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World War III Is Already Upon Us

An Illegal Waste Tip In Hartlepool, UK

The war in Ukraine is still holding the headlines, at least in Europe, and rightly so, but there’s another, much bigger war being fought throughout the world. It’s a World War.

It’s the war to save the planet and those who inhabit it. It ‘s being fought by ordinary folk like you and me, against the might of huge corporations like the fossil fuel companies, the plastics industry, and almost every other organization that draws profit from wreaking havoc on our planet.

It’s not just the corporations. The Mafia and other large criminal gangs are cashing in on this giant wrecking ball pounding at the very heart of our planetary home.

Two articles in today’s Guardian highlight this.

“Buried” is a new BBC podcast investigating how criminal gangs are cashing in on the UK’s waste disposal industry and illegally dumping millions of tons of waste. In 2019, the National Crime Agency was aware of twenty organised crime groups linked to waste crime in the UK. At least one fifth of all waste in the UK passes through the hands of criminals at some point in the chain, according to the Environment Agency.

Mobouy Road, near Derry in Northern Ireland is one place where illegal waste the equivalent in weight to twenty Titanic ships has been dumped on a site which is in a special area of conservation. There are massive illegal dumps all over the UK. Satellite imaging can reveal them, ten or more in the Peak District National Park alone.

It’s an illegal billion dollar industry and not just in the UK. Criminal gangs operate world wide, doing deals with local authorities only to happy to have the weighty responsibility of waste disposal lifted from their shoulders, and happy to turn a blind eye to where it ends up.

Read more in today’s Guardian article HERE.

Highlighted again today in the Guardian was the sorry tale of the bio-bead, nurdle, and other similar tiny plastic beads that are being washed up on our beaches regularly. These beads are the basic building blocks of all plastic products and million of tons of them are shipped around the world every year. They are a lucrative off-shoot for the fossil fuel industry.

Unfortunately, they are not classified under the International Maritime Organization’s dangerous goods code for safe handling and storage. Hence billions of these toxic little beads are regularly lost overboard from ships, or in the case of bio-beads discharged from sewage treatment plants. Pollution of beaches is just one problem caused by this highly toxic waste, as highlighted by the Guardian’s article today on huge numbers of nurdles washed up on France’s Brittany beaches over the weekend.

Read more in today’s Guardian article HERE

And an earlier article from November 2021 HERE.

There’s a World War raging around the planet. On the one hand are the bad guys, on the other there’s us. In any war the object is to diminish the power of the opposing force, weaken them substantially.

It may seem an impossible task, a David versus Goliath situation. If the Ukrainians had viewed the might of Russia as an impossible fight, Vladimir Putin would be strutting around Kyiv right now, like the cock who had just shafted all the hens in the henhouse.

The Ukrainian people have proved that the true spirit and fortitude of the human species can be harnessed as a collective endeavour to fight evil. They are an example to the world in the fight to save their Homeland.

But there’s a bigger Homeland to which we all belong. Are we to settle for complacency and allow the powerful Goliaths to destroy it, just as Putin has tried to do in Ukraine?

If we do, if we allow these Goliaths to continue raping and pillaging the only Homeland we have, then we will all lose.

A Happy New Year – For Whom?

No doubt I risk being called a kill-joy, or possibly worse, but to see images of New Year firework displays from around the world brings two thoughts to mind.  The obvious one is the cost of it all when people all over the globe  are suffering depravation, famine, and severe cost of living rises way above what they can afford. The second thought is how Ukrainians feel, particularly refugees who suffer forced diaspora in these same countries. To see these pyrotechnic indulgences, the wild enthusiasm of their host people, while knowing the suffering and horror of their fellow countrymen back in their home nation, must be particularly galling.

Why is it we fill our minds with a pretence of joy and happiness when the miserable truth of the world is out there for all to see?  For a huge swathe of the world’s populace Christmas is a time of misery and loneliness, yet the media and capitalistic entities are able to whip up a false sense of peace and goodwill to all men, totally obliviating the horrors of Ukraine, Myanmar, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Iran, Ethiopia, Somalia, and lets not forget Syria and Palestine.

