Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday, August 1st 2014

I'm experimenting, I don't know for how long, with the idea of using Friday as a day to reflect on the events of the week. I'm doing it because I want to, because I think processing ideas and thoughts is important, and because it's one way of breathing a bit of new life into my blogging. I've been blogging for quite a long time now. Six years, maybe more, I don't remember. I've seen others come and go. Some reappear, but many of the folk who got me started have long since faded away.

Over the years I've occupied myself with theology, woodworking, sport and a lot of general nonsense. I make no pretensions to be an opinion former or commentator on world affairs. I just write about things that are on my mind.

This week, the things that concern me include the ongoing crisis in Gaza (good news this morning that a short-term ceasefire has been agreed, lets hope it sticks), the increasing isolation of Russia and the implications for the future, and the Commonwealth Games! I've already talked about Gaza, so I won't revisit that. Russia worries me.

It worries me because the leadership seems to feed on the growing isolation, becoming ever more entrenched. I wonder if the country as a whole suffers from some form of collective paranoia about the rest of the world. Perhaps you can take a country out of a cold war but you can't take the cold war out of a country.

As we commemorate the outbreak of a war that became the Great War because of its scale and then became the First World War because a second soon followed, we can but hope that a situation like that in the Ukraine does not precipitate another major conflict. It seems hard to imagine that major powers would end up fighting each other again, but such complacency would be dangerous. The UN and NATO need to work harder than ever to keep the peace whilst seeking justice. The world remains a dangerous place that appears to teeter on the edge of conflict whether in the Middle East or the edges of Europe.

The Commonwealth Games are moving towards their climax. Amidst all the fun and games there are the subtle reminders of the inequalities that exist across the world. Cycling teams from so-called poorer nations turning up at a local bike shop for repairs and even to borrow bikes! it reminded me of the wheelchair racer we met at the pre-paralympic training camp who didn't even have a proper racing chair. In that case too a generous individual made one available and it's been good to see a dedicated charity working hard to make sure those who need fresh kit can access it.

It's easy to forget, with all the money poured into the high profile sports in the UK, that for many taking part is significant in itself. We measure so many things by very narrow margins of success and failure that we so easily lose sight of the triumph for some of simply being there. Not everyone gets to win.

And maybe that takes us full circle to Gaza and the Ukraine. They are in many ways no win situations. Compromise will have to be the way forward at some point. Easy to say, difficult to apply I know.

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