2015 – The Year of Terror

As this year draws to a close, I look back and remember all the things that happened in a last 12 months. Unfortunately, the memories that come to the front are far from being pleasant.

I remember about thousands of people being murdered in terrorist attacks. I remember that over half of the population of the Earth live in countries exposed to terror. Countries where murder committed by terrorists is a daily occurrence. We tend to ignore the terror when it happens in “one of those places”. Terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, or anywhere in Africa are of little consequence to the rest of us in a Western world and barely score a mention somewhere on page 9 of a daily newspaper.

terror at Lindt Cafe, Sydney siege

Lindt Cafe, Sydney siege

But this year it’s not just the “usual suspects”. This year we have seen terrorists blowing a Russian passenger jet out of the sky.We’ve seen terrorists killing a police employee on a streets of Sydney in Australia. We have seen them spilling blood in Ukraine. Exploding bombs in Paris. We’ve seen an ISIS-inspired execution in Japan. We’ve seen car bombs exploding in Aussies’ favorite holiday destination – Thailand. We have seen shootings in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We’ve seen people being murdered on streets of United States.

They say numbers don’t lie. Well, here are the numbers. As at the time of writing this blog, we experienced 338 terrorist attacks. That’s 1 attack every day. No longer it’s something that only happens sometimes, a couple of times a year or maybe once a month. Terror is a daily occurrence in our lives.  Terrorists performed their heinous acts in 35 countries. Combined population of these countries is 4.2 billion people. That’s 59% of an entire world’s population living their lives exposed to terrorism.

Drug Cartels

Drug Cartels

 

On a side note, the only continent that didn’t really get affected by terrorism this past year was South America. Coincidently, we all know about how strong the drug cartels are in Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and Bolivia. I guess cartels are scarier than American Navy Seals, Australian SAS or French Foreign Legion? Maybe instead of spending millions of dollars by sending our troops in Syria or Iran, we can just ask Cartels to “take care of business”?

Prime Minister is holding a vigil for a couple of convicted criminals

Now I’ve seen everything! PM of Australia Tony Abbott and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, accompanied by other MPs are holding candlelight vigil for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, due to be executed in Bali. For those living under a rock for the past few months – Chan and Sukumaran are a couple of scumbags, who used to make money by destroying people’s lives

I wrote about the Bali pair last month here, and I argued that drug traffickers deserve the strictest punishment available under the law.  But at the time, I was only angry at all those little people living inside my TV and talking nonsense all the time.

Australian Parliament

Australian Parliament

Today I’m absolutely dumbfounded by the fact that my Prime Minister displays same level of stupidity (and yes, I know that the accepted, politically correct word is compassion) as the talking heads inside of my TV. I am absolutely dumbfounded that the Opposition Leader found the issue of prosecution of a drug trafficker, drug kingpin, drug-ring leader the only issue worthy enough to show solidarity and support with the current Government. Not the issue of improving our economy. Not the issue of dealing with the raising terrorism threat, not any of the other real issues affecting millions of people of Australia. No. The one and only issue that united Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten is How we can save lives of people whose chosen life path is destroying other people’s lives?

I am speechless. I have no speech. Both Libs and Labor are very lucky that we are not going into an election any time soon, because even that Muir dude, the one that spends his time throwing faeces at his mates is looking pretty good right now.

Bali 9, Drug Smugglers and Capital Punishment

The other day at work I have been listening to SKY News repeating over and over the same bit of news: “The last hope for two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Bali has been dashed”. After hearing this for what must’ve been a twentieth time, I found myself arguing with the TV.

Do the crime, do the time

Do the crime, do the time

I argued that I fail to understand why Australia is so keen on having those drug smugglers pardoned. They went to a foreign country. Country known to have a very strict anti-drug laws. They have been found guilty of their crime in that country’s court. How dare we interfere in an independent country’s internal affairs, or presume that our legal system is superior to theirs?

SKY dragged out some chick from the Amnesty International, who went on and on about how Capital Punishment should be abolished everywhere on Earth. Great idea in theory, a noble one. Really stupid in practice. For once, there is no AI chapter in Indonesia, so how can they possibly know and judge the laws, customs and values of that country? Secondly, I am a bit sceptical about an organisation that acts all-righteous and screams from its website that they do not accept government funding, yet they accept hundreds of millions of dollars from various governments around the world.

But going back to the drug lords, or drug mules or drug-whatever-they-called-today, the bottom line is really very clear.

