PALESTINE: Mass Censorship?

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In my opinion, it is the purpose of the media to inform the public of news throughout the world. Of course, certain journalists have the job of offering their opinions, but first and foremost, they should present the facts. Yet, when news networks and newspapers refuse to report on certain events in the Middle East, it doesn’t seem that way. Are we seeing censorship of information in the modern day?

The fact of the matter is, that although the Internet age has helped us become less reliant on these news networks and journalists, when events happen in certain parts of the world, we become reliant upon them. The massacre of Palestinians in the latest of many Israeli operations is one such case. Throughout the series of attacks over a few years, I have realised the very pro-Israel slant of the media. Certainly, those being slaughtered are being blamed as being at fault for either provoking an attack, or causing a pre-emptive strike. You know, that old thing that’s REALLY effective… (See Iraq war 2003- Present)

Clearly, Israel have a “I can do what I want when I want” badge with the US acting as their $3bn P/A sugar daddy. NATO and the UN recognise it as an international illegal state yet they do not wish to do anything at all. Now, I’m not pro- Iran by any means, but it does beg the question; Would Iran get away with so much? Food for thought.

Now, seeing as though the media want to hide behind this curtain of mass censorship, let’s state the facts.

• Israel have carried out 24 hours of air strikes on Gaza.
• They have been aimed at civilians, this is not a war on the military might of Palestine. This is the murder of men, women and children. I’m sorry Mr Netanyahu, I forgot that an 11 year-old baby was capable of acts of terrorism…
• Israel is now set to call up 30,000 troops and call a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip.
• Much of the land that they’re currently occupying as ‘theirs’ was illegally acquired and rightfully belongs to the Palestinian people.
• Whilst 15 Palestinians have already been killed, more are expected to follow as over 1,400 were killed in ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2009.
• The western world continues to preach support for Israel. The UK’s poor excuse for a Foreign Secretary; William Hague condemned Gaza, but not Israel.

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Let’s be honest, if Israel had oil, NATO would have invaded by now, to “ease tensions in the area” obviously…

Do not stand for this. This is the first step. They are people like you and me that have done nothing but be born into a certain country.

I leave you with a poem from Pastor Niemoller who was a pastor in Nazi Germany.

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.

#PrayForGaza

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Dimitar Berbatov: Class Act

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As the transfer window draws to a close, one of Manchester United’s most enigmatic players has departed in a relatively low-key affair to London-based club; Fulham. Low key that is, compared to his dramatic deadline day signing in 2008.

As a Manchester United fan, watching the events unfold was extremely exciting. I sat on the edge of my seat whilst the clock slowly but surely moved towards 11:00PM. Did they leave it too late? Would he sign in time? Well now we know that he did, but at that time, it was nail-biting stuff!

When his four year contract had been signed and it was all official, I not only felt a sense of relief, but also a sense of excitement. I mean, Manchester United had just spent £30m on one player. It’s just not the sort of thing that happened, even four years ago.

Not only that, but Dimitar Berbatov. Honestly, the only adjective which I can use to accurately describe this man, not the player, the man, is class. He oozes class. No Mario Balotelli, not “swag.” CLASS.

He had trouble fitting into the squad, but we blamed that on the fact that he needed to settle in. I will not deny the fact that after the first half of the season, I was a sceptic.

He seemed, large and cumbersome. He obviously had to change his game for the transition from Spurs to United. He was no longer the ‘main man’ so to speak. I think that this is what the problem was. He seemed like he needed to be the focal point, for everyone to work around him, at his pace. But this seemed impractical when Old Trafford was home to one of the most powerful attacking triumvirates in Premier League history. He could not match Ronaldo’s speed or skill, he could not match Tevez’s hunger or desire and he could not match Wayne Rooney’s power or versatility.

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Maybe he thought that his time would come. With Rooney dropping back as he made way for Tevez and Ronaldo, he may have thought that as Ronaldo’s departure was imminent, Sir Alex Ferguson would do things the way that he wanted to do them. Yet, as both Ronaldo and Tevez left, Wayne Rooney seemed to find his shooting boots. He filled the void of goals which the media thought couldn’t be filled. But that was Berbatov’s job. Rooney scored 34 goals in all competitions in the 2009/10 season, his personal best at the time.

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Clearly Rooney could not be ignored. Not just because he seemed to be more successful than Berbatov in front of goal, but also because of his ability to drop into midfield, his passion and desire to help his team out.

