Some thoughts on my 2015

Saturday 1283  –  2.01.2016

If you are new to my blog take a look at my About page here

Well hello everyone. It has been nine months since I last posted on this blog and Nooooo I haven’t had a baby in that time, in case you were wondering !

I would like to share some thoughts about my 2015, what I’ve been doing since I posted here last and what I’ve been thinking

1 – It’s been a difficult year personally because of ill-health both physical, with heart disease, and mentally, with depression. The first is mended the second is influenced by all the stuff that follows, but I am getting there. Anyone who has visits from the “black dog” will know how difficult that can be as it steals your motivation and self-belief, saps your energy, and affects concentration. Mental illness is still not talked about enough and many sadly still feel they have to hide it because of stigma. It is an illness just like any physical illness and people who suffer it should be treated with understanding and empathy. 

From the World Health Organisation (2012)

“Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. More women are affected by depression than men.”

I’m sure I will be writing about this again!

2 – It’s been a helluva difficult year internationally and has certainly not helped the above  – Hate and destruction seem to be running unfettered, across the world, whipped up by the media, xenophobia and fear mongering by many who have vested interests in keeping people in fear: after all people are easier to manipulate and control when they are fearful; are they not? ( there are several posts in here but I have been too overwhelmed to write them yet!)  It is sometimes difficult to remember that the majority of people want peace and harmony to enjoy their lives with their families and friends, but I still believe this to be the case. 

3 – America has to contend with Donald Trump, who taps into that fear and magnifies it 1000 fold. Need I say more?  America led by Donald Trump would be a very scary prospect indeed!

4- Here in the UK we have to contend with Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP ( United Kingdom Independence Party ); some might say a watered down version of Trump.

5 – I’ve always been political but this year, faced with what seems like a cruel and heartless Conservative government, I have put my money where my mouth is and joined the Labour Party, since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader. I intend to be much more politically active in 2016 so I’m sure I’ll be writing about this as the year goes on.

6 – I lost my Mojo for photography and indeed for blogging but I am gradually rekindling my love of the 1st, hoping to share both my photos and my thoughts by way of the 2nd.

7- The world is getting smaller as social media gives us the opportunity to be connected with each other; and in real-time. I discovered twitter this year ( I have been on it for a couple of years but not actively )  It gives you unprecedented access to makers and shakers, nationally and across the globe. It is both exciting and terrible at the same time. It brings out the best in people when they share Missing people’s names or campaign against something unjust but it also brings out rank bigotry and hatred in too many people. It is easy for some people to hide behind anonymity and quick to type something without thought for the effect it will have on others. A double-edged sword indeed!

8- Many of you will know about my passion against injustice, fighting it wherever I find it, but in the 2nd half of this year I felt I should give that up for self-preservation.  Then I got impassioned by a Campaign here in the Uk called #WASPI – Women Against State Pension Equality who are fighting against unfair changes to state pensions for women born in the 1950’s. All  have had their pension age increased from 60, not just once but in many cases twice, with up to 6 years added on; in my own case 5 years and 5 months. The issue has been no or little notification of the change so no time to plan financially. It has caused real hardship for many, most of whom are not against equality of state pension age between men and women but feel they have suffered dis-proportionally.  You can find out more about the campaign on twitter or on Facebook . Main issues Here  and if you live in the UK you might like to sign this Petition to the Government. There will be a debate in Parliament on 7th January.

I am always reminded of what Nelson Mandela said –

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

Throughout my life this has always been so very important to me. So the fight goes on and I suspect I will still be fighting against injustice when I have one foot in the grave. I just cannot help myself!

9 – Part of my fighting injustice in the world continues to be my support of Kiva  which I have written about before in a post called A Hand-up not a Hand-out which you can read here

10 – Some things I have been particularly thankful for this year – My beloved children Katy and Steven, my dear friend Helen and many others. The beautiful,natural world of trees, water, animals, birds and insects. How healing it has been to get outside and into nature when I have not been feeling the best. It is reliable and constant. ( and mostly wet at the moment!) I am truly thankful I am still alive and for our wonderful National Health Service which effectively saved my life; an NHS under threat by our Tory government as it is gradually being sold off to the private sector, service by service. 

Finally I would like to wish you all a 2016 full of hope, passion, laughter, love and above all peace and freedom. Please click on the photo below and watch the 3 minute Video. I am sure it will make you smile. Thank you

 Human

More here – Human-the Movie

Your thoughts are very welcome as ever.

