Zombies and Stuff

Tales of the end of the world as we know it

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Dez Rez

At last! The third in the Trilogy, “The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Dez Rez” is now available on Amazon Kindle. In the next few days it will become available on other platforms through http://www.smashwords.com.

Common Cold cover Dez RezNo longer able to eke out a hand to mouth existence in the mountains above Denver, and with the arrival of new survivors putting a strain on limited resources, Rob, Daniel and the rest of the original survivors decide that the time has come for pastures new.

Identifying Soda Bay in California as an area that might well offer hopes of a new beginning, it is up to key members of the group to establish a bridgehead and make it safe for those that want to make the journey from the mountains.

Problem is, this prime real estate is already occupied by people with their own absolute and terrifying agenda. Can they share the territory, or will it be winner takes all? Whatever the outcome, the dangers have just gotten worse and harder to identify. A new evil is abroad and their hard-won survival is about to be challenged – yet again.

I hope you enjoy it; once again I have tried hard to make it as unique as possible, hopefully that will be apparent to you, the reader.

 

About Smashwords.com:

Smashwords is a global ebook distributor serving authors, publishers, readers and major ebook retailers. We distribute books to Apple iBooks (51 countries), Barnes & Noble, Kobo (which powers the bookstores of multiple other retailers such as FNAC in France and WH Smith in the U.K.), OverDrive, Flipkart, Oyster, txtr, Baker & Taylor (Blio.com and the Axis360 library platform), and others.

Books by the Author:

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

Available Worldwide

 

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

Available Worldwide

 

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Dez Rez (Sequel)

Available Worldwide

 

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle

Available Worldwide

 

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor

Available Worldwide

 

The Animus Portal

Available Worldwide

 

Fierce Alchemy

Available Worldwide

 

I’m Confused

I read an article in the paper today that talked about an armed raid on the house of the film director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, responsible for the latest upcoming film 50 Shades of Grey. My hopes were up because initially I thought that they were going to confiscate the script for what I reckon will be a yawn-making, afternoon telly movie. Then my hopes flew out of the window because I discovered her premises were being raided because someone saw a gun through a window.

armed-police-351x185Hmm. What concerns me is that merely on the hearsay of a stranger, a house can be raided by armed police units. Whatever happened to the more softly, softly approach of yesteryear? Before going into someone’s house in such a bullish fashion, how about doing a land search, find out who owns the house, their profession, and whether it’s reasonably possible that they may have a right to have a weapon? Or whether the witness was mistaken? Or whether the weapon was in fact legally owned? Where has the presumption of innocence gone?

I’m not blaming the passer-by, not unless the desk on which the gun (an M16 I am led to believe) was placed was on the second storey and they had been using grappling hooks to get a peek, but I do think that a more appropriate approach might have been to go have a look-see and a chat using a couple of low-key officers with backup outside ready to pounce if called upon. It’s more traditional, certainly closer to the British values Cameron keeps harping on about. Why are we behaving more like a police state, with little or no tolerance for anything outside the new ‘normal’, whatever the hell that is?

Terrorism is not an excuse for curtailing civil liberties, not in our ‘civilised’ countries, no matter how much jingoism is bandied about. Would they have been as quick to react if they found the home owned by someone of a minority group? Judging by recent and outrageous discoveries, I’m guessing not. Non-criminals have human rights too. All this and they are releasing serious criminals with only partial sentences served back onto the street. If you want the police to actually do something about real crime we can all relate to, maybe more crimes ought to be classified as terrorist activities – like cycling on the footpath, dropping litter, using mobile phones while driving, oh, yes, and smoking in your car accompanied by a kid. These are just as likely to result in injury and death, but where is the real effort against these everyday crimes?

indians_attacking_a_stage_coachMy biggest long term fear when I read things like this is that it is seriously going to impede a person’s right to be prepared for the ZA. If they chase even toys and decommissioned weapons out of people’s homes, where will we be when it’s time to obey rule one, find a weapon to kill zombies with? Smacking a zombie over the head with a stale baguette really isn’t going to have the same impact as a bullet between the eyes, now is it? If they crack down on decommissioned weapons (which I might add is still legal to possess in the UK) just because someone sees one in your home, does that mean that if you want to admire your collection, do you now have to close your curtains, lock your doors and switch on a low wattage light before you can reveal your weapon candy? Are guns going to become the new porn? What about kids playing cowboys and Indians? Will the children playing suddenly be surrounded by men in black storm-trooper suits carrying automatic weapons, abseiling down from Chinooks and screaming at them to drop their 6-shooters or they’ll open fire? Or do kids not play that sort of game anymore because it’s too non-PC these days? I really don’t know; it’s been more than a little while since I was a kid. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Books by the Author:

