Monday, 18 June 2018

Death Penalty: Excerpt from Anthony Ray Hinton book

Anthony Ray Hinton was falsely convicted of murder in Alabama and spent almost 30 years on Death Row. He was convicted because he was black. And he was released in 2015.

In a recent book he describes what it was like for an innocent man to be convicted for murder and await the time, in the cells, for the smell of burning flesh to be his own flesh.

Unbelievably for many, including his own niece, he made friends there with a man called Henry Hays, a convicted member of the Ku Klux Clan.

These two paragraphs from his memoir sum up his attitude to forgiveness of enemies and the wrongness and folly of execution (which he equates with lynching).

"ARH: I wish that I could have included a lot more about the men on death row — why they ended up being where they are. I wish I could have shown how we failed them. I think it was about five of us [on death row] that graduated from high school. Everybody had quit in the seventh and eighth grade. Tell me that society didn’t play a part. We still fail them because we’re spending more money on prison than we are on school. Since I’ve been out, I’ve been to white schools to speak and I thought I was at a college. They’ve got labs — Bill Gates, here they come. I’m saying, “Imagine if you could put something like this in a black neighborhood.”

I think about lynching. They probably lynched one of the greatest scientists of modern times. They probably lynched someone that could come up with a cure for AIDS, Alzheimer’s, cancer. We don’t know what a person can be. Earlier, we spoke of Henry Hays. Henry could still be alive today and could be in the general population getting blacks and white to come together. He could say, “I was brought up to hate. I’m telling you, it serves no purpose. If anyone knows, I know. I lived it.” But society didn’t want him to be an advocate."

I can't wait to purchase this wonderful testimony of a truly remarkable man.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Scourge of Catalonia Rajoy loses vote of Confidence in Spanish Parliament

Mariano Rajoy has just lost a confidence vote and Socialist Pedro Sanchez is the new Prime Minister of Spain.

The vote was 182 to 169 with one abstention.

Rajoy is the first Spanish Prime Minister to have lost office through a vote of no confidence  

The new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has promised to open new negotiations with Catalonia.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Another Day of Shame for Israel and the USA

Netanyahu and Trump are celebrating and smiling at the "opening" of the US embassy in Jerusalem while dozens of Palestinians are again slaughtered in cold blood.

It's very difficult to watch the "celebrations" in Jerusalem without wanting to be sick.  An American soldier sings the Star Spangled Banner. The reception is muted.  Ivanka and her husband hold hands on heart in a desperate attempt to encourage others.  But this is not about them. This is not about the USA.  It is not about Trump.  It's not even about Israel.  It is about Netanyahu.

Benjamin Netanyahu is all smiles.  Smarmy smiles by a man who has got his way.  A man who has convinced Trump, the so-called "leader of the free world", to be his stooge.  A man who has fooled Trump into entering the fray in Israel and Palestine. A man who smirks all day because Trump is celebrating his final humiliation of the Palestinians while he is killing their protestors down the road.

And no-one is shouting STOP.

At least no-one who matters.  We do not matter.  Jewish protestors at the White House do not matter.  The Jewish Voices for Peace do not matter.  Conscientious voices within Israel do not matter.  Government leaders do.  But the common chant of these leaders is that Israel should "show restraint".  A new definition for weasel words.

Who cares if 52 people are shot dead and 2000 injured as long as they are not Israeli citizens.

Shame on Israel.  Shame on Trump.  Eternal shame on Netanyahu

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Goats abused for Mohair


Mohair has been banned by four "fashion giants" after they viewed a horrific video of goats being abused in South Africa in the process of obtaining the precious product.

The companies who have acted honourably after seeing the video are: H&M, Gap Inc. (owner of Banana Republic, Athleta and Old Navy), Inditex (which owns Zara) and Arcadia Group (owner of Topshop).

If you are an animal lover - or even are willing to stop wanton cruelty to animals - please watch the video.  You will find it by scrolling down on the story contained on the following link

Warning: The content on the video is graphic.

An even more disturbing article with pictures but no video can be viewed here. 
Again a warning is issued about the very disturbing content.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Gaza tomorrow

Dear Ambassador

Thanks to your secretary/Embassy official for her courtesy in accepting my call to your office this morning although it is a Jewish holiday.

To expand on my telephone conversation with the courteous lady who took my call: I am very concerned about what I fear will be the unjust killings and the unjust maiming of unarmed protestors in Gaza tomorrow. Such killings and wounding appears inevitable after the killings and wounding of Fridays past.

I believe that unarmed protestors should not be killed or maimed.  Live ammunition - or indeed any ammunition that destroys life or limb - should not be used against them.

In today's Irish Times, Ilan Baruch, former Israeli Ambassador to South Africa has written a thoughtful article on the Friday protests in Gaza and Israel's "direct and brutal violence towards unarmed nonviolent Palestinian demonstrators".  I share his concern. 

Before I rang your Embassy I had thought of what possible replies I might receive.  One such possible reply, I thought, could be: "What can Israel do when protestors are rushing towards the boundary fence with the intention of reclaiming their previous homes?".  My answer would be: "At this stage, not much".  
 But events have escalated and have been allowed to escalate to a point (almost) of no return. No efforts have been made to engage with the Palestinians to address their legitimate complaints and claims.

This attitude will not win in the long termPeople must talk with one another.  Otherwise there will be chaos in Israel and Palestine It will not be a chaos filled with chaotic good people or chaotic neutrals.  It will be a chaos filled with chaotic evil.  Such a scenario leads to mutual destruction.

With best personal wishes
Justin Morahan
Human rights activist and pacifist