Friday, 5 January 2018


    Is it not long overdue to retire Jerusalem as a capital city for any warring grouping?
   Having been attacked 52 times, captured 44 times, and completely destroyed twice, Jerusalem reeks with the aftermaths of human folly. It has been vasty overused as a source of conflict. Yet, it does deserve to survive, minus politics, and as an historical mecca for those who relish human emotions.
    In Canada, in 1979, Joe Clark, to curry Jewish votes, made an election promise to move Canada’s Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. With victory for his Progressive Conservative party, he started to fulfill his promise, but was met with such animosity from other nations that he prudently abandoned the move.
    Likewise, Donald, could I convince you that a little humility is a good thing and persuade you to back off your declared goal of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, also an election promise. It could lessen the distaste that too many in the rest of the world nurture over the numerous missteps the US has made worldwide to enhance the interests of US oligarchic capitalists, a small but powerful grouping.  The Middle East, both blessed and cursed by Geography having placed it at the confluence of Africa, Asia, and Europe, inherits an ever-changing ethnic mix that promotes both trade and turmoil. Yet, the current mix of the area is all Semite and Arab, but what is a Semite and what is an Arab?
    We humans are all one species, yet we have excelled in dividing ourselves into a bewildering array of aggressive, altruistic, economic, ethnic, language, national, political, racial, religious, etc groupings.  Greed infiltrates all of these as do dangerous human passions.
    So, what role has, and does, Jerusalem play?
   First, we need to know that Semites were an Akkadian Indo-European people who replaced the Sumerian civilization in the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. They were not Arabian as widely believed.  Once-fertile Arabia became desert over 7,000 years ago (ya) before the Semitic exodus. Between 8,000 and 6,000 ya the ecological disaster of the Mediterranean breaching its bounds and flooding what became the Black Sea (origin of the Hebrew and Christian flood accounts?) prompted the Semites into fleeing.
    About 6,500 ya, Semitic Canaanites built a settlement where Jerusalem now stands, but it did not enter the history books until 4,000 ya when Egyptians recorded it under the name Rusalimum. Much later, archaeologists revealed that, about 3,700 ya, a rock wall, 1.8 metres high, was built to protect water sources. Then, 3,500 ya, Egypt expanded to include it as a vassal state under the name Urusalim.
    Jerusalem, known as Jebus, remained a Semitic Canaanite area, inhabited by the Jebusite tribe until 3,000 ya when Semitic Hebrew Israeli tribes, led by King David, attacked and sacked it. It was then called the City of David and capital of the United Kingdom of Israel even though it was in the adjacent Kingdom of Judah. The Bible tells us that David wrote psalms, played the harp, slew the Philistine’s Goliath of Gath, had 7 wives, two of whom were daughters of King Saul, numerous concubines, 19 sons, and one daughter.
    The Philistines were also Semites who fled to Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria 3,300 ya. The Greek historian, Herodotus, 484-425 BC, labelled them Palestines and the whole area Palestine.
    The Arabs, originally out of the Arabian Peninsula, were late arrivals. Converted to Islam a mere 1,300 ya, they burst out to take their language and religion to what is now the Arab League that includes Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
    While Palestine’s claim to Jerusalem as first there is valid, Islam’s claim is weak. Jerusalem is mentioned 823 times in the Jewish bible, 154 times in the Christian bible, and not at all in the Our’an (Koran).
    Nor is it mentioned in the Hindu Bhagavad, the Taoist Tao-Te Ching, the Buddhist Dhamapada, or the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta.  Outside the Judao-Christian world, Jerusalem was unimportant.
   In 622, when Muhammad fled Mecca for Medina, he was quite friendly towards the Jews and adopted many of their practices, including praying facing Jerusalem but, in 624, the Jews rejected his new religion and his friendship.  So, Muslims rejected Jerusalem and prayed facing Mecca. Muslim interest in Jerusalem became political and temporary. The based-in-Damascus Umayyad dynasty, to suppress a 680-692 dissident revolt, glorified Jerusalem, established a mosque there and started a building spree including the Dome of the Rock where a Jewish temple had stood. Myths were created, including an overnight visit to Heaven from there by Muhammad to add to the Islamic importance of Jerusalem.  Women had a significant role.  The caliphate stretched from Spain and Morocco to Afghanistan,  In 750 the Abbasids took over, moved the capital to Bagdad, neglected Jerusalem, and ruled until 1258 when overthrown by the Mongols.
    The Dome of the Rock collapsed in 1016 and Jerusalem was described as a shambles. It was not until well after the 1099 Crusader conquest did Islamic interest revive. In 1187 Saladin, the first sultan of Egypt and Syria, retook the city and his Ayyubid dynasty went on a rebuilding spree, including the Dome of the Rock. During the Crusades, Muslim treatment of the defeated was considerably more humane than Christian.
