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Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/01/2018 - 11:00pm in

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Tharg’s Tribute to Kevin O’Neill: When the Comics Code Banned His Art

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 30/12/2017 - 10:03pm in

Yesterday in one of the posts I mentioned the dictatorial grip the Comics Code Authority had over American comics from the 1950s to the mid-1980s. The Code was sent up to reassure and protect the American public after the moral panic over Horror comics in the 1950s. This spread to comics as a whole, which were seen as subversive, morally corrupting and un-American. This included bizarre accusations of Fascism and deviant sexuality aimed at those stalwarts of popular American culture, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. The scare decimated the American comics industry, and nearly caused its total collapse.

The Code was set up to ensure that all comics were suitable for a child of seven to read. Its officials were unelected, and in many cases had right-wing views that showed absolutely no understanding of popular politics or culture. It was supposed to be a voluntary organisation, and there were comics creators who worked outside and often against the code. Like Robert Crumb and the underground scene, or the independents Like Dave Sim and Cerebus the Aardvark. In practice, however, those comics were well outside the mainstream, and were only available in head shops and specialist comics stores like Forbidden Planet and the late, lamented Forever People in Bristol.

I discussed how the Code rejected one issue of the Green Lantern Corps, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Kevin O’Neill, on the grounds that O’Neill’s artwork was too grotesque and disturbing for children. This was ironic, as he had been delighting children and adults with his monstrous aliens, mutants, robots and equally grotesque humans for years in the pages of 2000 AD. He was and remains one of comicdom’s favourite artists, and while the other artists who worked on the Nemesis the Warlock strip added the considerable talents to the tale of the Warlock and his foe, the human ‘Ultimate Fascist’ Grand Master Torquemada, I think much of the strip’s initial popularity came from his superb, bizarre artwork.

2000 AD duly paid tribute to him and his censorship by the Comics Code in their anniversary issue, Prog 500, published on 14 December 1986. In it, Tharg took a walk through the contents of his mind, reviewing the comic’s history and revisiting some of the characters that didn’t work. At the end he comes to Kevin O’Neill, who appears as a stunted, crazed sadist. O’Neill admonishes him for censoring the most extreme piece of violence in the strip. Tharg tries to reassure him by reminding him that he won the ‘ultimate accolade’ for which other comics creators all envy him: the day the Comics Code banned his art as totally unsuitable for children. To which O’Neill replies ‘Hmmph. You won’t get around me by flattery’. Unsatisfied, O’Neill then calls down Torquemade, who promptly beats Tharg up.

The different sections of that strip were written and drawn by the different artists and writers, who worked on the comic, so there were different credit cards for them for each section. That section ends with the credits reading ‘Script Therapy: Pat Mills. Art Therapy: Kev O’Neill. Letters: Steve Potter’. Which suggests that the letterer was the only sane one there.

Here’s a few panels.

The real O’Neill is, however, quite different from his portrayal in the strip. It’s been pointed out several times that the fans, who’ve met him, are often surprised that he doesn’t dress in black and silver like the Terminators. And the other rumours about him are also totally untrue. Like he only works at night using a quill pen in the light of candles, and has an occult temple in his basement. I met him at UKCAC 90 in Reading, where I queued with Mike to have him draw a character on the blank badges we’d been given for our fave artists to draw on. O’Neill at the time was a wearing a ‘Solidarity for Nicaragua’ T-shirt, which a left-wing friend of mine at college also wore. He also was wearing a brown leather jacket, and his facial features at the time reminded me a bit of John Hurt. He was affable, enthusiastic, full of nervous energy and completely unthreatening. If you seem him now at comic conventions or footage of them on YouTube, or the occasional interview for television, he’s obviously older and balder, as effects so many of us eventually. He comes across as genial and entertaining British gent, completely unlike the berserk monstrosities that rampage across his strips down the years. Even when he’s telling the stories about how he and Pat Mills went as far as they could in savaging American superhero comics and right-wing, superpatriotic American politics in the violent and nihilistic Marshal Law. Actors, writers and artists aren’t their creations. Fortunately.

Kevin Logan on Milo Yiannopolis’ Editor’s Notes

I’ve been avoiding talking too much about politics this week as I simply haven’t had the strength to tackle the issues in as much detail as they deserve. Quite apart from the fact that the issues that have been raised in the media this week – the continuing running down of the NHS, the growth of food banks, homelessness and grinding poverty, all to make the poor poorer and inflate the already bloated incomes of the Tory elite, all make me absolutely furious. I’ve been feeling so under the weather that, quite simply, I couldn’t face blogging about them and making myself feel worse mentally as well as physically.

But this is slightly different.

Slate has published a piece about the guidance notes Alt-Right Trumpist cheerleader Milo Yiannopolis has got from his publishers at Simon and Schuster. In this short video, scourge of anti-feminists, racists and general Nazis Kevin Logan goes through the notes, and it’s hilarious.

There are pages and pages of them. And the more you read, the funnier it gets.

You remember Milo Yiannopolis? He was one of the rising stars of the Alt-Right. He’s anti-feminist, anti-immigration and in many peoples’ eyes, racist, although he’s denied that he actually has any Nazi connections. All this despite the fact that he was filmed in a bar getting Hitler salutes from a party of Alt-Right fans.

