Israel and Gaza.

So then, the war in Gaza is ramping up, even Barrack Obama has called for a ceasefire. Of course a ceasefire is all Israel ever wanted in the first place, if only Hamas had the same desire. Hamas have turned down one ceasefire already. Hamas doesn’t even negotiate with Israel, so these things have in the past been brokered by Egypt and Turkey.

The only problem is Egypt is almost as pissed off with Hamas as Israel is, Hamas has been funding terrorism inside Egypt too so Egypt has been destroying tunnels into Gaza in an effort to curb Hamas’ income from extorting the trade conducted via these tunnels.

Turkey on the other hand is becoming increasingly Islamic in its government and its PM is exceptionally antisemitic. They can’t offer to be a neutral party go between anymore.

This is a mad ‘war’ if it even warrants the term, a vastly inferior military force attacking a vastly superior one, and not only do they not care how many civilians they lose, they actively use their own civilians as human shields, losing civilians is actually the only way they hope to achieve their aims through international pressure. Talk about leading with your chin.

The problem Israel has is that their strategy is flawed too, because Hamas probably can’t be defeated militarily, at least not without many thousands more civilian casualties than they are comfortable with. But these constant rocket attacks have made the average IDF soldier hate the people of Gaza, who voted for Hamas and seem to endorse this insane death wish attack.

IDF soldiers know that their children back home have to spend hour after hour hiding in bunker rooms or just waiting for the sirens to start wailing. So I expect the body count to be higher this time around. Especially since in the last few hours an armoured personnel carrier was taken out by a rocket. Lots of scared jumpy angry young men with machine guns, what could possibly go wrong?

The people of Gaza will suffer until they put an end to this suicidal attack. There is no reason why they should have to die for their Hamas leaders so that Hamas can keep the money (and rockets) rolling in. If Gaza spent its money on building a future for itself, rather than hopelessly attacking Israel then their future would brighten. Will this ever happen though? at the moment that future seems a very long way off.

It doesn’t have to be this way

One of the signs of depression is feeling trapped, like there is no alternative to how things are, that there are no options. Of course this way of thinking is a result of mental illness.

Anyway I just came back from my second LGBT Christian event. Its wonderful to meet the people who have chosen, like me, to remain, to not allow homophobia in the Church to drive us away from Jesus.

The more we talk it becomes apparent that no, it doesn’t have to be this way. Christianity is not inherently homophobic. We do not need to conform ourselves to a backward way of thinking.

Here is a thought: If I used such tenuous claims to scriptural precedent as a lot of homophobes do, it would be very easy to insinuate that Jesus was gay. He was certainly more comfortable with physical contact with other men than most men are in this sad day and age.

John was the “disciple whom Jesus loved”, Jesus loved all his disciples, so why do the gospel writers single out John with that particular wording. Then later at the last supper John discovers Judas is the traitor when he is snuggling up to Jesus. Then on the Cross Jesus tells his boyfriend, sorry, disciple, to look after his mother when he is gone. Then after the Resurrection Jesus tells the disciples that basically they will all will face martyrdom, except John, and that they should just get over it.

Now I’m not sure this is enough evidence that Jesus was gay… But I like how this little narrative pisses off all the right people. “Jesus couldn’t possibly be queer, because being queer is icky! I don’t like it!”.

Well I want to model my life on that of Christ, and if I project a part of myself into my image of the divine well that is basically the history of human interaction with God. We can’t help it and indeed God decided his son should take on human form in order to raise our humanity to the Godhead. Genesis tells us we are created in God’s image, yes even us queers!

So yes, it doesn’t have to be this way. St Paul was a man of his time, he wrote a few letters that just so happened to become the central part of the new testament. He was openly homophobic, calling it a curse because he couldn’t imagine any non pagan being queer? Well our experience and very existence has proved him wrong.

Just as St Paul had to tirelessly campaign for the lifting of Jewish dietary requirements for Christian converts, so we have to campaign for homophobic requirements to be lifted. This isn’t anything new or novel here we are in an age old tradition of insisting that the people trying to bar the gates of heaven stand aside. When I see and meet gay Christians it has been a massive reassurance, it is so right to love whomever God sends your way.

“What God has joined let no man divide”. Yes and isn’t it interesting that God makes gay people, and then he makes other gay people for them to love then draws them together, and that we have been here since the dawn of time and that the sky hasn’t fallen and the human race hasn’t keeled over.

While we are on the subject, the only philosophical argument the Catholic Church has against homosexuality is that it isn’t procreative, then it insists on celibacy for its priests. It seems to me what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. Then again if it wasn’t for gay men fleeing their sexuality how many priests would we have? It doesn’t have to be this way.