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

Available Worldwide

Click Here for the USA

Click Here for the UK

 

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

Available Worldwide

Click Here For The USA

Click Here For The UK

 

Out In A Few Days’ Time:
The third in the trilogy – “The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Dez Rez”

 

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle

Available Worldwide

Click Here for the USA

Click Here for the UK

 

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor

Available Worldwide

Click Here for the USA

Click Here for the UK

 

The Animus Portal

Available Worldwide

Click here for the UK

Click here for the USA

 

Fierce Alchemy

Available Worldwide

Click Here for the USA

Click Here for the UK

The Adventure of The Sardines And The Marginalised Passenger

I’ve spent a great deal of my career travelling by plane. It was great, even fun way back when, when I was able to travel mostly business class. Then 9/11 happened and an about face began. Economy was crowned king. Then I discovered what true suffering was all about (relatively speaking, of course). Economy on airliners. There is economy and there’s economy. I discovered that this particular class varied significantly depending on the airline; I’m not going to defame one airline over another but I will say that for the most part BA seems to come top in relative quality in my humble opinion – I’m sure others will disagree, it’s a pretty subjective yardstick I use.

economy 1The biggest problem with economy travel comes particularly with long haul. Seat separation. They boast about leg room – ‘we have 32” between seats’ says one, ‘we have 32.5” between seats”. Fan-bloody-tastic. Are you impressed with these statistics? Have you noticed that they no longer give specifics in this respect – especially in economy? Whenever you see an airline advert, it’s always business or first class travellers they film. Have you ever wondered why no-one ever made a film called ‘Happy Sardines’? Next time you travel, look at the unfettered joy of the faces of economy passengers one and all, the relaxed way they make their overjoyed way to their spacious seat, slide their hand baggage up into the adequately provisioned overhead lockers, and sit back enjoying that much anticipated glass of sparkly from that smiling stewie. You haven’t seen that? Really? Why?

Well, let me tell you.

Airlines, like all businesses are inherently greedy for profit. They want to make the biggest unit profit they can. You aren’t passengers, you’re units of profit. They do everything they can to reduce the cost of running two or four gas-guzzling engines across vast tracts of the world – and that’s to be expected, and so they should for a number of reasons. The cost of running a plane is prodigious; they have to sweat that asset until it’s ringing wet. As a result, everything they can do to save even 1/2 a percent gets done. The new winglets you see everywhere save on average 3% of the fuel bill. Somewhere along the psychology of passengers has become irrelevant.

You’ve all heard about personal space and how some nations have naturally large ones than others, to wit the Japanese being man-handled onto their subway trains every day, something that would cause riots in some other countries. This is not a criticism, just a fact. If you put a lot of animals in a small enough cage, you’re going to get a reaction.

business classReclining seats have been around pretty much since the beginning of jet airliners. So what, you ask. Over the years airlines have followed the lure of bean counters maximising the number of passengers they can fit on one plane. As a result the leg room has been dramatically reduced. They spend huge amounts of time making business class seat-beds ‘perfect’, why don’t they work a little harder for the bread and butter passengers? Because although they got complaints, not enough people voted with their feet. So they carried on. Now it appears that there are too many animals in the cage, and at last we are seeing the results of this money-grubbing approach.

The Knee-defender, what an amazing and simple idea. This is an intelligent, considered response to a worsening situation – the results were, perhaps a little more extreme than envisaged. If the airlines feel they can squeeze us in their capitalistic fashion, then why would they object to another capitalist coming up with a simple and effective solution to a growing problem?

I think it’s time airlines began to take notice of their passengers. If they keep on pushing, something will break, and let’s hope it’s only a massive class action for corporate assault. Maybe they’ll listen then.

