View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Sunday evening

Well, that's the Football World Cup gone to Spain, who beat Holland 1-0 in the last twenty minutes. Disappointing game, in which about 8 yellow cards were doled out and one player sent off after a second yellow. The game was pretty physical, as demonstrated by the number of bookings. I did not really enjoy it, and am naturally a bit sad that Holland did not get it - again. However, in all fairness, the Spaniards played better and got that all deciding goal after 116 minutes of play.

In the early hours of Saturday, the discharge from a sawn-off shotgun ended the troubled life of Northumberland man Raoul Moat. This 37-year old had previously shot his former girlfriend, killed her new partner and shot a police constable in his patrol car. Moat then went into hiding near the village of Rothbury, 30 miles north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He issued threats against the police, the media and the general public. Moat had serious psychological problems, and the police appeared to have been aware of that, judging by the way they addressed him through the media, and through letters. On Friday evening, he was spotted on the bank of a river at Rothbury, and quickly surrounded. After a six-hour stand-off, with police within 20 feet of him, Moat received two shots from a Taser-gun. He then shot himself in the head.
Leaving the over-exposure in the media to one side (which did not help the situation), the family are claiming that the police declined offers of help from them. It's always easy to see the (perceived) right path with the benefit of hindsight. But questions are being asked from more impartial quarters as well with regards to the handling by police.

Sunday 11 July

A cold and wet start to the day, but the weather appears to be brightening up at the moment. What a luxury, to complain about cold weather, when elsewhere the birds drop down dead from the roofs due to excessive heat.

Four days ago, it was 15 years ago since Srebrenica was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces, in spite of the fact that it was a UN protected enclave in Bosnian Serb territory. The Dutch UN battalion was unable to halt the Bosnian Serb advance. Once they had established supremacy, the Serbs gathered up the male population of Srebrenica and took them into nearby woodlands. Some 8,000 were murdered; 6,000 have to date been buried at a cemetery in nearby Potocari. An interesting article on Dutch news site states that reconciliation appears to be in progress, with both sides recognising that continuing anger over events in the 1990s serves no constructive purpose. The military commandant of the Bosnian Serbs, Ratko Mladic remains at large; their former president, Radovan Karadzic, is facing the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague on multiple counts of genocide.