Reims Bikini Attack: Suspects named

bikini-protest-against-attackThe broader media gave the story of how a young woman was set upon by five other women for sunbathing in a bikini in a park in Reims, France, some attention today and a few new titbits have come out. (I covered this yesterday.)

According to the national newspaper  Le Monde, under the headline ‘Emotions and hasty conclusions’ the woman who was attacked is Angélique Slosse. Three of her alleged attackers have been named, Inès Nouri, Zohra Karim and Hadoune Tadjouri. The other two are minors and their names have not been released. All five  are Muslim.

The newspaper says that one of the alleged attackers was slightly injured and was signed off work for three days. One of Slosse’s friends was also given hospital treatment for injuries received.

Buzzfeed France claims to have contacted one of the alleged attackers, who was not identified by name, but only by her age, 19. She confirmed that she and her friends were Muslims, but that she ‘was tolerant’. According to her, she had, on seeing the victim dressed in shorts and a bikini top, said that she ‘wouldn’t dare dress like that’, to which she claims Slosse retorted ‘If I had a body like yours, I wouldn’t either.’ Continue reading “Reims Bikini Attack: Suspects named”

Woman attacked for wearing bikini

bikini-protest-against-attack
Protesters today expressing solidarity with the woman who was attacked.

It’s a case of double-speak gone mad.

On Wednesday lunchtime, at the Léo-Lagrange Park near the town centre of Reims, France, a 21-year old woman was sunbathing with two of her friends, dressed in a bikini. This is perfectly normal and if you visit any park in France in summer, especially a hot one like this, you will see plenty of women wearing swimsuits getting a tan. It’s a French passion.

However, the woman, whose name has not been disclosed, was spotted by a ‘group of five girls’. One of the came over and told her to ‘Get dressed, it’s not summer.’

The sunbather replied that the newcomer was not ‘the religious police’ and at that point all five of the girls attacked the woman, requiring her to be hospitalised. She was signed off work for four days. Continue reading “Woman attacked for wearing bikini”

We live in a world of terror.

world-of-terrorTerror comes in many forms. There is state terror; organised terror which is not state-promoted (NGO terror if you like); and individual acts of terror which are nevertheless encouraged by religion. All of these have one end: to reinforce the patriarchy’s grip on society and they are almost all sanctioned by religion. While a half-century ago, Communist terror was a problem, with the collapse of the Soviet Union that died away: nearly all terror, in every form, present in the world today, is inspired by religion.

Individual acts of terror are where one or a small number of individuals, usually from a majority of some kind, kill, maim, beat, insult, deny service to or otherwise harm persons of another group in order to intimidate them. A good example would be violence against LGBT people. This is frequently a spontaneous act of terror by private individuals with little or no coordination. Yet it causes the deaths of hundreds of transgender women every year. We see the same in beatings of minority races, persons of colour and those who dare to speak out for freedom.

Most of this terror is encouraged by the rantings of deluded religious demagogues preaching hate against gays, trans people, blacks, Jews, women, you name it. What are the recent atrocities carried out in France but religious terror designed to suppress legitimate criticism of Islam? We saw it in Charleston but lately. We see it in the killings of doctors assisting women to assert their rights over their bodies. It is pervasive and religion is the cause of it. Continue reading “We live in a world of terror.”

Germany has destroyed the European Dream

germany-the-new-fascism-behind-europeToday I am spitting nails. I have not been as angry as this for 20 years. The last time I felt my blood boiling like this was in 1995, when Serbian nationalist gunmen entered the Bosnian town of Srebrenica and, with the collusion of the Dutch troops who were meant to protect them, took away 8,000 men and boys, murdered them in cold blood and buried them in graves they had dug themselves.

That is how furious I am today.

And why? Because I have seen Germany destroy a weaker nation for political ends. I have seen Germany destroy all notion of European solidarity. I have seen Germany reveal its true self — the monstrous bully of Europe that cannot suffer dissent and insists that its orders must be followed, on pain of destruction.

In 1871 Germans failed. In 1914 they failed. In 1939-45 they failed — although defeating them cost 72 million lives and the destruction of Europe, not to mention the horror of the Holocaust.

