Devizes Melting Pot

“Protection. Conservation. Restriction. Deep ecology. Give me deep technology any day. They don't scare me. "I'm damned if I'll crawl, my children's children crawl on the earth in some kind a fuckin' harmony with the environment. Yeah, till the next ice age or the next asteroid impact." (Moh Kohn, The Star Fraction)/ "This is the fight between God and the Devil. If His Grace is with God, he must join me, if he is for the Devil he must fight me. There is no third way" King Gustavus Adolphus

My Photo
Location: Devizes, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

University graduate, currently working as an Information Assistant for the NHS. Interested in politics, history, sci fi etc.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Surveillance Britain

Millions of children to be fingerprinted
British children, possibly as young as six, will be subjected to compulsory fingerprinting under European Union rules being drawn up in secret. The prints will be stored on a database which could be shared with countries around the world.

The prospect has alarmed civil liberties groups who fear it represents a 'sea change' in the state's relationship with children and one that may lead to juveniles being erroneously accused of crimes. Under laws being drawn up behind closed doors by the European Commission's 'Article Six' committee, which is composed of representatives of the European Union's 25 member states, all children will have to attend a finger-printing centre to obtain an EU passport by June 2009 at the latest.

The use of fingerprints and other biometric data is designed to prevent passport fraud and allow European member states to meet US entry visa requirements, but the decision to fingerprint children has disturbed human rights groups.
I am sick to death of government interference in the private lives of its citizens.

not only are we watched 24/7, our fingerprints are to be stored, ID cards are still being pushed, we are encouraged to rat on our neighbours and so on.

Enough is enough.

Next time somebody says 'oh but as long as you don't have anything to hide its ok' I think I might just lose it.

When you think about it Enemy Of The State does not seem that far fetched now.

The Horror

'50 killed' as Israeli air strike hits children

UN stormed amid fury over Qana bombing

Dozens killed in Lebanon air raid
More than 40 civilians, including 20 children, have been killed in a town in southern Lebanon in the deadliest Israeli strike of the conflict.

Displaced families had been sheltering in the basement of a house in Qana, which was crushed after a direct hit.

The US secretary of state has cancelled a visit to Lebanon as its prime minister says he will only discuss a full and immediate ceasefire.

Hundreds of protesters are staging a violent demonstration in Beirut.

An angry crowd attacked the UN building, chanting slogans against the US and Israel and in support of Hezbollah.

Almost 2 weeks now and Israel is no closer to its goal, this madness has to stop.

Since airforces first appeared they have promised that they'll win a war by bombing a place back to the stone ages, that is complete rubbish, you will always need infantry.

I don't deny Hezbollah have their own agenda, but the organisation is embedded in the Lebanese political system and provides much needed infrastructure for the Shiites in southern Lebanese e.g. schools, hospitals etc.

its roots run deep and bombing southern Lebanon to thy kingdom come is not going to work.

It is good to see Jack Straw speaking out against what Israel is doing in the Lebanon and Blair's servile attitude

More on the crisis in southern Lebanon

Parliamentarians demonstrate against Israel

The next wave of massacres begins.

Several hurt in Gaza air strikes

Lebanese crowd breaks into U.N. HQ in Beirut

Israeli attack draws outrage

Once again, an Israeli massacre in Qana (to be updated)

A must read - The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Saturday Niece Blogging

Seity is now walking

Seity with her Aunt

Seity with her father

Seity in her new highchair

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

George in one of his funny sleeping positions

George happy

Heidi with my father

Heidi on our piano

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Israeli Military Tactics

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Smoke rises over the centre of southern Lebanon's Tyre (Soure) July 26, 2006 after Israeli bombings. (LEBANON)

26 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Nikola Solic

Lebanon says up to 600 killed in Israel's assault

EU denies giving Israel green light

The European Union rebuked the Israeli government today after its justice minister claimed "permission from the world" to press on with its Lebanon campaign.

Haim Ramon, who is a close ally of the prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said failure at yesterday's Rome conference to agree on an immediate ceasefire in the 16-day-old crisis amounted to a green light for Israel to continue its offensive.

