mother Nature really discard the talent of the deceased; and is all that accumulated knowledge simply lost? Perhaps there is a correlation between the end of a person's life and the beginning of a newborn's life.
In following those lines of thinking I have discovered ample and persuasive evidence that we are living permanent lives in successive stages. When we are finished with this life we shall simply transition through the portal of death onto our next life.
There is also a practical use for this book: that is to help us better manage our bereavement grief. If we know that the person whom we have lost to death has actually gone on to his or her next life we have cause to celebrate both their life with us, and the beginning of their new adventure.
The book is an easy read. I have deliberately kept it short for the comfort of those people who don't even want to think about death.
All I ask is that readers take the subject seriously and keep an open mind. There is a worthwhile reward in store if you can get your head around the transition concept. Unrestrained grief can be one of the most intense and destructive emotions a human being can endure. If you can bring any sense of management to that it would surely be a good thing.
Once again, the title of the book is "Death is Not the End" by Eugene W Carmichael. On Kindle there are two other books by the same name.
Copyright (c) 2016
Saturday, August 13, 2016
I agree that this is a ridiculous title to a column that describes a wonderful two weeks in Britain, but the fact is that I was only able to flush one toilet on the first try, and that was in the home of a millionaire. What's with British toilets?
I'll return to that question, but I love Britain in the Summer because where I live it becomes too hot. When temperatures rise over 40 degrees it is no longer comfortable. I had been saying that I thought this Summer in Spain would be too dry and too hot, and so it is. We left for Britain at the end of July. By that time I was done. Stick a fork in me and take me out of the oven.
Brexit or no, Britain and the United Kingdom is always green, which is a welcome sight if you have been away from it for any length of time. We were back to do the same thing we did last year at the same time, and that was to give our support at a wedding; this time for my wife's niece. People are still getting married but what awaits them is a life of struggle, which is no different than in the past, but how young people get on the housing ladder is difficult to see. If you are an only child and your parents have their own home you can only hope that one day, when they pass, it will come to you. However, as parents we are living longer so you will likely have to wait for some time.
This was a very pleasant journey for us as we did a tour of friends homes to renew and nurture valuable relationships. We touched base with about forty people, several at the wedding, and in some cases one or two at a time. They were scattered over eight locations which meant a lot of driving for us in so much traffic, but our little rented Peugeot served us well.
Having family that you have a harmonious relationship with means that you have a thing of great value. They live their own lives and we live ours, but when we get together we realise how much value is added to our existence. In this case the family was on my wife's side. For me, I must try to visit my family at least every other year as there are many miles that separate us. Social media does offer something of an intermediate solution, but there is nothing like being there.
So, what's up with British toilets? You push the handle and a little water comes down and I think, here we go, only for it to stop. In most cases I never did get a steady flow going.
My next scientific quest is for the technique and the touch to make a British toilet flush on demand. It is the strangest lingering memory from a visit to the country when I carry with me so many other totally pleasant thoughts.
Copyright (c) 2016