    In 1229, a grandson of Saladin ceded Jerusalem to the Crusading Franks. It was re-taken in 1239 by Ayyubid an-Nasir Da’ud only to have him give the ruins back to the Franks in exchange for help against a relative. The Franks turned the Temple Mount mosques into Christian churches.  In 1244, the Ayyubids regained control, and Jerusalem stayed under Muslin rule for 700 years.
    In 1258, the Mongols, who had swept out of Mongolia to slaughter and rape, sacked Bagdad but were met with their first major defeat 50 km north of Jerusalem at Ain Jalut in 1260 by Egyptian Mamluk forces.
    During WWI, when a British army detachment was approaching Jerusalem in a drive to take it from the crumbling Ottoman-Turk Empire, the Ottomans did not consider Jerusalem important enough to risk resources in defending it, but ordered their local commander, Captain Schwartz, an Austrian Jew, to devastate Jerusalem and to blow up the Dome of the Rock before leaving. He refused, disabled his artillery, and surrendered in December 1917 to General Allenby and his UK-Australian-Indian-New Zealand troops.
    The current power struggle in the Middle East has many contributors: Churchill’s conversion of the Royal Navy from coal to oil, the discovery of immense oil fields, the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire by Britain, France, and Italy, leaving the US and Russia out of the picture, the Versailles Treaty, the Holocaust, the spread of Islam and its breakdown into warring fractions, the re-creation of Israel and its continued aggression to seize ever more land, and the need of the US to bind itself to Israel to achieve and maintain a dominant base in the oil-rich area.  US president, Harry Truman, did have to threaten several countries with withdrawal of US post WWII aid if they did not vote for a UN bid to recreate Israel at the expense of Palestine to whom Britain owed thanks for help in defeating the Ottomans.
    Oil has been a boon to humanity, even though a source of much grief in the Middle East.  Greed quickly took control there with UK, French, then US companies, exploiting oil fields, many of which they found and developed, leaving scant amounts of the profits to the locals.  Oil came to dominate and enlarge conflicts in Persia (Iran), Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Russia, causing humanity much grief. Competing interests in the re-routing of pipelines to Israeli refineries are a major cause of the Syrian disaster.
    Sadly, the biggest culprit is Israel, heavily and consistently backed by the US. Israel has achieved
international status in creating a modern successful state but it has lost the sympathy it had due to the Holocaust.  The Palestines are not blameless but, since 1948, Israel has thwarted every attempt at a 2-state solution. With vastly superior might, thanks mainly to German reparations and US bribes, it continues to defy the UN by stealing ever more Palestine land, thus creating opposition such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran who now all claim historical rights to Jerusalem. What it is doing to Gaza is criminal. Its leadership and many of its citizens treat their fellow Semites, the Palestines, as a non-entity. It has benefited from the wealth and people that much of Europe and America showered on it, sharing little with its neighbours. Yes, Israel does have millions who disclaim the harsh policies of Prime Minister Netanyahu who has a 35% current approval rating.
    Facebook and its ilk abide by rules set up by countries like China. Under Israeli orders they allow hateful attacks on Palestinians but have closed the accounts of Palestinians who protest Israeli policies. Resentment simmers but lacks power.
    The so-called West is guilty of economic, military, and political incursions into the Middle East. The lack of concern for the local people is pathetic and criminal. Yet, the West does have hundreds of organizations and millions of people bursting with empathy. Their attainment of the power to improve is a slow process.
    Perhaps a glimmer of hope lies in the rapidly-growing threat to oil from non-fossil energy sources. They should erode a major reason for Middle East conflict.
   Jerusalem, you do need to slumber for a while, but you could awake as a beacon of brotherly and sisterly co-operation. 
Make it so!

Ye Olde Scribe

Monday, 11 December 2017


     First off, I suspect that you believe you are much too busy working on your millions of current species to listen to my pleas.  But you do have self-created responsibility which gives me the audacity to venture into your good and bad characteristics.  I do thank you for fashioning a consciousness for me, but it does question if you designed one for yourself.  You were amazingly quick, this time around, and 13.8 billion years ago (bya) to accept your job by taking only a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang to realize you had only a single force to work with, so you set the thermostat down a tad to create gravity, the weak and the strong nuclear forces, and electro-magnetism.
You played with these, via trial and error, for 10 billion years, enjoying the chaos of explosions and collisions before coming up with a solar system and a planet with the right chemicals to create organisms that could self-replicate.  What a fantastic environment for experimenting!  You created trillions of species, an awesome accomplishment, but, you did take some 3.8 billion years to fashion billions of organisms like me, each with a personal consciousness which does make us question you, and to ask what is your purpose? 
Your exuberance has led to at least one species, homo sapiens, who is beginning to question your strategy   while exploring what meaning or purpose it has.
