The USA, Iran and Collateral Damage

Rescue workers inspect the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, on Jan. 8, 2020. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Ebrahim Noroozi

Iran has admitted “unintentionally” shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board.

That was the breaking news headline on bbc.com.

It was the latest development in a tense drama involving the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which started with the USA’s “taking out” of a top Iranian general who, the US alleges, was planning “imminent attacks on Americans”.

President Trump’s justification for the killing of the Iranian general is doubted by many in the USA’s political establishment, not least because he was recently impeached by the House of Representatives and is awaiting trial in the Senate during an election year.

What is not in doubt, however, is 176 men, women and children are dead as a consequence of the actions of both the USA and Iran.

While international law gives countries the right to act in self-defense, it is known that certain countries are not above “taking out” (let that read killing) foreign leaders of a different political persuasion or who are not deemed subservient to the dictates of the “superpower”.

This “taking out” of foreign leaders, is not restricted to those judged to be “dictators” or “tyrants”, as democratically elected leaders are not immune from being taken out and replaced, sometimes by a dictator more to the superpower’s liking.

Something is wrong with the present international arrangement where, depending on a country’s military might, they may act as judge, jury and executioner.

The United Nations Security Council was supposed to prevent this wild west approach to international affairs, but in that body, principles of justice have long been subordinated to the geopolitical interests and ambitions of the superpowers.

I wonder what the USA’s reaction would be if, say, Iran was to “take out” an American general or CIA operative alleged to be planning imminent attacks on Iranian citizens.

It does not augur well for world peace and security, when what is right is determined by the military strength of countries and not by universal principles of justice.

 The 176 men, women and children killed, are, in the military’s vocabulary, “collateral damage”.

Do you ever notice that citizens of a certain country are never described as “collateral damage”?

A person’s worth appears to be dependent on his/her nationality!

Innocent men, women and children, will continue to be pawns in a game of chess, as world leaders plot and scheme to secure international dominance or bolster their reelection prospects.

“Someday at Christmas men won’t be boys, playing with bombs like kids play with toys.”

2020-New Year's Musings

New Year, Silhouette, 2020, Musician

On this 4th day of the last year of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, permit me to wish you a happy new year and all that is good, uplifting and wholesome for 2020.

As we embark on our journey along the 2020 highway, some of us have made resolutions encapsulating our aspirations for personal, familial, community, city or national improvements and developments.

If you are numbered among the resolution making throng, I suggest you direct most of your energy and effort towards achievement of your personal goals.

Truth be told, our personal development and improvement is the only area of life over which we can exercise great influence.

Indeed, improvements in families, communities, towns, cities and national life are dependent on our collective personal improvement and development.

We have little to no influence over another person’s behaviour, but we have total control over our actions and reactions.

So, if you desire the world to be a better place, start by becoming a better person.

Individuals are the building blocks of families, communities, towns, cities and nations.  Stronger building blocks will construct stronger structures (families, communities, towns, cities and nations).

Whatever the challenge you are facing in your family, community or country, I guarantee the situation will improve if each person resolves to be the best person he/she can be.

Here in Jamaica, for example, where we are facing unprecedented levels of indiscipline and lawlessness in public places, especially on our roads, I submit the situation will improve if each citizen, each driver, commit to obeying all laws regulating our behaviour.

It is not much different from what is required to maintain property values in a neighbourhood.  The minimum that is required is for each homeowner to maintain his/her property to an agreed standard.

Failure to maintain  individual properties will see a plunge in property values and, before long, the neighbourhood being described with a word beginning with a G.

I challenge each person to contribute to the building of stronger and better families, communities, towns and nations by becoming a stronger and better individual.

Needless to say, some persons will decline the challenge, but if a critical mass of citizens embrace this challenge we are sure to see improvements in our interactions.

It all begins with the individual!  Disciplined and law-abiding citizens lead to disciplined law-abiding communities, towns and nations.

Let’s make 2020 the year of personal responsibility!

The Best of Wayne's Perspective-Marriage, Separation, Divorce and Apportionment of Blame

This post was first published on July 27, 2019

I once sat in a gathering of divorced or separated men and women in the annex of a church.

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As is the norm with most church related activities in Jamaica, the gathering was predominantly female.

At some point in the proceedings, the gathering’s host (the church’s senior pastor), asked each participant to indicate what percentage of culpability, if any, they bore for the break-up or fracture of their marriage.

Much to my surprise, all participants save one, indicated they bore no culpability for their divorce or separation.

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The way I see it, the fact you are not the originator or instigator of issues affecting a marriage, does not absolve you of responsibility for taking steps to save it.

Management of issues and challenges in a marriage or any other relationship can be likened to options faced when confronted with a fire.

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When faced with a raging fire, I submit one has four possible options. These options are:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Attempt to extinguish the blaze
  3. Pour gasoline or another accelerant onto the fire
  4. Call the fire department

You may choose to do nothing and allow the issue (fire) to burn the marriage to ashes.

