Friday, December 27, 2013
Some Kenyan multiculturalism in Britain
Daniela Vinci was finding it hard to sleep. It had been an exceptionally difficult time for the unmarried 40-year-old, who had suffered a break-in at her three-bedroom maisonette in Slough just two nights before.
Though unhurt, she had been deeply unsettled by the burglary, during which her mobile phone, laptop and bank cards had been taken while she slept.
The following day Daniela, 40, had replaced her locks, but she still felt unsafe in her own home.
Just after 11pm she checked that everything was secure and went to bed and, after tossing and turning, eventually fell into a deep sleep.
Three hours later, she was woken by a flashlight shining in her face — and found herself plunged into a nightmare.
One of the burglars who had broken into her home had returned. And this time he had come back to rape her.
Her ordeal is horrifyingly similar to that of the 59-year-old woman identified by police only as Linda, who spoke last week of how Ashley Mills, a burglar who had been convicted of breaking into her home, returned to rape her four years after the first crime.
Daniela had owned her immaculate £300,000 three-storey maisonette for six years, her retreat from the pressures of a jet-setting career as a senior cabin attendant.
‘There was a balcony on the second floor, but I would leave the window ajar because I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to climb up there,’ she says.
But in April, two young men managed to clamber up onto the balcony, breaking into Daniela’s home while she lay sound asleep upstairs. They stole her purse with her bank cards, her laptop and mobile phone, before fleeing out of the front door.
Daniela resolved to be more careful about home security. But two nights later, one of the raiders broke in again through her kitchen window.
‘As I awoke I became aware of something on my bed. I thought it was my cat, Texas, who loved cuddling up to me,’ says Daniela.
‘Suddenly I sensed a torch shining in my face. I stretched out, still half-dreaming, to switch on my bedroom light.
‘Then I saw him. I immediately realised I was in serious danger and knew instinctively it was the same man who had stolen my belongings two days before.
‘In that awful moment, the training I had done when I began work as an airline stewardess kicked in. ‘Keeping my voice as steady as I could, I said: “What’s your name? What are you doing here?”
‘He replied: “My name is Josh and I am 19.” ’
Police would later discover that he was Joseph Innocent Mwaura — a Kenyan who had committed a violent knife crime within a year of being granted a British passport at the age of 16.
As Daniela would discover, he decided to pay her another visit when he saw her photographs on the laptop he had stolen.
Daniela, who is softly spoken and slightly built, found herself in a desperate fight for survival. ‘I asked him: “What do you want?” There was a terrible pause before he replied menacingly: “I want your t**s.” ‘I knew then that this was not a simple robbery. The realisation that he planned to rape me was truly horrific.
‘I tried to stay still, desperately trying to stay calm. But I was alone in my bedroom with no one else in the house and no means of calling for help. The odds were truly against me.
‘Slowly he raised his gaze and looked me square in the eye, before saying: “I’ve been watching you.” My stomach flipped in fear and I started to shake.’
What followed was terrifying. ‘He pulled up his top, rubbed his chest and said: “Do you want some of this?” Then he lunged at me, grabbing my body and saying filthy things to me,’ says Daniela.
‘Somehow, I found the strength to push him away, frighteningly conscious I was naked under the duvet. I felt so vulnerable. ‘I began saying “No” again and again as firmly as I could. I knew that it was imperative I remained calm.
‘I had to get him out of the bedroom to give me a chance to escape or call for help, so I took a gamble and said: “You can do what you want, but let’s go downstairs.” ‘He didn’t object so, as he walked out to go down the stairs, I leapt out of bed, pulled on my pyjamas and followed him.’
Daniela thought the only chance for survival would be if she could keep him distracted, so she tried to strike up a conversation.
‘I felt physically sick. His actions were strange and detached, but I tried to talk to him. ‘I said: “The best thing you can do is to leave my property now. There’s the door.”
‘He replied: “How do I know you won’t call the police?” I said: “Take my phone and hide it.” He walked into the kitchen with my new mobile phone, but suddenly, something seemed to click.
‘His strange, almost robotic compliance ended and he wrenched open a kitchen drawer and pulled out a large, sharp knife.
‘I threw myself down the stairs. I’d managed to half-release the lock on the front door when my attacker grabbed me by the throat and pulled me back.
‘His words came spitting out. “I’m going to rape you,” he snarled. I screamed and screamed. He pushed the knife against my throat and spat: “If you do that again, I’m going to kill you.”
