Seeing the Real You At Last

Friends

JOHN Lennon once wrote: “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”.

But, as I sit here, I am drawn by the words of his former writing partner and fellow Beatle Paul McCartney:

“Maybe I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time

Maybe I’m afraid of the way I love you

Maybe I’m amazed at the the way you pulled me out of time

And hung me on a line

Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you

Maybe I’m a man and maybe I’m a lonely man

Who’s in the middle of something

That he doesn’t really understand.”

Now, exactly five years since the nervous breakdown, which changed my life for ever, I am still looking to understand my life and the people who have been part of it!

As many readers will know, 2013 was personally an awful year, culminating in the complete breakdown on 12 June.

It was also the start of a recovery and realisation that only by honestly addressing my life, could I find a way forward.

So I began a journey of self-awareness and discovery.

The support of my lovely family was an immense part of this journey.

And the friends who were there for me when my life was at its bleakest also helped sustain me, and drive me forward.

Many years ago I helped an old friend who was facing a tough time. He has now sadly passed away, but he left me a letter with the immortal words: “A man is known by his friends and not his enemies, I am grateful to count you as a friend.”

Today his words chime so clearly in my conscience.

You see, it is easy to know who you love and who loves you, but is less easy to appreciate who are true friends.

The ongoing atrocities in Palestine often make me realise how much evil exists in this world.

But there is still so much goodness and good people.

I could not have survived without such people… so many wonderful friends, who climbed out from behind the barricades to give help when they saw I was drowning.

It has always puzzled me how human chemistry works and how some people become such great friends while some others torture our souls.

It is almost as if you know who will be a friend when you first meet them… or is that only me?

Psychologists believe there are 16 distinct types of personality in human beings:

The Duty Fulfiller

Serious and quiet, interested in security and peaceful living. Extremely thorough, responsible, and dependable. Usually interested in supporting and promoting traditions and establishments. Well-organized and hard-working, they work steadily towards identified goals.

The Mechanic

Quiet and reserved, interested in how and why things work. Excellent skills with mechanical things. Risk-takers who they live for the moment. Usually interested in and talented at extreme sports. Uncomplicated in their desires. Loyal to their peers and to their internal value systems.

The Nurturer

Quiet, kind, and conscientious. Can be depended on to follow through. Usually puts the needs of others above their own needs. Stable and practical, they value security and traditions. Extremely perceptive of other’s feelings. Interested in serving others.

The Artist

Quiet, serious, sensitive and kind. Do not like conflict, and not likely to do things which may generate conflict. Loyal and faithful. Not interested in leading or controlling others. Flexible and open-minded. Likely to be original and creative. Enjoy the present moment.

The Protector

Quietly forceful, original, and sensitive. Tend to stick to things until they are done. Extremely intuitive about people, and concerned for their feelings. Well-respected for their perseverance in doing the right thing. Likely to be individualistic, rather than leading or following.

The Idealist

Quiet, reflective, and idealistic. Interested in serving humanity. Extremely loyal. Adaptable and laid-back unless a strongly-held value is threatened. Usually talented writers. Mentally quick, and able to see possibilities. Interested in understanding and helping people.

The Scientist

Independent, original, analytical, and determined. Have an exceptional ability to turn theories into solid plans of action. Long-range thinkers. Have very high standards for their performance, and the performance of others. Natural leaders, but will follow if they trust existing leaders.

The Thinker

Logical, original, creative thinkers. Can become very excited about theories and ideas. Exceptionally capable and driven to turn theories into clear understandings. Quiet and reserved, hard to get to know well. Individualistic, having no interest in leading or following others.

The Doer

Friendly, adaptable, action-oriented. “Doers” who are focused on immediate results. Living in the here-and-now, they’re risk-takers who live fast-paced lifestyles. Extremely loyal to their peers, but not usually respectful of laws and rules if they get in the way of getting things done.

The Guardian

Practical, traditional, and organized. Not interested in theory or abstraction unless they see the practical application. Have clear visions of the way things should be. Loyal and hard-working. Like to be in charge. Exceptionally capable in organizing and running activities.

