Hope

“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened”

This is the beginning of a poem by Rumi, the Persian poet and Sufi mystic, born 30th September 1207, died 17th December 1273.

It takes some courage to admit that you have woken up feeling empty and frightened and to feel it and take a look at it. Much easier to just dive into the day and get busy. There are lots of things to do, after all.

But….

“Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.”

Rumi was a scholar, so that would have been his way of doing the usual thing, getting busy.

“Take down the dulcimer.”

Do something that soothes you and makes you feel good; fills up the emptiness and allays the fear.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kiss the ground.”

There are hundreds of ways to put down our burdens for a little while, be gentle with ourselves for a while, make a choice to do something that’s not on the list.

We do everything we can to avoid suffering. Most of the people I know, including my family and my patients, are suffering to some degree. It might be physical or emotional or both. One always impacts on the other anyway, so it’s usually both. My home page when I open up my computer, is the BBC News website. There’s always plenty of suffering on there. Today I see that David Cameron has said that we, the UK, will help the Americans to destroy ISIS. Well, the words speak for themselves.

But to offset suffering we have hope. And to help hope along we have the power of choice. I read a lot of books about health, nutrition, and different things we can do and try to make ourselves feel more well. At the moment I am reading about oil pulling, the Ayurvedic technique of swishing oil around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, and the benefits of that. It’s by Bruce Fife and there is information on the Web if you want to look.

I got a book in the post from Amazon yesterday called Elements of Danger by Dr Morton Walker, DPM, (doctor of podiatric medicine, to do with the feet) about the hazards of modern dentistry and metals in the mouth, as in amalgam fillings and other procedures. The information in this book has been around for a long time and it is quite frightening but it also reminds us that we have choices about what we do with the problems that all of us have, and who we listen to and what we then do.

On the same day I got an email from Dr. Sircus, a doctor practising natural allopathic medicine in Brazil, with the headline “Confessions of a Cardiologist – Treat the Inflammation, not the Cholesterol.”

Dr. Dwight Lundell, former Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital in Arizona is talking about statins and why they are a bad idea. You can read it if you like: http://bit.ly/1OflH6m

The theory is that atheroscerosis, hardening and blocking of the arteries, is caused by lack of magnesium. We have too much calcium in our diets and too little magnesium. These two minerals need to be in  balance with each other. If there is too little magnesium, calcium gets deposited in places where it shouldn’t be, like the joints and the arteries. In the arteries it makes small tears. Cholesterol, which is a necessary substance that is in every cell in your body, is part of the body’s attempt to heal the tears, and this causes inflammation and blocks in the arteries. This is not conventional thinking so you may have to search to get information. But it’s worth the search. And it does make sense to me

Information which is new and contrary to what you have been taught and told can be alarming and lead back to feeling empty and frightened. We can look for an escape route or hide our heads in the sand. But knowledge is also power and it’s up to us how we use that power, and the then-empowered choices that we make. And that takes us to hope.

