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Respect and cooperation is what makes a nation great and a world better.
This is a great post.

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

“WE NEED TO REJECT ANY POLITICS THAT TARGETS PEOPLE BECAUSE OF RACE OR RELIGION. THIS ISN’T A MATTER OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. IT’S A MATTER OF UNDERSTANDING WHAT MAKES US STRONG. THE WORLD RESPECTS US NOT JUST FOR OUR ARSENAL; IT RESPECTS US FOR OUR DIVERSITY AND OUR OPENNESS AND THE WAY WE RESPECT EVERY FAITH.”

~ BARACK OBAMA

In my last post in this series, “Let Us Change the World!”I reflected upon the role of education in bringing about positive change in the world through a quote by Nelson Mandela. His words were spoken in the context of a speech he made to students in Boston in 1990 to encourage them to remain in school and help transform the world into a better place.

Source: What the World Needs Now… Respect

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There are a few forces in the World today who appear to wish to bring on World War 3, Kim Jong-un, Trump, Israel and the Fundamental Right and all should be countered for WW3 will, if it comes, will be apocalyptic for the majority of the Worlds population and to what end.

The World, today, may not be good place, but it is all our lives at stake and none should be lost due to the actions of the Warmongers, never today, tomorrow or anytime within the future.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

And this is exactly what Christian Zionist millennialists like Tim Lahaie want.

Yesterday, Trump announced that he was going to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is what the Israelis have been demanding for years, but previous administrations have not given into them, because they were very much aware that this would set off a powder keg of rage and hostility across the Middle East. Jerusalem was taken from the Palestinians, and still contains a sizable Arab population. The Israeli nationalist right would love it to be the capital of their nation, but it is also claimed by the Palestinians.

There have been mass protests and riots against Trump’s decision all over the Middle East. RT yesterday put up this footage of Israeli squaddies or the police trying to put down protesters or rioters in Bethlehem yesterday.

And politicians from across the political spectrum have condemned…

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Ministers’ social care and welfare reforms represent a deliberately prejudiced, vicious attack on a significant minority of the population

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, made no mention of social care in his autumn budget. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

A recent United Nations report on its inspection into the UK’s record on disabled people’s rights was described as a “17-page-long catalogue of shame” by one commentator, who wrote:

Over the past seven years, cuts to benefits, social care, the legal system and local authority funding have effectively put decades of slow, painful progress into reverse.

Cuts in social care funding have made a mockery of would-be progressive policies on personal budgets and direct payments. Cuts in day services and restrictions on access to freedom passes have marooned many disabled people behind their four walls.

We have also seen disabled students’ allowances cut; a reduction in funding of Access To Work, which made it possible for many disabled people to get into and stay in work; and greatly increased reporting of disability hate crime – including incidents against disabled children.

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, in his autumn budget, made no mention of social care; the Care and Support Alliance saying that the “government failed to recognise the immediate crisis in social care”.

The government’s latest proposals delaying a promised green paper on social care until next year don’t include any disabled people or organisations in the team of “expert advisers”.

Disabled people of working age won’t be addressed in the green paper and we can get some idea of what’s in ministerial minds from a recent social care debate in the House of Commons. Social care minister Jackie Doyle-Price repeatedly emphasised the part yet more welfare reform will play in the government’s future thinking for this group.

Over the past seven years, the government has not so much increasingly failed to secure disability rights under the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities as appeared to attack those very rights.

Successive governments have denied this, but with suggestions that disabled people have died shortly after being identified as fit for work, or killed or contemplated killing themselves after the withdrawal of welfare benefits, it is difficult to see this as merely a matter of misguided policy or economic exigencies.

It is becoming increasingly difficult not to associate such catastrophic policies with something deeper, something more visceral. We have to ask why does this government and its recent predecessors seem so bent on harassing disabled people? Is there something about us they just can’t stomach?

The present government particularly has made cuts to social care and reforms to welfare benefits that – without exaggeration – can be said to have damaged and spoiled the lives of millions. We know that thousands of disabled people live in fear of the brown envelope through the door; that some have even starved to death after their benefits have been cut.

These are not isolated cases. They affect all groups: people with learning difficulties; people who are dying; those with major physical and sensory impairments; with painful and enervating long term conditions; with the most severe mental health problems.

Modern governments talk a lot about “evidence-based policy”, but evidence has highlighted the cruel, draconian effects of these social polices.

We need to look way beyond ideological discussions about whether or not policy is “fit for purpose”. Instead, we must ask where this apparent underlying loathing of large groups of people comes from. What is there about us as disabled people that prompts such extreme measures?

