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My sister sent me this video earlier. It literally gave me goosebumps and left me in tears at the end. What extraordinary talent…just incredible

Absolutely mesmerising

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I’m reading a book, historically factual but written as a story by Frederick Forsyth about the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait.

The Fist of God. Its fascinating but OMG….humans are mad. Evil and mad. The stuff they do.  I can’t believe that if there was a God, that he would want us to continue under the illusion that we were created in his image. He must shudder. I’m sure he’s washed his hands of the human race…

I remember the invasion of Kuwait, my daughter was 10 years old at the time and I used to buy the papers so we could read them. I remember telling her that this was history, we were living in momentous times.

I also remember how the media scared the living daylights out if us and despite being at the very very bottom end of Africa and closer to Antarctica than Iraq, just how terrifying it was. Imagination went as wild as you can imagine!!

I think I still have some of the front pages….I’m weird like that.

But for sure, I never realized just how evil the whole thing was. And still today, we have evil men plotting dastardly events and violence against mankind.

I think we need a meteor to arrive…

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The Two Popes

I’ve been unexpectedly stuck at the B&B since last Friday and bored with TV and reading, my daughter suggested I download Netflix and watch a couple of movies.

I first watched a remake of ‘Rebecca’ – a classic that seldom disappoints.

Then I spotted ‘The Two Popes’. I’d so wanted to see this when it was first released and it didn’t disappoint.

It’s an intimate portrayal of two men; one the Pope and the other a Cardinal, and a supposed conversation they had at a momentous time in history.

Based on true events, although the conversation is imagined, it is incredibly feasible. Since no-one, besides the two real life characters themselves know what was said during their brief time together, we can but only imagine.

The ‘conversation’ is beautifully written and the characters sensitively portrayed by Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce – both exceptional character actors who were totally convincing as the people they portrayed.

I’m not at all religious and believe in evolution, but I found myself drawn into the drama of the situation and their story. It was so very poignant and I found myself sobbing during some of the scenes.

A most enjoyable film, the story of which has lingered well past the last scene….

I love a film that leaves you thinking about it for days and raises questions like: if no-one is to blame, is everyone to blame….

A very deep and thought-provoking film. I’m definitely going to watch it again. I’m also going to do more research on the current Pope; Francis ( Jorge Mario Bergoglio). I’ve always liked him and think he’s a breath of fresh air.

The question he raised at his speech in Lampedusa is going to haunt me ….

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Usurping the US election news (thank you thank you thank you 🙏🙏🙏👴🏻) is the latest news of a Covid-19 vaccine; an apparently successful vaccine.

In terms of timing and according to previous reports, a vaccine usually takes years to develop, test and have approved.

So whilst the market shares have shot ⬆️⬆️⬆️ I’m somewhat sceptical, especially as it comes from a pharmaceutical company of a particular name.

Conspiracy theories aside, and I am a bit of a theorist myself, I am not that enthralled by the news. These companies are all about making money and being the ‘first’ to find a successful vaccine is going to make them a whole ton of money (I was going to resort to my South African roots and say shitload of money but that would be rude 😝😝).

Meanwhile time will tell if it is indeed that effective.

My question is this: would you have the vaccine?

Personally, I had a flu vaccine in my first year in the UK and it made me horribly ill for nearly 2 weeks. I have since declined any further flu vaccines. So for me it’s a no.

Now, I know this virus is not a flu, or a type of flu and is something quite out of the ordinary, and in general I believe in being vaccinated against diseases…..as children in South Africa we were all vaccinated as a matter of course, my daughter had all her vaccinations in the 80s and 90s and my grandson (born in the UK) has so far had all his required vaccinations.

However, these are all long-term, tried and tested vaccines and despite the ‘conspiracy theories’ 😉😉 on the whole are very successful.

But I worry that the competition to be first to produce a vaccine for Covid-19 is more about the money than any form of altruism or care for the wellbeing of humanity.

