Cambridge University excellence stupidity
1 / 12,400,000
farms gardens water collecting composting
1 / 30,800,000
3 / 177,000,000
Christian religion remembrance redemption
1 / 7,470,000
[The material is emphatically counter-Christian]
aphorisms religion ideology honesty
1 / 4,140,000
[The aphorisms are my own]
bullfighting arguments action against
4 / 1,380,000
[The page is wide ranging, with material on aesthetics, including Aristotle's 'Poetics,' comparative studies of courage in fields as diverse as war, mining, mountaineering, and more]
poetry line length
3 / 64,100,000
1 / 9,550,000
1 / 42,600,000
poem metre generative metrics
3 / 1,260,000
Seamus Heaney poetry success failure
1 / 2,690,000
Seamus Heaney poem criticism
1 / 4,030,000
3 / 54,600,000
30 March, 2012
Procurement reform campaigners have blasted the University of Sheffield for abandoning its £25 million ‘Pearl’ music centre contest and wasting up to £1 million of bidders’ resources
Please see also the pages Cambridge University: excellence, mediocrity, stupidity and Academics against armaments and academics and migration
List of academics criticized here. List to be extended, profiles to be revised and extended.
This section provides images of the genocide carried out by the Nazis to make clear that the 'genocide' claimed to be Israeli policy and practice - Professor Albarella and countless others make the claim - is nothing like the genocide carried out by the Nazis. What these people do, again and again and again, is to use civilians killed by Israeli military action as 'proof' of 'genocide.' The images come from my page on Israel - most of the images are larger on that page, in the third column. In this column, the images are followed by a few images and comment on civilian casualties caused by British and other allied action during the Second World War, for example this: when the city of Caen were liberated by the allies, it was only after 3,000 French civilians had been killed by allied military action. In the course of liberating France, allied military action killed 60,000 French civilians, mainly by bombing and bombardment.
A selection of Professor Albarella's writing, none of it in extended form - just slogan after slogan after slogan - none of it providing argument and evidence, none of his grotesque generalizations allowing exceptions, appears on his page
After 'We will ALWAYS support freedom of movement (freedom of movement includes freedom for ISIS supporters and terrorists to enter this country, does it?) there's a picture of a white poppy and this, and 'STOP THE GENOCIDE), and a list: 'archaeologist, green-anarchist, pacifist ... ' and then this: 'national borders are a crime against humanity.' In his deluded state he might believe it's actually possible for the countries of the world to abolish their borders and allow freedom of movement but in practice, as a matter of strict fact, these things are no more possibly than allowing anyone who wants to become a student at Sheffield University to become a student at Sheffield University. Such considerations as gross overcrowding in lecture theatres and gross overcrowding in student accommodation are relevant.
This quotation from the (left of centre) publication 'New Statesman' gives a crushing verdict on his views on borders - not just completely open borders but no borders at all - and on his view of the Palestinians andof Israel.
'The Hamas attack was driven by a brutal ideology
The atrocities committed against Israeli civilians have roots in the same fanaticism activists face in Iran.
'The videos Hamas posted on social media, showing them gloating about defiling women’s bodies and taking children hostage made clear this wave of violence was not a desperate “act of self-defence” or “breaking free from prison” as some sympathisers have tried to portray it. If anything, these horrors might make those who have been critical of Israel’s policing of its borders think again, now the world can see exactly what the Israelis have been trying to keep out. (Emphasis added by me.)
The Einsatzgruppen were Nazi extermination squads. The role of the Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps is well known, the role of the Einsatzgruppen far less so. Unlike the camps, where the mass killing was carried out in conditions of relative secrecy, the Einsatzgruppen killed in public, very often with the active support of the regular Nazi army, the Wehrmacht. They exterminated Jews and others in the territories captured by the German forces as they advanced Eastwards.
The Einsatzgruppen killed about 2 million people, including about 1.3 million Jews. After the war ended, there were many trials of Nazis, including the 'Einsatzgruppen Trial, in which commanders of these units faced charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Some of the killings carried out by Einsatzgruppen
Above, the killing of Jews in Ivanhorod, Ukraine, 1942. A woman attempts to protect a child with her own body just before they are shot by a member of an Einsatzgruppe.
