Talking points for 4 April

Good morning, BBC World news has just told me that this is likely to be a momentous day in the history of Zimbabwe. Certainly things seem to be coming to a head with the crackdown on the opposition and foreign journalists and it’s hard to imagine not getting to Zimbabwe at least for part of today’s programme. But we have an hour so here are some other topics that might get you going as well.

Forty years ago it was certainly a momentous day in the history of America – Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. The Philadelphia Daily News asks 40 years later, is the world better, or just different?. The anniversary is inevitably an issue in the presidential campaign – Fox News singles out John McCain here, and ABC illustrates how Senator McCain’s “complicated” relations with the man and the public holiday mirror the country’s – it was not until 2000 that all 50 states observed the holiday.

Who runs Europe? A poll in the International Herald Tribune suggests opinions are divided – particularly by the Atlantic. “Most Americans think the call should be placed to Gordon Brown in London. But Europeans – especially the French – tend to think Angela Merkel should pick up the receiver in Berlin.”

A couple of quick hits: The Beijing Olympic debate is set to ignite in London this weekend as the torch is carried through the British capital. Do you want Londoners to protest or do you worry that the spirit of the Olympic movement won’t be respected? And Tony Blair says religion needs rescuing from extremism and irrelevance. Do you agree?

And a couple of debates bubbling on the site: Should society make women dress modestly?, Does religion stand in the way of science? and Would you like to be famous?

18 Responses to “Talking points for 4 April”

  1. 1 Ros
    April 4, 2008 at 09:30

    Pete, I’d take a different question from Blair’s speech. ‘Does faith need to play a greater role in resolving the world’s problems?’ is my suggestion.

  2. 2 Sonny Honey
    April 4, 2008 at 11:13

    The assasination of martin luther king jr was the ultimate price that was payed for the struggle for racial equality in American.That was the begining of the dream,long live the united states of America.
    yola, nigeria

  3. 3 Ros Atkins
    April 4, 2008 at 11:18

    Now I’m in the office, I can add that my vote still goes to Fuchsia’s suggestion which is still being discussed. ‘Should women dress modestly?’

    I’m also interested in Nepal’s decision to ban the sale of alcohol at election time. Not necessarily to geton air, but certainly here on the blog.

    I’d only turn back to Zimbabwe if teh President decides to stand down and that’s clearly a big ‘if’ at the moment.

  4. April 4, 2008 at 11:19

    Hi it’s Karnie..

    A story in the United States has caught my eye… companies are now allowing new mothers to bring their babies to work. The rule being – babies are welcome until they are old enough to crawl. My question would be: Should mothers be allowed to take their babies into the work place?

  5. April 4, 2008 at 11:21

    Today I think we have to focus on Zimbabwe for at least some of the programme. In light of the MDC’s request for international help, “Should the international community intervene in Zimbabwe?” is my suggestion. Although I’m still a fan of Fushia’s modest dress debate…….but will it make today?

  6. April 4, 2008 at 11:21

    Kate here. I think we should pick up on Fuchsia’s blog post concerning attempts by government or society to control the way women dress following a week of various stories concerning the position of women in society.

  7. 7 Brett
    April 4, 2008 at 11:24

    40 years later, is the world better, or just different?.

    I wasn’t around 40 years ago, but after reading the newest issue of TIME; The MLK Article, and listening to quite a few NPR discussions on MLK past and present. I would have to say it is alot better (as many African American, other minorities and whites say). But it is not 100% better if that is what you are asking. The problem of race is certainly not solved unfortunately.

    Below is an incident at University of Richmond which is an ongoing thing right now. I also had a roomate who was black and went to UR (an overwhelmingly ‘white’ school). She had always noted that it was quite a racist environment.


    Overall, I think we as a society have come a long way. But as seen in the article above, there is always going to be a select group of stupid people who instigate and mess things up.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  8. 8 Aiden
    April 4, 2008 at 11:30

    How about this article : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7330196.stm

    I think it would be an interesting topic to discuss our rights and if this is a miracle or an abomination.

  9. 9 Muhammad Asim Munir
    April 4, 2008 at 11:31

    Hi WHYS!

    I hope you all are fine.

    I’m for it that women must be dressed modestly. It will add a lot to women’s respect and safety. Dress has an important role in defining a personality. A moderate dress will contribute to positive projection of a personality.

  10. 10 Brett
    April 4, 2008 at 11:47

    Whoa, Karnie and Kate both have some good ideas. I would love to see the Womens Dress topic covered at some point in time, but judging from the blog, there seems to be a resounding amount of people on one side (against it regulating dress). Either way it would be an interesting discussion. And taking babies to work! Thank goodness I work with all males back in my office. Not that I dislike babies, but my work environment is stressfull enough haha.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  11. 11 VictorK
    April 4, 2008 at 12:04

    I’m surprised that all American states observe MLK day. His campaign for equal rights was certainly commendable, but surely not enough to have made him a national hero. I can’t really believe that he’s a great hero in the southern states, except amongst African-Americans. Shouldn’t a national figure transcend differences of race and politics (before his death King was developing into something of a religious leftist, a more sedate Jesse Jackson)? And how odd that people overlook the bitter irony that whereas King campaigned for a colour-blind society with equal rights for all, America now officially endorses racial and gender discrimination, for African-Americans and other ethnic minorities, and for women, under the Orwellian euphemism of ‘affirmative action’. The Rev. King’s dream still has some way to go before it becomes a reality.

