Tag Archives: terrorism

There is a quiet place

The horrific terrorist attack, which took place in London on the evening of 4 June, brought to mind my poem “There is a quiet place out of reach”. Those who carried out this atrocity have “empty souls”, indeed some may doubt whether they possess any soul whatever. Had it not been for the swift action of the police, in shooting dead the terrorists, this terrible incident could have been even worse. Fanaticism and barbarism must be withstood and defeated.


“There is a quiet place out of reach
To those who hatred preach.
They prate,
And understand too late,
Or perhaps not at all,
That pride comes before a fall.

Words meaningful as a harlot’s compliment fall
On the ear
Of men who hear what they want to hear.
The truth clear
Is, I fear,
Too often lost in sound and beer.

The fanatic’s words drear
Will fill the empty soul
Of those whose goal
Is the destruction of the whole
Liberal project;
To which they object
Without knowing why.
Then, pointlessly, die”. 


The sun shone this evening as I strolled from my office in Whitehall to Embankment tube.
The roads seemed empty apart from the presence of police vehicles, who’s sirens joined with the noise of the helicopter to disturb the tranquillity of the evening.
No one appeared to be manning the “Evening Standard” stall outside Embankment station, which seemed odd given the events of the day.
“Watch out for card clash”, the automated announcement said as we commuters filed along, in a more or less orderly fashion.
I passed part of my journey home, from Victoria to Gipsy Hill, in conversation with a lady. We spoke about my guide dog, Trigger.
Just another daily commute then, when I reached the pub, the horror of the day replayed again on television.

My place of work is in Whitehall, some little distance from Parliament where the terrorist atrocity occurred this afternoon. I am unharmed and (fortunately) none of my colleagues or friends where affected by today’s incident. However the shock remains with me.


As inconsequencial as a child who did say
As she walked past the aquarium yesterday,
“I have fish like that”.

Me, on my way from my flat
To the pub, thought of France
And innocent children who can no longer dance.

There is a shop selling tropical fish, reptiles etc some 10 minutes walk from my home. While strolling along to the pub yesterday evening (Sunday 17 July),I overheard the above snatch of conversation.

“Ghosts of Chechnya” By Jenny Ensor

My acquaintance, Jenny Ensor, is looking for funding to turn her novel, “Ghosts Of Chechnya” in to an ebook. The synopsis on Jenny’s Unbound page reads as follows:

“Ghosts of Chechnya explores love and friendship, and the impact of war and terrorism on our lives. Georgie, a young London woman who’s been deeply hurt
in the past, tells the story. It begins in London in early 2005, the year of the bus and Tube bombings.

Georgie meets Russian former conscript soldier Nikolai in a pub after she is uplifted by the impromptu music he plays. Nikolai, newly arrived from Russia,
dreams of becoming a composer but for now survives as a low-waged casual worker.

Julian, a close friend of Georgie’s, admits he loves her and warns her to keep away from the Russian. But despite the concerns of both her father and Julian,
Georgie can’t resist Nikolai. He tells her of his experiences while serving in the Russian army, and seems haunted by a Chechen woman who showed him a
simple act of kindness, blaming himself for her death.

Georgie guesses that Nikolai is hiding something from her. She wonders if he will ever heal from the psychological wounds that war has inflicted. His music
– and their increasing closeness – seem to be the only things that keep him going.

Then London is shaken by terrorism. In the emerging climate of fear, Georgie’s father condemns Nikolai; Georgie must ask herself who the Russian really
is. Also, how well does she really know Julian, who can’t seem to let her go? As a net of shadowy threats tightens, Georgie must find out who she can trust
and who she should fear, before it’s too late.

This gripping, debate-provoking novel asks at how well we can ever know anyone; it also deals with reconciliation, forgiveness and the folly and suffering
of war. I strongly believe in this project and hope very much that you will decide to offer your support”.
For Jenny’s Unbound page please visit https://unbound.co.uk/books/ghosts-of-chechnya.

Have I Not Reason To Lament What Man Has Made Of Man

The wind gusts and a bird in a tree above my head sings. It is a wonderful windswept day in the environs of Crystal Palace. yet in France, in the past week fanatics with hate in their hearts have committed atrocities. None the less the bird still pours out his soul. The poignant singing gladdening and tearing my heart apart simultaneously.

Iraq And The Islamic State



Standing in my bedroom, the much loved pine bookcase giving off it’s scent of forests mixed with books. The flat is quiet, England is at peace. What a contrast to the situation in Iraq where madmen in the shape of The Islamic State murder and persecute Christians together with anyone else who dares to disagree with their warped view of the world. Mad men doing evil, chaos reigns and I stand, breathing in the smell of books mixed with pine, at peace in a free land.

The other day an acquaintance remarked that they felt uncomfortable in the presence of women wearing the Burka (the cloak worn by some Muslim ladies which leaves only the eyes exposed). France has banned the garment as an affront to equality, a decision recently upheld by the European Court of Human Rights despite the claims by some Muslims that the ban on the Burka in public breeches human rights. Is the prohibition a peculiarly French piece of legislation stemming from Rousseau’s view, expounded in The Social Contract that man “must be forced to be free”, (in this case those Muslims wishing to wear the Burka must subordinate their desire to “the general will” which, in France appears to be in support of the Burka ban?

Some in the UK are calling for the country to go down the French route and prohibit the Burka in the interests of “social cohesion”. One can not, they claim interact with fellow citizens when all but their eyes are concealed behind black cloth. The Burka is “sinister” and should be prohibited in public. Calls for a prohibition on the wearing of the Burka have found support among some muslim scholars who say it has no place in a modern conception of Islam, (see, for example the following recent article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2695181/Why-I-Muslim-launching-campaign-ban-burka-Britain.html.

Others argue that banning the Burka runs counter to a long and honourable tradition of British liberty. It is, they say intolerable for the state to dictate to people how they aught to dress. The British philosopher J S Mill was suspicious of what he termed “the tyranny of the majority” and adherents of Mill’s views might well argue that to impose “the general will” or what most people would call “the will of the majority” on fellow citizens as regards how they choose to dress is illiberal. The idea of a person being arrested merely for wearing a certain kind of garment sticks in the throat of many liberals. However other liberals argue that Muslim girls and women often come under intense pressure from within their own communities to wear the Burka and, in many cases it is far from being a free choice of clotheing. Therefore we must assist such women by prohibiting the wearing of the garment in public.

Leaving aside for a moment the rights and wrongs of the Burka there is also the argument of pragmatism. At a time of limited resources is it a good use of police time to go around arresting women for flouting a Burka ban? If such a prohibition where introduced might it act as a recruiting sergeant for Islamic extremists who could portray it as persecution of Muslims?

At a deeper philosophical level can one “force people to be free?” Would prohibiting the wearing of the Burka promote outward conformity with western norms of dress but leave those who wish to wear it inwardly seething with anger?

The advance of the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq undoubtedly helps to fuel suspicion and, in some cases paranoia against Muslims most of whom abhor what is being done in their name in Iraq. We must be steadfast in our opposition to extremism (whether Islamic or otherwise) but, at the same time consider long and hard before going down the road of Burka bans and other similar measures.