Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Friday, October 08, 2004

Muslim's, Glasgow, and George Castanza

This morning was one of those days when you get up and everything is just fine. I put on a classical music CD my Dad made up for me and let it play loud while I showered. My coffee tasted extra good – Blue Mountain’s of Jamaica mon! And the sun shone through the cold, fresh air as I walked for the bus. Some days, it’s just great to be alive. I wonder why I always get this feeling on a Friday…

I got into work and settled into my routine of laying out papers over my desk, frowning a lot, sighing creatively, swearing at the computer every ten minutes or so – all designed to create the illusion that I am working hard. Maybe George Castanza was onto something! See George Castanza on work (Numbers 2,3,5,7,8 are particularly effective I find).

I was happy to read that a friend of mine, the writer Pamela K. Taylor, had an article published on the front page of Entitled The Miseducation of Muslim Kids it concerns a subject that obviously holds no relevance to myself, but the sphere in which it sits does – and it got me thinking.

A long time ago I got swept up in the old Protestant/Catholic debate, and went down roads that could possibly be described as “only suitable for literary research”. I met lots of people, drank in lots of bars, and could easily have become embroiled in an unsavoury way of life. As I grew older, I grew out of the divide, partly due to tiredness from the same age-old arguments, and partly due to the fact I could no longer tolerate hearing my “friends” comment on their Protestant enemies, when I myself, am a Protestant.

Bigotry in the West of Scotland is a disease for sure, and where education benefited me, it didn't seem to have an effect on the greater majority. I don’t wish to be seen as some preacher standing on a soapbox here, but the fact is, a lot of people find it easier to remain in their secular worlds of sectarianism because it gives them an identity. A large percentage live below the poverty line and they brainwash their families to believe the same as them because it gives them hope.

I remember talking to a friend over a pint several years ago. He is a Catholic and I mentioned to him what a bold step it would be if he was to send his child to a non-denominational school instead of a Catholic-only one. He was raging that I would suggest such a thing, and took it very personally. He saw it as his choice (no arguament there from me) and he would bring up his child the way he saw fit. I wasn’t trying to persuade him, merely point out that if more people did that kind of thing, then bigotry would slowly filter away and people might see the benefit in learning from one another.

And so the cycle continues, and when I read Pamela’s article, the same thoughts entered my mind as they did back then. Now, I know even less about Muslims and Islam than I do about Protestantism and Catholicism (I once had to ask my Mum what religion I actually was), but I found myself reasoning that perhaps education might just help. However, based on the test case of my earlier years, I doubt it would.

In Glasgow, the Catholic/Protestant thing will always take precedence even over the hatred that exists in some parts now towards the Middle East. Everything about that last sentence is sad. Maybe we are destined to implode as a race.

As this Blog wasn’t designed to be a forum for political or religious issues I shall cease where I am. Needless to say, I will carry on trying to understand.

I struggled yet again to get paragraph 1 of issue 16 of HJ to work. It is now officially doing my head in and I spent far too long last night mulling over it, changing it and get annoyed. So I closed my laptop and forgot about it.

I switched my efforts to putting together Web Development for Writers notes and make a start on the manuals that I will use for training purposes through my site and other avenues. I now have a solid plan, broken down into logical segments and made a start putting them together.
Colin 1:50 pm


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