View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Remembering Today - 12 February

On this day in the First World War, these two men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King and Country. RIP.

Last address in Lewis: 3 Habost, Ness,
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, MFA Eleanor
Service number: 4413/A
Date of death: 12 February 1918 at the age of 29
Ship sunk by torpedo
Memorial: Portsmouth Naval
Memorial reference: 31
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross


Coinneach Aonghais
Last address in Lewis: 6B Gravir,
Son of Angus and Annabella Macaskill, of Gravir; husband of Christina Macaskill, of 6, Gravir Lochs, Stornoway. Father of Donald Alex.
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, MFA Eleanor
Service number: 8819A
Date of death: 12 February 1918 at the age of 33
Ship sunk by U-boat in Irish Channel
Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial
Memorial reference: 30
Local memorial: Pairc, Kershader

JLand Central

Since our move to Blogger in October 2008, we have had a blog for the community called JLand Central. It has lain dormant since before Christmas, but I would like to highlight it once more as a place where messages can be posted for the benefit of the whole community. This includes technical issues, requests for information on who now blogs where, or perhaps one of the journals you read has not been posting for a while.

Please drop a line to Sugar, Jeannette (Outside Looking In), Yasmin, Stuart or myself.

Wilders bewildered

Geert Wilders was barred from entering the United Kingdom today. He is controversial for stating that the Koran should be compared to Hitler's book "Mein Kampf", and banned likewise. His film "Fitna" shows footage from 9/11, the trainbombing in Madrid in March 2004 and the bombings in London in July 2005, interspersed with readings from the Koran and sermons from extremist Muslim preachers.

The above mentioned atrocities were justified by the guilty, (ab)using verses from the Koran; I am not a scholar of that Book, but like the Bible, people twist, distort and use its writings for their own ends. Mr Wilders is taking advantage of that by generalising grossly, tarring all Muslims with the same brush, saying they are all murderous extremists.

As I said in my posting from last night, it is a cause for grave concern when people like him manage to get themselves elected to parliament. The Dutch government should look at society there and check what is wrong. The British government should make a similar check, as there are peers of the realm who are prepared to entertain someone of Mr Wilders' convictions.

Freedom of speech is a great virtue of our society, and should be cherished closely. It should however never be allowed to be abused to sow intolerance, distrust, hatred and violence. Mr Wilders erred on the wrong side of that balance. It is ironic that he has joined the very people he so despises (Muslim extremists) in the list of 270 names, banned from entering the United Kingdom since 2005.

It is deplorable that the Dutch government fails to see the finer points of this problem - in July 2005, fifty-two people lost their lives on the London public transport system as a result of four suicide bombers, who acted out of religious fanaticism. Since then, community relations in the UK have come a long way, and the government in London was well advised to deny entry to someone who might well have unsettled that balance.

Thursday 12 February

The day started out soaking wet, with pouring rain until daybreak. Things got progressively better as the morning wore on, although it is now mainly overcast if quite bright. Large amounts of snow are causing problems on the eastern side of the UK as milder air is making its way in from the west. The forecast maximum of +8C does not appear attainable at this stage of the day - the thermometer over at the airport (3 miles from here) is at 5C.

The controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders has been held at Heathrow Airport after being denied entry to the UK. He will now duly be returned to the Netherlands. The Dutch ambassador was also at Heathrow to express his country's opposition to the ban on Mr Wilders.

I am pleased to note that Pope Benedict XVI has moved to limit damage caused by the reinstatement of holocaust denier Bishop Williamson. The pontiff has stated that he was unaware of the bishop's views, and apologises for any distress caused. The Jewish community in the USA has expressed relief at this. I have to say that I find it almost beyond belief that it was not known in the Vatican that Bishop Williamson was a holocaust denier.