Books by the Author:

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

Available Worldwide

Click Here for the USA

Click Here for the UK

 

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

Available Worldwide

Click Here For The USA

Click Here For The UK

 

Out In A Few Days’ Time:
The third in the trilogy – “The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Dez Rez”

 

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle

Available Worldwide

Click Here for the USA

Click Here for the UK

 

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor

Available Worldwide

Click Here for the USA

Click Here for the UK

 

The Animus Portal

Available Worldwide

Click here for the UK

Click here for the USA

 

Fierce Alchemy

Available Worldwide

Click Here for the USA

Click Here for the UK

Have a Go Hero – I don’t think so

As the years have gone by we have been beaten over the head constantly with how badly brought up and feckless our youth has become. I freely admit that I have, at times, been gulled into thinking the world is falling apart at the seams. And then something strange happens.

Today I travelled into London by train. While purchasing my ticket I could hear some tinny music and at first I thought the train company had started piping music for its customers – I hoped not as it sounded pretty bad. Walking onto the platform I found the source, a couple of youths were sitting down listening to music from an iPhone. I was right, it did sound bloody awful; on top of that it was noisy and annoying. But I ignored it. After all, I have intervened in the past and received an earful of abuse; I’ve learnt my lesson well, and for the most part I do have a tendency to take the easiest path. Most of us are in that same boat. Some of you are probably thinking ‘why should I intervene? They are just enjoying themselves’. Maybe, but on the other hand most people were moving away from them as the noise was unacceptable to other passengers. It’s also not permitted to listen to music out loud – that’s what headphones or buds are for. But what’s a rule more or less among friends – or strangers.

I've added a mustache to maintain anonymity

I’ve added a mustache to maintain anonymity

Among the people on the platform were an elderly couple, clearly upset at the volume of this noise. The old man goes over to the boys and asks them to turn the noise down. You can guess the results of that. The boys became belligerent and mouthy. I stepped over to them in the hope that they would moderate their attitude which was becoming seriously unreasonable, and appeared to be upsetting the old lady. At that point the main bolshie kid asked me if I liked his music. Big mistake on his part. I just said I think it’s shit and please turn it down, not everyone wants to hear it. So now it was two against two.

I don’t particularly like confrontation, these days knives are not exactly uncommon and it seems those that carry are prepared to use them rather too readily. Anyway after a stand-off and hard stares I asked him why he did it, doesn’t he care about anyone else? He just said he couldn’t care less. Well, there it was, the ratification of all those newspaper articles that said kids weren’t what they were. I hate to think that because, no matter what schools teach them, or don’t, young ’uns are still individuals with their own opinions about themselves and others and are on the same journey as the rest of us.

To cut a long story short, the train came; of course it was way overloaded because of various problems. There was little room for additional passengers and as luck would have it the silly sods ended up standing next to me in the carriage. Doing their best not to catch my eyes, they played with their phones (now on silent). As we approached London Bridge, the stockier one, wearing mirrored shades, turned to me and moved closer. Here it is I thought, this is where it’s going to get ugly.

“That thing in the station – I’m sorry about that,” were not my words, they were his. He could have knocked me down with a feather.

Just goes to show, even actions aren’t always what they appear – understanding is key to communication. It made my day.

Zombie books by David K Roberts:

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor

UK           USA         Canada    Australia

******Attention potential Zombie extras! ******

On the 21st August an audition will be held in London for new Zombie flick directed by Chee Keong Cheung. Depending upon how many applicants we get there will be two audition sessions: one will begin at 0900 in the morning and the second at 1400. Anyone with martial arts experience is also welcome as well as anyone who’s done a zombie role or can act or at least shuffle and scream!

In the first instance contact Kate on auditions21@yahoo.com. You will then be given more details on location and times.

Common Cold cover eyes 6-9-13Zombie books by David K Roberts:

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor

UK           USA         Canada    Australia

Maidenhead Zombie Walk Coming Soon!

Put your walking boots and bloody make-up on! It’s the Maidenhead Zombie Walk

Maidenhead Zombie WalkThe annual Zombie Walk in which hordes of zombies descend upon Maidenhead to celebrate Halloween will take place on Saturday 25th October 2014. Starting at 5pm at Maidenhead Train station the zombies will stumble and waddle up past the boy in the boat statue and down the high street, turning right to end outside of the Town Hall. There will be an after party with an event page of its own. Keep an eye out on this Facebook page.

See you there!

