I'm part of a mailing list called (void) which is about all things. On Mondays I'm usually suffering from extreme tiredness, which causes my mind to race. This was the result for the Monday past, and bear in mind that I work as a typist for Britain's Court Service, typing up determinations in the appeals of refugees, students, armed forces pensioners, and others:
- Today my favourite animal is the spiral
. I believe that spirals are animals; they move, they spin around, they confuse the minds of men, the three requirements for being a living creature. Gyroscopes
, vinyl picture discs and Irish dancers are also animals, but they aren't my favourite animals.
- A surreal observation from the man who sits to my left:
"You know what I think would be the best present for a seven-year-old?"
"A full-sized milk churn."
- We live in a world where there are suicide cyclists. What next? Suicide cricketers? Suicide farmers? 'The Suicides of Love' would be a good name for an album by Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen. "ARABICYKILLERS".
- Also, there is a news report about 'fat cats', but they aren't actually cats, they're people. Humans, rather. I see a difference between 'people' and 'humans'. People are members of your own population, and cats presumably refer to each other as 'people'.
Some of the fat cats aren't even fat. 'People of varying size' might be a better. And this is surely wrong because it's not the people that are the problem, it's the system. 'Variably-sized cogs in a large machine'.
- The British High Commission in Accra is off Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue, which is amusing because he was the baddie during the Suez Crisis.
- Amusing adjudicator comment in an asylum case from Sri Lanka: "The appellant lists as one of his grounds for visiting the UK a love of cricket. I should think that if the appellant wanted to see good cricket he would find more of it it in Sri Lanka."
The callousness of this is undercut by the fact that the appellant's surrounding story is, as in many asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, identical to those of many others, even down to details: the appellants are always press-ganged into digging bunkers for the LTTE, and an un-named uncle bribes the guard to let them free (a search on the internal network for 'uncle paid a bribe' and 'uncle paid the bribe' returns dozens of files), and then both the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE are after them so they have to leave. The appellant is always from Vavuniya and moves to Colombo. He is beaten with an s-lon pipe, a plastic pipe filled with sand. You pay good money for that in Soho; £200 an hour, I hear. In 1999 it cost 3,000 Deutschmarks to pay an agent to arrange passage to Britain. I could do that. I don't look suspicious. Nobody cares or tries to stop the people traffickers, because there are too many of them and they're quasi-legal anyway.
It's all a big gravy train. The solicitors get money to represent the appellants, the adjudicators get money to determine their cases, I get money to type them, my bosses get money to tell me to type them, everybody gets money and there are many jobs created, albeit at the expensive of the taxpayer, the NHS, public transport, council housing and so on. You could add 'social order' but Britain is a very liberal country; we don't go in for ethnic massacres. Whatever hate and persecution the asylum seekers face here is nothing compared to what they would face elsewhere. The news is shocked when an Iraqi is stabbed in Birmingham, but in Congo and elsewhere one ethnic group kills hundreds of another ethnic group every day, and although it is reported on the news, we don't care.
My take on the issue is that it's a huge waste of taxpayer's resources to deal with all UK entrants as asylum seekers; the requirements for legitimate entry to the UK are extremely strict - I type those, too, and you can fail easily - and they should be less strict. That would encourage many of the bogus people to claim legitimately, and more quickly, and if they want to work here why not? I'm not working in the bread counter at Tesco's, no way.
Therefore my recipe for the asylum problem would be (a) loosen the requirements for legitimate entry, (b) cut the crap and run job advertisements in Albania and so forth, (c) renege from either or both of the 1950 or the 1951 Conventions and their amendments and protocols thereto, scrap them, come up with a single elegant new convention and use that instead of doing each determination (potentially) six times (asylum, human rights, appeal on asylum, appeal on human rights, tribunal, tribunal determination on asylum or human rights). And that's just three things, there are more, but affecting real change in politics is like cutting into meat; you quickly make an incision but as you push the blade down the suction slows and stops you. You need a blood groove, and channel for the waste.
