Needy people

I work in a mental health setting. I support those working with children and adolescents in particular.

I was once taken aback when I heard someone who was responsible for this service exclaim:

“I hate needy people!”

My fault for trying to be inclusive of a service user who I believed had potential to enrich the work we were trying to do.

I wish I had blurted out the response that flitted into my mind:

“But the whole point of your service is to help needy people.”

But of course I said nothing, managing no more than a feeble twinge in my heart.

The truth is, I might say something like that. I hate grown adults incapable of putting themselves in the shoes of young people suffering trauma.

I hate those who have lost sight of the role they are employed to fulfil. Surely they can still be moved by more than the need to cover the monthly repayments for the expensive SUV in the car park.

We are in the profession of caring, even those of us in support roles. So care. Show us you care.

Religious bullies

Deal with the religious bullies that deploy ancient texts to browbeat the young and vulnerable into actions they would shun if they were older or more mature.

I was once bullied by such a chap. Ah, but that fellow is now celebrated all over, embraced by the same media which vilifies his victims. Today he is a talkshow host, a social commentator, a published author and apparently an authority on extremism.

I just feel fortunate that I was a young Muslim before the age of social media. Thank goodness I only had to deal with one man visiting my flat to talk me into submission, into to agreeing with him that it was my religious duty to strive towards all those goals he said were obligatory. Thank goodness I could escape his harassment.

Perhaps he is penitent today. Perhaps he has made amends. I have not spoken to him in over twenty years. I don’t care to. But sadly he has been replaced by a vast army of religious bullies, who now teem online, who will pressure the young without relent with their religious-sounding arguments.

I don’t let my own kids have smartphones. They have limited access to the web at home. I have already had a conversation with them about religious bullies, about extremism and this false call to faith. I will keep on having that conversation with them. I am protective of them and will not let them chat with proselytisers online.

For me, religious bullies are beyond the pale. They will exploit the young and vulnerable once, and then they will dump them when society turns on their victims. Protect your kids from religious bullies. Tonight, another conversation with my kids, prompted once more by that interview with that girl.

Vox Pop

If you’re going to interview someone like that, leave it to a journalist, not the TV equivalent of a newspaper columnist. Give us facts. Give us analysis. Give us probing research, investigative journalism. Not verbal diarrhoea and a tabloid opinion piece. Comment is free, but facts are sacred. What a wasted opportunity.

Of mice and men

Mark Zuckerberg conducted an experiment, where they gathered all the idiots in a web app and studied how long it would take for them to start explaining human psychology on the basis of rodent behaviour observed in a flawed 1960s research paper.

Crimes against humanity

The destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York twenty years ago was a crime against humanity. An act of unimaginable and unforgivable barbarity. The events of that day will forever remain etched in the psyche of a generation.

Continue reading “Crimes against humanity”

Here on the periphery

O self, what are you wittering on about now? You have always been destined for a life on the periphery, so why start grumbling now? I thought you had reconciled yourself to your station.

So what if your fellow Muslamic bloggers despise you? So what if your convert brethren ignore you, judging you a renegade or backslider? Who cares if you are nobody amongst the Muslims? Is it the creation that you serve now? Is it their pleasure you seek?

Did school and college teach you nothing? From the first day of primary school, you should have learnt that you would be picked last for every team. Long ago, you should have learnt that you would forever remain on the outer circle, gazing in.

So why this sudden disquiet? It does not matter if your work colleagues consider you an idiot; you have your way and they have theirs. It does not matter if your brother in faith writes you off as a perpetual loser; who are you to those who love you? It does not matter if you have been forgotten by all who once knew you; perhaps you have discovered a special kind of freedom.

O self, your place is on the periphery. Be glad in it. Embrace it. Cherish it. Just as I thought you long ago had.

Daylight robbery

We managed to book a four-day holiday by the sea. It cost us an absolute fortune. The hotel was as basic as it gets. The beds in our family room were comfortable, but the bathroom was a disgrace. Our four night stay cost us the equivalent of a month’s rent for a furnished house. We got breakfast with the room, but no evening meals were available. They blamed Brexit.

We found some nice places to eat, but it was very expensive. We found nice places to visit too. But parking charges were extortionate. I paid in full, but got a parking ticket for parking outside a bay in one car park. I was careful to park considerately and cause inconvenience to no one, but I fell foul of the rules. I acknowledge my error, but still feel like the state has robbed me.

I spent a small fortune suppoting local businesses today. Presumably they will pay business rates and taxes back to the local council on their earnings. But never mind, I’ve been taxed multiple times today, for the pleasure of sunning myself in their locality. A real tourist’s welcome.

There has been some pleasure these past few days. But the overwhelming feeling: I have been utterly ripped off. I cannot sleep tonight. Restless ahead of the four hour journey home.

Chip on your shoulder

He was never the sharpest knife in the drawer. On Facebook, YouTube and Twitter — his every thought stamped with a date, time, GPS location, wifi location, IP address and his every interaction, stored in a giant database accessed by no one but big data mining analysts and the intelligence community — he posts about a malevolent global elite embedding microchips in the shoulders of 7 billion people, to track the movements and thoughts of all mankind. Don’t ask me.