Over-Hyped Or Soon To Be Over Here?

guinea-liberia-sierra-leone-2014-currentI’m not going into the symptoms of Ebola; if you want you can read that here. No, I’m talking about the Talking Head syndrome we suffer from today, the advent of 24/7 news. As we know, in all apocalyptic stories, the problem starts with a small infection that goes ‘pandemic’. Do we really worry about this with Ebola? Should we?

The first question is: how does the public take to this scare-mongering?

Thirty years ago, before the current plethora of apocalyptic films, books, and constant news reporting I believe the population would be beside itself with driven fear of what, apparently, was coming. Now, though, with highly paid Talking Heads adding to the white noise of induced fear (and most of these talk a load of crap, supposition, and assumption based on almost no information – what better anaesthetic for thought can there be?) I think that a certain amount of immunity to bad news has developed in people’s minds. With the horror of wars, the shooting down of passenger planes, murders, rapes, and religious fervour being piped into our homes, how can Ebola compete with this?

The second question is: how bad does it have to be before we are genuinely frightened rather than just concerned?

Before I look at this question, there is one thing I need to do, and that is define a few words. I’m not being patronising to you, my readers, but a lot of times words are used incorrectly in public reports and so people begin to associate a word with its incorrect usage. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to be one of those responsible for disinformation!

Definition 1, Pandemic: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a pandemic must meet three conditions: A new virus emerges; it infects humans and causes severe symptoms; and it spreads easily from person to person.

Definition 2, Epidemic: an epidemic occurs when new cases of a certain (known) disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience. Epidemiologists often consider the term outbreak to be synonymous to epidemic, but the general public typically perceives outbreaks to be more local and less serious than epidemics (source: Wikipedia).

We’ve seen a lot of pandemics in recent years, to wit H1N1 (Swine Flu), SARS and Bird Flu. Fortunately for us, while they have been responsible for many deaths, the upside is that none of them have been on the same level as the Influenza (H1N1 related) pandemic of 1918-20, which killed between 50 and 100 million people. Even more capable than people at killing, that one. I think because of its relation to Influenza, Swine Flu scared us a lot more than Ebola. Why? Perhaps it’s because enough of us have watched films like Congo where it showed how simple it was to manufacture the cure for Ebola quickly. Plus our favourite movies stars survived (almost, poor old Kevin Spacey). Maybe it’s also because we try not to think about getting infected with the Ebola virus, the 90% death rate and the ghastly slopification (not a real word, I know but it describes well the internal effects) of our innards precludes close contemplation.

Biohazard-Public-Domain2So, when do we start to react as a population? When we hear about the first case in a hospital on our shores? When it rises to ten, twenty, fifty? For my money I don’t think it has much to do with numbers; the fear will come when several cases are announced at different locations in our country.

Next question: how will we react when we do become scared?

The reaction will be varied. As with immigration, there are a lot of people who will relate the problem with foreigners, because it’s the easiest hook to hang their hat upon – even if it was a local who might have brought the disease into the country. Overall though, the population will be split into a couple of camps, those who soldier on because they see their business as more important (and possibly disbelieve reports), and those who will avoid high population centres in the potentially vain attempt to avoid infection.

Final question: With the white noise of information and disinformation about disease, will we (Joe Public) miss the real danger of pandemics?

Over the years there has been a battle of words about the bias of reporting. Everything from Zionist domination, political left-wing bias of the BBC, to single person control of whole news organisations makes us doubt or at least be sceptical of significant reports, especially if it is not in line with our expectations or beliefs. Will we ever truly believe reports without seeing evidence on our streets?

Over-reporting: I am not singling out the Daily Mail in particular for attack, it’s just one example of many papers that feed us with so much information that it may cause us to fail to realise the true situation or even ignore what is going on around us. When I first began researching this blog, I did a search on the word ‘Ebola’ on the DM’s website and came up with approximately 120 articles written since the beginning of June this year. We know of the power of desensitising people to things such as violence by the repeated showing of it on the telly. It has to be the same with other topics, no matter how horrifying they are in reality.

How many lives will be lost due to this desensitising process? For me, watching a zombie film now fails to truly horrify; of course mayhem, blood, guts and disease is entertaining, and not frightening, isn’t it? After all, who can honestly say that a zombie apocalypse is more than just fiction? Maybe.

What do you think?

I’ve just found an interesting article linked to this subject, worth a look and a laugh!

