The British Asian Blog

Life as it is @tbablog

Month: January, 2012

The Iranian Oil Embargo: Does This Mean War?

I try my level best to avoid discussing International politics here on my blog, but, on some occasions I just cannot help myself but to question political manoeuvres that will impact our lives.  Today, the news that EU (European Union) has decided to impose Oil embargo on Iran, slowly closing down all dealings with Iran’s Oil by the 1st of July signalled the final step in ensuring war with Iran in July.

On the face of it, this may not sound or appear to be significant news, but in my view this is a potential bomb ticking – timed to detonate and explode on 1st July.

To make matters worse, our boss, the USA will implement their sanctions targeted at the global financing of Iran’s oil trade will come into force in around 1st July.  Let’s not forget its election time in USA – with no Osama Bin Laden about, a new threat needs to be invented and Iran is just perfect for USA election campaigns.

This is not the first time that Iran has had sanctions imposed on it, but unlike previous sanctions, today’s EU Oil embargo is indeed the action which Iran has long said “such actions would represent a declaration of war”.

So, as the news spreads like wild-fire across the globe, news also spreads that Western naval fleets have entered the strait of Hormuz, the presence of USS Lincoln aircraft carrier and its task force, including the British frigate HMS Argyll and a French warship no doubt will have Iranians all nervous, but does signal (to me) a build up of Western Force prior to war in the Middle East.

I can’t really comment on the financial crisis of other European or Western Countries, but for me, I really don’t think we, the British, can afford another war both financially and morally.  The scar and wounds of failed war in Afghanistan and Iraq are still fresh.  What makes matters worse and in one sense, exposes our weakness, is that after all these bloody years in Afghanistan, we decide to have peace talks with the enemy the Taliban.

I strongly believe, that another war in the Middle East is likely to happen with today’s news development.  What’s more is that the cost of fuel in the UK is likely to go up, meaning a further increase to our livings standards.  Adding more pressure and worry to every household in the UK.

Living through previous conflicts such as Afghanistan and Iraq, we know too well that these conflicts never end and can expand over decades, often loosing sight of the real reason in going to war.  Same happened in Afghanistan, the Taliban were removed but the war continued for well over a decade.  In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was removed, there was a regime change and no weapons of mass destruction were ever found, but yet the war continued for over a decade.  Iran is known to be more fearless than both Afghanistan and Iraq put together, with more advanced technology and sophisticated weaponry, one cannot imagine how long the war with Iran will take before it comes to an end.

I’d like to read what your take on this issue is.

Are we likely to see another war with Iran? 

How will that impact us in the UK or the West? 

Can we morally and economically justify a war with Iran?

 

 

Samsung Transparent Smart Window (Monitor)

OK, this is unusual, that I write about technology on my blog, but I couldn’t resist in mentioning this new piece of bloody awesome technology, launching soon by Samsung.

Imagine a world of see-though monitors, windows/glass that is interactive and touch sensitive.  This new technology has really got me excited.  Imagine car information being displayed on the actual windscreen as opposed to the dashboard.  Imagine, shower screens where you can enjoy a shower and yet keep up to date with news or other programs.  Imagine, your bedroom window allowing you to surf the internet and yet see outside.  Imagine is indeed the idea behind this technology.

Science fiction indeed has become reality, and this technology opens up a whole new worldof opportunities.

At CES in Las Vegas, Samsung is demoing a new touch screen display technology that is see-though.

It is also known as ‘Samsung Transparent Window’.  At the moment, this LCD window can fit any size up to 46 inches.  So, will no doubt quality for my box room window.  With all the additional extras, such as HDMI or USB, it definitely is a new kind of technology – something I’d expect Steve Jobs to come up with and launch for his upcoming products.

If you are worried that people on the other side of the window will be able to see what you are up to, or doing on this screen, well rest assure – it’s a one way mirror.  In other words, people on the other side will simply see themselves in the mirror.

I’m really excited about this technology, as it now opens up new possibilities and new ways of doing things.  Who said the wheel could not be reinvented?

One question though:  Why didn’t Steve Jobs come up with this?

Machines Will Take Over From 2012

As the first week of 2012 came to an end, I tried to understand and reflect on how different 2012 will be for me, and for everyone else in comparison to previous years.  Somewhere, and I can’t exactly remember where, I read that ‘machines’ will (start) to influence our lives more than ever before.  That 2012 will be a start for when Machine try to outsmart the human intellect, and make us feel we simply can’t survive without them.