    Europe is run by a knot of senior bureucrats that few Europeans have heard of. Nobody should ‘run’ Europe (a political notion that belongs in a banana republic or a dictatorship like China), and it shouldn’t be possible for an American President to pick up the phone and call the person who ‘runs Europe’. This story illustrates the development of the European Union into a political union, from its original basis as a trading bloc, against the will of the people of most European nations. The European project spells the end of national sovereignty and self-government, which have been the historical sources of Europe’s greatness in the world. It is a well-intentioned disaster in the making. Freedom, genuine diversity, cultural distinctiveness, national pride, and accountable government simply cannot be expected to survive the emergence of a European super-state run by a trans-national bureaucracy. It’s time to call the EU back to its economic origins and to dismantle the political goal of a country called Europe.

    Blair thinks religion needs rescuing from extremism and irrelevance? As far as ‘extremism’ is concerned he’s presumably speaking with his turban on as Mullah Blair, the faux Islamic scholar who was endlessly telling us that Islam was a religion of peace and the Koran enjoined love and soft-centred chocolates for all humanity, even as British soldiers were fighting crazed Jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq, while their equally crazed brethren were exploding themselves all over London? And as for irrelevance, is this not the same man who for years thought it prudent to conceal his Catholicism from the country he governed for fear of a backlash? A little more backbone from the people who matter and perhaps religion would be in the spotlight more often than it is (though I’m not sure what good that would do).

    The only good thing I can say about Gordon Brown is that he is not Tony Blair.

  12. 12 Ros Atkins
    April 4, 2008 at 12:18

    My Precious Ros : There’s question that I’d really, really love to get an answer to from either the commentators on the WHYS blog or the listeners on the WHYS programme : Should the doctor, under any circumstances, not to tell his/her patient that he/she is having a terminal illness or that he/she is gonna die within a short period of time ?! May be you guys at the WHYS team can add other thoughts and ideas to the question. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad.

  13. 13 Ros Atkins
    April 4, 2008 at 12:18

    Ros and WHYS Staff:

    I really think that the discussion “Does religion stand in the way of science?” needs to go from the blog to the show. This is an important topic and should be discussed with the broader audience.

    While most people on the blog seem to be “anti-religion”, science has proven, and is in the process of proving that religion has benefits. I apologize for not having the information in front of me, but there has been studies done in hospitals that praying for patients helps in their healing. This is science proving religion.

    Religion doesn’t stand in the way of science, just as science doesn’t stand in the way of religion. It is closed-minded individuals that stand in the way of progress. I think this distinction needs to be made because not all scientific discoveries are progress and not all religions are against science. A historical example is the record keeping of Islam before the dark ages that helped bring about the renaissance. The Vatican currently has an astronomical observatory, as another example. Religion is not against science. Closed-minded individuals stand in the way of progress, whether scientific progress or religious progress.

    Thanks for your time and effort. You all do excellently work and I’m proud to be a listener. I look forward to hearing this subject on WHYS.


    Ian Eskey (Ian from Arizona)

  14. 14 Ros Atkins
    April 4, 2008 at 12:18

    Hi Ros,

    I have a question for discussion.

    Considering that this olympic torch is undertaking the longest route it has ever done, is it shineing an unpleasent light on the democratic countries. In democracy it is a public right to protest, yet it looks like government in countries such as greece, india and possibly even britian are doing their upmost to prevent the olympic route being troubled by protests over tibet.

    Also I wonder when the olympics comes to GB what unpleasent things about our society will come out of the woodwork as a result?

    Has the olympics had a long lasting effect in athens? Disability activists have pointed out that there has been little serious development on disability issues despite the presence of the paralympic games.



  15. 15 steve
    April 4, 2008 at 12:22

    Babies @ Work, must be entirely undemanding, not very professional work. Can you imagine a lawfirm allowing people to bring in babies? What would a client think hearing babies screaming and crying? Remember, some industries require a very professional appearance, and the noise would be distracting to other employees. I need silence to concentrate. Should you harm my clients because you want to bring in a baby to a WORKPLACE? Really bad idea unless you already are amongst other young children. I would imagine it wouldn’t be a big deal for a Kindergarten teacher, but other fields, I think it would be a very bad idea and just stinks of being unprofessional.

  16. 16 steve
    April 4, 2008 at 12:24

    @ Lubna:

    That’s how it used to be for cancer before they had treatments. They used to tell the family of the cancer victim, but not the person themself because there was nothing they could do, so no point in upsetting them. I’m sure for diseases that are currently untreatable they might do this, though I can see them opening themselves up to lawsuits because the person or the family in a wrongful death claim could say that had they been aware, they might have sought alternative treatments. But that was the way it used to be.

  17. 17 George USA
    April 4, 2008 at 13:32

    Should mothers be allowed to take their babies into the work place?

    Not Rosy the Riveter.


    Martin Luther King Jr assassination –

    There was a convincing radio program about that case yesterday

    stating James Earl Ray was a patsy.



    Looks miserable no matter what happens next.


    Do you want Londoners to protest Olympic torch run-

    actors depicting scenes of colonial history debacles would be fun,

    or just smile and wave.

  18. 18 Nge Valentine
    April 5, 2008 at 20:45

    Give to Cesar what belongs to Cesar and to God what belongs to God. God has given humans the intelligence to explore the world and so let them do their job but i insist on human dignity, we should saveguard it. If there was no science, the world would have come to an end according to me.

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