Archive for March, 2015

1 Kings 18:

27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.

Written between 560 and 540 B.C

blood 2 Philippines Flagellations blood 3 blood 4

Photographed 2014 – 2015 A.D.

Does their God listen now?

Will their God ever answer?

Hofuf (Al-Hasa and Al-Ahsa)

Posted: March 22, 2015 in Saudi Arabia

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An overnight excursion to Al-Hofuf (also known as Al-Hasa and Al-Ahsa)

The Al-Hasa Oasis, of which Al-Hofuf is a part, is believed to form the largest oasis in the world. The palm trees – supposedly over three million of them – branching off all directions, making use of the large surface and underground reserves of water. Over half a million tons of dates a year in this area.

The Oasis has been in existence, as far as we know, for millennia – used by ancient traders as a ancient caravan stop along the silk route. A huge respite from the baking sun and desolate desert ranges, a huge relief for those weary travelers

Hofuf the historic capital boosts a part restored traditional souk – safe shelter from the heat of the day. As with most markets in the Middle-East a tourist can buy just about anything here, although luckily for me no open air slaughter houses here!

This Thursday will mark a momentous occasion here at TAFE Jubail

Graduation-Caps-in-the-air

5 weeks after my first batch of ‘eager’ and ‘committed’ students began the course SOME of them will be graduating their beginner English classes <others, due to non attendance, bad attitude, general laziness and lack of interest will not be>

I am organising a small ceremony which their father and siblings will be invited to attend, snacks and nibbles will be provided, as well as brief introductions/presentations by the branch manager, high achieving students and me. It will be an opportunity for fathers to question staff, have a look around the campus and re-enroll their son for the next level/course…!

Each student who has passed the program will receive an official, graded certificate, portfolio of completed work and class title, e.g. best all round performer, most effort, consistent time keeper, most fluent and so on

In Saudi Arabia culturally it is UNHEARD of for teachers to talk to parents/invite them for progress reports and feedback. My manager – who has been teaching in Saudi Arabia for 15 years – said he has NEVER known teachers who wanted to/suggest speaking to the pupils fathers,  he went as far as saying that it was a ground breaking suggestion that would cause a ‘ripple affect’ across the Kingdom.

To be honest that seemed a extravagant and overblown statement to me but I think he was actually being serious… teachers speaking to parents about their children seems rather conventional in my experience. Nevertheless, owing to the significance of my proposed evening soiree, I hope all goes according to plan

‘Respect’ is missing from the Saudi-expat equation

I am writing with regard to the article “Saudis and expatriates: A reciprocal perspective” (Mar. 4). Instead of writing a whole book, the author of the study could have just emphasized the importance of one word – “respect”. This is what is missing from the equation between Saudis and expatriates.

I can only assume this guy has had some less than positive experiences with the locals…

Nireekshana Orphanage

Posted: March 5, 2015 in Tanuku

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http://www.nireekshanaorphanage.org/

My first attempt at creating a website using a pre-formatted page (bear in mind I am a teacher/youth worker NOT qualified to create websites in any way, shape or form)

Paypal donations now

Online giving link to follow

This is Zohra Filali the mother of rape victim, Amina Filali who committed suicide, shows a picture of her daughter at their family rather than live with dishonour and bring shame on her family

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In April a 14-year-old girl was shopping in the northern city of Zarqa when a 19-year-old man kidnapped her, took her to the desert where he had a pitched a tent and raped her for three consecutive days

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/06/28/223266.html

In Jordan, under penal code Article 308 – known as the “rape-law” –  rapists can walk free if they agreed to marry the victim

Israa Tawalbeh, the first female coroner,  said

“Accepting marriage under Article 308 is better than leaving girls to be killed by their parents or relatives,”

Hani Jahshan, forensic pathologist and physician at the health ministry and the Family Protection Directorate, blamed social misconceptions,

“This law is a stark violation of rights of women and children,” he said “Sexual violence has a deep impact on victims that could last for a long time, and if a raped girl marries her rapist, her suffering will only be aggravated.”

“Society believes that a female’s virginity must be preserved until marriage. This forces girls to marry their rapists in order to protect her reputation and avoid social problems,.”
“Society believes that a female’s virginity must be preserved until marriage. This forces girls to marry their rapists in order to protect her reputation and avoid social problems,”

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Perhaps a silent prayer in your lunch break for the families or if you have more time, a letter/email to the Jordanian Embassy in your home country…

Stumbled across a rather thoughtful story in the local paper today..

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What a considerate young man! I would like to think that some of may students may behave in a similarly compassionate way.