As I write, I can’t help feeling the uneasiness of how I am relying on a machine to record my words, words that are in my mind, which shortly will be shared with many other machines that will be used by readers to view what I have written.  Since when have I started to trust this machine so much that I allow it to record what is in my mind?

As a kid, I loved the movies such as Terminator and Robocop.  It was, as a kid, a chance to glance into the future and experience how life may well be.  The future is still to come, yet machines are already amongst us.  But, how did I come to accept machines to be part of my life and to trust them more than some people who I know?  It appears that while we continue the struggle in dealing with our lives, deal with issues that each and everyone faces, the machine has slowly and gradually crept upon us.

As we all know, machines are invented by us, to help us and make life easier and comfortable.  We invented them for a purpose, to serve us, and to assist us.  We have turned a blind eye to how powerful the machine have become, and to empower it with our intellect may well be the biggest mistake we make as mankind.

Take for example, the new generation of mobile phones, known to the world as ‘Smart Phones’.  If you take the time out and the next time you are either on a train or at your local McDonald – see how many people are glued to their ‘smart phones’.  What is it in this machine that simply makes the user become obsessed with the machine?  Steve Jobs was the guy who gave us this ‘smart phone’ machine.  Was he working for us or for the machine?  As much as we like to think we are in control of our lives, the reality is the machines seem to have a pretty good grip on our lives.  Our day-to-day activities clearly cannot function without the need and input from the machine.

This morning, as I got out of bed, I reflected on this ‘Machine’ and realised that in almost every activity I do, there is a machine involved.  To help explain what I mean, I’ll recall the machines I used today till the moment I write this post – at mid afternoon.

Alarm Clock, Radio, Electric Shower, Trimmer and electric shaver, Electric Toothbrush, Kettle, Fridge Freezer, Mobile Phone, Toaster, Microwave, Central Heating, Sky HD receiver, LCD Television and Remote Control, Mobile Phone Charger, Laptop, PC, immobilized car key, Car, SatNav, Radio, CD/DVD, reverse parking camera and sensor, Parking ticket machine, Train, Automated barriers to exist the train station, ATM Machine, Traffic lights, automatic doors, lift, finger print recognition to access work building, printer, fax machine, 3 LCD monitors, telephone, vending machine, keyboard and mouse.

38 machines used so far since morning, to be precise only in 6 hours.  The list is of machines which I can remember and work out, but for sure there are those machines which I used that either I can’t remember or recognise.  When I look at it this way, it becomes scary and quite hard to get my head around how much I depend on these machines or how much influence the machine has on my life.

Imagine if the 38 machines mentioned above simply refused to operate to my command.  In other words, they all got a message at the same time ‘not to cooperate with me or any other human’ and the machine actually refused to work and operate as it is commanded or intended to – where would that leave me or us?

To put it into prospective, Image if the alarm clock refused to wake me up at the time I told it to.  The electrical showers refused to provide me with hot water for me to have a shower in the morning.  The electric trimmer/shaver refused to operate so I couldn’t trim my stubble or have a shave.  The electric toothbrush refused to work so I used it the traditional way to clean my teeth.  The fridge freezer didn’t keep my milk or the butter fresh and all other food content simply went off.  The kettle refused in boiling the water and the microwave refused to warm up my food.  My car refused to start.

At the train station the ticket machine refused to give me a ticket and the train refused to leave the station.  The ATM refused to give me my money and swallowed my card.  My mobile refused to make or receive calls, or to even send or receive a text message.  The finger print security to access my work building refused me entry.  The PC/Laptop I’m using right now refused to record my words and opera….[[THIS IS A MESSAGE FROM THE MACHINE.  THE BRITISH ASIAN BLOG HUMANOID NO LONGER HAS PERMISSION TO USE THIS MACHINE AND THEREFORE CAN NO LONGER COMPLETE THIS MESSAGE]] 

[[THE MACHINE IS NOW IN CONTROL]]

Marriage Proposals Gone Wrong – OMG

This morning, I was sent a link via email to a YouTube video.  When I watched the video, I was totally shocked and gob smacked.  Proposing for marriage is a big deal, requires careful planning, and a plan which is basically fool proof, or in this case, embarrassing proof.