He was the IT correspondent for Breitbart, many of whose founders, managers and leading staff are racists, and have been described as such by the anti-racism, anti-religious extremism organisation and site Hope Not Hate. Yiannopolis has constantly denied that he’s racist or bigoted by playing the race and sexuality card. He’s half-Jewish, gay, and his partner is Black. And so he argues that he can’t possibly be prejudiced against people of different ethnicities and gays. Well, possibly. But he has said some extremely bigoted, racist and homophobic comments, quite apart from his anti-feminism.

He describes himself as ‘a virtuous troll’. Others just call him a troll. That’s all he is. He’s only good at writing deliberately offensive material, but is otherwise completely unremarkable. But he’s British public school elite, and so Americans, who should know much better, assume that somehow he’s more cultured, knowledgeable, better educated and insightful than he actually is. Sam Seder commented on Yiannopolis that if he wasn’t British, nobody would take any notice of him. I think it’s a fair comment. But it does show the snobbery that goes with class and accent. Incidentally, when I was a kid reading comics, my favourite characters were the Thing in the Fantastic Four, and Powerman, in Powerman and Iron Fist. And it was partly because of their accents. Stan Lee has a terrible memory, and to help him remember which character said what, he used to give them different voices, sometimes based on who was in the media at the time. He made the Thing talk like Jimmy Durante. He was a space pilot, but his speech was that of New York working class. I liked him because he was kind of a blue-collar joe, like my family.

The same with Powerman. He was a Black superhero, real name Luke Cage, who had been subjected to unethical medical experiments to create a superman by a corrupt prison governor after being wrongly convicted. I didn’t understand the racial politics around the strip, but liked the character because he was another lower class character with a working class voice. He also had the same direct approach as the Thing in dealing with supervillains. Whereas Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the Fantastic Four, and Cage’s martial artist partner in fighting crime, Iron Fist would debate philosophically how to deal with the latest threat to the world and the cosmos, according to the demands of reason and science in the case of Mr. Fantastic, and ancient Chinese mystical traditions, in Iron Fists’, the Thing and Powerman simply saw another megalomaniac, who needed to be hit hard until they cried for mercy and stopped trying to take over the world or the universe.

But I digress. Back to Milo. Milo was due to have a book published, but this fell through after he appeared on Joe Rogan’s show defending child abuse. Yiannopolis had been sexually abused himself by a paedophile Roman Catholic priest, but believed that he had been the predator in that situation. From what I understand, the victims of sexual abuse often unfairly blame themselves for their assault, so I’m quite prepared to believe that something like that happened to Yiannopolis. What was unusual – and revolting – was that Yiannopolis appeared to feel no guilt and regret at all about the incident.

Very, very many people were rightly disgust. He got sacked from Breitbart, along with a lot of other companies, his speaking tour had to be cancelled, and the book deal he had managed to finagle fell through.

Well, as Sergeant Major Shut Up used to say on It Ain’t ‘Alf Hot, Mum, ‘Oh, dear. How sad. Never mind.’ It couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke, and Yiannopolis got a taste of the kind invective and vitriol he poured on the ‘SJWs’ and the Left.

He appeared later on to ‘clarify’ his statement – not an apology – saying that he now knew he was the victim of child abuse, and stating that he didn’t promote or approve of the sexual abuse of children. But the damage was done.

Now it seems Yiannopolis’ book deal is back on, though Simon and Schuster really aren’t happy with the manuscript.

Comments include recommendations that he remove the jokes about Black men’s willies, doesn’t call people ‘cucks’, and stop sneering at ugly people. One of these is particularly hilarious, as his editor writes that you can’t claim that ugly people are attracted to the Left. ‘Have you seen the crowd at a Trump rally?’ Quite. I saw the front row of the crowd at BBC coverage of the Tory party convention one year, and they were positively horrific. It seemed to be full of old school country squire types, as drawn by Gerald Scarfe at his most splenetic.

The guidance goes on with comments like ‘No, I will not tolerate you describing a whole class of people as mentally retarded’, and then factual corrections. Like ‘This never happened’. ‘This never happened too.’ ‘No, you’re repeating fake news. There was no Satanism, no blood and no semen’. At one point the editor demands that an entire chapter be excised because it’s just off-topic and offensive.

Here’s the video.

There probably isn’t anything unusual in the amount of editing that Simon and Schuster require. Mainstream publishing houses often request changes or alteration to the manuscript. It happens to the best writers and academics. Years ago I read an interview with the editors of some of the authors of the world’s most influential books. One of them was Germaine Greer’s. Greer had sent in a manuscript about cross-dressing in Shakespeare. A fair enough subject, as there’s a lot of female characters disguising themselves as boys in the Bard’s plays. But she had the insight that Greer was far more interested in gender roles, and suggested she write about that instead. And the result was The Female Eunuch.

At a much lower level of literature, Private Eye had a good chortle about one of ‘Master Storyteller’ Jeffrey Archer’s tawdry epics. Apparently the gossip was that it went through seven rewrites. Ian Fleming’s editor for the Bond books, according to one TV documentary, was a gay man with a keen interest in dressing well. Which is why some of the sex in Bond was less explicit than Fleming intended, but also why Bond became suave, stylish dresser fighting supervillains in impeccably cut dinner suits.

