Saturday, April 01, 2017

A ragbag of cheerfulness

I am weirdly cheerful this morning for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, I have discovered the cause of the nasty headaches I've been getting in the last two weeks. I always get sinus troubles at this time of year, and I was saying to Dave when I woke up with yet another headache that it must be a hay fever reaction, and he said 'Don't be ridiculous, there's no pollen at this time of year.' So I looked it up on the Met office site and guess what? There is such a thing as tree pollen and it's worst between mid March and May. Case closed. Not only did I beat Dave in an argument (such a rare occurrence) but I know the cause of the symptoms, and I know they will pass, and I have a new way of attacking the problem - anti-histamines. 

Secondly, you know those annoying items you have on your to-do list that never get done because they are boring and complex and you think they are going to take forever, so they never get tackled and crossed off the list? Changing electricity suppliers has been on my list for two months, and yesterday, in less than an hour, I sorted it out. I possibly feel happier about not having it on the list than I do about the money we're going to save, but I probably shouldn't admit that. 

The third thing is serious.  We've stopped talking about politics in this house. We used to do it a lot. Things are so dire out there, it's currently beyond discussion. But the one bit of positive news that I did tell Dave about was that Sam Walton, a Quaker peace activist, this week attempted a citizen's arrest on Saudi General Al-Asserie, for war crimes. Al-Asserie has been the public face of the Saudi brutal bombardment of the Yemen. In November 2016 he told ITV that Saudi forces had not been using cluster bombs in Yemen, only for Saudi forces to later admit that they had. These cluster bombs had been manufactured in Britain.

Sam Walton

On Tuesday, Al-Asserie met with MPs to brief them ahead of a debate on the humanitarian situation in Yemen (which is pretty odd in itself.) The General was on his way to speak to the European Council on Foreign Relations when Sam attempted his arrest. The general's body-guards protected him (while the General gave Sam the middle finger)  so the arrest was not successful. You may think this achieved nothing. I disagree: anything that keeps continuing war atrocities in the public eye is a good thing. If they are hidden, nothing will ever change.  

Did you know the following?
That since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015, the UK has licensed £3.3 billion worth of arms to the Saudi regime, including:

  • £2.2 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)
  • £1.1 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)
  • £430,000 worth of ML6 licences (Armoured vehicles, tanks)
The legality of UK arms sales is currently the subject of a Judicial Review, following an application by Campaign Against Arms Trade. The claim calls on the government to suspend all extant licences and stop issuing further arms export licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while it holds a full review into whether the exports are compatible with UK and EU legislation. The verdict is pending.

I live in hope.

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