Over 99% of the species you created are now extinct.  This does question your methods.    Those currently existing number 1.6 billion that we humans have already described, a figure only 20% of what we assume we have yet to find and study.
Your planetary creation is so complex and your humans so limited that we must channel our abilities into numerous specialties: 
Our biological scientists tell me that you have devised 5 x 1037 DNA base pairs, weighing 50 billion tonnes, leaving a biosphere on this Earth of 4 trillion tons of carbon, so you have plenty to still play with.
How trustworthy are you?  You have allowed me a brief lifetime with amazing, but limited, intelligence, quite insufficient to find out, yet you also give me a curiosity to do so.  Is that fair?
  To be fair myself, I cannot blame you for those multitudes of factors over which you have no control.  You awoke amid a maelstrom that would devour anything less persistent than you.
But, Evolution, do you not have many flaws yourself?  Have you not had a one-track mind?      Having created Life, you have an insatiable desire to diversify it.  You have sought reproduction without considering compassion.  You did start out with asexual which is faster, easier, and still used.  Was it not some 1.2 bya that you dreamed up eukaryotic bisexual cells with long-term goals and adaptability to changing environments?
When you divided us into males and females you made reproduction brief and pleasurable for the male but lengthy and burdensome for the female who is saddled with gestation times in days such as: mice 20, rabbits 33, dogs and cats 60, pigs 114, goats 140, bears 210, chimpanzees 227, orangutans 260, humans 266, cows 284, and elephants 640.
By giving males, in most species, superior physical strength combined with stronger sexual drives, but without superior intelligence, you have caused  enormous harm to billions of females.  In fact, my blog #143 Rape vs Love, published 27 January 2016, describes some of them.  Your negligence is revealed shamefully in today’s society that has encouraged the emergence of women to full equality.  We are seeing increasing scores of men, who otherwise contributed much to humanity, having their careers and respect wrecked due to a failure to control the sexual impulses you gave them.
Evolution, have you not overreached yourself and therefore need a rest to contemplate what you have done and how you can correct flaws?  Something is wrong when the environments you evolve, with their varied humans, result in so many who believe that you do not exist even though they can easily see manifestations of your work, and even indulge in it themselves.
We humans, who do believe in you, suspect you are far from perfect.  Your DNA creates humans that visually belong to one sex, yet are endowed with feelings that belong to the other.
You evolved us to where we can discover our cellular composition is only 10% human with the rest bacterial, 99% of which are beneficial.  Being much smaller, bacterial cells provide less than 3% of our mass. So, who is in charge?  Who really runs the show?    Who actually is composing this blog?
Or, is this a good lesson in the importance of co-operation?  If so, why can we not do a better job of commuting with, and taking care of, each other?  
Our sub-conscious mind has always been an integral part of us so why is it only recently that our conscious mind became aware of it and how it accomplishes all those household chores, seldom bothering our much slower conscious mind that sometimes acknowledges that our gut feelings need to be considered?
The most frightening examples of your lack of empathy lie in your creations.  You have given us pain and pleasure receptacles to guide us not only among natural phenomena but also among your numerous and bewildering living organisms.  I give you credit for the plant kingdom in which life and growth depends on inanimate contributors like sun energy and water.  Your Animal kingdom is a cruel battleground where survival is a kill-and-eat necessity.  Eaters must be immune to the pain and suffering not only of the eaten but of their relatives.  Your lack of balance is criminal.  Yes, we humans are quite guilty ourselves, but you set the stage.
Actually, many of us do thank you for giving us, and a few other air, land, and sea creatures, the intelligence to know the harm we do, but we still need the will and ability to enforce changes. 
Humans, after placing themselves as number one, have rated creative intelligence in this order for the highest 15 animals:  orangutan, bottlenose dolphin, chimpanzee, elephant, crow, African grey parrot, pig, rat, squirrel, racoon, veined octopus, pigeon, dog, portia labiata jumping spider, and ant.  Evolution, are you grooming any of these as replacements when you tire of us?
I suspect, Evolution, that you are now using us to do your work for you such as evolving intelligent machines, but you have not given us sufficient intelligence to do the job minus the frightening risk of exterminating ourselves.    
Perhaps your biggest goof was to introduce Greed that has enabled a few humans to become oligarchs, manipulating the rest of us into destroying ourselves.  You must know that humans have killed, over 7,000 years,  the same number, 8 billion, humans that currently exist.
Terrifying is the fact that sores of intelligent and well-meaning scientists have been used to create nuclear arsenals that leaders claim they need for coercion that they call protection.  As reaction time is so limited, responsibility for use has been delegated to a frightening number of military personnel across the globe.