But in 2015 they have succeeded. They have finally achieved their end. They have crushed a sovereign nation, not with tanks and bombers, but with threats and banks. Continue reading “Germany has destroyed the European Dream”

Germany, the bully of Europe

angela-merkel-adolf-hitlerIt’s not that often I agree with Suzanne Moore. So that has to be noteworthy for a start. I find myself agreeing with Joseph Stiglitz more often — and why not, I mean he is a Nobel Prize winner. I am pretty sure for all three of us to be in agreement is pretty exceptional though.

And what are we agreeing about? Germany’s atrocious, scandalous bullying of Greece, that’s what.

I am no fan of Margaret Thatcher, but her fears, expressed before Germany was re-unified, have proven correct: Germany is once again Europe’s bad-mannered thug, and it has begun to flex its muscles.

Of course it always was; three times in under 70 years, it invaded its neighbours and created havoc. (Okay, the first was technically Prussia, but that’s a detail.)

The last expression of its natural tendency to be King Rat caused 72 million people to be killed and Europe — as well as substantial other parts of the globe — was devastated. Well, after that one we got smart and took Germany’s tanks and bombers away.

So now they are using their financial power to do the same thing, bully and intimidate smaller countries. Last month we heard the head of the ECB — a German — ask that democracy in Greece should be suspended and a ‘technocrat’ appointed to run it instead. After all, we can’t have an annoyance like democracy getting the way of the Master Race’s plans now, can we? And freedom, what’s that?

Today we hear German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisting that no debt restructuring will be offered to Greece. If they cannot behave like good Germans — which is what, apparently, being European now means — then they can starve. Continue reading “Germany, the bully of Europe”

Greece in Overwhelming Vote for Democracy.

greece-votes-for-democracyWith 15% of the vote now counted, Greece looks set to vote ‘NO’ in its referendum by an ‘overwhelming’ majority of a huge turnout.

We should all congratulate and thank Greece. It has set itself up as a beacon of hope and democracy against the unelected suprastate that would crush it and further enslave it to the failed model of ‘austerity’.

The economic competency of the Germans and the French, the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund has been shown, by far better economists than I, to have been about the level of a bunch of schoolchildren. Greece was forced into unnecessary recession and at the same time expected to make huge loan repayments in order to serve the political ends of Germany and France. The consequence has been an even greater Depression than that which afflicted the USA in the 1930s, with over 25% unemployment and hardship that no-one else in Europe would put up with.

And that is why it has been so important for the lenders to break tiny Greece. Because when they come for you, they don’t want you to think that there’s any way out. They don’t want you to realise that states are sovereign and can just tear up debts. At the moment their targets are Italy and Spain; they dread the consequences if these two states were to tear up their loans and tell their lenders to raffle themselves — which they are perfectly entitled to do. But make no mistake, these people, Merkel, Hollande, Juncker and Lagarde  are out to destroy democracy and the sovereignty of the people, and concentrate power in the hands of oligarchs, bureaucrats, and completely unaccountable quangos and corporations.

Iceland proved them wrong and they have been very quiet about that. But they won’t be able to keep quiet about Greece.

The Greek economy is actually in surplus, by about 2%, if we discount the loan repayments. It is not Greece’s economy or its economic management that is at fault, but the slavish insistence of the European anti-democratic hegemony on ‘austerity’.

Well, it looks like Greece has given these economic bullies a kick in the testicles that they will remember.

It should now declare that all the debt is suspended. It should declare a repayment holiday with no interest increment. It should invite China to invest hugely in its infrastructure and tourism economy. It should print drachmas and float them. And it should continue to tell the anti-democratic hegemony that governs Europe that its day is done.

And then we should all do the same.

A Greek Lesson in Democracy

will-greece-break-euro Greece is the oft-lauded birthplace of democracy and perhaps it is fitting that this small and fiercely idiosyncratic European country may be about to give the world a lesson in it.

