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Welcome to this edition of Hackwriters. Read us and the amazing archives too. 15.8 years on-line and 7597 articles - reviews - stories - travel share any feature you like. 100 Years since The Great War began. Let's not start another...

: 25.8.2014:
A Very Long Engagement still

Two weeks ago I had a coronary thrombosis attack and only by sheer luck had a brilliant ambulance crew who took me straight to the cardiac hospital in Hull (Castle Hill) and straight into the operating theatre. Another hour and I would have been toast, so thanks all around to the NHS surgeons and nurses there who took care of me with good care and sympathy. Now for recuperation. It's all very fast in NHS hospitals now. They get you out of there in 72 hours. Can't believe how many pills I have to take forever. I remember when a teenager my father having a heart attack when he was 44 and he died right in front of me in a lot of pain as there were no surgeons on duty on a Sunday. Never thought it would happen to me. Genetics; can't beat them apparently. Now I have to learn to live with blood thinners, statins, etc. I know I have been lucky and the more that you look at the hysteria in West Africa where hospitals are closed and staff fled Ebola rumours or in Northern Iraq and the evil of Islamic State genocide, your realise how how fragile life really is for most people in the world. Pity anyone ill or unable to take care of themselves over there.

Tragedy stalks everywhere now. The growing risk of Ebola taking hold in West Africa (topping 1300 deaths today and who knows how many dying in the bush uncared for and alone.) Now it is spreading much further. Superstition and a general lack of hygene driving it on. Let's hope they get a grip on it before the six months the WHO are proposing it will take.

I guess you can choose sides in the Israeli–Hamas battle.  It’s harder to choose Israel of course, and most don’t, but still the rockets come and Hamas is playing a very unpleasant lethal game with its population in Gaza for political gain.  There can be no winners here – just pain and destruction and death of the innocents, now in their thousands. The rubble of Gaza will haunt us all for years to come. Unless either side cares to admit they are both, in fact, human I can't see an end to this. Add ISIS in Northern Iraq murdering Christians, Yazardis, Kurds and anyone they don't like, it's a beautiful world.

On the other side we have the manipulation of the facts in Russia and Ukraine –with the bodies of flight MH17 pawns in a very long game between Putin and the West. The targeted sanctions against Putin a mere smokescreen. Although Russians retaliating by forbidding food imports from the West can't help but look like an own goal. Sure it will affect the EU economy but the Russian people grow nothing but potatoes and they will be very hungry by Christmas I suspect.

A good point was made the other day by a former US soldier Dana T Blackmore - posted on Huffposts 28th July, who was a missile operator of the HAWK semi-mobile system, similar to the BUK anti-aircraft equipment, which is fully mobile.  He was saying that it takes several months to train soldiers to use these systems – so there had to be trained operatives using it.  He also makes a more terrifying point that over 40,000 of the HAWK missiles were exported by the US around the world and where are they now and who has them?  All of them are capable of taking down a passenger jet at up to 45,000 feet.  The BUK is even more effective and how many of them exist outside of Russia?  Think of that next time you queue up at an airport.

We always say the world is getting smaller – but what if it truly becomes unsafe to fly anywhere?  Boko Haram with missiles wouldn’t care a fig about human life, nor would any of these terror groups all seeking power in Africa or the Middle East.  What if we can’t fly safely anymore?  ( Never mind the rats found on Air India recently.)The world suddenly becomes huge again and distances immense.  How much of the world economy is tied to tourism?  How viable is Australia if we can only reach it by sea? Or sport – think of World Cups (due in Russia in 2018) or Olympics due in Brazil.  Teleconferencing and Skype is all very well but not exactly satisfying.  TV can bring us the sport but it can’t give us the experience of being there or get the atheletes there.  If we can’t fly, ok the ozone environment will improve I guess, but how many millions of jobs will go from aircraft manufacturing (and supply) to airfreight to DHL, airports, hotels, food   - it would be staggering.  A huge percent of the developed world economy would crash. *I note that the Aviation Industry (excluding tourism) contributed 8.4 million jobs and US$539 Billion to the Global economy in 2010, whereas the Aviation Supply Industry supported 9.3 million jobs and US$618 Billion according to the World Economic Forum 2013 report. In addition they have reasoned that 34 million jobs globally are related to tourism generating US$762 Billion. Add that together and you can see what is at stake here.
That's 51million jobs in case you need the figure.