The next question is: who do they vaccinate first? My thoughts are that it should first be provided to the 30-60 age group (I’m 65). But I’m sure everyone has a different opinion on that…out of 65 million people if they’re (the UK government) buying just 10 million by Christmas, who is going to benefit? If it is indeed a benefit? 10.11.20 *correction – its 100 million vaccines the government are ordering *.

Supply it for free, and then we can look at it from a different aspect. These pharmaceutical companies are mega-wealthy, growing obscenely rich on the unwellness of their target audiences, they can absolutely afford to provide the vaccine for free for the benefit of humanity….

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Kadish!!!! 🎤👇🙌 he’s out, out, out.

I believe he’s been told to accept defeat gracefully….seriously 😝😝😝 the trumpet and the word gracefully do not belong in the same sentence….

It’s going to be veryyyyy interesting to see what he does now. It’s going to be even more interesting (and frankly very enjoyable) to watch his face at Biden’s inauguration. If he even pitches up.

It won’t be bigger than his though, his was the ‘biggest’ the ‘best’ the ‘mostest’ and ‘huggggeeee’….crowds.

I will be counting the days till 20th January 2021. 2️⃣0️⃣/0️⃣1️⃣/2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣1️⃣✅✅✅

Now like I said in my previous post, I’m not that charmed by Biden, I think he’s too old, too establishment and even though, to his credit, he behaved impeccably during the campaign and subsequently, I really wish the Democratic Party had put forward a younger nominee.

But if he’s the best they’ve got….well there it is, at least he’s beaten the present incumbent of the White House. Oh to be a fly on the WH wall..

And just like in 2016 when Americans voted for tRump, it was a case of ‘ANYONE’ but ANYONE other than Hillary, now in 2020 Biden is the ‘anyone’ better than the orange swamp thing…

Bye bye trumpy….

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OMG! Seriously, how tense are the blessed US elections.

I wish they’d just get it over with now.

I was determined to NOT watch the coverage because I really CANNOT stand the orange swamp thing and usually switch off when he appears on screen.

Whilst I don’t think Joe Biden is the best candidate, and I’d love to see a younger person, less establishment, stepping up to contest the position of President, I hope he wins – I will thoroughly ENJOY watching the current encumbent get his marching orders.

I’d love him to refuse to leave, just so we can watch him being removed, preferably kicking and screaming.

Meanwhile, its fun to see how he’s scrambling and screaming already …so many useless legal challenges, keeping the litigators busy, and he is an expert in criminal charges.

Its fascinating to hear him screaming ‘fraud’ – of course he’s an expert in that area too, I’d say something of an expert really.

Ugh. Come on….get it over with and lets see him disappear into oblivion, preferably at the bottom of that swamp…

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https://www.instagram.com/tv/CGrmOHAB10C/?igshid=1ooi9l1506x0s

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As someone else said “ironically I’m using social media to share this” – but I urge you to watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ on Netflix. I’d seen a couple of my friends make reference to it, but didn’t really take much notice. But today I had a bit of spare time so I watched it…..and it scared the hell out of me.

To quote a quote:
“There are only two industries that call their customers “user’s” : illegal drugs and software”.

There is such a lot of information in the documentary that my mind was thrown into turmoil. Interviewing the very people who set up these programmes and the ubiquitous algorithms that we all love so much.

It made for very uncomfortable viewing.

We are being manipulated by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn, Snapchat, et al….in order for them to make money off of us. It may have started off fairly benign, but now, every tool in the book is being used to manipulate us like puppets. Every emoji we use prompts the algorithm to feed us like a lab rat…their words, not mine. I would urge you to watch it, it is really quite important to understand what they are doing behind the scenes and how they are manipulating us. It’s in no way benign.

In the heydey of the new platform; Facebook I, like many others, friended people left right and centre. I connected with people I’d never met from the far corners of the planet…without any thought whatsoever to whether or not they were indeed ‘friendly’. Over the years and especially when I started with multi-level marketing, I ‘friended’ so many people that my feed was filled with stuff I had no interest in. Once I removed myself from the MLM industry I unfriended everyone I had connected with unless I had actually met them in person. The same went for the people I met via Personal Development. What I found was that unless you were superficial you were not worthy of their attention. It was the ‘fake it till you make it’ mindset. I hated that, So I unfriended well over 1000 people. People I never heard from again.