The Performer

People-oriented and fun-loving, they make things more fun for others by their enjoyment. Living for the moment, they love new experiences. Interested in serving others. Likely to be the centre of attention in social situations. Well-developed common sense and practical ability.

The Caregiver

Warm-hearted, popular, and conscientious. Tend to put the needs of others over their own needs. Feel strong sense of responsibility and duty. Value traditions and security. Need positive reinforcement to feel good about themselves. Well-developed sense of space and function.

The Inspirer

Enthusiastic, idealistic, and creative. Able to do almost anything that interests them. Great people skills. Need to live life in accordance with their inner values. Excited by new ideas, but bored with details. Open-minded and flexible, with a broad range of interests and abilities.

The Giver

Popular and sensitive, with outstanding people skills. Externally focused, with real concern for how others think and feel. Usually dislike being alone. They see everything from the human angle, and dislike impersonal analysis.

The Visionary

Creative, resourceful, and intellectually quick. Good at a broad range of things. Enjoy debating issues, and may be into “one-upmanship”. They get very excited about new ideas and projects, but may neglect the more routine aspects of life. Generally outspoken and assertive.

The Executive

Assertive and outspoken – they are driven to lead. Excellent ability to understand difficult organizational problems and create solid solutions. Intelligent and well-informed, they usually excel at public speaking. They value knowledge and competence, and usually have little patience with inefficiency or disorganization.

I guess we all fit into one of those categories… or do we?

But, the psychologists have missed two important personality types: the Psychotic and the Complete Bastard.

Because while we are loved and supported by our life partners, soul mates and good friends; there are others who seem hell-bent on ruining the lives of other human beings either at work, at home or any given social situation.

So the two things I have learned from my breakdown and recovery is:

Don’t let the antagonists be part of your life… leave them behind.

Embrace your friends and those who love you.

Simple stuff really and I guess you don’t need to be a psychologist to figure that out.

But don’t let it get to a breakdown before you do!

I finish with an embrace for Helen, my confidante and best friend. She is the daughter and sister I never had, and my true soul mate.

She tells things as she sees them: “Fuck the bastards Nic, you are beautiful!”

A man is known by his friends and not his enemies and I am a very lucky man indeed.

United Colours of Palestine

palestine flag

Shed a tear

Do not fear

Blood and paint

Are about to run

The children of

Fearless Palestine

Die under the

Desert sun

 

Red, the blood of their loving kin

Black, the colour of evil Zion

White, the truth that is without sin

Green, the grass they are to die on

 

Don’t look away

You must stay

Flesh and soul

Are torn apart

The women of

Fearless Palestine

Are being

Ripped apart

 

Red, the blood of their loving kin

Black, the colour of evil Zion

White, the truth that is without sin

Green, the grass they are to die on

 

Fight their cause

Do not pause

Black and white

Like Raven and Dove

The men of

Fearless Palestine

They too need

Your love
 

Red, the blood of their loving kin

Black, the colour of evil Zion

White, the truth that is without sin

Green, the grass they are to die on

 

Razan

Razan

First of June 20-18

The Gaza border, weather fine

Israeli missiles and white phosphorus

Burned out the Hamas line

Will the world see justice done?

A hundred killed

Innocent blood all spilled

Fearless hands raised to the sky

For peace and Palestine

The martyrs all did die

 

Gentle Razan

Just 21

The eldest of six

Your blood will run

For Freedom

 

Razan al-Najar

Was shot in the chest

Trying to help a wounded man

Her bravery will not see rest

Until the world sees justice done

A white butterfly

With hands held high

Told the IDF sniper

She was a nurse unarmed

Yet they killed this fearless tiger

 

Gentle Razan

Just 21

The eldest of six

Your blood will run

For Freedom

 

When I try to sleep at night

I am haunted by Razan’s face

Zionist bankers paint the murder white

And poison the whole Arab race

The world will now see justice done

Within this devil’s scandal

They can blow out a candle

But they can’t blow out a fire

Once the flames begin to catch

The wind will blow it higher

 

(Inspired by Peter Gabriel’s iconic song Biko)

Terrorism – The Common Worry of Everyone, Including Iran

Felt the time is right to reblog this piece from three years ago!

