Do you blush while you are talking to a girl/guy you are attracted to? Or feel jitters before making a public performance? Do you feel edgy when going to an interview? Or maybe have palpitations because you will soon be married or starting a new job? Then, you are sick.

In reality, these are nothing but absolutely normal reactions we inherited from the monkeys. When under threat, the adrenaline kicks in so that you either fight of flee away from the dangerous situation. Without it monkeys would be extinct, and we would have never existed in the first place.

Yet the pharmaceutical industry wants you to believe you are crazy, and above all they have the right cure for you. They have eliminated the word shyness from their vocabulary. Now it Agarophobia. Anxiety and jitters? Now it’s Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Oh and that horrible jealous feeling people sometimes get, even if their partner is a very loyal person – Paranoid Personality Disorder. Quite scary, no? Don’t worry, all you need is a little innocuous pill to fix you.

These pills come at a price, not only financially (most of these medications are extremely expensive). The other price however, is your health. First of all the side effects. Sure, you will have these spelt out on a microscopic piece of paper inside the packet. However, for most people in the beginning the benefits make it all worth it. The shyness does lessen, so do the palpitations. And if you are convinced you have a disorder that will only get worse by time, even the dizziness, nausea and putting on weight might seem worth it. Most often these become worse by time. The ‘putting on weight’ will end up in being fat and without shape; the ‘dizziness’ will turn in not being able to concentrate on even simple things, and so on. (These are just generalisations. They vary from person to person and from medicine to medicine).

Unfortunately, there’s more: Addiction

Many users of these psychotropic drugs seriously underrate the little comment on the instructions paper ‘do not stop this medicine abruptly’. What that really means is: These pills are goddamn addictive and may have serious withdrawal symptoms not far away from those of heroin. Obviously they never emphasised that. They didn’t want to scare you from buying their products.

Most people realise they are hooked when the pills are not available. Either they have become unaffordable or happen to be out of stock. Others may want to stop them because they are unhappy with the side effects. Many believe that stopping them will bring them back to the state they were before they starting using these drugs. Just a little shy and anxious. Most of the time they are wrong. Withdrawals kick in: sweating, shortness of breath, extreme fear, paranoia (the real one now), spasms… the list is endless. They end up running to pharmacy like a junkie runs to his dealer. All of this because they tried to cure a disease they didn’t have in the first place.

And that brings me to the final question: What worse sickness there is than convincing innocent people they have a malady they don’t have, just to make more profit?

PS: I am not excluding that there are people who do need such medications. I’m referring to those few who can’t function in society at all, have become dangerous and/or have lost contact with reality. This article is about the rest – the majority.

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The little scientific research that is published regarding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) shows in an astonishingly clear way how much these are harmful both to our health as well as to the environment. To cite a simple example of this, experiments done on rats show clearly that those fed GMO’s had higher rates of stillbirths (up to 10 times as much), weaker strength and a much shorter life expectancy that those fed normal food. However, I leave this to the scientists since I’m not very fluent in that field. What I want to talk about is the political aspect of this madness, a reality that is probably more sinister than its scientific counterpart.

First of all, there is very little scientific research on this subject, and the reason has nothing to do with animal rights. Monsanto, the main company behind these Frankenfoods ,made sure that either the right research is not done, or when it is, if it finds negative results, these are either doctored or censored. Doing this has not been easy for Monsanto for two reasons: The fact that nearly all experiments showed how harmful GMOs are and thankfully, that some people have a conscience.

After 35 years of practice Dr Arpad Pusztai was immediately suspended from the Scottish Research Institute when he found that Genetically Modified potatoes ‘severely damage the immune system and organs of rats’. His findings were denied or distorted and he was threatened with a huge lawsuit. Thankfully Dr Putszai’s conscience did not let him remain silent on the horrible truth he discovered, and he told the world the truth. Dr Irina Ermakova was also silenced while embryologist Andres Carrasco was physically beaten, aside from the legal threats he was submitted to. Against all odds, these three scientists came forward. The amount of scientists who have been halted before speaking out will probably never be known.

One may wonder why all this violent opposition against the truth. What do Monsanto have to gain? The reason for this is even more sinister. What Monsanto wants is complete dominance over all GM food, and in the near future, that all food is genetically modified.