To my younger and more foolish self at that time, he seemed lazy. I knew that he had superb ability, but I was just willing him to work harder, and get selected. But no, it took me a long time to realise that this was not laziness, he was merely only using his energy when he needed it. Why run when you can walk through Ewood Park, from box to box and become the only foreign player ever to score 5 goals in a Premier League match? Or float in the air against Liverpool and place the ball into the back of the net? Or even flick the ball past a West Ham defender on the byline to gift Ronaldo a goal? He’s not lazy, he is merely wise. Players like Messi are foolish, running around the pitch for 90 minutes, no wonder his hair is a mess. Have you ever seen Berbatov with a hair out of place? Never.

In the 2010/11 season, Berbatov seemed to find goals. Some superb matches against Liverpool and Blackburn lead him to a Golden Boot Award after netting 20 goals and also lead the club to our 19th League Title. It is a myth that he only scored in a few games against poor opposition, when in fact, his goals were relatively well spread out. That was his best season. But when he was left out completely from Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans in the UEFA Champions League Final, it seemed as though Berba’s relationship with Fergie was at an all time low. He spent most of the 2011/12 season either on the bench or in the stands. Eagerly offering his services, but not being chosen. Many modern footballers would have “chucked their dummy out” so to speak, yet Dimitar never spoke ill of his club and continued to train and go on the pre-season tour as normal.

Because of his penchant for the Godfather trilogy, his perfectly slicked back hair and his smoking habit, I have always had this vision of Dimitar strolling through defences at The Theatre Of Dreams wearing a smoking jacket whilst smoking a pipe. But alas, it was never to be…

Ultimately, I feel that it is a shame that he did not fit into Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans, but even so, it has been a pleasure witnessing truly effortless football from a gentleman. Berbatov’s respect for this football club is something that is rare in today’s game and as a fan, I’d truly like to thank him for that, and also scoring 20 League Goals to lead us to our record 19th Premier League Title. Thank you Dimitar Berbatov, and goodbye. We wish you well.

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Picture/Poem courtesy of @BeardedGenius

Is 2012 The Year Of A United Britain?

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For Great Britain, this is a unique year. It is a year in which our Queen celebrates her 60 years on the throne with her Diamond Jubilee. A year in which we host the Olympic Games and where England has qualified for the European Championships. Granted, maybe ALL of Britain might not be united in supporting the latter…

Yet I could not help but feel a sense of unity and patriotism over the Jubilee weekend. As those musical greats, and JLS, performed outside of Buckingham palace last night at The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, there were not only English people watching in the mall. There were people from all over Britain and indeed the world. Although there are many cynics who question the role of royalty, I felt as though amongst the street parties and celebrations, there was a genuine feeling of British-ness over the weekend. We’ve been hearing in the media about how there is no real definition of ‘British characteristics’ but I think there is. This Jubilee weekend epitomised Britain. The street parties which still took place, with blatant disregard for the weather and those people who cheered on a woman who they didn’t even know, in the soaking rain on the banks of the Thames showed them. This celebration and token of appreciation from the British people towards our Queen showed what Britain and indeed British people were about to the world. Every person in Britain must have known what was taking place, as the bunting industry had a huge sales boost and I don’t think anyone, royalist or otherwise, could help but feel proud of this country. What a great job that woman has done, she deserved every bit of that for her life of dedication. And look at it this way, when was the last time we all agreed on anything?

Moving on, the Olympics. Now I’m not a fan, and I’d rather have The World Cup, but we’ve won the bid now so we might as well host it. The country went crazy for the small allocation of tickets on offer and many were therefore disappointed when they didn’t get any. As I saw in my local town centre last week, there was a large turnout to see the Olympic Torch, as there was in many other towns and cities throughout Great Britain. There seems to be a degree of excitement about hosting the Olympics. It is such a prestigious event and is being billed as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity as something like this will ever happen again in our lifetimes. A great deal of effort has gone into the infrastructure of the games and to great cost to the taxpayer, yet (mostly) the country is looking forward to the games. We also have many bright prospects and this seems to be their time to shine. As a country, we are united in the sense that whether we like them or not, we are proud that our great nation has been chosen to host the games. Even if that good old British cynicism does blur that view at times.