No shame in any of this, then. But what makes it funny is that it’s happened to Yiannopolis, who seems to have been too much of an egotist to think that anything like it could ever really happen to him. Looking through the comments, it’s also clear that the editor really doesn’t like his bigotry, and the invective he spews against racial minorities and the disadvantaged. I got the impression that he or she really didn’t want to have anything to do with book, but has presumably been told they had to work with Yiannopolis because the publishers were going to put it out anyway, no matter what anyone else in the company felt.

And the editor’s clear dislike of his bigotry is a problem for Yiannopolis, because he’s a troll, and that’s just about all he does: pour out sneers, scorn and abuse, like a male version of Anne Coulter, another right-winger, who’s far less intelligent than she thinks she is. And I know that grammatically standards are a bit looser now than they were a few years ago, but when you have the comment ‘This is not a sentence’, it’s clear that Yiannopolis is failing at one of the basic demands of any writer from the editors of small press magazines to the biggest publishing houses and newspapers and magazines. They all insist that you should write properly in grammatically correct sentences. But Yiannopolis has shown that he can’t do that either.

As for the kind of literary snobbery that used to look down very hard on comics and graphic novels, while promoting opinionated bigots like Yiannopolis as ‘serious’ writers, my recommendation is that if you’re given a choice between going to comics convention or seeing Milo, go to the comics convention. You’ll be with nicer people, the comics creators on the panels are very good speakers, and themselves often very literate and cultured. I can remember seeing Charles Vess at the UKCAC Convention in Reading in 1990. Vess is a comics artist, but he’s also produced cover art for SF novels. He gave a fascinating talk about the great artists that have influenced him with slides. And one of the highlights was listening to the publisher of DC, Roy Kanigher, who was very broad New York. Didn’t matter. He was genuinely funny, to the point where the interviewer lost control of the proceedings and Kanigher had the crowd behind him all the way.

Which shows what a lot of people really know already: just because someone’s got a British public school accent, does not make them a genius, or that they’re capable of producing anything worth reading. Comics at their best can be brilliant. They open up children’s and adults’ imaginations, the art can be frankly amazing and quite often the deal with difficult, complex issues in imaginative ways. Think of Neil Gaiman, who started off as one of the writers at 2000 AD before writing the Sandman strip for DC. Or Alan Moore.

Yiannopolis is the opposite. All he does is preach hate, trying to get us to hate our Black, Asian and Latin brothers and sisters, despise the poor, and tell women to know their place. He has no more right to be published, regardless of his notoriety, than anyone else. And the editor’s demand for amendments show it.

Oh, and as regarding publishing fake news, he’d have had far less sympathy from Mike, if by some misfortune Mike had found himself as Yiannopolis’ editor. Proper journalists are expected to check their facts, which Mike was always very keen on. It was he was respected by the people he actually dealt when he was working as a journalist. The problem often comes higher up, at the level of the newspaper editors and publishers. In the case of Rupert Murdoch, I’ve read account of his behaviour at meetings with his legal staff that shows that Murdoch actually doesn’t care about publishing libellous material, if the amount of the fine will be lower than the number of extra copies of the paper the fake news will sale. Fortunately it appears that Simon and Schusters’ editors don’t quite have that attitude. But who knows for how long this will last under Trump. The man is determined to single-handedly destroy everything genuinely great and noble in American culture.

Share and Enjoy! The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Predicted the Tutorbot

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/12/2017 - 5:52am in

‘Share and enjoy’ is the company motto of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, a massive robotics conglomerate best known for its incompetence and shoddy workmanship in Douglas Adams’ Science Fiction classic, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The company and its products are so substandard, that its complaints division now occupies the major landmasses of three whole planets.

And while, according to Adams, the great Encyclopedia Galactica defined a robot as a machine designed to do the work of a man, the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation defines a robot as ‘your plastic pal who’s fun to be with’.

And we’re coming closer to that reality every day. Yesterday and today, BBC 2 have been running a short documentary series, Six Robots and Us, in which six families and other groups of people take care of six robots designed to help them with their particular problems. One of these is Fitbot, a robotic fitness instructor, which was given to a group of people trying to get fit. In tonight’s episode, the people of a shop take custody of Shopbot, are robotic store worker, to see how they get on. And there are two children with learning difficulties, one of whom is autistic, who are given Tutorbot, to see if it can help them overcome their difficulties at school.

Douglas Adams predicted something very similar in the Hitch-Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy way back in the ’70s-80s. In the second series of the radio version of Hitch-Hiker, there’s a device called an autoteach, a kind of computer teacher. It gives the student facts, and then starts asking questions to get the student to think through the issues. If the student gets an answer right, they get to press a button on the autoteach, which stimulates their pleasure centres. And at the end of the lesson, after the students has laughed and screamed with pleasure when they get the answers right, the autoteach asks them to press the other button. This give the autoteach itself a dose of pure pleasure, so that part of the story ends with the autoteach laughing like a maniac.

Ok, so Tutorbot, with its humanoid shape isn’t quite like that, and it doesn’t electronically stimulate the pleasure centres, mercifully. But the idea’s more or less the same: an intelligent machine to teach children.

As for the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, the Hitch-Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy defined them as ‘a bunch of mindless jerks, who will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.’

I didn’t see all of yesterday’s edition, because I went to bed early due to this cold. The next programme is on tonight, 28th December 2017, at 8.30. Aside from the cold, what went through my mind while watching the programme was all the jokes in Hitch-Hiker about the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

Here’s a clip from YouTube from the 80s TV version of Hitch-Hiker, where the Book talks about the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation and robots.