Of course we know that governments like ours clutch at a different rationale. Their attacks are not on disabled people per se, they say, but those pretending to be disabled, the “shirking” rather than the “striving” disabled people.

Sadly, it is disabled people indiscriminately – and those close to them – who are suffering appallingly through these measures, not some imagined cohort of con-people or impersonators.

The current direction of travel of social care and welfare reform doesn’t merely represent harsh policy or even reactionary ideology. Instead it is a deliberately prejudiced, vicious attack on a significant minority of the population.

Governments and policymakers haven’t caught up with the reality that medical advances and social and cultural changes mean that the nature of who we are as a population has changed. There are now many more disabled people. Making our lives increasingly difficult may kill some of us, but it won’t seriously change the maths.

The failure of policymakers is that so many disabled people still face appalling and increasing barriers to employment, education, training, family and social life. It’s not getting rid of us that welfare reform should be about, but about challenging and ending these attitudinal, institutional and cultural barriers. And to do this, this government needs to start very firmly with challenging itself and its ministers.

  • Peter Beresford is emeritus professor of social policy at Brunel University London, professor of citizen participation at Essex University and co-chair of Shaping Our Lives

 

Source : Why is the government waging a war against disabled people? : The Guardian


Following debates over the role of faith in social work, Ryan Wise analyses whether insisting beliefs are put to one side is the right approach

Photo: Kieferpix/Fotolia

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Ryan Wise

In recent weeks there has been plenty of discussion in the social work community about the role of religion, and what part it can play in practice.

This was prompted by a social work student losing an appeal case against his university’s decision to expel him after he shared support for an American registrar who refused to give marriage licenses to gay couples on grounds of faith and said homosexuality was a ‘sin’. His appeal was on the basis that the university had unlawfully interfered with his rights to free speech and freedom of religion.

piece written in Community Care on 6 November inspired me to reflect on my own perspective of being a social worker, a practice educator and a gay male. I think it is important to look at the relationship between social work and religion with an emphasis on when religious belief leads one to hold views possibly at odds with ideas of equality; namely same-sex marriage.

I am personally fascinated by religion and faith, I completed my undergraduate in religious studies where I was curious to explore the complexities of religion and the influence it has on society and people’s thoughts, views and behaviours.

I respect faith and belief and recognise how religion can be a drive to do well in the world. However, when it comes to views against same-sex marriage, I then struggle. Theologically, I must admit I am not au fait with the intricacies of teaching in monotheistic faith which indicates same-sex marriage as wrong.

Quite the contrary, my understanding is that most of the teachings focused on equality.

Right way forward

When confronted with these views, I do wonder if questioning why they are held is the right way forward. I don’t know for sure, but for me it is about understanding how one has come to this view.

It is key to explore such views and explore faith-based viewpoints more generally. I don’t propose questioning theologically, but adopting a curious approach to ethics and values which our profession holds at its foundations.

When I started as a practice educator I was informed on my first day that a high number of students on the University course held the view that same-sex marriage was at odds with their faith and thus possibly wrong. I struggled with this and, truthfully, I still am struggling. I was perhaps surprised as a view which opposed same-sex marriage was one I considered to be held by few rather than the many, like it was in this context.

I believe it is my role to encourage different thinking and curiosity. The example of referring to homosexuality as a sin is perhaps a clear red flag but what about the grey areas? The grey areas indicate that we can only consider each case in its own individual context.

Beliefs in social work

Perhaps it is about the individual person’s ability to consider their beliefs and values concerning same-sex marriage and reflect on difference. It can be argued that not agreeing with same-sex marriage is not the same as a homophobic stance, but again we have the issue of equality.

People have different beliefs, and often the question is how they can be put to one side to effectively practice in social work. I feel this is the wrong position to take and wonder why this is suggested. I do not think we can put our values and beliefs to one side.

We engage with difference all the time and we must engage with ourselves reflexively.

There is a difficulty when beliefs and values are at odds with equality, although this can be explored through the Social Graces. Devised by Roper Hall and Burnham, Social Graces represents aspects of difference in beliefs, power and lifestyle, visible and invisible, voiced and unvoiced, to which we might pay attention too.

The Social Graces have grown since their original development and currently represent: Gender, Geography, Race, Religion, Age, Ability, Appearance, Class, Culture, Ethnicity, Education, Employment, Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, and Spirituality.

An important part of self-reflexivity is engaging with the Social Graces. Religion is only one of the graces, do you have specific ideas about people’s ages, or people’s class or race? Are we always acutely aware of what we think or believe? With so many Graces in play at any one time, should differences over religion and faith play such a prominent role in deeming what makes a person fit or unfit to be a social worker?