That brings me on to the European Championships, and therefore the England football team. I touched on my views in my last post. I was very pessimistic about the team’s chances. But as I lay in bed last night, I thought ‘What if?’ What if we somehow, by some complete fluke, won the competition? How amazing would that be? And every single England fan, no matter how low his resources on hope are, will be thinking the same thing. Outwardly, we’re all thinking, ‘here we go again, another major tournament that we’ll be knocked out of by a team that we should have probably beat on paper.’ But inside, we’ll be thinking, ‘what if Andy Carroll just decides to score? And what if Stewart Downing learns to assist in Poland?’ And here we are. The whole nation, united as one. That one thing which brings us all together. Football. That’s the only thing we need, to win a major competition again, then we’ll be invincible… Haha

2012. This is the year in which Britain has been and will be united in more than 3 ways. The whole country will be thinking the same thing. We are tremendously proud of our country, and we love to show that off. Whether it be through a Jubilee celebration, the Olympic Games or glory in football, we want to show the world what we’re made of. The world seems to view us as a waning power, but we know that this is the best nation in the world, we just need to show it. We have certainly done that over the Jubilee weekend, let’s do it this summer too. When was the last time, or when will there ever be a time in which this nation will be so united in so many different ways, in one year? Let’s do it properly and put the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain.

Roy Hodgson: My Thoughts

Did the FA make the correct decision in appointing Roy Hodgson?

When Fabio Capello resigned as England manager, I couldn’t help but feel a little optimism. I was never a big fan of Capello, primarily because he wasn’t English, but that wasn’t his fault. Yet in the qualifiers building up to the World Cup he had built a squad which was organised and effective. They also did the most important thing in football; they won. At that point, I chose to ignore his nationality as if he led England to glory, I couldn’t have cared less. But then came South Africa. We heard tales of how poor his relationship with the squad was, and how he treated the squad of players like little children. Granted, some of them do have the reading and speaking ages of 7 year olds. Actually no, I’m being too generous to Wayne Rooney there. Back to the matter in hand though, after such a disastrous performance in that major tournament, the players were to blame. In part. But it seemed as though most of the players in the squad just didn’t perform. This was extraordinary. It wasn’t a lone player who decided not to ‘show up’ but most of the squad. The media was quick to point the finger at the manager. Weirdly, I found myself agreeing with them. Yep, you read that right, I agreed with the press. Therefore, I was actually quite glad when he decided to resign earlier this year.

Now I was quick to jump onto the Harry Redknapp bandwagon. I think that he has done well at Tottenham, especially looking at their great Champions’ League run in the 09/10 season. He is a great man-motivator, and most importantly English. I’ll be honest here, I completely forgot about Roy Hodgson (No, not ‘Woy’ stop reading that comic book called ‘The Sun’). Even though I admired the work which he did at Fulham and I was quick to jump to his defence once things turned sour during his reign at Liverpool. I think that he is a great manager, but not someone who I saw as a plausible candidate to manage the national team. I then dug a little deeper into this profound choice by the FA. Although I don’t agree with many of their choices on such matters, they do always have their reasons for making them. Firstly he has invaluable international experience in management as he led the Swiss national team to the knock-out stages of the 1994 World Cup, their first major competition since the 1960s. Secondly, he speaks a vast array of languages, and is a sophisticated man, interested in Art and American Literature (I know it’s American, but it still counts… Sort of) unlike that wheeler dealer ‘Arry who was accused of tax evasion earlier this year, yes he was found to be not guilty but it still tarnished his image. These things therefore make Roy Hodgson a suitable ambassador for England on the world stage.

Moving on to his management. I was in an AS English Literature exam when the squad for the European Championships was announced, and it’s safe to say that once I found out, I was surprised. I don’t think I was the only one either. The ‘snubbing’ of players such as Micah Richards, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and maybe even Daniel Sturridge was a shock. I completely expected the first three of the list to be some of the first names on the list! In my opinion, it was ridiculous to to leave them out. Micah Richards was instrumental in ensuring that Manchester City became Premier League Champions last season, yet he was replaced by Glen Johnson, a player who hadn’t really caught anyone’s eye and helped Liverpool to a measly 8th place. Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick had been the anchors of a Manchester United team which had been littered with injuries, but had still achieved second place in the Premier League. In addition, Daniel Sturridge would have been much more effective than Andy Carroll. I thought that this was some kind of a joke from Roy. ANDY CARROLL?! Oh dear.

He may have thought that Richards and Carrick would still have a part to play in his team as he placed them on the standby list. Yet in their arrogance, both of these players refused. It pains me that they did so. I bet they’re both feeling like idiots now. The injuries of Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard would have secured their places in the squad and they would now be packing for Poland and Ukraine. Instead, their places have been taken by Martin Kelly and Jordan Henderson. Now I don’t have a particularly anti-Liverpool agenda, but Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson, Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly don’t fill me with any hope whatsoever.