This is a topic deserving of its own blog, so here I will just remind you of just two examples of escaped exterminations and the risks of relying on human fraility:
During the Cuban missile crises when Krushchev had placed nuclear missiles in Cuba to counter missiles the US had set up in bordering Turkey, the US employed aerial and naval exercises, implying an invasion of Cuba was imminent.  The USN also dropped dummy depth charges on Soviet submarines that were nuclear armed.  To the sub crews they appeared real so Commodore Vasili Arkhipov was highly tempted to destroy his attackers - a move that would have ended all of us.  He refrained and the world avoided catastrophe.
In 1957 at the Ballistic Missile Early Warning site in Thule, Greenland, electric pulses were bounced back off the moon that happened to be in direct alignment with a Soviet launch site.  Reactions raced to the highest levels to the Norad deputy commander, Air Marshal Roy Slemon, RCAF, the man on duty to make the final decision.  He quickly, but carefully, assessed the political status that told him a strike was unlikely so he called off a real retaliatory strike.  It is dangerous to assume other humans will posses the same wisdom.
Evolution, your current playground on Planet Earth is only 10 billion years old, yet is well on its way to self destruction.  Do you really want it to end so soon?  There is so much more you could do here and we could have another 1.75 billion years before our sun loses its ability to sustain life.
Sadly, Evolution, everything we are aware of is mortal, but, really, we now have the ability and knowledge to try co-operation.  We could work together to increase our longevity, minus the aches and pains of ageing, to limit reproduction  to sustainable numbers, all of whom could have a much more enjoyable experience on this tiny, but fortunate, speck in the immensity of creation?
Accept, and enjoy, the challenge!

Ye Olde Scribe

Monday, 20 November 2017


Before delving into this topic, remember that only 10.6% of the world’s land is arable. A Western life style requires half a hectare per person to sustain it.  Only Australia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Niger, Lithuania, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ukraine, Latvia, and Guyana, exceed 0.5 and in that order, ranging from 2.0 to 0.6.  Europe and Central Asia average 0.59.  The USA has .49 not counting recent flood and drought damage.
  Whatever Nature can do man can do better.  This is by no means a new boast born of the atomic age.  Homo sapiens has always been jealous of the forces in Nature's inventory, and has striven to better them.  Nature has always burned large areas of forests with fires started by lightning.  How terribly inefficient!  Nature must build huge cumulonimbus clouds, marshal great gobs of positive and negative particles, and expend energy equal to a dozen Hiroshima bombs.  Even Early Man learned how to do the job by simply rubbing a couple of sticks together or by using a bit of flint.  Man made his own forest fires  to drive animals to slaughter.  This method killed far more animals that could be eaten or used, and it often produced deserts, but why worry?  There were lots of forests, lots of animals, and few people.  Homo the Sap may not be very good at mathematics or biology, but he has never stopped competing with Nature.
Nature has made lots of deserts, but she has had to exert prodigious effort, both in raising mountain chains to stop moisture-laden winds, and in pushing land masses all over the globe so that large areas are remote from sea breezes.  Man, on the other hand, has just plodded away - and look at the beautiful deserts he has created by simple methods:
Irrigation:   All you have to do is to apply too much water. This will raise the water table which often permits harmful salt to reach surface layers.  This has ruined irrigated areas ever since man started irrigating.  Just before the 1979 Soviet invasion, this method created new desert areas in Afghanistan.
Ploughing:   Use a "hoe" plough.  It cuts a shallow furrow allowing top soil to pulverize into dust and blow away.  This ox-drawn plough is still used in the Middle East where once-rich soil now has poor or no yield.  Many Syrian towns now lie buried under sand and dust that was once soil on cultivated fields.
Grazing:   Sheep and goats are great desert-builders. Unlike cattle, they crop so closely to the ground that plants lose their recuperative powers.  Over-grazing and intensive farming around the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates caused such heavy erosion that silt, deposited in the Persian Gulf 2,700 km away, extended the coastline of Sumerian times outwards by 300 km in 4,500 years.  Over grazing is also a factor in the huge expansion of the Sahara Desert.
Lumbering:   Do not let lush vegetation discourage you, particularly in Mediterranean climates that have wet winters and dry summers.  A little persistence, like the Greeks used, will do the trick.  Greece was once lush and fertile.  Remove some trees for ship building, some more for house building, a few to make charcoal for smelting metallic ores, and just a few more to warm the house in winter.  Clearing all these forests left good soil for farming, and patient winter rains slowly washed it all into the sea.  Yes, you will still find a few olive trees surviving through cracks in the rocks, but that is a desert compared to what once was.  The Greeks were not the first at desert-making.  The Indus Valley was a great civilization in 1500 BC.  Wide streets, flush toilets, and all that.  They were good at using charcoal to smelt metals.  Each year they had to go a little further out to harvest the trees to make the charcoal.  After a few hundred years it does get to be a chore going so far for trees.  Apathy and poor workmanship increased enough to so weaken the civilization that Aryians were able to sweep in to murder, rape, and pillage while the deserts grew.  
