Talking points for 26th March

It’s not exactly a quiet day – with more violence in Iraq, and warnings of an impending catastrophe in Somalia, where hostilities continue between government forces and Islamist insurgents – but in terms of talking points, the most interesting possibilities seem to lie around the edges of the main news agenda.

In Britain, the main teachers’ unions have been holding their Easter conferences, and they’ve all been discussing what’s seen as a rise in poor behaviour in schools. Children disrupting classes and bullying their teachers and each other; abusive and unhelpful parents; drugs, guns and knives in the worst cases. Faced with such challenges, it’s perhaps little wonder that many teachers are leaving the profession. Some people blame family breakdown, others an increasingly materialistic culture. And I’ve long been fascinated by studies suggesting there there may be links between poor diet and aggressive behaviour – Could the decline in cooking and the rise in consumption of junk food be one factor in the problems in schools?

Are children becoming more badly behaved in your country? And if so, why do you think this is?

Scientists are amazed and alarmed at the cracking of an Antarctic ice shelf the size of Northern Ireland. They thought the Wilkins Shelf would last for another 30 years – but now it is ‘hanging by a thread’. Rising global temperatures are being blamed. Of course it’s just another sign of major changes occurring in weather systems and the physical environment. Why aren’t people more worried about climate change?

The aftershocks of the controversy over the Danish Mohammed cartoons are still being felt, and there is angst in the Netherlands over a provocative film about Islam. We’re hoping to travel to the Netherlands to explore that story in detail, but in the meantime, have a look at this editorial in the International Herald Tribune. Commentator Celestine Bohlen says Europe is torn over how to accommodate its growing Muslim minority without sacrificing principles that have long been central to European civilisation. Let us know what you think.

7 Responses to “Talking points for 26th March”

  1. 1 steve
    March 26, 2008 at 11:22

    re: cartoons

    This is the 21st century. Blasphemy laws belong in the middle ages, not the 21st century.

  2. 2 Brett
    March 26, 2008 at 11:38

    “Why aren’t people more worried about climate change?”
    Because it hasn’t affected them enough yet to care. They want to live their lives without change or with as little change as possible and pawn the problem on to our next generation. Of course technology will solve the problem right? We can live however we want and someone will invent a magic fix to simply fix all of the problems. We just have to wait it out.
    Don’t worry, more people will begin to be hit by climate change and start to come around. The mid-westerners will begin to feel it first in the US. As rising Ocean temps create more “El Nino” conditions and the west begins to dry out more and more all of the people who moved out there will find their already dwindling water supplies being sucked up by cities and states further north to irrigate lawns that should be desert and utilize the precious water supplies in other pointless ways.
    But even then they will probably just blame it on ‘a dry spell’ and not climate change. Either way, they will feel it first.. Maybe it will bring about change in behaviors. Probably not.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  3. 3 eric aka eks321
    March 26, 2008 at 13:35

    climate change: see the recently released nasa photo showing the martian polar ice cap melting. get out of the pc matrix. global warming is caused by the sun. we should all be concerned about pollution but the hysteria surrounding global warming is having the same negative consequences that that the hysteria about ddt did, which caused millions to needlessly die of malaria . to cut down on fuel emmissions, the world is producing bio-fuels while people starve, because food crops have been replaced by “environmentally friendly” fuel crops.

  4. 4 steve
    March 26, 2008 at 15:24

    Uh oh, the death threats against the man who converted to catholocism by the pope on Easter have begun. I know, lets’ accomodate! How about better, we leave 8th century beliefs in the 8th century? He gives up one set of fictional beliefs for another set of fictional beliefs, and one set of whackos want to kill him for it. God, they really need to have intelligence tests for people to be allowed to breed.

  5. 5 VictorK
    March 26, 2008 at 16:59

    @Steve: I saw a BBC News 24 report on the Pope’s Easter Mass. It mentioned in passing that he had baptised a Muslim into the Catholic faith. Iwas surprised they didn’t make more of it. I wondered then how long it would be before followers of what we are often told is a ‘religion of peace’ went on the warpath. All of 3 days. As you know, under Islam the penalty for conversion is death. No ifs and buts. Death.

    The simple truth is that Islam and Western civilisation are incompatible. It shouldn’t be for Europe to accommodate Islam but for Islam to attempt to accomodate Europe. We are slowly losing our liberties in Europe as a direct result of the presence of Islam. In Belgium a political party hostile to muslim immigration has been banned. Free speech is under constant assault in every European country in order to appease Islam, as the largely cowardly response to the Danish cartoons demonstrated. Many young muslims are filled with rage and hatred towards non-muslims as a direct result of the teachings of the Koran. Hundreds of them demonstrated in London a few years ago calling for a 9-11 to engulf all of Europe. Islamic terrorism has led to increased state surveillance of the general population and a corresponding loss of freedom. Everywhere muslims are failing to integrate, regard their hosts and the cultural traditions of their hosts with hostility and contempt. There have been under-reported ‘muslim rape epidemics’ in Denmark and Norway. Recently here in England, in a part of London with a large muslim population, an Anglican priest was assaulted in what police described as a ‘faith hate crime.’ Though the media described the assailants as ‘Asian youths’ everybody knew what the euphemism meant (the same thing as ‘disaffected youth’). Muslim districts in several European cities are now routinely described as no-go zones for non-muslims. On present trends countries like France and Holland are projected to have muslim majorities in the next 50-100 years, which will in effect mean the death of both France and Holland as historic nations. But all attempts to debate this issue in either country are denounced as ‘racist’ (even though ‘Islam’ is not a race) and every step is taken to intimidate and silence those who are concerned about the demographic future of their country.

    Islam is proving to be Europe’s disaster. European civilisation is uniquely gifted, uniquely brilliant. It has an absolute right to exist, on its own terms, in its own space. Islam had a few brief centuries of (reflected) glory. Since then it has been an anti-civilisational force. Human progress requires that there be a Europe, just as it demands that there should be a United States. Islam has nothing of value to offer humanity.

    Wafic Sultan, Ibn Warraq and Hirsi Ali will all endorse Geert Wilders film about Islam and agree with his call to ban the Koran. Let WHYS include their voices and give us the chance to really hear the other side of the question.

  6. 6 George USA
    March 26, 2008 at 17:07


    An American Indian proverb says-

    The man who wakes with the sun to chew off his arm in anger soon has no arms.

    The warrior who makes war on himself cannot win that battle.

  7. 7 Katharina in Ghent
    March 26, 2008 at 17:24


    About the bullying in schools: I saw in interesting report on German TV about a month ago, where they presented a school that had some serious problems. There they made an experiment where the kids had sports for an hour every single day, and very quickly the rate of violence went down. The theory goes that if the children can get rid of their excessive energy, they will be calmer and don’t need to beat up each other. At the same time of course, the increased sports would also help to battle childhood obesity. Given that our children are all day at school, is an hour of sports every day in all schools really asking too much?

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