The World is a failed fruit Cake


The world is a failed fruit-cake.

If you thought the noise about the Chechen-American brothers in Boston had died down, you are mistaken. It is still at fever pitch. The commentary on blogs and web-sites are running hot and are now blamed for jamming even the levers and cog-wheels on North Korean nuclear weapons.

Someone has estimated total cost of the 6000 police, 2000 vehicles, 22 helicopters with Boston businesses and shops as well as all subway, rail and transport closed down for a couple of days, of being between 800 million and 1 billion dollars. One man is dead and the other, a teenager, can’t speak.

The only business allowed operating during the ‘search’ was the Dunkin Donuts shops in Watertown! Residents were allowed to stock up on donuts but advised to stay indoors and ration the donuts as good as possible. Scuffles were reported breaking out as long queues of donut customers fought over limited supplies of the chocolate coated ones.

Bruins and Red Socks (whoever they are) postponed their games.

A fertilizer factory that apparently been allowed to operate within a housing estate exploded and so far 14 have died and two hundred injured.

That same night or nights Iraq held an election and 55 people were also blown up in a string of attacks. Those costs no one seemed to have blogged much about. I doubt if the Dunkin Doughnuts patrons would even have bothered giving it a second thought.  The local action is what was central and closest to hearts and minds. Here in Australia it was very much the same and the hunt for the bombers just about the only news item  during the entire day apart from something about a horse named Black Caviar leaving for a paddock somewhere and being patted by people, some showing unbearable grief and anguish with tears in their eyes

Of course, a tragedy is a tragedy and it is silly to compare them but it does strike me that a tragedy in America overshadows tragedies elsewhere. Perhaps we are numb to tragedies happening in the Middle East or those countries at war and are unsettled much more with those that happen in the West or close at home. I don’t know why that is so. Is it all because of geography or different cultures? I thought we were a global village now!   Someone’s son or daughter is someone’s son and daughter. (Or father, mother friend, wife, husband).

When those children were killed at Sandy Hook I would have thought that gun ownership would have been tackled as a first step. How can violence ever be stopped when people are allowed unlimited guns? How come this latest attempt to at least start to rein in and do something about the millions of guns being held in American Households failed again? What do people do with all these guns? Do they take them out, fondle them and oil them followed by looking down their muzzle, perhaps take aim, just for practice? Do they fantasize protecting their homes against robbers or foreign armies?

Are American people really  safe with all those guns in circulation? It defies logic and common sense. Surely the Constitution can be amended. Wasn’t it amended before?

Ps: Of course national disasters are in a completely different category. None the less those that have died in China during the last earthquake are just as dead and just as missed by friends and family.

The interview with the two brothers Chechen father, sitting there so forlornly on his bed, his boney knees stuck out, looking for an answer. How could his sons possibly have come to that; all so sad? Not all that long ago, there they were, in the sandpit letting it run through their fingers, saying ga,gah and gra, grah; lovely boys, uttering their first words with the world at their feet. And now?

The world is a failed fruit cake.

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18 Responses to “The World is a failed fruit Cake”