I’ve always thought that there is a certain hierarchy in heinosity of various crimes.

The worst of the lot, the absolute scum of the Earth are pedofiles, closely followed by rapists and any other sex offenders. Ranking next on a criminal ladder are all the people making money on drugs. Drug growers, drug traffickers, drug dealers, drug anything…

Drugs destroy lives

Drugs destroy lives

So I guess what I’m saying is that the world would be a better place without those trying to poison our society and the only involvement from the media should be live broadcast of the sentencing and execution, with the hope that it will stop another dumb, down on luck kid from ever touching that shit.

Now I’m gonna go and argue with the TV a bit more….

Cheating in Sport is no longer the exception, it’s the rule

Drugs in sport

Cheat to Win

What’s the big deal about Patriots cheating with the ball? It’s not as if nothing like this ever happened before. I mean, today it’s the Deflategate, yesterday it was the Spygate, tomorrow it will be some other “gate“.

Personally, I question the perceived advantage. It is known that a deflated ball is easier to throw, especially in bad weather – but surely it would make it easier for both teams?

American Football

American Football

I have watched about 10 minutes of American football, and now I feel qualified to pass a judgement, so here it is: To me, the whole game of football in America is based on cheating. How else can you explain the fact that they play a game of ball wearing what amounts to a full Knight’s armor?

 

Aussie Rules

Aussie Rules

In Australia we play ball too, but at least in Aussie Rules players come out on a field in pretty much their underwear! 🙂
No cheating ever happening in Australian sports… Unless you count an occasional drug scandal of course. As I wrote a couple of years ago, we had few clubs taking some pills “by mistake”, we had Warnie trying to convince us that all he did was take a couple of tablets that his mom gave him, but cheating? No!

And to finish it off on a lighter note….

Q: Why did the coach give his football team lighters?
A: They kept losing their matches.

Australian Athletes Behaving Badly

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games are now finished. Australian athletes performed impressive, as usual, however their performance has been somewhat overshadowed by the altercation between Australian weightlifter Francois Etoundi and Welsh weightlifter Gareth Evans. I’ve heard some people commenting on it “boys will be boys”, “just a bit of testosterone release” or “no harm done”. Maybe so – although head butting another person in a face is probably taking things a bit too far.

Sporting heroes or thugs?

Sporting heroes?

What I don’t like about it, is that each and every one of our athletes at the games is representing Australia. They are our collective face, our collective voice, our collective image.  Aussies are generally known as laid-back, easy going bunch, and incidents like this are doing a lot of damage to our reputation.

Unfortunately, Etoundi is not the only one doing the damage. During 2012 London Olympics rower Josh Booth has been booted from the games after he had “few too many” and proceeded to destroy display windows of local shops. During the same Games, our swimmers Cameron McEvoy, Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, James Magnussen, Matt Targett and Tommaso D’Orsogna have received suspensions and been ordered to pay fines to Swimming Australia for the inappropriate distribution of prescription drugs, prank calls and door knocking late at night, and general misbehaviour. And what about Aussies at the New Zealand Games back in 1990, when a couple of our boys decided it’s a great idea to run through the Game’s village naked? Or our team in India, letting things to get a bit out of control and throwing a washing machine out of the 7 storey window?

Australian athlete has been arrested

Australian weightlifter Francois Etoundi

Some of these incidents seem more serious than the others, some seem totally harmless, but the reality is – they all contribute to creating the image of us that we would rather not get. An image of rowdy bums who like to get drunk, get into fights and cause nuisance.

 

 

Now, I’m not a whinger, but…if you put that Green-n-Gold uniform on, you are not just an Australian – you are The Australian, so make us all proud.

Becoming a Lucky Country

A couple of days ago I read an article about a Sydney woman being attacked on a busy street, with not one of the dozens of bystanders coming to her rescue. Luckily for her, the attackers changed their minds when she started shouting and screaming for help.

That got me thinking….why? Why all those people ignored woman’s cry for help? What happened to the notion of helping a “Damsel in distress”? As I was thinking about it, it occurred to me that there is no one simple answer to it. Rather, it is a combination of different ways in which we, as society failed ourselves.

The most obvious reason for people’s non involvement is the most basic of the feelings – fear. Not everyone can be a hero, not everyone is mentally prepared to face off with a car full of aggressive males. However, this is only true if you are alone. There were people in groups, able to match “body for body” the attackers.

