Archive for the ‘Comment’ Category
by Malcolm Cook
What would T E Laurence say as thousands flood the streets in Istanbul to rally against the conflict with Syria. Although the main issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict has always been the Palestine question, water has been a continuous matter of dispute that is intrinsically linked to it.
The Golan Heights water is the source for more than 55% of Israel’s fresh water needs and forms part of the ground water reserves that supplies Israel with most of their water supply.
The ‘Line of 4th June 1967′ issue, which has become part of the Arab-Israeli dialogue for years. It outlines the withdrawal demanded of Israel by Syria in the context of any peace treaty. Conceptually, the line of 4 June 1967 was the confrontation line, on the day before the outbreak of the 5 June 1967 war.
Only along one 15-kilometer stretch did this dubious line correspond with the international boundary between Palestine and Syria instituted by Great Britain and France in 1923. Neither did it correspond to the mutually agreed UN brokered Armistice Demarcation Line agreed to by the parties in 1949, after the first Arab Israeli war. The root of the Arab-Israeli water issue can be traced back to 9th March 1916, when the Sykes-Picot Agreement was signed between the British and the French.
T E Lawrence (of Arabia) was gnawed by these doubts. When he rode off to enter Damascus in 1917, alone and with a price on his head, he wrote an agonized note to his chief in Cairo: “Clayton, I’ve decided to go off alone to Damascus, hoping to get killed on the way… We are calling them to fight for us on a lie, and I can’t stand it.”
It was his view then and later that the Allies had persuaded the Arabs to take up arms against the Turks with a false promise, and that even as the Arabs were fighting, the British and the French were secretly laying claim to the spoils of war in advance, and sharing between themselves the areas that the Arabs had been promised: Lebanon and Syria for France, Palestine, what is now Jordan, and what is now Iraq (with its rich oil reserves) for Great Britain, leaving for the Arabs only a few worthless strips of desert, without major ports or sensible frontiers, like throwing them the carcass of a chicken once the meat had been carved away. The land grab continues.
In the wake of the iPhone 5’s release, there were bound to be a few glitches. Of relevance to us – according to the new iPhone, the Taj Mahal can now be found in Brighton.
I really enjoyed this. I like the idea of following their directions:
“Walk 50 yds… Turn left at Harry Ramsden’s… Keep straight past Venus Hair Design… You have reached the Taj Mahal.”
Other elements of Brighton have actually disappeared according to the device – the clock tower, for example. But obviously that is not nearly so hilarious as the appearance of an enormous palace. I have scoured the internet to see whether or not other cities have recently received world wonders – ‘Hull acquire two pyramids’, for example, but it seems we’re the only ones.
I don’t tend to notice how reliant I am on technology until it goes wrong. A former deputy editor at The Times who gave a guest speech in college last week conceded he would be lost without his iPhone, and I’m sure he’s not the only one. It is very easy to throw blind faith at applications like maps with a successful track record, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that they are not infallible.
Being a horrible map reader myself I am a little reluctant to return to a fold-out one, but maybe it’s worth considering. As we stride into winter winds they may require a certain amount of wrangling once open, but then there’s always the compass. I don’t know how they work, but if I needed directions I could throw one at passers by.
I’m also a becoming a little overwhelmed by the range of aps available. Last week I read a review of a new one for women, the Wonder Clock, which confronts the question “how much time do I have left?” by filling the screen with an enormous pink countdown of your remaining hours, minutes and days of fertility. I can imagine no better way for a woman to fill a silence during a first date.
“That ticking? Oh it’s just the haunting sound of my ovaries. How is your soup?”
Technology is going mad.
I’m going back to my 3210 with its Purple Ronnie fascia. Scrap that, I’m just going to pay people impromptu visits, holding up a chalkboard next to my face with what I would’ve sent in a text written on it.