Acupuncture miracle No.2

Acupuncture Miracle No.2

This lady came to me with a congenital problem with her hip. The hip socket on one side was not properly formed and too open, so not securely holding the ball of the femur (thigh bone).
This was picked up when she was aged nine and she had a bone graft to correct it. At age twelve she had a fall and was in hospital for a week. She caught a virus two weeks later and had pain in the same hip. The doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she had tests, could not give a reason for the pain and said there was nothing they could do.
When she came to me she was in her mid-twenties. She had been having cranial osteopathy treatment and chiropractic for some time and these treatments helped for a while but the effect soon wore off. So she was trying acupuncture to see what it could do for her.
She walked slowly and heavily and with a limp. The foot of the affected leg deviated laterally (turned to the outside) considerably. She was very fatigued and slept a lot, generally 10 hours a night. I think fatigue is different to tiredness because it doesn’t go away, no matter how much sleep the person gets. She was in a lot of pain and it was the pain which was so tiring. She was taking a painkiller prescribed by her doctor.
I commented the scar from the bone graft operation was on the Stomach meridian. She said she had had a lot of food sensitivities from childhood, beginning at age twelve. She was currently avoiding dairy, sugar and caffeine and was sensitive to several foods.
There are twelve main meridians in acupuncture and these are the ones most often used. Briefly, there are six yin meridians, Heart, Spleen, Lung, Liver, Pericardium or Heart Governor and Kidney. Each of these is associated with its own organ, other than the Pericardium, which refers to the covering around the Heart and in Chinese is seen as the protector of the Heart. The six yang meridians are the Small Intestine, Stomach, Colon, Gall Bladder, Three Heater and Bladder. The Three Heater refers to the three sections of the body – from the diaphragm upwards is the Upper Burner, the Middle Burner is between the diaphragm and the navel and the lower Burner is from the navel down; they each have their own functions and the function of the Three Heater is communication and balance between them and also to distribute heat, or warmth, and energy/qi.
There are also eight Extraordinary Meridians and these form the energetic matrix of the body. As I see it, and there are many views on these channels, they form in the foetus before the twelve main meridians, which then attach themselves to it. This is a rather physical representation of what is an energetic and probably electrical process, but it makes it easy to grasp how they work.
Because they form and act as a matrix they are concerned, among other things, with structure and function. So with something structural, such as this lady, I looked to these meridians and used them.
I also gave her some very simple yoga exercises and some exercises for her foot.
She now walks straight, at a normal pace, without a limp and without pain unless she is unusually tired or stressed. Her digestion is good and she can eat most foods but still avoids cows’ products as she feels better without them. Her hip will always be her weak area, but we all have weaknesses and strengths and that is quite usual. She has abundant energy and is now a mother. Throughout the treatment, which was over a period of two years, she was working full-time, doing physical work which would tire anyone.
Acupuncture is amazing and, I think, unique in its ability to repair and alter structure and function, from an energetic impulse through the needles resulting in a permanent change. I don’t know of any other form of medicine / therapy which could have achieved this result. This can be immensely satisfying work.
I am delighted and so is she.

Acupuncture and arthritis

Arthritis is extremely common and not fun. To break the word down, itis means inflammation, arth comes from the Greek word, arthron, meaning joint. A joint is where two bones articulate. So we have inflammation in the joints. And pain, because inflammation causes pain.
Acupuncture can help. It can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It does need ongoing treatment, because the arthritis itself, as far as I so far know, is ongoing. We seem to be able to improve it but not remove it altogether.
I’m investigating arthritis at the moment because I now have it myself and it’s challenging. I am developing lumps on my finger joints which I do not like and I would like them to go away. But however common arthritis is, it is not simple.
There’s plenty of information and advice on the Web. 8.75 million people in the UK have sought help and advice on osteoarthritis and about 400,000 people, also in the UK, have rheumatoid arthritis.
The first stop is always diet, for arthritis as for everything else, since we are what we eat. This is an interesting website: http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Stone_Age_Diet_-_this_is_a_diet_which_we_all_should_follow#Four_white_devils
I do eat meat although I was vegetarian for seven years several years ago and I understand the arguments for not eating meat. The way the majority of animals are raised for consumption now is horrific and I go out of my way to buy meat from an animal that has been properly and compassionately raised, and has spent most of its time outside, eating grass.
I don’t quite follow the Stone Age diet but I have very little grain and avoid the solanaceae, the deadly nightshade family, which are all slightly poisonous. These are potatoes, aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, including paprika, chilli and cayenne. Goji berries and ashwaganda (an Indian herb used as an adaptogen)are also from the solanaceae family, and even blueberries, although I’m not sure about this and neither are the sources I have checked: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/link-between-nightshades-chronic-pain-and-inflammation They are all best avoided if you have arthritis or other inflammation-related health issues. Have a look at this article too: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/nightshades/ He says that blueberries do not contain solanine. I eat them rather a lot but I think I will give them a miss for a while.
I’ve read several articles on the Web and several books, the latest being The New Arthritis Cure by Bruce Fife, who has also written books about coconut oil, which naturally enough features in the arthritis book.
So now I have a long list of things to do, like oil-pulling (see Bruce Fife’s books) and exercise, which I do anyway, usually walking and yoga, (did you know that bouncing on a rebounder exercises every joint in the body, even in the fingers?) foods to avoid, like nightshades, chocolate, processed foods and sugar (I don’t have these anyway. Well, a bit of chocolate.)
However, none of these books or articles has mentioned oxalates, the salt form of oxalic acid, as in, for instance, spinach. I found out about these when I started avoiding grains. I personally think humans have not evolved to eat grasses and grains are cultivated grasses. I feel better without them but the pain in my fingers got worse because I had to find other things to eat than grains and one thing I started eating was a loaf made with ground almonds and flax seed. It was delicious but each slice probably had at least twenty almonds in it and if I had more than one slice, which I usually did, I had consumed a lot of almonds.
I discovered that almonds, and, in fact, most nuts and many vegetables are very high in oxalates, spinach extraordinarily so, which are microscopic stones with very sharp edges that lodge in damaged tissue. Here is another article, again from the Weston Price Foundation, on oxalates, which is very enlightening. They are more often associated with kidney stones but very relevant to any painful and inflamed tissues, including arthritis: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/the-role-of-oxalates-in-autism-and-chronic-disorders/