As both sides stepped up their rocket and missile attacks and Israel called up more reserves, the Finnish foreign minister, Erkki Tuomioja, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, called the interpretation "totally wrong" and said the fighting should stop immediately. "Most of the countries, including the European Union, [...] specifically want an immediate halt to the hostilities," he said.

A long war of attrition

Israel underestimated the strength of Hizbullah and its ability to withstand bombardment from the air.

by Yossi Alpher

Thanks to my father again

The IDF has gone soft, they have grown used to bulldozing and bombing Palestinian's and their homes unopposed, so it must come as a shock for the IDF to actually come up agaist an opponent as tenacious and tough as Hezbollah.

Hezbollah are fighting in their own territory and they have probably have been preparing for this for years, building tunnels, stocking arms etc.

When you start losing 10% of your troops in your unit, it doesn't take long for the unit to become demoralised. Israel is having to call up 'more troops' to replace the units which are now mostly ineffective.

Fierce debates are going on between military experts about this.

The Real Reason Why There Is So Much Conflict In The Middle East

Via Lenin's Tomb

Words Fail Me

Image Hosted by
Take a good look at the front page of The Independent and then try and show support for what Israel is currently doing in the Gaza Strip and the Lebanon.

Israel pounds south Lebanon

Exodus from southern Lebanon on the coastal road

Aid groups fear UN deaths fallout

Babies among dead on Gaza front line
Only the bloodstains on their white shrouds spoke of the tragedy that had unfolded. Two Palestinian girls, one just eight months old, were dead. They were killed when an Israeli tank shell struck a house near Jabalya in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Yesterday marked the end of Cpl Gilad Shalit's first month in captivity and Israel stepped up operations inside the Strip in an operation codenamed Sampson's Pillar.

The ferocity of the response to that kidnapping, and the determination of operations to stop Palestinian militants' rockets, saw a barrage of air strikes and raids yesterday that killed at least 19 Palestinians, including three children and a handicapped man.
I think my outrage metre has just broken, how worse can this conflict get?

Even in Israel doubts are starting to be raised about the IDF's tactics in southern Lebanon

Iraq contiues its downward spiral - Twin blasts 'kill 27' in Baghdad

Palestinian children look at the body of Sabah Abu Haleeb, a three year old girl, who was killed during an attack by Israeli troops, in Gaza city July 26, 2006. Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians, including seven militants and a three-year-old girl in fighting across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, medics and witnesses said. (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES)

26 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Thursday Frog Blogging

My mother was clearing up the garden, when she lifted up a pot from the plastic bowl she found a frog.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Photos from the Garden

Where our resident hedgehogs live

My mother stroking the neighbour's siamese cat who frequents our garden


Neighbour's cat poking its tounge out

Hydranger (in the foreground a peach tree)

Turkish Recipe Blogging

Sultan's Roulade

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: **

Serves 4

8 eggs
scant 1/2 cup/100g sugar
3 1/2 tbsp/50g fine semolina
1 1/2 cups/150g flour
2 tsp/10g baking powder
12 oz/300g stewed apple

For the syrup:

2 cups/400g sugar
1 lemon


1. Seperate the eggs. Put egg whites in the mixer bowl and whisk. When they are firm, gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is very stiff

2. Fold in the lightly beaten egg yolks, semolina, flour and baking powder

3. Line the baking parchment. Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth with a knife. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F/180°C for 15 minutes

4. Meanwhile for the syrup, bring 1 1/4 cups/300 ml water to the boil with the sugar and the sliced lemon. Remove the cake from the pan and place on a clean cloth. Place the cake with cloth underneath, back in the pan and pour over the warm syrup.

5. Reserve a little of the stewed apples (see below how to make it) and spread the remainder evenly over the cake.

5. Use the cloth to roll up the cake and brush with the reserved stewed apple. Garnish the roulade with sweetened whipped cream and ground pistachios and slice diagonally.

Stewed Apples

Cook 2 1/4 pounds/1 kilogram of red apples with 2 1/4/ 1 kilogram of sugar until the mixture takes on a red colour and has caramelized slightly. If preferred ready-made stewed apples or apricot jelly can be used as a substitute.

