No more us and them...16 comments
picture7 Oct 2003 @ 13:20
Palestinians kill Israelis, Israelis kill Palestinians; Americans kill Iraqis, Iraqis kill Americans; Russians kill Chechnians, Chechnians kill Russians; Tamils kill Sinhalese, Sinhalese kill Tamils etc, etc.

Does anybody see a pattern here?

Does anybody think that killing brings peace?

We all need to start seeing only "US", for there is no "THEM"

That means we can't blame any particular group, because such generalisations are meaningless. If I say "the Palestinians did so and so", what do I mean? Or, "Americans want to control the whole world", who do I mean by "Americans"?

There are no masses of people, only people like us. We are all "us".

Nation states tell us that because of where we were born we are somehow different to those born a few miles away - due to an invisible line. What utter nonsense. When folk try the patriotic crap with you, give them short shrift. If someone tells you that all Jews are this and Palestinians are that, laugh at their naivety and ask them, "have you met them all, then?"

This is very important. Racism and sexism also operate in this manner. Wars only happen when enough people take sides. So don't take sides. There is only one side - us!

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 A sad but true story17 comments
picture30 Sep 2003 @ 05:55

Kurd who slit daughter's throat in 'honour killing' is jailed for life
Muslim father of girl, 16, who had relationship outside her religion, subjected her to months of beatings before stabbing her repeatedly

Vikram Dodd
Tuesday September 30, 2003
The Guardian

A 47-year-old Kurdish father who slit his teenage daughter's throat after she started dating a man from outside her own culture was yesterday jailed for life.

Police said the murder of Heshu Yones, 16, was an honour killing. Her father, Abdalla Yones, subjected her to months of beatings before stabbing her 17 times because he feared Heshu was too westernised.

The teenager had been planning to run away from home. In a note to her father she tried to cope with her ordeal by joking about the beatings he meted out to her: "Hey, for an older man you have a good strong punch and kick."

Yones, an Iraqi Kurd who gained indefinite leave to remain in Britain after opposing the Saddam Hussein dictatorship, begged an Old Bailey judge to order his execution.

Yones, a Muslim, had become "disgusted and distressed" by his daughter's relationship with an 18-year-old Lebanese Christian A-level student.

In October last year Heshu barricaded herself in the bathroom of the family home in west London. The father broke down the door and stabbed his daughter repeatedly, before slitting her throat and leaving her bleeding in the bath.

Then Yones attempted suicide by cutting his throat and throwing himself off a third floor balcony.

He was in hospital for several months and claimed that al-Qaida had broken into the family flat and murdered his daughter.

Heshu was described as a "bubbly" and "fun loving girl" in court. The jury was read a farewell letter the teenager wrote to her father as she planned to run away.

In it she apologised for having been a problem, promised to pay back any money she owed him and asked him not to worry about her.

The letter read: "Bye Dad, sorry I was so much trouble.

"Me and you will probably never understand each other, but I'm sorry I wasn't what you wanted, but there's some things you can't change.

"Hey, for an older man you have a good strong punch and kick.

"I hope you enjoyed testing your strength on me, it was fun being on the receiving end. Well done.

"One day when I have got a proper job, every penny I owe you will be repaid in full.

"I'm sure in saying I will be safe. I will find a way to independently look after myself.

"I will go to social security and get myself a flat or hostel. I will be okay.

"Don't look for me because I don't know where I'm going yet, I just want to be alone."

The court heard her grades had begun to slip. To limit any offence to her father, Heshu would wait until reaching college to put on make-up.

Yones never adapted to life in Britain and the cultural tensions it placed on his family; he wanted his daughter to observe his interpretation of strict tradition, but she wanted a more liberal life.

Yones was described as "a fish out of water" and became depressed, but his children thrived and Heshu studied at the William Morris Academy in Fulham, south-west London.

Sentencing Yones, who pleaded guilty, to life imprisonment, Judge Neil Denison said the Kurd was still suicidal: "This is, on any view, a tragic story arising out of irreconcilable cultural differ ences between traditional Kurdish values and the values of western society."

Icah Peart QC, defending Yones, said that before the murder his client had received a letter, written in Kurdish, describing his daughter as a slut who was sleeping with her boyfriend on a daily basis.

"He was disgusted and distressed by the letter, which he threw away in his anger," said Mr Peart.

"He did not want to believe what he had read although he suspected there might be some truth in it. He could not stop brooding on the content of the letter."

Scotland Yard yesterday said there had been 12 "honour killings" across different communities in the last year in Britain.

Police define an honour killing as a murder motivated by perceived dishonour to a family or community and stress that it is not limited to Islamic communities. There have been examples of Sikh and Christian honour killings.

Commander Andy Baker said Heshu had suffered "very significant physical abuse" in the months leading up to the killing, but it was never reported to police.

