The origins of Christmas

YAHSHUA (JESUS) SAID:
“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding onto the traditions of men.” (Mark 7:8)

My main intention in producing this leaflet, is to expand the Christian (“Believer’s”) knowledge about the festival of Christmas, and to get them to consider if it is really a festival that honours the Son of God whom we claim to worship. I also hope that the reader will be able to use this leaflet as a basis for further study, in order to take a closer look at the customs, ritual and history of a festival that we accept as being appropriate, that perhaps is not.

CHRISTMAS

Christmas

Christmas

The anniversary of the birth of Messiah (Christ) and its observance. The date of the birth of Messiah is not known. Celebrated by most Protestants and by Roman Catholics on December 25, by Eastern Orthodox churches on January 6, and by the Armenian Church on January 19. The first mention of its observance on December 25 is in the time of Constantine, c. A.D. 325. The word Christmas is formed of Christ plus Mass, meaning a religious service in commemoration of the birth of Messiah. It is not clear whether the early Believers (believers) thought of or observed Christmas, but once introduced, the observance spread throughout Christendom. Some Believer groups disapprove of the festival. (Q: Is there a command in the bible that shows Christmas is to be celebrated? Is Christmas shown to be celebrated at all in the bible? Notice that Yahshua’s disciples were not Greek and they called him Messiah or Yahshua).

Christmas Decorations

Christmas Decorations

MITHRAISM

The cult of Mithras, a Persian sun god, the worship of which reached Rome in or about A.D. 69. Based on the trials, sufferings, and exploits of Mithras, the cult appealed to soldiers. December 25 was the chief feast of Mithras, and in fixing on that date for Christmas, the early church sought to overlay both the Mithraic festival and the Saturnalia (see below). Christianity triumphed over Mithraism because of its written records of a historic Messiah, and its associated body of doctrine adapted for preaching, evangelism, and the needs of every day. Christianity, too, was universal, excluding neither woman, child, nor slave. It preached salvation by faith and demanded no stern ordeals. (Q: Should the worship of Messiah be confused and entangled with the worship of any other God or even a person mythical or otherwise?).

Sat-ur-na-li-a: [Saturnalis of Saturn] 1: the ancient Roman festival of Saturn, held about Dec. 17, with general feasting and revelry in celebration of the winter solstice (see below) 2: any period or occasion of unrestrained, often orgiastic, revelry. (1)

Druids

Druids

Sol-stice: [Sol] the sun + [sistere], to stare, to STAND. SUMMER/WINTER SOLSTICES.

This scripture forbids the worship of the sun, moon and stars etc, things that the Pagan Solstices are closely linked with: And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars–all the heavenly array–do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven (2).

(This scripture forbids divination, astrology, and human sacrifice, things that the Druids and heathens practice): Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. (3)

Q’s: Is Christmas an example of a ‘Believers’ festival that actually has links with pagan religion which God hates? Believers’ festivals are such because God has commanded them to be kept. If we as Believers join in celebrating a festival that God has not commanded, which the heathen use to promote practices which are contrary to the desire of God; aren’t we yoking ourselves with them to some degree by giving that festival a kind of legitimacy? Paul writes: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Messiah and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (4)

Santa Claus

Santa Claus

YAHSHUA SAID:
“These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (5)

BIBLE NOTES ON MARK CHAPTER 7 VERSE 8:
the commands of God . . . the traditions of men. Yahshua clearly contrasts the two. God’s commands are found in Scripture and are binding; the traditions of the elders (and our own traditions e.g. Christmas and Easter) – (v. 3) are not Biblical and therefore not authoritative or binding. Consider, the only ordinance Yahshua said we should keep in remembrance of him is ‘communion’. Also consider Yahshua’s words “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” – (based on John 8:58), and Colossians 1:15-20. When was Messiah actually ‘born’? Is any celebration of his birth really something that we can truly understand? (6)

THE ATTITUDES WE HAVE TOWARD FEASTING AND GIVING:

If giving presents is an act of love, Yahshua said: “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (7) The same could be said of feasts, for Yahshua said: “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (8)

Q’s: Why should it require a special season of the year to be generous to people? Is this tokenism? Is it possible that Christmas represents a kind of sincerity and good intention, which is actually not in keeping with the ideals and commands and spirit of the person (i.e. Yahshua Messiah) that Christmas is supposed to celebrate?

Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards

EXCESS, CHEATING AND HYPOCRISY:

The drunkenness and overeating that generally goes on at Christmas is perhaps symbolic of two things; the first being the drunkenness of spirit that permits conformity to false beliefs, the second being the desire to be filled with the pleasures of this world. One could argue that the food and drink that the heathen devour are symbolic of their union with Satan, in a similar manner that a Believer’s union with Messiah is represented by the communion of bread and wine. At Christmas the prices of goods go up, and in the hustle and bustle to buy, people can seem blind or indifferent to the fact that they are often being conned. Minds are focused on the next big consumer desire rather than on Messiah. People who are hard pressed all year perhaps get a few days of work with extra and/or early pay, perhaps given as an encouragement for them to join in with the tide of consumer excess and celebrate a festival with little scriptural validity that will profit them little. At seasons end they return to the same old routine, knowing nothing further of the true riches of godliness. Can this really be Messiah‘s desire for this Laodicean world? (9) Many will celebrate the birth of Messiah at Christmas and worship him as a ‘little babe’, but these same people do not regard so highly the teachings and lifestyle that Messiah taught as a man. The truth is that it is not the birth of Messiah alone that saves us, we have to follow his teaching (including baptism), and recognise and celebrate the power of his death and resurrection daily, to truly embrace the hope of eternal life.

BACKWARD AND PARTIAL THINKING

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul writes to a group of Believers who had made a break from Pagan religion (See Galatians 4:8-11). In this passage Paul is rebuking the Galatians for turning back to their old principles of pagan worship (noting we are in Messiah permanently, not just for a season). Could the same passage of scripture be applied today to Believers who mix pure Believer’s teachings as found in the bible, with symbols and practices from Pagan rites and festivals? What could the effects of this mixing and compromise be?.

FOOTNOTES

1) Note 1 Peter 4:1-5, Ephesians 5:15-20, & Numbers chapter 25.
2) Deuteronomy 4:19.
3) Based on Deuteronomy 18:9-13. To review the conflict that exists between the worshipers of God, and those who worship created things see: Daniel Chapters 2-5, Isaiah chapter 47, note verse 13, & 59:5-8 – ‘vipers’, ‘egg’ – could this passage refer to the practices of the DRUIDS? Also see Romans 1:21-25.
4) 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, & note 1 Corinthians 10:18-22, 1 Timothy 4:7, & 2 Timothy 4:3&4.
5) Mark 7:6-9, & note Deuteronomy 4:2.
6) See Luke 22:14-23, note 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.
7) Matthew 5:46&47. Also see Revelation 11:1-14 note verse 10.
8) Luke chapter 14:12-14, & note Matthew 23:1-7.
9) Note Hosea 12:7&8, Amos 8:5, Ecclesiastes 5:11, and consider Revelation 3:14-22 and the concept of a ‘Laodicean world‘.
NOTE: All boxed excerpts are from: ‘Brewer’s Concise Phrase & Fable’. 16 ed. © 2000 Published by Cassell & Co, ISBN 0-304-35725-1

PAMPHLET VERSION: The Origins Of Christmas

Freedom of speech and hate speech

21) The tongue has power over life and death; those who indulge it must eat its fruit. Complete Jewish Bible: Pr 18:21

36) Moreover, I tell you this: on the Day of Judgment people will have to give account for every careless word they have spoken; 37) for by your own words you will be acquitted, and by your own words you will be condemned.” Complete Jewish Bible: Mt 12:36–37

I’ve got no problem with free speech, people should be able to say whatever they want. What I do have a problem with is ignorance, and the opinions that breed from ignorance and are despised by the majority of decent people.

People who are filled with hate actually need to be heard, so that their opinions can be brought down by public debate, and if the public doesn’t have the strength, will or intellect to add clarity to a situation be a rebuttal that educates those that hear it, that is a failure on the part of those that should defend what is right, and a triumph for those who proclaim what is evil.

This debate tells me that society is losing its mental capacity not only to ensure people get a proper education for those that fall beneath the net, because I believe many problems that manifest in hate speech are born of ignorance and reflect a mental deficiency which after generations who pass through that same conditioning can become a genetic flaw; but also, in the general level of education for those who do not fall below the net, and who do not indulge in hate speech, who are stunned and shocked but are somehow lacking the ability to formulate the speech to counteract hate filled language.

See the debate on Al Jazeera here

The shameful past

I recently heard about some students who want statues of William Gladstone removed. Gladstone was a British Prime Minister who served 4 terms in Parliament and helped some slave owners get compensation when the trans atlantic slave trade was abolished.

