We spoke of the distinction between peaceful demonstrating and non-peaceful demonstrations. its seems, according to the class body, to be some difference as to what peaceful means. it also seem to lack an ideal as to what it means to protest. Some seem to think that protesting is OK as long as the police give it its thumbs up. I am at odds with this view, however, it must be  pointed out I’ve never been part of a physical protest, at least not in the true sense . It is useful to me to once again to go back to my early years growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where a protest was always cooking in the works somewhere. The police were a different thing back then, they were regular army soldiers. Many of these protests usually disintegrated into a full-scale riot. These  riot/protests were planned with the riot in mind. Piles of projectiles, from bricks to the Molotov cocktail would magically appear out of the adjacent alleys to be flung at the opposition. The British soldiers were often the recipient of these projectiles and I was baffled that they just stood there and took this abuse with bricks and flames spilling around them, but most startling was the insults and hateful venom spit at them. I could never understand that, the words seem to come from a place I didn’t know. Here is the point, the authorities were responsible for keeping the peace and that meant keeping the warring parties apart and prevent bloodshed often at their own peril. Sure there were times when the soldiers ranks broke, but I would have to say from my anecdotal  viewpoint the soldiers had the best of intentions. This same hands off approach is still used to this day in Northern Ireland, much to the dismay of the outsider.

Switching over to recent events in NYC at the Occupy Wall Street protests, it seem once again the heavy hand of the police are at work to silence the protester and label them as anarchists or something. There has been several cases where protesters have been maced and pepper sprayed, because they were not following the instructions of the police and supposedly endangering public safety. the NYPD spokesperson pointed to cherry picked images to justify there actions, but a subsequent investigation by the NY times has discovered other images that relay the exact opposite. The images show the police actively reaching over the barrier they just constructed and pulled several protesters over the barrier to the ground in a most aggressive manner. hmm, why the big difference here? It seems here in the States, its an ask questions later and well sort it out later, right and civil liberties and all.


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Faster Than the Speed of Light

A group of internationally recognized physicists announced, that they had repeated with better results an experiment were they fired a sub atomic particle faster than the speed of light. The particle, a neutrino , has very little mass, but according to the current laws of physics, that tiny mass will reach infinity as it reaches the speed of light. As one prominent physicist put it, “if true, its like saying you have a flying carpet.”

More human understanding of the universe news, Scientists in Europe are asking their counterparts in the states to confirm finding of the existence of the Boson Higgs Particle. This particle is responsible for giving all other particles mass. Consider that if the nature of this particle could be manipulated, then we could have mass less objects that could indeed travel faster than the speed of light. ( this is my own conjecture.)

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Armadillo is a PBS documentary outlining the 6 month period of deployment of a platoon of Danish soldiers. In my opinion, equal or better in terms of adding a greater understanding of actual life and conditions of a typical combat unit as part of the NATO peacekeeping group.  It differs from Restrepo because it is just a lens from which we are the actual observers, we get to make our own conclusions. Its a true example of photojornalisim at it best,  wereas, Restrepo asks for interpretations of the facts by the soldiers as we have observed them, these interpretations are skewed toward the soldiers perspective because of the” interview” process.

The scene with the professional soldier coming to terms with the fact he had killed a little girl was a slap in the face of reality. It brings to bear,  a personal set of feelings I have about the nature of war. its seem to me in the last ten years we have become blind to the true horrors of human conflict. I am only too well aware of the way we as peoples can rationalize the killing of innocents in the name of our causes. To be sure, I wish the young soldier  peace as he deals with this horror that will surely haunt him.

I was very struck by the apparent execution  of the Taliban fighters who were wounded by a grenade thrown by the Danish soldiers. The videographic evidence seemed pretty damming, yet they had no problem in rearranging their own actions to fit some story they concocted in their own heads.  It must have taken some moral fortitude for the anonymous soldier to say something about the “execution” to his family back home.  While I’m sure many would see this as a an act of betrayal,  it should be seen as the opposite, it was done by someone who had the courage to say what had to be said for the sake of the honor of the others. The one bloke who “emptied his magazine” into the the wounded, was a little too pleased with himself for my liking. I had a personal acquaintance who fought in war, and he had similar tales of dispatching the wounded as they ran from their burning tanks. They did it as sport, and when I questioned the wisdom of this,  he was dismissive as If I had no right to question or understand why he did it. My point is, it seems to me, when it comes to war, things always stay the same. Sigh…

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Wesboro Baptist Church

The Westboro baptist Church (WBC) is scary with their brand of rhetoric, but are they any more dogmatic than other religions? Just because they believe in the idea that God is striking down American soldiers as some sort of divine justice, is no more scary than, lets say, many of the self identified Christians who believe that God put all the stuff on earth for them to use and consume. There are many Christians in the United States who believe that all the riches of the world were put here by God for the chosen man to use as his own. I believe this kind of thinking is equally as flawed and dangerous, because the idea requires a break from reality to buy into it. I could see from watching the documentary a glimmer of doubt in the young adults, a sort of internal struggle happening. and to be clear from my perspective this is a hopeful thing. As an atheist, I am just as offended when an American football player takes a knee in the endzone after a touchdown as when the mother from the WBC starts screaming at the cars driving by. Why, in the case of the football player, does he not think he is responsible for the fortuitous luck to score? Was it God who put the ball in his hands? So to the Westboro Church I say, go nuts, knock yourself out, you are no more disconnected from reality than any of the other religions in the world.

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War In Afganistan

Hello all, the following is the result of musings and thoughts about the War In Afghanistan as part of of a course I will be studying this fall. Who knows where this will all lead.

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