The issue of honour killings is being researched by the Metropolitan police racial and violent crimes task force and Mr Baker said many communities were helping police understand the practice.

"We've got to stop it, we can prevent these murders," he said, adding that a handful of people still believed it was an appropriate cultural response.

People who had tried to protect Yones could be investigated on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, he said.

"We are completely satisfied that some members of the community, or his friends, tried to assist him in that cover-up," said Mr Baker.

Sawsan Salim, coordinator of the Kurdistan Refugees Women's Organisation, said most Kurds condemned honour killings. The group has campaigned against murders and domestic violence against women.

"No one has the right to kill women under any name, whether it is God or culture," Ms Salim said. "No excuse should be given for such a brutal tragedy."

Aisha Gill, a lecturer in criminology at the University of Surrey, said there were examples where men accused of honour killings had used a "cultural defence" argument.

"What is important to emphasise here is that cultural rights cannot override women's right to life," she wrote in a recent edition of Police Review.


Police in UK claim that at least a dozen women and girls are murdered for this reason in this country annually.

Sue and I feel that gender issues are too important to ignore, and we think that NCN needs to do more in this area.  More >

 flame warriors5 comments
picture26 Sep 2003 @ 03:44
Good day fellow warriors for peace.

Check this link out for funny personifications of online personalities. I see myself in some. Are you there?

"flame warriors" - cartoons and descriptions
click on "flame warriors index"  More >

 An Ethical Question13 comments
picture24 Sep 2003 @ 15:39
Please help me to come to some kind of conclusion to a question that has been bugging me(if you'll excuse the pun)for some time now.
Namely, is it ethical to own a pet?  More >

 It's life Jim, but not as we know it...5 comments
picture22 Sep 2003 @ 15:03

Plasma blobs hint at new form of life

17 September 03

From New Scientist

Physicists have created blobs of gaseous plasma that can grow, replicate and communicate - fulfilling most of the traditional requirements for biological cells. Without inherited material they cannot be described as alive, but the researchers believe these curious spheres may offer a radical new explanation for how life began.

Most biologists think living cells arose out of a complex and lengthy evolution of chemicals that took millions of years, beginning with simple molecules through amino acids, primitive proteins and finally forming an organised structure. But if Mircea Sanduloviciu and his colleagues at Cuza University in Romania are right, the theory may have to be completely revised. They say cell-like self-organisation can occur in a few microseconds.

The researchers studied environmental conditions similar to those that existed on the Earth before life began, when the planet was enveloped in electric storms that caused ionised gases called plasmas to form in the atmosphere.

They inserted two electrodes into a chamber containing a low-temperature plasma of argon - a gas in which some of the atoms have been split into electrons and charged ions. They applied a high voltage to the electrodes, producing an arc of energy that flew across the gap between them, like a miniature lightning strike.

Sanduloviciu says this electric spark caused a high concentration of ions and electrons to accumulate at the positively charged electrode, which spontaneously formed spheres (Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, vol 18, p 335). Each sphere had a boundary made up of two layers - an outer layer of negatively charged electrons and an inner layer of positively charged ions.

Trapped inside the boundary was an inner nucleus of gas atoms. The amount of energy in the initial spark governed their size and lifespan. Sanduloviciu grew spheres from a few micrometres up to three centimetres in diameter.

Split in two

A distinct boundary layer that confines and separates an object from its environment is one of the four main criteria generally used to define living cells. Sanduloviciu decided to find out if his cells met the other criteria: the ability to replicate, to communicate information, and to metabolise and grow.

He found that the spheres could replicate by splitting into two. Under the right conditions they also got bigger, taking up neutral argon atoms and splitting them into ions and electrons to replenish their boundary layers.

Finally, they could communicate information by emitting electromagnetic energy, making the atoms within other spheres vibrate at a particular frequency. The spheres are not the only self-organising systems to meet all of these requirements. But they are the first gaseous "cells".

Sanduloviciu even thinks they could have been the first cells on Earth, arising within electric storms. "The emergence of such spheres seems likely to be a prerequisite for biochemical evolution," he says.

Temperature trouble

That view is "stretching the realms of possibility," says Gregoire Nicolis, a physical chemist at the University of Brussels. In particular, he doubts that biomolecules such as DNA could emerge at the temperatures at which the plasma balls exist.

However, Sanduloviciu insists that although the spheres require high temperature to form, they can survive at lower temperatures. "That would be the sort of environment in which normal biochemical interactions occur."

But perhaps the most intriguing implications of Sanduloviciu's work are for life on other planets. "The cell-like spheres we describe could be at the origin of other forms of life we have not yet considered," he says. Which means our search for extraterrestrial life may need a drastic re-think.

David Cohen
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