Christmas Meat Orders

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/12/2017 - 1:53am in


Scarfolk's Dr Hushson, who surgically adapted children into kitchen utensils for the catering industry, also genetically modified children to grow a variety of foods on, and in, their bodies (see Discovering Scarfolk p. 120-123).

Taking sausage DNA, Hushson created the 'sausage orphan', which genetically substituted a child's face - something Hushson had long considered redundant - with a sausage or luncheon meat.

By the end of the 1970s, sausage orphans or 'kids in blankets' had become a traditional part of a Scarfolk Christmas lunch. Orders were taken weeks in advance and in the days leading up to the festivities, frightened sausage orphans would huddle together in meat curing/smoking rooms to await their fate.

See also: Scarbrand pie filling; minor meat cuts; Mr Liver Head; recycling surgical waste; the Eating Children book.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year from all the staff at Scarfolk Council!

بين الفقدان وآثار الحرب.. حكايا الأيتام السوريين في تركيا

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/12/2017 - 10:34pm in

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Turkey, Syria, Children

"دار السلام للأيتام"  مشروع أنشأته عائلة سوريّة، يسكن فيه نحو سبعين طفلاً يتيماً.  يعتبر أولَ و أكبر دار للأيتام السوريين في تركيا.

مجاهد أبو الجود. All rights reserved. مجاهد أبو الجود. All rights reserved.في مبنى كبير في حي "غوناي كنت"، وسط مدينة غازي عينتاب التركية، يسكن نحو سبعين طفلاً يتيماً - فاقدي الآباء معظمهم - مع أمهاتهم، ضمن مشروع أنشأته عائلة سوريّة هناك تحت اسم "دار السلام للأيتام".

ابتدأت فكرة الدار قبل نحو خمس سنوات، بعد أن هربت "منال دامور" ووالدتها سميرة مع جميع أفراد عائلتها من بطش النظام في محافظة حلب، وقررت صبَّ جهدها لرعاية بضعة أطفال في منزلها.

استفادت منال من رسالتها في الماجستير المتخصصة في الهندسة المتزامنة، التي تقوم على تخطيط وتنفيذ المشاريع ضمن فترة وجيزة وبجودة جيدة وتكلفة قليلة، كي تنشأ مشروعاً صغيراً للأيتام.

بدأت بتصميم المبنى الذي تريده ووزعت الوظائف والمهام، حتى خَلَصَت لتنفيذ مشروع الدار في ضواحي عنتاب. ومن ثم نقلته لداخل المدينة، قبل أن ينتقل أخيراً في الشهر السابع من العام الجاري إلى موقعه الحالي، حيث اُعتبر الدارَ الأولَ والأكبرَ للأيتام السوريين في تركيا.

تعتَبرُ منال أن الأمر الذي يميّز دار السلام والذي حَذَت حذوه معظم دور الأيتام التي نشأت عقبه، هو «لم شمل الأسرة» على حد تعبيرها، حيث تسكن الأم مع أطفالها في ذات المبنى، بخلاف دور الأيتام المعروفة التي ترعى الأطفال فقط.

كما يتميز دارُ السلامِ بمنح العائلة نوعاً من الخصوصية والاستقلالية، فقد أُخِذَ بالحسبان أثناء تصميمه توزعه على شققٍ صغيرة ومتوسطة تمنح حسب عدد أفراد العائلة، وتعطى الأسرة مؤونتها شهرياً، ومستلزماتها اليومية أسبوعياً، على خلاف عرف مركزية الطعام والخدمات في دور الأيتام الأخرى.

تُلقب سميرة، والدة منال، داخل الدار بـ النانا (الجدة)، وهي مشرفة الدار حالياً. تقول سميرة: "أكون سعيدة عندما ينادونني "نانا". وأشعر أنّ العلاقة بينّا أسريّة أكثر منها علاقة مشرفة ومؤسسة. والمعروف أن النانا هي التي تزرع المحبة وتلم شمل الكل حولها، وهذا ما أحاول قدر الإمكان عمله، كما اخترت أن تكون غرفتي في الطابق الثاني حتى أكون وسطهم ومعهم".

الآثار النفسية للحرب

مجاهد أبو الجود. All rights reserved. مجاهد أبو الجود. All rights reserved.يُطرقُ البابُ على سميرة في منتصف الليل: "نانا، نانا الحقي أم عادل". تركض سميرة مسرعةً لشقة أم عادل، وإذ بها تصرخ عالياً من شرفة منزلها لابنتها الراحلة التي قُتلت أمام عينيها في حريق منزلهم في قرية حيالين بريف حماة عام 2012، بعد ستة أشهر فقط من مقتل زوجها رمياً بالرصاص أمام أعين أطفالها على يد قوات الأمن السورية، ما جعل أم عادل تعتبر نفسها السبب في مقتل ابنتها، لأنها وباعتقادها لم تكن على قدر كاف من المسؤولية للاهتمام بالأولاد.

تقول سميرة وهي تسترجع هذه الحادثة، أنها تحاول جاهدة مساعدة النساء اللواتي فقدن أطفالهن، وتحاول إقناعهن بأن الحياة ما تزال تستحق منا المحاولة. في حالة أم عادل، حاولت سميرة أن تقنعها أن من بقي من أطفالها بحاجة لها، لذلك عليها أن تكون أقوى. وبالطبع فإن أم عادل تخضع لعلاج نفسي محترف وليس فقط الدعم النفسي المقدم من الدار.

