Thursday, 23 March 2017

Some aspects of modern life.

Ever since Ryanair decided to allow an extra, smaller sized cabin bag, when we travel we carry the laptop and iPads in smaller bags rather than in the suitcase. We almost always travel hand-luggage only so it's quite good to have an extra bag along. And now the US has said that passengers flying from certain countries cannot bring laptops and iPads in their hand luggage; they have to go,in the hold. The UK has followed suit, saying that any electronic item larger than a normal smartphone is banned in hand-luggage on all direct passenger flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

It doesn't affect us as we only fly between the UK and Europe but I know people who are saying that they don't want to trust their precious laptops to baggage handlers. Others are afraid that data will be interfered with somehow. And yet others are moaning that they will not be able to occupy their children on flights of they can't watch films or play games on iPads. (Whatever happened to stories and conversation and non-electronic games?)

I do wonder, however, quite what the purpose of the ban is. Whatever mischief can be done with an iPad can almost certainly be done with a smartphone as well. But it's another aspect of the fear that is around in the world, some of it justified I suppose. After all, there was a terrorist attack in London yesterday, possibly another lone perpetrator attack. Those lone sharks do nothing to help anything, just making life difficult for the many non-violent, non-extremist people of various religions.

But the extreme elements keep on showing up. I was reading about ultra-orthodox Jewish communities in Israel who are making life difficult for women in their country. Women have been physically attacked in the street for going about their normal business, for dressing the wrong way or for assuming that they can sit anywhere they like on buses. Women have taken cases to court and the courts have ruled in favour of a woman prevented from speaking at her own father’s burial, against a radio station that barred women from its airwaves – even blocking them from calling phone-in shows – and against bus companies that tried to segregate seating.

It seems that advertisers have taken note of the extreme views and have airbrushed women out of posters. IKEA has even produced a catalogue in which all male groups replace family groups in the furniture sections. Of course, the advertisers just want to sell stuff but surely some of them have principles. According to what I read, none of this segregation against women is in the scriptures; new religious rules have been invented. Why do we not hear more public outcry about this?

Religion is a funny thing though. Another thing I read the other day was about the restoration of the tomb in which Jesus's body is believed to have been interred after his crucifixion. Note that this is only where he is "believed" to have been interred. After all, it happened 2000 years ago, which means it's rather hard to verify. Nonetheless nine months and a lot of money has been spent on the restoration work and people will be able to visit the tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It might well be the "most sacred monument in Christianity" but to me it smacks a little of the medieval obsession with holy relics. Is this where nostalgia for things past and ancient ways is taking us?

Sometimes I wonder where the world is going!

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