Ultimately we have to work out our place in the world; simply put, do we fight the bastards or let them be? Do we attack the future Iraqs, or not, and if so, how? If you saw your next-door-neighbour beating his wife, children, brother, husband, uncle, house guest, or his next-door-neighbour, what would you do? Do you interfere in a 'domestic'? Suppose you burst through the door and put the aggressor in a headlock, and the other party then starts swearing and you and telling you to get the hell out, you bastard? What do you do then? And what if they secretly do want you to intervene, but they can't say so for fear of losing face? Do you leave, or restrain both parties? There is much wisdom in the saying "Slay them all. God will know his own!" And how do you solve the deeper problems that cause the violence?
But to stand aside is just as bad. Peter Parker did that and the crook killed his uncle. There is much wisdom in Marvel. Batman started off by killing the criminals, he dropped them to their deaths or blew them up, and the Shadow - who deserves a much better revival than the one he had - used a pair of Colt .45 automatics.
To do, or not to do? That is the question.
To act we need to be righteous, we need to be spotless, we need to genuinely be the good guys, and we need to know what's going on, which means we need to communicate with other people instead of being isolated. Although this can lead to problems in itself; how do you act against your best friend, even if you know he's a complete evil bastard, or even if he is hurting him- or her-self through addiction, watching too much television, leaving rubbish around or just from actually hurting, i.e. stabbing oneself in the thigh with a knitting needle again and again and again? You can try to persuade him or her to be good, but words mean nothing unless you have a big stick, and how could you beat and burn and dump the body of a man you've shared drinks with and driven home, whilst still being good? And what's so good about being good? Why not just *be*? There is no good or bad, ultimately, but that doesn't mean life should be hell.
That's what the anti-war people wanted, I hope; not so much for us to be pacifists, but for us to be right, genuinely right, and good. Not just better than the rest - and we are - but objectively *good*, worthy of Christ. His dad had issues but Christ himself seemed a good sort. If that means fighting, by all means, but fight tyranny and for a good reason.
Mind you, if Jesus had led an army, he would have rocked. There would have been no supply problems - he could turn common objects into provisions - and no casualties, either, because he could just raise them from the dead. That alone would ensure loyalty. He could raise the bodies of long-dead soldiers to fight for him, and they would be loyal. He could transport rifles from the future and go jihad all over the arses of his enemies. Nothing would stop him until he had killed every living thing and owned the planet forever. He was a fool to die on the cross. What did that achieve? I'm a Christian, born and living in England, Church of England, Christ's homeland, and God is an Englishman, but I'm not religious at all, and if Christ isn't infusing every atom of such an ideal subject as myself he has failed.
- Reading all this descriptions of persecution, civil war, mob rule, random and meaningless torture and beatings, genuine police brutality, genocide and so forth, and living an empty life of no meaning, I have come to the conclusion that guns are a double-edged sword. Not literally, of course; guns are not swords, they're much better than swords, even better than Ninja throwing stars. My earlier position on the gun control debate was hysterical knee-jerk stuff derived mostly from jealousy that Americans are allowed to have guns and I am not. I was trying to put a brave face on my predicament. I desperately need and want power, because I am weak and I know that power is the only thing that matters, just as a poor person knows that the only thing in this world is money, and power comes from the ability to kill people, and that is most easily achieved with a gun.
The standard argument in favour of guns is that they allow the weak to defend against oppression. "God made strong men and God made weak men and Samuel Colt made them equal" is the old slogan ("And Charles Darwin killed God" could be appended to the end, perhaps, and "Marvin Gaye was killed by his father, but that's by-the-by".). And indeed Samuel Colt, Hiriam Maxim, John Browning, Mr Luger, Mr Mauser, Mr Uziel Gal, Mr Heckler and Mr Koch all lived to old age and died peacefully. They were not dragged from their homes and beaten by PLOTE and they did not have to watch their sisters being raped by laughing ZANU-PF 'war veterans' who will never be punished for what they did. But that's not just because they had guns, it's because they were rich, too. Mr Kalashnikov is still alive.