Drama and my X-wing addiction

Well I’ve had a strange week, particularly board gaming night which happened at my riverside flat. Which went well… if you consider spending most of the evening giving statements to the emergency services as going well.

Through the window both myself and another member of our little group heard a shout then a loud splash then some splashing about in the water. I thought someone may have fallen in so I rang 999. Cue a huge effort by the emergency services to search the water. Including boats and a diver with sonar I think!
They really pulled out all the stops shy of a helicopter. Anyway, we had to guide them to where we heard the noises from and give statements etc etc.

My theory now is that a junkie from across the river was playing fetch with his dog after consuming his methadone, misjudged a throw, the dog jumped in the river, then promptly got out again, and neither thought anything more about it. So it was a colossal waste of time and money, but if it had been a person and I hadn’t rung it in I would be wracked with guilt so I guess I did what I had to do. Still makes me feel like a bit of an idiot, even though I know I did the right thing… (Why is that?)

Anyway in actual gaming news, our game of Cutthroat Caverns was nixed by the drama, but it looks like a fantastic game! We played a couple of rounds of King Of Tokyo, one of which I won with a last monster standing victory with Nova breath.

Then we rounded off the evening with a game of Carcassone, which included a couple of the expansions. This was very good for my ego because I comprehensively won with a staggering final score of 168. I finished off a big city with a Cathedral, I won the highest scoring farm I’ve ever seen, and I was scoring pretty well for most of the game too.

But before any of this I played a taster of x-wing with one of the guys who got there early. It is FANTASTIC! seriously good fun. My only problem with it is it has made me somewhat of an addict. You see its a collectible miniatures game, and they are rather beautifully sculpted and come prepainted, both of which means they are expensive. VERY expensive.

I’ve already sunk a significant chunk of money into the game… and I want to spend £53 on five more ships already. Then I’ll basically have one of every small rebel ship, and a comparable Imperial fleet, which isn’t even a particularly big set up considering that is without shelling out for any of the bigger ships (which get expensive in the extreme!) and a couple of the Imperial fighters that don’t really appeal to me.

Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced x1 is a bit lame by all accounts, and the TIE Phantom is cheating. It comes with a cloaking device even though Captain Nedar, in the Empire Strikes Back, says of the Millennium Falcon (which is much bigger than the Phantom) “No ship that small has a cloaking device!”

Generally I prefer the Imperial ships if I’m honest. Maybe I like how menacing they look? They are more strategic to play with and more maneuverable, but you have to co-ordinate your TIE fighters to bring the maximum amount of firepower to bear on the rebel ships because the rebel ships are significantly tougher. (With the exception of the TIE Defender, which is an absolute beast.) Talking of the TIE Defender, that is my favourite ship in all of science fiction so I am SO excited to finally be getting my hands on one.

So with my current spend I’ve got five TIE Fighters, one TIE Interceptor, one TIE Defender, three X-wings, an A-wing, an E-wing and a Z-95 Headhunter. Which at the moment is actually slightly biased towards the Rebels. That is crying out to be rectified. Maybe if I just got a TIE bomber? But the Imperial Aces pack, with its gorgeous alternative paint scheme TIE Interceptors looks so good! The only question is, how long will I be able to resist temptation?

Answer: probably not very long. Maybe I should have Poor Impulse Control tattooed on my forehead like one of the characters in the cyberpunk novel Snowcrash? I’m staggered to find out someone is actually trying to turn that into a film. Good luck to them, it’ll be a rather expensive feat of cinema to do so.

Hamas is the enemy, not Gaza.

I have a lot of bees in my bonnet at the moment.

The biggest, making far too much buzzing, is the lack of understanding and institutionalised antisemitism regarding Israel’s reaction to being showered with rockets from Gaza.

Lets say London was being bombarded by rockets from Wales, to the tune of a hundred a day and all the leaders of the western world rang up David Cameron telling him to ‘use restraint’, which is of course code for ‘bend over and…’ well you can fill in the blank.

These same liberals are decrying the imbalance in the death toll. What they really mean is if more Jews were dead it would be ok. Thanks to the extraordinarily expensive Iron Dome missile defense system, every home built since 2005 coming equipped with a concrete bunker room and warning sirens that send everyone running for cover every time Hamas try their level best to murder Israeli civilians (who inconveniently are Jewish so the liberal west don’t give a shit about them) Israel has in fact managed to save the lives of its citizens.

So what about Hamas? Well for Hamas dead Palestinians are just a recruiting and fund raising tool. They encourage their people to act like human shields and fire rockets from built up areas. They do this against a vastly superior military force they cannot hope to defeat in battle.

Why?

Money.

The rise of the “Islamic State” in the Levant means rich foreign donors are giving their hard earned Jihadi money to them, to poke America in the eye and wipe out what little positive outcome there was from the calamitous Iraq invasion.