  1. Andrew Says:

    It is hard to disagree with you Gerard. I confess I find the world increasingly baffling. It is a financial fruitcake as well as a geopolitical one. When I retired I thought I had saved more than enough to see me out. Now I am not so sure. I thought I could live peacefully in my small town without feeling the ripple effects of being part of the PRC. Now I am not so sure. Those of us who grew up in homes where money was short – and learned from childhood to save – are likely to be baffled by the mountain of debt that has built up around us. The tectonic shifts that have turned a small deficit here and there into a monstrous volcano of molten debt will have profound influences on our remaining years. Sometimes I pray they be short. Whilst I understand the thinking you put forward I fear the Boston deaths may have more far-reaching effects than any number of earthquake victims in China or deaths in Syria. If a link to Islamic terrorism is found the rhetoric will ratchet up again. There will inevitably be a reaction that sates the lust for a) revenge and b) greater security. In reality the one guarantees that the other will never come to pass. After everything that has been done in the last 11 years or so the vulnerability looks to be from within. No airport security scanners can stop disillusioned young men walking down to the local ironmongers and buying a pressure cooker or two, some nails and ball bearings and building a lethal weapon. Rather cynically I muse whether we will see tighter restrictions on pressure cooker ownership whilst allowing guns to circulate freely. I do not mean to offend my American friends. I simply mean there has to be a dramatic rethink about what is the cause and how to defuse the problem. I am happy to say we do not have a Dunkin’ Donuts in Sai Kung. But we do have something of a cross/multi-cultural society. And by and large it lives very peacefully. Here at least the fruit cake is still a success. For now.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks Andrew; It seems baffling that the US with its enormous incarceration rates, seems unable to stop its internal terrorism. Gun ownership is a blight that will keep on killing more than wars.
      Young people here better start saving too. I don’t think old age will be too kind if their spending binges are not curtailed. On the other hand, the world’s economy seems to depend on ‘spending binges’. Those queues at LV and Hermes is what makes it all go around.
      Anyway, we all try and make sense of it all and you certainly do with your photography giving joy to so many.


  2. Lottie Nevin Says:

    What you have written about America and global tragedies in general resonates with me. In regards to America, I think Andrew is right, there does have to be a dramatic rethink about what is the cause and how to defuse the problem.

    Pete and I were talking about Badder-Meinhoff earlier and how the German Government asked the relevant and pertinent questions about German society at the time and how they could address the problems from a social perspective.

    Currently living in the largest Islamic state in the world, and spending far too many hours on social media sites and reading on-line newspapers etc it seems to me that perspective has become awry to say the least. I’m horrified that so many people view Muslims in a negative way. It’s disgusting and ignorant.

    P.s we have a Dunkin Donuts just down the road here in Jakarta! 😀


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      No Dunkin donuts here I think. Amazing that in Boston they were allowed to remain open I would have thought authorities would have distributed Lentils or celery sticks water etc but donuts?
      Individually we can’t change the world, let alone the gun madness in the US, but together we can.
      Yes, you are right, the demonising of Islam by some in the west is stupid and shows ignorance.


  3. frangipani Says:

    While I don’t like the American approach to gun ownership, amending the constitution will be no easy thing: it requires a 2/3 majority of both Houses and then has to be put to the States, 3/4 of which have to agree. I don’t see that happening now or ever when it comes to gun control, given that, for most Americans, this is an issue of liberty and personal freedom, not safety.

    And lets not forget that, regardless of the hyperbole of some commentators (Bob Ellis comes to mind) America is by no means the most violent country on earth, nor does it have the highest rate of gun crime. Its levels of gun-related violence are well above those of other prosperous western countries, but well below those of places like Brazil and Jamaica.


  4. Graeme Says:

    I agree with your argument.


  5. gerard oosterman Says:

    Hello frangipani; Nice to see you here and welcome.
    Yes, Bob Ellis is going the same way as the Sheep blog with typical posturing by those wanting to see their endless opinions in public.
    I hope the gun troubles in the US will change. As I understand the majority of Americans don’t want all those guns.
    Where there is a will there has to be a way!
    Having the largest incarceration rates in the western world, even higher than the former USSR has a lot to do with shooting and guns.
    The constitution dates back to Indians and cowboy days and fighting the British.
    At present the only dangers facing the Americans are each other and those numbers of guns. As I am writing this, no doubt a few are being shot right now.


    • frangipani Says:

      @Gerard – oh, don’t get me wrong, I agree about the gun laws there, but I’ve read quite a few polls on the matter, and public opinion is only slightly in favour of tighter laws. There’s nowhere near the support I think would be necessary to get Congress, never mind some of those gun-totin’ western states, to agree to a Constitutional amendment.