No Time to Think

IRAN has been the bogey country of the West since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and its public demonization by the USA.

Anyone of a certain age will remember the portrayal of its then leader Ayatollah Khomeini in Western media as all that was “wrong with Islam”.

Matters weren’t improved in 1989 by the publication of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.

Many Muslims accused Rushdie of blasphemy and in 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie.

Numerous killings, attempted killings, and bombings resulted from Muslim anger over the novel.

The Iranian government backed the fatwa against Rushdie until 1998, when the succeeding government of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said it no longer supported the killing of Rushdie.

But all is never as it seems, particularly when the US and UK’s right wing press is involved, and by 1991 Iraq had replaced Iran as the…

View original post 2,796 more words

This isn’t anti-Semitism… this is the reality of the killing fields of Palestine

Pal Flag

LAST Saturday, thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral in Gaza of a volunteer female medic who was killed by Israeli fire during protests near the border with Israel.

Gentle Razan al-Najar, 21, was shot dead as she ran towards the border fence last Friday to help a casualty.

The death of Razan followed weeks of killings and crippling woundings by Israel’s IDF forces on the Gaza-Israel border.

More than 100 men, women and children have been killed by Israeli forces amid protests in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

Israel claims its soldiers have only opened fire on people trying to break through the border under cover of protests, and has blamed the group Hamas for orchestrating the violence.

But UN and human rights officials have accused Israel of using disproportionate force.

At Saturday’s funeral procession, Razan’s body was carried through the streets of Gaza wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

Her father carried her blood-stained medical jacket, while other mourners demanded revenge.

The Palestinian Medical Relief Society said Razan had been trying to reach an injured protester when she was shot near the city of Khan Younis.

“Shooting at medical personnel is a war crime under the Geneva conventions,” it said in a statement.

UN envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov tweeted that Israel needed to calibrate its use of force.

The UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also said it was “deeply concerned” and called for the protection of medical workers.

Israel’s military claimed its troops along the border had been attacked by militants with gunfire and a grenade on Friday.

It said in a written statement that it would investigate the death of Ms Najar.

The day after Razan al-Najar funeral, Mohammed Naaim Hamada, 30, died on Sunday morning east of the Gaza Strip as a result of wounds inflicted by Israeli security forces on May 14.

Hamada’s death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the protests began to at least 121.

Palestinian health officials say another 10,000 have been seriously injured by Israeli troops over the past six weeks at a series of protests along the border.

Sixty died on one day alone, when 40,000 took part in demonstrations that coincided with the controversial relocation to Jerusalem of the US embassy.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel’s military of carrying out “massacres” of unarmed civilians.

Hamas and other groups organised the protest campaign, dubbed the “Great March of Return“, in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to land they or their ancestors fled from or were forced to leave in the war which followed Israel’s founding in 1948.

The Israeli government, which has long ruled out any right of return, said terrorists wanted to use the protests as cover to cross into its territory and carry out attacks.

Before the protests began, Israeli officials said soldiers would be permitted under certain rules to fire live ammunition at anyone attempting to damage the border fence, and even against people coming within 300m (985ft) of it – a figure that was reportedly later reduced to 100m.

They said Israeli soldiers deployed near the Gaza protests were required to operate according to the international legal framework applicable to police and other law enforcement officials, which is part of international human rights law.

It holds that the “intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life”.

“An attempt to approach or crossing or damaging the fence do not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“This is also the case with regards to stones and Molotov cocktails being thrown from a distance at well-protected security forces located behind defensive positions.”

Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East director, said: “This is a violation of international standards, with Israeli forces in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes.”

Last month, the group documented witness testimony, video and photographic evidence that it said showed Israeli troops were killing and maiming demonstrators who posed no imminent threat to them.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the open-fire orders were “manifestly unlawful” and called on Israeli soldiers in the field to refuse to comply with them.

Last month, six other human rights groups asked the Israeli Supreme Court to revoke the military’s rules of engagement that they said permitted live fire at protesters classified as “key agitators” even when they did not pose an immediate threat to life. The groups said soldiers should instead follow the law enforcement framework. The court’s decision is pending.