Alternatively, you may choose to attempt extinguishing the blaze with a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher which could be as simple as saying I am sorry, please forgive me.

Another option when dealing with a raging fire, is to pour gasoline and cause the blaze to intensify.  This can be easily accomplished by giving as good as you get, refusing to forgive and choosing to fight fire with fire.

One could choose to call the fire department who are experts at extinguishing fires and minimizing damage while saving lives and property.

In a marriage, the equivalent of calling the fire department is seeking assistance from counsellors specially trained to assist husbands and wives resolve or manage marital challenges.

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Married couple in a counselling session

Unfortunately, many marriage couples opt for options 1 and 3 as ‘I did not start the fire’.

Some couples will choose option 2 or 4 but timing is important.

Waiting too long to attempt extinguishing the blaze can sometimes lead to the fire getting out of control and devouring everything with its hungry flames.

Godly wisdom is required to recognize when the fire extinguisher or garden hose is insufficient and the expertise of the fire department is needed.

Both parties contribute in varying degrees to the break-up of a marriage.

You contribute through action or inaction.

The Best of Wayne's Perspective 2018/2019-The Honeymoon Has ended and The Marriage Has begun

Bridegroom placing wedding ring on his bride’s finger

Managing and maintaining a successful marriage is no walk in the park. It requires hard work, determination and application.

Forget what you see in Hollywood movies and read in romance novels.

In the real world, couples have to grapple with and manage a host of challenges to have successful marriages.

There is no magic wand or potion!

Successful marriages are the result of couples’ commitment to their marriage vows made before God and their steely determination to honour the vows.

There is no perfect marriage as there is no perfect man or woman.

So, you have prayerfully executed your carefully crafted IPOD:

I=initial attraction

P=preferred (i.e. non-negotiable) qualities or traits

O=optional qualities or traits

D=deal-breakers

And found your ideal lifelong partner.

After an appropriate period of dating, a marriage proposal is made and accepted.

A wedding date is decided and you go through the prescribed period and number of counselling sessions.

After what seemed like an eternity, the wedding day arrives and the bride, the groom, members of the wedding party and guests are all looking beautiful and handsome.

Then the big moment arrives.  Marriage vows are exchanged; the marriage officer pronounces you man and wife and invites the husband to kiss his wife. 

Bridegroom kissing his bride

The wedding guests burst into applause as children cover their faces and mothers wipe tears of joy from their eyes.

The honeymoon was great, but like all good things, it came to an end.

Silhouette of couple at golden sunset sky and sea background on the beach — Stock Photo
Married couple on their honeymoon

It is now time to make the marriage work!

The first step in making the marriage successful is a commitment and determination by both husband and wife that it shall be successful.

This commitment, includes the acknowledgement that success is the only option.

The commitment to succeed, acknowledges there are sure to be challenges when two persons from different backgrounds come together in any relationship.

However, with God’s help, the challenges will be tackled head-on with success as the sole objective.

There is no telling the number of challenges that may arise in a marriage, but just like death and taxes, they are sure to arise.

The question, therefore, is how to confront and manage the issues.

The challenges may range from something as simple as wife preferring to squeeze the toothpaste from bottom to top, compared to the husband’s tendency to squeeze the first place his hand touches, to more serious differences.

Compromises and adjustments will have to be made to accommodate personal differences.

There is always the possibility that issues from one’s childhood, adolescence or previous relationships may negatively influence one’s behaviour in the marriage.

These issues, sometimes referred to as ‘baggage’, oftentimes only surface during the marriage as they may have been suppressed during courtship or simply, no opportunity arose for them to be made manifest.

The first step in successfully navigating the stormy seas of a marriage is to have an enduring faith that, with God, all things are possible.

Your belief, that working in partnership with God will allow you to weather the storms and honour your wedding vows, will permit you to do what is required to repair and strengthen your marriage.

You will learn that honest and open communication is key to a successful marriage.

You will learn that there is no shame in seeking professional help to identity and manage challenges.

You will understand that professional help can allow you to understand the things you do and why you do them.

You will come to realise that your spouse is more likely to seek help to deal with challenges if he or she is assured of your loving support and continued commitment to the union.

You will understand how to relate to your spouse and help him or her manage their challenges.

A successful marriage requires the active commitment and participation of both spouses.

To ensure your marriage is a happy, lifelong adventure, make it a threesome with God as the third person in the relationship.

God established the institution of marriage, so He is most qualified to guide your marriage along the path of success.

The question is, are you willing to be guided?

The Best of Wayne's Perspective 2018/2019-Part One

As the year 2019 sits impatiently in the departure lounge awaiting its final boarding call, I am seizing the opportunity to reprise what I deem to be a few of my better posts.

The posts are are not ranked in any particular order and you may rank them in any order you desire.

I am starting with Sexual Harassment published April 9, 2019:

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Sexual harassment-Male perpetrator

I do not condone sexual harassment of women or men, or, by women or men!