What I have realised, in the course of several years now studying the relationship of food and diet to health or ill-health, is that every food has a downside. Nothing is simple and completely benign. Grains, for instance, contain anti-nutrients that prevent some minerals from being absorbed and they are not easily processed at all by humans until they themselves have been processed, for example by fermentation. There is also the example of the deadly nightshade family that I have already mentioned. Meat, until fairly recently, had to be hunted and captured, no mean feat, I imagine. I think this is because every living thing on the planet gets eaten by some other living thing and so each species has evolved a defence system to try to prevent itself from being eaten. Being at the top of the food chain humans have no predators but we kill each other anyway, for power rather than hunger. But that’s another subject.

However, in the meantime, because all of the above takes time to implement and to take effect, I have had good results using acupuncture for arthritis: see my blog, Acupuncture Miracle No.1.

Ants and bees – a metaphor

This is an email I received today and I’m putting it on the blog because I like it and what it has to say to all of us. It’s by Madyson Taylor and comes from the Daily Om:

“We can learn a lot from watching ants and bees living in community and working for the greater good.

When we see ants and bees out in the world, we often see just one, but this belies the reality of their situation. More than any other species, ants and bees function as parts of a whole. They cannot and do not survive as individuals; they survive as members of a group, and the group’s survival is the implicit goal of each individual’s life. There is no concept of life outside the group, so even to use the word individual is somewhat misleading. Often, humans, on the other hand, strongly value individuality and often negatively associate ants and bees with a lack of independence. And yet, if we look closer at these amazing creatures, we can learn valuable lessons about how much we can achieve when we band together with others to work for a higher purpose.

Most ants and bees have highly specified roles within their communities, some of which are biologically dictated, and they work within the confines of their roles without complaint, never wishing to be something other than what they are. In this way, they symbolize self-knowledge and humility. They also display selfless service as they work for the common good. In many ways, they are like the individual cells of one body, living and dying as necessary to preserve the integrity of the whole body, not to protect themselves as individuals. In this way, ants personify the ability to see beyond one’s small self to one’s place within the greater whole, and the ability to serve this whole selflessly.

Ants and bees can inspire us to fully own what we have to offer and to put it to use in the pursuit of a goal that will benefit all of humanity, whether it be raising consciousness about the environment, feeding the hungry, or raising a happy child. Each one of us has certain talents we were born with, as well as skills we have acquired. When we apply these gifts, knowing that we are one part of a greater organism working to better the whole world, we honour and implement the wisdom of ants and bees.”