We’re in a perspex walled box. Black floor, a faint glow from a large ceiling screen creating reflections of reflections. Boundless space. Projections of bare trees surround us, even above our heads. A man walks toward us between the trees, goes away. Another man looms in the extreme foreground. One wall is a close-up of his ear, leaking bloody poison. The image echoes around us.
A man wakes with a start. His ultra-modern bedroom is a brightly lit box beyond our perspex wall. He steps through the door to his bathroom, an adjoining box, rehearsing the speech Claudius makes to Hamlet, urging him to get over his father’s recent death and join his new parents in a united front. Overhead, we see him through the plughole as he tries out phrases and inflections above his basin.
Rooms appear on all sides. A fashionable young woman nervously straightens her jacket; her brother does a few press-ups before slipping into an expensive business suit; an attractive older woman brushes on foundation. Multiple video images from advertising and politics are projected onto other walls. A large room, one whole side of our own, is set up with a minimalist sofa for what looks like breakfast TV.
Behind us, a young man sits on the edge of his bed in the gloom, reflections creating the impression he’s underwater. He wrings his hands, and stares. Read the rest of this entry »
As I slip my feet back under the duvet, the ghastly Leonie and James seem to be starting another row. I sip my coffee. I’ve been looking forward to this…. CLANG; CLANG; CLANG; CLANG; CLANG.. Oh well. Now we’re outside the Bull, and Jolene’s trying to organise everyone … CLANG; CLANG; CLANG; CLANG; CLANG. … Leonie’s berating James again. Seems their aerial photo shoot didn’t go that well. I guess there’s always the iPlayer.
Kemptown’s noisier than Ambridge. People socializing in gardens, car alarms, Brighton Ballroom smokers shrieking drunkenly – and the seagulls! Can’t be helped, though, can it? Unlike that CLANGING!
The insistent, tuneless racket is not an alarm. There’s no fire, or sinking ship. It’s St George’s call to prayer. Read the rest of this entry »
by Damien Murphy
WHILE most of us agree that recycling is important, most of us still knowingly bin recyclable waste, according to a study published last September.
The study showed that, for the most part, we throw out what we could recycle simply because we are too busy or too lazy.
So perhaps Brighton should be grateful to have someone like Olive Taylor, who has been picking up the slack, and the trash, for others for decades.
The Brighton pensioner has been shouldering more than her share of the burden, collecting cans and rubbish to recycle for charity since 1978.
But cleaning up after the rest of us is quite the Herculean task for a blind octogenarian, so it is little surprise her workload has literally piled up.
Brighton and Hove City Council has given the 87-year-old until April 10 to clear the four-foot-high piles of rubbish that line the path to her house.
It is hard to blame her neighbours for complaining about the rubbish and the flies it attracts, nor the council for viewing the hoard as a health risk.
Yet it is just as hard to doubt that Miss Taylor’s intentions are noble.
Back in 2003, Miss Taylor told the Argus: “[The council] seem to think I am an obsessive compulsive who collects rubbish for the sake of it… [but] it is there until I have sorted through it and taken it down to be recycled.”
It may be an eyesore and a hazard, but perhaps it is not Miss Taylor who should be ashamed of the mounds of rubbish.
Perhaps the shame better belongs to those of us who don’t take responsibility for the waste we produce, leaving it for others to pick up.
Clearing up Olive Taylor’s garden once and for all means getting better at cleaning up after ourselves, and binning only what we can’t recycle.
HAVE you ever wondered how a TV programme got created? Possibly not. Something genuinely original will draw you in instantly, you’ll forget these people and their stories aren’t real. That’s the mark of good telly. Anything else isn’t worth watching. Right?
The first thing I find myself considering about Body of Proof is the awkward title. A bit like Body of Evidence, a great title but already taken. Body of Proof sounds like they couldn’t think of anything better. This doesn’t bode well.
Never mind. I’m a cop-show junkie – I’ll give anything new a chance, at least for an hour.