Saturday Girl signing off.. I promise it will not be 9 months before I post again!

You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

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Saturday 1358  –  26.07.14

If you are new to my blog take a look at my About page here

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Please don’t just flick past and think this is just another post about Palestine.. It is but it is so very important to read about what is happening, as the worlds governments seem to be standing by apparently disinterested. Please read right to the end. Thank you.

I’d like you to think about something for me, especially if you have children, elderly parents, someone disabled in your family, a husband, wife or other loved one. Yes in other words all of you.

I want you to imagine that you’ve had leaflets dropped in the area where you live telling you that you need to get out of your house because the area in which you live is going to be bombed.

Now your phone is ringing and you’re being told you have 15 mins to get out of the house. What do you think ? This is my house, all my things, my life savings have gone into this house.

Then I want you to imagine that there is an explosion on your roof, enough to shake the house violently and do some damage or maybe even kill anyone at the top of the house. ( the Israelis call it a “tap on the roof”)

Next feel the fear of knowing that explosion on your roof is a warning that your house is going to be bombed and you need to get out fast. What would you bring with you? Food, clothes, medicine, money, the dog?  Would you have time? Would you run?  How can you when you have an elderly grandmother with you ? Where would you go when you don’t know which other houses are going to be bombed? 

Would you go to the beach? Would you be safe there?

Would you go to a UN run school? Would you be safe there?

Please don’t stop reading now but instead watch this video here. 

Imagine this was your house…..

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All gone…

Forever.  

Along with any dreams and hopes you might have had for the future.

I hope you managed to get your family out in time.

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These are some of the names and ages of the children killed in the last 2 weeks. They didn’t get out in time

Names and ages of some of the children killed in Gaza in the last 2 weeks

Names and ages of some of the children killed in Gaza in the last 2 weeks

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On this Saturday  I attended a 1 hr vigil for the people who have been killed in the Gaza strip, Palestine, in the last 2 weeks .The vigil, organised by the Cambridge Palestine Forum was held in the centre of Cambridge whilst in London upwards of 45,000 people marched calling for an end to the terrible bloodshed, to the blockade of Gaza by Israel and for a boycott of Israel.  

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Reading the names of the dead

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On 22.07.14 a vote was held in the United Nations on a resolution ensuring respect for international law in Palestine  – 

on the 23rd July  –

The Human Rights Council concludes Special Session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Establishes Independent, International Commission of Inquiry for the Occupied Palestinian Territory

“The Human Rights Council today established an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and concluded its Special Session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

In the resolution, adopted by a vote of 29 States in favour, 1 against and 17 abstentions, the Council condemned in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations carried out in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 13 June 2014 that may amount to international crimes, directly resulting in the killing of more than 650 Palestinians, most of them civilians and more than 170 of whom were children, the injury of more than 4,000 people and the wanton destruction of homes, vital infrastructure and public properties.

In the resolution, the Council decided to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, and to report to the Council at its twenty-eighth session.

Please look carefully at the result of the vote below. The United States of America voted AGAINST the resolution and Europe, including France, Germany, Austria, Ireland , Italy and the UK abstained. In other words they were silent and proved again that when the USA says jump they say how high !  I am ashamed of my government here in the Uk. They did not vote in my name !

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

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Please read this and consider signing https://secure.avaaz.org/en/israel_palestine_this_is_how_it_ends_loc/?slideshow

Or you might like to write to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs ,Phillip Hammond directly and tell him what you think. You can do that here https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/israel-gaza

So what can you do about it apart from signing petitions. You might like to consider boycotting companies that have strong links with Israel. 

More information: –

here http://www.boycottisraelnetwork.net/ .

and here http://www.boycottisrael.org.uk/

Finally I would ask you to watch this video here by Jon Snow. One of the few journalists around these days who is really doing his job.

Please don’t turn away. These children need us.

you don't need to be a muslim to stand up for Gaza

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I have written about the cost of war and associated issues before –

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/save-lives-talk-peace/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/the-human-cost-of-war/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/naming-the-dead/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/is-this-what-we-want-for-our-sons-and-daughters/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/white-feather-caught-in-thorns/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/guns-what-are-they-good-for/

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As ever I welcome your thoughts.

Saturday girl signing off til whenever.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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