EDITORIAL November 2001
No2: A changed world
into November and it is like a different world since the September shocks.
No one predicted the destruction in New York and Washington and no one
predicted how fast the Taliban would fall. Of course, if you were in
Nebraka and B52's were dropping massive payloads on your hometown everyday
how long do you think it would take the City of Lincoln, NB to surrender?
Two days? Three?
It is so easy to crow about America's success at destroying the Taliban
and hats off to them for sticking to their guns (as it were) but this
was the easy part.
Right now there are a lot of angry Muslims in the world, humiliated
by the Great Satan once again. The remains of the Taliban are scattered
to the wind and no doubt will be plotting revenge. Note, by the by,
how wonderful it is for the average Joe Muslim to get shot and go to
heaven, contrasted with how all the Taliban Generals and Mullahs were
scrabbling out of Afghanistan on the last remaining helicopters - funny
how heaven doesn't seem so attractive to those guys so suddenly.
we inherit the whirlwind. They make take their time to take revenge,
but they will. Addded to the humiliation is the falling oil price and
subsequent pressure on Suadi Arabia. Who knows, this great 'friend'
of the Taliban may find it is next to crumble.
We are in a a new game. President George W Bush may not have been the
ideal choice of President but history shows that the sometimes the right
people turn up at the right time and he has chosen well in his people
to run the war. Now let us see how it goes for the 'peace'. It would
be nice to think that Afghanistan will sink back under the parapet of
history but given that thereare millions of refugees from there everywhere
now, it isn't likely; they will make us remember.
learned some lessons however. One key factor is that now we can no longer
ignore the huge presence of Islam in Europe and America's midst. Everyone
may talk of everyone getting along with each other, but for much of
this talk of 'peaceful' Islam, the truth is some mosques can ferment
trouble. There are many young muslims looking for 'something to do'
and with a recession looming ever closer, idle hands and fundementalism
whether far right Christian, as in Northern Ireland or Muslim in Bradford,
we are in for a generation of trouble. It would be nice to think that
we could all get along, but that would take a lot of moderation and
patience. Time will tell.
the UK we are passing laws that would have been considered draconian
ten years ago and more suited to medieval times. That is should be done
by a socialist government is interesting. More and more Premier Blair
and Mr Putin look interchangable. Imprisonment without trail, the suspension
of human rights. Serious and worrying stuff. Greenpeace point out that
under this new law they would be imprisoned for protesting about the
transportation of nuclear waste through residential London (which happens
all the time - just because your house in Chelsea may be worth a million
it doesn't mean the trains don't go by with radioactive material in
them). Thanks to Osama Bin Laden our hard won freedoms and rights of
protest are being whittled away. Perhaps this is how he wins?
Earlier this month I was writing about how to survive the coming recession.
Now I see there is a consumer boom on the USA and the UK and to some
extent in Europe. In the USA it seems inspired by low interest rates
or zero rates on cars, in the UK we just increase our credit limits,
in Europe everyone is trying to spend their 'under the mattress' money
before the Euro makes it worthless in January. Nevertheless, unless
your job is 100 percent secure, I'd not commit to anything right now.
There is still more bad news in the pipeline. The test of confidence
will be Thanksgiving in the USA next week. Will people fly. Will anyone
ever get on an Airbus 300 again? Are we over the shock of Sept 11th
and the Rockaway accident?
In the UK the average consumer is apparently intending to spend £601
($853) pounds on Christmas gifts. Almost everything they buy will be
imported. UK manufacturing is is steep decline. £601 pounds is
also around £519 more than the average Afghanistan wage earner
takes home a year. Think about that when you buy some plastic
instantly discardable do-dah. Maybe you could give some cash to Afghanistan
instead. Here's how. They need to know you care. £25 could help
feed two people for the winter.
You can help by going to www.oxfam.org.uk/afghanistan
So something to think about for next year. What are the best jobs and
careers to aim for in this post-industrial world? Some clues may well
be in our Futures section.
Have a great and safe Thanksgiving this year in the USA. There is a
lot to give thanks for and remember too, lost friends and neighbors.
Hackwriters remains a forum for lively writing, new fiction, travel
stories and lifestyles. This month we have had a wonderful collection
of material sent in and I hope they will continue to come. If you are
reading us for the first time and you have a story to tell, tell it,
we may post it. My thanks to Angie
Eng for her great pics from Myanmar.
(We do reserve the right to edit and reject unreasonable and objectional
Sam North - Managing Editor - author of
Diamonds the most difficult book to buy in the world
(But worth the effort)
Carine Thomas - Publisher - A Brighter Image Company