I have the belief that when you are ready to propose to a partner, you have gone through the days, weeks, months and sometimes years of indirect hints by your partner.  In other words, you intended partner has given you hints and direct signs that they are ready to get married, and hence just need you to go buy a nice ring (that fits) and find that perfect moment to drop to one knee, and pop the question and pray the answer is ‘Yes’.  Well, these guys, somewhere and somehow got it wrong, terribly wrong and are left embarrassed and humiliated.

Without further to do, I’d like to present to you my top 5 ‘Marriage Proposals Gone Wrong’.

Number One:  This dude needs a reality check, its clear he never did his home work.  It just was not his day.

Number Two:  This poor guy thought he had it all under control – in front of thousands of people.  Unfortunately, she had other ideas.

Number Three:  This person though the shopping mall would be the best place, a passer by managed to record the entire failure, as well as hundreds of other people who were expecting a ‘Yes’.

Number Four:  This is hard to watch, it clear from what the women says in return that this dude read the signs all wrong.  Ouch

Number Five:  His Mum was recording it, never mind the thousands present and millions watching.

So guys, my top five ‘Marriage Proposals Gone Wrong’.  Like I said, read the signs when you intend to propose to someone – otherwise………..

Has your say?

Stephen Lawrence Murder Case ‘Not Closed’ Despite Two Convictions

I’d like to make a correction in my yesterday’s post, read here.  I originally said that this case was now over after yesterday’s news of the two convictions, but I’d like to correct this statement by saying “This case is still far from over”.

The reason why I made this correction, follows, two further developments in Stephen Lawrence case which came to my attention, and which at the time of writing yesterday’s post, were not apparent, or at least not to me.

Firstly:  It’s a known fact that, the group that attacked and killed Stephen Lawrence were a total of 5 people.  The names of all five I mentioned in my post yesterday.  Although, two of the five have eventually been brought to justice with one has been given minimum term of 15 years and 2 months and the other has been given 14 years and 3 months, three suspects remain at large and thus far have evaded justice since 1993.  It make sense now to bring the remaining suspects to justice, especially, since they not only have evaded justice but seem to think they were above the law.  A welcomed statement from Britain’s top Policeman Bernard Hogan-Howe said “despite almost two decades, the investigation is not closed” and that “others involved in the killing…should not rest easily in their beds”.

Secondly:  I made this point yesterday in my post, and I feel the need to mention it again, but with a little more detail.  It’s taken just over 18 years to bring about a conviction, and despite the conviction being a better result than any other result in the past 18 years, the satisfaction of this verdict or conviction is muted by why it took so long to get here?  Our society would never have changed, and, continue to change if it wasn’t for the sheer hard work and determination of that Doreen and Neville Lawrence put in over the years, mainly to overcome a lack of interest from an inward-looking, complacent – if not outright crooked – police force.  It’s still not perfect, and in the near future, can never be.  Doreen and Neville Lawrence have forced institutions to have a hard look at their own mind-sets, and more importantly highlighted to the wider population, the exact problems we face.

By digging a little deeper, around the past race related events of Eltham I come to realise Stephen Lawrence was not the only victim of racist murder.  In July 1992, Rohit Duggal aged 15 was murdered only a few hundred yards from where Stephen Lawrence died.  Eventually, years later, the Macpherson report had recorded evidence that Rohit Duggal’s killer(s) was one of the same gang responsible for Stephen’s death.  In Thamesmead, Feburary 1991 Rolan Adams aged 15 was to lose his life to racial motive killing.

Seeing news reports and documentaries one after the other, in the recent days, indicated a common sighting, especially during the scenes of demonstrations followed after the frustration of Lawrence boiled over to demonstrations.  Placards held by people during these demonstrations clearly condemned the presence of British National Party (BNP) in the area.  Somewhere during these events, lurking in the background was the influence of the British National Party.  It was known that only a few miles away, a bookshop covertly operated as a British National Party head office in Upper Wickham Lane, Welling.

Although, from the zenith Eltham appears to be a place which harbours racists, not just the murderers of Steven Lawrence, but it was, after all, the people and community of Eltham who gave up the names of the suspects from which two yesterday were convicted.  It was indeed the local “Institutional Racist” Metropolitan Police, who decided that the death of a black man just wasn’t worth the investigation, and it was never the wider community of Eltham with that view.

Unfortunately, the problem expands throughout the United Kingdom, there are places that remain a soft target for those who seek to stir and divide people.  The role played by the British National Party in the Bradford Riot(s) in July 2001 is a clear reminder of that, they just didn’t stop there, their motives and intention were abruptly apparent by major other riots around neighbouring cities before reaching Bradford.