But I still continued to accept friend requests and once I got started on twitter I ‘met’ a lot of people that then transferred to Facebook. Over the past 4 years I’ve realised that despite having so many’ friends’, very few were actively engaged, and so I unfriended another few hundred until I was down to people I actually knew, or had met in person, or people I had formed a relationship with regardless of where they were from. Just over a year ago, due to an emotional upset I logged off facebook….and of all the friends I was connected to, only 1 actually contacted me to find out if I was okay.

Other than that I also unfriended anyone who supported that snake farage, brexit or trump. And so my friends list shrunk to a reasonably manageable list of 150. Still there were people there I had never met or couldn’t actually remember why we connected, but with some I stayed connected because they posted interesting articles or we had things in common.

After watching the documentary ‘Don’t F*ck With Cats’ – the actual title, I immediately stopped posting photos of my grandson and put my profile onto private.

When Covid-19 came along at the beginning of the year, I logged back onto Facebook purely so that I could connect with friends just to make sure that everyone I cared about was okay.

But what I’ve noticed over the following months is that I am spending more and more time on Facebook and my emotions are on a constant rollercoaster. For example…..a friend will post a photo that I admire so I ❤ it. The someone else will post something about Syria and I click the sad emoji. Then another article will appear on my timeline about the useless UK government and after reading the article I click the angry emoji and share the article with a scathing or angry comment. And then someone else will share a cat video or a funny meme and I find myself using the laughing emoji. Or someone would share an amazing image and I’d click the ‘wow’ emoji. And then there are the posts that I just ‘like’. But, I was on a constant yo-yo of emotions and in a few minutes or hours I’d swing from love, to anger, to laughter, to sadness and boring old liking……every fucking day!!!

I’m exhausted. All my friends share different articles and they all share them on different days according to what they are interested in, love, get angry about, are saddened by or awed. And these all appear in my timeline on a constant loop. And my emotions are constantly swung one way or another…over and over and over.

What I found even more scary is that these platforms are only getting started with their manipulations, with their monetising. Try having a conversation with a friend about…..say….a wedding. Next thing you’ll see advert after advert about weddings, or holidays, or that cruise, or shoes or baby clothes…..this is not an accident! This is marketing manipulation on a massive scale.

Now if you’re okay with that, then fine. But it’s how they’re moving it forward, and how they use algorithms to manipulate your emotions, your beliefs, your values, your thoughts and your emotions….and your bank account!! Don’t underestimate the value that is placed on those adverts….they are designed to make you buy something you probably don’t need or want….much like adverts on TV and the papers…although that is just a little less pernicious, not much but they don’t work on algorithms designed to keep you scrolling endlessly seeking seeking seeking the next article or image or video…..I know. I do that every day till my thumb and wrist aches.

And it’s all being done deliberately so that the people behind the scenes can increase their wealth exponentially. I can’t detail it all here, but I would urge you to watch the documentary and make up your own mind.

Don’t be surprised if you find my profile shut down (actually, ironically, a friend reacted angrily to my post, and left a really angry comment, and that precipitated my logging off).

I left Twitter 18 months ago, and the only reason I haven’t hadn’t as yet left Facebook is was because it’s a way to keep in touch with you, my friends…but I’m very uncomfortable with what I’m seeing. I’m not understanding this for the first time, and I’m aware of how these platforms manipulate us, but it’s the first time the full reality of what and how they do it is becoming clear. And it is a drug. We are all addicted whether we find excuses or not to deny it…we are addicted.

I see it with my own family. My daughter and I used to have some amazing conversations…..now when I visit she has her head plastered to her phone. I’ve asked her time and again to please not spend any time we have together glued to her phone but she will always find a reason to continue…there’s always a reason. She can’t even watch a movie without engaging on her phone. It irks me tremendously, but my pleas fall on deaf ears. Her husband too, is always clicking on his phone and unless I can engage their attention with something, anything really, I end up sitting there staring at the TV, or I pick up my phone and do the same. What really annoys me though is that when the in-laws are visiting (the perfect family), she doesn’t sit with her face glued to her phone but chats to them.

Sadly, they have started their son off on YouTube videos and he cannot sit down to a meal without having to be entertained by YouTube. He is already addicted to the screen time, and Daddy rushes about desperately trying to find his phone so baby can watch the screen and be entertained while he has food doled out into his mouth. Screen time has gone from a few minutes to well over an hour, because that is sometimes how long it takes him to eat. I’ve no doubt she will disagree with me, and will probably be somewhat angry that I have written this down, but from parents who, when they were expecting said they wouldn’t be spending time on social media when baby is around, they’ve gone in completely the opposite direction…There was a time when my honesty was appreciated and I could talk to her about things like this…

Every time you click an emoji you are feeding your addiction. Every video or article you click on feeds your addiction and these platforms drip feed us every day every minute we have our phones switched on….watch the documentary and make up your own mind…their main goal is to keep you on the platform for as long as possible and the Ai programmes are designed and built to nudge you if you’re away for too long. Those notifications……!!!

To say that I hate Facebook would be an understatement. And if you think I’m overexaggerating, try looking around you…on the bus, on the tube, in a park, on the streets (how many times don’t people practically knock you over), in the cinema, in a theatre, in the doctors waiting room, driving in their car…people are killed every day because that truck driver, or bus driver or your own family are unable to put their phones down even while driving, in your own home…look around you, observe and realise that this is all down to manipulation, by platforms DELIBERATELY designed to engage and keep your attention for as long as possible, and when you step away, they are designed to grab your attention and get you back on for as long as possible.

Watch the documentary and make up your own mind. Even the very people who created these platforms and the machinations behind them, restrict their children from using social media. Ask yourself why!!

For me, I’m out.

29/09/20 a friend of mine in Australia suggested that he’d be curious to hear what effect my leaving facebook would have in a few weeks…..I could immediately tell him that it had induced a state of anxiety. Which as I said to him, absolutely makes me certain I’ve done the right thing. I find my brain and my hands wanting to log on (but I’ve forgotten my password LOL) and see what’s been posted. I’ve used facebook as way to keep myself from getting bored when I have downtime on my job, but I’m going to find myself a hobby to keep busy.

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“How else should I think, they don’t even consider me human.”

The Refugees Journey.

My name is Farid, I was an anaesthetist at the Damascus hospital, it was a job I loved and proud to be.

That all changed though one night, my world stopped and it still hasn’t started. I was lay in bed trying to sleep, we lost a patient on the table and it was hard on the whole team. I just lay there wondering what more we could have done. Then it hit, there was no noise immediately but then everything collapsed around me, followed by the noise of the explosion, I tried to get up but I had to get the rubble off me, I couldn’t see because of the dust and my ears were ringing. I felt blood coming out of my left ear, the pain told me my eardrum had burst.

Then the panic set in, my family Bushra my wife was next to me, my heart broke into as many pieces as the apartment, my beautiful wife of 15 years was lying there, eyes open, not moving. I reached across to find a pulse but knowing I wouldn’t, I sat there for what felt like an eternity holding her and screaming but I could not hear my screams. I had to lay her back down to look for my children, I went to my sons Mahdi’s room but there was no room only a hole where it once was, I could not find him and desperately turned to my daughter Atifa’s room, it was a scene of desolation but her cot was still there, she looked out from the side, silent and afraid, less than 12 months old and she experienced this. I picked her up and held her close but she made no sound, no attempt to hold me back, I had to get us out of there before anything else happened. We went outside and we walked into what was now a war zone, my beautiful city Damascus pummelled into the ground in the matter of hours. I grabbed an emergency worker and told him of my wife and son, they told me that right now they are only concerned with the living.

Day 4: We are in a camp, it is packed out with people and we are in a rudimentary shelter of canvas. My daughter is still unresponsive, I have tried to get medical assistance but there is none, I make sure she has water and food when it’s available. It can get cold of a night, I wrap her up as well as I can and hold her so we both can keep warm. We are going to die here, many already have, we have nothing, what we had lays in the ruins along with the bodies of my family. I cannot make contact with anyone I once knew, I have no idea if my brothers or mother have survived. My sister is safe, she is a doctor in the UK and has been there for many years.

Day 8:
Still nothing changes here, many are now with disease and are dying, we shall die too should we remain. I spoke to the others, they tell me the whole of Syria lies in ruin and many millions are now dead, the country has been lain to waste, there is nothing left for anyone apart from disease and starvation. They are heading out tomorrow to try and get safe haven in Europe, they will make their way to Turkey and then through Greece but their only means of transport is to walk. The distance to Turkey alone is around 800km and will take us over a week but what choice do I have, stay here and die with my daughter or try to get to sanctuary and possibly die on the way.

Day 17:
We reached the boarder of Turkey yesterday, myself and my daughter have not eaten for three days and our water ran out over a day ago. Nobody in the convoy had any apart from an old lady who gave us a few dried crackers she had but they were impossible to eat without water. They have us under arrest at the boarder but they are giving us food and water. A few people from some organisation have been around and given us more clothing, I can at least get my daughter a little warmer now. She is still unresponsive but they had a doctor come see me, he thought it was down to the shock and she should eventually come around but if not I would need to get further medical assistance. Given my current situation that wasn’t going to happen any times soon. A man from the organisation had found some nappies for me, I removed the rags that was once my shirt from Atifa and put her in a clean nappy, she was red raw with a rash but what could I do?

Day 26:
I don’t know how long we have been walking for, the days are blurring into one. We managed to escape the compound in Turkey or they just let us go I’m not sure of which. We have to just keep moving, finding food and water where we can, they say we have to just keep moving, sleeping under any cover we can find along the way. My daughter has started to respond, she reaches out for food and water and I give her what I have, sometimes I give her nothing because that’s all I have.

Day: Unknown.
The hours become days, the days become weeks and the weeks feel like an eternity now. Where once we were 70 plus strong there is less than a dozen left. Some just disappeared, some just walked off some just didn’t wake the following day. We have seen the worse in humanity, cursing at us, some driving at us and we are run from the road, the names they call us saddens my heart, they do not know me, they do not know of the life I once had. They treat my daughter the same way yet she is innocent but they do not care. We also saw the best of humanity, the farmer that let us sleep in his barn and the next day fed us all before we left. The drivers that drove us for parts of our journey to save our feet getting worse than they already were, the angels who tended to us, gave us medicine to keep us strong, food and water so we didn’t perish on the route.

They came to us one day offering passage to Calais now only a few hundred miles away but the money they wanted was more than I carried, over 6 months wages from home. I had little money but I hoped it would pay for the last leg of my journey were I simply could not walk. I had to refuse and take my journey on foot again but I left as soon as I could, I feared for our lives from these men.

We moved on, I carried Atifa either in my arms or on my shoulders, even though she was small the weight became unbearable at times. We did it though, we reached the last camp in France, there were tents upon tents but it was filthy, rats scurried around and their was a stench in the air, I knew this stench though, I carried the same smell of the forgotten and the abandoned. She approached me, a woman aged before her years, she asked me from were I came and I told her Damascus, she came from Aleppo or what was left of it, she was all that remained of her family, she lost everyone and everything, they had a bakery in the family for over 50 years, gone in one night witH one bomb, only she got out of the ruins, 12 members of her family perished that night. I gave her a hug, it was all I had that I could give away.

“You need to leave right now” I was shocked and looked at as to why I should go. The baby, if the authorities find her here they will take her from you. I started to panic, what could I do? She asked if I was planning to get across the channel and I told her of my sister who lived and worked in the UK. Could I pay she asked, I told her I had some money, she guided me into her tent and told me to wait, was I being foolish? I had told this stranger I had money, what if she had gone to get some men to rob me.

