Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Handicapped by technology

Becoming a less-human of modernity

At times, one does wonder if the use of technology deadens human ability to do all sorts of things, they should be able to do naturally and sensibly.

For instance, through secondary school I used 4-figure tables and in some instances 5-figure tables, when I got to polytechnic we used tables for thermodynamics amongst other subjects.

At least then we began to use calculators, but before calculators, it was amazing how many sums one could do in ones head and even more on paper.

Nowadays, I falter on long division on paper and whilst every now and then I’ll rather do the head arithmetic or the paper calculations, but I find I have to affirm my findings with the addiction to that number-crunching prop – the electronic calculator.

I could remember nigh on 33 years ago, my fascination with the hand-operated calculator the precursor to the check-out till with all the calculation appearing on rolls of paper, indeed, technology has come a long way.

In the process, I have lost the ability to do simple sums, I find that it is difficult to transcribe numbers – a continuing frustration – multiplication, I hardly do in my head when once I could do the times tables to 22 by recitation.

Now, all this computer malarkey means I rarely write, such that my once really beautiful handwriting could as well be a ciphered scrawl – it is not that bad really, but I know my writing can be a lot better if I did a lot more pen to paper stuff than tap on keys.

Becoming an asocial communicator

This leads to another aspect of socialising, I do try to make friends and maintain contact with them. However, the ease with which technology allows contact through telephony, email and chat amongst other things means that you might find time but not space.

Time is when you engage in the contact over these media, space is when you take time to meet up and “press the flesh”. My concern is that I have allowed technology to absorb my time that space is not created to engender and foster relationships properly.

On a personal level, I despair of the time I spend trying in all civility to be run long distance relationships, where I might be quite expressive emotional, but cannot expect the same of my respondents.

Even today, when I should have been celebrating a birthday with a friend who I had invited over, the reticence that accompanied rejecting the invitation was both palpable on the one hand and not clearly as forth coming as one should expect.

I suppose there are times people would rather celebrate their birthdays alone – hard as it might seem to be that articulate in a chat session.

Making time away from technology

This then feeds into other aspects of building friendship-type relationships as opposed to business ones – it leaves me open to accusations that I am incapable of showing affection, well, I am affected, could be affecting, and might be given to affectation.

I do not, however, have a pet because I understand that it would require a lot more of my time than I have to offer in dedication and concern to the level that satisfies what concern should be. Change, is journey I must surely embark on.

You might then say, what brings on this introspection? I just read that a 21-year old put a 13-month old baby he was baby-sitting in the tumble-dryer when she spilt her drink on herself – makes you ponder – the wonders of technology today!

Or rather, dense stupidity helped by technological advancement - the Philips adverts helps a lot, this is not a time of Sense and Simplicity - try - Nonsense and simpletons!


Philips claim simply makes no sense

Monday, 29 May 2006

All tracks lead to Humbug

Determined as I was to go to the second largest city in Germany, I finally made there in the early afternoon last Thursday having gotten up at just past 5:00AM to catch the 7:13AM train from Amsterdam.

Generally, I never book my travel time before 10:00AM if I could help it, but it seemed for the last weekend, all roads lead to Hamburg.

So, whilst, I could travel Amsterdam – Osnabruck – Hamburg on my way out, I had to travel Hamburg – Munster – Enschede – Amsterdam – the first two-legs of the return trip being in an unfamiliar class.

All the train seats were reserved, I could not upgrade so I resigned to sitting in a cramped place hoping to ignore the discomfort enough to see the journey through unscathed.

During that time, it transpired that the “Aw Shucks!” plea and defence of the erstwhile Sultans of Enron help no water, they were convicted and are to be sentenced in September – nothing to worry, Ken Lay is just down to his last 15 or so million dollars having had 95% of his total worth wiped out by the Enron crash – would you not feel great sympathy for the man?

Well, the Larry King interview with Ken Lay was aired again and again over the weekend – one is sentenced to the CNN when away in these hotels, probably cheaper than BBC World – cheap news counts for nothing these days. I would cover the “Aw Shucks!” theme in greater detail in a subsequent blog.

Meanwhile, apart from the beauty and heritage of Hamburg, one could not help but notice that there was a proliferation of shops of visual depravity all open for 24 hours – it speaks volumes about the place – I would not read too much into that – but, well, exactly!

One should not be returning in a hurry, Bah, Hamburg!

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Advertising death to the living

Beauty care forever

On my way to work each morning, there is a sign that juts out onto the road from a lamppost with the name Barbara, well could easily be the local beauty shop where you can get a facial, a manicure and pedicure, I thought to myself.

On closer inspection, the smaller print indicates you might as well get the beauty treatment, but it is for a one-time show till you are put away for eternity.

The small lettering spells out uitvaartcentrum pronounced {Out-veart-centrom}, which to Johnnie Foreigner would look like three words indicating a going out with speed centre than a funeral home.

That is fine in terms of the casual morbidity that one might experience every now and then, as one strives to live to the full and care less of the pitfalls.

Bus me to heaven

However, I could not ignore a more bizarre situation when whilst wait for a bus this morning a bus fully bedecked with an advertisement cruised by – catching point – a very happy looking smiling young girl with flowers around her _ the bliss of spring beckoning summer, I think to myself.

Looks like her name is Barbara – wait a minute – the funeral home has put an advert on the bus – if that is not spooky, well, I suppose you cannot beat the Dutch when it comes to marketing regardless of the product or service.

The business logic is, you advertise death to the living, nothing close to letting the dead bury their dead.

Monday, 22 May 2006

The absurdity of the valve

In sixes and sevens

I completed my sixth year in the Netherlands without too much of an event; however, I can count my blessings and be grateful for that decision at the turn of the millennium to leave the UK for other pastures probably greener was a good one with foresight and hindsight.

Greener pastures as they may seem to the eye can also have taller grass hiding wolves and denser growth hiding snakes and I have seen my share of wolves and snakes, and I have been able to overlook those as the greener pastures provide enough nourishment to present a formidable force against prevailing threats.

I am happy, not as fulfilled, as I would like to be, I am probably one of my greatest critics, but I am charting a course that might just be that I am a late bloomer.

So, the first day of my seventh year did leave me in a state of incredible bewilderment, as I was unusually lost for words in a determined state of not wanting to be given to vituperation.

The absurdity of a valve

Bicycles constitute the most prominent form of transport in Amsterdam and I have always been of the view that my bicycle is safe if the cost of the locks exceeds the value of the bicycle – well, rarely do people purchase new bicycles – there is thriving second-hand market of refurbished bicycles obtainable from any bike repairers shop.

Mine was safely attached to an immovable bike-stand overnight.

In the morning, I retrieved my bicycle and after a pedal push, I felt I was getting a bit of a bumpy ride, so I stopped to check.

Ah! The back tyre is flat – so all I just need to do is get a bicycle pump and pump in some air, the tyres are made of Kevlar so are rarely susceptible to punctures.

On closer inspection, I found out why the tyre was flat, some happy-go-lucky crackpot had removed the valve.

Someone in the dark of the night had approached my bicycle, looked for the bike valve stopper and removed completely the valve that keeps the air in the tube of the tyre.

I just cannot begin to imagine how and why anyone would do that, but this being close to the area where someone had picked up a bicycle and thrown at me come 18 months before – I can only surmise the person would have been drugged, drunk and non compos mentis.

Appreciating service

So, I wheeled my bicycle 1.5 kilometres to the Central Station to get it fixed at the bike storage/hire place. The affable man retrieved a few valves from his cache and found one that fitted the valve stop.

He directed me to the free air pump where I got to fill up both tyres with sufficient air for a comfortable sturdy ride. Unlike cars, we do not use pressure gauges rather we feel the hardness of the tyre and ascertain the readiness by some false deduction.

The man would not take payment, so I offered a generous tip to make his day to which he remonstrated - this is excessive - and I retorted, I'll make that decision.

Yes, service and the appreciation of service is still the bane of this society, the lack of it on the one hand and the thriftiness of the Dutch preventing them from paying anything near the odds talk less of above those odds.

The valve of expression

Another valve which as not been lost but has had interesting persons twiddling the bits that let air out occasionally in a bid to adjust pressure, is that of expression.

I could be a hermit and recluse, I do not talk about myself too much and when I do volunteer information, and I do wonder if too much as not been given away in the same way that the tips get dished out.

I am no ideal, probably closer to an aberration, but what I am and the projection of myself can lead to unintended consequences if the valve twiddler lets out too much air.

Inquisition, acquisition and shock

Curiosity can nurse questions and bring forth a healthy sense of betrayal to some, disdain to others and may be for the good or the bad. You might already have some unpalatable answers to your curious questions, would you want to confirm them?

Getting to know me is nowhere near a Cinderella masterpiece, if it were a story well written, you would learn much about how not to live your life and much as you about how I have lived mine.

I lose my valve at times, but if I have any regrets, it would be because I have been bit too complacent about some things and a bit too circumspect about other things, quite cantankerous about these things and utterly discrete about those things - I have no way with words but I speak my mind.

If your curiosity about me must be satisfied, just remember to think about all the possible answers to your questions and never discount the possibility of an answer in the least likely area.

I am no enigma, neither am I complex, but there some things you will rather know nothing about – let’s replace the valve.

Friday, 19 May 2006

Ushered into Milliner's Heaven - hopefully with those hats too

The symbolism of monarchy

Besides the grandeur of royalty and the semblance of power that accompanies the office of the monarch or royalty of a country. Their presentation in public drives certain circles of opinion in terms of their appearance, their poise, their affability, their interaction and their fashion.

Our monarch in the Netherlands, Queen Beatrix has a striking persona, quite easy-going and amenable to her people, be it chatting to youth rappers or exchanging one of those bizarre handshakes of a strange sub-culture.

Friendly and approachable

The Queen is hardly aloof and offers an approachable disposition, typical of the Dutch who are not given to fussiness, they, in the entire quest for egalitarian equanimity would always defer to their royalty in terms of allowance, tolerance and exception.HatsGalore1

The Queen’s fashion is also striking, setting her well apart from her subjects, as nothing attracts you to comment more than her hair-do and her hats.

Being one who wears hats and sometimes has to visit ones hat maker in Cologne, from time to time to prospect a new design, as one is wont to; one would be utterly distraught if that service were to no longer exist for reasons beyond the control of the hat maker.

In that sense, I can understand how the Queen must feel when she would have been informed that her milliner died earlier this week.

Those hats!!! Exactly!

Our sadness can only be tinged with a ray of hope that a new designer with a more contemporary touch would help enhance the imagery from the “frying pan” look to something more regal and better than Ascot, which was an amazing stunner.

I would not advocate seeing the same happen to the hairdresser either, but that blonde bouquet look is really now passé, the point has been made, they want the appearance of the Queen to symbolise the crown – I know a tiara, when I see one, I know a diadem when I see one – but a hat, symbolising the crown – I think we are looking for a figurative representation here – because the literal just does not cut the muster.

Long live the Queen, but those who work in the head appearance department have to go.

Pictures from top to bottom are courtesy of Expatica.com (The opening of parliament) and the Queen of England's Golden Jubilee site (The Queen at Ascot 2002) respectively.

Thursday, 18 May 2006

Too many aspirants dying to rule in Nigeria

Patriotism expressed in martyr-speak

This is a comment in response to a topic on NaijaBlog dealing with possible candidates for the presidency of Nigeria and an interview with one of the prospects – Professor Pat Utomi.

In my humble opinion, I am getting fed up of people who try to express their earnest desire to lead their people through words of martyrdom.

It is part of the martyrdom rhetoric used by President Obasanjo in his inauspicious quest for a third term to finish what he has not started to properly to date.

Just because you are ready to die for your country does not make you any more earnest or more patriotic than those who are want to preserve their lives in service of their country.

They say; a good soldier is not one who unfortunately dies for his country, but the one who makes the soldiers of the enemy die for their country. It however does not obviate posthumous honours.

That is the logic of winning battles and wars, I would presume.

Technocrat ministers, bumbling presidents

I am getting wary of multi-lettered technocrats who for all intents and purposes can be good portfolio ministers but be completely unable to translate that ability to the position of an executive presidency.

More so these people willing to die probably have not set their houses in order, they die suddenly without having mentored protégés or successors plunging the country into chaos.

I think there is a lot more to this thing of seeking to lead a country than desire and death-hugging desperation to prove a point - else we would end up with a Clinton brain/Bush delivery president.

Now! That is a scary thought.
It is a privilege and honour not of right

If running for the presidency of the great country of Nigeria diminishes you or the presumed office of sage and visionary you hold, then you are definitely not worthy of leading people of Nigeria.

Leaderships and governance that does not appreciate the honour and privilege of leadership cannot do well by its people and would be given to hubris and arrogance.

Failing the sense of duty

A microcosm of this lack of appreciation has been evident many times in footballers that have exacted and demanded the right to play for Nigeria on their own terms rather than defer to the honour and privilege of being called up to the service of their country.

Hence, Nigeria would be spectators in the 2006 World Cup event, probably with lessons learnt from understanding service in the pursuit of national honours than self-aggrandisement at the expense of national duty.

That said, we definitely do not need Pat Utomi and those of his persuasion as president, no, not for a second.

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

No nice words for Mrs Verdonk

An Engaging Reality Show – the Dutch Parliament in session

The Dutch have a penchant for straight talking but always seem to act towards a form of consensus or compromise.

Nowhere was that more evident than in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament when an emergency debate was called to address the Ayaan Hirsi Ali issue with the minister – Mrs Rita Verdonk.

Expatriates like myself hardly watch Dutch television, but somehow expatriates had a compelling desire to witness the events in the Dutch Parliament which ran on till about 3:00AM.

This is, I think, the fourth time in less than 2 years that Mrs Verdonk has been called to the parliament to address issues the legislature think border on abuse of power, abuse of privilege, the lack of due process and abrogation of procedure.

The Hirsi Ali case had a considerably high profile, being that the decision Mrs Verdonk made automatically meant Mr Ali cannot continue to be a Member of the Dutch Parliament.

Backslash, Slash, Backspace, Backslash - Questions

The MPs had a field day posing questions and questioning rationale, it looked like we were going for the full showdown, but for all the times that Mrs Verdonk has like a chastised school pupil appeared before the house, things have almost gone to the brink, but there was always a pull back.

There is no doubt that Ms Ali used false information to register as an asylum seeking, there might have been reason for any asylum seekers to use a false name for expedient reasons of leaving behind their history and making them untraceable till such a time as they are ready to be exposed.

Mrs Verdonk as also right within the remit of her ministerial duties to institute an investigation to ascertain the circumstances in which Dutch citizenship was granted and the validity of that exercise.

Communications schizophrenic

However, whilst the letter send to Ms Ali indicates that her Dutch citizenship is invalid, it gives her leave to appeal within 6 weeks, but in play of words that definitely exasperated a not few MPs Mrs Verdonk opined that she observed rather than affirmatively indicated that situation.

The debate that ran through issues like the minister’s truthfulness, understanding of the law, appreciation of the power of parliament and deference to its demands, hardly any MPs could find words of praise at her actions.

Rather, one ex-leader of her party did express surprise at the speed of resolution of the inquiry alluding to the fact that the backlog of claims in the immigration department would have been cleared up if things were that efficient. They are not – that department is an utter bureaucratic mess.

Called to order

In the end, Mrs Verdonk – The Iron Lady and my Lady Oddjob has been ordered, yes, ordered, to review the case of Ms Ali on the status of her citizenship and where it is found that her claim is valid, it should be accelerated.

Yesterday, I discerned that we would not hit the streets in protest, but expect the Dutch to do something about it – this compromise is as good as it gets – the minister does not entirely lose face, the government does not collapse and parliament gets to impose its will.

There is a Dutch ambivalence to this issue, in that the many I have chatted to, on the face of it commend Mrs Verdonk for following the law, but when I raise issues of the exercise of the law requiring a human face and the possible negative effect on expatriates or the fact that a Dutch a language that thrives on exceptions cannot seem to seen exceptions in the imposition of the law, Mrs Verdonk’s esteem falls.

This is probably part of my integration, trying to understand the Dutch psyche – where I would have thought a big slap on the wrist would have sufficed with an admonition and liberal sanction, the obstinate adherence to laws has undone all the parties involved.

The chastised Verdonk

Mrs Verdonk can as well put paid to the idea of leading her party at the end of May – it is a case of an opportunist being overtaken and outplayed by the opportunity. Like Samson, his exercise of power in trying to destroy his enemies also brought the building down on himself.

I would not rejoice too early, but I cannot wait to see Mrs Verdonk come second best in the leadership race for the Liberal Party.

However, it is only in Dutch politics that the most high profile minister of the realm is a minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Justice.

Apart from the Prime Minister who has had a makeover from his erstwhile Harry Potter looks, one wonders who those who run portfolio ministries are – Finance, Interior Matters, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Defence – they all probably have not been mentioned once for anything significant, this year.

Bizarre, but that is living in the Netherlands – amazing place!


Expatica's Dutch news in English: MPs order Verdonk to reconsider Hirsi Ali's status:

Expatica's Dutch news in English: Hirsi Ali: fast decision amazes ministers:

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Lady Oddjob draws ire and fire

I need not say anymore, the Liberal Party has been accused of scandalous opportunism in supporting Mrs Verdonk’s actions.

The Verdonk Archive

Lady Oddjob decapitates Poster Child

Ruthless Rita

Not that we feared that this would be the result of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s tribulations, but the swiftness with which Mrs Rita Verdonk, the never elected but influential minister of Integration and Immigration has discounted 14 years of acquiescence to the Dutch way of life is legendary and without precedent.

Basically. Ms Ali has now been told, she was never a Dutch citizen, and hence, by inference she cannot continue to be a Member of Parliament.

Mrs Verdonk personally called her last night to deliver the message.

There are more than enough mitigating circumstances for Ms Ali’s Dutch citizenship to be revalidation in spite of her misdemeanours of 14 years ago.

She, like I have said before, is probably the most high profile integrated immigrant in the Netherlands besides the Princess Maxima who is Argentinean by birth but married to the Crown Prince Willem-Alexander.

No encouragement whatsoever

It provides no encouragement for those of us who strive to begin appearing relevant in more ways than just paying rates and taxes in the Netherlands.

This is not to say that adherents of Islam would be shedding a tear nor would it bring the general ethnic communities unto the streets – however, it should bring the Dutch out in protest against unconscionable intolerance masquerading as enforcing the ministerial prerogative of the law. [1]

Basically, on this matter, Mrs Verdonk has been a shameless opportunist who has sacrificed the Dutch citizenship of a fellow countrywoman for the quest to appear tough in immigration with the hope that her Liberal Party would vote she in as leader.

I do sincerely hope that the Party does see through this charade of political expediency and deny her any opportunity to foist that on more that the already unfortunate few that have come under her gaze.

Seriously, that a minister who has never faced an electorate can invalidate the election of a representative of a Dutch constituency sets new precedent – we are in wildly uncharted waters.

Good Luck and Godspeed, Ms Ali

Meanwhile, we can only wish Ms Ali good fortune in her new endeavour with the AEI as she considered her position in the Netherlands and the way irrational ministers are allowed to thrive in notoriety to the demolition of everything the Dutch hold dear.

I do not for once condone the fact that Ms Ali lied in her asylum application, but we have to see beyond the possibly, harangued and frightened 22-year-old who had escaped the throes of Africa for bright possibilities in Europe and how well she has done to account for her misdeeds.

A humanity that cannot forgo the illiberal for the tolerant and apply mercy in the face of obvious guilt cannot hope to rehabilitate who have fallen to a state of acceptance.

The figurehead for that view of humanity should likewise depart for wiser and more mature heads to facilitate fairness, justice and mercy in keeping with up with the civility of this age. This is just so, not Dutch, at all.

About Oddjob

The Oddjob nickname comes from the James Bond film, Goldfinger where there Korean bodyguard called Oddjob uses his bowler hat with a shard steel rim as a Frisbee which could decapitate victims.

This got ascribed to Mrs Verdonk when she threw her hat in the ring to contest the leadership of the Liberal party. Hence, Lady Oddjob.

As it now transpires, Lady Oddjob has decapitated the Poster child of Dutch integration.


[1] Hirsi Ali – Reactions

The Lady Oddjob Archive

Monday, 15 May 2006

A short weekend in Dutch politics

A week, they say is a long time in politics, where expediency to populism matters, days are like an eternity.

Just as we are absorbing the news of the already well-documented terminological inexactitudes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one cannot say if this occasion provides opportunity or catastrophe.

Only on Friday, Lady Oddjob, the Minister for Disintegration and Emigration (tongue in cheek) who at this time is running to the leadership of the Liberal Party, said, Ms Ali has nothing to fear regarding the lies she told 14 years ago. [1]

Iron Lady Jelly Backbone takes pressure

However, this works against the grain of Dutch culture, which allows for people to break the law with impunity as long as they do not get caught and then imposes the entire weight of the law in exacting sanctions on those caught. This part of a group of other attitudes called gedogen.

Besides, this has generated so much commentary from the press; experts and some personnel who were part of the hoodwinked assessors in 1992, that it now appears the minister in the person of Lady Oddjob cannot be seen to be doing nothing about it. [2]

In fact, you cannot be running for leadership of a party and be prospecting to become the first female Prime Minister and then be found condoning the submission of false material for asylum – this is beside the point that that false pretence has created a useful and commendable member of the Dutch political society.

About face in turn about

So, in an about face typical of those who watch the polls and have a weekend to think about it, Mrs Verdonk, the minister has now instituted an inquiry to investigate the claims of Ms Ali probably leading to the toughest sanction of withdrawing her Dutch citizenship. [3]

We all need someone who has an open mind, a resolute perspective and can make tough decisions, between Friday and Monday morning, I think the weekend should have helped Mrs Verdonk consider pulling out of the leadership race too.

If we are to move from a Prime Minister who cannot sail no matter how the wind blows to one who lists wherever the wind blows, then we have definitely mortgaged our futures to the kind of populism that would make Chavez and Ahmadenijad look like students in Populism 101.

A middle finger leap to the States

Whilst Ms Ali might be under pressure about lies she has already revealed many times before apart from some minor disputed facts, she is about to give the middle finger to all this brouhaha.

She has been offered a tenure with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in the United States from September [4], an offer that might come with a green card if the Dutch sell her up, just as they exchanged Manhattan for Suriname.

My views about think tanks are probably already well known, and the Bush administration has been infiltrated with AEI alumni, ideas and policy initiatives – the neo-cons find their oxygen in its tents.

Celebrating Opportunism as Concern

You have to give Ms Ali credit for wending her way through the storms of life as other politicians try to catch the fallout for some pecuniary advantage – despicable does not begin to describe my utter disgust for opportunists – but who is a politician but one who can represent opportunism as concern?

Now! I am really sick to the stomach as the voice of my congratulations to Ms Ali is drowned out by the spasms of violent regurgitation.


[1] Liberals don't care Hirsi Ali lied to get asylum in 1992

[2] Lying can lead to loss of asylum - expert

[3] MP Hirsi Ali faces inquiry over naturalisation lies

[4] Hirsi Ali to leave Netherlands for job with US think tank

Sunday, 14 May 2006

Unnamed, unknown, unsung and undone in Nigeria

Imprecise numbers

After the oil blast in Nigeria that took probably 150 lives or more just in the suburbs of Lagos, I restricted my commentary to the blogs of other commentators who were in ways witnesses to the event.

However, I have decided to step into the fray by rehashing the comments I left on the Exodus of Ayoke because the issues about to be addressed by the government appear to be the usual seen-to-be-doing-something, but achieving nothing stance – another probe.

In my view, a probe in Nigerian parlance is the unconscionable propensity to allocate funds to an event bordering on an investigation that would produce a whitewash – that is the most appealing of the views I can express.

No lessons learnt from before

There have now been at least 7 reported incidents of pipeline roastings, the last three being in Lagos State, with the numbers set to vary depending on how the scene of the disaster is accessed and forensic abilities of the investigators.

Hardly 2 months ago, we had the census of the nation which involved closing down the country for a whole week and we hopefully would receive a plausible figure of the number of people resident in Nigeria.

Beyond that, even if a count of the victims were possible, identification beyond property on the bodies the victims would have been impossible. The health is not advanced enough for the documentation of health records talk less of dental records.

People generally would not have identity papers, and where they did, one cannot say that such information would be followed through.

Death in a desperate cause

The real number is somewhere in the number of those who have woken up the next morning to find a loved one has not returned home – that statistic would however not be recorded because going forward would stigmatise the family in terms of the theft of petroleum products rather than the quest for survival.

Worse still, the victims are being buried in mass graves; no worse an indignity can be visited on an African death than to end up in less than a pauper’s grave, shared in the company of those unknown but caught in the collective desire to make ends meet.

So, I would wonder what became of the previous investigations of the disasters like this and what is really being done to prevent the recurrence of such tragedy.

My earlier comments (edited)

If the 7th or 8th largest oil-producing country in the world still has people taking drills, buckets and jerry-cans to siphon oil from pipelines - great indeed is the poverty of the nation and greater still is the sin of those who lead us thus far.

When would this embarrassment of oil riches begin to smile on the little man who strives to the ultimate to make ends meet and ends up as unidentifiable charred remains?

The lack of Education, Opportunity and Goodwill

This whole thing feeds the ignorance of many who do not know the dangers of possible oil explosions. (Education)

Even if they did, there was a scarcity of oil for domestic purposes that it had to be imported into the country – almost a case of fish drowning in water.

It feeds the widening gap of prosperity/poverty that makes crime thrive and investment elope from the country. (Opportunity)

Beyond the achievements of debt relieve and the expansion of the telecommunications market, people are still desperately destitute, as the government has pre-occupied itself with the quest for extended incumbency.

It mitigates the stigma of corruption that permeates most strata of society. (Goodwill)

As over $300 billion has been earned from oil and this has been reflected in the emancipation of populace of out of poverty.

When would the money bring the honey?

When would oil money start to toil only for the people to the betterment of a great nation of promise? - Alas! We have only seen promise.

What can we begin to do to see the change we want our great country to become?

And is there a lifetime to expend for posterity or do we just hope someone would sort it out?

For those who have seen sudden hell - I do seriously sympathise - hopefully, they would not have died in vain.

Probe the causes and act to deal with them

Ensuring they would not have died in vain should not be about protecting the oil pipeline infrastructure or preventing crime, which are important things to consider, but the probe should ascertain the deeper breakdown of our moral polity.

Exploring the reasons for desperation that leads to reckless waste of life, as to why there is a shortage of domestic fuel products, how people in an oil-producing country cannot afford to buy fuel for basic consumption.

No easy answers

If a pipeline constitutes an opportunity for petty thievery to grave consequences, then standard of living of those “thieves” or potential thieves needs to be reviewed with major economic ideas to stimulate employment growth and commensurate wage earnings to meet the basic needs of the day.

There are no easy answers, but until the oil wealth of Nigeria gets withdrawn from foreign accounts of looters in governments past and present and the current earnings are applied with greater consideration for the wider Nigerian community – the last disaster would just be the first of many more to come.

The pledge of the probe

This is where the probe should begin – Fellow Nigerians, we are prepared to research the social, economic, political and psychological causes of these disasters, begin to make a greater difference to the lives of those in the Delta region and with that progress begin to make a different in the lives of Nigerians as a whole.

Then hopefully, those unnamed, unknown, unsung and undone in the disaster would not have died in vain, regardless of the crime of damaging the pipeline and stealing from the gushing breach.

Saturday, 13 May 2006

Poster child hung in a frame of lies

More Dutch than the Dutch

The most prominent integrated immigrant in the Netherlands is probably Ayaan Hirsi-Ali a Member of Parliament in the Liberal Party (VVD).

Being a Somalian, we have to date been fed with tales of how she had suffered brutality borne of religious intolerance and coercion, part of which led to her escaping from an enforced arranged marriage to eventually seek refuge in the Netherlands.

The then 22-year-old told a sorry tale that convinced the immigration authorities in a slightly more liberal Netherlands to give her asylum in a record short time of five weeks.

She has done well, earning degree in Political Science and being a strong advocate for the emancipation of female rights in Islam whilst speaking up for immigration and asylum issues.

Beyond that, some of her views on Islam and immigration have alienated the very set of people who would constitute her naturally wider constituency.

Representative African – Not!

Having an African heritage, it is unlikely that many African see the Netherlands through the same lenses as her. Her work in the film Submission, whilst it cannot be condemned for matters of freedom of expression, has polarised communities to the extent that she lives in secluded and secure protection especially since the film maker was murdered on an Amsterdam street.

The question becomes what the point is of integration is if you have sacrificed your liberty and freedom for the pulpit of knocking down the self-same traditions that constituted part of your upbringing.

There might be things that are inspiring about the lady, but as a whole package, she is hardly a role model for those who come from similar backgrounds.

We live here as products of multiple cultures, we cannot abrogate our history and culture for the domination of Dutch culture in the quest to be more Dutch than the Dutch. Rather, we must elect the best of all our cultures together with the host culture to present ourselves equitable, respectable and worthy members of our host societies.

Lost constituency

It informs my concerns that whilst the articulate and erudite Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a poster child to the West of those who have thrived out of Africa as refugees and speak up for the Western stereotype, she might for the West be worthy of nomination for the Nobel Prize, but not for doing anything in relation to helping people in similar circumstances integrate better beyond the opportunistic political sound-bite.

It transpires that she has been caught in a number of lies regarding how the immigration service was hoodwinked with her sorry tale. The then head of the immigration service who has recently aligned himself to more right-wing causes has called for the revocation of her Dutch citizenship.

That is a bit too drastic, but then he is not known for being the most level-headed man. My best minister aspiring for leadership of the Liberal Party and the minister in charge of emigration and dis-integration (tongue in cheek) has condemned lying but would not exact sanctions - A rare example of ministerial magnanimity.

However, what is most interesting is the way this story would run as some condemn the lies and others seek to shield the poster child – albeit in a frame of probably more lies.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali: hero or phony?

Liberals don't care Hirsi Ali lied to get asylum in 1992

Lying can lead to loss of asylum - expert

Understanding freedom, responsibility and tact

Friday, 12 May 2006

Are you Belgian-Suspect?

Not the kind of news to hear

Being a regular visitor to Antwerp, I was quite surprised that I missed a rather harrowing but evident piece of news about the murders of 2 people and one left seriously injured [1].

It transpired that the perpetrator had bunked off boarding school (privilege) being on the verge of being suspended for smoking and drinking the day before.

The young man had been planning to commit an act of terminal self-harm but felt he would even serve society better if just before he committed the ultimate, he randomly kills a few immigrants who he referred to in the most derogatory terms.

If I were to dabble into profiling, we are given the impression that a person who in Europe has the privilege of a boarding school education, has the best opportunities for education, can be assertive, self-assured, confident and probably get by on his own cognisance, something ordinary people would probably need a police check and references for.

Classed as Belgian-suspect

So, he bunks off school and walks into a shop and buys a gun, gets the ammunition and declares open season on fellow human-beings who have the unfortunate distinction of having an appearance that is Belgian-suspect.

Belgian-suspect? Indeed, but that is part of the wave of right-wing populism that I have tried to ignore not only in Belgium, but in France and recently in the UK when the British National Party took a few seats in the local government elections.

The whole principle and premise that a certain group of people indigenously belong somewhere and they are being deprived of their rights because immigrants, foreigners or citizens of foreign progeny are getting priority in jobs, welfare and other “so-called” benefits.

This tripe, as ideology gets fed to the populace and finds resonance; that the broad church of democracy can allow sinners against liberty and tolerance to worship at the altar of universal franchise.

Caught in the stomach

The young man in event got shot in the stomach by a police marksman but not before he had shot and grievously wounded a Turkish woman, then killed an au-pair black woman with her ward, a 2-year old Caucasian child.

In his words, she was in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

That is what bothers me, any up-bringing, education, experience or tutelage that allows for a situation where a 2-year old cannot walk safe in the streets is in need of obliteration at source.

Where be the faults?

His aunt is a Member of Parliament representative of the Flemish Interest Party which was birthed at the demise of the similarly extreme right Flemish Block that the parliament proscribed a few years ago.

His father was a founding a member of the Flemish Block, and though the party spokespeople deny the young man is a member of their party, there are enough role models to influence, if not indoctrinate the child in abhorrent ideology.

The young man intimated to friends that he would commit terminal self-harm and take 10 immigrants with him and privileged few did nothing with that information thinking it was an empty threat.

The head of the school came across a suicide note and did not cotton on the possible gravity of the situation; rather school discipline through a suspension would have made the problem go away. Whatever acts he then committed would have absolved the school from culpability.

I have my doubts about that being the best kind of school to send impressionable people, if students can be subject to opprobrium and authorities can be in such dereliction of duty and responsibility.

A matrix of skinhead amity

Then he walks into what might be a gun store and gets a high-calibre rifle, no questions asked, and then walks up a street in Antwerp seeking his quarry dressed like a character out of the Matrix.

Surreal as this may seem, there does not seem to be one intelligent initiative from all these people who could have affected and avoided the situation

+ Parents associated with fear-purveying anti-immigrant movements;

+ Schoolmates learning to be farm-hands in a boarding school but having no sense of the consequence that can be adduced from information they are privy to;

+ School authorities who think a suicide note is better dealt with by suspension or expulsion;

+ A gun shop owner in dalliance with the money, ignoring the common-sense need to ascertain, verify, enquire and consequently deny.

They know not the effects of their rhetoric

Auntie then speaks, he grew up in an atmosphere of anti-violence – I think NOT!

The rhetoric of the extreme-right is anything but the gospel of peace to all mankind; that atmosphere is enough to create the self-loathing to commit suicide and the warped sense of duty to society leading to killing innocent immigrants.

Where the party has rejected the young man, having been caught; there are others who in their clandestine ceremonies who would be offering the proverbial pat on the back for speaking up for the working man of Dutch-speaking Belgium.


[1] Woman, child murdered in 'racist' Antwerp shooting

[2] 'Teen killer' deliberately targeted random foreigners

[3] Racist shooting rampage shocks Antwerp

General information about the school, translated from Flemish.

The boarding school - Vrij Agro- en Biotechnisch Instituut – (Free Agricultural and Biotechnical Institute)

A school with a past and a future

The school was established in 1922, and has more than 7000 alumni. A modern infrastructure guarantees a safe future.

A school with a heart

The VABI offers a student-centred educational curriculum offering practical tuition beyond just knowledge transfer.

A school in a “green lung” (Green in the context of environment)

The VABI is situated in splendid green surroundings within the grounds of a small seminary.

The boarding school has a totally new kitchen and a restaurant that caters for healthy meals, with accommodation adapted for study and entertainment.

Most students graduate to further education in various related fields in university.

Our diploma offers great opportunities for employment and other career enhancing prospects.

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Desiring a Palestinian Passover

Hamas – the democratic will of the people

Recently, I have been involved in vigorous commentary, debate and dispute on the issue of Palestinian democracy.

More so, because the election of Hamas by the popular vote of the Palestinian people in response to urgings from the West to democratise has now given the West the opportunity to now bring the Palestinian people to their knees – in poverty, hunger and death.

I cannot stress enough, the fact that Hamas was elected on the complete platform of their “repugnant” views of the eradication of Israel, the continuation of their armed struggle against occupation (what the West calls terrorism), the creation of an Islamic state in the land of Palestine, their well known anti-corruption message and their commendable social services in Gaza.

Grace augmenting injustice

Israel, exists by the grace of all who have allowed it to thrive to the detriment of the occupied peoples as they bully the populace with tanks and gun ships against the primitive incursions and attacks composed of suicide bombers and home-made rockets.

The rhetoric about the elimination of Israel thrives on the fact that an injustice coming to 60 years still shows no prospect of resolution.

The Palestinians cannot go to war to claim what they believe to be their land and the 1967 line is continually breached with impunity most especially by foreign Jews who believe in a literal land of Israel to the exclusion of any other people - settlers - they are called.

An unjust world of hypocrites

Then I read that the UNRWA is under so much duress by the influence of Israel that they cannot freely distribute aid to the starving Palestinian refugees, the report is harrowing; even as essential other aid is withheld because of a democratic choice the Palestinians have made in voting for Hamas – ideology and all.

At the same time, I read that Nuclear North Korea is about to allow the UN access back in the country to distribute food aid to starving Koreans.

This is the same UN that is supporting the persecution of non-Nuclear Iran as we prepare for what might possibly another major skirmish in the Middle-East perpetrated by the United States.

I get fed up with the idea that the United States feels the International community is acquiescent to purveying their vituperation in the direction of Iran. Just as we had with the coalition of the coerced, more are being coerced into the uncomfortable situation of endorsing detrimental action against Iran.

A Palestinian Passover – I dream

Now that Israel has closed the crossing necessary to get food aid to people in Gaza in preparation for the Passover.

They in their festivities of celebrating the passing over of the angel of death breathe despair, destitution, deprivation, debt, desolation and death on a people who are already on their knees, almost scratching the ground for food.

It would be to the utter shame and disgrace of the West if the pictures that moved humanity on Ethiopia some 20 years ago, would now migrate as far north as the Middle-East.

Here is waiting for the day that the Palestinians would also celebrate their own Passover, when they rise to take their land and celebrate in the joy of deliverance from a world that is steeped in standards not worthy of the weight of human history but expressive of total human misery.

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Causing Disabling Ignorance

First week over - thankfully

Am I grateful that my first seminar week has is over and one can start all over again in the second seminar week.

It all adds up eventually in the final end of module score, but the scoring is per weekly activity added up at the end rather than cumulative.

Having had a really long break, getting back into the flow has been difficult and stressful. I produced work which a year ago I would not have offered up for my proof-reading, talk less of submitting it for assessment.

This is just not me, but that is now done and gone.

I have a bit of a head start this week and hope to do a lot better and get on with things without ending up in a time bind.

My only big thing is the using Endnote for my bibliography, I am still struggling with the making the Harvard style of reference in the application match up to our customised Harvard offering.

I cannot begin to think of the amount of time I have expended in fine-tuning the stuff only to find that our library has not done any work on providing support for the tool.

No-hard-work man

All my life, I know was born for a labour-saving world, there has to be easier, better, smarter ways of doing things and one has to find them and utilise them.

My voice goes into a shrill at work when inertia allows people to just accept shoddy work on the prompting of an emergency in fulfilling urgency.

We then find that we have urgently implemented a solution that has just exacerbated the problem; I must be from Mars where there is a similitude of joined up thinking.

Call it histrionics bordering on apoplexy, I am your drama queen nightmare if I cannot see the benefits of brain cell activity in a situation – we have architects a-plenty whose drawings would never lift off the paper because they know nothing of the strength of materials.

Intellectual arrogance disabling ignorance

Yours truly is caught up in this papier-mâché of designs that do not work and in the whole time I have been in the company, not one architect, no, not one egomaniac technical ignoramus has deigned to visit to see how their design is not fit for use, but by some manic depressive.

Even I always want to discover where my intellectual arrogance is causing disabling ignorance and do well to overcome it. I know too many people who have been overwhelmed. Peter Drucker, I you owe big-time for this amazing insight, I cannot continue to suffer from disabling ignorance.

If only I could say to the disabled – Rise up and walk – my life would also be bliss at work.

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Did he read it?

The question I really want answered is this. Did the President read the letter sent by his Presidential colleague in Iran?

Before Condi got her mitts on it and started to dismiss the contents and denigrate the Iranian President, did the president handle the 18 pages and see the print in the letter?

President Bush might not have been eagerly twiddling his thumbs waiting in expectation to read from a government that has been at variance with the United States for 30 years.

However, this was symbolic, but the United States forgot the occasion and missed an opportunity to at least see if dialogue was possible.

The letter says a lot

Then, we are told the letter says nothing new in terms of the prevailing issues, I beg to differ; the letter does address the concern about how propaganda is being used to demonise states in readiness for military attack.

It addresses the concern that certain countries unfairly think they have exclusive rights to technologies to the exclusion of others; especially, where standards of eligibility differ – North Korea (resignation), Pakistan (détente), India (support), Israel (indifference), Libya (emasculation) and Iran (suspicion).

It highlights the Israeli/Palestinian issue as the crisis of our times and the inaction that makes the “Destroy Israel” rhetoric find support amongst Arabs.

It is interesting that President Bush did find time yesterday to talk to President al-Bashir of Sudan about the Darfur crisis seeking some resolution on troop support in Darfur.

President al-Bashir could arguably be no less a figure of hate than President Ahmadinejad, talk is always important.

Of whom little is expected

If I expected the letter to be accorded a modicum of courtesy in the reading, comportment in the reply and diplomacy in commentary, I would be naïve.

It is a shame that the smart and clever people in the United States government cannot muster a diplomatic coup when presented to ample opportunity.

They forgo the basics of diplomacy for lambast and bluster whilst young men and women of American might end up being sent to lose their lives for a cause that have not been well thought through because the avenues of conciliation were closed by their government.

One is beginning to think the advocates of regime change might just need that tonic in the White House too.

Monday, 8 May 2006

America! Your move

Talking helps

I am no sage nor do I prognosticate, but word reaches me from the BBC that the president of Iran has written to the president of the United States.

The Swiss embassy represents the interests of the United States in Iran and this said letter has been passed through the ambassador of Switzerland in Iran to be forwarded to the United States.

This, it appears is the first time that communications have been initiated at such a high diplomatic level between the two countries in three decades.

I alluded to the concern that presidents in dispute do not exhaust the opportunity to have a heart-to-heart discussion [Mayday!], but then, I was thinking of the United States taking the initiative.

Magnanimous Iran –a welcome contradiction

Magnanimous and Iran might seem alien in the same sentence to many, but I can only commend the Iranians for subscribing to the humanity of communication rather than the bluster of belligerence.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a difficult man to listen to, but I cannot fault the logic of the many unpalatable statements he has made. A trail of hard truths are embedded in the diatribes; we ignore them to our peril.

American hegemony in the global context is becoming a cause for great concern; the lumbering super-power giant has not cottoned on the use of soft power to resolve intractable disputes.

That America and Iran have not spoken for 30 years should give all great cause for concern. That proxies do so much to ramp up the rhetoric of war should give every well-meaning person greater cause of concern, if not despair.

For now, the White House has denied the receipt of this letter, but it would do well for America and the world to ensure that the president does read and understand whatever the contents of the letter are.

Magnanimous America – a maturing behemoth

It would be magnanimous for the Americans to grace that letter with a respectable reply and resist the temptation to point-score in willing to press home an advantage that does nothing for global peace.

The willingness to communication is the willingness to appreciate other views and work out an understanding based on some acceptable compromise.

In my book, Barely-Nuclear Iran is playing a big-boy’s game of diplomacy that now gives them the high moral ground. America! Your move!

Sunday, 7 May 2006

The first word was the slowest in coming

Back to school and tardy

After a long break, I am back on the academic trail to finish my last 2 modules and start on my MSc Dissertation.

Each module lasts 8 weeks that could be utter bliss or a complete ordeal and many things factor in between. You need 8 modules for the complete Masters in IT course.

Each week consists of a seminar, which includes a lecture a number of discussion question, probable assignments and project work for individuals or groups.

The seminar week runs from Thursday till Wednesday with the requirement that students must attend by effective contribution in at least 4 days.

So, work begins on the discussion question with ideas buzzing around in my head to distraction, I probably have written a whole conference in my head by Saturday morning but nothing committed to paper.

My head on a block

Writer’s block, they call it, more like an insurmountable mountain as I am drained of all energy to do other things and the clock begins to tick towards the deadline of midnight Sunday to get the discussion question contributions out and start commenting on the views of colleagues.

You might wonder how a person who seems to blog a lot can come to crossroads on writing decisions, well, it is probably like a hangover, until you’ve tried Hair of the Dog you might be nowhere near losing the headache.

From experience, I now find that I probably need 4 hours to knock-out decent copy and whilst the suggested time of study is considered somewhere between 15 to 20 hours a week, 30 of my waking hours are out there trying to be coherent and working to remain relevant.

Miss Marple’s assistant

The fun of study comes from the excitement of learning new things and ideas that one would not normally attend to in everyday life.

Currently, as we start with Computer Forensics, I feel I have just got a bit part in Miss Marple bites into an apple (computer) and she is investigating how the worm got in there.

Cite all sites

I was driven to complete distraction as I struggled to come to terms with the new citation guidelines that have become a nightmare that I acquired a tool – EndNote to handle all that stuff.

I am amazed that a tool that popular is so counter-intuitive and stodgy, most especially when in this day and age referencing from the web accounts for more citations than conventional books.

After a good 2 days of mucking around with the tool, it all began to make some sense, but a bit more practice is required before good value and consistent styles can results.

I fired a missive of 5 long questions to our librarian to help – methinks, the change would have less people citing references if so much time is spent trying to get it up to the demands and standards of the authorities.

Associating Computers with Manual work

More so, I am amazed that the Association of Computing Machinery that has a digital library to rival any large archive still requires that interfacing with contemporary bibliographical tools be a cut-and-paste activity – I am disappointed.

A hundred years of computing history and the largest archive still follows the bookshelf metaphor of a conventional library – something is definitely wrong if computing people cannot for themselves create a labour saving activity for their own use.

Methinks, I have a project to hand, however, I need a programmer’s brain for a radical lobotomy.

Study a-plenty means blogs a-few.

Friday, 5 May 2006

Old-age Rum's field day

Old-age rights

Any septuagenarian can exercise the inalienable right to be subconsciously forgetful to the extent that recorded statements of views expressed years ago may not be remembered.

However, if there is anything anyone would deny is happening as one matures; it is the loss of hearing, the loss of memory and probably the loss of energy.

The loss of hearing plays a great part when the elderly listener who by happenstance has not been pensioned off, holds more meetings with his team than any other predecessor and still does not seem to end up with the substance of their ideas.

Note however, that due diligence is served by being in the meeting and presiding over that meeting.

Blessings of old age

A well known trait of the elderly when entering those stages of hearing loss might be grumpiness, irascibility, stubbornness, dogged determination and downright rudeness which in some other quarters can be utterly unacceptable.

The elderly by their wealth of experience gained through years of toil or service can offer us gems of wisdom and thoughts to ponder; some can quite imponderable that you end up in the unknown unknown.

That is a place that only too few people have been to, because they are the only ones who can reveal the existence of that place. They are the sages of our age.

Bliss of old age

The loss of memory presents convenience for those who cannot remember and frustration for those who can remember but cannot find correlation with the main proponent of the subject.

If no record can be found of the subject being addressed for the proponent to remember, then it one man’s word against another. We are left to decide on the ability of either to convince with conviction and hopefully, truthfully.

This era of mass media however offers the ability to record, replay, review, research, recall and reproduce whatever material has been subjected to scrutiny.

The loss of energy might inform the reason why a mechanical device might be required to do the routine task of signing letters that should be of great import to the recipients.

Unequal values of old age

So, if at any time in the future after that recording; someone who remembers or who researches asks a question about a statement made in the past, the expected response should be concurrency.

Where there is no concurrency, the person being asked can defer to check the facts of that event and respond at a later time.

However, if the person being asked is generally given to bluster and falls into the demographic of the type of elderly person described earlier; then the person would not deny, rather suggest that something else was said or they have been misrepresented - conveniently.

Truth about old age

The reporters of this current event can then search their archives and return with the recording of that earlier event which has concurrency with the questioner’s assertions, not once, not twice, but thrice.

I would then assume that the septuagenarian has been caught in a lie – Never! The old man is never ever wrong.

You ask me, “Could that particular septuagenarian be Donald Rumsfeld?” Well, Go Figure!


CNN.com - Hecklers interrupt Rumsfeld speech - May 4, 2006:

Target Rumsfeld

Rumsfeld Defends His Record Against Critics - New York Times:

Rumsfeld Blog Archive

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Death eludes the State

Whoops! Missed death

The circus around the Al-Qaeda wannabe moves to the lion handling the whip with the man jumping through hoops of fire.

Everyone who is anyone in authority would hold a press conference to commend first, and praise each other to the point of immodesty. We would suffer the back-slapping and the roll call of names of no particular significance jostling for recognition to the point of extreme boredom. Phew!

Zacarias Moussaoui, they claim had an inside on 9/11 as he was arrested on immigration charges weeks before the event; the case was built around the view that he had knowledge of an event that the authorities might have been able to prevent.

The authorities were awash with other bits of knowledge they could have acted on but they were found wanted – Moussaoui, it would appear afterwards might have had less than a bit part or scant knowledge of the events.

Death becomes the state

What is most interesting and might be the turning point in the American polity is the whole weight of the federal government and prosecution was for the imposition of the death penalty.

There was a separate hearing to determine if the death penalty should feature in sentencing, which was almost derailed but some underhand activities by a member of the prosecution.

The defence team appealed to a greater sense of humanity; the fact that another tragedy of the death of a would-be terrorist would not bring the closure that would assuage the pain of victims but celebrate the death of a martyr to a despicable cause.

It shows that a jury can exercise a greater resolve of conscience than the machine of state which just needs to be seen doing something, even it is not right.

Death is no real justice

In Europe, we have already resolved that no vengeance is served with capital punishment; we hold the sanctity of human life as something to be valued to the point of natural expiration.

It informs why we still have serious ethical issues with euthanasia and abortion.

In the end, a jury voted in the majority and relatives of victims of 9/11 who might be in their rights in to demand the death penalty agreed to the sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

In some places, his sentence might be considered harsh, in that we are not certain of what knowledge Moussaoui had of 9/11 and if whatever knowledge he had would have helped the government in absolution of their dereliction of responsibility.

Where be the big fish?

More damning, is the fact that this man who has been a media celebrity for 4 and a half years is very small fry compared to the blue whales of the Al Qaeda leadership who frequently remind us that they are still about and sending forth troops for the global jihad.

At large, at peace and at liberty, they mock the global superpower to derision and more so after they could not persuade a jury of 12 to do their bidding.

This, I would say, this is the death knell of the death penalty in America, the people have spoken, I just hope the president and governors are listening.