Video courtesy BBC News.

I think it is a bad idea. Britain needs to face up to its past, and we all do, hiding from it doesn’t make the problem go away. Some people who train their pets not to foul in the home, will take a pet that has broken the house rules and rub their nose in their mess and tell them, don’t do it again. The same can’t be done in this case explicitly, but destroying the evidence I feel destroys one of those markers that reminds Britain of its arrogance and iniquity of many years ago, that it was proud of at the time. These statues also reminds the oppressed who oppressed them so that we might be aware of the serpent that given latitude, might strike twice.

Additional reading:

The Independent: Britain’s colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition
Cambridge University Press: Gladstone and Slavery

Frankenmeat

So a clever scientist has figured out a way to create meat in a laboratory, and sees an industry growing from this that will help to reduce the land use, CO2 emissions and other resource consumed involved in regular animal farming for meat to be consumed by humans.

Sounds like a clever idea, but when this industry takes off, what will happen to the millions of jobs sustained by people involved in the meat industry and the various industries it works in conjunction with?

Without a doubt, the way in which some animals are treated is disgusting, a lack of care, poor conditions, and the fact they are bred only to be slaughtered. But at the same time, technology in all its glory, could be about to create a far greater problem, contributing to mass unemployment and a potential seismic shift in the ways some countries labour markets work, that they may never recover from.

Faith for a price?

I sometimes watch the TV and some of these super preachers, who carry on like career professionals in business. They want your money, and people who are naive are taken in by this all over the world. It’s true that believers should tithe when they are actively part of a particular church, but we shouldn’t expect to get a blessing proportionate to the size of the gift.

I watched with some dismay and the news of what is going on in South Africa as this Al Jazeera article shows.

The prophet Micah wrote:

Its heads give judgment for a bribe;
its priests teach for a price;
its prophets practice divination for money;
yet they lean on the LORD and say,
“Is not the LORD in the midst of us?
No disaster shall come upon us.”

Micah 3:8 English Standard Version.

I’m reminded of Isaiah 55, and what Yahshua said in Matthew 10:8 (Complete Jewish Bible):

You have received without paying, so give without asking payment.

Video: courtesy Al Jazerra.

You can’t buy the truth and you can’t buy salvation.

Brexit, polarisation and sleepwalking into disaster

I watched some of BBC Parliament recently, by chance, and the MP’s were speaking about the Brexit impact assessment, redacted findings, the autonomy of the Select Committee and the danger of leaks. BBC News has a good summary of the current debate here.

I find it fascinating, that with probably the most important political event that will happen in my lifetime, and the lifetimes of many MP’s involved, that instead of working together, the political parties are engaged in the same old polarised debates; “I’m right, you’re wrong” – “This side of the house, that side of the house”. It’s like watching some kind of opinion tennis spectacle. These people are paid a lot of money, but they don’t seem to realise that they are wasting time and destroying the path to collaborative progress. Maybe the real work just doesn’t go on in The House of Commons.

The Queen should step in and bang these people’s heads together, as they apparently act on her behalf. Or maybe she is just content to remain a figurehead bringing in revenues to the country, however, whether you consider those revenues to be 2bn or 5bn, you have to weigh that up with the cost of a potential lost opportunity for The Queen to step in and stop Parliament from aimlessly arguing about this issue, defending their political pride, perhaps bolstering a woefully weak Prime Minister, so that we don’t find ourselves doing too little, too late.

Apartheid against the Rohingya

In Myanmar (formerly Burma) there is a shocking development, where the majority Buddhist population is persecuting this muslim minority. With hundreds of thousands of people being displaced, and with little or no access to food, water and shelter, it’s being referred to in terms from Apartheid to Ethnic Cleansing and genocide.

In truth the situation has been going on for many years now as a form of Apartheid and systemic discrimination, but in recent months has escalated into full-blown Ethnic Cleansing. This shows how systemic injustice, inequality, Apartheid and Ethnic Cleansing are linked.

What’s adds a note of further disbelief to this situation is why Aung San Suu Kyi – a Nobel Peace prize winner can not see the stain on democracy that is happening right now as she rules over a country in which she was imprisoned for her devoted stance on democracy.

The Pope refused to mention the Rohingya muslims by name.

But the world has not forgotten them.

Amnesty has a good article here and there are ways to pledge support also.