About water

I read a lot of books about health issues and how to look and feel better. A lot of them are about diet and there is a lot of conflicting advice. It can make giving advice to patients a bit problematic because as knowledge and books pile up so some things I have read get discarded and some are retained. It does become apparent that in many instances there is an agenda. Many books and articles are written on the basis of “it worked for me therefore it must be right, and if this is right then everything else is wrong.”
In the end I go with personal experience and suggest to my patients that they do the same thing. I rarely recommend a food supplement or practice I have not used myself.
However there are some things that are basic to health. Hydration is one of those. It is essential to drink enough water for the body to be able to function as it should.
Quite a while ago I read a book, “The Body’s Many Cries for Water” by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, an Iranian doctor, on this theme. It does make for compelling reading. But personal experience is always the most convincing. Years ago, while I was at college, I made a visit to a chiropractor who was recommended by a friend. He clicked my back and it felt better but he also told me to drink lots of water for the next 24 hours. I did and I couldn’t believe how much better I felt in every way. I had more energy, felt more alert, more balanced emotionally and I actually was aware of feeling happier. I was astonished that just drinking more water could have such an effect.
The book recommends drinking 2 litres of plain water every day. If it’s very warm, drink more. If you are wanting to lose weight or help an existing health problem you should probably drink more. In this cold weather drinking cold water is not inviting but you can just take the edge of it by adding a tiny bit of hot water.
As with every change, do it gradually. If you are drinking very little at the moment, increase the amount over a couple of weeks or so. Give your body time to get used to it.
Another marvellous book on water, and quite different, is “The Hidden Messages in Water” by Masaru Emoto. He has been doing research on water for many years. He found that water from unpolluted and natural sources, such as springs, forms beautiful crystals. But water that is polluted or treated with chlorine is unable to form crystals. This is the water that most of us drink every day.
Water has a memory: homoeopathy is based on this principle. When exposed to loving words water also forms these crystals. Bearing in mind that the human body is largely made up of water, this is important. It makes a difference what we say to each other and to ourselves. I highly recommend this book. It is truly original.

Acupuncture miracle No.1

This lady came to me with rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosed two months previously. One year previous to that diagnosis she had a hysterectomy. She was told by doctors that she needed to have this done, due to long term endometriosis and the possibility of a growth at the back of the womb being cancerous. She said her periods had always been “horrendous”. She was put on the contraceptive pill to regulate them. It is likely that the pill contained oestrogen but she couldn’t remember which one it was. Many women are oestrogen dominant rather than deficient and it is possible that the pill caused more problems than it solved. Endometriosis is usually caused by an excess of oestrogen. It was probably very long term – impossible to say when it started; it’s often not diagnosed for years – and she started having “procedures” i.e. operations to remove endometrial tissue ten years previous to the hysterectomy. But the endometrial tissue kept on coming and so she had several procedures. Her energy levels were “dreadful” and her emotional state low. She had a stressful job with a lot of responsibility, working for her father’s company. So we started treatment. I always ask people what kind of weather they like and about their own body temperature – are they hot, cool, irritated by wind etc. She said she had been cold all her life. Her brother remembers that when she was born, in August, he (then aged 4) was standing by a radiator, which was on. She was wrapped in a blanket and he was holding her, while their father took photographs. He said he remembers being “so hot”! She said she comes to life and has energy when the sun shines and it’s warm. She said also that she told the doctors that she felt her period problems were due to her poor circulation, because she was cold. When liquids are warm they are thin. As they become cooler they thicken, for instance ice-cream. When water freezes it goes solid. We are roughly 70% water, depending on age and levels of hydration. It makes sense that when we are cold we feel heavier and more solid and we don’t have the energy we do when we are warm enough. Enough is the operative word. When things are cold they coagulate, thicken and harden, inside bodies as well as outside in the environment. Cold weather is the time of year for hibernation and a lack of activity. The doctors didn’t listen. They thought she was being silly. But we know our own bodies best and she was probably right. So I warmed her up, slowly, with needles in particular points and with moxa, which is a dried herb compressed into a cigar shape, which you light at one end, like a cigarette, and then direct the smoke and the heat it produces onto areas on the body. It’s often used on the lower back or the abdomen to heat the core of the body and increase energy. It has taken a while and she is lucky in that she can afford to come every week, but she has improved dramatically. When she last saw the consultant he remarked that she looked like a different person. The pain and inflammation from the rheumatoid arthritis is much, much less. She is still on medication but the consultant says that if she continues to improve and can hold her current level of wellbeing he is happy to look at that possibility. It is not up to me to advise on her medication since I did not put her on it. Now she is warm when everybody else is warm, when it is normal to be warm. When it’s cold she feels the cold like everyone else but she no longer wears gloves to type on the computer, in an office everyone else complains is too hot. She can wear shoes rather than sheepskin boots. This is huge. This is what acupuncture has been able to do for her. I know of no other form of medicine that could do this. This is miracle number 1. (I would like to point out that this is obviously anonymous but I do have the person’s permission to write about her.)