اليوم أم عادل تعمل في الدار، وتدير مستودع المؤن وتوزع المخصصات الغذائية على جميع شقق العوائل الأخرى، وتحث الأمهات أمثالها على التحرك لترك بصمة لهنّ في هذه الحياة، على الأقل بين أطفالهنّ.

أم حمود أرملة أخرى، كانت تعيش في قرية قرب إعزاز في ريف حلب الشمالي مع أطفالها الثلاثة. أتاهم إنذار عسكري بإخلاء القرية على الفور، فهربت مع طفلها الصغير إلى تركيا، وتاهت عن ولديها الأكبر "حمود ونور" اللذان كانا خارج المنزل ولم تستطع معرفة مكانهما.

ظل طفليها في القرية قرب إعزاز والتي خضعت لاحقاً لسيطرة تنظيم داعش، وعاشا فيها مشاهد قاسيةً لرؤوس مقطّعة وأجسام مصلّوبة بين الطرقات وفي الساحات العامة.

لم تعرف أم حمود الراحة ولا النوم خلال خمسة أشهر غابت فيها تماماً أي معلومات عن طفليها، كانت في حالة انهيار كامل، كما تقول منال، وكانت تردد باستمرار "ولادي ولادي.. لاقولي ولادي".

تمكنت إدارة الدار من معرفة مكان الأطفال وإحضارهم إلى الدار في تركيا. تضيف منال "خروجهم إلى تركيا في ظل إغلاق الحدود كانت معجزة بحد ذاتها ، فضلاً عن الوصول للدار".

وعن الحالة النفسية للأطفال اليتامى، تقول منال أنّ معظم الأطفال في الميتم قد عايشوا ذكريات مؤلمة، رسخت في أذهانهم مشاهد عنيفة.

مجاهد أبو الجود. All rights reserved. مجاهد أبو الجود. All rights reserved.تقول "رصدنا مؤشرات أذيّة نفسية لدى الأطفال من العِند والانطواء والتلعثم أثناء الكلام والتبول اللاإرادي ليلاً، جميع الأطفال الذين لدينا يمتلكون عارضاً واحداً على الأقل، وبعضهم يعاني من حالات عدوانية تجاه الناس، والعناد الزائد عن المألوف. وإحدى الطفلات جائتنا منقطعة عن الكلام بشكل تام".

محاولات العلاج

تعتبرُ منال أنّ أحد أهم خطوات العلاج النفسي للطفل هو لم شمل الأسرة في حال تواجدها، ما يجعل الطفل يشعر بالأمان والراحة قرب والدته.

كما أن الدار يتعامل مع عدة استشاريين وأطباء نفسيين باستمرار، لكن تكمن المشكلة في تقبّل الأمهات لفكرة العلاج النفسي لهنّ - على اعتبار أنّ علاج الأطفال يبدأ من علاج الأم ، لا سيما وأنّ معظمهن من مجتمعات منغلقة تعتبر العلاج النفسي مرتبطاً بالجنون وفقدان العقل.

تفيد منال: "من جميع النساء الموجودات في الدار، هناك امرأة واحدة طلبت طبيباً نفسياً، كانت مقتنعة أن اضطرابها النفسي بحاجة لطبيب مختص".

أما عن الأطفال فلا تمانع أمهاتهنّ غالباً العلاج النفسي لهم، فجميعهنّ يريدنَ لأطفالهن أن يكونوا في أحسن حال، "من السهل جداً أن تخرج المشاهد القاسية من ذاكرتهم، ونادراً ما يكون مع العلاج النفسي للأطفال تداخل دوائي" تقول منال.

نتائج إيجابية

يهتم الدار بالتعليم بشكل كبير، جميع أطفال الدار يرتادون المدارس التركية، وبعضهم كَبُرَ وأصبح في الجامعة، وهناك طلاب تفوقوا على أقرانهم الأتراك.

مجاهد أبو الجود. All rights reserved. مجاهد أبو الجود. All rights reserved.إحدى طالبات الدار تدرس الآن في كلية هندسة المعلوماتية في جامعة غازي عينتاب التركية، وقد أنهت عامها الأول بالترتيب الثالث على الكلية، بينما طالبة أخرى في المرحلة الثانوية هي الأولى في مدرستها، وأخرى في الصف السابع لا تهدأ إن مرت كلمة في الكتاب ولم تستطع فهمها.

وهناك تميزٌ من نوع آخر، فقد بدأ مسؤولو الدار ينقبون عن المواهب لدى الأطفال. رغد طفلة تبلغ من العمر ١٢ سنة، موهوبة بالتمثيل وتعشق المسرح، وغالباً ما تلعب دور البطولة في المسرحيات التي تُقام، كما أنّ لديها ملكة خطابية قوية، لا يمكن لمن يسمع كلماتها وأشعارها عن الوطن والغربة إلا وأن يتأثر، وتترك بصمة بصوتها وكلماتها داخله.

تعقب منال "هدفنا الرئيسي أن نخرج بنموذج يُحتذى به عن الطفل السوري، والتعليم لدينا من الأولويات. زرعنا في الأطفال حب التعليم حتى يكملوا الطريق إن تركونا أو اضطررنا يوماً ما لإيقاف عملنا في الدار".