My point is that we all hold different views, ideas and beliefs and we must engage with ourselves in the reflexive process to question those.

Critical reflection

For me it is no coincidence that in my colleagues’ article they mentioned the student in the case central to this renewed debate did not ‘demonstrate critical reflection or regret about his comments, showing little insight into how LGBTQ+ service users might experience such an attitude’.

Critical reflection is a process, a process supported and encouraged by good quality supervision.

I have learned that it is my role as a practice educator to engage with beliefs and values concerning same-sex marriage which are at odds to my own and develop curious thinking.

I am coming from a standpoint that one can hold views that are different, or be seen by the majority as ‘unethical’, and if they are willing to engage with their beliefs then they can practice as a social worker.

I am not saying this is a right or wrong view, merely pointing out there is a plurality of beliefs and values.

If someone is sharing beliefs or values that are outwardly discriminatory or oppressive then it is different to being opposed to same-sex marriage because you believe it to be at odds with your faith. If same-sex marriage is not compatible with your religious beliefs, what counts as ‘good enough’ engagement or reflection and do we have a standard to work towards to allow practitioners to start working with vulnerable children and families?

Fostering curiosity

I think there must be a standard; it is for the practice educator or manager to consider that individual’s capacity to reflect and engage with the Social Graces; if there is evidence of little-to-no reflexive willingness or skill I would question how that person would be able to effectively encourage and empower children and families to change.

I have spoken a lot about what is expected of someone else, but there’s also a question around how I address my own views and my own responsibilities. I must be open and foster curiosity, creating a space for students to explore their thinking. I need to engage with my own approach. I respect religion, but I am not a religious person myself; do I think about this enough when working with those who hold strong beliefs and values?

Reflexivity is not just for those who have faith, or who may hold views we deem controversial, its for every member of the profession.

I recently attended a talk on Witchcraft and Spirit possession. Here I saw a particularly inspirational speaker who spoke openly about how, as a pastor’s wife and a social worker, she skilfully articulated how she negotiated challenges of faith and practice.

The reflexive skill showed was outstanding and left me feeling enthused.

We need to identify our own areas of development and realise that this is not an easy area to articulate or navigate. It is important to consider the culture of organisations and the profession, and how they can work together to bring out these conversations.

This is necessary, not only to ensure that practice is anti-discriminatory but also support practitioners to feel that they should not have to hide their faith.

Ryan Wise is an advanced social work practitioner in children’s services. He tweets @ryanwise18.

 

Source : Should we ask social workers to ignore their religious beliefs? : Community Care


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Human Rights Watch accused Myanmar security forces on Thursday of committing widespread rape against women and girls as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing during the past three months against Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine state.

 Myanmar’s army released a report on Monday denying all allegations of rape and killings by security forces, days after replacing the general in charge of the operation that drove more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.

The United Nations has denounced the violence as a classic example of ethnic cleansing. The Myanmar government has denied allegations of ethnic cleansing.

“Rape has been a prominent and devastating feature of the Burmese military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya,” said Skye Wheeler, women’s rights emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.

“The Burmese military’s barbaric acts of violence have left countless women and girls brutally harmed and traumatized,” she said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch called on the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar and targeted sanctions against military leaders responsible for human rights violations, including sexual violence.

The 15-member council last week urged the Myanmar government to “ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine state.” It asked U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report back in 30 days on the situation.

Myanmar has said the military clearance operation was necessary for national security after Rohingya militants attacked 30 security posts and an army base in Rakhine state on Aug. 25.

 Myanmar is refusing entry to a U.N. panel that was tasked with investigating allegations of abuses after a smaller military counteroffensive launched in October 2016.

Hala Sadak, a 15-year-old from Hathi Para village in Maungdaw Township, told Human Rights Watch that soldiers had stripped her naked and then about 10 men raped her.

She told Human Rights Watch: “When my brother and sister came to get me, I was lying there on the ground, they thought I was dead.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Frances Kerry

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

 

 

Source : Human Rights Watch accuses Myanmar military of widespread rape : Reuters


My own views on religions are contained in my post from 2012, Religions, what are they for? and in many ways my thoughts have not changed.

So I do not wish to remove any religions from today’s world, but they all do need to reflect how their supposed original teachings or basic concepts relate to the world as it is now. None should debase the others and their followers need to act accordingly as tolerance and understanding of others points of view should be, always, the way forward.

PEACE

Opher's World

The three Abrahamic religions started up way back in the dawn of time – in a time of medieval ignorance.

Judaism has its roots 3000 years ago.

Christianity 2000 years ago.

Islam 1500 years ago.

