Although I have no desire to live abroad, just surfing through the websites can provide a compelling case. It’s all islamic fascism, famine, bombs and Cliff Richard singing at Cilla Black’s funeral. Not a good way to start the day.
It’s not terribly good, either, to be woken by rain and thunder, as we have been this morning. The good news is that in the Greek summer, the sun is never far away and the bad news from the rest of the world could be on a different planet.
None of this doom and gloom, least of all the unseasonal weather, puts me off enjoying Corfu. But it is hard to pretend that life in the rest of the world is not carrying on as depressingly as it was before we arrived here.
Without being too negative, we are not really safe anywhere. As Tunisia showed, it only takes one man to inflict terror not just in one country, but the whole world. And whilst Corfu is not currently being visited by a “swarm”, as David Cameron crassly put it, of desperate migrants, many islands across the Med are.
Corfu once had its issues with migrants, mainly Albanian ones. They were treated with suspicion and, sometimes, contempt by some. Albania was a very different country 30 years ago and the invisible shutters were up. Now, no one seems to care and the only “mass” immigration is by mainly retired Brits, many of whom take the trouble to integrate and learn the language. To the tourist, it seems like everyone just gets along.
I wish everyone would get along, you know what I mean? Whilst I cannot for the life of me get my head round the existence of a God type character – and He is often the common link with many of the uglier things happening in this world – I would not dream of telling people they can’t have their faith. As world leader, I’d ensure the devout didn’t get any special privileges either, nor being able to dictate how society should organise itself. Society would be secular, everywhere. What could possibly go wrong?
I can’t think what could go wrong in a secular world. Those of different religions could worship in their own churches, temples and mosques and do what they like behind closed doors. In fact, they’d be guaranteed the freedom so to do.
It all comes back to education and that’s where I get controversial. And that’s where I argue for the impossible. All around the world, we teach religion as it if were a fact, rather than superstition. We should teach children about religion as part of history, because that’s what it is, but ensure that they have the opportunity to choose a religion when they are old enough to make a decision, not have it inflicted on them. We all know what would happen in such circumstances, which is why it is an impossible dream.
I am, believe it or not, tolerant. Whilst I do not respect any religion – I was taught one earned respect in life, not just had it dished out – I can happily put up with it if it doesn’t in any way impact on my life. I am not interested by colour and borders don’t bother me much either. I see all of us as part of the same accident of our lives, nothing more, nothing less.
It’s people who change the world, not false prophets. It’s a big subject for 10.00 am on an island in the sun (it is sunny now) but the news from here seems unremittingly grim, especially with the news that Cliff is going to sing at Cilla’s funeral. I’m glad to be out of it all, at least for another week or so.