Pat Stack

Hold on a Minute

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Silence isn't always golden.

I have decided that when I die I want all friends and acquaintances (if not the nation as a whole) to observe a minute's raucous noise. Klaxons, bells, whistles, Ramones CDs and the like must be blasted from every corner by anyone who vaguely liked me.

The reason for this is that I have taken a definite dislike to minute's silences. Firstly because they have become damn commonplace, and secondly because frankly some of the minute's silences I have had to sit through have been for people whose deaths leave me at best untouched and at worst positively cheerful.

A Race into the Gutter

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There's nothing respectable about appeasing the Nazis.

Many years ago I wrote in this column about a judge who had admonished a victim of rape for being provocatively dressed which, in his view, meant that she had contributed to her own downfall. Rape, I argued, seemed to stand alone as the crime where the victim was seen to share responsibility.

However, I was wrong--for it is increasingly clear that victims of racism, victims of tyrannical governments, those who take desperate flight from their homelands, are also being blamed for their own predicament.

Silence is Golden

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Thatcher has at last agreed to shut up, although Tony Blair has now continued her legacy.

It was not the foot of Beckham, the last breath of some old royal or even Kylie's bottom that was the cause of most interest in trivia corner over the last month. No, it was the Trappist vow of silence that we are being assured Margaret Thatcher will keep from now on that caught this columnist's imagination.

A Different US and Them

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It's working class Americans we side with, not their government.

One of the most common accusations against those of us who are against this 'war on terrorism' is that we are anti-American--that we have a knee-jerk opposition to all that the US says and does because we hate the place the people and all things American.

This I find very strange, as in the various anti-war rallies and meetings I have attended, plus the wide variety of anti-war articles I have read, I have seen very little evidence of this anti-Americanism. Hostility to the Bush regime? Yes. Hostility to US foreign policy? Yes. Hostility to the large US corporations? Yes.

Speaking Ill of the Dead

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The general public was seriously underwhelmed by the death of Princess Margaret.

It was a striking symbol of the decline in popularity of the royal family. The crash barriers had been erected to hold back the crowds who would turn up to sign a condolence book for Princess Margaret, yet there were no crowds. The crash barriers were as surplus to requirements as Jo Moore at the Ministry of Transport. If you add to this indifference the apparent panic about the lack of interest in the queen's Golden Jubilee, you can see how far things have travelled in the last 25 years.

Torture US Style

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The treatment of Afghan prisoners shows the brutal face of US imperialism.

So there we have it! A 'war against terrorism' turns out not to be a war at all. A 'war of precision' turns out to be a war of totally indiscriminate killing, and a 'war for civilised values' ends up with the most brutal and uncivilised treatment of the enemy.

Somehow it is meant to be the opponents of the war who got it all wrong. All those who thought it a civilising mission are apparently in the clear, despite the evidence in front of their very own eyes.

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