It’s the first day of 2023. Is this the year when Western nations are going to stop playing the “People’s Front of Judea”(Life of Brian) in one endless committee meeting, and actually stand up to the latest Hitler-type Russian gangster to try his luck on the world scene? NATO and the United Nations were supposedly formed to prevent further warfare. So far neither has been too successful.

“An attack on one ally is an attack on all allies.”

It took forty-six years from it’s inception for NATO to take any military action against an adversary, and that was in 1995 belatedly against Bosnia. Ukraine may not technically be a member of NATO. Zelenskyy never got the chance to sign the bit of paper, but does that make the innocent citizens of that country any less special than those in Poland, or Britain, or France?

Damn it, no it does not!

Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine was an act of terrorism and a war crime. There have been many war crimes committed by the Russians in Ukraine since, and previously in Syria and Chechnya. Putin is now trying to repeat what he did in both those countries.

Ukrainians voted for democracy. Even before Putin’s invasion there was a majority in favour of joining both the EU and NATO. Just because Putin’s military shattered the possibility, is no reason for the West to sit on it’s hands and allow the atrocities of Putin’s henchmen to continue.

Back at the end of 2021 when Russian forces were gathering along the Ukrainian border and US Intelligence was predicting the invasion, NATO should have thrown all it had into the area around the Black Sea and warned Russia of a terrible reckoning if any invasion of Ukrainian territory occurred. Under such duress it’s very unlikely Putin would have taken the risk, and his “military exercises” would have remained as just that.

As it was, NATO sat on it’s hands and debated, like the People’s Front of Judea in the Life of Brian, allowing Putin to walk right in.

I wonder how many others, like the writer, feel deeply ashamed by the obvious reluctance of Western leaders to stand up for what is right and proper in the face of armed brutality and potential genocide?

Or maybe it’s just easier to sit in front of the TV screen, or out on the streets at midnight after a belly full of ale, watching the displays of fireworks and joining the crowd of revelers for whom, for a time at least, Ukraine and it’s beleaguered people no longer existed.

After all, it’s not happening to us, is it?


Memories Of A Sister

I try to walk every day, whatever the weather. Today was no exception. I live in the wilds of Brittany so it’s rare to meet anyone on my ambulatory excursions. I love to walk. It’s a time to allow the thoughts to have free rein. While appreciating the late autumn foliage still clinging to the trees, the mind is elsewhere, allowing thoughts to drift into consciousness. Halfway through my walk, I found myself weeping. It was raining lightly, so no one would have noticed even if there had been anyone around, which there wasn’t.

I realized I had been thinking about my late sister, who was killed in 1994 by some guy driving a skip wagon. He ran over her with his truck while she was waiting on her bicycle at a red traffic light in London. She died instantly. I was never able to find out what happened, or what the consequences of it were. I was living and  working at the marina I managed, and had to take care of my young daughter. I couldn’t rush to London to sort things out and there was no one I could leave my child with. My mother was in a state of hysteria and my father was just not good at dealing with that kind of thing. It was my sister’s ex-husband, the father of her daughter whom she had just taken to school that day, who went to fix everything and take care of the thirteen-year-old girl.

I  drove my parents and daughter to her funeral. My mother, always mentally fragile, was beside herself, and as a fanatical Christian, was totally disgusted because my sister had opted in her will for a Spiritualist funeral service. My mother was not slow to show her feelings and chastised Michael, my sister’s ex, for allowing such ‘evil  rites’ to take place.

Michael was a very nice guy, but my mother saw to it that he was never welcome at my parents’ house after that. He went back to his native Scotland, taking his daughter (my niece) with him. I never saw either of them again and since no one in the family had an address for them, I was never able to make contact.

I never mourned my mother. I had no feelings left for her. Whatever she may have thought of Michael, she no reason to abandon her grand-daughter. I didn’t go to her funeral. She died at the age of ninety, eighteen years after my sister’s passing.  The few times I’d received a letter from her, the envelope and the paper inside were completely covered with Bible verses and Christian hymn texts. I don’t know what the mailman must have thought.

So it all ended there.  Except for the memories. They don’t go away.

Which is why today, twenty-eight years later, I found myself weeping in the rain.

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