Almost two decades later, what has changed and how much has changed?  Until Politian’s and others, either locally or nationally, don’t stop whipping up tensions, places like Eltham will remain soft spots for racial divide and may never escape the spectre of racism.

As I write this post, there remain three more suspects, who have, so far evaded justice in Eltham.  Throughout the country, many more such cases similar to this case, and, some have briefly hit the headlines, and especially since post-9/11 and 7/7.  However, circumstance in each individual case determines the course of justice, and in most cases, the lack of determination shown by Lawrence’s parents is missing, or the, institutions simply can’t afford to have another Stephen Lawrence Murder-like case on the horizon.  Racist Murder(s) and Racist Crime are more wide spread, more than we are led to believe.

Nearly two decades one, and with the recent verdicts, have at least for now, brought to attention the problem our society faces.  Communities such as Eltham at least now can begin to heal from the wounds over the last 18 years.  Victims of such racist murder(s) and racist crime(s) are not just the people directly attacked, but those who lived with them, went to school with them and the community who lived around them – the family of Lawrence, Neville and Doreen Lawrence lost their own lives over the last 18 years, as well as their son Stephen Lawrence – nothing can bring back what they have lost.  What happened that night was a great loss but from this loss the sheer determination by Neville and Doreen has helped change and improve our society, and the various institutions that swear to protect us, no matter what race or colour we are.  We owe it to them and those alike who fought to bring justice for all of us.

So, to bring the focus back to my original point that this case still remains open, thus far after 18 years two have been brought to justice but I really can’t help thinking that until the remaining members of the group are not put on trail and convicted, there still will remain uncertainties around this whole cases, with some way to go.  I also feel we have a long way to go yet to understand why this case has taken 18 years to prosecute 2 out of 5 suspects?   Some ownership, responsibility and accountability of the failings at institutional level need to be investigated, and to bring to light those sectors which contributed to the failure(s).  Until these questions are answered, we may well still have to fight for truth and justice.

Stephen Lawrence’s Murder – Gary Dobson and David Norris Found Guilty

The racist attack and murder of Stephen Lawrence has finally ended, finding both David Norris and Gary Dobson guilty of his murder.  It’s taken 18 long bloody years to finally bring justice to the Lawrence family.

A Chronology of events can be found here

Both Gary Dobson and David Norris were found quality today afternoon, bringing to an end (I hope) one of UK’s most unsolved murder case stretching over 18 years.  Not sure how many people are familiar with this case, especially those outside of the UK, but, I remember this case being a small kid.

The details of this conviction can be read here, here and here.

In my lifetime, pre-9/11 this was a one of those cases which brought to life many issues facing ethnic minorities in the UK (or even Europe for that matter).   Stephen Lawrence was a British Teenager, murdered back in 1993 in a racially motivated attack.

The pair were part of a wider gang, in this attack they were a group of 5 people.  They all escaped justice to a series of terrible police failings and where witnesses were intimidated and too scared to come forward.

In 1994, a secret recording of the pair made during a covert operation clearly showed them talking in racist and violent language.  This was, for everyone, now considered for sure a racist murder.  Failures in the original police investigation led to the McPherson report, which concluded that, the Metropolitan Police was “institutionally racist” and made 70 recommendations for ousting racism from society.

The other three suspects were named as Neil Acourt, Jamie Acourt and Luke Knight.  In 1997 daily mail named all five in an infamous front page as Lawrence’s murders.  To date, as far as I can recall, none have sued the paper.

Key Points for me:

The fact it taken 18 long years for this case to be concluded with convictions – shows the level of corruption and racism that has been inherent in the Metropolitan Police, and shows, how deep the problem expands.

Till date, from my recollection nobody has been made accountable for the appalling way the investigation into Stephen’s Murder was handled and executed by the very same Police, more so for the ill treatment of his parents and those who wanted justice and decided to made a stance physically.

Finally:

I am pleased to see the long winded battle for his parents and for those who were attached directly to this case (seeking justice) finally come to an end.  They spent 18 years fighting the very same institution which should have protected them.  At least now, the parents can really mourn the death of Stephen Lawrence.

That said, it does however raise the question of how and why the original police investigation failed, was corrupt and which showed deep levels of “institutional racism”?  Although, Stephen Lawrence case is now over, the case of police failings in this case is still wide open.

%d bloggers like this: