Nice guys these Quakers

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Quaker_star

Yesterday I came across an article in a local online newspaper about how a group of Quakers are helping the LGBTQ community flee Uganda’s absurd and outrageous Anti-Homosexuality Act. What’s more, I got to learn a lot about the Quaker community, otherwise known as the Religious Society of Friends (didn’t know that either).

Like the Amish community, Quakers are fervently religious and believe very strongly in non-violence. However whereas The Amish are very conservative and don’t adapt to change, Quakers are pretty liberal and embrace modern technology. Another thing, Quakers don’t have priests or clergymen and eschew religious symbolism, and for that alone this atheist is warming up to them.

But here’s why I think they’re simply awesome: Quakers are involving themselves in a dangerous activity by helping people escape persecution. And they’ve done it before; many times.

Quakers denounced slavery as early as the 1670’s in Barbados. Later they would play a fundamental role in abolishing slavery in the United States. They were also involved in setting up the Underground Railroad in the USA which helped runaway slaves.

It was therefore fitting that the group based in Olympia, Washington, assisting people escape the bigotry and persecution as a result of the draconian law passed by the Ugandan government, decided to call themselves Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR).

However not everyone likes what they’re doing; even right’s activists and NGO’s within the LGBTQ community have their reservations, but I think it’s just remarkable.

Meanwhile Ugandan activists, and right’s organizations like Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) who incidentally are critical of what FNUR are doing, are petitioning the courts to overturn the anti-gay law. I sincerely hope they’re succesful. The world does not need legislated hatred.

December Road Trip

It’s time to hit the road. Tomorrow we embark on an epic South African road trip.
Johannesburg – Graaff-Reinet – Plettenberg Bay – Cape Town – Colesberg – Bloemfontein – Durban – Johannesburg
A total of 3886km, excluding the local trips in each destination. That takes care of nearly the whole of December.
And so I got to go pack and catch some zzzzzz’s…

I stare at birds

…sometimes just the feathery kind.

I caught these industrious little fellas with my point-and-shoot building nests over the weekend at a game farm. I had to photograph some animal life, since we had foregone the opportunity to go on a game drive, being a trifle hung over from the previous night’s rock concert.

Don’t ask me what species these are; I’m no ornithologist. If anyone recognizes them, please let me know.

The Return of Chaos

kait26

International collaboration outfit Kings of Chaos returned to Sun City South Africa this weekend to continue where they left off in 2013. This time around Gilbey Clarke (Guns N’ Roses), Duff McKagan & Matt Sorum (Velvet Revolver), were joined by Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) and the irrepressible Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.

Off course I had to be there…

Last time out Duff McKagan & Matt Sorum were joined by Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), Dave Kushner (Velvet Revolver), Slash (Guns N’ Roses) and Ed Roland (Collective Soul). It would have been awesome had they all come back, but Steven Tyler more than made up for the missing artists.

The ticket prices were pretty steep; it’s the most I’ve ever forked out for a concert performance. However it was worth every cent to see old-time rock favorites like More Than Words, La Grange, I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, Mr. Brownstone, Whole Lotta Love, Tush, Surrender, Cheap Sunglasses and Walk This Way, being performed live.

The stage backdrop and lighting was far more lively and interactive than last year. I could not take any photos as I was on the floor in front of the stage head-banging like a boozy teenager. It was actually sad to see so many people looking into their smartphone cameras trying to record the performance, rather than just enjoying the spectacle. And it was good to see quite a few older folk (like me) also at the concert, some of whom that can still shake that booty.

The tedious drive back in the rain to the game farm we booked in at was a schlep in the early morning hours, especially after missing a turn in the pitch darkness and getting lost, but it’s hard to wear off the kind of euphoria one is left with after a great concert. If they return next year, I don’t think I could stay away, especially if they bring Steven Tyler back.

Check out some of the photos taken by the media here.

Lenny’s got tickets…

Just because it’s Friday and the girls and I will be attending the Kings Of Chaos concert this weekend at Sun City.

Janie got a gun
Dog days just begun
Now everybody is on the run

Run away, run away from the pain

Paranoid Police

gun

Over the last few years police officers around the world have been found to be increasingly violent and dare I say “unprotecting” of citizens, resulting in unnecessary fatalities.

Around two years ago 44 striking miners were shot and killed by the South African Police at Marikana, a Platinum mine near Rustenburg. This was the most lethal of many such incidents over the years where even innocent bystanders were fatally shot by the police.

