afternoon!

i know it has been more than a while… thought this would be a decent way to get you all up to speed!

so, some of you know my real deadline for the PhD is next week. Not going to make that but nobody seems to mind! Have been avoiding quite a lot of things I’d have liked to have done for a while now, and took this month off completely – no socialising even (seriously!) – just to get the bloody thing done. Have broken the back of it and now plan to submit by xmas. No point beating self up about not having completed in time (which is partly about not getting round to it for ages, I can’t really complain…!), resuming normal life in October and fitting PhD round that rather than putting everything on hold till it’s done.

My real news is that I’ve heard today I’ve been accepted for a programme which reports, resists and documents human rights abuses and the like (basically) in the west bank. I’m going out for 3 months in Oct ’09 – this is a while away but for various reasons I can’t make it sooner (a full diary in ’09 already… sort of!)

Need a job for a year but none too worried about that. would prefer part-time (at least 3 days a week though or more if the pro rata money is crap!) so i can fit in all the other sparkly things i love to do, but we’ll see. normally i pick up something workwise when i need to but still – i need to! Couple of things in the pipeline already so we’ll see.

I do follow many of the wiblogs – mostly people i know IRL which i guess is most of you… so thanks for keeping me posted!

and back to the thesis with me…

afternoon!

i know it has been more than a while… thought this would be a decent way to get you all up to speed!

so, some of you know my real deadline for the PhD is next week. Not going to make that but nobody seems to mind! Have been avoiding quite a lot of things I’d have liked to have done for a while now, and took this month off completely – no socialising even (seriously!) – just to get the bloody thing done. Have broken the back of it and now plan to submit by xmas. No point beating self up about not having completed in time (which is partly about not getting round to it for ages, I can’t really complain…!), resuming normal life in October and fitting PhD round that rather than putting everything on hold till it’s done.

My real news is that I’ve heard today I’ve been accepted for a programme which reports, resists and documents human rights abuses and the like (basically) in the west bank. I’m going out for 3 months in Oct ’09 – this is a while away but for various reasons I can’t make it sooner (a full diary in ’09 already… sort of!)

Need a job for a year but none too worried about that. would prefer part-time (at least 3 days a week though or more if the pro rata money is crap!) so i can fit in all the other sparkly things i love to do, but we’ll see. normally i pick up something workwise when i need to but still – i need to! Couple of things in the pipeline already so we’ll see.

I do follow many of the wiblogs – mostly people i know IRL which i guess is most of you… so thanks for keeping me posted!

and back to the thesis with me…

Wiblog entry for 27/03/2006

Been following the story of the CPT people kidnapped in iraq for the duration. sad about the one and glad about the three, as i guess most people would be. CPT really are considered and serious about what they do and probably just want to get on with the job of ‘getting in the way’ of violence – and in so doing, exposing and reporting the dreadful things they witness (rather than be catupulted into the media spotlight themselves). I have done my homework here and I find nothing to criticise. They (all of them!) deserve admiration and support – or at the absolute minimum, respect.

The debate which has ensued over here since the release of norman kember has really saddened me. I’m not sure if it’s too dramatic or completely reasonable to suggest that what has gone on is a distasteful attempt to somehow ‘discredit’ him – yes, while he was in the media were all ‘poor norman, he was doing a good thing and now he’s been kidnapped’ but then as soon as he got out it was all about the report of the army guy saying ‘he didn’t say thank you’. This has (as was possibly the intention – who knows?) generated a debate over whether he should have been there in the first place, etc; the argument seems to run that he made his own bed and that his first statement didn’t contain a thank you to the people who released him.

The complaints about this just sounded to me like toddlertantrum footstamping on behalf of the british army. But I suspect they knew that he would come out with something like this:

“There is a real sense in which you are interviewing the wrong person. It is the ordinary people of Iraq that you should be talking to – the people who have suffered so much over many years and still await the stable and just society that they deserve” (from his statement on Sat, found on the bbc news website)

… and wanted to put his wisdom and integrity into question before the british public started to actually listen to what he has to say.

Following what was quoted above from the statement, he immediately mentions British soldiers with sympathy, and, of course, publicly thanks the troops who released him. Two days after his release. Two days… quite honestly I can’t see how on earth he’s done anything wrong. My suggestion is for people to have a good listen to everything he does say and also to spend some time hanging around the Christian Peacemaker teams website.

Having written all this – I discover it’s already been said! See the Ekklisia article.

alarming

Was talking myers briggs the other night. i was pointed in the direction of an online test. procrastination being what it is… I did it. turned out I am ENFP. If you know me you’ll recognise me. It was all a bit accuate for my liking (test conducted here).

among my favourite bits: “They may get caught up in the learning process and consequently need strict deadlines to bring a project to completion.”
“Their desire to be open to the moment tends to outweigh their need to be organized. Usually ENFP work space is arranged haphazardly…. In terms of the management of time, ENFPs find it particularly difficult to estimate accurately how long an activity will take…. ENFPs are often late and characteristically full of apologies for their tardiness.”

Sorry it’s taken me so long to update…

ditch monkey

only discovered this when alerted to it on the front page a while ago… but i wanted to give the boy another plug, really. last 6 months or so i’ve been thinking a lot about acting on principles and the ways in which we can inspire each other to live lives which minimise negative impact (on others, on the earth, yada yada yada).

this inspires me so much it’s ridiculous. i love it most because he is both living in the woods and working full-time at southerbys. you can’t not love it… and he’s a brilliant blogger to boot.

http://ditchmonkey.blogspot.com/
(and then http://www.justgiving.com/ditchmonkey/)

go on…

Please sponsor Ella, my friend who’s running the marathon this year in aid of the Mental Health Foundation. Read her blog on my links to the left, and pop over to http://www.justgiving.com/ellabullingham if you would be so kind. She’s a quarter of the way to her target and needs a boost!

…whether or not you’re in a position to sponsor, do leave a nice comment on her blog.

badgers

Every now and then I explain the israel/palestine thing in 5 minutes using one side of my hand, firstly to represent palestine/israel to show what happened in the forties and then it miraculously transmogrifies into the West Bank so i can explain a bit about the occupation which began in the late 60’s and outline what’s happening now. This works ok in person but often i want somewhere to direct people to on the net that’s not over complex just so they can get a bit of a handle on some aspects of the issue in about 5 minutes.

This may just be my favourite so far.

http://www.bigcampaign.org/badgers.html

and the FAQ is nicely done – www.bigcampaign.org/badgerfaq.html

What they can do…

I went to see my MP on Saturday at his fortnightly surgery about issues I’ve outlined over the past few days (see in particular point 2 of nov 30th below). I’ve never been before. Strangely enough, although I’d done homework before going, so I knew our stances on the issue were in harmony, and despite normally feeling confidence with people in such positions, and even though I knew my stuff and had something important to communicate… i felt quite intimidated before going in. Duh.

He was very positive about the issues I was bringing to him but said he couldn’t make speeches or sign EDMs because of being a government whip, but he would write to the foriegn office. He also said he’d like to go there before I even had the chance to ask him. I was pleased in a way that all I had to do was ask him to be more vocal about the issue rather than persuade him of anything, but even so my cynical mind and my near-total lack of knowledge about how our political system works left me feeling like i’d had a nice chat but surely he was just saying things I want to hear.

I’m still not ruling that out, but today a letter came from the house of commons which is a copy of the one he’s sent to Jack Straw outlining my concerns and explaining that although he’s unable to sign EDM 983, “Nevertheless I should be grateful if you could give the Government’s response to the details of EDM 983, and give further details of what steps the Government is taking to put pressure on the Israeli government in relation to the so-called security wall or separation barrier”.

So-called. Good man. I thought it was a good letter, and done in half a week too. At the very least, my interest and concern has been heard and registered in government. I’m pleased about that.