Today, we do things on the grand scale.  Throughout the rain forest we are clearing ever increasing areas for farming or ranching or just to sell lumber.  The cleared land will support only a few crops before it becomes exhausted and turns to desert, but we can move on.  If the environmentalists complain, show them all those small circles of trees that are being left intact.  Perhaps they will not stay around to see that this creates large circumferences exposed to the sun and drying.  No trees to provide moisture for rain makes more and greater deserts.    
Deserts in Lakes and Oceans:  Man tries to surpass Nature here. In only 50 years, using industrial wastes and pesticides, he killed Lake Erie, but, in this case, has made some amends.  Now, with oil spills and over-harvesting, he is killing the oceans.  Take the lush Grand Banks off Newfoundland.  In the early 1500's scores of European vessels made three trips per year to fish there among an inexhaustible supply of fish.  Then fleets of European and North American trawlers, using sonar and radar, reaped enormous harvests.  Factory ships would remain on station year round.  This so denuded stocks that Canada imposed a fishing ban in 1992.  Thousands went from a life of hard work at sea to collecting welfare cheques.  
Excitement was provided by frictions when Canada impounded temporarily a Portugese trawler in 1994 and a Spanish trawler in 1995 for illegal fishing.  Spain threatened to send gun boats to protect her right to create ocean deserts.
The Soviet Union, and subsequent entities, have been leaders in water mismanagement.  Lake Baikal  is badly polluted and the Aral Sea has shrunk dramatically due to the diversion of rivers.  Fishing boats are left stranded miles inland.     
Man has always destroyed his own creations. Deserts are no exceptions. Planned obsolescence philosophy perhaps?  But, how is it done?
Terracing:   Where you have removed all that protective covering, you will notice that water really does  run down hill.  You could terrace that area now to control water flow, but you must wait a thousand years for that bare rock to erode to soil.  If you are not that patient, find a virgin area, and terrace it before you remove the trees and grasses.
Wind Breaks and Strip Farming:   Treeless plains offer cultivated soils to the winds.  Planting rows of tree s and leaving strips of land in natural vegetation will deny the wind the long sweep it needs to be an effective desert-maker.    Take a look at Britain and Denmark to see how beautiful this can be.  Their hedgerows, hundreds of years old, are wildlife sanctuaries besides preventing erosion, retaining moisture, providing timber, and giving lovers romantic pathways where they can commune with Nature and each other.  Some short-sighted farmers are now eliminating hedgerows to plant more crops.
Foam Rubber:   This is proving effective in Arabian citrus groves.  Planted under the sand it retains humus and moisture.
Oil Spraying:  Oil, an excellent pollutant, is now being used to stabilize sand dunes, thus conserving moisture and permitting plants to take root.
Cloud Seeding:   Seeding cumulus clouds with silver iodide can cause super-cooled cloud droplets to freeze into ice crystals, releasing latent heat which forces the air in the cloud to rise, causing explosive cloud growth, terminating in seven times more rain than would have fallen had the cloud been left unseeded.
Tree Planting:   In the barren, wind-swept areas of Israel, over 77,000,000 trees were planted and carefully nurtured from 1948 to 1961 (35 trees per Israeli).    A forbidding land is now becoming a promising one. Many of these now-inhabited areas have not seen human habitation since biblical times.  In Africa women are leading the tree-planting effort.
Aswan Dam:  Since 1900 man has increased irrigated acreage 400% to 400 million acres.  The Aswan Dam was to have increased this acreage more.  The Egyptians worked faster at increasing their population than in building the dam, so the increased acreage was unable to feed the increased population.  More problems:  Bilharzia, an intestinal and urinary disease, spread because carrier snails are no longer controlled by annual floods and droughts.  Nile farmlands have become impoverished because they are no longer renewed by annual deposits of silt.  Accumultaed salt, that used to be flushed out by annual flooding, has forced some areas to be taken out of production.  And, sardines in the nearby Mediterranean have decreased 33% due to a drop in the amount of nutrients that the Nile used to wash out to sea. 
The Great American Desert:  Good soil in the southwest needed water.  The last ice age left lots of it underground which is now being pumped to create verdant farmlands.  This water will soon be all gone and we will need to wait for the next ice age to replenish it.  Meanwhile, enjoy the return of the desert.
For this blog we will leave the story there - but adding a PS to argue much more action is required.
PS:  COMMON SENSE: Since 1995 there have been 24 UN conferences in 18 different countries to monitor and promote progress in limiting human-made global warming. Germany has hosted four.  Only one country, the USA, declined to join the world at the week-long November 2017 conference in Bonn, yet a strong US delegation  showed up to insist that they, if not their government, were fully committed.
So, the world has awakened to the threat.  Alas, much too little effort exists in the very costly, but essential, removal of carbon already here.  Perhaps the subject of a future blog?