Historical Background

This delicious apple roulade was developed by pastry chefs on the Sea of Marmara, the small sea between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. They named it Faith sarmasi, in honour of one of the great Turkish heroes: Mehmed II, known as "the conqueror", Faith in Turkish, who conquered Constantinople in 1453 and thus ended the rule of the Byzantine emperors.

Crisis in the Lebanon

Smoke rises from the Hizbollah stronghold in southern Beirut July 25, 2006, after the renewal of Israeli air strikes. (LEBANON)

25 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Adnan Hajj

Olmert: killing UN monitors a mistake

· Olmert expresses 'regrets' to UN chief
· Ministers gather for Rome talks
· Aid agencies criticise Blair

The Israeli prime minister today told the UN secretary general that the killing of four UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon in Israeli air strikes yesterday was a mistake.

Ehud Olmert telephoned Kofi Annan to express his "deep regrets" over the deaths of the UN monitors, the Israeli prime minister's office said.

Mr Annan said last night that the air strike was "apparently deliberate" and other UN officials said the attacks on the UN bunker had continued during a rescue effort. Dan Gillerman, Israel's UN ambassador, reacted furiously to Mr Annan's comments last night, describing them as "premature and erroneous".

In a statement today, Mr Olmert's office described the deaths as "mistaken killing".
You can bet if it had been Syria who had 'accidently' killed these four unarmed UN monitors, the West would be a lot more harsh, but as its Israel, it is shrugged off. I was hearted to read that dissent is growing in Israel over their invovlement in southern Lebanon.

Via the The Arabist
Current death toll: 418 Lebanese, 42 Israelis dead. Still 10 to 1.
One starts to feel that this might be a deliberate policy by the IDF.

The news from the Lebanon and the Gaza Strip still remains grim

'Save us,' she screamed as another shell landed

Annan: Israel bombed UN base for hours

Charities and religious leaders condemn Blair

Lebanon summit fails to agree truce call

Israel to impose Lebanon no-go zone

Palestinian girls stand on the rubble of a destroyed house after it was targeted by an Israeli warplane in Gaza July 25, 2006. An Israeli air strike aimed at the home of a suspected militant in the Gaza Strip wounded seven people from surrounding houses early on Tuesday, local residents said. (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES)

25 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Nine killed in Israeli Gaza raid

A spot of good news - Palestinians agree deal for return of abducted soldier

For eyewitness accounts, commentary and podcasts on the latest events - Electronic Lebanon

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Lebanon

Destroyed homes
July 24: Lebanese citizens check their houses in a destroyed street in Beirut's southern suburbs.
Photograph: Hussein Malla/AP

The Middle East: What happens next?

Israel withdraws unilaterally? Diplomatic settlement? Israel snared in counter-insurgency? Lebanese government falls? Israel invades Lebanon? We analyse the options.

Israel vows to keep up Lebanon campaign

· Olmert threatens 'severe measures'
· Saudi king warns of wider war
· Rice holds talks in Jerusalem and Gaza

Scale of the human crisis emerges
The people of Lebanon are facing their "hour of greatest need", the UN said yesterday in launching an emergency appeal for $150m (£81m) to help an estimated 800,000 civilians whose lives have been disrupted by Israeli bombing of Lebanon.

The relief plan would focus on providing food, water, healthcare and other essential services, Jan Egeland, the UN emergency relief coordinator, said.

The situation in Lebanon is "very bad, and deteriorating by the day", said Mr Egeland. On Sunday he described the bombing of south Beirut as "a violation of humanitarian law".

But last night he had harsh words for Hizbullah as well, rebuking the Shi'ite group for cravenly using civilians as human shields. "Hizbullah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," Mr Egeland said.

I just don't know what to say, the world stands idly by while southern Lebanon is flatterned, using cluster grenades on civlians and blowing up ambulances.

for more indepth analyis - Israel uses cluster bombs, chemical weapons.