The controversy over the Washington “Redskins”

I’ve often spoken about how language reflects prejudice. As a black person I often feel on the wrong end of that in an Anglo-Saxon/European culture. There is this weird inconsistency in the English language regarding its references to the colour black. Generally black is bad, white is good. Financially if you are in the red, that’s bad – but if you are in the black that’s good, yet during the crisis that hit the UK government in 1992 when we exited the ERM, financially a bad day, it was referred to as “black Wednesday”, and to further the inconsistency, we now celebrate – in the retail centric sense, Black Friday after the US Thanksgiving. There are frequently negative connotations associated with colour, but actually as humans we have so much more capacity to use language more accurately and communicate effectively.

However, it has to be remembered that black people are not the only people stereotyped and marginalised by the use of language. Just this week on Al Jazeera I saw an article about the Washington Redskins. Not being a follower of American Football myself, I’d never considered the angle this story revealed, and had always considered The Redskins name as being loosely synonymous with the colour of their kit. But when you look closely at the emblems on the kit, the team mascots and paraphernalia associated with The Redskins – it points to a kind of Native American Indian theme, which some Native American Indians feel offended by.

We have this odd thing going on in society regarding skin colour. White people are not actually white – the name flesh as a colour doesn’t mean anything as there are many different colours and shades of flesh. SImilarly, black people are generally brown, of various hues and Indian People, native American or otherwise are not at all red, similarly – people of Chinese decent are not yellow… It seems to me, if colour is important, we should probably at least be accurate about the colour names we use.

Now that I know Native American Indians are offended by these terms, I won’t be using them – and I think in order to make our society more responsible in its use of language, all people who are demeaned and marginalised by certain words and linguistic forms should band together to protest, teach and correct others about this. If pressure isn’t applied against the this kind of thing, it will just go on unchallenged, perpetuating the crass insensitivity and/or blindness of a majority group which is adamantly slow to change.

Vide and further reading “NFL Team name causes outrage in the US“, courtesy Al Jazeera.

Mugabe – the lesser of two evils?

Beware of false choices! People sometimes will offer you a choice which isn’t really a choice but a direction, or a choice based on a faulty premise.

A woman/man of good character or a woman/man who is attractive.
A car with good performance, or one that is economical.
A government that encourages big business or one that listens to the people.
Strong enforcement of law and order or the respect of the rights of citizens and individuals.

What I am getting at is, one can have them both, it doesn’t have to be a choice of one or the other, in many cases it is better to have both.

Robert Mugabe freedom fighter or despot? One can’t help notice the part Robert Mugabe pricing the hands of white rule off of Rhodesia, latterly known as Zimbabwe. However, at the same time on cannot but see the years of oppression, mismanagement, brutality, cronyism that have crushed a country that was once termed the bread-basket of Africa.

Some of Mugabe’s quotes whether they have some element of truth or not, are polarizing and reactionary:

“The only white man you can trust is a dead white man.”
“Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy!”
“Was it not enough punishment and suffering in history that we were uprooted and made helpless slaves not only in new colonial outposts but also domestically.”

Blaming the white man and being bitter about the past is understandable, but useless in and of itself unless one has a direction to ones anger that can actually improve the situation of yourself and the people around you. Not a strict translation in context, but applicable:

“Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” – Proverbs 29:18.

Have you seen children fighting over a toy, one has seen the other playing with it and wants it for himself, so they squabble over it. When the child who didn’t have the toy in the first place gets the toy, he grows bored of it after 5 minutes, or the other child who had the toy originally may soon grow bored with it too. Watch what happens when either of the children lose interest in the toy, and the other child goes to get it, there is squabbling again!

It’s almost the same situation with Zimbabwe, and rulers treating this country of many fine people who deserve a future, like a toy. Mugabe, perhaps rightfully gained possession of it, but he soon grew bored and stopped paying it the interest, care and attention it deserved. He had no vision of what he wanted to do with the country in the future, how he would truly empower the people, but his only vision was of hatred for white people, and the need to take back from them something he believed he should have. Because of this lack of vision his rule deteriorated in to a foul blot on the African continent, and a sorry story of what might have been.

Tyranny, exploitation and white rule often go hand in hand in Africa, but the sad thing is, when black rulers take over – the people often see more of the same. I guess my point is, people don’t want the lesser of two evils, they want no evil at all. They don’t want a black ruler who expresses his misrule simply in a different way to a white ruler. THey want someone who has vision to improve the country they live in. A black ruler, with integrity, with a heart for the people, consistent to the end.