Introducing miracles

Sometimes treatment with acupuncture produces what can only be described as miraculous, to me as well as to the patient who benefits. I am writing here and in the next few blogs about some of my experiences of these. Obviously, the patient is anonymous and where possible, I have been given their permission to write about their experience.
Chinese medicine works according to very simple principles. A person can be cold, or hot, for instance. This is internal, so that it could be said that the body thermostat is set too low, or too high. Or he or she could be damp, very common in this country, being an island surrounded by water. Or dry. Some people are just dry everywhere and it doesn’t make any difference how much water they drink.
Too much heat, as well as simply being too warm all the time; wanting to take some clothing off, or find somewhere cooler to be, can make you feel as if you are “full up”, even before you eat. It can make being in a crowd of people feel oppressive and overwhelming, “phew, get me out of here,” and irritating. Irritation is always present because there is a fire burning inside, too much of a fire and sometimes it builds up to an intensity that produces an explosion – an angry outburst. Everyone wonders – what was that about? – but what it was about is too much fire and fire consumes. It overrides everything else, including wanting to behave in a socially acceptable way, because it is the body letting off steam, literally, like a kettle of water that boils and no-one is turning off the heat. Fire is yang.
It can be more difficult for the person to handle than cold because at least with cold you can put more clothes on or carry a hot water bottle around. But cold is difficult too.
Whereas heat tends to be expansive, as in fire consumes and reaches into the surrounding environment, whatever that may be – people, or the person’s own immediate personal space – cold is restrictive. People who are cold, and I’m talking physical cold here, not emotional cold, tend to be lower in energy, the opposite of expansive. When water freezes it becomes solid and does not move. Unless it is moved by an outside force, it is literally frozen to the spot. The water in a river moves and flows. When the river is frozen the water does not move. It slows down and then it stops. Every person suffering from cold knows that if they get up and move around they will warm up, to an extent, anyway. But they often lack the incentive and enthusiasm to do just what is needed. Enthusiasm is a kind of fire and they don’t have enough fire. The right amount of fire produces warmth and comfort and the motivation to move around and do what has to be done. Cold is yin and contractive.
Damp clogs things up, makes lumps. You can see in your garden, or any piece of earth, what happens when the weather is damp. A clay soil becomes solid and difficult to work with, for example. Damp in a person produces mucus of various kinds, such as catarrh, discharges, arthritis, endometriosis and a tendency towards depression. Damp is difficult to treat because it tends to be caused or exacerbated by the external environment and then it becomes internal, although it can be internal from the beginning. Damp is not fun. If you have damp in your home you need to do something about it, because it will affect you.
So these are examples of inner climate and what it tends to do.
I am going to write about three examples of what I would call miraculous changes brought about through treatment by acupuncture. One of these is to do with the inner climate, the other two are about the meridians themselves. Meridians are channels of energy; channels in the body which carry energy.
This is an introduction. I will post the first example in the next blog. Soon. I hope you will follow.