 

Zombie books by David K Roberts:Common Cold cover eyes 6-9-13

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor

UK           USA         Canada    Australia

To Be Gouged Or Not To Be Insured, That Is The Question

Forgive me this blog if you have no insurance – that probably means you are a social anomaly (not a bad thing either), but read on, this warning may help you at some time in the future. For everyone else, you probably have the same mistrust I have for insurance companies. We’ve all heard the horror stories of non-payment for what we think of as ludicrous, barely legal – and wholly immoral reasons.

Courtesy WPI Clipart

Courtesy WPI Clipart

When you next do your household insurance renewals, just remember to read the contract and truly make sure you understand the clauses they present. Most have that little symbol that says the information is written in real English and not legalese, but don’t be fooled, they have thought of and come across every scenario for non-payment and more that you could ever devise.

I have two scenarios you might not be aware of, and you will never really understand what you have read in their terms and conditions until the exclusions suddenly apply to you.

  1. I had a problem with what appeared to be subsidence to my garage. My policy says it covers subsidence. So far, so good. It also says that it covers outbuildings, so great, another tick in the box. So I call the insurance company for guidance and they send two ‘experts’ out to assess the problem. Low and behold, as far as they are concerned it was subsidence, both were very definite about that. I won’t go into the detail of the other issues they uncovered, but in spite of everything it was subsidence. Then I get a letter saying that we are not covered for this problem. It is now classified as slippage for which we are not covered. Well, that was fortuitous for the insurance company. I phone them and they say that because the garage has a concrete floor it doesn’t count as subsidence. I suggested they were using an interesting and little-known definition of subsidence, but my sarcastic humour didn’t seem to impress them much. I also suggested that maybe they ought, in their clear-English clause booklet, to insert a clause stating that they don’t cover garage subsidence – how many garages do you know that do NOT have cement floors? Very few indeed. In spite of my protests I am now significantly out of funds because my insurance is not worth the paper it’s written on. Strangely they won’t refund my premiums by way of recompense.
  2. In a recent newspaper article I read about some poor sod who, unknown to him had underinsured his house contents. This was not due to any attempt to defraud but when he and his fiancée married, his wife had received jewellery as wedding gifts. Because of recent gold price rises, when his house was burgled and the insurance assessors valued the gold jewellery as being above the individual limits in their policy, his insurance company was apparently within its rights to refuse the WHOLE claim. The man is now £30k out of pocket.

The moral of the story: Read and understand all of the policy. If you are unsure of whether you are covered for whatever reason, give them a call. Underinsurance is the easiest way for them to not pay up as they say you failed to inform them properly – conversely do not overvalue, they will see that as fraud. No matter whether they use cute bunnies, lovely heart-shaped images and smiling, happy people to advertise their business, insurance companies are not there to make sure you are satisfied and not out of pocket by adversity. They are in business to make money and they do it best by paying out as little as possible to you, the customer.

Courtesy WPI Clipart

Courtesy WPI Clipart

One thing a lot of people don’t realise is that insurance companies have very specific target markets. Following constant in-depth analysis by adjusters (serious egg heads), they target specific segments of the market (e.g. male, 25, lives in XYZ, etc.). If you were suitable insurance fodder to them last year you might be exactly what they don’t want this year. They harp on about brand loyalty but this is simply marketing jargon. This targeting explains why some companies you go to for a quote offer ridiculous premiums they know you won’t accept. Most of you will have seen this evidence yourselves, even with your ‘favourite’ insurance company. The lesson to be gleaned from this is to hunt around for your insurance every time it’s due for renewal, you can save literally hundreds of pounds by a simple phone call. My 20-minute exercise for my car insurance saved my just shy of £100 – that is an excellent hourly rate of £300/hour. Tell me it isn’t worth it.

Zombie books by David K Roberts:

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor

UK           USA         Canada    Australia

FGM – The Most Frightening Acronym Ever Devised

Have you heard of this acronym? In my experience 3-letter acronyms are the preserve of the IT industry, but in this instance they are very glad to give this one a wide berth.

Female Genital Mutilation – three words that should never be present in the same sentence. I always knew this happened in primitive societies but had assumed that being so appalling and completely senseless that it was a rare practice for a poor, unfortunate few living in primitive societies in remote places of the world; after all bad things happen all the time, surely this was just one more rare and appalling example of man’s cruelty.