Morgan Tsvangirai said this of Mugabe and I tend to agree – “Do we portray him as the great liberator or do we portray him as someone who betrayed the liberation he fought for? I think the latter will prevail, because I think his ending, does not confirm, the legacy he built in the earlier years of his political life…”

It’s high time in Africa, and across the world that rulers and authorities act with integrity, wisdom and justice. It is in my prayers, and has been for a long time that this will happen. If Africa can not stand with integrity, and stand with some form of togetherness, it will be continually exploited by foreign powers while its people cry our for change. Africa needs to grow and have self-determination and independence in order to free herself from exploitation and the trap of low self-worth.

Racists say the first slave owner in the USA was black!

I came across the following post on an online bible study group on an internet dating website:

OMG, The First Slave OWNER in the USA was a Black Man

“This is going to be a shocker to many of you, but the first slave OWNER in America was indeed a Black man name Anthony Johnson. He was captured in Angola Africa by North African Muslims (hello), then sold to a Virginia farmer as an indentured servant. His indentured status was to last a maximum of 10 years by law, and upon his freedom, he himself purchase indentured servants. Prior to one of those servant’s expiration of servitude, Anthony Johnson applied to the government for the right to keep him FOR LIFE (actual slavery). This occurred in 1654, and this marked the beginning of slavery in the USA, and it was BEGUN by a BLACK MAN. The slave trade in the USA followed after that and at the beginning of the Civil War of the USA, several of the slave OWNERS were themselves BLACK.

North African Muslims were the biggest slave traders in history and it is estimated that they enslaved about
200 million people over the course of 1400 years.
Europe and America practiced slavery for less than a third of that time.
So this idea that slavery was invented by and/or promoted the biggest by the European WHITE man is pure bunk.”

My Reply was as follows:

Hello to everyone,

I was shocked by the inaccuracy of the Opening Post with race being such a sensitive issue. Firstly the title of the post is factually incorrect and should be:

The first legal slave owner in American history was a black tobacco farmer named Anthony Johnson.

Possibly true. The wording of the statement is important. Anthony Johnson was not the first slave owner in American history, but he was, according to historians, among the first to have his lifetime ownership of a servant legally sanctioned by a court.

A former indentured servant himself, Anthony Johnson was a “free negro” who owned a 250-acre farm in Virginia during the 1650s, with five indentured servants under contract to him. One of them, a black man named John Casor, claimed that his term of service had expired years earlier and Johnson was holding him illegally. In 1654, a civil court found that Johnson in fact owned Casor’s services for life, an outcome historian R Halliburton Jr. calls “one of the first known legal sanctions of slavery — other than as a punishment for crime.” (Source: Snopes.Com)

One has to remember that legal forms of slavery were practiced all over the world, and indentured servitude and chattel slavery are quite different things. The former often had the agreement of the people involved, was legal at that time and had been practiced in biblical times (Ex 21:2) and even before. The latter however, in its most extreme and heinous form as practiced by Europeans transported an estimated 11 million people from various parts of Africa to America, transported in squalid conditions, often without keeping records of those being transported, throwing people overboard in forms of mass baptism, not really caring whether people lived or died, with conditions improving little for many over the approximately 400 years it lasted. One has to remember churches owned slaves, and the 11 million transported is virtually double the number of people who died in the Jewish Holocaust, and with scant records kept of deaths who knows how many African lives perished because of this inhumanity. Here is some information that at least attempts to assess that:

“The trans-Atlantic slave trade was the largest movement of people in history. Between 10 and 15 million Africans were forcibly transported across the Atlantic between 1500 and 1900. But this figure grossly understates the actual number of Africans enslaved, killed, or displaced as a result of the slave trade. At least 2 million Africans–10 to 15 percent–died during the infamous “Middle Passage” across the Atlantic. Another 15 to 30 percent died during the march to or confinement along the coast. Altogether, for every 100 slaves who reached the New World, another 40 had died in Africa or during the Middle Passage.” (Source: Digital History)

Here is a scripture to consider:

This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Gaza, even for four, I will not relent. Because she took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom, (Amos 1:6).

I’m not saying Europeans are being spoke of explicitly in this scripture, but their actions are comparable to how Gaza is described, and it clearly seems that God sees this type of action as being wrong. What nations have done what is mentioned in Amos 1:6 above, but not only that – transported chattel slaves thousands of miles across the planet, to help with building up land they stole from another race of people? The overwhelming majority of these actions done by force, even under the banner of religion?

