Category: Conflict

Harry to be withdrawn from Afghanistan

Prince Harry is to be pulled out of Afghanistan after news of his secret
deployment leaked out.

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What has made me laugh about the press coverage are those arguing that the
UK Media should never have kept it quiet because “the people” have a right
to know.

A right to know what? This is not just Harry’s life we are talking about here,
what about those around him who would be put in danger. And what possible reasons
could “the UK public” have for wanting to know where he is and what he is doing
24/7 365 days of the year.

Give me a break.  He’s human, just like the rest of us. He leads a different
life to pretty much everyone else, but why should he be denied his privacy.  (Obviously
because of who he is and what he does there will be some aspects of this life
that will always be public, but where do you draw the line ?)

Those same retards that are harking on about how it’s some sort of cover up
and a denial of freedom of information are probably the same bunch who would
object to a National UK DNA database on the grounds of it being too much like
a Police State activity.

There are some people that won’t be happy until they have hounded Harry into
doing something that will get him killed, not that it hasn’t happened before…
Let me see, who was his mother again?  Journalist scum who prey on peoples
public lives are the lowest forms of life IMHO.

We seem to have lost the distinction between public and private and the media
of this day and age seems to have no responsibility what so ever. Viewing figures
and sensationalism are all that matters.

Good on Harry for going over there in the first place and kudos to the brass
who had the balls to make the decision to send him.

NIMBY’s vs. 36 Grays Lane

A soldiers Story (fictional)

250px-Basra_locationYou’re on your last patrol before your unit returns home after a 9month stint in Iraq.  You’re on point covering for your squad as they return to the Warrior after inspecting a suspected arms dump on the outskirts of Basra.

Spirits are high because tonight’s scran in the mess tent will be the last meal before you get home to your mum’s Sunday roast.  In 8 hours, you’ll be on the plane home in to the arms of the family you’ve been away from for so long. 

warrior

Your squad mates begin shouting, they are pointing towards 3 youths running out of a nearby building.  You are almost at the Warrior when there is an almighty ‘whoosh’, followed by a loud explosion.

 

When you open your eyes, you find yourself 20ft away from the Warrior.  You can’t focus on anything, you can’t hear anything. The dust is settling and you begin to see your surroundings. You try to clear the dust from your eyes, but there is something wrong. You look down towards your hand and there’s nothing there. In a panic, you try to stand, but you fall over.  The bottom of your left leg is missing. In pain you slump down to the ground as the rest of your unit reaches you.

The next time you wake, you find yourself in the Military Hospital in Basra.  The medics have had to amputate your right arm from below the elbow, you’ve lost the left leg below the knee, and you are blind in your right eye.
After a week or so, you are transferred to the facility at Headley Court.

The above could have happened to any number of our serving personnel in Basra or in fact any of the current overseas theatre of operations.  But in this case, it’s a fictional story. But there have been many of our service personnel over the years who have and are still going through similar experiences.

But the hardship doesn’t end there. Once the injured personnel come back to the UK, there is yet more pain to endure, but this time by the families of the victims themselves. 
Often families have to travel hundreds of miles to visit their loved ones.  Living in a hotel or bed and breakfast is fine for a brief business trip or a short holiday, but when the family themselves are having to deal with the emotions involved with supporting an injured loved one, it creates unwanted stress.

the fisher house In the US an organization known as “The Fisher House” exists which quotes the following on their web site.

Supporting America’s military in their time of need, we provide “a home away from home” that enables family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time — during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury

Headley Court and the SSAFA

RAF Headley Court near Epsom in Headley, Surrey, England deals with with UK Military Forces personnel with physical disabilities obtained during service, and also deals with patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

With a dedicated staff of around 200, the care it provides is essential to the recovery of the personnel.  In 2005, Major David Bradley of the Princess of Wales‘s Royal Regiment was given a five per cent chance of survival as a result of injuries received whilst on duty in Iraq during 2004. Headley Court played a vital part in ensuring he had the best chance of recovery.

Having family around you during recovery is an important factor (and I know this from personal experience). Not only do families have to deal with looking at the some times horrific injuries to their loved ones, many patients will often reject the attention of their families, pushing them away as a result of their injuries, which causes further stress. 

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) exists in the UK to help out where ever it can.

ssafa The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help is the leading national charity committed to helping and supporting those who serve in our Armed Forces, those who used to serve, and the families of both.  We provide a reliable, caring and trusted service to more than 50,000 people each year.

36 Grays Lane

 The SSAFA were hoping to provide a home away from home for the family members visiting loved ones being treated at Headley Court, but met with some unexpected resistance from local residents.

It appears that a bunch of NIMBY’s have been coming up with all sorts of reasons why 36 Grays Lane should not be used by SSAFA.  To see some of their reasons, visit the 36grayslane web site.

36grayslane has been set up to highlight the actions of the Management Company representing the local residents and to gain support for the SSAFA campaign.
If ever there was a perfect example of the phrase NIMBY, they are it.

It as if they don’t want their neighborhood spoiled by having “the lower class” families of our service personal living in their area.
None of their concerns expressed (detailed at this page at 36grayslane have any merit what so ever.

Every single resident who has signed up in protest to the SSAFA proposal should be given a guided tour of Headley Court and spend time with the visiting families.

Each of the residents who signed up, should be ashamed of their selfishness and total disrespect for the families of our service men and women who have given more than most to protect our beliefs and interests.