سميرة لديها الأمل أن هذا الدار سيكمل مستقبلاً بفضل الأطفال الذين سيكبرون ويدرسون ويتخرجون ليساهموا في استمراره.

تقول سميرة أن مجموعة من الأطفال جاءت للإدارة راغبين بالتبرع بالنقود، ما جعلها تشعر بالفرح بروح المبادرة النابعة من أولاد الدار.

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Corporal (& Capital) Punishment

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/12/2017 - 2:45am in


The Scarfolk Education Board was very keen on administering corporal punishment from the moment an infant entered the school system. Punishment was meted out for a wide range of misdemeanours including: 'being less than 5ft tall', 'not being able to clearly elucidate the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein via the medium of mime' and 'poor attendance due to injuries sustained as a result of corporal punishment'.

The reason for the early introduction of corporal discipline was to familiarise children with the idea of capital, or 'grown up', punishment and the fact that it was very expensive. Convicts were expected to meet the exorbitant costs personally, so children likely to commit capital offences were advised to start saving their pocket money from a young age. 'Execution gift tokens' were given at birthdays and Christmas by well-meaning grandparents, as well as given as prizes by schools for spying and reporting on classmates.

The Caledon Institute of Social Policy is Canadian social policy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 10/12/2017 - 8:32am in

To understand the development of Canadian social policy during the last 25 years, you must appreciate the role of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, which closed it doors on November 30th, 2017.

The Maytree Foundation hosted a conference celebrating the Institute’s accomplishments, and paying tribute to the vision and energy of its principles: Michael Mendelson, Sherri Torjman, and its founder Ken Battle (whose engagement in social policy advocacy began under the pseudonym Grattan Gray).

The Institute’s publications are archived on the Maytree Foundation site. Maytree also published a tribute volume:  25 years of informing the debate: A tribute to the Caledon Institute of Social Policy .

The volume includes a timeline of major milestones in the impact Caledon had on social policy, and over 30 tributes from colleagues, social policy analysts, and public servants, including three Canadian Prime Ministers. Collectively they make interesting, informative, and very touching reading.

Here is my contribution, included in the volume, which you can download in its entirety.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Caledon Institute of Social Policy is Canadian social policy. The Institute’s work has informed, influenced, and directly shaped policies from minimum wages for workers, to benefits for children, to supports for the disabled.

All this, and so much more, is a proud legacy that has impacted the lives of thousands upon thousands of Canadians. Caledon—the noun—is imprinted upon social policy, and will resonate in policy conversation for decades. But I also think of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy as a way of doing social policy. Caledon—the verb—has also entered into the social policy conversation in a lasting way, a central construct of the grammar of public discourse that has left a lasting imprint upon countless academics, stakeholders, and public servants.

To do Caledon Social policy is to act with empathy for the needs and concerns of Canadians whose voices are not the loudest, direct empathy that fosters a deep knowledge of their aspirations and challenges. To do Caledon Social policy is to act with just as direct and deep knowledge of public policy, the very nuts and bolts, the details of actual programs in cities, in provincial capitals, and in Ottawa. And to do Caledon Social policy is to act constructively, step-by-step, incrementally but with firm direction, to fill the gap between intent and result, always guided by a clear sense of destination, a vision of a society in which all Canadians have the right to become all that they can be.

Caledon has accomplished so much, Caledon as a way of doing things will continue to accomplish so much. For this, I personally—alongside many, many other Canadians—am very grateful.

Hammond Blames the Disabled for Fall in Productivity

This is another outrageous statement. But it really doesn’t come as a surprise, as it was mouthed by the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, a poisonous incompetent amongst a government of poisonous incompetents.

When Hammond was asked about the fall in British productivity, he responded by blaming it on the inclusion of various marginal groups in the workforce, such as the disabled. Mike over at Vox Political has posted a piece commenting on this stupid, insensitive and mendacious reply. He points out that if productivity has fallen, it might have something to do with a lack of motivation coming from insultingly low pay, poor nutrition, overwork, tiredness and anxiety due to zero hours contracts to care about profits or productivity.

He also points out that, thanks to May’s government fully supporting poor wages and precarity, employers now find it cheaper to employ people under these wretched conditions than invest in new equipment.

Mike also points out that Hammond’s comments follow the usual Tory line of blaming and demonising the disabled. But this doesn’t mean that they’re coming for them to throw them in the gas ovens just yet. No, they’re just content to let the stress of dealing with the benefit system either worsen their mental health, or force them to commit suicide. All while denying that people are being driven to take their own lives by the stress of their benefit reforms.

This is despite suicide notes left behind by those who have committed suicide, explicitly saying that this is why they have been reduced to taking their own lives.

And Mike also rightly notes how DWP staff are asking people with suicidal tendencies why they haven’t taken their own lives. Which sounds like a question from the infamous ‘Nudge’ Unit, the psychological manipulation department set up to manoeuvre people’s thinking so that they come to the decision the authorities want.

Mike also quotes Labour’s Debbie Abrahams, who has condemned Hammond’s comments, pointing out that disabled people are paying the price for the government’s failed austerity policy. This has included scrapping the schemes to get disabled people into the workforce. She states that we should be doing more to get disabled people into work, and definitely not denigrate their contributions. She went on to demand an apology from Hammond.