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Sexual harassment-Female perpetrator

But what is sexual harassment?  One organization defines sexual harassment as:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Unwelcome Behavioris the critical word. Unwelcome does not mean “involuntary.” A victim may consent or agree to certain conduct and actively participate in it even though it is offensive and objectionable. Therefore, sexual conduct is unwelcome whenever the person subjected to it considers it unwelcome. Whether the person in fact welcomed a request for a date, sex-oriented comment, or joke depends on all the circumstances.

Source: Preventing Sexual Harassment (BNA Communications, Inc.) SDC IP .73 1992 manual.

I have no reason to disagree with that definition of sexual harassment except to suggests that, where it involves employees, coworkers and colleagues of the same rank or status, some element of repetition must be present.

That is, I would like to think that in those cases, the victim is expected to have informed or demonstrated to the offender, that his/her behaviour is ‘unwelcomed’ and it only rises to the level of sexual harassment if he/she persists with the unwelcomed behaviour.

Indeed, a man or woman who flirts, tells suggestive jokes or make suggestive comments to any person without first having knowledge of how welcoming the person is to such jokes or double entendre is deserving of any and all accusations thrown in his/her directions. It is downright stupid to do such a thing!

When it comes on to touching, that is a no-brainer!  No man or woman should think it permissible to touch another person without their consent. To do so leaves you open to allegations of sexual harassment, physical assault and any number of lifelong psychological disorders the victim may suffer from the ‘trauma’ of being touched against his/her will.

My challenge with sexual harassment, starts when it is taken to ridiculous extremes. For example, in some offices, organizations and places of work, one could be called up on a charge of sexual harassment for telling a female coworker that she is looking extra beautiful today!

Indeed, I recall reading a newspaper report out of England where a partner in a firm of barristers was reported for sexual harassment by a junior female associate for remarking how beautiful she looked.

The victim’s contention was the language was inappropriate and had no place in a professional environment.

I may not be progressive enough, but I must admit that, in the absence of additional information, I have a difficulty seeing how she was sexually harassed.

I am happy I don’t reside in the USA, the United Kingdom or other parts of Europe as, chances are, I would be faced with a mountain of sexual harassment allegations for verbalizing my tasteful appreciation of the female form, while simultaneously bellowing the first stanza of the hymn How Great Thou Art!

One can also be accused of sexual harassment based on how you look at another person. Dear Lord! 

I propose to insulate myself from such accusations by having my gaze fixed firmly to the floor whenever I greet a member of the opposite sex (or is it gender?).

I suppose what I am trying to say is, while I fully agree with and support the need for sexual harassment legislation and policies, lawmakers and activists must be careful not to criminalize the giving of compliments and other normal, harmless interactions between males and females.

One Year = 53 Posts

Today, December 26, 2019, is my first anniversary of blogging.

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One Year To The Day

When I started on December 26, 2018, my main objective was to make fifty-two (52) posts, i.e. one post per week and to get a couple of followers.

I am happy to announce I have surpassed both objectives. This is my 53rd post and my readers number more than two!

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

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Over the year, I have blogged about religion, politics, #MeToo movement, my daughter, sexual harassment, domestic violence, marriage and relationships and a variety of local Jamaican issues.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that some people found my perspective interesting and actually agreed and liked my take on issues.

I am extremely grateful to my readers as what’s a blog without readers?

I am fully aware you make a deliberate decision to read my posts and I shall never take you for granted.

I shall continually endeavour to be relevant, informative, amusing and authentic. 

I value your likes and cherish each comment.

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One of the great benefits of blogging is I have total control over what I post. Blogging is so unlike sending articles to newspapers where an editor determines what gets published.

Blogging does not come naturally to me as I am a very private person who shuns the limelight, however, I think I am slowly getting the hang of it.

It would be remiss of me to let this occasion pass without highlighting the creator of my blog, the Reverend Tashi Campbell.

Tashi is my esteemed and respected friend and I remember, like it was yesterday, sitting with her on the night of December 26, 2018 as she worked on creating my blog.

I shall be forever grateful to the Reverend Miss Campbell. I could not have done it without her.

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Thank You Tashi Campbell

Tashi is also a blogger and I confidently recommend her blog, Pastor TC’s Reflections at https://princess2weetie.wordpress.com/

Going forward, I pledge to always be God-fearing, independent, balanced and objective.

I shall continue to give you my perspective and hope to get you looking at the issues from another perspective!

Thank you for journeying with me through year one and I crave your companionship  as we navigate the uncharted waters of year two.

Shalom.

Joy To The World

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A depiction of the Nativity

A very Merry Christmas to you my readers!

I am truly grateful and honoured that you have chosen to read my blog. I pray you, your families, friends and acquaintances are having a joyous time commemorating the birth of Jesus, the Christ

Today, I am deviating from my usual approach of giving my perspective on an issue or event and will instead share two of my favourite Christmas carols and one Christmas song.

The carols are Joy to the World and The First Noel and the song is Someday at Christmas.

You may enjoy them on YouTube below:

I shall be happy to receive you comments on my selections.

I wish for you and your families a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!