Going back to the premise of the Opening Post, also consider that slavery started in “The New World” in 1620, Anthony Johnson became a indentured slave owner in the 1650’s which is about a generation after the initial influx of people. Are we seriously saying that for that entire 30 year gap, all African slaves bought and sold between European people in within America were done so illegally? Not one of those white slave owners or traders sought legal means to own slaves? If this is true, why did European white slave owners prefer illegal chattel slavery over indentured labour? What of the people who were born into slavery, did they not become legal property of the people who probably illegally owned their mother or father?

The premise I feel that was implied by the Opening Post seems to say, “don’t blame us for slavery, your people practiced it first”. As a black person, that’s what I read – between the lines. It’s a very superficial and inaccurate supposition. We definitely need to understand the different types of slavery that existed, how long those types of slavery existed, and the full context of the case in question – none of which were provided and which I have now clarified. Trans-Atlantic slavery and the societies impacted and borne out of it have created a very marked impact on societies right across the planet, and this led to the indentured labour in America practiced by both black and white people of which author of the Opening Post’s writes. The issue he misses is that as the initial influx of chattel slavery was illegal. Therefore all the indentured labour that followed it stemmed from that initial act, and in every instance was an act of injustice and simply an extension of the initial system of chattel slavery. If the slaves had not been transported half way across the world in the first place none of that would have happened, no “indentured labour” in America, no Jim Crow and Segregation, there would also be no race problem, at least involving the lives of black people in the USA today, although I am sure the Europeans would have found another culture to demonise, like Native American’s or Hispanics – perhaps this shows its ugly face in the shape of Donald Trump, who cannot help but laden his speech and writing with such contemptuousness even now.

There is a deep seated guilt in European culture that wants to distance itself from the acts of their forefathers in the past, for the most blinded this leads to a denial of history and its effects on the present day world. The social and economic impact of slavery is felt to this day. That display of inhumanity is what has led to this polarisation of cultures and colour, and keeps black and white communities in a flux of division and mistrust – with exceptions as people endeavour to live as people with love and respect for one another as God intended.

Europeans assume superiority because they have built huge and prosperous civilisations seeing themselves at the top of the tree, despising and dehumanising those who they used to help them get there, to this day. People of Colour assume inferiority low worth and status, as they try to live in the confines of European culture that by its language, economic structure and even in its interpretation of religion systematically dehumanises and oppresses them. These devices present in European society form a powerful hegemony which takes a concerted and sustained effort on the part of any Person of Colour to overcome.

There are many People of Colour caught up in a cycles of poverty and crime because of a mentality derived from the corrosive effects of this European cultural hegemony on our minds. In my mind this is what the famous Reggae artist Bob Marley talked of as “mental enslavery”. The unfortunate effect of this is that this type of behaviour by People of Colour only serves to perpetuate the European/white notions of superiority, and associating black with bad, white with good… We are at the level now in society where the patterns of thought and practice are so heavily embedded in people, both black and white, that it is probably written in our genes.

What a cursed trap for us all, both black and white! The black people can’t truly escape, the white people can see no reason why we are not free!

The very system or thing that People of Colour are claimed to be set free from, Trans-Atlantic Chattel Slavery, has a sting in its tail – that being the nature of the society created on the back of that system, treats us unfairly and attempts to limit the power for good in our minds. It’s like being freed from manacles only to find you are not fully accepted into society because you are black, in some ways much like the ex-convict who tries to integrate into society after having server their time.

But, what crime have People of Colour committed, other than being black? Is being black really a crime? Why do we suffer from the effects of being black years after this form of slavery ended? Do the children of convicts suffer in the same way? Are children born to a female convict in prison free, or do they also grow up in prison as a convict? What about that child’s children, and their children’s children, etc, at some point the person who was originally a convict and sent to prison will have served their sentence or died. The point I am making is that the children of convicts are not considered to be criminals, in severe cases where the parent is notorious, the child could have issues being accepted by society, but generally that is not the case, and you could only know about the history of the child’s parent if you knew them, or made a link through their family name.