Palestinian campaigner Nahida Izzat sets out the ongoing crisis in Gaza in startling black and white: “We the Palestinian Nation have been victims of insanely sadistic cruelty, assassinations of pregnant mothers, torture of children, psycho-terror, loss of land, loss of peace, security and independence, loss of health, destruction of our architectural and archeological cultural heritage, loss of collective and personal property, loss of economic means, all at the hands and policies of a foreign and psychopathic body of Jewish Zionist terrorists and their international network of accomplices, for more than seven decades.

“Myriads of Jewish-Zionist funds and foundations continue to raise and collect sums in the billions from international Jewish communities, to finance (either overtly or covertly) the destruction of our nation and our homeland.”

For the past 85 years there have been four major Intifadas (uprisings) in Palestine in 1929, 1936, 1987, 2000.

For six generations there have been 10 wars of aggression by Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1996, 2006, 2008/9, 2012 and 2014.

Tens of thousands of innocent and peace seeking civilians now lie dead.

Nahida Izzat continues: “Yet, the racist supremacist occupiers Israel still have not learned how to co-exist and live peacefully without violence or aggression.

“Their ideological supremacy and fanaticism is now worsening and spiralling out of control.

Yet, comes those fake “doves” who want to hoodwink Palestinians and the world into believing that “coexistence” and “peace” with violent, nuclear-armed supremacist is not only possible, but only just around the corner!

“I call this behaviour a deception of the highest order.

  • If every single one of us, 11 million Palestinians, agrees to “coexist” with those who raped our land and dispossessed us;
  • If we all become ideological clones of Mahmoud Abbas;
  • If we run with open arms smothering our occupiers with hugs and kisses;
  • If we agree to absolve them of all the century of crimes;
  • If we embrace them under the banner of “equal rights for all”;

“The supremacist occupiers would sneer, turn their heads away in contempt, while plotting for their next expansionist war, for how could a “chosen” ever be “equal” to a “goy”?

“The six million dollar question now is, why on Earth do Jewish supporters ignore the fatal need of Israeli supremacists to learn about equality and co-existence and frenetically chase us, to preach co-existence to us and teach us about equality instead of their own?

“It is time to cut the crap, once and for all, and stop the lie of preaching co-existence to Palestinians when you know fair well that Jewish racism and supremacy lie at the heart of the problem.”

Nahida is right, the root cause to all the problems in the entire Middle East is the ongoing denial of Palestinian freedom.

Israel has chosen occupation over peace, and used negotiations as a smokescreen to advance its colonial project.

Every government across the globe knows this simple fact and yet so many of them pretend that returning to the failed recipes of the past could achieve freedom and peace.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

There can be no negotiations without a clear Israeli commitment to fully withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; a complete end to all colonial policies; a recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people including their right to self-determination and return; and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.

Maybe it is useful to remind the world that Palestine’s dispossession, forced exile and transfer, and oppression have now lasted for 70 years.

Palestinian Liberation is the only item to have stood on the UN’s agenda since its inception.

The entire world knows that Jerusalem is the flame that can inspire peace and ignite war.

Why then does the world stand still while the Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people in the city and in Muslim and Christian holy sites, notably Al-Haram al-Sharif, continue unabated?

Israel’s actions and crimes not only destroy the two-state solution on 1967 borders and violate international law, they threaten to transform a solvable political conflict into a never-ending religious war that will undermine stability in a region already experiencing unprecedented turmoil.

Israel’s domination of Palestinians makes violence inevitable

The latest round of attacks is shocking, but no anomaly. There will never be quiet as long as one group of citizens are forced to live without rights, and with no way out

No people on the globe would accept to coexist with oppression.

By nature, humans yearn for freedom, struggle for freedom, sacrifice for freedom, and the freedom of the Palestinian people is long overdue.

And in words that would have sat easily with Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King, Nahida Izzat adds: “We the Palestinian people aim to steer our own struggle towards liberation those who want to steer in the same direction are welcome, those who want to steer in a different direction, to protect our killers and secure their future from any upcoming natural justice, are advised to jump across and join the other camp right away, rather than waiting for the future.