I think the next 2 reasons are related to inadequacy of our legal system and the way we are bringing up our youth.

First let me explain my view on the legal side of things…

Good Samaritan

Good Samaritan

In Australia, the law is not geared towards protecting a Good Samaritan or encouraging a person to act as one.  NSW Civil Liability Act 2002 No 22 states that a good samaritan can be liable if he/she “failed to exercise reasonable care and skill in connection with the act…” What it really says is that you can pretend to be a Superman, or a Wonder Woman, only to have the dubious pleasure of being stabbed, or shot at, AND then being sued by the villain, or even the very victim you were trying to protect.

Further, Australia lags behind in introducing a law which would make it a legal requirement for citizens to assist people in distress. There are dozens of countries that have this law in place, some of them are Brazil, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Russia and Spain.

Which brings me to the second reason – the way we educate our young generation.

We are way too accepting, way too tolerant, even when acceptance and tolerance becoming synonyms for apathy and desertion. Our political correctness is going to cost us dearly.

King Hit - Coward Hit

King Hit – Coward Hit

Take recent attack at Canberra night club, which left its victim with a fracture to his eye socket, a fractured cheekbone, and bleeding from his forehead, nose, and lips. His attacker? Sentenced to eight months in jail, fully suspended. Suspended? How about showing that we are serious and locking the bastard up for 2-3 years, making sure he works his ass off?

Or how about our attitude towards drugs? Melbourne drug addicts might be in luck. Needle vending machines could be rolled out in Victoria this year. Because you know, those poor addicts, they need to do drugs outside of business hours too. How about showing that we are serious and locking them up until they are clean, making sure they work their asses off?

Now let’s move onto politics… MP Geoff Shaw investigated over claims he rorted taxpayer entitlements. MP Scott Driscoll  under fire over family business dealings. Former NSW MP Joe Tripodi faces ICAC investigation. Keilor MP George Seitz was under scrutiny as fraud squad investigates allegations that he misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars in gambling money. Those are the people who suppose to be our leaders and decision makers?

How possibly can our young understand what’s right and what’s wrong, if we keep sending them these mixed messages?

Now, I am not a whinger, but….why don’t we call things what they are: a bully, a corrupt politician (tautology?), a drug addict, a criminal. Maybe then our children will have at least a small chance to be able to tell right from wrong and maybe, just maybe we will be able to live in a country that once again will deserve the title of the Lucky Country.

What’s common between Aussie Rules Grand Final and Illegal Immigrants?

Like most Australians, I was glued to the TV today, watching the Holy Grail of the Aussie Rules. Both teams showed true premierships qualities, played good game of football and provided plenty of entertainment. In a tradition clearly borrowed from the American Super Bowl, we even were treated to a half-time entertainment show from an Australian legends, Hunters & Collectors.

Aussie Rules Grand Final is no place for politics

Aussie Rules Grand Final is no place for politics

And that was the point at which I just had to say: I am not a whinger, BUT…..what the hell was Mark Seymour thinking when he decided to put on that t-shirt saying “asylum seekers”? He has an opinion about illegal immigrants? Good for him! Now take that opinion and shove it where sun don’t shine, because I’m not interested in it. Here’s a news for you: AFL didn’t pay you for your political views. They paid you to come out and sing a couple of songs. If anyone ever will become interested in your views on Australian politics, you would get an invite onto different kind of show, where people talk about politics, not sports or music.

Unfortunately, this is not a single case, for performers all over the world make dubious choice of hijacking a musical stage to drive a political agenda. Today it was Hunters & Collectors, before them it was Jamie Foxx and Dixie Chicks, Pussy Riot and Madonna. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am not against expressing political views through music. Just look at the history of another Aussie legend – the Midnight Oil. Their songs are as political as they get, they never minced their words, making very clear where they stood on any given issue. When you went to their concert, or bought their CD, you knew exactly what you were getting. They’ve come up with a whole lot of hits, true Aussie anthems, and they did it while being honest about their views.

Don't talk to me about politics, go back to snorting coke

Don’t talk to me about politics, go back to snorting coke

So here’s a bit of advice to all those actors, singers, musicians who feel compelled to impose their political views on the rest of the world…..DON’T. Just because you have (or think you have) a talent in one area, doesn’t mean you understand anything about what else is happening in a world. So why don’t you do us all a favour, and go back to singing, dancing, snorting coke, or whatever else you occupy yourself with.