Reading about these small examples of human kindness towards those deemed less fortunate than ourselves gives me hope that a our future isn’t a bleak tale of misunderstanding, division, hatred and slaughter…

Germany 1935 – 1939  (before World War 2)

America 1950’s -1960’s (before the civil rights movement)

England 1960’s – 1970’s (before the Race Relations Act, 1965)

South Africa pre 1994 (before the end of apartheid )

Saudi Arabia 2014 (before…..?)

which should method should it employ?

I have listened, observed and joined the global outrage over the past 12 months about the behaviour, attitude and beliefs of the group calling themselves ISIS/ISIL/IS.  I am disgusted with their callous disregard for human life, their brutality shown towards hostages/innocent civilians, their treatment of captured young woman/girls and their betrayal of the basic fundamentals of law and order, due process and justice.

Having seen several of their public executions <real or staged> it is clear that several hundred have died at the hands of ISIS members – some armed military personnel, others opposing militia groups, some civilians caught in the middle and a few aid workers who were trying to help the humanitarian crisis in the region.

One question that rattles around in my mind is,

“Has America so perfected the social model to sit on a pedestal – claiming EXCEPTIONALISM – and to export her values, morals and ideas of justice to the rest of the world?”

Let’s consider the way America punishes the worst of it’s criminals in comparison to my current country of residence – Saudi Arabia.

Macnair

 

Beheading (Saudi Arabia – inhumane)

Many in the west rail against the barbarity of beheading as a method of public execution – a primitive, bloody, inhumane method from the dark ages

However beheading  can be one of the quickest and least painful ways to die – so long as the executioner is skilled, his blade sharp, and the condemned sits still.

A study in rats in 1991 found that it takes 2.7 seconds for the brain to consume the oxygen from the blood in the head; the equivalent figure for humans has been calculated at 7 seconds.

Electrocution (U S of A: Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia – humane)

Sat in the public viewing room, behind a one way mirror and a curtain, the family of the victim, defense/prosecuting attorneys and ‘interested parties’ sit as the switch is flipped.

1. August 10, 1982. Virginia – Frank Coppola took two 55-second jolts of electricity to kill him, the second jolt produced the odor and sizzling sound of burning flesh, and Coppola’s head and leg caught on fire. Smoke filled the death chamber from floor to ceiling with a smoky haze

In analysis in 2005 of post-mortem remains from 43 prisoners sentenced to death by electrocution found the most common visible injuries to be head and leg burns where the electrodes were attached.

It also further suggested that that the thick, insulating bones of the skull would prevent sufficient current from reaching the brain, and prisoners could instead be dying from heating of the brain, or perhaps from suffocation due to paralysis of the breathing muscles

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/some-examples-post-furman-botched-executions

Lethal Injection (U S of A – humane)

Again sat in the public viewing room, spectators see a  combination of three drugs: sodium thiopental (a barbiturate to induce anesthesia), pancuronium bromide (a muscle relaxant that paralyzes all the muscles of the body) and potassium chloride (a salt that speeds the heart until it stops) injected into the convict.

Lethal injection can cause excruciating pain.

Since the first lethal injection on December 7, 1982, over 1,000 prisoners in the USA have been executed by this method, some executions have lasted between 20 minutes to over an hour and prisoners have been seen gasping for air, grimacing and convulsing during executions.

42. Sept. 15, 2009. Ohio. Romell Broom. Attempted Lethal Injection. Efforts to find a suitable vein and to execute Mr. Broom were terminated after more than two hours when the executioners were unable to find a useable vein in Mr. Broom’s arms or legs. During the failed efforts, Mr. Broom winced and grimaced with pain. After the first hour’s lack of success, on several occasions Broom tried to help the executioners find a good vein. “At one point, he covered his face with both hands and appeared to be sobbing, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland ordered the execution to stop, and announced plans to attempt the execution anew after a one-week delay so that physicians could be consulted for advice on how the man could be killed more efficiently.

Photo taken after death sentence was delayed after no suitable vein could be found.

SECOND-EXECUTION

46.  July 23, 2014.  Arizona. Joseph R. Wood.  Lethal Injection.  After the chemicals were injected, Mr. Wood repeatedly gasped for one hour and 40 minutes before death was pronounced.

I am a member of the ‘save Buckbeack’ campaign… are you?

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So my personal thoughts of the issue of capital punishment – simple really – I will quote the words of another….

John 8

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him,

“Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”

They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them,

“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.

Straightening up, Jesus said to her,

“Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”

She said,

“No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said,

“I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”