                                                                                                                       Ye Olde Scribe

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


Real threats to reaching this essential goal lurk in many of our nations where vested interests have even goaded Nature into lashing out at us. Yet, a strong, healthy, individual, and organizational surge is building, but is not a tsunami required for a species largely adolescent? Recent advances include a Nobel prize awarded to ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) which was energized to a large extent by women.  The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted 07 July 2017 by 122 members and, so far, 53 have indicated ratification.  It is opposed by all the nuclear-armed powers.  How can we educate them?
Throughout history the lack of concern by selfish humans for other humans (and other life forms) has been colossal, shameful, and criminal.  In that unnecessary WWI, politicians and generals shamed ever more men, and used conscription, to send millions to their mutilations and deaths.  They punished yearnings for peace such as the Christmas 1914 truce initiated by German soldiers and embraced by British that spread 400 miles along the trenches, lasted a week, included soccer games, and needed heavy artillery barrages and troop rotations to force resumption of the killing.  Then, there was the failed Poilus revolt of 40,000 French troops.  Other stoppages also failed on the Eastern Front.  Vietnam was just another example of the sacrifice of human life for what?  Capitalist fears of communism?  We are overpopulated but wars do not kill population explosions.
Humans do feel more comfortable when left safe in small groups, free to trade and inter-marry with other safe small groups.  While it should be argued, even if false, that all humans are born equal, the same cannot be said for the varied and changing land areas essential to growing populations, so we get conflicts, migrations,  and profits. Yet the concept of world unity is well worn and exhibits the desires of millions of us.  For at least 12,000 years we have embraced conquests and expansions, usually for Greed that needs to seduce manpower by such tactics as spreading religions or philosophies and offering spoils of war, especially women.  This has given us a mixed bag of assimilation, bloodshed, personhood, building, commerce, destruction, enlightenment, ethnic cleansing, equality, exploration,  gene-mixing, human rights, inequalities, peace, salvation, slavery, and strife.  Today, we can procrastinate no longer.  Actions, many quite painful, are unavoidable - but is our species sufficiently educated to finally work in global harmony, tolerant of all peaceful diversities that identify us?
In spite of the rapid growth of instant communication that could unite us, we remain easy prey for the Greed of selfish individuals and groups who use it for fraud and scams.
There are now more mobile phones than people and their birthrate exceeds ours.   So, why are we so tribalized that we remain suspicious of those who dwell on the other side of the mountains, across the river or ocean, or even on the other side of the railway tracks, and at the sending end of our e-mails.
On being born, naked and with no set of prior instructions, into a very complex world, each of us has had to rely on forebears to educate us - a task that takes at least 15 years.  Do enough of us sacrifice the time and effort to seek, to learn from, and to act on the wisdom that abounds out there?
Languages and cultures do influence the human mind.  Since the Industrial Revolution and the growth of Capitalism too many current languages have drifted away from intimacy with the environment and other life forms to embrace the God of Greed.  Animals and Plants were put here to serve us we are told.   In many of the nations, that now make up America, from Canada to Terra del Fuego, thousands of European settlers discovered they preferred the native life styles to European even though many native tribes also used torture and warfare.
  “I am a citizen of the world.” replied Diogenes in 422 BC when asked about his origins.  Individuals who considered themselves to be citizens of the world can be found among the ancient Greek thinkers, the Romans, the Chinese dynasties, the Persians, all the way to Immanuel Kant in Königsberg, Germany, who, in 1759, outlined the steps necessary for perpetual peace.   And, yes, Einstein considered himself a world citizen. 
I must mention Alfred Tennyson who, in 1842 in the UK, wrote a poem I have cherished since childhood:
For I dipt into the future far as human eye could see
Saw a vision of the world and all the wonder that would be  
Till the war drums throbbed no longer and the battle flags were furled
In the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World.
There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful world in awe
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.
Ulysses S. Grant in 1873 predicted that the great advances in transport and communication would make the  world one, thus eliminating armies and navies. 
Karl Marx, 1818-1883, argued that capitalism depended on competing world businesses so should soon be superceded by socialism that would erase national rivalry thus uniting workers of the world for the benefit of all. 
Kang Youwei published in China his 1885 “One World Philosophy”, concluding that Nature would coalesce the 10,000 countries the world had known into one.
Bahá’u’lláh, 1817-1892, in the Ottoman Empire was imprisoned and tortured for 40 years in Tehran and  Acre because he preached one world under one god.  His son built a religion that accepts major religions as manifestations of God who will reveal further manifestations such as a universal language to a species that will continue to be diverse.  It seeks limits to both poverty and wealth.  It has enticed adherents in Europe, the Americas, and Australasia.  It boasts 5 million members among 2,100 ethnic groupings in 100,000 locations.