Bush's Poodle

Stand up to US, voters tell Blair

63% say PM has tied Britain too close to White House

Britain should take a much more robust and independent approach to the United States, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today, which finds strong public opposition to Tony Blair's close working relationship with President Bush.

The wide-ranging survey of British attitudes to international affairs - the first since the conflict between Lebanon and Israel started- shows that a large majority of voters think Mr Blair has made the special relationship too special.

Just 30% think the prime minister has got the relationship about right, against 63% saying he has tied Britain too closely to the US.

Could not agree more, time for Blair to stop being such a Bush arselicker. Of all the PM's we have had, none has been so prepared to give up our independence just to get in the Bush Junta's good books. Blair's sycophancy makes me want to hurl, its undignified and pathetic.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Birth Pangs?

Flight of 700,000 refugees puts massive strain on Syria
With nearly 370 killed and 700,000 Lebanese displaced following Israel's 12-day bombardment of Lebanon, tens of thousands of people are trying to flee across the border to Syria. Lebanon's border crossings with Syria to the north and east have been inundated with people, with up to a million Lebanese seeking refuge, according to state-run Syria TV. The Lebanese government and the United Nations yesterday warned that there is an impending humanitarian crisis in Lebanon.

The exodus is putting a serious strain on Syria, which has 300,000 Palestinian refugees and over 450,000 Iraqis who fled Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003. With hotels full in Damascus, people are staying in orphanages, schools and university dormitories, or travelling to neighbouring Jordan, or to other Syrian cities. Flights out of Syria are booked up for at least five days, despite airlines increasing the number of outward flights.

Is this what the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice means by birth pangs? I can only conclude that she is a cretin.

With the Israeli agression in southern Lebanon taking up much of the news coverage, the Gaza Strip remains forgotten - Israel continues Gaza, W Bank killing

Issandr El Amrani of The Arabist reports on the latest developments of the crisis in the Lebanon.

The Lebanese Bloggers - Iraqizing Lebanon

Lenin of Lenin's Tomb reports on the pro-Lebanese protests in London yesterday - Israel kills more in Lebanon: media blackout protests.

The Yorkshire Ranter
- Another dip in the quagmire & Maintenance of the aim

Craig Murray on Lebanon

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Military Tactics

U.S. speeds up bomb delivery for the Israelis

Thousands flee southern Lebanon

Israeli troops seize Lebanese village
Hundreds of Israeli troops have crossed the border and taken control of a village in south Lebanon, despite Israel saying it has no plans for a full-scale invasion for now.

Israeli soldiers, backed by artillery and tank fire, moved into the village of Maroun al-Ras on Saturday and took control, military officials said on condition of anonymity.

Israeli tanks, bulldozers and armoured personnel carriers knocked down a border fence and entered the area at about 3pm.

Up to 2,000 troops entered the area on Saturday, but some returned to Israel during the day. No Israeli or Hezbollah casualties were immediately reported.

(With thanks to my father, who is knowledgeable about armed forces and military matters)

When you fight any modern war, you soon run of weapons.

I'm suprised the IDF cannot locate Hezbollah's position with more accuracy, the British army has a special radar which can pinpoint where a rocket has been launched from, Israel could also pre-position their troops in helicopters just within the Lebanon border and could respond as soon as Hezbollah started firing rockets.

Its no good having armour, because southern Lebanon has mountainous countryside and this makes armour impracticable.

The only problem with this policy is that helicopters are vulnerable to anti aircraft missils so there would be some risk in it.

Extra Saturday Cat Blogging

Miss Heidi

George resting on top of our piano

Saturday Old Photo Blogging from the Middle East

These are just a few photos taken by my maternal grandparents, during WW2 they were stationed in the Middle East and North Africa respectively.

Western Desert ,Jan 1941

An arab village, Palestine

Palestinian Arabs

Copper Makers, Baghdad

Image Hosted by
A Bedouin Camp

Images They Don't Show You On The 6'o'Clock News

Simply horrific images

Lebanon's 9/11 or Why Do They Hate Us? Picture Album

Go and see these photos and then decided whether what Israel is doing in the Lebanon and the Gaza Strip is 'just'.

