Today it’s taken for granted that people of all ethnic groups should be treated equally in the armed forces and elsewhere. But as Leslie Gordon Goffe writes, during World War One black officers in the British armed forces faced a system with prejudice at its core.
When war was declared in 1914, a Jamaican, David Louis Clemetson, was among the first to volunteer.
A 20-year-old law student at Cambridge University when war broke out, Clemetson was eager to show that he and others from British colonies like Jamaica — where the conflict in Europe had been dismissed by some as a “white man’s war” — were willing to fight and die for King and Country. […]
Two years before, in 1915, he became one of the first black British officers of WW1. This was despite the provisions in the 1914 Manual of Military Law which barred, what it called, “negroes and or persons of colour” from holding rank above sergeant. […]
History has long recorded another black soldier, British-born Walter Tull, as the first to become an officer. But by the time Tull became a 2nd lieutenant in the Middlesex Regiment on 30 May 1917, Clemetson had been an officer for going on two years. There is a distinction — Clemetson was in the Yeomanry, part of what was then the Territorial Force, rather than the regular Army. […]
Another candidate for the first black officer is Jamaican-born George Bemand. But he had to lie about his black ancestry in order to become an officer. Bemand, whose story was unearthed by historian Simon Jervis, became a 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery on 23 May 1915, four months before Clemetson became an officer and two years before Walter Tull. […]
Dare I say it? Well why not? More white people behaving badly. If that seems a stretch, just try to imagine the berserk meltdown if this had been a mob of black teenagers at a US national monument.
Stonehenge was damaged during the Winter Solstice, with chewing gum stuck to the ancient monument, it has been diclosed.
A report The Heritage Journal also revealed graffiti was sprayed on the stones, people tried to light fires on them and someone dripped a line of oil on several of them in December.
Conservationists are calling for a ban to be put in place preventing people from walking among the stones on both the longest and shortest days of the year.
It comes as it emerged volunteers and staff at the site were “left in tears” following the last summer solstice as they were forced to clear up vomit and faeces.
Following a long battle, pagan leader King Arthur Pendragon won his fight for open access to the stones in 2000.
But staff at the iconic landmark say it should once again remain closed off during the annual events due to damage to the site.
Inayat Omarji vividly remembers the worried reaction when he first looked into renovating the abandoned church in his neighborhood: “There’s a bearded young Muslim chap involved in a church! Whoops! He’s gonna turn it into a mosque!”
At the time, Omarji was head of the local council of mosques, but there already were three or four in his neighborhood in Bolton, England.
“What it needed is a place where people could meet, people can come to, people can socialize,” he says.
Omarji and other local Muslims decided to turn the church into a community center for everyone. That was ten years ago. Now, amid stories about religious friction and ethnic tensions, the transformation of All Souls Church provides a story of harmony and integration in one culturally diverse community. […]
Earlier this year in Arkansas, nine-year-old Hank asked if he could go rabbit hunting, alone, with his .22-caliber rifle. His uncle said OK, because the boy had been hunting with his family all through his childhood
Hank never came back. He slipped somehow, the rifle went off, and he was shot in the forehead.
Both Kelli and Brad, from whom she is separated, believe that the gun was faulty - it shouldn’t have gone off unless the trigger was pulled, they claim. Since Hank’s death, she’s been posting warnings on her Facebook page about the gun her son used: “I wish someone else had posted warnings about it before what happened,” she says.
Had Kelli not bought the gun and had Brad not trained his son to use it, Hank would have celebrated his 10th birthday on 6 June, which his mother commemorated by posting Hank’s picture on her Facebook page with the message: “Happy Birthday Hank! Mommy loves you!”
Little Hank thus became one in a tally of what the makers of a Channel 4 documentary called Kids and Guns claim to be 3,000 American children who die each year from gun-related accidents. A recent Yale University study found that more than 7,000 US children and adolescents are hospitalised or killed by guns each year and estimates that about 20 children a day are treated in US emergency rooms following incidents involving guns.