The International Humanist and Ethical Union was founded in 1952 in Amsterdam with Julius Huxley presiding.  Current headquarters are in London.  It now embraces 130 organizations in over 50 countries.  It promotes free thought, following science rather than gods, to enhance the welfare of humanity.
Other One-World predictors warn it would be under the control of one of the established nations such as Britain, Germany, Russia, or the United States.  Alexis de Tocqueville (France 1805-1859) warned that the United States, set to take over the British Empire, would go on to dominate the entire world.
The late 1800s and early 1900s was an optimistic age.  Some 450 international organizations were formed.  These included the Red Cross, the Universal Postal Union, the Institute of International Law, and the International Parliamentary Union.  Yet all these were inadequate to prevent the jingoists and profiteers from launching the horrors of WWI and from setting the stage, in the Treaty of Versailles, for Adolph Hitler and his Nazis.
Passports: Restrictions to travel have a long history.  One of the oldest known documents is the letter that Persian King Artaxerxes prepared for Nehemiah in 450 BC requesting safe passage to Judea.  The first true passport is credited to Henry V of England about 1414.  The rapid expansion of railroads prior to WWI led to  a large relaxation of passports.   Church birth certificates were the major use of identification if required.  Two world wars  created a compulsory use of passports, greatly hampered today by the millions of paperless refugees fleeing wars, persecutions, ethnic cleansing, droughts, fires, and floods.   Is the next step a world-wide data base of computerized facial impressions?  Are these foolproof to ageing?
World Unifying Organizations: In March of 1943 I was shocked to see, from the train taking me as a new POW across the entire width of Germany, Coca Cola signs and those of other US commercial interests especially petroleum.  So wars did not stop enemy commercial dominations.  Was commerce an ally or enemy of politics?
      We had tried the League of Nations that failed to prevent WWII.  Why?  Consider the USA.  Divided even before its birth, it was so blessed by the geography it stole that it rose to be the richest and militarily-most-powerful nation.  Its President, Woodrow Wilson, with his 14 points, promoted strong support for the League of Nations but his electioneering train was followed by Republicans intent on keeping the US out of world politics.  Wilson died on reaching Pueblo, Colorado, and the Republicans went on to win and keep the US out of the League thus curtailing its abilities.   After WWII the US partially reversed its stand, providing a HQ location and the largest budget share for the United Nations in the desire to control it, a desire shared with  China, France, Russia, and the UK, all with veto powers. 
     Recently, politicians from 35 nationalist parties went to Barcelona to support Catalan independence.  Included were: Parti Quebecois, Scottish Nationalist Party, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru of Wales, and Belgium’s New Flemish Alliance.  Now, we have armed conflict over the Kurdish desire for its own nation. 
       Heart warming is the growing number of individuals who are pursuing Truth and informing the rest of us:
       Ruth Conniff, editor of The Progressive magazine is leaving for a year to immerse herself, her husband, and 3 daughters into Mexican culture.  They will live in a small house at the end of a dirt road in Oaxaca.  The girls will attend Mexican middle and high schools, learn Spanish, and something about the 16 distinct ethnic groups that enrich the area. 
Ai Weiwei was born in Beijing in 1957 to a mother who was a writer and a father a poet.  Named enemies of the people, the family was sent to a hard-labour camp.  Here Ai spent 16 years under harsh conditions with little formal education.  Returning to Beijing at age 19, Ai enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy whose leader was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1981, prompting Ai to flee to New York, speaking no English and with only $30.  He worked at numerous odd jobs, but returned to Beijing in 1993 as his father was ill.  He founded One World, an architecture firm that became highly influential.  He was also dedicated to art and writing.  After a 2008 massive earthquake in Sichuan he documented the 5,000 children killed due to shoddy government schools.  He was put under house arrest, his blog site was deactivated, and his beatings by police required brain surgery.  His passport was seized until 2015.  He then fled to Berlin, and formed a crew to visit 23 countries, and 40 refugee locations, to produce the current documentary “Human Flow”.
Formidable obstacles to the one-world concept include:
     Ethnic Cleansing:  From Carthage in 149 BC to two world wars to today’s Central African Republic, Botswana, Bulgaria, Congo, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Myanmar, Niger, Palestine, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, South Ossetia, Sudan, Syria, USA, millions have been killed or forced to flee while many of their homes were destroyed.   
     Powerful self-centred Leaders are powerful and dangerous only because they have attracted  num erous powerful lieutenants to control the masses.
One-worlders do face immense barriers.  Only 13% of 190 rated countries have a free press.  In  order of the degree of freedom Scandinavia takes the top 5 slots with Costa Rica leading all of America as #6.  Other selected ratings are:  New Zealand 13th, Germany 16th, Australia 19th, Canada 22nd, USA 43rd, Argentina 50th, Poland 54th, S. Korea 63rd, Japan 72nd, Greece 88th, Israel 91st, Ukraine 102nd, Brazil 103rd, Palestine 135th, India 136th, Jordan 138th, Pakistan 139th, Mexico 147th, Russia 148th, Libya 163rd, Iran 165th, Saudi Arabia 165th, Cuba 173rd, China 176th, North Korea 190th.
