It has been a week/weekend of two anniversaries spanning the past fifty years. If you are a British Sci-Fi Fan or even just a fan of Science Fiction generally, you will no doubt have known this week/weekend is fifty years since the debut of the TV Series ‘Dr. Who’ but more on the good Doctor later. The other more serious anniversary is the assassination of John F. Kennedy, President of the United States.
I have always found it strange how there could still be so much confusion and conspiracy theories regarding the assassination of a US President but then the Warren Commission investigation into the assassination always came across as something of a white-wash with little regard to other facts that arose and have continued to be sources of debate over the last five decades. I won’t bother going into how many shooters apart from Lee Harvey Oswald there may have been. The ten questions courtesy of the ‘Independent’ Newspaper (UK) kind of sums things up nicely: –
It is also interesting to note there were similar ambiguities regarding the shootings of Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. There was and is something desperately wrong at the heart of the US Justice System, if five decades on, there are so many unanswered questions that remain just that – Unanswered. Justice cannot have been served.
Speaking of Justice not being served, it is somewhat galling to see former politicians, worse still former world leaders going about their business as if nothing has happened nor any damage and carnage done while on their watch. Henry Kissinger is still around giving political analysis nearly four decades after leaving public office. Kissinger despite whatever part he may or may not have played in the decisions regarding much of what happened during the Nixon Administration was and still is a first rate Statesman of incredible stature. I am not sure the same can be said of George W. Bush. The jury is probably still out on his Presidency and it may be years before History views his Presidency in a favourable light. I can’t think of any former President who has publicly expressed (on Jay Leno’s show – and not for the first time,) that he is glad he is not taking the flak and how glad he is to be out of the spotlight. True, since leaving out The White House, he has kept a low profile but each time I see, read or hear his name mentioned, I wonder what the people of Iraq in particular as well as Afghanistan think of him? If only they could keep out of the spotlight and spend their days painting in privacy, rather than wondering whether they will live to see dusk that day, should they step of their homes. If there is one politician that has demonstrated his shortcomings, short-term thinking and inabilities as a politician, let alone not being up to the job of the Highest Office of Government anywhere, George W. Bush is the epitome of all that is wrong with politicians who are here today, gone tomorrow. They never have the responsibility of cleaning up their own mess. That is left to their successors. And so the circle continues.
Do you know who your neighbours are? That is a good question given the breaking news story of slavery actually existing on the streets of Britain, namely in the South London Borough of Lambeth. I find it remarkable that such a thing can be perpetrated in Modern Britain of the 21st Century. Some would say that comes as no surprise as Britain was a major player in the Slave Trade centuries ago. So were many nations one could argue but who were the modern day slave owners of this news story? Well, they are a man and woman both aged 67 (and while none of the news stories mentions their race, I have a sneaking suspicion they could be white but I could be wrong here). And their victims? A 69 year old Malaysian Woman, a 57 year old Irish Woman and a 30 year old woman. No details about her ethnicity were given but it is suspected she was born into captivity as all three have been ‘Slaves’ for the past thirty years. This is a truly appalling case of abuse on any kind of level and one can only be also amazed that this abuse and treatment of three Human Beings continued for as long as it had. It does beckon once more the question ‘Do we actually know who our neighbours are?’
