Alistair’s “Random Rambles” (27)
By Kathy Martin…
Written August 2014
Towards the end of the war when conscription (a “first” in itself) into the armed forces came into being, the conscientious objector (“conchie”) appeared for the first time. These were people who, on religious, moral or ethical grounds, refused to have any part in the killing of another human being.
As with most situations, there were a number of options open to a conscientious objector, depending on the strengths of his beliefs. The first was a refusal to have any part in the war machine, but to go to prison for the duration. This may, at first sight, appear to be a soft option, but both the prison authorities and other prisoners treated the conscientious objectors with both mental and physical abuse, so, while it may not have been as unpleasant as being “at the front”, it was not a “cushy” number .
Another option open to the conscientious objector who refused to take part in the war machine was to work on civil projects, such as road repair or building sites.
However, many of the conscientious objectors took the “middle of the road” option of joining the armed forces, but in a non-combat role, such as a being a signaller, mechanic or ambulance driver.
I met a conscientious objector during one of my army call-ups in Rhodesia, I think it was 1974 when I was young and gay (don’t snigger, way back in 1974 I was allowed to be gay, if I had a smile on my face!) and in 6RR (Rhodesia Regiment).
He refused to carry a weapon, but was prepared to be on “radio watch” at the base camp for almost 24 hours a day! He was, as were his parents, a Quaker. He said that his father approved of what he was doing, but his mother totally disapproved, being of the opinion that he should have had nothing at all to do with the war machine! He then continued, with a wry smile, that his mother had converted to Quakerism just before marrying his father. We both agreed that the “recently converted” are far more dogmatic, strict and fanatical than those who grew up with a religion or belief!
OK, many wars (of various sizes) have been fought since 1918, but at least stagnant trench warfare has become a thing of the past! Unfortunately, one military lesson seems not to have been learned: Afghanistan!
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, despite superior firepower, Imperial Britain was unable to effectively conquer Afghanistan. Similarly, during the late 20th century, Russia, again with superior firepower (as well as or, especially, air power) was also unable to conquer Afghanistan.
Now the “western” troops deployed in Afghanistan by George “Dubbleyuur” Bush and his minions after the Al Qaeda engineered attack on the twin towers in New York, as well as the abortive attack on the Pentagon on “9/11/2001”(which horrendous though it was, like it or not, was a brilliantly conceived plan that was almost perfectly executed) are slowly being brought home having gained, at great cost in human life, little else but the assassination of the Al Qaeda leader and mastermind, Osama Bin Laden in 2011.
The (mainland) Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arinç was reported as urging women not to laugh in public places as to do so would corrupt moral values! He has since stated that not only was his comment taken out of context, but also misquoted in the press.
However, if women in Turkey were not allowed to laugh then, during our recent holiday in Istanbul, my wife would have been in serious trouble!
We used to frequent a restaurant “Lady Diana” on a daily basis that was within walking distance from our (bed and breakfast) hotel. It was owned and operated by three brothers, and, on our last night, one of them approached us and asked how long we had known each other. We replied that we had been married for 39 years, to which he expressed utmost amazement.
According to his observations, married people sat in grim silence from the beginning to the end of evening. People like us, who talked and frequently laughed out loud during the evening, were on their first “dates”!
Another recent news items in the British press that caught my eye was that the National Health Service (NHS) intends to establish a sperm bank. As this establishment will be funded by the NHS, sorry, the government, really, really, really sorry, the taxpayer, the treatment costs will be considerably cheaper than those currently charged by the existing private clinics.
This price reduction will mean that treatment will be affordable by more (shock!, horror!) LESBIANS, SAME SEX COUPLES and SINGLE MOTHERS!
I am not going to question or discuss the moralities or ethics of a lesbian couple or single mother having a child by artificial means, after all, after every war throughout history where and when male servicemen were killed, many children would have been reared only by a “single parent” mother. Nor, despite this part of the ramble being inspired by a situation in Britain, do I believe that the pitfalls are solely a British problem!
However, I would advocate that financial stability checks should be carried out on all hopeful candidates, similar to those that Ex-pats (of all nationalities) have to provide to the authorities, here in Kibris, when we apply for our temporary residency permits.
I say this because one of my two sisters-in-law, trumpeting proudly and politically correctly that “it is every woman’s right to bear children” had a girl and, a couple of years later, a boy, possibly accidentally, by the same father!
Don’t clap your hands with glee yet, she was long-term unemployed, as was the father of her children, so it was up to the tax-payer and council tax payer to support the father of her children (who didn’t live with her), as well as her and her children with state benefits, free school meals and, of course accommodation. As she had a child of each sex, she had to be “given” a three bed roomed house. This was something that my wife and I, who both worked, couldn’t afford!
The welfare and benefit system in Britain (and possibly other countries) needs to get away from “political correctness” and place the onus and financial liabilities on the shoulders of the adult(s) responsible!
OK, rant over, back to the ramble!
Apparently, the anonymous sperm donor must provide the following details, which include Ethnicity, Eye and Hair colour, Skin tone and Height.
Fine, all of these aspects may well be “in the genes” and appear in the baby of the future. However, other specifics in the profile include religion, occupation, hobbies, weight and age!
- Religion, why is this required or even of any interest? My father-in-law brought up four children strictly (and I mean strictly) in the Catholic faith. All four of them are now fervent, devout, born‑again atheists!
- Occupation, again, why is this required or even of any interest? When I was conceived my father was a regional sales manager, but I couldn’t sell to the Greek Cypriots, a complete and abject Turkish Cypriot surrender treaty!
- Hobbies, I am not going to grace this with any response!
- Weight, I don’t think that the weight of the adult donor has any relevance. In my opinion, the donor’s weight at birth would be pertinent, as it may be in the genes that he was either an overweight or underweight baby!
- Originally I thought that the age of the donor may have relevance because in “real life”, when older parents conceive, the chances of their baby having Down’s syndrome increases. However, as my wife pointed out, medically, it is only the age of the mother that affects, or increases the chance of a baby having Down’s syndrome. Therefore the age of the donor is again irrelevant!
- Let’s go back to the “occupation” box on the form. I presume that prospective mothers will choose “banker” and “lawyer” over occupations such as “poet”, “actor” and “alcoholic”! Certainly both bankers and lawyers are almost certain to become very rich on reaching maturity. However, (talking of poets, alcoholics and actors), listening to Richard Burton’s recitation of Dylan Thomas’s “Under Milkwood” is an experience that everybody who loves the spoken word, should … well, experience!
If the donor’s occupation had any relevance in as much as it was “in the genes”, imagine a world where mothers could create “designer” babies! There would be a multitude of doctors, bankers, lawyers and airline pilots, but a drastic shortage of street sweepers, garbage collectors and bricklayers!