More recently, the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer of the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri USA, caused huge civil unrest. The aftermath of this shooting is still being felt around the USA, and racism is being singled out as the root cause.

Just last week, Tamir Rice, a 12-year old boy was shot and killed by Cleveland Police, also in the USA, after being reported to be playing with a toy gun in a park. Video evidence seems to show the police shooting the boy less than two seconds after arriving on the scene.

The next story, while not involving a fatality, is really quite absurd and also comes from the USA.

A Colorado man was arrested for pointing an (apparently loaded) banana at two police officers and is facing felony charges. This is where it gets weird. The guy, Nathan Channing is from Fruitvale, Colorado and the arresting officer is called Deputy Bunch. The officer claimed that from training and experience he had seen guns in many shapes and colours.

These two officers were obviously choice mutton-heads, but if a police officer cannot distinguish between a yellow banana and a yellow gun, us citizens are in very serious trouble.

While the police admittedly operate in increasingly dangerous situations, we expect them to protect and serve. Gung-ho shooting of innocent people and even suspects is really very unnerving for any citizen. It really wouldn’t do for people to start getting the crazy notion that we need to start protecting ourselves from our police.

iKILL

Face of Death - ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Face of Death – ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Call them what you want, IS, ISIS, ISIL, they simply represent the irrational and barbaric killing of innocent men, women and children.

I caught some news reports yesterday of this inhuman organization recruiting potential new murderers in South Africa. Iraqi ambassador to South Africa Dr Hushaim al-Alawi was quoted as stating that three South African recruits  had already been killed in Syria. Other reports indicate that up to 140 people were recruited already, and our Intelligence Services (*smirk) are apparently not aware of it.

Even more alarming for me is that at least one brainwashed fucknut was recruited from the nondescript little town I live in. * Shudders!

Jesus fucking Christ! I could have brushed shoulders with this cretin while shopping in one of the cramped little shops that serve this town.

Fuck me! Another shower I think…

Why don’t you get a job?

They’re back at the intersections asking motorists for money to help pay for their holidays…

It happens every year now. High school kids (possibly also college kids) having completed year-end papers, gather in groups, usually in some eye-catching outfit, collecting money from what they hope will be pliable motorists.

Why don’t you guys get a job like I had to when I finished a school year? It’s not like we’re asking you to join a chain gang or anything. Any part-time job will do.

30 Years Ago (give or take a couple of days)

lennymaysay:

I caught a glimpse in some publication or the other that the re-release of Do They Know It’s Christmas had caused some controversy, but I wasn’t bothered enough to read further. It seems to me that just about everything will cause consternation in some quarter or the other.

This blog post however sums everything up quite nicely…

Originally posted on colemining:

On November 24th, 1984, a bunch of pop stars got together and recorded a song. There was a famine happening in Ethiopia, and this guy, the lead singer and songwriter of a band out of Ireland, was more than a little staggered that very little seemed to be happening to address what was going on.

He got in touch with a mate, the lead singer and songwriter of a band out of Scotland, and the two of them threw together- not overnight, but close- a tune and some lyrics.

Were the lyrics, perhaps, a little Western-centric and culturally-condescending? Arguably, yes. Was the song catchy and well-intentioned? Definitely. In my opinion, such as it is, anyway.

The two musicians then set about gathering up the biggest names in the British music business of the day and bringing them all together to record the song. All this, like the composition of the…

View original 1,883 more words

Write For Rights – Free Raif Badawi

Saudi Arabia may have lots of oil and sand, but is seriously lacking in humanity.

Life is fleeting and precious, so it should be an imperative for humans to look out for each other. But religious madness more often than not demands that the poorly interpreted decrees of an invisible deity be held in higher reverence than human well-being and life itself. Such is life under Saudi Sharia law.

Raif Badawi, A Saudi national was sentenced in May to 10 years in prison and a thousand lashes. His crime – “daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression.” And according to the authorities, he is guilty of one other crime, one that is considered – no declared – an act of terrorism in Saudi Arabia; he is an atheist.

Badawi started a website writing blogs that called for religious tolerance and women’s rights. However the kingdom, no doubt spurred on by demented fundamentalist religious leaders hell-bent on perpetuating the inhuman Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam, declared this act (one all rational people would call noble) to be insulting to Islam.

As part of a campaign to raise awareness about the gross human rights violations perpetrated by despotic rulers (no doubt religion is a very useful tool), which includes a petition to free Badawi, Amnesty International released this moving clip of his daughter writing to him in prison.

For further reading on the despicable system of justice in Saudi Arabia, look no further than Wikipedia.