About humanity

It’s Sunday morning. I thought I would buy a newspaper and catch up on all the awful things that are currently happening around the world, particularly in the Middle East.
I’m not a journalist, I’m not a political commentator, I’m not a historian but I hope I’m a human being. I have a heart and I feel empathy and horror when I see other human beings in distress. And a lot of human beings are in distress. Almost certainly a lot of human beings are in distress of varying degrees all the time. But it seems as if the world stage is fully taken up with human beings in distress, and that includes the other human beings who are causing the distress, having themselves their own particular distress.
It’s ghastly watching or reading the news. I look at the headlines and pick a paper, usually The Independent. Then I open the paper or turn the television on with trepidation; how awful is it going to be? How many people have died or been injured in horrible circumstances? Who is going to their aid? Is anyone going to their aid?
Politicians are not, generally, in the business of humanitarian aid, for all their words to that effect. Politicians are in the business of looking after their own interests. Hence the humanitarian disaster that is Syria goes on, and on. The humanitarian disaster playing out in Gaza, on a smaller scale than Syria, thank God, has been eclipsed (conveniently?) by another humanitarian disaster happening in Iraq. And the Ukraine is in there somewhere too, and Mr Putin… But this time, in Iraq, we see David Cameron and Barack Obama jumping up to denounce this particular disaster and dropping a few bombs, which they hope are strategically placed and then saying to the world and each other, okay, that’s sorted now. Nothing more needed there. How would they feel, I wonder, if they were to spend a few days, or even hours, walking in the shoes of a Yazidi, or a Palestinian, or a Syrian refugee. Or even a few days in the shoes of an ISIS warrior, to have some insight into their particular view of their reality, as in the suggestion of the unknown North American Indian: to paraphrase – you cannot judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.
However, there are a few little lights going on in a few places, in a few people’s hearts. As follows:
Robert Fisk writing in The Independent on 26 July under the heading, “What if it had been 35 Palestinian dead, and 800 Israeli?” goes on to say, within the article, “Impunity is the word that comes to mind…..Because – and this has been creeping up on me for years – we don’t care so much about the Palestinians, do we?”
Jon Snow, reporting on Channel 4 News, from Gaza a couple of weeks ago, and visibly moved by what he was witnessing and reporting on, made a You Tube video expressing his concern and his emotional response to the devastation and destruction he saw. It has now been watched by over a million people.
The Independent on Sunday, 17 August, included an article informing us that the United Nations top humanitarian official in the Middle East “issued an impassioned appeal for a new deal for Gaza to end the ‘collective punishment’ of its 1.8 million inhabitants imposed by Israel’s seven-year blockade of the territory”.
In the same paper the Comment article is by Sir Richard Shirreff, until recently the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe. He expresses his opinion on the “spineless lack of leadership…” and says, about what’s happening in Iraq, “If the right thing must be done, then have the guts to do it, irrespective of focus groups”.
It still comes from the heart and is concerned with what is happening to other human beings, expressing empathy as well as frustration.
News reporting is including emotion, which it must when what is being reported is obviously having a huge emotional impact on the reporter and the readers and viewers. This is a human response to human suffering and distress. We empathise and this is essential because if we do not, then we are lost. Our humanity,that which makes us human, is lost.
It was not always so, and some journalists argue that news reporting should be “straight” so that those receiving the news can make up their own minds. But a report, such as Robert Fisk’s or a video like Jon Snow’s are not necessarily putting forward a point of view which is intended to manipulate or persuade their readers and viewers. They are pointing out and standing up for something that is patently obvious and to ignore it, to not acknowledge it, would be impossible, if not actually morally wrong. They are pointing at suffering. An emotional response is not the same as a point of view.
A few days ago I watched “The Pianist” on television. It is the story of what happened to the Jews in Warsaw in the second world war, told through the eyes of a pianist who escaped the deportations to the concentration camps and somehow survived to tell the tale. I wondered how much the Israeli aggression and bullying comes from repressed anger and humiliation at what happened to them then. A political “peace” and “solution” means nothing and indeed will not work if there is no possible peace, which must include forgiveness, in the hearts of any side in any conflict.
If you start looking, and I have, evidence of emotion, feelings of indignation, empathy, compassion, is there. It takes a change of perspective to see it and it is the only thing we have to give us hope for something better than what we are currently witnessing in so many places – the execution of power over others at any cost.
It is our emotions that make us human, that give us the quality of humanity. Carolyn Myss, an American medical intuitive and writer says this, “Emotions tell the truth. If we open ourselves to feel what others are feeling, we then must either act on that input or consciously act against it, thereby denying our own emotional experience. This is valid both in terms of how we interact within our personal lives and how we interact in the larger, impersonal area of our institutions. Consider that we go to great lengths to keep emotional input out of business, politics, government and other major decision-making institutions. We are, as a whole, not prepared to respond to the emotional input of other people and of the other kingdoms of life.”
This was written in 1999 in “Creation of Health”, co-authored with Dr Norman Shealy. Fifteen years later emotions are creeping in, as above, and personally I think this is good thing. Without them we can never learn to feel compassion and without compassion and forgiveness and hope nothing will change.