But on the other hand many societies which have guns all over the place are still miserable. Somalia is a good example, although at the same time it's a bad example because it's both extreme and unique. Everybody there has guns and life is still harsh. Except that not everyone has guns; the poor of Somalia don't have guns, even though guns are very cheap there. And the most persecuted group, the Reer Hamar, do not carry guns at all because they are pacifists. I applaud their idealism but you don't get prizes in this world for being righteous, and there isn't a next world. They are persecuted and die in droves and for what? To prove a point?
The nasty bits of Brazil, Jamaica, Iraq, same parts of Eastern Europe, all of these places are flooded with cheap guns and are not pleasant places to live. If guns cost £45,000 each, as they do if you want to buy a Holland & Holland shotgun or one of those German 'drilling' things, it would not help, because people would steal them, and in any case gangsters have lots of money, and rich people do crimes.
But giving everybody guns, rich or poor, would not work either, because who gives out the guns? What if they are corrupt? And what use is one man with a gun against a dozen? No, the solution is much simpler; each person should be given a world-destroying doomsday weapon, or the psychic power to kill any person or group of people. If rocks were nuclear bombs, if anybody could turn soil into a nuclear bomb by just adding water and blood, if we could kill anybody with a thought, there'd be no fighting in the world. Or we'd all be dead. Same thing.
But how does this account for people who are not sane, people who are almost sane, but not quite? Irrational, emotional people? They might destroy the world just for the heck of it, or without realising what they're doing. I therefore propose that all humankind should be issued with world-destroying nuclear bombs, but should be kept asleep permanently with tranquilisers, with robots to clean us up and move us around in our beds. That is my vision of the future and I believe that Tony Benn is best placed to make this a reality.
- Reading these determinations I start to understand why social workers and policemen are simmering pits of hatred and resentment and apathy; why don't you fight back, you useless, useless people? What does it matter to me if you die or not? There's an endless stream of people who have been beaten and abused, you're not special. The torture you've suffered might have been the most horrifying experience in your life, but it means nothing to me. Why should it? There's always worse.
That's what crushes my hope sometimes; there's always worse. Always. No matter how bad things are, they can get worse. Things never get better on their own, unless you sacrifice your own fun to make life better for others. This is called 'responsibility' and it is deeply unfashionable in modern society. People would rather live a hedonistic life until they die, but this cannot last because the society that allows this hedonism is complex and takes enormous effort to maintain. You need security and a big wall in order to have a society of hedonistic pleasure seekers; nobody parties in a minefield. When everybody is drunk and passed-out on the lawn, who will build and guard the wall? Your body heals scratches and bruises but the wounds that cut don't heal, they leave scars, and the killing wounds do not heal at all. Mobs will kill you for fun, and the government will send you off to die in order not to lose face, or as a publicity coup. And ultimately the pumps don't work because the vandals took the handles.
The solution is to not be a victim. This is the standard mantra of Oprah Winfrey and the like; don't be a victim! But there is a gulf between words and actions and it is impossible to not be a victim if you're weak, simply because perpetrators enjoy what they do, like in that song by Wham!. And everybody on this world is either a victim or a perpetrator; there is no neutral state. Oprah Winfrey doesn't talk about that, about being a perpetrator. If you have a gun you can dish it out, you don't have to just lower your head and take it. A gun, a hardened heart, and the determination to shoot first, to cut the bullshit and realise that there's nothing magical or taboo about killing, people do it all the time, and any life you have outside the womb is a terrific privilege you have to fight for. That's the message Oprah Winfrey should put out; don't be a victim, be a gunner, hit first and fast.
- The sequel to 'xXx' is going to be called 'xXx Squared' or something like that, and I believe it should be called:
Or it could be called 'oXo', which looks like the face of Dai-X from 'Star Fleet'.