      As for incarceration rates, well, what can you say? There has to be a better way but damned if I know what it is, at least when you’re dealing with fairly hardened gang-bangers and bikies. (PS have you noticed that Bob Ellis’s solution to everything he doesn’t like – from pollsters who produce results he doesn’t agree with to venal landlords to Congressmen who oppose gun law reform is to throw them all into gaol? I find that quite ironic.)


      • helvityni Says:

        Frangipani, a very nice and gentle bloke, hph, confessed that he had watched only a half episode of Sex And The City on a commercial station, turned TV off because he did not like the show. He was sacked for criticizing something he had not watched…but he had, but could not stomach a whole episode.

        I pleaded for turning the verdict as I did in your case, not helpful…


      • frangipani Says:

        @Helvi – I’m surprised HPH lasted that long. Hated that show.

        Anyway, I appreciated your efforts (and Gerard’s), but in the end, I didn’t see any reason why I or anyone should have to put up with abuse just because they happen to have a different view from what is basically a clique these days. No strangers welcome. Certainly no different ideas. HPH and rather a lot of others have paid the price.

        What on earth is the point of having a blog if you only allow people who agree with you to have free rein, and insult or ban the rest? That’s not exactly my idea of honouring the concept of free speech. I go along with Mill on this: if you never test your own ideas against the opposition in open debate, you can never know where the truth lies.

        I think that you and I would disagree about many things, but I think we could also learn from each other’s viewpoints. I can’t understand the “three monkeys” approach to anything different, but it seems to be alive and well on both the left and the right in this country. And it’s goddamn boring, regardless of whether it’s Ellis or Bolt or Jones. Hrmmph.


  6. Patti Kuche Says:

    Gerard, watching some breaking news now on a US cable channel, not CNN, and there has been another mass shooting (breaking news) in Manchester, Illinois, details to come. A Bangladesh building crash kills 100. And the Dow plunge/recovery after the fake AP twitter.

    All I can say is that the US is a huge country, absolutely full of good people but it is always the few crazies who turn it upside down for the many.

    Here’s another link for you –


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Patti;Mike Luckovivh is doing a great job and there are thousands of others as well…but the gun lobby seems to hold America at ransom. You are doing a great job with your photography too.


  7. Patti Kuche Says:

    and some countries keep their fruitcakes under wraps, the US’s is out there for all the world to see, if not on rolling news then later in a blockbuster at a screen near you. If Ben Affleck hasn’t signed up a few screenwriters on the latest Boston tragedy / drama I shall be very surprised.


  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    The WORLD is a fruitcake. We here in Australia are faced with the possibility (according to latest poll) of getting a PM who promised to tow back leaky boats filled with refugees. At present we keep children in detention in complete defiance of the UNHCR convention. Yes, there are many good people here too but many are also taken in by the Murdoch misinfoimation media and xenophobia.


  9. roughseasinthemed Says:

    Interesting that non-Americans (me included) have all written about terrorism from a different perspective. It irks me that three dead people in America is a major event compared with other daily deaths elsewhere. However your blog is not the place to go into that, I have my own blogs 😀

    Guns? Right to bear arms. Important that. Got to keep your gun in your pocket (or so I think it was said in Last Kiss Goodnight). To be serious, Brit and ex-Brit countries with the exception of America, have no conception of the idea of wandering off to the supermarket with a gun! It freaks me out to think about it. It will be a long time before that view changes in USA. If it ever does.


  10. paul walter Says:

    Paranoia, pure and simple. I’ve many US friends on facebook and they are as alarmed about the ignorance-glorifying sexist/ racist/ classist gun/incarceration/chip on the shoulder militia culture as we are- after all, they have to live there.
    The problem seems to rest with the influence of the bible-belt red(neck) states, who have control of their Congress and regularly obstruct anything rational coming out of it.
    The string-pullers are of course big, big capitalists who benefit from lax labour, environmental and taxation laws. The Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, Murdoch types, alone spent half a billion dollars trying to unseat the centrist Obama.
    The ‘states is likely in trouble and if so, so are the rest of us.


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