Abrahams also points out the contradiction that’s also hidden in Hammond’s statement. He states that there are more disabled people in the workforce, which we should be proud of, but the Tories have actually cut the programmes to get the disabled into work, as well as scrapping their manifesto pledge to halve the gap between the employment rates for disabled and able people.

You can’t have it both ways, so one way or another, Hammond is clearly lying.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/12/07/chancellor-blames-fall-in-uk-productivity-on-disabled-people-in-the-workforce/

Hammond’s comment is disgusting, but it is more or less standard Tory replies. The Tories’ entire economic strategy is to prolong the deficit crisis as long as possible, so they have an excuse for cutting welfare benefits, privatising whatever remains of the state sector, including education, and removing workers’ rights. All to create a cowed, beaten workforce that will accept starvation wages, for the benefit of ultra-rich profiteers, including the banksters, hedge fund managers and multinational corporations that are currently keeping their wretched party afloat.

At the same time, they desperately need a scapegoat. Usually this function is filled by the unions, who provide them with an excuse for taking away more workers’ rights while at the same time trying to dismember the Labour party by attacking its foundations in the trade union movement. But as no-one’s currently on strike, they can’t do it.

So Spreadsheet Phil has to blame the disabled.

As with everything else the Tories utter, a few moment’s thought can show that the reality may be the very opposite of what they’re saying. Let’s examine Hammond’s statement that the fall in productivity is due to too many disabled people in the workforce. Quite apart from the fact that, as Mike has pointed out, the Tories have actually cut initiatives to stop disabled people finding work, you can find reasons how disabled people in the workforce may actually be a boost to productivity.

Firstly, there’s the obvious point that just because a person suffers from one type of disability does not mean that they are totally incapable of work. One of the blokes I met years ago was a computer whizzkid, who was totally paralysed from the neck down. But he was very, very good at his job, and was earning a very high salary for his skill. Which he clearly earned and deserved. Despite the problems of dealing with this gent’s handicap, his firm clearly found it well worth their while to employ him. And he wasn’t the only one. I’ve heard of other, physically disabled people with mobility problems, who have also pursued successful careers in computing. Clearly, these peeps are anything but unproductive individuals.

Disabled people also act to stimulate innovation. I blogged a little while ago about how the robotics department at the University of the West of England in Bristol had set up a company to manufacture and sell their artificial hands, which are designed specifically for children. Never mind the hype and bullsh*t about self-driving cars: this is precisely the type of robotics we need. This technology is making it possible for disabled children and their parents to have more normal, better lives. It is positively enabling them, giving them the ability to do things that they otherwise couldn’t do, or would find more difficult. The technology is brilliant, and I’m sure will have other applications as well. And its effect on the children is liberating and empowering. If adults with similar disabilities also have access to improved artificial limbs, then you can expect that their productivity will also improve, as well as simply quality of life.

And this can be said of almost any technical innovation that improves the lives of disabled people, and gives them more independence and freedom, if only a little.

Then there’s the fact that disabled people, like everyone else, contribute to the economy. They have to eat, pay bills and the rent or mortgage. Getting disabled people into proper paid employment, rather than just subsisting on whatever benefits the DWP deigns to throw their way, means that they have surplus cash to spend. Which means that their purchasing power also pumps more money into the economy, and encourages manufacturers to produce more.

And the disabled have also contributed to British culture. Remember Evelyn Glennie, a drummer with one of our orchestras? She’s actually deaf, but that hasn’t prevented her from excelling at her instrument. And those of us, who were kids in the 1970s will remember the brilliant madness that was Vision On. This was a show for deaf children, so that the dialogue was signed as well as spoken. Much of it was silent, accompanied only by music. Among those on the show were Sylvester McCoy as a mad professor, a couple of young animators, who went on to form Aardman Animations, and the artistic genius that was Tony Hart. It also launched the career of another star, at least down here in Bristol: Morph, the mischievous plasticene man, who acted as a kind of comic foil to Hart’s artistic endeavours. The show brought joy to millions of kids, both deaf and hearing, and part of its legacy has been Wallace and Gromit, Creature Comforts and the other films to come out of Aardman. Vision On is remarkable because, by taking the job seriously and doing it well, it became more than a programme aimed at children with a particular type of disability, and was a massive source of TV creativity.

This makes me wonder about the possible potential out there for other programmes aimed at or with a disable audience, that could also do the same today.

But this is all too much for their Tories. Their whole philosophy is based around grinding their social inferiors down, and then blaming them for their poverty.

But this also shows how desperate the Tories are getting, and how they’re running out of plausible excuses.

Once upon a time, they would simply have blamed British workers, claiming that we’re too lazy, work shorter hours and go on strike more than our French or German competitors. But they can’t do that, as it’s notorious that we work far longer hours than them. In fact, the Germans even make jokes about how we work ourselves into the ground, but nothing in this country still works properly. So that excuse simply won’t do. You still hear though, occasionally, from the odd CEO windbag, who feels like giving the rest of us the benefit of his decades of ignorance. But it’s very definitely not true, and Hammond knows it. Thus he’s been reduced to blaming the disabled.

I’m sick of him, sick of this government, and sick of their lies and bullying – of the disabled and of ordinary working people. Debbie Abrahams is right: Hammond should apologise. And then I want him and his vile government cleaned out like the parasites they are.