However, in the case of being black, no matter what stratum of society you live in, this acceptance by society is based on the assumed and inferred qualities Europeans perceive about People of Colour, it’s nothing to do with whether your parents committed any type of criminality, whether you aspire to be a crook, a priest, a doctor, a sports star or a president. Being black is perpetually a crime at an implicit level in the European consciousness – it’s something visible, tangible at which they can direct their unease and/or hatred at in its various forms. It was a justification for physical slavery that existed hundreds of years ago, and the same notion exists today and is behind the malevolent devices that put up that invisible glass ceiling on you at work, disenfranchises you, skews the perceptions and tactics of law enforcement, perverts justice against you, perceives you as “the other” and unfortunately, I could go on and on and on…

The flip side is that Europeans consider the fact that Trans-Atlantic Slavery has been abolished to be pretty much the end of the matter, regardless of the fact that a difficult struggle for the rights of black people within European based societies continues to this day, in addition to the effects of colonialism and economic imperialism destabilising and decimating many African countries. When you think a problem is fixed, that something is atoned for, and it isn’t – that creates a problem that festers and morphs over time with the same underlying cause crying out to be remedied.

I don’t think the majority of European/white people want to see People of Colour suffer continual injustice, a small proportion do. The majority don’t see, perceive or adequately understand the effects of the culture they dominate causing harm to others, and a minority of European/white people do.

What could fix, or undo the effects of Trans-Atlantic Slavery? Freeing slaves? Giving black people the vote? Positive discrimination/affirmation? A token black president? I don’t think so! Surely only God knows the answer to that question!

Trip to St George’s A&E

I’ve suffered from Bell’s Palsy in the past, after the doctor who I saw initially missed it, I got referred to the Ear Nose and Throat clinic at St Georges Hospital in London as an outpatient. I made a good recovery within 6 months, and I was discharged a few years later, but was told to let them know if my symptoms re-occurred.

A few weeks ago symptoms which I associated with Bell’s Palsy started to occur, twitching facial muscles, metallic taste on my tounge, watering eyes, and generally poor control over the facial muscles on one side of my face. Both ENT and my doctors were closed on the Saturday I rang them, I’m a Sabbatarian, so I got over that. On the Monday following I called ENT, and after some time I got through, only to be told that I needed to be referred to that clinic again by my doctor. So I phoned my doctors and again, after repeated attempts to get through I was told they had no appointments that day, but they would arrange for the doctor to give me a call back on Thursday.

On Thursday the doctors receptionist called me at 10am asking if I could attend an appointment at 11am, which unfortunately I couldn’t as I was too far away from the surgery to make it on time. So I was advised to call 111 to book an out of hours appointment, which I did. The doctor seemed very agreeable and sincere, but he had the annoying habit of finishing my sentences with words I wasn’t actually going to say! Anyway, he examined me and agreed he could see a definite problem but said he couldn’t refer me as he wasn’t one of the usual doctors. A wasted trip!

Because of that, and knowing I needed to be seen by a practice doctor rather than a locum, I followed up my out of hours visit to my doctors the following day by calling them, but due to some work being done at home by an electrician I couldn’t make the appointment, as it didn’t seem safe or sensible to leave the electrician working in my flat. I followed up again on Monday morning, and after 82 redial attempts I got through and managed to book an appointment for late that evening.

Work over-ran with a long crisis meeting. After doing battle with the numpties on the road who do things like stop when leaving roundabouts and stay in the left hand lane when really they want to turn right, I arrived at the surgery, with just 5 minutes to spare and I had thought I would be late for the appointment or miss it. The doctor examined me and agreed I had an issue, so he wrote me a letter to hand in to A&E and said I should visit A&E striaght away. I got to A&E around 20:30 at the latest…

I was seen by nurse who took my details and read the letter from the doctor. I relaxed in the waiting area before a Brazilian or Portuguese lady on reception called my name – almost, “Anthony Earnest?”, approaching the counter, I said “Ewers, Anthony Ewers”, to which she replied in the most nonchalant lady slap inspiring “Perhaps…” “It is me” I thought, “I know my own name” – I hope. What is it with “perhaps”, why not “I’m sorry Mr Ewers”?

Anyway despite my slight feeling of unease, and knowing that if I started talking to people who seem like the don’t care, and try to convince them they should care, it’s a losing battle, and with the zero tolerance approach the NHS has toward abusing staff, its difficult to know where to draw the line between trying to correct someone and being a patient that is deliberately trying to be awkward. Given that I need their help I smiled obligingly as she continued… “Do you have any allergies?” – and I really wanted to say it … “Oh, only people who mis-pronounce my surname and don’t seem to care or find it of any particular significance whatsoever…” But I held it in, and was duly processed and sent on my way back to the waiting area.