“We refuse to grant legitimacy to supremacists, mass-murderers and baby-killers.

“The only fair solution for such chronic grave injustice, to right the wrong of a century of crimes against humanity is the Algerian model of the full Liberation of Palestine.”

Indeed, now is the time to Free Palestine.

Spread the word!

The dark mystery of Seven Up and 22

seven up

FOR as long as I can remember I have had a premonition that I would die on the 22nd of October… and that is only five months away.

I have been trying to get my head around this for a long time.

And I am still struggling.

I know I have always considered 22 to be my unlucky number:

  • 22 July 1984                The most shocking day of my life
  • 22 Sept 1987               I was diagnosed with cancer
  • 22 April 1988              I was told my cancer had spread to my lung
  • 22 Feb 1992                My father-in-law committed suicide
  • 22 May 1990               My best friend Andrea died
  • 22 Aug 2003                The last time I saw my two daughters
  • 22 Oct 2005                 I found out my wife was cheating on me
  • 22 April 2010             The last time I spoke with my eldest son
  • 22 May 2010               The day I knew I would never see my daughters again

Coincidence?

Just numbers eh! But, there is something unexplained and spiritual in our world which we simply do not yet understand.

The late John Lennon was pre-occupied with the number nine and throughout his life it held an almost supernatural significance.

It was present at his birth, prevalent throughout his life and omnipresent at his death.

John was born at 6.30am on Wednesday 9 October and, although officially announced dead at 11.15pm in New York on 8 December, due to the time difference, it was actually 9 December in Liverpool, the place of his birth.

The time of his birth, 6.30 also adds up to nine, as to the letters of Wednesday, the day of his birth.

Several of his songs reflected his interest in his favourite number: # 9 Dream, Revolution 9 and One After 909, the latter being written at 9 Newcastle Road, Liverpool, his grandfather’s house where he was reared in his early years (Newcastle has nine letters, as does Liverpool).

As John once said: “I lived in 9 Newcastle Road, I was born on the 9th October. It’s just a number that follows me around, but, numerologically, apparently I am number six or three or something, but it’s all part of nine.”

Numerous events in his life took place on the 9th:

  • The Beatles played at the Cavern Club for the first time on 9 February
  • Brian Epstein saw the Beatles for the first time on 9 November
  • The Beatles EMI contract was confirmed on 9 May
  • The Beatles made their Ed Sullivan Show debut on 9 February
  • John first met Yoko Ono on 9 November
  • John and Yoko’s son Sean was born on 9 October.
  • When John was shot he was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital – on 9 Avenue (Roosevelt also has nine letters, as does Manhattan, the district in New York where he lived and died).

Bizarre coincidence, or something beyond our understanding?

Beyond 22, I share John Lennon’s strange fascination with numerology.

My personal number of fate is seven, and like John’s #9, this number has followed me all my life.

  • I was born at 7am on 1 February, as was my eldest daughter. My eldest son was born on 25th June (2+5=7) also at 7am!
  • The house where I was born was 7 Atkinson Drive, the next house was 17 New Barn Road and the next 17 Westway Close and so on.
  • When I left home to go to university my first hall of residence room was D27 and my first flat was 7 High Street.
  • But it is with specific years when the number 7 becomes of immense significance to me.
  • 1967: I started grammar school and also attended my first Brighton and Hove Albion football match.
  • 1977: I graduated from university, moved back to mum and dad, who lived at 52 North Road (5+2=7) and met my lifelong friend Jayne, who sadly died aged 57.
  • 1987: I narrowly missed being killed in a high speed crash on 7 September and on 27 September underwent radical surgery to remove a malignant cancer of my right shoulder, before undergoing seven weeks of life-saving radiotherapy.
  • 1997: I lost my career and passion in national newspaper journalism… my last day at work in the job of my dreams at The Scotsman was 7 July.
  • 2007: At the start of the year my house was repossessed and I was penniless. Then later in the year was left minutes from death from a vicious assault on 7 September.

Maybe Chaos Theory has the answer?

Chaos Theory is about how complicated the world is and something which can only be understood through numbers.