Sam Seder Sacked from MSNBC due to Mike Cernovich’s Smears

This is disgusting, but the person causing the outrage and nausea isn’t, or shouldn’t be, Sam Seder.

Sam Seder’s Majority Report is one of the American alternative news shows, whose clips I watch regularly. He’s a genuine liberal, supporting single-payer healthcare and a very trenchant critic of American Conservatism and Fascism. He’s also very critical of Israel and its abuse and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. And like others, who have spoken out about this issue, he’s also suffered the smears and accusations of being ‘anti-Semitic’. Despite the fact that Seder is, by his own admission, very Jewish ‘the most Jewish person you know’. This is almost par for the course. In my posts about the Israel lobby and the anti-Semitism smears, I’ve pointed out again and again how those accused of anti-Semitism because of their principled stance against the massacre and brutalisation of the Palestinians are very frequently self-respecting Jews, both secular and Torah-observant. Indeed, Tony Greenstein and other Jewish activists have stated that the Israel lobby particularly attacks Jews. It wouldn’t surprise me the least if this were true. It’s because Netanyahu and the Likudniks and other racists in the ruling coalition claim to speak for the Jewish people as a whole. And so independent Jews critical of Israel are a threat, because they show this to be a lie.

Apart from his own show, Seder was also a contributor to MSNBC. He has now lost that job, thanks to a Tweet he made back in 2009 sarcastically commenting on others’ defence of Roman Polanski. Polanski has been in exile in Europe ever since he raped a 13 year old girl at a party sometime in the late 1960s. Back in 2009 there were moves to have him extradited and tried for his crime in the US. Seder was annoyed by the attitude of other liberals, who tried to defend Polanski on the grounds of his stature as a great film director. So he sent out a Tweet with the sarcastic comment that he hoped that if his daughter got raped, it would be by someone with a great mise-en-scene. Seder has made it very clear that this was sarcasm, and has previously read out a statement on his show, complete with the other Tweets he posted in that sequence, that make it very clear that he certainly does not approve of rape or the sexual abuse of children.

However, this has not stopped Mike Cernovich, a right-wing troll, claiming that this Tweet shows that Seder does, and so he’s been sacked from MSNBC. There are a number of posts about this from other members of the American alternative news media, like The Young Turks, the David Pakman Show, and so on. In this clip, Seder describes just who Cernovich is. He states that the only person, who agrees with Cernovich’s view is David Duke, and that isn’t an accident. Of course not. Duke was the leader of the Klan in Louisiana, and those who’ve interviewed him, like Cenk Uygur, have described him as the most anti-Semitic person you could meet. Cernovich himself also seems to be very well-disposed to the Nazi right, retweeting all the nonsense about how diversity equals White genocide and so on.

In this clip below, Seder states that Cernovich may actually have done him a favour, as before he got the job with MSNBC he was more angry in his presentation, and rather more entertaining. He also states that he intends to make a documentary about Cernovich, so that the next time Cernovich goes after someone, they can put it up to show what kind of a person he is.

Here’s an earlier video put up by Seder, which explains the Tweet and the circumstances around it, placing it in its proper context.

I’m disgusted by this, as it shows how the right is using the public’s horror of child sexual abuse to smear and close down their critics. Looking at the second video, in which Seder responds to the smear by Cernovich and Sebastian Gorka, it seems to me that this is an attempt by the Republicans to divert attention away from Roy Moore. Moore’s the Republican Senator for Alabama, who has been very credibly accused of a series of sexual assaults, tantamount to attempted rape, on underage girls. So has Cernovich. As Seder points out in the first video, Cernovich was accused of attempting to rape a girl, but managed to bargain it down to battery. So Cernovich has got absolutely no business accusing anyone of sexual abuse.

It also appears that Sebastian Gorka is also involved in this sordid campaign. Gorka was briefly a member of Trump’s cabinet, and likes to style himself as an expert on terrorism. He’s also another individual with extreme right-wing views. He wears the medal of the Vitezi Rend, a right-wing chivalric order founded by the Hungarian dictator, Admiral Horthy, who was responsible for the country’s collusion with the Nazis during World War II and the deportation of its Jewish citizens. Gorka himself has been very active in extreme right-wing Hungarian politics, and was one of the founders of various Fascist, ultra-nationalist and anti-Semitic groups and networks. Not that this has stopped him from being welcomed by Netanyahu. He turned up the other year at the Herzliya Conference in Israel, the annual jamboree for the country’s military. As Tony Greenstein pointed out, this was another example of the way Zionists will ally themselves very easily with genuine racists and anti-Semites, when its convenient.

Seder and his co-host, Michael Brooks, who is also Jewish, have had a great time spoofing Gorka and his pretensions. Much of this has been very silly imitations of Gorka’s accent. Gorka spent several years in Britain, and so has a weird accent that’s a mixture of upper-class educated American, BBC British and Hungarian. All mixed in with his own weird diction. This smear by Cernovich and Gorka shows that Seder has drawn blood with his satire and commentary on Conservative political and moral corruption. Especially with those two clowns.

And I hope that this smear won’t deter him or his supporters around the world, and he’ll continue skewering the Republicans, Corporatist Democrats and the neoliberal elites, who are plunging the working people of America and the rest of the world into poverty for a long, long time to come.

The fact that Cernovich and Gorka have gone this low shows that the alternative news media is having an effect. So support them. And make the mainstream media and the racist right afraid. Very afraid.

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