Above, 'The Last Jew in Vinnitsa,' Ukraine. Member of Einstatzgruppe D about to shoot the victim.
Above, outside Mizocs. Nazi officer executes women who survived shooting at mass execution
Above, Einsatzgruppe shooting Jews by a mass grave
Above, scene at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, liberated by British troops, but too late for so many victims.
On arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau, there was a 'selection.' Some were able to live a little longer, if able to work. The rest were sent to be gassed. Here, Jewish children walk towards a gas chamber.
Above, Jews forced to dig their own graves before being executed, Storow, Ukraine, 5 July, 1941.
Above, a boy standing by the bodies of his family before being executed himself, Zboriv, Ukraine, 5 July, 1941.
Above, Ernst Biberstein, who studied theology from 1919 to 1921. He became a Protestant pastor in 1924. During the war, he was the commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 6, which executed between 2000 and 3000 people. The Einsatzkommandos were a sub-group of the Einsatzgruppen,. . After the war, he was tried and sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted. He was released in 1958 and returned to the clergy.
This is Fritz Klein, a doctor who worked at Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, sometimes taking part is selections for the gas chamber, before moving to Bergen-Belsen. Here, he's shown moving bodies after the camp had been liberated by British forces.
Above, scene at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Below, crematorium at Dachau concentration camp
'I will leap into my grave laughing because the feeling that I have five million human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction.'
Above, images showing women at Auschwitz after the liberation of the
Killing of civilians
Human values, humane values can sometimes only be safeguarded by harsh action, including harsh military action. This was the case during the Second World War, a conflict which was obviously more wide ranging by far. But the savagery displayed in the recent terrorist attack on Israel was as bad as any of the atrocities which took place during the Second World War. Allied forces defeated genocidal Nazi Germany not by displays of naive, utopian, superficial thinking but by tactical and strategic thinking which resulted in hard military action, including the use of bombardment.
After D day, villages, towns and cities in France, Belgium and the Netherlands were liberated by British and other allied forces. Very often, they were liberated by military action which included bombing and artillery fire and very often with civilian casualties. For example, Caen in Normandy was liberated only after being heavily bombed. About 80% of the town was devastated and 3000 civilians were killed. Around 60,000 French civilians had been killed by allied bombing by the time France was liberated. To use only ground forces was out of the question. Nazi occupied Europe could never have been liberated in this way. Anyone who claims that allied forces were 'no better than Nazis' for frequent killing of civilians is failing to take into account Nazi killings of civilians, which belonged to a different order of reality - reprisal executions, the mass executions of the Einsatzgruppen and, of course, the Holocaust, the worst set of war crimes in human history.
In extreme circumstances, to overcome fanatical opposition, the armed
forces of democratic states often have no alternative but to use extreme
force – but not ‘extremist force,’ the methods used by fanatics. To use
slight force would be to guarantee defeat. Although technological
advances have vastly increased the precision of bombing, these cannot
overcome all difficulties, for example those arising in very densely
populated neighbourhoods such as Gaza.
Film of Shimon Peres speaking at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford University. At 4:00 Abdel Razzaq Takriti begins to shout slogans and is removed.
This noisy and chaotic episode, described below, dates from his time at Wadham College, Oxford, when he was a doctoral student.
Dr Abdel Takriti is now a lecturer in International History at the University of Sheffield. Although elimination of all bias in the teaching of history is obviously impossible, the avoidance of gross ideological bias and outright propaganda in the teaching of history isn't an impossible objective. If Wikipedia can make strenuous efforts to be fair-minded, no less should be expected of a department of history in a British university. He teaches, or did teach, a module 'Palestine and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Whether his teaching of the topic is partisan, or propagandist I've no way of knowing. I'm receptive to any evidence.
One principle he was certainly attacking, a principle under relentless attack now, not least in so many universities, and a principle which it's essential to defend, is the enlightenment principle of freedom of speech, expressed memorably in the credo 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.' (often attributed to Voltaire, but in fact the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in her book 'The Friends of Voltaire' of 1906. She summarized Voltaire's attitude towards Helvétius, not the words of Voltaire.)