The world is so complex that one small change, even a seemingly tiny insignificant change, has enormous consequences (The Butterfly Effect).

Imagine you typically catch a plane to go home at the weekend, but this time you decide to go by rail. On the train, you meet a person you end up falling in love with and marrying. What made you change your mind and go by rail? Who would you have married if you hadn’t have gone by rail?

Is there is a way to find order out of this chaos?

You can’t ignore chance, and are numbers determining our fate?

Numerology is any belief in the divine, mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events. It is also the study of the numerical value of the letters in words, names and ideas.

It is often associated with the paranormal, alongside astrology and similar divinatory arts.

Pythagoras and other philosophers of the time believed that because mathematical concepts were more “practical” than physical ones, they had greater actuality.

St Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430) wrote: “Numbers are the Universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth.”

Similar to Pythagoras, he too believed that everything had numerical relationships and it was up to the mind to seek and investigate the secrets of these relationships or have them revealed by divine grace.

I am a deist – I believe in some higher spiritual power, but exactly what that is, I have no idea.

Do you John Lennon, and shall I ring you on your usual number?

My own number begins 077 and ends in a 7.

 

Big Brother is Watching You… and now it gets really scary

BIG BROTHER

I HAVE just read the most disturbing news item I have come across in a long time.

I am beyond shocked… I am frightened for my children and my grandchildren.

I cough and allow my mind to drift to a peaceful place sitting in the summer sunshine on the north side of the Isle of Jura watching the sea wash white horses on the rocks below me.

Less than 300 yards to the south of where I am sitting is the isolated cottage known as Barnhill… this was the rented home of writer George Orwell, who lived there intermittently from 1946 until his death in 1950. Orwell completed his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four while living there.

It was a place I visited often during my two years living and working as a newspaper editor in the wilds of Argyll, in western Scotland, some 28 years ago.

Barnhill always held a fascination for me, because Nineteen Eighty-Four had remained my favourite novel since I was first mesmerised by Orwell’s vision of a future dystopian world as a raw 14-year-old. And I loved to imagine the views he must have taken in while writing that classic of English literature.

First published in 1948, yet set 36 years later, Nineteen Eighty-Four tells the story of Winston Smith, a citizen and ordinary member of the Outer Party.

Winston works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, rewriting and distorting history, under the dictator Big Brother.

But Winston is determined to remain human under inhuman circumstances and begins a diary. Yet telescreens are placed everywhere — in his home, in his cubicle at work, in the cafeteria where he eats, even in the bathroom stalls. His every move is watched. No place is safe.

One day, while at the mandatory Two Minutes Hate, Winston catches the eye of an Inner Party Member, O’Brien, whom he believes to be an ally. He also catches the eye of a dark-haired girl named Julia from the Fiction Department.

A few days later Julia secretly hands him a note that reads: “I love you.” Winston takes pains to meet her, and when they finally do, Julia draws up a plan whereby they can be alone.

Once alone in the countryside, Winston and Julia make love and begin their allegiance against the Party and Big Brother. They fall in love, and, while they know that they will someday be caught, they believe that the love and loyalty they feel for each other can never be taken from them.

Eventually, Winston and Julia confess to O’Brien, whom they believe to be a member of the Brotherhood (an underground organization aimed at bringing down the Party), their hatred of the Party.

O’Brien welcomes them into the Brotherhood with an array of questions and arranges for Winston to be given a copy of “the book,” the underground’s treasonous volume written by their leader, Emmanuel Goldstein.

Winston gets the book and takes it to the secure room where he reads it with Julia napping by his side. The two are disturbed by a noise behind a painting in the room and discover a telescreen. They are quickly dragged away and separated.

Winston finds himself deep inside the Ministry of Love, a prison with no windows, where he sits for days alone. Finally, O’Brien comes. Initially Winston believes that O’Brien has also been caught, but he soon realizes that O’Brien is there to torture him and break his spirit.

O’Brien spends the next few months torturing Winston in order to change his way of thinking — to employ the concept of doublethink, or the ability to simultaneously hold two opposing ideas in one’s mind and believe in them both.

