Monday, November 14, 2005

Primus Inter Pares

Good morning all. Normally, I hate Mondays for no apparent reason. Sometimes I hate them almost as if they were a person - but not this Monday. You see, this Monday is a fine day to be a fan. That is to say, a sports fan....and to be specific, an England sports fan. This past weekend has made all England fans proud in all the major English sports - football, rugby and cricket.
In football we beat Argentina in a "friendly" match; in rugby, we beat our old nemesis Australia and in cricket we've taken control against Pakistan.
The football was a sublime showing of latent talent (finally) against the world number 2. On the field the English players were courteous, sportsmanlike and quite frankly, up for it. Even Wayne Rooney didn't lose his cool for a moment. A goal from him and 2 from Michael Owen have kept this grin on my face all weekend long. Well done. I sound fairly restrained but I'm actually deliriously happy and even a grinding, celebratory hangover on Sunday morning didn't dampen my enthusiasm. And against Australia....well, even though the Aussies are having their worst showing for years it still feels good to beat them and even better to see that after all we do have a rugby team again.

Sunday was the annual service of remembrance in London when tribute is paid to the British & Commonwealth war dead. It's always a moving ceremony. A nice addition this year were 20 war veterans who used semaphore to send a secret, silent message along the Thames from Greenwich to Whitehall where it was symbolically decoded. It read: "War turns us to stone. In remembrance we shine and rise to new days".

Also on Sunday was the Beirut International Marathon. 17,000 people turned out for that so it seems to be a success. One of the reasons I was quite impressed with it was that the police actually did their job. My street in Gemmayze was cleared of cars the night before, even though it is full of bars and restaurants, and kept clear politely but firmly (plus last year it was resurfaced beautifully a few days before the event). So it seems to me that our police force are capable of doing whatever tasks need to be done as long as they have the management and leadership. It needles me a bit to see that when it comes to projecting a nice, orderly image to the world we can surpass anyone but when it comes to actually doing something of substance for ourselves we mainly fail miserably. The capability seems to be there, just not the will.

A failed suicide bomber from the attacks in Amman was caught and paraded on Jordanian TV over the weekend. What struck me was that she didn't come across as a raving, fanatical religious extremist. She was a dreary, cold hearted, hatchet-faced woman who nonetheless was able to describe the target as being full of children and women and still be able to try and detonate her bomb belt. No remorse and no emotion.

Have a good start to the week.

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