Oh dear. The news.
Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary and the Department for the Environment and Climate Change has been scrapped, but astoundingly that’s not even close to the worst thing that’s happened in the past few weeks. If it’s not the ugly, power-grabbing underbelly of British politics then it’s racist abuse and attacks on our streets. If it’s not that then it’s the deaths of more innocent young black people at the hands of the police in the USA, or misguided, tragic attempts at ‘retaliation’ that also spread mindless violence. Then there’s more atrocious violence in Nice on Friday and Turkey not long ago (oh and the coup that seems to be occurring as I write this), as well as the continual bombing-to-shit of Baghdad by ISIS and the uncomfortable truth that we seem to care a little bit less when it happens there than in Western Europe or the USA. Then there’s the Chilcot Report, and all its unheeded reminders of the dangers of the ‘West knows best’ attitudes of so many powerful people. It’s enough to make you think that the world is unequivocally bad to its very core. Bleurgh.
Back in December, shortly after the Paris attacks and the UK’s decision to join in the bombing of Syria, I wrote a sort of ‘reasons to be cheerful’ post listing some actual good news stories that had been lost amidst all the horror. I thought that we could do with another one of those right about now. So here they are, 6 more things that prove the work hasn’t completely gone to shit…
1. Tanzania and Gambia just voted to outlaw child marriage.
Unlike the UK and many parts of the USA, parental consent is no longer a factor that can weigh in and ‘approve’ of marriage at an earlier age (nor should it be!) – neither boys nor girls can marry before they’re 18. This will make it much easier for campaigners to save young girls from forced marriage, which can only be a good thing!
“If you want to know whether what I am saying is true or not, try it tomorrow and see…”
2. The United Reformed Church just voted to welcome same-sex couples to get married in their churches.
This is one of those things that simultaneously shouldn’t be news at all and is actually AMAZING news. Slowly the church is cottoning on that loving who you love is something to be celebrated and marginalising LGBT people is probs not what Jesus would do.
Talking of churches…
3. One church in Tottenham has turned itself into a shelter for men that even charities won’t help.
A few years ago, one random church in Tottenham decided to put its money where it’s mouth was, literally. After every service the congregation stack the chairs away and give the space back over to its main purpose; a shelter for 50 destitute men. Many of them also donate 10-20% of their income to keep the shelter running.
These men are some of the most troubled people in our communities, sometimes addicts and thieves, sometimes dangerous – many charities and government services won’t touch them. By some miracle of bravery the church provides a space for people most of us would be afraid to walk past on the street, and they see results. A recent study estimated that For every £1 invested in Highway House, £5-£8 is returned to society due reduced strain on public services. Boom.
4. The Eiffel Tower has new wind turbines, and they are beautiful!
Clever engineering types have installed wind turbines on the Eiffel Tower and they are powerful enough to power the whole first floor (restaurant and all that jazz). Very clever, and very beautiful. Somehow they’ve also managed to make them look good and not interfere with Form of the iconic structure, daaaarling. (This video isn’t the best but you get the idea)
5. This guy…
Responding all of the racist, xenophobic bullshit that followed the leave vote, one lovely man posted this note through his neighbour’s door…
6. These guys…
Okay, this video isn’t new, but since there will inevitably much prejudiced nonsense spoken about Muslims and Islam after the Nice attack (#YouAintNoMuslimBruv), if you haven’t already seen this you really should…
This is the British version, but check out YouTube for Dutch, German, Chicago versions and more. I defy you not to smile!