Finally, O’Brien takes Winston to Room 101, the most dreaded room of all in the Ministry of Love, the place where prisoners meet their greatest fear. Winston’s greatest fear is rats. O’Brien places over Winston’s head a mask made of wire mesh and threatens to open the door to release rats on Winston’s face.

When Winston screams, “Do it to Julia!” he relinquishes his last vestige of humanity.

Winston is a changed man. He sits in the Chestnut Tree Café, watching the telescreens and agonizing over the results of daily battles on the front lines. He has seen Julia again. She, too, is changed, seeming older and less attractive. She admits that she also betrayed him. In the end, there is no doubt, Winston loves Big Brother.

Today, the year 1984 has long passed, but Orwell’s futuristic vision of hell on Earth remains.

Big Brother is now everywhere

  • Mainstream newspapers and TV channels feed us daily propaganda – the “facts” the Establishment wish us to believe
  • CCTV cameras are on every street corner and inside every store – yet we never know who is monitoring them
  • Number Plate Recognition cameras are installed at almost every filling station and car park
  • Sat Nav satellites pick-up every move of our car, van or truck
  • Cookies and spyware follow every finger click we make on our PC or tablet
  • Police DNA and fingerprint databases have more than 30% of adults logged on their files
  • MSN, Messenger text messages and private phone calls are harvested by government snoopers at GCHQ
  • Our employment, financial and residential history is catalogued in the finest detail by so-called credit reference agencies such as Equifax and Experian

Our lives are no longer secret… Big Brother knows all of us.

Which brings me back to beginning…

I stare again at the news item and in something which can only be described as Nineteen Eighty-Four meets Black Mirror the headline reads: Implanting Microchips for Convenience.

The article explains how plans are already being rolled out to implant a tiny microchip in people’s hand which could eventually replace the need for credit cards, car keys and much more.

And this dystopian world is almost upon us right now.

Micro-chipping is almost routine at the Swedish start-up hub Epicenter. The company offers to implant its workers and start-up members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.

The injections have become so popular that workers at Epicenter hold parties for those willing to get implanted.

“The biggest benefit I think is convenience,” said Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and CEO of Epicenter.

As a demonstration, he unlocks a door by merely waving near it.

“It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys,” he explains.

The technology in itself is not new.

Such chips are used as virtual collar plates for pets. Companies use them to track deliveries. It’s just never been used to tag employees on a broad scale before.

Epicenter and a handful of other companies are the first to make chip implants broadly available.

While biologically safe, the data generated by the chips can show how often an employee comes to work or what they buy. Unlike company swipe cards or smartphones, which can generate the same data, a person cannot easily separate themselves from the chip.

“Of course, putting things into your body is quite a big step to do and it was even for me at first,” said Mr Mesterton, remembering how he initially had had doubts.

“But then on the other hand, I mean, people have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart,” he said. “That’s a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices.”

Epicenter, which is home to more than 100 companies and some 2,000 workers, began implanting workers in January 2015. Now, about 150 workers have them.

A company based in Belgium also offers its employees such implants.

And last year a company in Wisconsin has become the first in the USA to roll out microchip implants for all its employees.

The initiative, which is optional for employees at snack stall supplier Three Square Market (32M), implants radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips in staff members’ hands in between their thumb and forefinger.

Once tagged with the implant 32M says its employees will be able to perform a range of common office tasks with an effortless wave of their hand.

“We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at other RFID terminals,” says 32M CEO, Todd Westby.

The chips make use of near-field communication (NFC), and are similar to ones already in use in things like contactless credit cards, mobile payment systems, and animal tag implants.

“It will happen to everybody,” says Noelle Chesley, 49, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“But not this year, maybe not my generation, but certainly that of my kids.”

But Gene Munster, an analyst at Loup Ventures, thinks embedded chips in human bodies is 50 years away.

“The idea of being chipped has too “much negative connotation today,” he says, but by 2067 “we will have been desensitized by the social stigma.”

So the next time your child has to stand in-line for an eye recognition device to pay for their school dinner, or the next time you use your finger print to log into your iPhone, remember the Isle of Jura and George Orwell’s words of warning.

Big Brother is watching you.