As new Philadelphia Medical Examiner Megan Hunt, played by Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives), struggles to bond with her new professional partner while unpicking the last hours of a woman found floating in the Schuylkill River, far from suspending disbelief, I continue to contemplate the process by which these things get made. Read the rest of this entry »
This week Iran pre-empted an EU ban on oil imports from that country and halted its own sales to British and French buyers. Well, good. We should be comfortable that we are not funding a nuclear programme that might soon point the fruits of its labours at us or our allies, funding our own demise. William Hague said it would have no impact on our energy security, but only eight days ago crude oil prices hit an eight-month high. With our elderly frequently having to choose between eating and freezing during winter, North Sea reservoirs running dry, businesses paying extortionately to transport goods, and especially with the UK economy flat-lining, one would think we would fall upon a new resource of energy in our own country like it was manna from heaven. The stuff has been lurking unleashed beneath our feet for millions of years. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kat Hopps
After angry protests at the recent budget meeting, the Green party is at risk of alienating its voters
It may have been their first ever budget, but it’s likely to be one they wish to forget. The Green Party suffered a humiliating defeat at Wednesday’s meeting, not just from opposition councillors who defeated a raft of green proposals, including a 3.5% council tax levy, but at the hands of vocal protestors both inside and outside Brighton Town Hall.
A range of individuals came along to voice their discontent: allotment owners; parents; and students amongst them. Outside, individuals waved placards; inside, there was a tense, and at times, hostile atmosphere during the five hour meeting as members of the gallery heckled Green councillors.
From speaking to people who voted Green in last year’s elections, it is apparent many are angry about the party’s rhetoric in recent weeks. Some have noted a whiff of hypocrisy from a party which purports a ‘green’ line on issues whilst simultaneously trying to raise allotment rates and cut community services such as the mobile library.
Graham Ennis, a retired research scientist and former writer for The Ecologist magazine, said: “The Green Party has lost contact with ordinary people…. and simply doesn’t seem to understand what it is doing or how ridiculous it looks. A bright 12 year-old can figure out that if you say you are a green party and say you like green things, you should support green things and not snatch it away from people.”
Despite the defeat of some of the Green’s proposals on Wednesday, some argue that the damage has already been done. Will Scrim, a Brighton resident and student at Sussex University said: “Although the Greens initially made a stand against cuts, it is now complicit. It is not just the Tory’s who are at fault, it is the people who implement the cuts at a local level who become part of that agenda. They should refuse to take money from the poorest in society…they should build a campaign to force the government to change.”
It appears then that the Greens have some work to do. With a tarnished brand image, they may now be at threat from Labour in future elections over broken campaign promises – something which Labour leader, Jill Mitchell, is all too aware. She declared: “They have gone from the protest party to the party most protested in this city.”
When asked if he had voted for the Greens at the last local elections, Graham Ennis said: “I did and I regret it bitterly.” Watch this space: he might not be the only one.
By Elizabeth Hughes
By Harriet Thacker
Photo courtesy of Sussex Police
A Brighton man has been jailed for four years today after being found guilty of raping his girlfriend.
Victor Agada, age 24, appeared in court on 13th January accused of rape when she refused to sleep with him before he was tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
After the sentencing the victim said: “It was terrible after what happened for so many reasons. I felt nervous all the time and had to wait for HIV results; I really thought I could have been infected. When I found out that there was no possibility I had it, I was so relieved I celebrated.”
The case highlights the importance of reporting rape cases, currently only 7% of cases in the UK are reported to police.
Detective Constable Joel Brooks said: “The victim’s brave decision to pursue the prosecution will help to protect other women, but also sends a clear message that offenders of domestic violence will be held to account. The jury heard the incredibly compelling words of the victim, who told of the anxiety of waiting for HIV results and how it has affected her whole life. It is great to see her looking to the future now justice has been done.
“There is help for you if you are a victim of domestic abuse. You’re not alone and we’ll be with you every step of the way.”