‘I thought I was going to die there, like that.’
Then Daniela did something extraordinarily brave.
‘I smelt the sickening sweet smell of marijuana on his breath and felt anger surge through my body. I thought: “I can fight him — he’s under the influence of drugs.” I rolled on top of him and grabbed the knife.
‘I acted so quickly it took him by surprise. I put it to his throat and screamed “Get out — now,” kicking the door open with my foot.
‘He shouted “Bitch!” and punched me hard in my left eye. But then he grabbed the knife and ran.
‘Though my head was swirling from the force of the blow, I managed to slam the door shut after him. I half-ran, half-crawled upstairs and rang 999. ‘The police arrived in minutes and officers with dogs started to comb the area.
Five days later, the police called to report a breakthrough. A local teenager had tried to top up his mobile phone using Daniela’s stolen bank card.
A trace on the phone led them to a squalid bedsit just ten minutes from her home, shared by three young men.
They were arrested and put in an identity parade of 27 men. Daniela instantly recognised her attacker from the line-up.
Mwaura was charged with trespassing with intent to rape, sexual assault, burglary, actual bodily harm and being in possession of cannabis.
Daniela — her voice barely rising above a whisper — says: ‘I lost almost a stone in weight. When the police asked if I was willing to appear in court as a witness, I thought: “I can’t let this man get away with this.” So I said I would.’
‘When it was his turn to appear in the dock, he was nonchalant. I thought: “This has almost wrecked me and it means nothing to you.”
‘When the foreman of the jury stood to give his verdict, my legs almost gave way. I was shaking uncontrollably. When he said “Guilty”, I wept.
The court heard that Mwaura, who had come to Britain from Kenya with his parents, had previously robbed a 16-year-old boy and his 13-year-old sister at knifepoint.
Last week, he was jailed for seven years and four months for his latest crimes.
Christianity is no longer automatic in Britain and Western Europe
But nothing can take away its power to transform lives
By AN Wilson (A former atheist)
Is Christianity a dying religion? Anyone watching the huge crowds assembled to hear the popular new Pope’s Christmas message yesterday would have concluded that the news of the death of Christianity had been much exaggerated.
Every year, huge numbers of Chinese, Koreans and South Americans are still being drawn to evangelical Christianity. The Queen’s Christmas message, and the sight of her, with the Royal family, loyally attending morning service at Sandringham is a reminder that we are still, notionally at least, a Christian country, with – as it happens – a Head of State who is herself a committed Christian.
And yet – in spite of the vast crowds clapping Pope Francis, it is difficult to feel sanguine.
Ever since William Dalrymple published his classic From the Holy Mountain in 1997, about the decline of Christianity in the very lands which gave it birth, it has been impossible to ignore the shrinkage. In eastern Turkey – St Paul’s earliest stamping-ground – Syriac Christians have been so persecuted that they fled to neighbouring Syria. President Assad is one of the few Middle Eastern leaders to protect Christians and their ancient shrines, and since the outbreak of civil war, Christians have paid the price for being the tyrant’s beneficiaries.
In Egypt, Coptic Christians suffer harassment and persecution. In Israel, the government turns a blind eye to encroachment, or destruction, of church property, and many young Palestinians, reared as Christians, have turned to Islam. As Dalrymple has more recently said, the Arab Spring was the Christian Winter.
Meanwhile, Britain, despite our Christian Queen, grows ever more secular. Public discourse assumes that most intelligent people have given up religious belief. Anglican congregations are, on the whole, ageing, and, outside the big cathedrals or evangelical rallying points, have dwindled to almost nothing. The rising generation – many of whom do not even have nativity plays any longer at their primary schools, let alone a grounding in the Bible – simply have no idea what Christianity is, let alone whether they might believe in it. Why, there is no historical evidence that Jesus ever went to Bethlehem, let alone that his birth there, of a Virgin Mother, was heralded by choirs of angels.
The child-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church have had a devastating effect in all Western countries, especially in America and Ireland, the two places which used to supply priests for the rest of the world. Priestly vocations in Ireland are more or less nil. The tsunami of sad sordid stories about the mistreatment of children did not just make faithful people think twice before allowing their child to become an altar boy; they made the world in general think that Christianity, with its long abhorrence of sex – and indeed its general distrust of the body – was an unwholesome creed, based on a fundamentally fallacious conception of humanity, and sustained by miraculous claims – about a virginally conceived saviour who rose from the dead – which were candidly incredible.