It would be true to say, as John Redwood has pointed out, that the entry of Greece into the Euro a decade and a half ago was sheer hubris and folly. That hubris has been shown up for what it was since 2010. During this time, Greece has been subjected to so-called ‘austerity’ measures that have brought the country to its knees and have, five years later, not produced any improvement and indeed very much the opposite. In some areas, unemployment has risen to 60% and Greece’s banks are now closed.

In the last few weeks and months, we have seen a troika of New Imperialists – Christine Lagarde of the IMF, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, openly bully and strong-arm the democratically elected Prime Minister of a sovereign nation, Alexis Tsipras. It has been an absolute disgrace and an affront to democratic principles. We saw heavy-handed and insensitive ‘diplomacy’, that was clearly intended to undermine Tsipras and to coerce him into capitulating to yet more horror and misery. The result was that Tsipras did the one thing the New Imperialists hate the most — he decided to ask his own people what he should do. He actually dared ask for a democratic mandate. What impudence! Continue reading “A Greek Lesson in Democracy”

Labour’s Zombie Blues

Zombie BluesThe last few weeks have been intensely busy for me, with four books to be finished by a deadline of the 30th May. This has restricted my time for other things, notably this blog.

Anyway, in that time, much has happened. The UK General Election has come and gone and left a surprising, polarising and challenging result. Labour, at the UK level, now looks in as parlous a state as it was in the 1980s, when it had become ‘unelectable’. This is despite a radical lurch to the political right. We must now ask whether this lurch actually won Tony Blair his historic majority or whether in fact voters in England were just so fed up with Tory corruption, greed and downright nastiness that they could stand it no longer. Continue reading “Labour’s Zombie Blues”

It’s Not About the Economy, Stupid

It's Not About the Economy, Stupid
See: We really do like you. Pic:Rod Fleming

The unending and apparently increasing hysteria of the London commentariat in response to the spectacular rise of the SNP in Scotland continues to dominate the UK media. It is clear that many of the pundits – many of whom, amazingly, are actually of Scottish origin – really don’t get it.

Again and again the argument devolves to ‘why do the Scots hate the English so much?’ clearly implying that the only reason Scots would not wish to be governed from 400 miles furth of their borders must be that they dislike the English. It is both a petty allegation, because it offends the basis of democracy, and plain old wrong.

When I was 17 I left home and went to London, like so many other young Scots. The story of my time there is not germane, but I was amazed by how obsessed with money the people were. It seemed to be all they ever thought about. In later life I came across the same attitude not only from Londoners but from others in the South East. ‘You have to go where the money is.’ Even more strange, to me, was that amongst the most profoundly affected by this notion were expatriate Scots (who managed to add an insufferable air of superiority into the mix; but that is also another story.)

The rise of the SNP since 2014 cannot be explained in terms that someone whose sole measure of value is monetary can readily understand. The good folks of London and the southeast, who apparently have swallowed whole the lie that the economy is ‘booming’ – we are curious as to what kind of ‘boom’ it is that can only be achieved by subsidising the richest companies in the country by £11 billion a year in order that they can underpay their workforce, but, hey. Anyway those good folks clearly cannot comprehend why the Scots would even think about getting off this (imaginary) gravy train.

So they think we must not like them. Continue reading “It’s Not About the Economy, Stupid”

Boris Johnson is Right on Sharia

Pic: BBC
Pic: BBC

It’s not often that I give the words of the disingenuously shambolic Boris Johnson an awful lot of thought, really. He has occasionally given me a good laugh and there’s no doubt that he’s a lot smarter than he lets himself appear to be.

But a post on Facebook by the excellent Eu Citizens for an Independent Scotland brought to my attention one of BoJo’s statements in March, when I was too busy getting jetlagged to really notice. The article is here.

In it, BoJo is reported to have slammed the practice of allowing Sharia courts to have legal validity in the United Kingdom, and he is quite right.

It is totally unacceptable that a ‘legal code’ that treats women as livestock and mandates the execution of apostates, the mutilation of criminals, child marriage and killing anyone who dare criticise it, should be allowed to have influence in a modern, secular democracy. Continue reading “Boris Johnson is Right on Sharia”