PS

I must make a correction to today’s blogpost. It was the Dutch Foreign Minister who gave the speech I referred to. He was therefore not the leader of a country but a representative, of the Netherlands. Nevertheless it was still a heartfelt speech and a reminder of humanity and sanity and respect to the actual victims of the shot-down aircraft, the people on board, all of whom are now dead.
We would all do well to remember that people are more important than power, and who’s “right” and who’s “wrong”. It’s all in the perspective anyway. It’s all a point of view.

Issues old and new

While wondering what to write about in my blog I looked briefly at the news. My goodness, plenty of issues there!
There’s female genital mutilation, abbreviated to FGM, which was the subject, along with forced child marriage, of a conference in London yesterday, the Girl Summit, hosted by our Government and Unicef.
In order to speak about a subject you have to use words and the words pull the mind where it wouldn’t otherwise want to go. Words give a thing a label and it then becomes part of our consciousness. But the mind, or mine anyway, recoils from contemplating something as barbaric, cruel and abusive as mutilated genitals.
It is reported that 125 million women worldwide have been subjected to this. 170,000 of them are in the United Kingdom. The NSPCC set up a helpline a year ago, which has so far received around 300 calls. Nearly 130 of those were passed on to the police or Child Services.
Mothers and grandmothers, who have themselves been mutilated, do it to their daughters and grand-daughters. It’s apparently part of an ancient tradition. Started by whom? And why? Who first had the idea of doing this to a woman in order to disempower and subjugate her at the most basic level? I wonder who the first victim was, how old she was, and why this happened, and continued to happen and still happens. What a power trip for someone.
Malala Yousafzai, the girl who survived being short in the head by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school, spoke at the conference yesterday:
“Traditions are not sent from heaven, they are not sent from God. (It is us) who make cultures. We have the right to change it and we should change it. Those traditions that go against the health of girls, they should be stopped.”
The “health of girls”, mild words indeed, but what a brave girl she is and what a marvellous role model for girls and women everywhere.
Then there’s the MH17 aircraft that was shot down and the chaos and politicking that has ensued and the rhetoric being thrown around, including that from David Cameron, ever anxious to score points and with his eyes on the General Election next year.
In marked contrast, the Dutch Prime Minister gave a speech which was from the heart and focusing absolutely on the human aspect. It’s worth reading, as an example of a leader of a country who is also, and has remained, a human being. It was reported in the Huffington Post. This is the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/22/speech-un-mh17_n_5609363.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
And a bit of humour. My home page, when I turn on the computer in the morning, is BBC News and I found this while looking around: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-28426819
It’s a 3 ½ minute video poking fun at the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, made by a Chinese man with 190,000 followers on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, and it’s been watched in China over 55 million times. It’s a lot of fun and worth a look.