Another nine-year-old in Texas named Gia hunts zombies — cardboard cutouts her father places in trees, and has other targets for her shooting practice.
Instead of playing with Barbie dolls, Gia shoots them as target practice near her home. She owns six pistols, a shotgun and a Winchester rifle. Her dad has even more, and says: “There’s an expression in Texas: ‘If you know how many guns you’ve got, you haven’t got enough.’”
Again, Spyder, a single father, considers himself to be a good parent. He teaches his daughter the four rules of gun safety, rule four of which is: Know your target and what is behind it. “I taught her to have her finger off the trigger and point the gun away. That was already ingrained in her by [age] five. If you live in Texas or Oklahoma where there are guns, you’ve got to teach them that part,” says Spyder.
What about those who say that teaching children to use guns is wrong? “Tough shit. That’s what we do.”
Both families, and several others are featured in a Channel 4 documentary, Kids and Guns, which airs in the UK on July 31. According to The Guardian, it’s a non-judgmental look at how Americans gun-users raise their children, and how Americans avoid examination of the sometimes painful consequences of easy gun ownership.
Pfizer, the maker of best-selling drugs like Lipitor and Viagra and a symbol of business prowess in the United States for more than a century, no longer wants to be an American company.
On Monday, Pfizer proposed a $99 billion acquisition of its British rival AstraZeneca that would allow it to reincorporate in Britain. Doing so would allow Pfizer to escape the United States corporate tax rate and tap into a mountain of cash trapped overseas, saving it billions of dollars each year and making the company more competitive with other global drug makers.
A deal — which would be the biggest in the drug industry in more than a decade — may ultimately not be done. AstraZeneca said on Monday that it had rebuffed Pfizer, after first turning down the company in January. Nonetheless, the pursuit by Pfizer, founded in a redbrick building in Brooklyn in 1849, has made it clear that the company wishes to effectively renounce its United States citizenship.
Pfizer points out that it would retain its corporate headquarters here and remain listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It also says that the main rationale for the deal is broadening its portfolio of drugs, and saving money through combined operations with AstraZeneca.
Still, a deal would allow it to follow dozens of other large American companies that have already reincorporated abroad through acquiring foreign businesses. They have been drawn to countries like Ireland and the Netherlands that have lower corporate rates, as well as by the ability to spend their overseas cash without being highly taxed.
There is still a war on.
A BRITISH sniper killed five Taliban insurgents and a would-be suicide bomber in Afghanistan with one bullet, the British Ministry of Defence says.
The 20-year-old marksman, a lance corporal in the Coldstream Guards, hit the trigger switch of the device from 930 metres away, causing the bomb to explode.
The blast killed the would-be bomber and five men around him, a Defence spokesman said.
The incident in December in Kakaran, southern Afghanistan, has been disclosed as Britain prepares to leave from the country by the end of the year.
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Slack, commanding officer of 9/12 Royal Lancers, told The Daily Telegraph the unnamed shooter also prevented another major attack as a second suicide vest packed with explosives was found nearby.
“They were in contact and he was moving to a firing position. The sniper engaged him and the guy exploded. There was a pause on the radio and the sniper said, ‘I think I’ve just shot a suicide bomber’. The rest of them were killed in the blast.”
Has anyone asked the Economist, if it is within their style-book to use ‘Britain’ and ‘England’ interchangeably ?
I’m guessing no…
British or English aside:
This underlies the Euroscepticism that pervades the Conservative Party and a majority of Britons, which could lead to Britain voting to exit the EU at a referendum in 2017. Britain never much wanted to be a member of the club in the first place.
To the extent that it did, it was motivated by a narrow economic prospectus: to access the benefits of European free trade. It was never impressed by the subsidy regimes designed for French farmers and other special interests; Britain was a net contributor to the European budget for its first three decades of membership. This tested its rationale for joining the club from the start.