I was at the point of panicking and running when she returned, with her was a man, medium build but a scowl on his face, once again I was afraid. She told me he can get me over the channel today but at a price. I went to introduce myself and he said no names, then asked how much I had. I told him what I had in Syrian pounds and he snorted and told me my money was near worthless now but it might just get me across the water, I told him about Atifa my daughter and he just said no, not enough money for two. I took in a deep breath and picked my daughter up to make my way. He told me to wait and walked away speaking on his phone. A few minutes later he returned, said they could take the both of us but my daughter would have to stay on my lap for all of the journey so we only take up the room of one. I agreed, I had no choice, he put his hand out for the money, again I started to panic, what if he just went and I never saw him again. I told him I would pay when we were on the boat, “no pay, no boat” he said and turned to walk away. I had no choice, I was at the mercy of stranger, what else could I do but give him the money. He told me to wait here, he would be back in a little while.

Time passed like an eternity, all the while I’m thinking I have made a mess of any future we might have had. There was nothing more I could do. A van arrived at the camp and he jumped out of the passenger seat, “come” was all he said and I climbed into the van with Atifa. Inside there were other people, we all looked and smelled alike, unkempt and desperate. We travelled for a hour or so and we came to a stop and told to get out. We were on a beach and in front of us was a small rubber dingy in poor condition, way too small for the amount of people they are going to put on it.

They told us to hurry and get in the boat and put on the life jackets, as I grabbed one there was none for my daughter and I asked where it was. We don’t have one that small, put her inside yours, that couldn’t work, I put it on but left it untied in case anything happened. We had been in the boat for a while when someone remarked about the water getting in, they spoke to the driver and he just shrugged. A little while later and the passengers are trying to bail the water out, the driver said not to worry he was making good ground. I wasn’t happy and took my life jacket off and put it around Atifa and tried to tie it as best I could.

I kissed my daughter and told her everything would be alright when the world spun. Suddenly I was in the water and trying to get back to the surface, I had taken in water and my lungs were burning. As I breeched the surface it was horrific, people shouting and screaming, the boat upside down with a tear right along the bottom. I looked around and a few people hadn’t made it then I remembered Atifa and I began to splash around screaming her name, I saw the life jacket first and swam over to it but it was empty, she was too small but please, please, please say she is alright. Then I saw her and I couldn’t get my breath, she was floating in the water, not moving, face down. I ushered all my might to get to her, pulled her to me and turned her over but as soon as I did I knew my little Atifa was gone, the sea had taken her after all she had been through this was the one thing that took her from me.

I screamed and held her close, I’m not sure how long I screamed for or how long I was in the water, I wondered if I should simply let the water take me too, I had nothing left.

I felt the hands on my shoulders as they hauled me out of the water, they got me on board a ship and someone came to speak with me, he said he wanted to take my daughter to care for her, I said no and held her tighter. He leans forward and felt for her pulse but we both new he wouldn’t find one. He was British, it took me a few minutes to fathom out his language, he asked if there was anything they could do, I just shook my head and said no. He placed his hand on my shoulder and looked at me. He pulled me forward and gave me a hug, he said nothing just held me close and I cried, I could not stop the tears from falling, I cried for the loss of my family and friends at the hands of an enemy we did not see, I cried for the destruction of my city and my country, I cried for the many miles we had travelled and the scorn we had met because we had become homeless at someone else’s hands. I cried long and hard.

A few weeks later and I’m sat at my sisters table, she had managed to track me down and bring me home, my daughter now buried in a foreign land and I’m struggling to come to terms with anything.

“Are you OK?” she asks.
“No, I have lost more than anyone would believe, I’m not even 38 and my whole world, my life has been ripped to shreds, I have no one left apart from yourself yet even now they call me a fucking immigrant, tell me to go back to a country that no longer exists because their government sold the arms that killed my fellow man. I’ve applied for a position in a hospital that I’m confident of getting but I’m still not worthy of being here. I heard some of the British said we should have drowned in the channel. Well my daughter did and I sit here wondering would it have been better if I had too.”

“Don’t think that way”

“How else should I think, they don’t even consider me human.”

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