Aberfan – Dennis Potter in New Society, 27 October 1966

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Oberon Books

A man-made mountain of lumpy black treacle collapsed into itself last Friday and slid down upon the school at Aberfan ‘just after morning prayers.’ The phrase is not, as I had first assumed, a distasteful journalistic device for somehow mixing inappropriate irony with an even more cruel piety. The phrase was also used in my presence by some of the stricken people of Aberfan, and with just enough frequency to force one to look for the bleak significance that seems to lurk behind the words.

When people are faced with a disaster so complete and so terrible, they cluster in small, hapless groups and begin to manufacture their own sort of optimism as though to try and keep at bay the resignation and despair they know will have to come. At Aberfan, before and after daybreak on Saturday, ‘hope’ was created among some of the bruised bands of people standing…

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Noorunissa Inayat Khan (1914 – 1944) died in fight against Nazi persecution of Jews #RemembranceSunday

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Noor Inayat KhanNoorunissa Inayat Khan (1914-1944) was one of the silent heroes of the Second World War.

When the war broke out in 1939, Noor and her brother Vilayat left for Britain to join the war effort.  Although they were Sufis and believed in non-violence, they decided that it was criminal to stand by and watch the treatment of Jews by the Nazis.

She worked as a wireless officer for the British Special Operations Executive in Paris during 1943 (she had escaped to Britain after the fall of France in 1940).  She evaded capture by the Nazis and continued to send important messages to London for far longer than expected.  She was betrayed, arrested and interrogated, but refused to give up secrets.  She was executed at Dachau in September 1944.

Born in Moscow to a Sufi teacher and an American mother, and descended from the 18th century Tipu Sultan of Mysore, Khan was educated in Paris.  She was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre and was one of only three women to receive the British George Cross for service during the Second World War.  A memorial to her in Gordon Square Gardens, London, was unveiled by the Princess Royal in 2012.

She is known in France as Madeleine of the Resistance (against Hitler’s occupation forces).  A leafy square in Surenses, where her father Hazrat Inayat Khan moved into the large house gifted by a Sufi benefactor in 1920, is named after her.  The French government has put up a plaque outside the house in her memory and every year on Bastille Day, a band plays outside Fazal Mazil, or House of Blessing.

Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan

Kinder, Gentler #PMQs post #BREXIT/#LEXIT … #Labour #Corbyn

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Corbyn: May I ask if the Right Honourable Lady had a good time in Birmingham?

May: Errmm, yes ..

Corbyn: Lovely … Would the Rt Hon Lady agree with me that we are having some lovely weather just now?

May: Yes, I would agree with that …

Corbyn: I do love this time of year …  Does the Rt Hon Lady?

May (striking a note of controversy): I prefer Spring, myself, but each to his or her own …

A Welsh voice from the Labour Backbenches: When is my Rt Hon Friend going to ask about BREXIT?

Quick as a flash, Corbyn turns around, gives a hard stare and says, peevishly: I get to ask the questions! I thought we’d settled that?

Corbyn: Now …  Where was I?  Oh, yes …  Would the Rt Hon Lady like a pot of my home made jam?

May: No, thank you.

Corbyn: Perhaps one of my cucumbers?

May:  No, but thanks for the offer.

Corbyn: Drat it!  Where is that piece of paper …  Got it!  Tamsin from Islington has e-mailed me to ask, will she, Prime Minister, have to pay more to visit her second home in Provence from now on?

May (sounding relieved with an unexpected BREXIT question to answer): Sorry?  Remind me, again, which one of us is on the side of the privileged?

Just Beyond Ludicrous #Corbyn … #Labour

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David Paxton

In Labour’s antisemitism debacle, the Guardian’s Owen Jones is above reproach. He is above reproach because he has written articles explaining that antisemitism is bad and that it must be confronted. He has also written one explaining that the Holocaust was bad. What more could he do?

Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn has also said that antisemitism, and all forms of racism, are bad. His mother was at Cable Street so how can he be criticised for supporting and befriending unabashed Jew-haters? He then is also above reproach.

In his piece from March, Jones called for a commission on antisemitism and, because balance or something, one on Islamophobia too. He suggested these should be chaired by a Jew and a Muslim respectively.

Corbyn eventually called for an inquiry, it wasn’t to be chaired by a Jew but so what, it was to be chaired by Shami Chakrabarti. She is above reproach because she is Shami Chakrabarti. Or as she is…

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