Dogon Circumcision Cave Painting - Wikipedia

Dogon Circumcision Cave Painting – Wikipedia

Skip to February 2014 and a modern civilised society called Great Britain. Seventeen year old Fahma Mohamed launched her campaign to call on Michael Gove, the then Education Secretary, to write to all schools to urge them to protect young girls against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Despite being illegal, over 24,000 girls are estimated to be at risk of FGM in the UK each year.

This was brought to my attention because I subscribe to a service called Change.org. Naturally I readily put my signature to this request. How could this be happening in my beloved country? And in such numbers.

I researched Fahma and her campaign so that I could get a grip on how such monstrous practices could possibly happen here in civilised society. I watched a YouTube clip of her presenting her argument in a tent on Southbank, London. Of course you didn’t see anything, merely the horror on the faces of the people watching the video she provided.

Rather than suggesting you find a video of the practice and watch it for yourself, here is the definition of FGM according to Wikipedia:

“Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of the external female genitalia. FGM is practised by ethnic groups in 27 countries in sub-Saharan and north-east Africa, and to a lesser extent in Asia, the Middle East and within immigrant communities elsewhere. It is typically carried out by a traditional circumciser, often with a blade or razor, with or without anaesthesia. The age of the girls varies from weeks after birth to puberty; according to UNICEF, in half the countries for which figures were available in 2013, most girls were cut before the age of five.”

Notice the definition says where it’s practiced in the world. The countries cited are generally below-par education environments, and often regions controlled by hard-line religious sects.

Here’s a little more of what Wikipedia says: “Over 125 million women and girls in Africa and the Middle East have undergone FGM. The practice is rooted in gender inequality, ideas about purity, modesty and aesthetics, and attempts to control women’s sexuality. It is supported by both women and men in countries that practise it, particularly by women, who see it as a source of honour and authority.”

So what do we have? Purity, modesty and an attempt to control women’s sexuality. You might think it is strange that it is supported by women in these parts but when you consider the women who perform these cutting practices have, themselves, almost certainly had the procedure applied to them as children, performed by someone of whom their mothers approved. As a result it is instilled in the core of their beliefs.

To a Western eye this whole practice appears uncultured and grotesque. While we often chide our youth’s indiscretions (and there are plenty of those to go around), no-one has ever considered this form of repression. People, even if they are lowly women (sarcastic joke), have a right to self-determined actions. We live, we learn and we progress. Society cannot learn and grow by enabling men’s fear of women’s actions through the restraints of FGM.

Coming back to Great Britain (and I am certain this illegal practice happens in all Western countries), how can it be that up to 24,000 girls can be at risk of this practice every year? It is illegal and is classed as grievous bodily harm, punishable by imprisonment. So how come it still takes place without hundreds of people going to prison every year? In the UK we have areas dominated by religious groups who do their best to lay down their law on such communities. Within these ‘closed shops’ other practices outside UK law can and are practiced. This is such a shame and not a little ironic as many of these people ran from their own country of origin to find somewhere they could live without persecution.

It is a sad but true fact that you cannot run far from man-made religion or its persecution. Implementation of the Bible or the Quran or any other religious manuscript allows human weakness to thrive and generally results in interpretations that favour some over others. Even America, ‘Land of The Free’, suffered that when the Pilgrims fled to America only to find a new type of religious persecution had risen among the ranks of the ‘free’. To wit the Salem trials.

I have written previously about the strange attitude in society towards women, and shown that their ‘second class status’ is not just stuff of primitive societies. I cannot reconcile myself to the endemic physical abuse of women in the name of ‘purity’, whatever the hell that even means. I would have thought that purity begins in the mind, and that these male dominated societies ought to look to their own motives before acting against women. After all, which of us does not judge others by our own set of morals and expectations? Maybe if men put more trust in each other they wouldn’t see women as the threat they so obviously do.

I am pleased to announce that the first arrest of a person involved in this hideous practice was arrested coming back into the UK with their female victim. Unfortunately it is likely that the authorities were too late for this 11-year old girl, but we are heading in the right direction at least.