For those who try to soak themselves in the Gospel, however, the world news sends out signals that are more or less the opposite of those which a secular statistician might consider reliable.
Huge numbers of people clapping in a square – even if they are clapping the Pope – do not tell you anything about whether Christianity is actually true. Nor does the dwindling congregation at the 8 o’clock Communion at Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh undermine the truth of the Word Made Flesh – if it is true.
The Gospel is hard, and it contains within it, not the fear but the absolute certainty, that persecution and misunderstanding will always follow in its wake. It is based on the idea of dying in order to live; of losing life in order to find it; of taking up the cross, that instrument of torture, and finding therein not merely life but glory.
Yes, the hype and sentimentality surrounding the funeral of Nelson Mandela’s funeral were embarrassing, but at the core of it all was the central idea, embodied by a figure such as Archbishop Tutu, that it is possible to ignore the poison of hatred bubbling in your heart and forgive your enemies. The ANC, for long – yes – a terrorist organisation, changed its mind, and behaved, not like Jihadists, but like Christians. South Africa, riven as it is with every kind of human problem, got that thing right largely because Mandela in his prison years decided to risk all on what was a fundamentally Christian idea.
Yes, the Arab Spring is the Christian Winter because there is no truth or reconciliation apparently at work in Israel-Palestine, nor in Iraq, nor in Syria… But the Christian writings, beginning as they do with a refugee mother and baby surrounded by invading armies, and ending with world conflict, the utter destruction of Jerusalem, and the coming of apocalyptic death and plague, are not comfortable.
The paradox is that growing or shrinking numbers do not tell you anything. The Gospel would still be true even if no one believed it. The hopeful thing is that, where it is tried – where it is imperfectly and hesitantly followed – as it was in Northern Ireland during the peace process, as it is in many a Salvation Army hostel this Christmas, as it flickers in countless unseen Christian lives, it works. And its palpable and remarkable power to transform human life takes us to the position of believing that something very wonderful indeed began with the birth of Christ into the world.
The War on Rich White Men
by LLOYD MARCUS
I heard a knock on the door of my hotel room. It was Donald. "Turn on Megyn Kelly. She is reporting about an MSNBC commentator's claim that using the term "Obamacare" is the same as calling him the N word." http://bit.ly/18QPu5V
MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry's accusation is absurd. It is an obvious weak attempt to distance the president from Obamacare which is wreaking havoc in the lives of millions of Americans who are losing their health care.
What I found most disturbing and what I wish to focus on is Perry's evil attempt to gin up hate against "wealthy white men" who she claims created the term "Obamacare" to demean and undermine the black president.
Due to the Obama Administration playing the race card to win every argument and silence opposition, America is polarized along racial lines. Perry's false accusation is like throwing gasoline on the flames of national racial tensions; as irresponsible and cruel as screaming fire in a crowded auditorium.
Perry's specific use of the term "wealthy white men" was insidiously strategic. Low info blacks in my family along with blacks across America will believe Perry's nonsense to be the gospel truth. With the wave of black flash mob violence and the rising incidents of the racially motivated knockout game, the last thing we need as a nation is another black TV celeb promoting a racially charged false narrative.
Democrats and liberals like Perry have been promoting the same irresponsible, divisive and racist false narrative for decades. They claim that all evil in the world is the fault of racist, greedy, sexist and evil wealthy white men usually identified as conservative Republicans.
Perry's rant is simply the latest blow to the chin of America's white males by a liberal. Flash back to New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd's 2009 article titled, "White Man's Last Stand." Dowd's article excoriated white men. http://bit.ly/1bsYmc5
Obama and company's reelection strategy was centered around a shock-and-awe media blitz branding the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney as an evil super-wealthy racist white guy. http://bit.ly/1cz7noO
So, we get it. While political correctness is the unwritten law of the land, it is open season on trashing and targeting the American rich white male for destruction; even deemed morally correct and patriotic.
Who is out there giving rich white men props for their many positive contributions to society? Where are their advocates? I am sure with me being an American black man, liberals think it unconscionable that I would suggest such a thing; elevating me to "super" Uncle Tom status.