The steady creep of EU powers and regulations, into the justice system, the workplace and beyond, have caused much greater resentment, which the ongoing troubles in the euro zone have exacerbated. Many Britons feel they have ended up in a power hungry, supra-governmental and economically moribund arrangement, which they never voted to join, and would not have done. Clearly, they have a point.
All the same, why are they so bothered? Unsatisfactory as the EU is, the benefits of belonging to the world’s biggest free-trade group probably outweigh the costs. That is why other north Europeans, including the Swedes, Dutch and even Germans, who share much or all of the British critique, are not similarly agitating to leave. Part of the answer lies in British history. Almost alone in the EU, Britain recalls the second world war with more pride than fear.
It does so, moreover, in such a way as to exaggerate the benefits of isolation—of being a plucky island nation apart. This makes it reluctant to see itself as the European country, wedded to the fortunes of other European countries, that it is. Memories of empire also play a part in this deceipt: some Tory Eurosceptics even dream of reconstituting it as an alternative to the EU, in the form of an Anglophone or Commonwealth trade block.
read more @ The Economist
there is history here:
Although the British government was favorable[SIC] to the creation of the European Communities, the United Kingdom was not a founding member.
and the feeling might have been mutual:
trade with the European Communities ended up accounting for more of Britain’s trade than that with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which had been established partially as an alternative to the European Economic Community. This led the UK to reconsider its policy, moving closer to the EEC and opening accession negotiations in 1961.
French president Charles de Gaulle strongly resisted, arguing that the UK was closer to American policies than European ones, and would therefore attempt to “sabotage” the community. Consequently, France vetoed the UK’s first attempt at achieving membership in 1963.
and this brings to mind Scotland’s up-coming vote of succession :
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has tended to be pro-EU since the 1980s.
as an aside, Ireland, to its credit, has been very Euro-centric of late….
here is the polling :
Support for Withdrawal
A YouGov poll in 2010 found that 47% of voters in the United Kingdom would vote to leave the European Union, while 33% would vote to stay in (with 14% undecided and 5% unwilling to vote).
Support and opposition for withdrawal from the Union are not evenly distributed among the different age groups: opposition to EU membership is most prevalent among those 60 and older (57%) and decreases to 31% among those aged 18-24 (with 35% of 18-24 year olds stating that they would vote for Britain to remain in the EU).
Those most likely to vote for continued EU membership were those aged 25-39, at 38%, though the same percentage of 25-39 year olds would vote to leave it.
Finally, the results of the poll showed some regional variation: support for withdrawal from the EU is lowest in London and Scotland (at 40% and 44% respectively) but reaches 49% across the rest of mainland Britain.
huffpo uk adds:
Europe isn’t perfect, and nor is the EU. Neither are ‘finished projects’, so to speak. The Ukrainian revolution is a powerful reminder that not all the former Soviet republics democratised at the same time, or at the same pace, and we all know that the EU is hardly a paradise for democracy.
more reading :
Jane Ohlmeyer discarded and replaced the historical title “English Civil War” with the titles the “Wars of the Three” and the “British Civil Wars”, positing that the civil war in England cannot be understood isolated from events in other parts of Great Britain and Ireland;
and a great book on the subject of the ‘British Civil Wars’ - The British Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660
and bcw-project.org - a great resource for the ‘British Civil Wars’
In a statement, GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said: “Vladimir Putin is seizing a neighboring territory, again, so President Obama must lead a meaningful, unified response with our European allies to bring an immediate halt to these provocative Russian actions, which threaten international peace and security.
“The Russian government has felt free to intervene militarily in Ukraine because the United States, along with Europe, has failed to make clear there would be serious, potentially irreparable consequences to such action.”
Rep. Tom Cotton, R-of Ark., said Obama should respond “at a minimum” with several steps: “revoke travel visas and freeze assets of senior Russian officials and Putin cronies, freeze assets of Ukrainian oligarchs who assist the Russian invasion, stop transfers of assets out of Ukraine, support the Ukrainian transitional government and military as it defends Ukraine’s territorial integrity, recall our ambassador to Russia, reschedule the upcoming G8 meeting from Russia to Western Europe or the U.S., and suspend Russia from the G8.
