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Well, here we are in 2016 and all I can say is so far, so predictable.
Rather than ushering in a new era of peace and reconciliation, as some naive individuals perennially hope, following a brief holiday ceasefire it’s back to the usual business of murder, mayhem and recrimination with, if anything, even greater urgency seemingly in a bid to make up for lost time.
Yes, once again “hate thy neighbour” is very much the order of the day and the usual suspects are doing most of the hating.
First, we had the mass execution of 47 individuals, including a well-known Shi’ite cleric, by the blood-soaked Saudi regime on, ahem, “terrorist charges.”
Also among those killed were, it has been reported, juveniles and the mentally ill.
This would, of course, be the same regime which currently sits on a UN Human Rights Council panel which appoints expert investigators and within hours of taking up tenure declared that anyone opposed to the ruling dynasty in any way was guilty of terrorism.
So I think we can get some idea of exactly what these charges constituted.
The state-sanctioned mass-murder was condemned by right-thinking people around the world for what it patently was, a wholesale slaughter of any form of opposition within the kingdom and a graphic illustration of what will happen to anyone else who steps out of line.
As the legendary wit Voltaire put it in his satirical masterpiece Candide, “pour encourager les autres.”
And let’s face it you would have to be a seriously brave individual to put your head above the parapet in Riyadh these days knowing the likelihood that it will literally get cut off.
The executions led to tit-for-tat ambassadorial expulsions by Iran and Saudi Arabia and protests across the Middle East.
As previously stated all decent people abhorred the killings, but of course that does not include politicians, who were predictably timorous in their response to the outrage.
The Foreign Office described it as “disappointing.”
Disappointing? No, getting socks for Christmas is “disappointing.” A state murdering its opponents with impunity is rather more serious than that.
In the week which marked the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris much political mileage was made out of condemning extremism yet barely a word was spoken in condemnation of Saudi Arabia, which routinely beheads far more people each year than Isis.
Moving swiftly on, we come to the Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee of international diplomacy, North and South Korea and their private game of mutually assured destruction.
In typically modest fashion North Korea upped the ante again this week by boasting that it had exploded a hydrogen bomb close to the Chinese border.
Rather too close to the Chinese border as it turned out… and Beijing was not happy about it issuing a formal rebuke after the device apparently triggered earthquakes in certain provinces.
Perhaps not the wisest move to piss off your only ally when you’re basically a pariah state. But then again even contemplating setting off a hydrogen bomb is not exactly wise in the first place and let’s face it the North Korean regime has never really been known for its grasp of logic or self-awareness.
This is a country whose leader executes so-called traitors by mortar fire and reportedly had his ex-girlfriend and the majority of her dance troupe machine-gunned with the rest sent for political “re-education” — so subtlety was never likely to be on the agenda.
Closer to home newly annointed leader of the Ulster equivalent of the Taliban, the DUP, Arlene Foster, who terrifyingly is now First Minister, used one of her first public utterances to state that she would use her position to block any attempt to bring Northern Ireland’s draconian ban on abortion out of the dark ages.
It was hardly a surprise move by Foster who when it comes to social issues has long proven herself to be to the right of Enoch Powell.
Much was made of the fact that the first female first minister is so rabidly against the right to choose.
Having followed her career for a number of years, however, I’m not convinced she is even human. She’s more like a Dalek in a dress.
Yet again it would appear, in Northern Ireland at least, that the season of good will to all men does not extend to women.
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