Thoughts on the current crisis in the Lebanon

Egyptians shout anti-Israel slogans inside al-Azhar Mosque after the Friday prayer in Cairo. Protesters across the Arab world condemned Israel’s assaults in Gaza and Lebanon. (AFP)

Israel gears up for ground war

The Lebanon crisis entered a dangerous new phase last night as Israeli troops and tanks massed on the border in preparation for a sweeping ground operation against Hizbullah fighters.

Israeli commanders plan to clear a 1.5km-wide zone on the Lebanese side of the border, where there are a series of well-fortified Hizbullah positions, a senior Israeli official said. Thousands of Israeli reservists were being called up.

Sunni Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan would be quite happy to see Hezbollah destroyed, as they see it as an agent of Iran. Conservative Arab countries have no love for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The 1979 Iranian revolution showed that the people could get rid of despotic leaders (in this case the Shah). Iran has major problems and it has nutty clerics directing the scene, but eventually they will die off and hopefully the youth of Iran will take over. Without the religious nutcases in charge I'm sure Iran would become a powerhouse.

Iran also has a different culture and history to Saudi Arabia and Jordan, for one they are Persians and another they have a very long pre-Islamic history.

Saudi and to an extent Jordan are run by dictatorial monarchs who don't like sharing power, the US like the British and the French beforehand are quite happy to support dictatorial regimes to further their own goals, they don't really care about 'democracy' and 'freedom'. The US is more concerned about establishing their own image in a coutry like Iraq, ignoring the culture and history of the place.

If there is to be democracy in the Middle East it must come from within Islam itself, it must be organic and it must come from the people.

As for creating stability in the middle east, raise living standards, generate wealth, create a new middle classe, this is what happened in Northern Ireland, the political wing of the IRA, Sinn Féin were given power, and as a result enjoyed all the trappings being in power brings, once they have a taste for this, armed resistance looks less appealing.

Of course this is too simple for the current nutcases in charge, they suffer from myopic short term vision.


From wiki
July 22 1946 - King David Hotel bombing: Irgun bombs King David Hotel in Jerusalem, headquarters of the British civil and military administration, killing 90.

The bombing happened a few days after my maternal grandmother left for home. I don't know what my maternal grandparents make of the current crisis between Israel and Hezbollah, they were married in Cairo and spent their honeymoon in the Lebanon.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lone Hedgehog Blogging

Friday Read

A farewell to Beirut by Robert Fisk
IN THE year AD 551, the magnificent, wealthy city of Berytus — headquarters of the Romans' East Mediterranean fleet — was struck by a massive earthquake. In its aftermath, the sea withdrew several miles and the survivors — ancestors of the present-day Lebanese — walked out on the sands to loot the long-sunken merchant ships revealed to them.

That was when a giant tsunami returned to swamp the city and kill them all. So savagely was the old Beirut damaged that the Emperor Justinian sent gold from Constantinople to every family left alive.

Some cities seem forever doomed. When the Crusaders arrived in Beirut on their way to Jerusalem in the 11th century, they slaughtered every man, woman and child in the city.

In World War I, Ottoman Beirut suffered a terrible famine — the Turkish army had commandeered all the grain and the Allied powers blockaded the coast. I still have some ancient postcards I bought here 30 years ago of stick-like children standing in an orphanage, naked and abandoned.

An American woman living in Beirut in 1916 described how she "passed women and children lying by the roadside with closed eyes and ghastly, pale faces. It was a common thing to find people searching the garbage heaps for orange peel, old bones or other refuse, and eating them greedily when found …"

How does this happen to Beirut? For 30 years, I've watched this place die and then rise from the grave and then die again, its apartment blocks pitted with so many bullets they look like Irish lace, its people massacring each other.

more on the Lebanon

Against Civilised Warfare by Ken MacLeod

Relief agencies plead for access

Israel paves way for ground offensive

· Rice to travel to region on Sunday
· Lebanon: army is ready to defend country
· Attacks on Tyre and Haifa

Britain and US defy demand for immediate ceasefire

Catastrophe looming

Friday Cat Blogging

Heidi trying to get as much air (there is a electric fan opposite) on her tummy by leaning on my dad (It was a very warm day)

George looking very imperial

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Ongoing Humanitarian Disaster In The Lebanon

Annan calls for Lebanon ceasefire
Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, has called for an immediate ceasefire between Israeli and Hezbollah, criticising both sides for the conflict that has left more than 300 people dead.

