Thursday

Bravery, Fear and Grapefruit

For breakfast this morning I delighted myself with the fresh fruits of Mother Nature. Easy to produce at the drop of a hat. Cut a plump grapefruit in half and top with one tablespoon of fresh honey and a wee dash of cinnamon. Place under the grill for 7 minutes, then add brambles, pineapple and a good few slices of one of those bright yellow bendy things. Eat while still warm for optimum taste. My personal beverage of choice was pomegranate juice, freshly poured from the carton I purchased last night. It will give you everything you need for the day ahead. Try to find 10 minutes in your schedule around 9ish for when the fibre kicks in.

I was saddened this morning to read in my newspaper about the 14 year old girl blogger shot in the head in Pakistan for defying the Taliban by daring to go to seek an education. I was actually shocked at the cruelty of such an act. After a lifetime living in Glasgow there isn't many things that I haven't seen that still shocks me. It is very easy to glorify guns and other violent acts on the big screen, the hero always stands up after being shot and declares his injury to be merely 'a flesh wound' as he kisses the leading lady and drives off in a gaudy looking sports car. In reality, violence is very different. Cruelty seems to be on the rise. My generation seems not to have instilled any lessons on today's up and coming baw bags.

Rival drug dealers in Scotland during the early eighties perfected the removal of an eyeball using a blunt edged teaspoon. It got to the stage where Boots the chemists made a fortune selling plastic eye patches at the rate of sometimes 20 per month. For a while, Glasgow appeared to be a happy hunting ground for great hordes of tattooed pirates during the late summer of 86. All that was missing was the Black Pearl moored to the side of the Erskine Bridge as she stuck fast in the mud of the dingy River Clyde. Stop a moment to think about the excruciating pain involved in such a barbaric act. Now think about the mentality of a person who could do such harm to another human being. Shooting an innocent bairn in the head takes violence to a completely different level.

Take it from someone who has been shot, the pain and shock is horrific and can best be described as being hit with a very large hammer. Back in the day I was in my physical prime. I was pretty much known for showing little fear, pain or emotion in my old trade. Let me tell you this, the pain of being shot near had me peeing in my pants and crying out for the mammy. When a fast moving blunt object hits you at speed and forces itself through your body narrowly missing your vital organs, then smashes through several layers of skin and then rips an exit hole in your side, you fall over and you do not continue to fight. Anyone who claims not to experience fear and pain when shot is a liar.
Fear is one of the most powerful aspects of our society in general because it is something we share in collectively and all understand. Nobody, regardless of location, reputation, connections or marital name is immune to fear and it’s powerful feeling that we’ve all felt since birth. We’ve tried over the many thousands of years since science first created mankind to understand it and most recently we’ve had psychology spring up to attempt to explain some of the many reasons why humans are afraid.

If you put any fear on a pedestal and break it down we all agree on one thing: fear results when we find ourselves uncertain of what is about to happen. In other words, the number one leading thing that sparks us to become afraid of anything is our uncertainty, doubt or any other emotion that leaves us feeling powerless. I have a loyal friend who stood beside me for many years, through thick and thin, during a different time growing up in Glasgow, he and I are both respectable these days and would pass for being 'worky-type lads' as we prop up the bar on a Friday night in one of our old haunts. Apart of course, for the very neat deep slice that still separates the hair on the right side of his head from where a meat cleaver was embedded during a scuffle over something quite trivial.

It took him the best part of three years to recover from the initial injury, then the various operations over the years to regain his balance, sight and speech. He freely admits to his fear. He has recovered now, but it stopped him dead in his tracks and made him look at violence from a different perspective. On the night in question I cannae recall seeing a beautiful woman dabbing his forehead with a wet-wipe and helping him into her bed. I do recall dragging him across a bar, shots being fired, with a large flap of his scalp gaping open and pumping blood and splinters of white bone all over his favourite camel hair coat. No heroes were present in that bar. No heroes were created after the incident had been forgotten. The real heroes had already walked away and were probably at home watching the TV.

Violence is horrific in any form. It is grotesque and usually fails to achieve anything other than more violence. Yes, I am a hypocrite, a bloody big one in fact, but that is not the point of this post. It doesn't take a big man to shoot a little girl. The bravery belongs to a small oppressed child who stood up for what she believes in and shamed a breed of savages that live and will hopefully die by the sword.  No war has ever been won by violence. It is clever thinking, strategy and brains that win the day. I hope that her courage is a message to others and a warning to some. The Taliban failed when they attacked her. They failed in the eyes of the civilised world. The bairn on the other hand, she achieved my respect and that of many people across the world. Good for her, I hope that she can go on to find that education. It certainly never did me any harm.

Ironically enough, it was violence that foiled the infamous attack on Glasgow airport a few years back by terrorist extremists armed to the teeth and a jeep full of bombs. One Glaswegian gave them the beating of their life halfway through their attack, he averted a major catastrophe and sent a clear message to the world when he was later interviewed. "This is not England, if you come to Glasgow to do us harm we will set about you!"  My theory may have just gone out of the windy. What can I say, Glasgow folk, eh?

27 comments:

  1. She's a thin line, ain't she?

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  2. Mr Earl, speaking as a faither, I'd pay money to be left in a room with the shooter and his pals.

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    1. Speaking as a man without children, I'd gladly pay the toll myself.

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  3. The miracle of our age is that you can buy a bottle of pomegranate juice where you live. I take it pomegranates are not indigenous to your area? I can buy a fresh banana, a tropical fruit, in the middle of Manhattan in February. Think about that! It's a miracle.

    I blew my stack over those Taliban animals, too. Poor little girl. And my local priest asks me not to hate. RELIGION. Feh. Who needs it?

