All entries for April 2007

April 20, 2007

Richard Gere's Kiss

Writing about web page

Some of you may have been keeping up with that whole Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty problem in India (from April 15th). I've been taking a look at some of the more right-wing webpages and they seem to be steering towards blaming Richard Gere. Fair enough, he went somewhat too far. But picture this sort of thing happening in Bahrain or Jordan or some Arabic/Muslim country. The American Right-Wing would be all over it, blaming Islam and Arabic culture for the response. Obsessing over misogyny and the like.

When it happens in India, it is, apparently, Richard Gere's fault for the uproar over an "immodest act". 

April 13, 2007

Quotation of the Week



"Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs."

April 12, 2007

Underground Islamophobia

Islamophobia on the tubeI notice this graffito while on the Victoria Line. I normally don't give graffiti more than a glance, but this is precisely because most graffiti is little more than 'artist'/gang signatures and random phrases. I've rarely seen racism etched or painted into the windows or walls of the tube, yet this is the third time I've seen this exact phrase three times on London underground trains and I've encountered anti-Arab racism twice in the past couple of years.

It's quite worrying to see such things on the public transport system, at least in the areas to which I travel. While antisemitism continues to worry British tabloids and broadsheets, not much seems to be being done about rising Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism in London and, perhaps, other areas of the UK. 

April 11, 2007

Accident on the Underground

So I was on my way home from Euston station a couple of hours ago and I decided that, instead of going to Vauxhall on the Victoria line, I'd head over to Waterloo on the Northern line to catch my homebound train.

I arrived at Waterloo station, hitting Rush hour and eager to get home. Went on the escalators as usual and, about half-way up a man a few steps in front of me suddenly falls backwards and cracks his head on the stairs. The person immediately in front of me moves to avoid the falling man and the poor guy hits the back of his head, remains limp and starts to slowly slide down the stairs. 

Quickly recovering from the shock of seeing someone keel over, I drop my bag and grab his shoulder and arm to stop him from sliding any more, losing my glasses in the process. His blood has dribbled out into the escalator grooves and I'm  stupidly asking him if he's alright whilst concentrating on holding him up without moving him (was worried that he might have hurt his back/neck). An elder passenger from behind me comes up to help me with the man and starts to look him over. A woman from behind is telling people to press the emergency stop button and both the man and I shout "no". Last thing to do is have an abrupt stop followed by having to lift someone upstairs. So we wait for the elevator to near the top and the man, myself and someone ahead of us get ready to pick up the fallen commuter and carefully move him somewhere safe. We manage to do that, somewhat awkwardly, while another commuter runs to the underground staff.

Meanwhile, we try to prop the man up, and avoid tilting his head and such. I'm behind him kneeling, while the elder man is supporting his head and checking for his pulse. A female member of staff comes jogging up asks us what's happened then radios for First Aid, an ambulance, a wheelchair and for the escalators to stop.

The as-yet-unidentified man starts to regain consciousness and is clearly quite confused (as you might be if you've smacked your head on those bloody stairs) and spends the next couple of minutes drifting in and out of consciousness while answering the questions the female member of staff is asking him in order to keep him conscious/discover any other problems.

Her supervisor arrives with a first-aid box and is preparing some sort of bandage to help with the wound when he discovers that there aren't any latex gloves in the kit. He says "Where the hell are the latex gloves? I'm not touching that without the latex gloves". Which is understandable. You don't know if he's got hepatitis or HIV or some such. But it's rather silly to have an unprepared first aid kit. 

We've managed to keep him mostly conscious by now. There was a very worrying bit when it seemed almost as though he'd died and the female staff member was on the verge of tears. It turns out his name was David and he was on his way home from University College Hospital after having stitches removed from his chin. He told us he had epilepsy, so we figured that he'd had a seizure, which caused him to fall backwards.

When the first aid staff finally began to arrive, I figured it'd be better to leave rather than stay and be useless/get in the way. But I hope he's OK! (He wasn't travelling with anyone).

The other passengers were commendable, with one even staying and looking after his luggage, making sure that transport officials took note of it and kept it safe. There was, however, one particular passenger who broke the tape on the escalator (they didn't shut it off, just put security tape on it) coming up the stairs and arguing with a transport official. Nice patience there mate. 

I still have the poor guy's blood on my shoes. Not sure what to do with those now, but here's hoping he's ok! And kudos to my fellow passengers! For all the crap you have to endure on the underground and the assaults you hear about, it's nice to encounter people willing to take at least a few minutes out of their lives to care for a fellow human who's in trouble. 

April 01, 2007

Bush and Blair, the hypocritical pair.

Writing about web page

President George W Bush has condemned Iran's "inexcusable behaviour" after its capture of 15 Royal Navy personnel.

Mr Bush told reporters at Camp David: "The British hostages issue is a serious issue because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water.

"And it is inexcusable behaviour.

"And I support the prime minister when he made it clear there were no quid pro quos. The Iranians must give back the hostages."

(I have edited out irrelevent portions and all parts in bold are my emphasis)

I've been watching BBC news this morning and, without even a trace of amusement (or bemusement), the newsreaders skip from Bush announcing that Iran must free the "British Hostages" to a story of a British "Detainee" realeased from captivity in Guantanamo Bay after five years. This is all amid a deeply sickening fiasco where the US is explicitly refusing to extradite CIA Agents accused of kidnapping (part of the illegal "extraordinary rendition") EU nationals from Germany and Italy. The US is even threatening to withold intelligence from the nations if they persue the extradition requests. 



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