The Guardian Newspaper is also pushing against FGM with this editorial. The more of us that understand what is going on right under our noses, the sooner disgusting and outdated practices such as this will be brought to an end. Please tell people about it, direct them to this blog and get involved! Fahma Mohamed had 100,000 signatures within 24 hours of starting her campaign so there is definitely a general revulsion at this practice. There is need for solidarity against this as it appears that ISIS is pro-FGM and now up to four million women and girls are now at risk in Mosul. Don’t be one of the silent majority!

 

Zombie books by David K Roberts:

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA        Canada    Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor

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Human Politics And The Female Condition

I normally write blogs on the world of zombies. Perhaps this one won’t be far off-track.

I like to find interesting photos to illustrate my blogs; the other day I was searching for some grisly photos of disease when I came across the most extraordinary photos of posters from the 1940s. I was horrified at the sentiment contained within these government sponsored messages.

Syphilis 1Before I start I want to assure you that I don’t read about incidents in history and judge them with modern ideas, I understand these things were done by people of their time and accordingly do not judge. I prefer to recognise the progress we have made since then through the development of our civilisation. I know as well as you that this sort of progress is painfully slow at times and is variable around the world.

 

????????????????????????????????????Don’t preen just yet thinking we in the west can show everyone else how it’s done, take a look at these three posters. Now you can lift your chin off the floor and close your mouth. The oldest of these is 70 years, a mere one lifetime old. Wouldn’t it have been more interesting to find a poster of a male sailor looking up for it and a woman looking askance with pretty much the same wording in the poster? Even Austin Powers knew about sailors, travelling from port to port!

I understand the relevance of the posters: better to have a soldier, sailor or airman die on the battlefield than in a clap hospital. Interesting isn’t it that the woman in the red coat is most men’s fantasy? Doesn’t she look a lot like Roger Rabbit’s wife, Jessica? For all her curves, moves and overt sexiness Jessica was a moral, one-man (well, rabbit) woman.

Syphilis 3So, one hundred million service men saw these posters and because it was a government poster it had to be fact, right? They were told that all women, even the supposedly ‘clean’ ones are dirty and untrustworthy, and what do you get? The misogynistic fifties. A serious over-simplification, obviously, but have our attitudes really changed so much?

Since then we’ve had the female revolution for equality in the sixties, where I still suspect men made out best, in more ways than one. Attempts to ‘burn the bra’ certainly made a point but was mostly urban legend. Did it help women’s rights? Probably not, but then the story was promulgated by a newspaper that covered the 1968 protest and they were definitely run by men at the time. I dare you to type ‘burn the bra’ into your favourite search engine and see what you get. Most of it won’t exactly be equitable (not easy to find the right word).

I am not trying to be a male feminist and am pretty sure I’m not metrosexual (I almost never use skin moisturiser) but it seems to me that over time we make excellent progress with some aspects of our lives while in others we make almost no headway at all. I’m not even sure if the advent of social media has done anything to change this, it may even be providing negative impetus. There are a lot of opinions out there on this subject but one of the strongest indicators as far as I can tell is that there has been several quantum leaps upwards in the availability of pornography and worst of all, selfies by women. And no, I’ve not become short-sighted from my research on this blog, I’ve been wearing glasses since I was twelve years old (don’t go there, just don’t).

Finally, it seems that religion reflects the same message. The Pope is now, after a mere 54 years since the pill was released for contraceptive use, only just reviewing the use of contraception; something that probably 80% of the Catholic faith is already using – someone has to give a damn about the problems of having too many kids, medically for women and financially for the household. In the UK recently there seems to be a surge in the numbers of women who desire to cover themselves completely wearing the hijab, etcetera. I wonder what this says about our culture that even young girls are opting to do this. Is it because they feel pressured into taking this path by parents, religion or self-protection? They say not. Maybe it’s it a similar reaction to that in the USA where, for both sexes, the wearing of a chastity/abstinence/purity ring has become prevalent in some areas? Is it a cry for help, or to give the wearer some space to develop personally without peer pressure for sex, alcohol and other teenage experimentation?

The real question is: as a species can we make true progress on sexual equality without having to depend on draconian laws telling us how to think and behave? After all, following many years of the existence of equal pay legislation in this country, still we only talk about actually achieving it.

PS. Although The Walking Dead has some kick-ass women, it still has men as the primary lead characters. Why is that? Try reading my zombie books and see some better options. (see the blog came back on track in the end)

Zombie books by David K Roberts:

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

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The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

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Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle

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Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor

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