The people at 36grayslane have a guestbook that you can sign to show your support.

There is also a petition set up on the 10 Downing Street E-Petition site.

The rest of the UK needs to show those residents of Grays Lane who are objecting just how pathetic their actions are.

I wouldn’t mind if they founded their objections on anything reasonable, but they are not. Laughable at best.
If it were a travelers camp, nightclub, sex shop or something similar to those, I could see their argument. But the truth of the matter is that the house run by SSAFA would hardly be noticeable. Their argument shows snobbery and contempt beyond belief.

Second Anniversary Of the London Bombings

PLANS TO MARK THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE LONDON BOMBINGS

The second anniversary of the attacks will be marked by a public act of remembrance and opportunities for private reflection.  Tessa Jowell, the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy will formally mark the second anniversary of the atrocity by laying flowers at Kings Cross station at the time of the bombings.

7th July Assistance Site

There will be no national 2 minutes silence this year, but that shouldn’t stop each one of us from reflecting on past events and ensuring that we do something to help prevent this from happening again.

Omaha Beach

Looking down at Omaha BeachIt was my first time to Omaha beach and to say it was a very humbling experience is an understatement.

We had arrived towards the end of the years D-Day Remembrance ‘celebrations’ so there were quite a few visitors to the American D-Day Museum and Cemetery.

You’ve seen the films, read the book, watched the series on UK History, but nothing prepares you for the sheer scale of the place.

Standing at the top of the hill where 1000’s if not more soldiers from both sides died leaves you with a rather dry lump in your throat.  Arriving at the top of the hill, you can only imagine the look of the awaiting German forces as they witnessed the mass of boats coming towards them.

P1010052When you are standing on the beach looking back up the hill, you can’t even appreciate the nerves it must have taken to even get off the landing craft and attempt to attack the hill.

I believe the beach is 6.9miles long. The day we were there, there must have been less than 20 people visible along the whole beach.  It was so quiet, peaceful and there is absolutely no evidence of the action that took place some 63 years previous.

P1010060 My two boys who are very interested in that era as most young boys are were visibly moved by what they saw.  It was no longer an Xbox game where they could hit ‘restart’ and the game would begin again when they “died”.  This was reality for them.
In the museum at the top of the hill, you could sit and watch footage taken at the time of the landings.  They sat for ages listening to the real soldiers tell their own stories.  There was no glorification, no Hollywood spin applied.  It wasn’t gory, nor horrific, but they left with tears forming in their eyes as did I.

P1010064I think every world leader, politician or in fact every man, woman and child should visit Omaha Beach, (or any of the Normandy Beaches or just any battlefield). 

They should be allowed to walk the cemeteries alone and consider what those who went before us gave up so that we may live in the name of peace. 
Yet when we look at events that are going on in the world today, do we really live in peace?
Is there any need for war and the death, destruction and misery it causes. 

I left Omaha Beach with more questions than answers. It taught me humility when I wasn’t really expecting it.  Those who control, start or fuel wars are never the ones at the front line. I think if they were to see what really goes on, you’d would at least hope they would think twice about starting something that causes so much death and destruction.

I’ve served in the Royal Navy and am very proud of doing so.  If you were to ask me to do so again now, I probably wouldn’t.  Yet, I would do anything to defend my family and my way of living, so I contradict myself.  It is those responsible for the wars and violence who need to see and understand the consequences and perhaps one day there would be no need for all the suffering that it causes.

Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiative

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has joined with Google in an unprecedented online mapping initiative. Crisis in Darfur enables more than 200 million Google Earth users worldwide to visualize and better understand the genocide currently unfolding in Darfur, Sudan. The Museum has assembled content—photographs, data, and eyewitness testimony—from a number of sources that are brought together for the first time in Google Earth.
Crisis in Darfur is the first project of the Museum’s Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiative that will over time include information on potential genocides allowing citizens, governments, and institutions to access information on atrocities in their nascent stages and respond.
“Educating today’s generation about the atrocities of the past and present can be enhanced by technologies such as Google Earth. When it comes to responding to genocide, the world’s record is terrible. We hope this important initiative with Google will make it that much harder for the world to ignore those who need us the most.”
— Sara J. Bloomfield, Director, USHMM

From: http://www.ushmm.org/googleearth/

If you have ever used Google Earth and wondered what you could use it for, the above is a perfect example of using it for good effect rather than flying around places you’ve visited or places you have heard of.
For those who don’t know what Google Earth is, the quote below is from the same USHMM site.

Using satellite imagery, Google Earth allows a user to fly to any location on the planet and explore from above in 3D. Additional “layers” created from data provided by the U.S. Government, United Nations agencies, non governmental organizations, and renowned photographers show the scope and personal impact of the genocide in Darfur and its continuing spillover into Chad.

Download the Crisis in Darfur layers for Google Earth.

I’m afraid 99.99% of the content above is directly quoted from their web site since I don’t have the right words to do it justice.  When you think of the numbers of people killed, the property that has been destroyed, there isn’t anything I can say that could ever describe it.
Why has the ROTW turned its back on the Darfur region?
I would ask why are we not doing more to help, but that question should really be why are we not doing anything!
2,500,000 people driven from their homes and over 300,000 killed.
How can we as a society in 2007 not being doing more to stop this?
Why are our governments not doing anything about it?
Why are YOU! not doing anything about it?

They Turned Our Dessert Into Fire – film by Mark Brecke