When Roy Hodgson was appointed, my usual pessimism toward English football was replaced with a glimmer of optimism. I’m now afraid to say that I have never been so pessimistic before a major international tournament than this one. I genuinely hope we do well, but I would not be surprised in the slightest if we do even worse than we did in South Africa. Until a few hours ago, I didn’t even think that was even possible… Hodgson may be a nice bloke, but as a manager, I haven’t got any hope. I wish him well though!

I leave you with this…

Thanks for this @FootyMemes

WEEKLY RANT: The Kardashians

MTV; YOU PAID $40 MILLION FOR THIS?!

If you like the Kardashians then navigate away from this post, and indeed my blog, and never return here again.

Ahh the Kardashians, the family which seems to have completely reaped every shred of benefit which they could off a sex tape, whilst also losing every shred of self-respect along the way. This, teamed with many publicity stunts which never keeps them out of the news means that it is very awkward when an older relative asks you how they became famous.

Now the ‘main’ Kardashian is Kim. The one that’s in the sex tape. Now, I’ve got to hand it to her, she is a great businesswoman. She seems to have knack for making money from no talent whatsoever. She is the leader of this new breed of celebrity who are famous, just for fame’s sake. And this really annoys me. She and her stupid family have no discernible talent at all, yet they’ve just signed a deal for a new series of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” worth $40 million. This is mind-boggling. Firstly, this means that people actually watch that rubbish. REALLY?! This kind of thing really makes me wish for some sort of apocalypse. I no longer have faith in the human race. And secondly, it pains me that there’s some actually talented people out there who aren’t getting their shot at fame and fortune because of an idiotic family who want to make a quick buck.

These people anthropomorphise everything which is wrong with the world today; they’re superficial, shallow, self-centred and stupid. And I just want to give some credit to the guy that hacked into Kim Kardashian’s IMDB page and changed her bio to something much, much more accurate.

“Kim Kardashian is emblematic of the shallowness of American culture in the first two decades of the new millennium. While some cultural critics call her the prime avatar of the “famous for being famous” faux celebrity crowd.”

He or she then went on to say:

” That the women’s fame rests on the February 2007 “leaking” of a four-year-old home sex (for which she ultimately received $5 million from Vivid Entertainment) is an apt metaphor for socio-economic-cultural malaise in Washington and the country beyond, where everything seems to be run by amoral prostitutes in bed with each other and merely out for a buck.”

I could not have put that better myself. I just want to say thank you to whoever wrote that, as it has restored my faith in the human race.

Now I’d like to get onto the whole Kanye West/Kim Kardashian saga (No, not ‘Kimye’ – what are you 5 years old?). KANYE WEST, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Now President Barack Obama described Kanye West as “A jackass, a talented jackass, but still a jackass.” I completely agree with him. Yes he can be funny, and yes he’s a great rapper, but really? Dating a Kardashian? And not only that but thinking of marrying her?! She just ended a marriage after 72 days. Come on, I bet Kanye has had longer concerts. *Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger*

I don’t think I’d hate these “god damn hoes” (as Mr West would put it) if they just did their own thing and stayed out of my conciousness. But no, they continue to attention seek and everywhere I look, whether it be Twitter or flicking through television channels, they’re always there! I don’t know whether or not I’ve made this clear, BUT I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR STUPID LIVES. I could not care less whether Kim just got divorced or whether that mother who is supposed to be responsible for them has had a lip job! Can I just say, that ‘K’ isn’t even a very good letter, and I certainly wouldn’t name most of my children beginning with it.

The Kardashians add nothing to society and I’m glad that people like Jonah Hill and Jon Hamm are coming out and saying that people like this are just stupid, and this glorification of idiocy is precisely what is wrong with the western world today. How can people complain about the education system in America when the Kardashians are role models for so many teenage girls? These girls see these uneducated, stupid, selfish people who are rich, and therefore they ask the question “Why should I educate myself?” Now I don’t want to go too deep into the problem here, but this family is not only really pissing me off, but destroying the very moral fibre of our society.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Should Justin Combs Accept His $54,000 Scholarship?

Justin Combs playing American Football for Semper Fidelis

Justin Combs was offered a performance-based scholarship to UCLA, and many people are saying that he should return the money and pay for the college education. This is because his father is Sean Combs AKA P Diddy/Daddy (He changes his name every other day) who reportedly has a fortune of over $500 Million and is the richest man in hip-hop.

So should he give it back? Well let’s look at the facts. This was a performance-based scholarship, it was not financial aid (Not that Justin Combs would’ve been eligible for it anyway). A representative from UCLA released this statement:

“There is a big separation between financial aid based on need and how that’s funded and how athletic scholarships are funded and awarded to students,” the rep explained. “Unlike need-based scholarships, athletic scholarships are awarded to students strictly on the basis of their athletic and academic ability – not their financial need.”