    More Smeaton. Less religion.

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  4. is cruelty on the rise, or do we just have far more access to details from far corners of earth?

    this treatise reminds me that perspective drives our reactions. we recoil at the horror of a man (and i use the term biologically, only) who could put a gun to a childs head and pull the trigger. his companions? probably cheering his bravery, for being willing to risk his own death to destroy an icon threatening their very way of life.

    mind you, this is written from my perspective, as a pacifist who would have absolutely no trouble taking a baseball bat to that mans genitals and head if given the opportunity.

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  5. She has real guts....the pressure she must face day after day would be enough to have most of us wondering if it was worth carrying on, though I hope we would.

    My father would have agreed with you...you win wars by brains, which is why, as he said, it paid not to be involved too early...best to wait until the generals first in charge had been replaced by others who were as good at their job as the first bunch were with their social connections.

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  6. My friend, you know, I'm probably the mildest, most non-violent person I know. But I believe we all have the rage inside us. For some it is always near the surface. For others it is buried so deep it can never surface, for it is buried for a reason. And for some it is there, like a box of old fireworks hidden under the floorboards, waiting for that stray spark from the grate to ignite and explode. That's what frightens me my friend, that spark.

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  7. UB, The Shell garage a few miles away carries more goodies on its shelves than the multi-attrocious hypermarket not 5km away from where I stay. It is an oasis of juices, some as far flung as Tibet. I always stroll the aisles in search of something quenching and I seldom leave empty handed.

    Taliban and religion, two dinosaurs that I would gladly let the air out of.

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  8. Daisy, some very good points you raise. The internet brings horror into our lives with an ease that is equally disturbing. Human nature dictates that we recoil in horror at the thought of pain and our children The exception are of course the educationally subnormal camel jockeyts who are chock full of evil indoctrination from the great unwashed.

    If there is a hell, I look forward to meeting each and every one of them.

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    1. true. protecting our genetic products is as biologically wound into us as eating and breathing. the indoctrination required to overcome 5 billion years of evolutionary biology requires uneducated receptacles...

      see you in hell? i'll bring my own bat...

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    2. I'll look forward to your company hen.

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  9. Map, your words demonstrate to me just how you feel about all of the above. Anger is not always shouted, it comes in many forms. In you I see a side never revealed before. I'm not sure that I like to see it in you. The shoe has always been on the other foot.

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  10. Fly, she is indeed a brave wee girl. I watched a few of the interviews she gave prior to the attack. I saw an old head on young shoulders. I would offer her refuge here in relative safety if I could.

    Your faither was right. It never pays to be the first over the top. Far better to weigh up the situation with a cool head before you make your move. One thing about me, I always think ahead in every situation in life.

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  11. I honestly do not know how I would react if one of mine was harmed intentionally my friend.

    And I like to think I have banished my demons to the far corners.
    I don't think I could sing otherwise.

    McGinty's tomorrow?

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  12. One thing is for sure my friend, we never give clues to the way in which we react. Two rules... Rule 1. Never let anyone know what you are thinking. Rule 2. You can say a hell of a lot more by remaining silent.

    Tomorrow grasshopper, we begin your next lesson. How to paint Chefs garden shed by the use of mind control alone.

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    1. As for McGinty's the morrow night.... no. Too far away fae hame at the moment.

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  13. Replies
    1. D'fhéadfá a bheith iontas ar an méid daoine a bhfuil grudge liom mo chara. Tá sé i gcónaí is fearr a rá beag gníomhú go fóill go tapa nad le venom míle nathracha.

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    2. Mi amigo pequeñito, si los ojos azules fueran la inocencia entonces usted tendría dos platillos el tamaño de tapas de basurero y el color del cielo Glesca.

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  14. Creidim go bhfuil tú mo chara, tá mé a ghlacadh i gcónaí do comhairle dáiríre.

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  15. For the sake of propriety Máirtín, we shall have to communicate in the auld way, the ways of Captain Moonlight and those of the Irish blood about them so.

    'It is said in Dublin that many letters entered the Post Office in June'

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  16. Like daisyfae, I'm not sure if it's "instant access" to EVERYTHING that happens 60 seconds after it happens or the fact the world has lost it's collective mind and manners.

    There's a lack of respect in general: of each other, of viewpoints different than our own. And sadly, I witness daily a generation quick to reach for a weapon rather than screaming at the top of their lungs to get it off their chest/out of their system, all because of the slightest hint of perceived "disrespect". Ah, the irony. Life is not a video game. You don't get to hit re-set.

    And yet I'm still optimistic enough to think we have it in us to do better. My family all have a quick tempers...I just learned to control mine. But if daisyfae needs me to hand her another bat.... :)

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    1. Hope, the thing about disresepct is that those fools who walk amongst us bumping their gums about 'fixing' others who have a lack of the said word, have no sense of how to achieve respect in the first place. 'Violence begats violence', actually that is only half true. Violence gets you killed, eventually.

      With some, I would rather unplug than reset.

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    1. Fly, Obviamente mejor que hago a la querida señora, ahora si sólo yo pudiera enseñar a mi pequeño amigo aprender que otra cosa que se atasca - irlandés en el que yo no tendría que picotear otra lengua para castigarlo.

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  18. Sadly we are getting inured to violence via films and TV. Sometimes it is all too real like last night, watching 'Hunted' I cried out in shock when a young woman was shot dead at point blank range.
    I'm not getting you on my Reader list for some reason.

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    1. Don't have nightmares Pat, where you live is probably the safest and nicest if I may add, area in England.

      Apart of course, for those hysterical greyhounds that roam the land.

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