O G San's Articles
October 7, 2006 by O G San
It was in America, of all places, in the bosom of the Great Satan, that I first saw burqa-wearers "in the flesh" so to speak. Standing in a shopping mall in Baltimore six years ago, I noticed these two things - presumably human beings - walking past clad head-to-toe in grim black.

As a wee boy from Belfast - where religious attire is a Rangers top and a balaclava - I was taken aback at this exotic sight. In fact I almost physically recoiled at the horror of it, at the sheer life-hating mental...
September 27, 2006 by O G San
"The Iraq conflict has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement." April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate on Trends in Global Terrorism

The final damning indictment of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" has come and, in a twist of irony, it arrives in the language of cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Iraq as jihadist cause celebre? Naturellement.

For those whose IQ is in do...
September 16, 2006 by O G San
On BBC 2 last night a Catholic archbishop and a Muslim Council of Britain spokesman slugged it out over Pope Benedict’s speech at Regensburg in Germany on Tuesday which some believe insulted Islam.

Seeing the pair offer their competing truths was like watching two five-year-olds argue over who would win in a fight between Batman and Spiderman. For all the articulate discourse, they were essentially debating the validity of two fictional characters.

In the Indian city of Allahabad the disc...
September 10, 2006 by O G San
"I think amongst the leaders in Europe I think it is clear. Amongst the people in Europe and Western opinion there is a big battle to be won. I mean, I'm being just honest about this. And I think there is a desire not to face the fact that we are fighting a global struggle."

Tony Blair, Ha'aretz, 10th September 2006


So there we have it. As a parting gift to his beloved electorate, the soon to be ex-British prime minister says they are naive, that they don't realise the nature of th...
September 10, 2006 by O G San
"I hope their lights stay off, I hope they sweat buckets without their air-conditioning. Let them live for just 24 hours the way the people of Baghdad live every fucking day."

So said a friend of mine back in 2003 when I told him there had been a major power cut in New York. He is no jihadist, certainly not a Muslim, nor a man of any religious belief, but rather a white Englishman with family in the States. But even with the Iraqi debacle in its early stages, my friend expressed his animus to...
September 2, 2006 by O G San
In the newspaper world we call them nibs, stories which merit no more than a few paragraphs. Thursday’s Independent gave the news that bombs in Baghdad had killed 40 people a 100-word nib on page 26. Had these murderous outrages been perpetrated anywhere else, they would have made the front page.

But not in Iraq. Day after day after day, dozens of people are killed and the rest of the world yawns. The situation in Iraq is akin to what the British referred to in Ireland as "an acceptable lev...
August 10, 2006 by O G San
Well it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

To emphasise the drama of today’s alleged foiled terrorist plot, the BBC news was presented from the side of a runway at Heathrow. And there was poor Huw Edwards trying to do a live link while a plane took off behind him. But still the point was made. The auto-cuties don’t leave the comfort of their studio unless it’s Big News. So the arrest of twenty men suspected of plotting to blow up aircraft this morning must be significant.

Or ...
August 3, 2006 by O G San
When I was ten my teacher banned our class from using the word "nice". Never again we were told, were we to reach for an adjective and end up grasping the "n" word. This teacher was idiosyncratic to say the least - she used to interrupt lessons to play us Handel’s Messiah on the old piano in the corner of the room - so I took her "no nice" edict as another sign of her contrariness.

But later in life I have come to see that she was right. We were banned from using the word because it forced u...
July 26, 2006 by O G San
Two weeks into the latest conflict in the Middle East, the casualty figures make interesting reading. US-sponsored Israel has sent 422 Lebanese to an early grave while Hezbollah (brought to you by Iran and Syria) has killed 42 people.

In other words, the Jewish state, armed and backed by the world’s richest country, has maintained a ten-to-one kill ratio in the first fortnight of fighting. This disparity in human suffering is the single defining characteristic of this war and must be acknowl...
July 18, 2006 by O G San
Watching the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, I find myself thinking what the reaction would have been if something similar had happened in my own country during the Troubles.

Imagine the scenario: It is 1986 and the IRA have kidnapped two British soldiers and smuggled them across the border to the Irish Republic, saying they will only be freed if republican prisoners are released in return. Eschewing negotiation and lacking the intelligence to mount a rescue operation, the Bri...
July 13, 2006 by O G San
A friend of mine describes it as "the unrequited hate affair" - the fact that while many Scots hate the English, the cursed Sassenach tends to reciprocate with something approaching bored indifference.

Certainly my erstwhile colleague is right to note the depth of hostility which the Scots harbour towards their southern neighbours. But why should this be so? When challenged on this, Scots often mention a sense of historic grievance at English domination of their country, most famously exhibit...
July 10, 2006 by O G San
Enoch Powell once observed that all political careers end in failure - a prophecy which he himself went on to fulfil. But the same can not be said about football. Some players do indeed keep gong long after their legs have given out and their best years have passed into memory. That’s why God invented Tottenham Hotspur. But others choose the time of their departure wisely. For example, Tony Adams called it a day with an exemplary performance in Arsenal’s 2002 FA Cup final victory over Chelsea. ...
July 4, 2006 by O G San
Just four teams left now and, following under-par performances by Brazil and Argentina in the quarter-finals, it's an all European final four for the first time since 1982. Let's see how my predictions went:

Germany v Argentina, Friday 16:00

Such a shame that the two teams who have played the most attractive football have to meet so early. This would have made a great final. Argentina have so many match-winners that it's hard to bet against them. If Germany are to triumph, Ballack will hav...
June 30, 2006 by O G San
I did alright last time predicting the last sixteen but the quarters are a trickier proposition, given that there is likely to be less between the teams.

Germany v Argentina, Friday 16:00
Such a shame that the two teams who have played the most attractive football have to meet so early. This would have made a great final. Argentina have so many match-winners that it's hard to bet against them. If Germany are to triumph, Ballack will have to play out of his skin.

Prediction: Germany 1 Ar...
June 28, 2006 by O G San
With eight games still to play, this World Cup has already seen a record number of red cards, with 25 players given their marching orders, compared to 22 in France eight years ago. Much has been made of the poor refereeing which has led to this rash of dismissals. Undoubtedly some officials have performed ineptly - not least Three Yellows Poll and Valentin Ivanov who reduced Potrugal-Holland to a nine-a-side.

But to focus entirely on refereeing mistakes misses the point that the players them...