Annan urged Israel and Hezbollah to stop the violence and "prevent further loss of innocent life and the infliction of further suffering."

He condemned Hezbollah for their actions that "hold an entire nation hostage" and called Israel's response "excessive."

But Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman told reporters after Annan's speech that there would be no ceasefire.

Maybe its time Israel became a grown up democracy?

But that won't happen because the Israelis are afraid of becomming a minority in their own country.

There is no easy solution, you can't please everyone.

Now my solution is to raise the living standards of the Palestinians, so they won't have a reason for armed resistance, but that will take time and investment, which does not interest these warring sides.

Lebanon Crisis Update

Strike on bunker failed, says Hizbullah
Israeli jets bombed Beirut last night in an apparently vain effort to decapitate the Hizbullah leadership, after at least 63 Lebanese civilians died under air strikes and artillery fire on the deadliest day since the Israeli assault began.

Aircraft dropped 23 tonnes of explosive on a bunker in which the Israeli military believed Hizbullah figures were meeting. Hizbullah said the strike hit a mosque, and that no one had been killed.

So how exactly is this going to improve the situation? The Lebanon is currently being in the words of the Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora 'torn to shreds'. I'd like to know how bombing the infrastructure of the Lebanon is going to help the Lebanese government deal with Hezbollah, I really do.

More news

EU pledges £6.8m to help civilians in Lebanon

Israelis against the war

Thousands flock to hills, parks and schools, but no place safe from bombs

Gaza Strip: At least three Palestinians die by Israeli fire

Israel finds new pretexts to kill Lebanese civilians

UN warning on Mid-East war crimes

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Save the Lebanon

Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition

Global Warming

Heatwaves 'reflect climate change'

Temperature set to hit 100 degrees - and global warming is to blame
Think before you enjoy it. The near-record temperatures expected today are a sign of things to come, and will become commoner and hotter in future years as man-made global warming takes hold, scientists predict.

With the mercury expected to approach 100F (37.8C) for only the second time in Britain's history - but also the second time in under three years - researchers said the unusual heat was entirely consistent with predictions of climate change caused by rising emissions of greenhouses gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) from power stations, motor transport and, increasingly, aircraft.

Temperatures are expected to peak today. In some parts of southern England, in particular the London area, they may reach the high 30s, nearing or even exceeding 38C.

The weather has been very freaky lately, and certain sections of the political establishment still don't believe in Global Warming.

In my hometown the current temperature is 33°C (91°F)

Israel/Lebanon crisis

Dozens more die as air strikes continue

United States to Israel: you have one more week to blast Hizbullah

Bush 'gave green light' for limited attack, say Israeli and UK sources

The US is giving Israel a window of a week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah before weighing in behind international calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon, according to British, European and Israeli sources.

The Bush administration, backed by Britain, has blocked efforts for an immediate halt to the fighting initiated at the UN security council, the G8 summit in St Petersburg and the European foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"It's clear the Americans have given the Israelis the green light. They [the Israeli attacks] will be allowed to go on longer, perhaps for another week," a senior European official said yesterday. Diplomatic sources said there was a clear time limit, partly dictated by fears that a prolonged conflict could spin out of control.

So basically what Bush has said is 'Israel you have two weeks to go wild', not very comforting. The death toll has risen to about 295 people, while nations struggle to evacuate citizens.

It is outrageous the way Israel is collectively punishing the Lebanese people, their reponse is over the top. Not to mention the ongoing misery in the Gaza Strip, my Rafah nurse friend says things are very complicated where he is at the moment.