Right now you might feel safe in your town and how it can’t touch you in your future staycation in your own country – but after the planes it might be trains, or ships or whatever.  Either way – to ignore it is to let it grow.  At some point we will have to face this and deal with it, but how?

These are the consequences of letting all these arms loose on the world and remember ISIS in Northern Iraq and Syria has its hands on all the very latest killing machines and the will to take down our civilian planes. Now they are forcing the women of Mosul to undergo FGM which needs spelling out FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION. FGM is being outlawed in the UK but it doesn't stop parents smuggling their children out of the country to be maimed and the child has no say in it.

In the movies the baddies get caught. In real life they seem to get away with everything and scar generation after generation with their evil power politics in the name of one deity or another. This August we remember the start of the Great War and the millions who died on the battlefield - blighting generations. History teaches us that war is pointless, the deaths meaningless and the gains and the losses always seem to lay the foundations for the next war. I always remember the T-shirt from my youth 'Archduke Ferdinand found alive and well - First World War Fought by Mistake' yep T-shirts were larger in my day.

No doubt someone will write to me and say - no you are too pessimistic and everything will turn out fine. ** Yep they did today 8.8.14. Thanks John L. But I'm of the generation that has been haunted by potential annihilation from the word go. First it was the promise of World War Three and nuclear war. Then in my College days the IRA and bombs in London and memories of all the restaurant windows sandbagged to prevent shattered glass going everywhere and letter boxes sealed. Now extremist terror which is spreading exponetially across the globe. We go on our daily lives hoping that it won't touch us - but the odds are - it will. If not directly, a friend in the wrong place at the wrong time. I still remember Kit calling from the City in London on July 7th in 2005 - her office was right by an explosion and I made a mad dash to go fetch her. I am not saying we shall stop flying, indeed our major airlines still fly over war zones, even North Korea, which is utter madness, but who can really say it is 'safe' to do so now. A taboo has been broken.

Not used to this, but the sun actually came out and stayed at Hackwriter Towers.  We almost never get more than one sunny day a year on the Lincolnshire coast, never mind three days on the trot.  Of course those who inhabit the south of England have been roasting in tropical weather for almost six weeks now – interrupted by the odd heavy downpour and flash floods.  The English summer is nothing if not variable. Ah yes, normality returned... it's raining...

The rather slim August edition is out now. James Skinner catches us up on politics in Spain, Paul Hunt on a battle either side of the GMO nightmare in Oregon. James Campion worries about political intertia and Gaza. More will be added later next week...

© Sam North  - Travel Editor August 2014
author of Diamonds The Rush of '72 and now the new ebook:
new from Sam North
A mysterious, tragic tale from the wilds of the Lincolnshire coast – a haunting story about father and daughter


Do buy Sam Hawksmoor's new book The Heaviness – suitable for any reader who likes to think about such things as betrayal, revenge, relationships and the laws of gravity.  All proceeds from our books go into keep Hacks going. All on Kindle.

The Repossession

The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor a fast paced edgy romantic thriller

'Smart, dark and graceful, this story is sure to send chills down your spine...one of the best, and most fascinating, debut novels I've ever read'. Evie-bookish.blogspot

The Hunting - the thrilling sequel - order yours from Amazon, Waterstones or Chapters or your indie bookshop plus Indigo Books Canada or Kindle
'Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.' Evie Seo Bookish
Now read the final thrilling conclusion to the series 'The Heaviness'

The Repossession & The Hunting by Sam Hawksmoor released across Canada Flag Available in Chapters/Indigo/ Albany Books, Hager and Kids Books Broadway - Vancouver + Bolens Books (Victoria), Mables Fables, Type Books in Toronto,
Smart, dark and graceful, this story is sure to send chills down your spine…’ Evie Seo
Part Three - The Heaviness now available


If you're looking for an exciting YA book set in WW2 - Kindle download 'The Repercussions of Tomas D' or buy the paperback - All proceeds go to keeping Hackwriters going
The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here

'Disturbing and very poignant YA novel that presents a chilling alternate future for an England that lost the war.'
Marcel d'Agneau

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