Powerful world leaders guilty of crimes against humanity include: Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu, Myanmar’s generals, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, Russia's Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia’s royal family, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğen, and, sadly, several US presidents leading to the current one who support 800 US military bases in over 70 countries when Britain, China, France, and Russia combined have 30.  The US has  some 50 in resource-rich Africa where US drone strikes do create ever more “terrorists” to fight.     In fact the current US president has  launched 10,500 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.  That is double the Obama record.   It is estimated that US-led airstrikes have killed over 3,200 innocent civilians with Russia adding about half that number.
When, to these threats, we add Over Population, Global Warming, Restless Earth Eruptions, Solar Flares, Colliding Asteroids, Immune Disease Predators, and Inevitable Death we have more than enough reasons to lie back, grab what transient pleasures we can, and accept imminent oblivion.
Or, we can emulate the millions who have preceded us in making this world a better place because they fought back to glorify our species that has, over some 200,000 (400,000?) years, especially the last 2,000, made such amazing progress and have left us with the potential to achieve paradise even if it too must have an end.
Surges can empower tsunamis.  We possess the knowledge and wherewithal to create one world beyond wars.  Let us accept the challenge.

Ye Olde Scribe


Wednesday, 4 October 2017


  I was well into a different blog on world citizenship when Julie Payette gave her inaugural speech on 02 October 2017 without notes and in three languages - English, French, and Algonquin, the language of the original inhabitants of the Ottawa area.  Among the attendees was Perry Bellegarde, president of the First Nations Association.  Over 600 bands, speaking over 60 languages, make up 5.6% of Canada’s 36 million people. Again I was impressed.  My association with Julie is limited to a 15-minute discussion after a mess dinner held by Canadian personnel stationed here at NORAD.  She had been invited as guest speaker.  I was delighted to find we shared similar views.  So, I thoroughly endorse her appointment as the 29th Governor General of Canada.
As head of state, the governor general may not be nominated by, or be part of, any political party.  Representing the Crown and Country, where sovereignty resides, she, or he, must remain above petty politics.
Yet, should the need arise, a governor general can dismiss a prime minister and dissolve parliament if they lose the confidence of the House of Commons.
Julie, a business woman, an engineer, and an astronaut, was born in Montreal in 1963.  She earned a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at McGill University in 1986, then worked for IBM Canada for 2 years before earning an MA from the University of Toronto in 1990, returning to IBM for a year of research in Zurich, Switzerland.  In 1992 she joined BellNorthern Research in Montreal to work on telephone speech comprehension.
She also has a Baccalaureate diploma from the United World College in Wales, UK.
She can converse in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish.
She is twice divorced, and has a son, Laurier, now age 14.   
She is also a pilot logging 1,300 hours, 600 of which were on high performance jets.
In June1992 Julie was one of four selected, from among 5,330 applicants, by the Canadian Space Agency.  She worked in advanced robotics systems before reporting to the Johnson Space Center in 1996.
For 11 days in 1999 Julie was part of the crew of space shuttle Discovery, the first shuttle to dock with the International Space Station on which she operated the Canadian robotic arm.  This STS-96 mission made 153 orbits of the Earth in 9 days and 19 hours.
Of the eleven Canadian astronauts who have flown in space only two were women.
Julie’s second space flight was in 2009 on STS-127, using space shuttle Endeavour.  During this 17-day space station stay, she joined Canadian astronaut, Robert Thirsk.  Julie had brought a signed sweater from Maurice “The Rocket” Richard of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team to honour the team’s 100th anniversary.
During my discussion with her, Julie spoke of her delight at finding the Montreal area cloud free, permitting her to take pictures from space of her home-town area.
From 2000 to 2007, Julie was Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency.
From 2010 to 2011, she worked at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington while representing the Quebec government as scientific delegate to the USA.  Then for 3 years she was CEO of the Montreal Science Centre as well as Vice President of the Canada Lands Company.  
As if that was not enough, Julie also participates in a confusing assortment of responsibilities including: airport development, drugs-free children, women’s olympic sports, university boards of directors, and so on.  She plays the piano and has sung with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. 
Queen Elizabeth II welcomed Julie to Balmoral Castle, 20 September 2017, investing her as an Extraordinary  Companion of the Order of Canada, an Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, and a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.
When I met her, Julie presented herself as just another inquisitive member of the human species.
In her new role, Julie is already urging Canadians to work on world problems such as climate change, refugees, poverty, and to reach goals for the common world good. 
  Canada, and the world, are indeed fortunate to call her a citizen.

Ye Olde Scribe