They originated in nomadic tribes of Arabs in a small area of the Middle East renowned for its many sects and religious fanatics.

They all claim that ‘God’ spoke to their originator when they were alone in a cave, up a mountain or in the wilderness – with no witnesses.

None of the originators wrote anything down.

The writings in the holy books were either accumulated from the prevailing genesis stories or myths or written down generations later from accounts passed down by word of mouth. Yet the adherents claim they are the exact word of God (despite the inconsistencies, obvious social context pertaining to that Arab culture, ambiguities and contradictions).

These holy words have…

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The public have no comprehension on how far these internal and external security services will go to so that their perceived ends can be obtained. This is the ‘tip of the Iceberg’.

The terrorism within the Establishment.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

More on the contents of the 3,000 files relating to JFK, which have recently been declassified. This is another short video from the Latin America news broadcaster, TeleSur. They reveal that the files show that the CIA was considering carrying out a series of false flag attacks in Miami and other cities in Florida, and even Washington. One of the possible tactics was to sink a Cuban refugee boat, which the Agency stated could be real or simulated, and encourage a series of murder attempts on Cuban refugees in America. This was to fool the American people into believing that there was a Communist terrorist campaign operating in America itself, backed by the Cubans, which would serve as a pretext for invading the country.

The files also reveal the various attempts the Americans made to assassinate Castro. But they also show that Cuba was not behind J.F.K’s assassination. The video…

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Thank you for this posting and am I surprised at the Judges deliberation on the ruling related to the sentence.

My response is yes and no.

Yes, because it would appear that there has been no justice for Lorien Norman’s eight-month-old daughter Evie. I also believe the Judge is wrong in that Evie’s injuries were ‘likely to resolve’. This may be so for any visible signs or markings, but what about the invisible injuries of which many may not have been currently manifested, as is the case with any psychology injuries which may or may not manifest for some years to come.

While No, as this may be a one off occurrence and Lorien Norman may, in fact, really learn from this, that this behaviour is not and never will be acceptable and she will never have any re-occurrence to Evie or anyone else. If she was given a custodial sentence then Evie could have lost the continued bonding with her mother Loren Norman forever and this in itself could have lasting psychological effects.

A case that can be right or wrong or may be both no matter which actions the Judge had taken.

The religious effect may have a bearing as this itself could have some bearing on how Loren Norman progresses in her life. But many people especially today are not religious or have different religions all with their own interpretations of how religion conducts itself within their lives for there are also many religions and people should have the freedom to chose their own religion or conversely to have no effective religion.

For those who do take on board a specific religion there is then the degree in which they take on their chosen religion, as on reflecting on all religions there will be different aspects taken on board in each religion by each individual person.

In effect we should all be understanding of each others beliefs and respect each persons individual choice, as a religion should be there for the person and not the person for the religion.

We should have the freedom of choice and the freedom to apply this choice in anyway we wish and to what degree we do so.

There is a proviso in that this choice of religion and the degree should not have any adverse effect on any other individual within the same religion or in any other religions.

I am not saying do not preach unto others, but do respect all other religions and all individuals.

We have all seen where fanaticism can lead in the formation of ISIS (Daesh), but this is not restrictive to Islam as it can occur in any religion as there are extreme fanatics in Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism to name just three more.

There is a great need for more tolerance within the World as the World should be large enough to accommodate all beliefs.


So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it (Genesis 1:27-28). As image bearers of God humans have an obligation to serve him. Whether you were raised in a good home or a bad one, it is important to understand you bear the image of God. His stamp is on his creature. Human: Made by God!

When you understand that you were made by God, you understand why He is concerned with us obeying His will. He owns us. He created us for His enjoyment. Not only that, but God gave us His eternal breath. It is the reason we do not cease to exist, even after death. It is the reason He died for us. We are…

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Beastrabban\'s Weblog

In this short video from RT America, they interview Max Blumenthal on the withdrawal this week from the United Nations’ cultural organisation, UNESCO, by America and Israel. The two countries have claimed that the organisation is profoundly anti-Semitic. He says that the Israelis would far rather have been in the organisation, haranguing it from inside. Blumenthal states that Israel was more or less forced to leave the organisation against its own wishes by Trump’s decision to quit. He makes the point that Washington would never have left it, if they thought it was biased against France or Spain. He also says that America owes UNESCO $500 million, which it now no longer has to pay back. The bigger question, he also suggests, is why Israel was ever allowed into the UN in the first place, considering its Talibanesque destruction of Palestinian archaeology and historic monuments. He also states that the…

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Source: Marrying a non-Muslim man as a Muslim woman poses daily challenges – The i – Weekend Reads #14

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