As oppression seems to be the flavour of every other month these days, I read a very interesting article about the possibility of Christianity facing extinction in many parts of the Non-Western World. It has been known for many years that if you live in Pakistan, India and many parts of the Middle East where there is fervent Islamic ‘Islamism’ one runs a greater risk of discrimination, oppression, violence and death if you are a Christian. The Christian Broadcast Charity ‘Feba’ whose Christian radio programming reaches many countries in this part of the world, have often reported of the above acts that have been perpetrated against Christians, as well as churches being vandalised, attacked and in many cases burnt down. I placed a newspaper article I read on my Facebook page and had a couple of interesting responses. One was from a Muslim gentleman who expressed the burdens one carries as a Muslim in the West. While this true, it is nothing compared to what a Christian has to put up with in an Islamic Country. It is fair to point out that in many Islamic countries, Christians, Jews and Muslims have co-existed in harmony for years. It should also be pointed out that these countries were run along secular lines. What we have seen since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the establishment of an ‘Islamic Republic’ in that Country, is a slow export of Muslim fundamentalism (Islamism if you will,) where there has been a undermining of values and respect for the religious beliefs of one community for that of another. Some would argue that Lebanon and in particular the situation in Beirut had long existed prior to the Iranian Revolution. This may well be true but what is in no doubt is the Second Iraqi War, gave the Islamists all the excuses they needed. It is also worth pointing out that the ‘Arab Spring’ has been a complete disaster. Libya was far safer under Gaddafi, Egypt stable under Mubarak – So much so the Egyptian People called upon their Army to unseat President Morsi (Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood,) as they realised not too late that he was not acting in the interest of the Nation nor the Egyptian People but rather for some religious ideology that did not fit in with what the Egyptian People wanted. The countries I have mentioned were at one time run along secular lines. Religion has a place, where everyone can practice their beliefs without fear of reprisals. Given that the overwhelming people of the Islamic World don’t want this fervent radical ‘Islamism’, it is a pity they didn’t follow the example of the Egyptians and deal with this problem instead allowing a tiny minority in their midst to dictate what it means to be a Muslim. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, because of the above there is a burden to carry being a Muslim in the West, but one could well argue that being a Christian in the East carries an even heavier price. One’s very life. That can never be right.
On the subject persecution Actor, Daniel Radcliffe makes an interesting observation regarding the use of Social Media by the famous and celebrities (yes there is a difference). He was quoted as saying:-
“If you go on Twitter and tell everybody what you’re doing moment to moment and then claim you want a private life, no one is going to take that request seriously”
He goes on to say:-
“[There are] certain things you can do to make it a lot easier on yourself” [as a celebrity].
“If you don’t for instance, go to premieres that aren’t for a film you’re in, or don’t just turn up at other events and stuff like that, then that’s going to help to not fuel the interest,”.
Daniel is right but this is something of a no-brainer. It is also interesting to note that many other famous actors do exactly this. One hardly ever sees another Daniel (Craig,) at any showbiz event, unless it for a film or theatre production he is in. If you actually run into him anywhere in London as I have, it is by pure chance. If you don’t draw attention to yourself, the media and paparazzi won’t always be on your trail. That’s a fact. As to Social Media, I would disagree to a certain extend. I have made great use of Social Media in promoting and marketing myself, telling people about an initiative I am developing and working on. I have never had the media chasing me through the streets of London but then it could be argued that I am neither famous nor high profile. I do have a private life and no hassles. It is not so much a case of not having a Facebook nor Twitter account but rather, how you use them and what you tell people. Those celebrities who tweet everything moment by moment do so for attention. Nothing more, nothing less. I deal in gathering and imparting information to people. Communication. That is the business I am in. Daniel Radcliffe is indeed fortunate as an Actor in that he does not need to make use of Social Media in the development of his career. The same cannot be said of his fellow thespians.
I began with 50th Anniversaries and so I will round up things nicely with another 50th Anniversary. The same day JFK was assassinated, the BBC in the UK launched a new Science Fiction show called Doctor Who. The day and timing of broadcast was unfortunate for the first episode that lost out to the breaking news of the shooting of an American President. The producer (Verity Lambert,) fought for and got the BBC to repeat the first episode, which garnered ten million viewers. The rest they say is history. Since then the show has gone from strength to strength with fourteen actors to date associated with the show (fifteen if you one includes Peter Cushing). Peter Capaldi will take over the reins from current ‘Doctor’ Matt Smith on Christmas Day. Oddly the only ‘Doctor’ never to have been featured in a film or TV series is the one played by John Hurt who made his debut in an anniversary movie ‘Day of the Doctor’ on BBC TV on Saturday 23rd November. Hurt’s Doctor is the dark secret that viewers and fans have never seen or heard of until now. It will be interesting to see where this Doctor fits into the Canon of Doctor Who. I will leave you with some immortal words from the first ‘Doctor’ (played by the late William Hartnell): –
“One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me I am not mistaken in mine.” That said:-
There is plenty more to see, read, and watch domestically and internationally throughout this edition of Digital World Wired.