In the last few years Hamas fell out with Iran and Syria, their biggest sources of income, over the Syrian civil war, so their money has all but completely dried up. They recently kissed and made up with Iran, and went begging to the Palistinian Authority in the west bank (who they hate but are lavishly funded by the misguided west) but that hasn’t changed their dire finances. Mainly because the Palestinian Authority said they wouldn’t pay their back pay. So Hamas desperately need to prove to those rich jihad funding foreigners that they can do jihad too.

So it doesn’t matter how much Palestinian blood is spilled just so long as the money comes rolling in to keep Hamas leaders in big houses and expensive shoes.

The Supremes.

Sadly I’m not about to write a blog post on the rather fantastic motown group. I’m going to talk about the US Supreme court who have recently made a controversial ruling in ‘favour’ of a group opposed to providing their employees with abortifacient drugs.

Sadly the devil is in the detail. Mark Steyn explains all. This is a defeat disguised as a victory. For roughly $9 a month America has sold out its religious freedom. Why is this an issue? Well if freedom of religion is being demolished in the USA what how much chance do us poor schlubs in godless Europe stand?

In the interest of ‘balance’.

In the interest of balance, regarding Israel, I think I should say there has been news of what seems at first glance like a horrific revenge killing of a young Palestinian boy. Though whilst we are in the business of totally uniformed speculation there is also a rumour he was murdered by fellow Palestinians for being gay.

So what is the difference? Well the Palestinians have rioted rather than lighting candles, and the Israeli government, unlike Hamas, won’t be throwing a ticker tape parade for the killers but will be throwing them in prison if they are caught. The Israeli PM has condemned the killing.

I’ve also seen a bit of Islamic propaganda (that one of my old acquaintances liked on Facebook) talking about Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and how the media doesn’t report it. Of course what they neglected to mention is that they are attacking military targets, as opposed to the rockets that are regularly launched from Gaza aimed at civilian targets, which are reported even more irregularly.

As far as I can see rocket attacks from Gaza are only ever halfheartedly reported ‘in the interest of balance’ when Israel eventually responds after weeks of bombardment. We also forget that because of Israel’s early warning sirens lots of Israelis spend hours huddled in bomb shelters. What is this going to do to the children? teach them to love their Arab neighbours? I sincerely doubt it. We will see a new generation of Israelis more angry than the last.

Gaza would not be an ‘open air Palestinian prison’ if terrorists stopped trying to murder Jews. A certain amount of practicality has to be involved. If the people of Gaza want to be free, they need to overthrow Hamas, embrace peace, stop feathering the nests of terrorists and spend the money building a future.

The only problem with this is that its a complete pipe dream, they cannot be dissuaded from the way of violence, they have gone too far, and to quote Yoda, “once you start down the dark path forever will it dominate your destiny.” Even the supposedly more liberal wing of the Palestinian authority unity government, under Mahmoud Abbas, gives huge financial rewards to terrorists and their families.

Bar a miracle there is no palatable solution to this conflict, and as the rest of the middle east goes up in flames around them peace doesn’t seem to be a high priority to anyone anyway.

Doom and gloom.

Reading the news is so depressing. I wonder why I bother. Maybe somehow I think that if we become aware of what is going on in the world we are given the opportunity to change it. But can we really? I don’t know. Especially since to change it might require that we do the unthinkable.

A few days ago, the top four articles in the world news section of the Telegraph were all about Islamic violence and there were plenty more stories that never made the headlines. Why? Because its not really news. It happens so frequently that we are starting to edit it out. ‘That’s just the Islamic world’. Well its our world too.

When are people going to wake up and realise this rabid multiculturalism we have in the west is creating a fertile global breeding ground for the worst excesses of fanaticism? The west has allowed a brutal fundamentalist ‘state’ to rise out of the ashes of Iraq and Syria.

This new ‘Caliphate’ are now the richest and most powerful terrorist group in the world. This is the definition of total defeat in the war on terror, after all those thousands of lives lost, for us to surrender a huge chunk of the middle east to this group is treasonous. Isolationism is now in vogue in the west, but this ‘Islamic state’ won’t keep their murderous ways to themselves, they’ll be bombing our planes, trains and buses all too soon.

In other news three Israeli children were murdered in cold blood by members of Hamas. One of those children had American citizenship. What did Barack Obama say? nothing. What did Mrs Obama put on her twitter hashtag? nothing. What will the US state department do? Keep funding the Palestinian authority to the tune of $400 million dollars even though a lot of that goes straight to the perpetrators of the murder of Israeli citizens. Its a sick sad world.

Anyway, as of late my favourite blogger has been Mark Steyn, its good to know that somebody out there understands the extent of the mess our world is in. He’s well worth checking out.