An appeal from Humanists UK, the national organisation for humanists:
By now you’ve probably heard the harrowing case of Hamza bin Walyat, the humanist who is being deported to Pakistan for failing a test of his ‘non-religiousness’ that required him to ‘identify classical philosophers’ like Plato and Aristotle. Because Pakistan is one of 13 countries where non-religious people are executed, we need your help today to save Hamza’s life.
Hamza’s life is now in serious danger because the Home Office has completely misunderstood the nature of humanism and seems to have forgotten that non-religious people have equal protections from persecution on the grounds of their beliefs. This is unacceptable, and now we must act quickly to save Hamza’s life.
Please, take a minute from your day today to sign our petition to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, backing our demands to save Hamza’s life and re-educate the Home Office about humanism and the basic human rights non-religious people are entitled to in law.
Three weeks to go until construction starts on the Humanist Garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show.
Fun with fabrics v frustration with fencing!
Firstly, my apologies for being a bit late with this blog. Whilst all is going well with the plants ( this warm weather has sent them into overdrive, producing an abundance of fruit ), the same cannot be said of the hard landscaping. During the past week, 250 metres of 2” x 1” timber has been crisscrossing the county with me in hot pursuit. The timber has finally come to rest in a temporary location where I can transform it into fencing and screening for the garden. However, before construction begins I have had to paint it! If you find it hard to imagine 250 metres of wood, believe me, it is a lot! Two days of painting, and I’m nearly finished.
Construction, I am reliably informed, should only take half a day!
On a brighter note, do you remember printing with potatoes at primary school?
Well 50 years on, I decided to revive this noble craft and try some fabric printing.
As a first attempt, I was quite pleased with the result. Celebrating creativity is an important part of the garden. Textiles, displaying different colours, textures, patterns and techniques, draw inspiration from cultures around the world. Below is a sample of a variety of textiles that will be used in the garden.
Seven weeks to go until construction starts on Sundance, the Humanist show Garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show.
The Trouble with Beans
Well, this week I was going to talk about Indonesian batik, but, after a cold wet spring this glorious weather has kick started the plants into a sudden growth spurt. Well, perhaps not all of the plants. Frustratingly the French beans, which had just poked their heads through the soil and started to grow up alongside the maize, just shrivelled up and died.
Timing is all important, as the maize needs to have reached a sufficient height in order to provide climbing support for the newly emerging beans. A dash around local garden centres provided some rather sorry looking replacement French bean plants.
The central focal point of the garden is a tall sculptural structure which will also double up as a support for runner beans. The structure will be built on site which means that the runner beans need to be grown separately, transported to site and encouraged to climb up the structure.
Calling on all my Blue Peter acquired skills I set about constructing what I hope will be a portable climbing bean frame.
Using 8ft canes, plastic piping, large pots and string I have cobbled together a framework which I hope will do the job. The plastic piping is there to insert elements of the sculptural structure…..confused?…..come to the show to see how it works.
A big thank you to my sister Jenny who didn’t realise that she would have such a large structure sitting on her patio, which she is also obliged to water for the next seven weeks!
Only 9 weeks to go until construction starts on ‘Sundance’ the Humanist Garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show.
Each year, North American Plains Indian tribes would gather together for the Sundance. This was a time of feasting, dancing and sharing and an opportunity to reinforce their relationships with the environment, the animal kingdom and each other.
These events, which differed somewhat across the Plains, were chronicled by early western observers. More sensationalist reports focused on the Sundance as a rite of passage. Young warriors were attached to a long flexible pole by ropes skewered through the skin on their backs. They would then dance for 24 hours – a bit like a puppet on a string – perhaps a forerunner of reality TV!
Before I am inundated with offers from eager parents nominating their sons for this role; I must stress that this ritual is not a feature of the garden. The Humanist Garden focuses on sharing abundance, celebrating creativity and reinforcing caring relationships.
Using the happy human logo I have created a Humanist Sundance design. Look out for the finished product at the Shrewsbury Flower Show.
Finally, the main focus this week has been on potting up plants and seedlings. Timing is critical for the plants to be at their absolute peak for the show. Some warmer weather would be very welcome. Most plants are doing well, apart from the butternut squash – not too sure what’s going on with them. They’ve been fed, watered and sprayed with insecticide – hopefully they’ll pick up soon.
As a community garden, the planting is largely fruit and vegetables. The planting scheme is inspired by the South American practices of companion planting. I’ve also been looking at permaculture and how it can be used in a small garden. But more of that next week.
There is a serious threat to freedom of thought, expression and political opinion in Bangladesh. Atheist and freethinking voices are the target (including the three bloggers paraded by the authorities in the image above).
Islamist political parties have provided government with a list of 84 “atheist bloggers” and are demanding the death penalty for “insulting religion”. Several bloggers have already been arrested and a government official promised to pursue all those listed.
Last week, we said the government would be “walking into a trap set by fundamentalists” if they gave any succour to these demands. But they did. And on Friday a rally on the order of 100,000 Islamists marched in Dhaka (video) calling for a new blasphemy law and for the execution of the atheist bloggers. Earlier this year a prominent atheist blogger was murdered in a machete attack at his home, so we are also concerned about the safety in public of those accused of “blasphemy”.
We are urging IHEU Member Organisations and humanists everywhere to act now in solidarity with the bloggers and to put an end to the threats and intimidation.
The next meeting of SHG will be on Thursday September 22nd at 7.30 pm at The Lantern. Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum (and winner of the award ‘Academic of the Year’ in the 2010 Erotic Awards) will be speaking about circumcision, entitled ‘Forced Genital Cutting: the hidden story.’
The October meeting, on October 20th, at the The Lantern, will be a discussion forum as well as the group’s AGM, and I would ask you particularly to make an effort to attend and make your voice heard.
The Lantern is at Meadow Farm Drive, Shrewsbury, SY1 4NG. Details of how to get there are here (pdf file). There is a car park at the Lantern.Looking forward to seeing you there.