200x184xbabies_index.jpg.pagespeed.ic.59XikGt7AnOn the 14th November 2015, I woke up at 5am. A member of my family had just messaged me from Australia and my iPad bleeped to let me know. Her message was short: ‘What’s going on in Paris?’

As the weekend moved on, it became clear what was going on in Paris. The young had murdered the young.

I spent hours thinking about the event, watching the news and asking the question people across the globe were asking: why? What had happened to those young men and possibly a young woman, to make them carry out brutal murder on their contemporaries? They could so easily have been sitting in that concert hall watching the rock band. Instead, they were standing behind the audience shooting them.

Would these young murderers have simply become dangerous criminals, murdering in the course of a robbery they were carrying out, if it wasn’t for the fact that their brains had been tampered with to make them believe lies; lies so potent it allowed them to shed their humanity in favour of blindly murdering their own kind in the name of their God?

In truth, what do these young killers really know of death? As a child, I experienced a lot of death in my family. I was the youngest of five children, born to my parents late in life. My extended family appeared to be always leaving. I went to several funerals by the time I was twelve and many more after that. I was familiar with the concept and it was something I felt compelled to avoid at all costs, until I became very old. I was told about heaven and hell and purgatory. I was bought up a Catholic and educated by nuns, but all that reciting of the Catechism, every Mass I attended on a Sunday morning and each Confession I made did not affect my ability to think! It seems to me that these kids recruited by Isis are mindless, unable to reason, have no ability to make good decisions – and all in the name of Allah? I don’t think so. They are weak and feckless, dominated by others, just as the Nazi youth were in the 1930’s.

However much I try to rationalise the idea of radicalisation, I sense there must be something else; something far more insidious and subtle that is making so many young men and women treat life with such appalling disrespect. Eventually, the pundits and politicians, the psychologists and psychiatrists will have their say about the reasons why beautiful new born babies turn into incoherent militants willing to murder with such apparent ease. To anyone not indoctrinated, it seems incomprehensible.

When I look at photos of the killers and then at photos of those killed, each one of them started in the same place – in their mother’s arms. The tragedy takes place at a crossroads, where some accept brutality and death, while others hold onto joy and life. Religion has nothing to do with which road they take.

Now, I want to know where Isis gets its money to destroy the ‘thinking’ part of the brains of all these young people; to make them believe blatant lies; to train and equip them with murderous weapons and convince them that taking their own lives and the lives of others is okay, to tell them that revenge is good, that hate is good, that death is better than life. Who is giving them money to do this? Where does the responsibility lie for all those innocent deaths across the world? With the funders? With the organisations, countries, individuals who hand over huge sums of money to finance the killing? Bombing indiscriminately is a blunt response. Find out where the money is coming from to support them, first.

My deepest sympathies go to all the mothers who have lost their beautiful babies – the  babies who became the killers or who were murdered…







150830_10151225087841709_1316367219_nWhat happens to you when you realise you have been deceived? It can be a very subtle deception, one that creeps up on you, drawing you in, before you realise what is happening. Deception makes you reverse your value systems, shuts down your rational mind, pulls you into a fantasy someone else is controlling. We all want to believe. When someone we think we know deceives us, it can takes a very long time to see the lies.

Deception in relationships messes with your head. Women are easily taken in by men they meet online when they are vulnerable and lonely. It’s written about frequently; lonely women, divorced or widowed, desperate for male attention and company, willing to believe anything they read, anything they are told, in order to ease the pain and feel better about themselves. The men that prey on such women have no souls. They are nothing less than criminals, though they would convince you they are saints and have only your best interests at heart. Not so.

I recently heard about a mature woman who lost her husband in a car accident. She was traumatized by the event, but after six months, her grown-up kids persuaded her to go on a dating website. They mistakenly thought it would ‘cheer her up…’ They had their own lives to lead and while they mourned the loss of their father, they didn’t want to think their mother was alone. They all lived miles away and could only visit her now and then. Find her a man, they decided. That would be the cure-all.

The woman did as she was told by her kids. She joined a website, filled in the forms, put up her photo and waited. What her kids didn’t know was that she’d told the men out there far too much about herself. Her head was not working well. She was still grieving. So she told the world about the death of her husband, in detail.

Within days, she was swamped with men writing long emails to her, sending her messages, winking at her, asking for dates, bombarding her for more information. She was flattered and not surprisingly, the deep sense of gloom she’d felt for so many months, began to shift.

She responded to one particular man she liked the look of. Can you guess what happened? After a few months of wooing her online, he started asking for money. He needed money because he’d had to give up his job to look after his mother who had suddenly been taken ill, like her husband had suddenly died, without warning. She understood. She sent him money. A few hundred pounds at first. But, as with all these criminals, it wasn’t enough.

His emails became increasingly desperate. His mother needed major surgery and this was very costly in the USA. She sent him a couple of thousand pounds. He told her how wonderful she was. She was a saviour, a saint and angel and guess what? He was madly in love with her and wanted her to become his wife. They would live in his condo in Florida; all sunshine and happiness. They would be together forever, just as long as she sent him another five grand.

It was at this point, when she told her daughter what he was proposing, saying what fun it would be to all get together in Florida, that bells began to ring. Her daughter was appalled when she found out that her mother had sent this man almost all of her savings. But her mother would not listen. She was so deeply deceived that even her own child could not move her to see the truth.

It all ended very sadly. She continued to send money until there was no more money to send. She wrote and explained and asked him to buy a plane ticket for her, so she could fly over and help him care for mother. Guess what? He vanished overnight.

On top of the loss she’s experienced when her husband died, she now had to contend with a new loss, that of her integrity, her judgement, her dignity. She had to accept she’d been deceived. Now in debt, she had to go to the bank and ask for a loan, secured with her house, the house she and her dead husband had worked to pay for over thirty years of marriage.

The man was never caught. The police are still looking for him. But in the great scheme of things, such crimes are minor when police are trying to catch terrorists or murderers. The woman suffers from depression now. It comes in waves; some days she feels good, other days, suicidal. It’s likely she will feel this was for some time.

The Internet is full of good things, but there is also a dark side. These men who trawl dating websites looking for vulnerable women are a menace. Take care, if you sign up. Don’t get caught in their web of deception.