Take a Stand

I’ve often heard older people say they were surprised they saw a black president in their lifetime. Now, I feel astonishment that I’ve seen a despotic demagogue in mine; I’d naively assumed that a man like Trump would never find himself in the Oval Office. I also didn’t think Trump would go through with his election promises, at least not so swiftly. He’s signed a storm of executive orders, including building the wall along the Mexican border, and proceeding with the easement of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s worth noting that signing executive orders is not the same as action. One of the first things Obama did as president was to  sign an executive order to dismantle Guantanamo Bay, and yet the detention camp still stands. Arguably, the most egregious of Trump’s actions is the […]

Who’s country is it anyway?

Anyone who’s read my blog recently will know I’m very concerned about the political shift to the far right. Neo-Nazism is rearing its ugly head all over Europe and the US. Footage hasd emerged of Richard Spencer, leader of white supremacist group the National Policy Institute, giving a speech at a rally, roaring ‘hail Trump’. This was met with celebratory Hitler salutes from the audience. Spencer used the German word ‘lügenpresse’ to describe the media, which is lifted from the Nazi era, meaning ‘lying press’. This is one of many Nazi references Spencer alluded to during his speech. Despite this, white supremacists in America have tried to rebrand themselves as the Alt Right (which sounds like a keyboard shortcut), in an effort to normalise their extremist ideology. It’s important to call them out for what they are; shameless racists and neo-Nazis. […]

The World We live in

I’ve been the thinking about the world I want to live in. I’m reminded of when I went on holiday this summer with my family. It was a few weeks after the Brexit vote and there was an atmosphere of tense uncertainty. I sat with my mother on a bench at Heathrow and watched the other travellers milling around the terminal. As one would expect, it was a multi-cultural, diverse group of people, most of whom looked like they were off on their summer holiday. Mum commented that this ethnically diverse place is representative of the country she wanted to live in. A nation strengthened by diversity and tolerance, not sullied with distrust and discrimination. Of course, I realise that I’m very fortunate to be able to afford to go on holiday in the first place. In fact, all […]

Dark Ages

I went to bed last night hoping to wake up to a world with Hillary Clinton as president. The news that the US has chosen a homophobic, racist, sexist, megalomaniacal, demagogue is calamitous, but not surprising. Post Brexit, it’s clear we are living in a dark age when the worst of human nature is in charge.  Today’s politicians appeal to fear and prejudice, inciting braying intolerance and zealous nationalism. The US and the UK are hideous mirror images of one another. Trump has proclaimed global warming a hoax, perpetuated by China, and has promised to dismiss the Paris Agreement, which could devastate our already beleaguered environment. He’s also implied that the US should only offer military support to NATO members who have met their financial obligations. Under the NATO agreement, all member states should allocate 2% of their GDP to defence. The US is one of […]

2016: Annus Horribilis?

2016 isn’t over yet and it has already been a tumultuous and frightening year. The world of European and American of politics have been dominated by Brexit and the US elections. Donald Trump’s performances in the Presidential Debates were inept and petulant. His claim that the election is being rigged by the media is the snivelling cry of a spoilt brat. The suggestion that if he is to lose, he’ll refuse to accept the result, shows his profound lack of respect for the democratic process. The sexual assault claims suggest that Trump may have been hoisted by his own, misogynistic, sticky fingered petard. However, it’s not over until it’s over and he still could get in. Over the last few months, the fires of discrimination and xenophobia have been stoked by Trump and Nigel Farage. Some of Trump’s supporters, and UK citizens who voted to leave the EU, […]

Words with Friends

I recently went out for dinner with a group of friends, we had a brilliant night and I laughed till I cried. However, during a light-hearted conversation, the word ‘slut’ was bandied around. I was among people who are used to my outspoken tendencies, and they didn’t bat an eye when I protested that using ‘slut’ to describe a sexually active woman was unacceptable. Even if I’d been in less forgiving company, I would have piped up anyway, because I have come to understand the intense importance of words. The words we use shape our attitude to the world around us. The desperate souls fleeing death and persecution in the Middle East and North Africa are now called ‘migrants’, instead of the more accurate term, ‘refugees’. The vast difference between a refugee and a migrant is […]

Burkini Beach

People often comment on the clothes I wear, but I don’t mind what people think of my look. I know my style is somewhat attention grabbing, so I expect comments (positive or negative) as a par for the course. Living in a Western, cosmopolitan city like London, insures that how I choose to dress or the contents of my uterus is my own business. I’ve never been pregnant or had an abortion, but if I choose to do so, I can expect my decisions to be respected. But more of that later. There are other parts of the Western world, where values of tolerance and equality are supposedly held in high esteem, however women’s right to choose is being called into question. The absurd outlawing of burkinis in France is an example of how women’s choices have become a political and ideological battle […]

Remebering Orlando

The barbaric shooting in a gay club in Orlando a few days ago was tragic and egregious, but a sadly frequent occurrence in the US. To a British sensibility, American gun laws seem like an absurd paradox. The NRA and many members of Congress extol the second amendment with ferocious zeal, arguing that every American citizen has the right to defend him or herself. However, if there were fewer guns legally available, one might argue, there would be less need for self-defense. Of course, if Omar Mateen were hell bent on committing mass murder, he would have done so by any means available, gun or no gun. However, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the AR-15-type rifle was a very similar style weapon to the one used by James Holmes, who murdered […]