A report on Dr Takriti, in action. I find it very disturbing. It was published by the pro-Palestinian site 'Electronic Intifada' (20 November, 2008.)
'Text messages came from student protestors who had managed to get inside the lecture hall. They let the their fellow demonstrators outside know that their chanting could be heard inside over the voice of Israeli President Shimon Peres. There was clapping and stamping of feet and placards banged on the railings to make as much noise as possible, along with the constant “Free, free Palestine” which did not stop for a moment of the hour-long lecture.
Silent women in black, shouting students, small babies in prams, university lecturers and a local elected official were just some of the crowd gathered to voice their protest against an Oxford college’s decision to honor Peres on Tuesday, 18 November as he gave the inaugural lecture in a series to be named after him. Some handed out leaflets and many were carrying signs, one of which read “Globalization of Apartheid,” a pun on the title of the lecture, “Globalization of Peace.”
'After the Master of Balliol College, Dr. Andrew Graham, refused to cancel the series the Oxford University Student Palestine Society in conjunction with the city’s branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) called for the people of Oxford to protest outside the hall as students interrupted the lecture inside.
'Halfway through the lecture, Abdel Razzaq Takriti, a Palestinian graduate student at Oxford’s Wadham College, Oxford was ejected from the hall. “Shimon Peres was making a particularly offensive remark claiming that ‘you [Palestinians] could have had a state if it wasn’t for your own mistakes’ and that Israelis fought for their state,” he told this writer, who was also participating in the protest. He then stated “We don’t need your permission to exist” and got support from other students for it. Takriti explained: “So I stood up and walked towards [Peres], saying, ‘how dare you say this at a time when you are besieging 1.5 million people in Gaza? 1.5 million people are starving to death! Shimon Peres, you’re a war criminal. You are responsible for the massacre of hundreds of people in Qana [southern Lebanon]. You’re responsible for an apartheid state. Shame on you.’ so I was dragged out.” '
Some comments, with background information. First of all, Shimon Peres was a 'dove' not a 'hawk,' or at least became a dove early in his career - but Israeli 'hawks,' like the 'doves,' deserve to be listened to without any attempts to shout the speaker down if they come to speak at a British university.
Some extracts from 'Israel: A History,' by Martin Gilbert on Shimon Peres. The estimate of other historians may be different, possibly very different, but Abdel Takriti's description is a travesty. Perhaps he would like to give a much fuller, carefully considered estimate of Shimon Peres, with evidence. If he still regards him as a war criminal, what does he think about the use of rockets by Hamas against Israeli civilians: a war crime or not?
Martin Gilbert writes,
'Turning to Shimon Peres, Leah Rabin urged him 'to lead the people of Israel to peace', and to do so 'in the spirit of Kitzhak [Rabin]' who had spoken in these terms:
'I want this government to exhaust every opening, every possibility, to promote and achieve a comprehensive peace. Even with Syria, it will be possible to make peace.'
'Shimon Peres continued with the peace process. The Oslo Accords had been his creation: he now had the full authority as Prime Minister to pursue their timetable.'
' ... on February 25  a suicide bomber, entering a bus in Jerusalem, killed twenty-five people, most of them Israeli soldiers. A Muslim Arab, Wael Kawasmeh, who was waiting for a bus, was also killed. That same day a suicide bomber in Ashkelon blew himself up at a bus stop. One Israeli was killed, twenty-year old Hofit Ayash, who had recently chosen a wedding gown for her marriage in four months' time.
'Arafat's adviser, Ahmed Tibi, condemned the bus bombs. 'The circle of violence must be broken and stopped,' he said. 'There is no place for revenge attacks.' But on March 13, thirteen more Israelis were killed by a suicide bomber in the heart of Jerusalem on the same bus route, No. 18, as the previous bomb. One of those killed, nineteen-year-old Chaim Amedi, had unintentionally missed the bus that had been destroyed in the last attack. Another of those killed, thirty-eight-year-old George Yonan, was a Christian Arab who had been deaf from birth.