What can we do: part 2

I think we have a responsibility to live as though the things we do will make a difference. Undoubtedly some of them will.

Loads of things I do and fail to do have a negative impact, other things I choose to do or not do have a positive impact. I think the best thing we can do on a basic level is to think more practically about treating other people as we would like them to treat us. We can only act on what we know; therefore after loving our neighbour as ourselves we should seek out and welcome knowledge. What we should then do depends on what we know is wrong.

I think these are the principles I would like to encourage in people. My feeling is that you can’t do everything about everything; but this is quite often used as a reason not to do anything about anything – or, to be fairer, sometimes people are defeated into believing that nothing they do will make a difference. This I think is how we become knowledgable and apathetic; we know there are wrongs, but because they seem so insurmountable, we suspect that small actions which challenge wrongs won’t really make any difference. The fact is, they probably won’t make a big difference. However, knowing the good you ought to do and doing it is just better than knowing the good you ought to do and not doing it. It is better for others and it is better for you (it’s a step closer to who we are supposed to be, isn’t it?). Not everyone’s a winner… but we’ll all be a little bit further ahead if we choose to act on what we know.

In general, to put some substance to the framework, a good idea is to list some issues which concern you and pick three or so that you’re going to find out more about. Do your homework… look for the interest groups, the pressure groups, the people who know what they’re talking about regarding the situation, and see what they say. Get some views from people who dispute what they’re saying. Then think of things you can do to make your contribution to this situation more positive. Then do them.

What can we do: part 1

Jon asked the question in response to my thoughts about Bethlehem. I have had a good think about it. Originally put this entry and the one above as a single post, but it was too long…! This post has particular reference to is/pal. In no particular order, here are things you can do.

1. Do your best to find out about the situation. On the internet – for home demolitions, browse around ICAHD at www.ichaduk.org, for loads about everything – including factsheets and maps as well as loads of up-to-date news and eyewitness accounts – try www.palestinemonitor.org and www.palestinecampaign.org (the latter the website of the ‘palestinian solidarity campaign’, a central uk action network worth keeping an eye on). www.btselem.org is brilliant (Like Icahd, an Israeli organisation), and http://www.cpt.org/hebron/hebron.php (Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) page on Hebron) has great links. We met some Christian Peacemaker people when we were there and one of them was a retired lecturer in his 70s. They were just brilliant.

2. Consider finding out what your MP thinks of the issue; encourage them and be glad if they have a positive approach to peace and justice in the region, and get them to commit to signing Early Day Motions such as the recent one on ‘Open Bethlehem’. EDMs basically exist to guage opinion – find out more on edmi.parliament.uk (no www) and search for number 983. you can google about open bethlehem, it’s easy to find.

3. Go there*. Hearing from the people who live through it every day and being able to bear witness yourself is significant. All the people we met told us the same thing when we asked them the question you asked (what can we do) – they said, let people know what is happening for us, and bring people to see it themselves. If you are interested, definately ask me, i know of a few groups you can go with (I’m going again next year as part of an organised group).

4. Particular actions you can take are many and various. Boycotts, joining campaigns, going on demonstrations, supporting people or organisations who are committed to peacemaking… and so on. The list is probably endless.

That should be enough to be getting on with. Like with South Africa (although I feel this is worse, but maybe they’re on a par), one of the biggest drivers to change was people knowing what was happening and making a fuss. So whatever way you can find (given all our constraints) to know what’s happening and make a fuss, do that. That last sentence applies to whatever injustice you find yourself wanting to square up to.

In related news – Norman Kember, the british guy who’s been kidnapped in Iraq was there with CPT as far as I understand it (check http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/index.php?p=540 and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4483184.stm) – do pray for him and those he’s with.

*Be aware that flying is bad and that we ought to think more about what it does to the environment. Go to www.climatecare.org and click ‘for living’ followed by ‘air travel calculator’. It’s better than nothing. I’ve yet to do it myself, so I’m not being smug… it seems like a good idea though.