In 1895, Booker T. Washington formed a coalition of black leaders, politicians and white philanthropists (rich white guys), with a long-term goal to build the black community's economic strength and pride by focusing on self-help, education and entrepreneurship. http://bit.ly/19fDhpF
Perry's ridiculous claim that the term "Obamacare" is the new N word is laughable. The N word is defined as a contemptuous term for a black or dark-skinned person. Sadly, American rich white men are viewed with a similar contemptuousness; despised, kicked around and unfairly mistreated.
Bottom line, Ms Perry and the whole liberal machine pushing the war on rich white men should be ashamed of themselves. The left's hate speech is ripe with negative consequences for the lives of real people; decent folks who simply worked hard, made good choices and achieved their American Dream.
Why should they be demonized in such a way as to inspire violence against them? It simply is not right.
The unspoken truth about marriage and kids
Couples should not have children if their relationship is not stable enough to merit getting married, a British High Court judge said last week.
Sir Paul Coleridge, speaking out before retirement from a long family law career, challenged the common notion that it makes no difference whether parents cohabit or marry. "One [arrangement] tends to last and the other doesn't," he said, quoting Marriage Foundation research suggesting children with unmarried parents were twice as likely to suffer a family break-up as those with married parents. The proportion of children born to unmarried parents in Britain reached a record 47.5 per cent last year.
Children in cohabiting families lag behind children with married parents in overall socio-emotional and general development.
When a British authority figure dares to give voice to concerns about this crucial social issue, it makes news because it is so rare. Here in Australia, too, there is deathly silence from our leaders - politicians, social scientists, the clergy, judges - about the increasing casualisation of relationships involving children.
Yet talk to people working with disadvantaged communities and you hear a very different story. They witness the effects on children of being raised in unstable relationships - effects well documented in Australia.
Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, Lixia Qu and Ruth Weston, from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, found young families with cohabiting parents were nearly three times more likely to break up than married families. The same researchers showed children in cohabiting families lag behind children with married parents in overall socio-emotional and general development, show poorer learning, more behavioural problems and experience poorer parenting.
Contrary to expectations, it has turned out that children don't provide the glue to keep cohabiting parents together. Marriage - often dismissed as just a piece of paper - does make a difference.
This year, the "Knot Yet" report on changing marriage patterns, by the Washington-based Brookings Institution, examined why this was so and suggested the answer may lie in the decision-making process.
Most people marry after a process of discovering mutual commitment to long-term goals. That's often lacking in cohabiting relationships where couples move in together sometimes because a lease runs out, or they are seeking cheaper rent, or it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Families that evolve from these non-decisions are, unsurprisingly, far less stable. The non-decisions apply also to child-bearing - the Brookings report notes the high incidence of unplanned pregnancy in these arrangements, with half of births to unmarried 20-something women "unintended".
The result, according to the report, is a growing social divide, with well-educated people still tending to marry and then have children, while lower socio-economic groups are more likely to have children in de facto relationships. These children often end up in single-parent families. This emerging difference in marriage patterns is adding to the gap between the haves and have-nots, increasing social disadvantage.
Of course there are de facto couples with lasting relationships and thriving children, but the broader patterns tell a different story - just as the 90-year-old who smokes has no bearing on the link between cigarettes and health risks.
Pope Francis recently announced he was surveying all Catholics about family life. His questionnaire, which seeks response from clergy, Catholic organisations and parishioners, expresses concern about social changes, including "the widespread practice of cohabitation", and asks about the prevalence of such couples in Catholic communities and problems with pastoral care in these circumstances.
Responses will be interesting, given that 40 years ago clergy readily spoke out about the benefits of marriage, whereas these days few dare raise the "M" question for fear of ostracising their shrinking pool of parishioners and attracting unfavourable media attention.
The media is part of the problem, given in their number are more than a fair share of cohabiting couples. For instance, the ABC is full of well-educated presenters and producers bucking social trends by successfully raising children in stable de facto relationships or single-parent families. They naturally resist any public discussion of their choices.
One example is Richard Glover, from ABC Sydney, who boasts of his long-lasting de facto relationship. He has publicly taken issue with my reporting of research on this subject. "Do our children miss out on anything?" he wrote. "Well, yes, Bettina … Principally, I think, they miss out on vases," he said, of his family's lack of expensive crystal vases commonly given as wedding presents.
Public discussion of this important social trend is discouraged by media players who won't acknowledge that their preferred lifestyle choices have very different consequences on the other side of the social divide - yet the impact on kids of the casualisation of family relations is no laughing matter.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.