Not forgetting that other place of death and destruction - Civil war spreads across Iraq as bomb at Shia mosque kills 59

Random Wednesday Photo Blogging

Al Mu'allaqa Church (The Hanging Church - it got this name because it hangs between the bastions of a Roman Gate, hence the name "hanging"), Cairo, Egypt

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Old Photo Blogging

Image Hosted by

King David's Hotel (before it was bombed)

This photo was taken by my maternal grandmother

Blair Must Go!

Yo Bush! Blair mocked as U.S. poodle
LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair was roundly mocked as a U.S. poodle on Tuesday after an off-the-cuff chat with President George W. Bush was accidentally broadcast.

Bush and Blair enjoyed a gossip over lunch at the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg on Monday, unaware that a microphone in front of them was switched on and their words would be relayed around the world.

Breaking with diplomatic formalities, Bush hailed Blair, his closest European ally, with the words "Yo, Blair". His solution to the Middle East crisis was that Syria should press Hizbollah to "stop doing this shit".

The media pored over the text of the conversation, saying it cast Blair in a subservient role and showed the unequal nature of Britain's much-vaunted "special relationship" with the United States.

I think its really time for Blair to go, this just makes me want to cringe.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Can It Get Any Worse?

40 dead in Lebanon strikes

· Blair leads calls for UN peace force
· More Hizbullah rockets hit Haifa
· 40 British nationals evacuated

Lebanon evacuees could top 22,000

Hundreds evacuated from Lebanon
Some 2,000 foreign nationals have been evacuated from Beirut as operations gather pace to help them escape the escalating crisis in Lebanon.

With Beirut airport damaged by Israeli air strikes, the only routes out are by sea to Cyprus or by bus to Syria.

Several hundred citizens from Italy, Sweden and Denmark have already returned home via Syria.

US and UK helicopters have air-lifted priority cases out, and several nations are planning major sea evacuations.

An estimated 12,000 Gulf Arab nationals, mainly tourists visiting Lebanon for the summer, have already fled into Syria, according to customs officials.

I hope this remains a limited conflict and does not erupt into full scale war.

For a first person perspective on the current crisis in the Lebanon be sure to check out The Lebanese Bloggers.

Live Action George and Heidi

This was filmed a few months ago, when Heidi's breeder Elaine payed us a visit

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Read

Gertrude, Queen of the Desert

Bold, brilliant and intrepid, her thirst for adventure took her from Edwardian England to Basra and beyond. Gertrude Bell influenced and intimidated the rulers of the Middle East, spied for the British — and helped to found modern Iraq. Georgina Howell reports

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Deepening Crisis

Israeli attacks kill Lebanese civilians
srael launched a significant escalation of its military campaign against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon today, with a series of air strikes which left 30 civilians dead, including a number of civilian refugees fleeing the fighting.

In one attack, apparently on vehicles full of families trying to get away from the bombing, an estimated 13 people, including eight children, died when a truck and a car were incinerated by an Israeli air attack.

The small convoy was carrying people evacuating the village of Marwaheen after Israeli loudspeaker warnings to leave their homes. Seven of the dead were from a single family, according to eye-witnesses including a photographer from the Associated Press, Nasser Nasser, whose pictures show bodies, including a baby, scattered on the road.

Last night an Israeli military spokeswoman said they were still investigating the reports of the incident.

Israel's policies are not working, they have backed themseleves into a corner and are now lashing out at the Lebanon. They are most frightened of becoming a minority in their own country, demographics and time are not their friends.

You'd think that Israel could solve their problems by pumping money into the Gaza Strip and The West Bank, you know creating jobs. Creating a middle class in the Occupied Territories would go a long way to securing peace.

Why go to war, when trade is much less bloody?

Royal Navy ships head for Lebanon
Defence Secretary Des Browne has given orders for HMS Illustrious and HMS Bulwark to "make ready" for operations off Lebanon.

The pair will depart as soon as necessary, possibly within 24 hours.

No order for evacuating UK citizens has yet been given, but ministers and defence staff are considering a plan to evacuate those trapped in Lebanon.

I would not be suprised if the Israelis attack one of our ships, like they did to the American USS Liberty, to prevent anyone from seeing what they are doing.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Heidi being a silly little girl

George curled up