“Putin must be punished for his outlaw actions, and the Russian people and elites must recognize they will pay a price for them,” Cotton said in a statement.
Miller, who served in the Ukraine from 1993 to 1998, is now a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. He told Newsmax that the 1994 Budapest Memorandum — whose signers included President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister John Major, and Russian President Boris Yeltsin — required the U.S. and Britain to protect Ukraine.
The memorandum required the country to destroy its huge nuclear arsenal — bigger than that harbored by Britain, France and China combined — “and it was all aimed at the United States,” Miller said.
read more @ NewsMax
Having encountered yet another complaint about the use of the word “Islamophobia”, I decided it was high time I searched for an answer as to whence it originated. I have to admit I was more than a little surprised at the outcome.
If they aren’t already aware of it, I’m sure it will annoy Sam Harris and others who try to portray the term as a neologism coined by Muslims (and/or their left-leaning sympathizers) intended to deflect legitimate criticism, but it simply isn’t true. The word was popularized when it appeared in a 1997 report published by the British left-wing think tank, Runnymede Trust, but it actually first appeared in print in an American conservative magazine. Here’s the part about Runnymede:
Commission on British Muslims
In 1992 Runnymede set up a Commission to consider antisemitism in contemporary Britain. Its report entitled A Very Light Sleeper, published in 1994, carried as one of its recommendations the proposal that Runnymede should set up a broadly similar commission to consider Islamophobia.
Early in 1997 the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, under the chairmanship of Professor Gordon Conway, issued a consultative document. The final report, Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, was launched in November 1997 by the Home Secretary, Jack Straw. […]
If you go here and follow the link to download the entire scanned report, you’ll see that the first page of the first chapter recounts the story of a British naval officer who, during an interview, employed a rhetorical question about Muslim prayer to explain why the Royal Navy doesn’t (or at least didn’t at that time) actively encourage the recruitment of British Muslims.1 The definition below follows:
A new word
In recent years a new word has gained currency which evokes the outlook and world-view of that officer. The word is ‘Islamophobia’. It was coined in the late 1980’s, its first known use in print being in February 1991, in a periodical in the United States.4 The word is not ideal, but it is recognisably similar to ‘xenophobia’ and ‘europhobia’, and is a useful shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam — and, therefore, to fear or dislike of all or most Muslims. Such dread and dislike have existed in western countries and culture for several centuries. In the last twenty years, however, the dislike has become more explicit, more extreme and more dangerous. It is an ingredient of all sections of our media, and is prevalent in all sections of our society. […]
Here’s where the story gets downright bizarre: Back in 1991, Insight—which I’d never heard of before today—was owned by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate then owned by the Unification Church.
So, yes, the same wingnut outfit that owns the The
Moonie Washington Times and United Press International (UPI) apparently brought us the term “Islamophobia” by being the first to put it in print.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my head feels like it’s in danger of exploding from the cognitive dissonance this information has caused, so I need to go cover the walls & floor with plastic, just in case…
UPDATE: Compelled to keep digging due to my insatiable curiosity about such matters, I came across some more information that goes even farther back and provides a lot of additional context about how the term Islamophobia (in its present-day usage) entered the popular lexicon.
Surprisingly, it appears the first print usage was actually in France back in 1925 in a book titled L’Orient vu de l’Occident by Etienne Dinet & Sliman Ben Ibrahim, however the authors “did not necessarily employ the term in a way that reflects contemporary usage.”
The info above that I’m referring to comes from the Winter 2010 edition of Arches Quarterly in a chapter called “Contemporary Islamophobia Before 9/11: A Brief History”. It begins on page 14 of this 164-page PDF. Here’s the Wiki entry for Chris Allen, the author of that chapter.