He has therefore earned the right to go to college for free, and it has got nothing to do with his father being extremely rich. He graduated from New Rochelle Iona Prep in New York with a 3.75 GPA, and got a free ride to UCLA on a $54,000 football scholarship. He also got scholarship offers from Illinois, Virginia and Wyoming, but chose the prestigious University of California instead. This shows that Justin Combs must have extraordinary talents to receive so many offers and he fully deserved the scholarship which he was awarded.

But many people are saying that his father can easily afford to send his son to college and they should refuse to accept the scholarship on these grounds. They are also claiming that Combs accepting the scholarship could mean that people who cannot afford to go to college may be denied the opportunity as he has taken their place. This is American taxpayers’ money and many people think that it is highly unfair that their money is going towards the education of someone who doesn’t need it. This is why there is so much uproar. Because American citizens believe that this is their money. But it isn’t. In UCLA’s statement, they went on to say:

“Athletic scholarships, such as those awarded to football or basketball players, do not rely on state funds. Instead, these scholarships are entirely funded through UCLA Athletics ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations from supporters.”

Although it is no longer American taxpayers’ money, it is still potentially preventing another graduate from going to college. Someone who didn’t quite make the cut, but is still very talented.

Yet, I cannot help but feel that Justin Combs is being treated unfairly. It is irrelevant whether his father is worth half a billion dollars, he has earned the right to go to college for free. Yes he can go on a paid basis, but it was his hard work and dedication which caused the array of universities to offer him a free education. The universities did not look at who his father was when they offered him the $54,000 scholarship and neither should we now he has been given it.

Justin Combs is his own man, and his father’s work or fortune should not overshadow his clear sporting prowess in American Football, or his academic talent with his GPA of 3.75. Therefore, in my opinion I think that he should accept the scholarship, and the media have been very wrong in asking him to return it. He should reap the benefits of the years of hard work which he has had to put in. Yes this scholarship may be nothing more that a trophy for Justin Combs, but it is a trophy for which he has worked, and he deserves.

Feel free to leave any comments below. I’ll try and reply to them promptly.

Chris Hayes caused a ‘firestorm’ in the American media- But was it justified?

I know that I’m a few days late on this story, but whatever.

So Chris Hayes claimed on his MSNBC show that he felt ‘uncomfortable’ calling American troops heroes. Obviously this set off a media frenzy in which the press claimed that Hayes was ‘unpatriotic’, and ‘disrespectful to the fallen.’

Yet if we listen to what he said, both of those things are questionable. The latter certainly seems to be in serious doubt. A link to the video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUJu8Ac5-b4

Now the media have proved time and again that they have very selective hearing and it seems to be the case here too. Hayes repeated that he was not questioning the valour of the individuals’ lives spent and lost in war, rather questioning whether the motive was a worthy one. He quite clearly repeats that this opinion is not an attack on the heroics of the troops abroad: “I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that.” He was therefore trying to question whether the loss of these lives was necessary, but could not articulate his opinions into a manner in which that message was clearly conveyed. This seems to be the root of the problem.

On the other hand, why bring this up on Memorial Day Weekend? A day where America is supposed to unite as one, and remember the troops fighting in wars around the world, the fallen and their families. I’m not American, so I’m no expert, but this is surely a catastrophic error of judgement on Chris Hayes’ part. Why would he say something like that, in a statement which puts pressure on a thesaurus, and says one thing, but then discards it for another? The main reason of why it was such a huge story was because of the timing. I’m not supporting his opinions, but the fact is that this story would not have been so big if it was on any other weekend in the year. He said: “I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.”Now don’t get me wrong here, I have very strong feelings towards the way America just invades other countries for personal gain, but quite simply, Chris Hayes is just wrong. Giving recognition to these people is the bare minimum of what they deserve and glorifying them does not give anyone ammunition to justify wars.

And this view, not on Memorial Day Weekend, but on any day is just completely disrespectful. How can he question the hero-status of the troops who risk their lives every single day, thousands of miles away from their families, so he can sit safely in his big office and sleep with peace of mind at night?! Surely he needs to question the political regimes which keep sending these men to war. The men and women are not to blame, or have any part in the decision of whether they will have to risk their lives over and over again for their country. They do whatever it takes to protect their country, and if they aren’t heroes, then I don’t know who is. We should not only feel comfortable, but proud to call our troops heroes, not just in America, but here in Britain too.

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think!