I am not saying that I think Pussy Riot did a particularly clever act when they protested in an iconic Moscow church but the treatment they have received way outweighs the supposed crime. The response from the Stalinist/Putin authorities is a worrying sign that Mother Russia is returning to darker times when freedom was but a feather in the wind, transitory and directionless.
Other groups who dare speak out against Putin face similar treatment and must register as foreign agents or face two years in prison. Democracy is a joke in Russia as it races headlong to a fascist state. The Gulags will fill with dissidents and freedom lovers. Gone is the hope that flourished after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet State. For a brief time the world believed that we all faced a more peaceful future, but something in the Russian psyche has allow the birth of a new neo-monster who sits in the Kremlin watching as his henchmen do his dirty work.
It appears that Putin will stoop to new lows in an attempt to consolidate his power. Watch as freedom of the press evaporates and what I have thought of as a television service with a difference, namely RT (Russian TV) slowly comes under the control of Putin’s puppets.
A man I once admired has become a despot and the Russian Nation heads towards a dark and sad future. It is not too late. I believe that the Russian people will find ways to resist their new Tsar. They have done it before and will do it again. www.authorneilcoleman.com
Bullying in any form in any place is nasty, cruel, often insidious and sometimes fatal for the recipient. I am totally in favour of a real conversation taking place; in the media, in our homes and particularly in our schools. As a counsellor in a large secondary school, I see on a daily basis the results of all forms of bullying, sometimes I am sad to say, even in the staffroom.
The effect on a teenager (and of course younger kids) is often enough to block development and learning. Bullying can often lead to depression and at worst suicidal thoughts and actual attempts. We have a chance to think, plan and make some differences. For that to happen, the debate needs to be wide, testing and to have an end-point where we actually put into place some strategies that work. We will make mistakes along the way, but we can learn from those.
There are some schools who claim that they have cut the incidences and seriousness of bullying right down. Let’s look at what they have done. We don’t always need to reinvent the wheel, so if something works we need to promulgate that process.
Cyber bullying has been taking centre stage for quite some time. That involves texting, cell phone calls, the use of other social media and God alone knows what is around the corner in this filed.
The Government is keen to have a conversation about cyber bullying and to pass laws with ‘teeth’ to expose, punish and limit the damage done through cyber bullying. I applaud them for this. I do not know how technology can be used to turn the tide, but if it exists then it is time we used it. Schools will need to be part of that unrolling of technology to make our places of study safer, but it has to be acknowledged that schools are the places where kids go for only 6-7 hours a day.
Kids say and are often supported by parents in that they cannot operate without cell phones. I sort of know that feeling. The need to feel ‘connected’ is hard to ignore.
What ‘filtering technology’ would look like is beyond me, but if that is the price we have to pay to keep kids safe form messaging at least during school time, then that is what we pay. How we deal with the other hours of the day is also crucial.
Kids, adults—we all have to look at the way we view bullying and come up with a new culture--- one that shuns all forms of bullying, be it physical, emotional or technologically based. We have an enormous game changing challenge on our hands. Let’s start the debate. We don’t need to hurry, because bullying has been with us forever.
Here we go again. Just when it appeared that Labour was getting its stuff together, out comes another debacle over who said—it wasn’t me----whatever---- get over it. You have a good leader (actually, you had a damned good one before too) who is coming across as a real statesman so why the hell are you doing all this bullshit backroom stuff.
David Shearer was correct in bringing you all into line. If you want to present as a credible alternative government, then stop acting like a bunch of gossipy school kids. Save that for parliament like all the rest of the MPS do!
OK, I suppose it is sort of human to have these urges to ‘have your say, to bitch, to get your time in the limelight, but it is not a good look and certainly not one that engenders confident from would-be voters. The electorate is totally turned off. I guess all political parties have the propensity to self-destruct, but if you can’t see the ramifications of your childish actions, then get the hell out of parliament and the party. WE WANT A POWERFUL, CREDIBLE OPPOSITION TO HELP FIGHT THE STUPID POLICIES OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT! www.authorneilcoleman.com