The highlights of my trip to A&E were an Irish man who initially was sat the opposite side of the waiting area from me, who was continually talking to himself and asking people if they were Nazi’s or vampires, unfortunately – the punchline to “How many Nazi’s does it take to change a lightbulb?” were muffled otherwise I would share it with you. When we moved seats in between being called for bloods twice, CT Scan, and X-Ray I ended up sitting slightly closer to him and got the pronounced smell of urine. He seemed like a kind guy though, the chap two seats away from me was shaking like a man gone cold-turkey, and he asked “are you ok, do you want me to get a nurse”, I was thinking I should ask the same, but dare not ask – and it just shows, as oddball as this guy was – he had genuine concern for someone else.

And now I get to what I actually wanted to write in the first place!

For me going to A&E is always a long and laborious mission, the waiting upon waiting, people in pain, people getting bad news, wailing can altogether combined be frustrating and upsetting. When I arrived I thought I would be home by 11pm, but at around 3.45am as my iPhone battery died I found myself sitting on A&E bed waiting to be seen by the Stroke Specialist. The A&E ward was absolutely FREEZING!, everyone commented on how cold it was, even the nurses and doctors. I was wearing a vest, shirt, waistcoat, coat, hat and scarf while I was sitting on the bed waiting, and I was cold, so how the 60 or 70-year-old lady in the bed nearby wearing a hospital gown was coping I do not know.

What I would say is that when the Stroke Specialist came to see me, I was a bit worried that the results of my tests were going to show I had a problem, but she talked with me about my circumstances, gave me a really thorough examination and explained her plan of action to get me the information I needed. It turns out I have Synkinises, and although this bout of it is much later than you would expect in the recovery cycle for a Bell’s Palsy sufferer – 4 years approximately, as opposed to a few weeks to a few months, what I was experiencing, although disconcerting was evidence that my nerves were healing – which was relieving news.

I left the hospital feeling that although the treatment was bloody slow because of all the waiting, in reality, I know those nurses and doctors see people in far greater need than I was, and they do well to prioritise and consider and act on things ranging from those which could be a matter of life and death for some people, through to suffering, and mild discomfort for others. We can’t do without the NHS, and I really think Austerity and these tax dodging bastards are utterly selfish, and they need to be made to play their part in helping society grow in a fair way, instead of just milking it!

Modern Money Mechanics

It’s really strange when you take a step back and think about money, it seems so important to many people, but in fact it is of no intrinsic value, the paper and coins we view as money, are most of the time worth less than the face value of the money it represents.

Money is a system based on trust, we rely on the fact that we can redeem our money for goods and services worth its face value. But some of the problems we face in this respect are, poor goods and services, and in some circumstances a poor legal framework to remedy such situations. Some examples are:

  1. Buying a house and find out out some of the building work is sub standard after a defect period has ended.
  2. Buying a car and finding out not all the features are as you had been led to believe.
  3. Investing in a pension that falls flat and doesn’t pay out

Before money existed, and even while it existed people traded on the basis of establishing their own views of the worth of their goods and services they wanted to trade by swapping or barter. It’s not a system without risk, but the trust relationship is between you and generally one individual, without “markets”, cartels, minimum prices, recommended prices etc. It seems there are many more variables present in today’s style of trading, which introduce risk and lessen trust.

The strange thing is that the people who run the system and the big players in it are anything but trustworthy, and that is at the root of the problems for a system that needs you to trust in it. The real wealth in society lies with the people at the bottom of it, not those at the top. It is the workers who put in the hours and labour at the thick end of the goods and services provided into society. Yet the system feeds of their wealth and pushes it further up the chain, investing in pension schemes that crash, a huge tax burden, wars and weapons we may have no interest in supporting, charging us more interest than the people at the top of society, and thus perpetuating inequality in wealth. For a system that relies on trust, there is a lot to be distrustful about.

Modern Money Mechanics details this with some rigour and is well worth a read to discover some fascinating truths about the money system that affects us all.

UPDATE: A few hours after I published this post, I came across an article which shows even The Queen’s money is held off-shore to avoid paying tax! So the HMRC who will prosecute in certain circumstances for non payment of tax and tax evasion, and the general public which is concerned about multinational companies schemes relating to taxtax avoidance, may find that The Monarch herself is involved, to some degree, in activity which dodges the declaration of funds due to the public purse.

So it seems the rich who have plenty of money, avoid paying tax and have lawyers who can dispute their liability, but the regular worker, who has to carefully manage their money will never get away with avoiding paying a single penny of tax! Again, this shows how the money system breeds inequality, and is a system based on exploitation and a value system that is detached from reality, and further distorted by an inherent lack of trustworthiness often displayed by those who benefit most from it.