'On the following day a suicide bomber struck in Tel Aviv, in a crowded shopping street in the centre of the city, killing eighteen. These were enormous explosions that ripped the buses apart, mutilating many of the dead beyond recognition. The mood inside Israel was of near despair. It seemed impossible that the peace process could go on while such terrorist killings, on a far larger scale than before, went on.
'Immediately after the March 3 bus bomb, Peres had warned Arafat that the future of the peace process 'hangs in the balance' unless the Palestinian Authority took immediate action against Hamas. Israel could not be the only party to the agreements to keep its commitments. 'It cannot be unilateral.' ...
'The continuation of the Oslo Accords was under great strain. The Government of Israel, first under Rabin and then under Peres, repeatedly declared that it would not allow terror to derail the peace process, and negotiations with the Palestinians continued on the many issues relating to Palestinian autonomy and Israeli withdrawal ...
'Peres, the architect of Oslo, was himself under enormous public pressure to react to the killings. But he declined to suspend the timetable of the Oslo Accords. Instead, in agreement with the Palestinians, he postponed the redeployment on Hebron, and called an election. In doing so, and thus inviting the Israeli public to express its opinion through the ballot box, he hoped to win and endorsement for continuing the peace negotiations. These included negotiations with Syria, to which Peres, like Rabin before him, was prepared to return most, and even all, of the Golan Heights in return for a full peace between the two countries.'
'The election was held on May 29 ... Labour emerged with the largest number of seats in the Knesset: 34 seats as against Likud's 32. But in the separate vote for Prime Minister the former leader of the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu, won, by the narrowest of margins ...
'Following his defeat in the 1996 election, Shimon Peres [described as a 'war criminal' by the demonstrators in Oxford who tried to stop him speaking, including the would-be censor Abdel Takriti] had refused to give up his vision. 'We shall continue to dream together,' he wrote, 'of a Middle East of light and hope.' In pursuit of that dream, he continued to advance the cause of economic cross-border activities, and to 'tutor' his successor, Benjamin Netanyahu, in what could be achieved for the region through mutually acceptable agreements with all its neighbours.'
In a speech in the Knesset on October 7, Shimon Peres said,
'I want to say what real peace is in my experience. True peace is the way of agony. I remember what my comrades and I have gone through over the past year, seeing that man, the great military leader and the courageous statesman Yitzhak Rabin murdered before my eyes.' [He was assassinated by a Jew, not a Palestinian.]
'And afterwards I saw - I, a man who pursues peace - the terrorist attack in Jerusalem. I know what it is to leave one's office and be told that a bus has exploded. You also showed it on television. Thank you. I went there and I saw the blood and the flesh and the murder and the killing, and I saw the people screaming at me: 'You are guilty'.'
Sheffield Hallam University
From the Sheffield Hallam University page
Our vision is to be the world's leading applied university;
showing what a university genuinely focused on transforming
lives can achieve.
This is a remarkable claim, not just an inflated claim but one which shows a complete failure to recognize realities. A massive number of other universities could make the same visionary claim, with just as much - or just as little - chance of becoming 'the world's leading applied university.' Sheffield Hallam University has made an elementary, ridiculous mistake. Putting words together to make a claim is one thing - almost effortless. It belongs to a world very different from the world of effort, disappointment, chance, the concrete world we live in, which can be an incomparably harsher place.
Universities are large, complex organizations. Like much smaller, simpler organizations, the degree of success which would be needed to attain the unattainable objective of being the world's best would have to be success which is very wide ranging. In the real world, even very successful institutions of any size typically have areas of weakness, outstanding achievement in some areas together with less impressive achievement in others. And how is success to be measured? In largely subjective terms? Surely not. In terms of number of research publications, taking no account of quality, or taking quality into account? Quality is surely relevant. Considerations like this are only the starting point. The objections multiply as soon as thought is given to the potential difficulties.
There are no difficulties in arriving at this conclusion, though, no need to consider many, many pieces of evidence before arriving at this conclusion: Sheffield Hallam University will never be considered the world's best applied university. No applied university will ever be considered the world's best. It would not even be possible for an applied university to have one department considered the world's best, such as mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering is a vast and complex discipline and even if there were to be general agreement that one university was the best in one or a number of fields, it's unlikely that it would be the best in most fields or all fields.
