Alistair’s “Random Rambles” (23)
By Kathy Martin…
Written July 2014
There has been a report that a murder suspect has committed suicide in Lefkoşa police headquarters by falling down a stairwell. As the murder victim was a policeman, the question quivering on many cynics’ lips is: “did he fall, or was he pushed?
Without implying any similarities, Steve Biko also “committed suicide” while being interrogated by BOSS in 1977 in a police headquarters building.
The location was Pretoria, South Africa. BOSS was the Bureau of State Security, rather like Britain’s MI6 BOSS was responsible for the nation’s internal security and operated outside “normal” law, including habeas corpus.
Steve Biko was a political activist in the ANC (Africa National Congress). According to the press release, during “routine” questioning, Steve calmly rose from his seat, went to the window, which he opened, and travelled 15 meters. Unfortunately as the window was on the fourth floor, the distance was a rapid vertical descent! Obviously, this topic has not been mentioned over recent years, but when the report was published, none of my circle of friends (including the pro-apartheid ones) believed the “suicide” story!
While I was leafing through a book the other day, I chanced upon a picture of the mythological she-wolf suckling the twin boys Romulus and Remus. Having only remembered (I was told when I was probably 5 years old) that the Italian capital city, Rome, is named after Romulus I wondered why it wasn’t called Reme!
The answer is “as old as the hills”, certainly as old as the “Cain and Abel” story in the Bible, sibling rivalry! Both brothers wanted to found a city, but Remus wanted it to be on the Aventine hill, while Romulus favoured the Palatine hill.
To ensure that his plan was the accepted one, Romulus simply killed Remus, resulting (in mythology) that Rome was founded on the Palatine hill! As demonstrated in history, Rome became a powerful city, but Romulus wasn’t allowed to live out his natural life. After many years in power he became too autocratic and power-crazy and was killed by his underlings.
Does this mental condition of megalomania remind you of other figures, Idi Amin, Hitler, Napoleon?
Incidentally, having mentioned Cain and Abel in a recent ramble, can any Christian theologian answer a couple of questions? According to the Bible, God created the world, and then Adam and Eve who parented Cain and Abel. After killing Abel, Cain toddled off to somewhere else and there “took himself a wife”.
Where did she come from?
Who created her?
How do people who believe in the Bible reconcile themselves with this?
Some months, ago our DVD player broke down. When we moved into our village some 6 years ago, one of our Turkish Cypriot friends, Kerime, told us of a cheap electrical shop that was (almost) on the way to the new harbour from the Freedom Roundabout in Girne.
It sells a wide variety of “white” and “brown” goods, at (literally) half the price of those shops that are on the “high” street. We have used the shop (Ucuzcu) rather frequently over the years. Unfortunately (for us) none of the staff, they all seem to be members (at various ages) of the same family and speak no English, but by using our dictionary and phrase book have made our requirements known, even though (on occasions) our words, grammar or syntax or pronunciation have caused gales of laughter!
Anyway, to get back to the new DVD player, it didn’t have “SCART” connections, but the three white, red and yellow “AV” jack plugs and leads. I set the player up, inserted a disc and prepared to enjoy. However, on the soundtrack the actors sounded as if they were scuba divers! I started to unplug the connections.
To my amazement, when I took out the red jack plug, the soundtrack became perfectly lucid! Using the remote control all the functions worked, volume went up or down, there wasn’t a problem with either the fast forward or reverse facility, so for about 6 months our DVD player has been working perfectly on just two (the yellow and white) of the three leads that were supplied with it.
If it wasn’t for the fact that we have a Japanese DVD player and a Turkish television, I would just smile, shrug my shoulders, show my up-turned palms and say “but hey, this is Cyprus”!
I understand that the British government and security forces are worried that some of the Islamic jihadists, who have been fighting for ISIS in Iraq and Syria, may be planning to return to the UK to carry out missions of “terror”. The main concern is that the explosive devices used may be undetectable, as they do not contain any metallic parts. As such, not only military targets, but also “innocent” civilians could be killed, or injured, in such an attack.
I want to make quite clear, here and now, that I am against terrorism and all forms of violence, although I can understand how and why some people may use it to gain an objective.
However, I would like countries such as Britain (and the United States of America), to put their hands up to also being guilty of committing “terrorist” attacks.
By this, I mean the employment of airborne “drones” in Islamic countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their employment results in scenarios such as:
“I say Biggles; there is a shepherd down there and it looks like he is either carrying a stick or an AK47”.
“It’s probably an AK47, so we’ll take him out, and as his village is probably a terrorist HQ, we will obliterate that too”!
Even when used against known “terrorist” targets, drones are indiscriminate, as to whom they kill. Innocent, men, women and children will be killed or injured by the “terror from the skies”.
Come on Britain, a hundred years or so ago you were able to send soldiers to some far-flung part of the globe to teach a lesson to some “spear waving darkies dressed in loin cloths and ostrich feathers.”
The soldiers could then return “home”, confident that the friends, families and colleagues of the killed “darkies” wouldn’t be able to take reprisal action on them or the British civilian population.
Now that (in modern times) the worm is able to turn, two sayings spring to mind, “what is good for the goose is good for the gander”, and “if you sow the wind, you will reap the whirlwind”!
A terrorist is a “terrorist “only to the establishment, but to the leader and any other followers of the espoused political, military or religious faction, he (or she) is a “freedom fighter”!
While such people are unlikely to operate according to the rules of “fair play”, should any animal is prodded by a stick; some form of reaction is only to be expected!
Both my wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading (published in the KibKom Times) Pam Schofield’s account of her and her husband (Mike’s) travels to the “far East”. In last week‘s (10th July) account they were in Beijing. Co-incidentally, some eight years ago, just after we settled here, we heard DJ Mike’s first “Juke Box Show” that was (and still is) broadcast on the local “English” radio station, Radio Bayrak. Since then we have occasionally met Mike and Pam, as well as Pam, by herself, at some of her art exhibitions.
During the afternoon of July 10th we were listening to our favourite radio station (Radio Bayrak) and our favourite afternoon DJ (Zel), who, during her musical “easy listening” afternoon programme has a “Did You Know?” section.
I was working on something, so I only pricked my ears up when I heard the words “Beijing”, “longest ever traffic jam”.
Being aware that Mike and Pam had recently been in Beijing I did some research and found out that it has been generally accepted that the “longest ever traffic jam” started on 14th August 2010 on the Beijing to Tibet expressway. Traffic slowed thousands of vehicles for more than 100 kilometres (60 miles). Many drivers were only able to move just 1km (0.6mile) a day! Some drivers claimed that they were stuck for five days!
OK, where did they go to the toilet (or showers)?
- Where did they get food from?
- What if the traffic started to move when they were either in the toilet or getting food?
- How many employers would believe an employee who said “sorry I wasn’t in last week, but I started out from home on Monday, but it was the weekend before I cleared the traffic, so I went home”!
- Or, perhaps more importantly to an employee, “I was on holiday last week, but didn’t make it as far as the beach, so please can I have another week off”?