Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sticking By It

Andy Murray just won his first major tennis tournament in lifting the San Jose Open title. All the newspapers in the UK were abuzz with this new 'British' tennis phenomenon. Funnily enough, when he was a marginal player (maybe I should just say "younger" as he is only 18), the Scottish referred to him as 'British' and the English referred to him as 'Scottish'.
It warms my heart to see people sticking to their principles with the Scottish now referring to him as 'Scottish' and the to the English, he is now 'British'.......everyone loves a winner!

Which reminds me, I was in Montreal when Ben Johnson won his gold medal at the Seoul olympics in '88, making him the fastest human ever. The whole country went haywire with every newspaper (including the quebecois press) trumpeting the Canadian's pre-eminence in the champagne & caviar event that is the men's 100m.
Of course, when he lost the medal for doping, he became a "Jamaican immigrant" who disgraced himself. Loser.

David Irving, a British historian, has been jailed in Austria for denying the Holocaust. He was convicted on the basis of statements he made at a rally in Austria in 1989. He knew he would be arrested if he went back to Austria and yet he still did - many cynics have said that it is because he needed the publicity for his new book.
Many people are outraged at such an offense against freedom of speech while others believe that he knowingly broke the laws of an independent state and should therefore be tried accordingly. It's a thorny issue following so closely on the heels of the cartoon debate, which is still raging.

As a sample of opinions, on the one hand Karen Pollock, chief executive of the UK's Holocaust Educational Trust says: "Holocaust denial is anti-Semitism dressed up as intellectual debate."

On the other side is Deborah Lipstadt an author and intellectual whom Irving had tried to sue for libel who says: "The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and truth. I don't believe we can win battles through censorship."

I don't believe that muzzling someone will keep them quiet or prove a point. It is essential that we be allowed to speak our minds, no matter how distasteful or ugly the content. Libel and slander laws are in place precisely to protect the abuse of this freedom.

Back at home, Patriarch Sfeir has said that a military man should not be President of Lebanon. He wouldn't clarify or quantify his statement but I'm glad to see a responsible separation of religion and state because it would be irresponsible for a spiritual leader to comment on matters political - especially on matters concerning such an important issue. If he continues in this vein, he'll be endorsing civil marriage soon...

And finally, today the big matches start in the Champion's League but the really important one is tomorrow when my lovely Chelsea host Barcelona in their first game. Now that's going to see some sparks fly.



ghassan karam said...

It is not only that everyone loves a winner but even history is written by the victrious. McNamara, who was the assistant of the USAF general LeMay during WWII thinks that had they lost the war that they would have been held infront of an international tribunal for crimes against humanity as a result of the blanket bombings of Japanese cities.

MacDara said...

Maybe you remember Stephen Roche( Born Dublin, IreLand) when he won the tour de France BBC said he was the first British or Irish man to win it.
George Best was an irish drunk or the the best footballer to come from the United Kingdom same with Alex Higgins.

desmond said...

Was that the same McNamara who was the architect of the Vietnam war? So he did have moments of lucidity..

Hey Mac,
You're absolutely right.....Georgy and the Hurricane!! Good stuff!!

Tony Soprano said...

what no blog about your beloved chelsea lost and managers comments:))))))))))))

graeme said...

you are almost as bad as me for not blogging this week...