The claim that 'Sheffield Hallam University transforms lives' - in the wording of the actual claim, 'showing what a university genuinely focused on transforming lives can achieve' is just as stupid. 'Transforming lives' is a very big claim, much more so than any claim to 'improve' lives. But 'transforming lives' sounds much more impressive than 'improving lives,' until the claim is subjected to fair-minded examination. When that is done, the ridiculousness of the claim is apparent, surely.
Again, the claim is almost effortless, just a matter of arranging a few words. The achievement is a completely different matter. There are universities with a conservative evangelical or Roman Catholic or other Christian basis which make the same claims - the claim to transform lives. Again and again, the same dismal realities intrude. They have achieved nothing of the sort. Again and again, they have sent out into the world lacklustre, backward dogmatists, on the evidence I have. Sheffield Hallam University is immeasurably superior to such universities, but it would be better to avoid completely their kind of self-publicity.
Professor A. Macaskill
This material on Professor Macaskill of Sheffield Hallam University is also published on my
page South Yorkshire Police,
the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Police and Crime Panel, the
Independent Ethics Panel: documenting. Professor Macaskill is
Chair of the Independent Ethics Panel.
I only comment on one publication of Professor Macaskill and the comment is very brief - but my provisional judgement is that, on the evidence of this piece at least, Professor Macaskill isn't a writer who goes beyond platitudes - academic platitudes and platitudes of the more general kind. I'd have to examine much more of her writing to see if this tentative judgement is confirmed.
MACASKILL, A. (2005). Defining forgiveness: Christian clergy and general population perspectives. Journal of personality, 73 (5), 1237-1267.
The present research contributes to the search for conceptual clarity by exploring the definitions and parameters of forgiveness employed by Anglican and Roman Catholic clergy in England and then comparing these to data collected from a general population sample. Clergy provide moral and spiritual leadership within their communities and deal with issues of both Divine and human forgiveness on a regular basis, so a logical starting point is to explore the conceptions of forgiveness that they themselves hold.
'Definitions and parameters' is a pretentious phrase which is surely inserted for show, or the result of the process of 'reflex thought.' 'Reflex muscle action is familiar enough, the process initiated by a stimulus. No conscious processes are involved. Reflex action which produces such phrases bypasses thought almost as completely.
A much more prominent example of 'reflex action' from the article. Some
thought was needed to come up with the phrase, but not very much:
'Clergy provide moral and spiritual leadership within their communities and deal with issues of both Divine and human forgiveness on a regular basis ... '
Routine semi-mathematical equipment suitable for the manipulation of statistical data is visible on the page but what is lacking is any relevant concrete evidence. These are pious phrases. To have included concrete evidence would have been to mix genres, to insert material which would almost certainly not have been to the liking of the editor or editors and the readership.
Clergy don't provide moral and spiritual l(M and S) leadership within their communities. They only provide a form of M and S leadership within their churches, and not everyone in their churches will have respect for them or pay any attention to their pious phrases.
Recommended to Professor Macaskill -
Factsheet: Abuse and the Church of England
on my page
She received a copy of the Factsheet, with other material, so if she's read it, she will have a better understanding of the massive - insuperable - difficulties of automatically assuming that people she assumes are 'moral and spiritual leaders' are anything of the kind.
Her unargued assumption that there is such a thing as 'Divine forgiveness' (the capital letter in 'Divine' is provided by the Professor) is surely an aberration in a journal not published by some Conservative Evangelical or Roman Catholic publishing outfit.
All this has implications, not so much for the progress of my complaint against the Police and Crime Commissioner - The Independent Ethics Panel will not be holding the Police and Crime Commissioner to account, that is not their role - but for the role of the Independent Ethics Panel. The only further comment I will make for the time being is that the title, the 'Independent Ethics Panel' is yet another instance of the distinction outlined above, the distinction between claim and reality. To give a name to the panel which includes the word 'independent' doesn't guarantee in the least a panel which is genuinely independent. I'll be including evidence that the panel has nothing like the independence needed to do its work adequately.