Why not Russell Brand?

Russell Brand is self-educated, enthusiastic about politics and believes in change. What’s so wrong about that?

“There is a difference between noticing people are a bit fed up with politicians and starting a coherent political movement, and you can tell the two apart because a man who truly knows what he is talking about does not start blathering on about 9/11 conspiracy theories”, writes The Guardian.

This article upsets me. Yes, Russell Brand does have a record as a provocateur but is it really this hard to be inspired and take faith in his passion, optimism and incentive to ask cutting questions for peace? How dare a self-educated man with a working class background hold a passionate opinion about anything? He may not have all the answers, but he’s certainly connecting political ideas with an audience that don’t normally listen and engage.

All the attacks on Russell Brand are starting to make me think… maybe he’s on to something.

True Character

Today’s blogpost is one about psychology. I met a lot of people in the past few weeks. All of them different and unique on their own. All had a job to complain about, a favorite movie to recommend, all were really sympathetic. While it’s fun to meet a lot of new people, I can’t say I’ve gotten more insight into human nature. I met them all at events I went to – sipping on a glass of wine standing in a circle. Everyone’s at their nicest at these events. Everyone’s social, curious and somewhat happy in life. As if.

I’ve been wondering: What are the really small things that tell a lot about a person’s personality and psychology?

I’ve got two personal tests. My first is to see what happens when you put a person into stressful situations: in crisis,  a challenge, in conflict, with a big problem to solve, with an injustice in front of them, a temptation in front of them or an experience that would require self control, judgement and wisdom to handle well. Sometimes the tiniest amount of stress can reveal someone’s true character.

My second test to reveal someone’s true character is to pay close attention to the ways they evaluate other people. This can tell you a lot about someone.  Do they start with how they take care of themselves?  Or what they read, watch, and listen to?  Or how about how they treat others?  Vocabulary can tell you a lot about where a person’s from, what they do, and what they’re thinking.  One of the more reliable ones for me is what stresses them out, and how they react to it.  Or do they rely on superficial characteristics like race and stereotypes (stupid liberals or ignorant conservatives)?  And how accurate are their evaluations?  Do they make an immediate assumption and stick with it, no matter what new evidence is presented, or do they take their time and reserve judgement until they have more facts?

These questions have always worked for me. They can’t tell you who they are but it’s a pretty good map to finding their true character. At least, in my opinion.

What do you do? Do you have personal tests, too?

Instagram & Wars

Like David Cameron, I want ISIS to be squeezed out of existence. But media is making it difficult.

The on-going war between the Kurdish forces and ISIS is not just an offline one – it is there for everyone to observe. Google ‘disturbing pictures ISIS’ and you get tons of videos and pictures showing beheaded children, men and women alike. Go on Twitter and Facebook – your timeline soon turns into a gallery of the most grotesque and sickening photos depicting a conflict that has gotten out of control.

You want to escape being a involuntary witness to a disaster you can’t do nothing about? Sorry. This Instagram account – yes, Instagram. The place where you share pictures of your kitten, man crushes and healthy meals – wants you to stay updated on the ISIS conflict. It wants to keep you updated on ‘Kurdistan peshmerga hunting ISIS pigs.’

After a kind warning – ‘Photos in this page might have graphic contents’ – pictures of burnt men and dismembered bodies are thrown at your screen. With now more than 3,000 subscribers, it is a very active account. Meaning, its subscribers comment cheerfully and proudly under each ‘success story’ the account shares.

Let me remind you again that this is the place where we check up on each other’s oh-so-happy lives.

I’m well aware that the purpose of a battle is to keep more of our men alive than theirs. I sincerely hope that our Peshmerga forces are, to say the least, strong enough.

Easy access to these type of photos however can get messy. Adding the feeling of pride to the power rush of having killed someone is dangerous. Why thousands of people have subscribed to this account, that is a mystery to me. Maybe some of them are into the gore genre in real life, too and just innocently and curiously want to experience a war they don’t (want or need to) participate in.

There is also a chance that some might want to try this at home. Maybe want to re-enact a setting that thousands cheer for, feel proud and powerful.

What do you think?

The war in Syria is everywhere

A talk show in Jordan erupted into mass chaos last Tuesday when an argument between two journalists over the crisis in Syria turned physical. The two men broke apart the desk on set and started using it as a weapon against each other while the show’s host attempted to break them apart.

According to the English version of Al Arabiya News, “The program “Bayn Etijihayn” (Between two Ways) aired on the Jordanian TV channel 7 Stars and hosted Shaker al-Jawhary, head of the Electronic Media Association in Jordan, and Mohammad Sharif al-Jaiousy, the editor in chief of news website al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi. Al-Jawhary attacked Jaiousy for his support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”

It is not the first time a Jordanian TV debate on Syria has erupted into violence. In 2012, former MP Mansour Murad took exception when MP Mohammad Shawabka alleged he was working as a spy for the Syrian regime.

They exchanged insults, before Shawabka threw a shoe at his debate opponent before pulling out a silver handgun and brandishing it in his direction.

And in the country’s Chamber of Deputies, where debates can often become heated, an MP made history in September last year when he opened fire on a colleague with an automatic weapon. Gladly, no one was harmed.

I’m looking forward to your comments!