Monsanto, however, has an excuse that on the surface might even seem noble. They want to convince people that they are proposing a solution for famine around the world. Lovely isn’t it? Those poor little children who don’t even have strength to wipe away flies from their faces will now have something to eat, no? They won’t. For the simple reason that Monsanto’s theory is based on a vicious lie – that the world lacks food. It doesn’t. Food is being destroyed on a daily basis so that it doesn’t become cheap. The real problem is access to food, and the poor little children will still have no access to it, not even the genetically modified Frankenfoods.

The most important aspect of this issue is its urgency. We Europeans have an advantage over most people in North America. Albeit limited we still have freedom of speech. Money talks, but unlike in the US it is not the only voice. For that reason, GMO’s have not yet taken over natural food. And if we really want to cherish our freedoms, including that of eating the food of our choice, we must educate ourselves and demand from decision makers complete opposition to GMO’s.

If we don’t, someone else will make his demands. The words a Monsanto consultant used should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. “The hope of the industry is that over time, the market is so flooded that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender.”

Something snaps in his mind. He walks to the nearest school, smiles at the gardener and walks towards a classroom. No one suspects anything that unusual until he pulls out the gun and starts shooting innocent kids and their teachers. Then, he turns to himself.

We do hear about such freaks doing these despicable acts from time to time. There is no way to justify such deeds. Trying to do so would definitely do no justice with the victims. However up to a certain extent it is understandable, it is not completely baffling to find the causes of such behavior. Many times these people feel excluded from society to the extent that they hate it. They live in a world of their own. Their mind is plagued by obsessive thoughts. Or maybe they hear voices telling them to do such atrocities.

Then there is another category of people doing despicable acts. A category of people that no matter how much I try, I could never understand what is going through their minds. Many of these have families and kids, go to church an donate money to charity.

The people I’m talking about are filthy rich, and extremely powerful. I’m not referring to the better off, the next door neighbour who owns expensive cars and a couple of villas. I’m referring to a category of people that are so rich that can take decisions that determine the fate of whole countries, or even the whole world. They may be CEO’s or shareholders who are willing to murder thousands of people for a little more profit.

A few can be found in the armaments industry. While I disagree with the production of most weapons, in conventional business it is just demand and supply. A government or a militia needs your goods and you produce them. It is understandable. The ones I could not understand are those that lobby government (with extremely huge amounts of money) to create wars so that they can sell more weapons. They go out of the perimeters of basic demand and supply. They want governments to take irrational decisions that will end taking up thousands of innocent lives just to sell a product.

Then there are those that invest in poverty – literally. Nestle is one example. How could a rational person come out with such an evil idea: Convince poor mothers with no access to education that their own natural resource (milk) is harmful for their babies. They convince these people who barely have anything to eat that breastfeeding is wrong and give them their own milk for free until their breasts run dry. Then they sell them the milk. If they can’t afford it they will pay with cheap or even slave labour.

Another group invests in poison. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are severely harmful. The little scientific research that came out in public confirms that. However there is very little research, or if their actually was, most of the results have been hidden from consumers. One reason these products (vegetables in this case) are genetically modified is for the producers to pay less on pesticides. Why spray all that amount to kill the pest when you can grow tomatoes with the poison already installed in each cell? The pest will bite it and die immediately. For the consumer, death takes much longer. Believe it or not, 70% of vegetables available in the U.S markets are genetically modified. Things have gone to such an alarming extremity that even those customers who are aware of their health still buy them because they have no way of knowing which products have GMO’s in them or not. Legislation is designed to outlaw mandatory information to the customer rather than to defend him. To add insult to injury, well-meaning farmers, scientists or political activists who dared criticise GMO’s have been faced with huge lawsuits they can never win. Not because they are wrong, but because they will never be able to afford it. How can Jimmy the framer compete with Monsanto

There are many examples like these, the fruit of the capitalist system. A system that not only angers me, but also leaves me perplexed. What is going on in these people’s brains? Do they sleep at night? Do they switch off their TV sets whenever there’s footage of the pain and horror they had created themselves?

Another member of the clergy condemned the play Stitching on Talking Point article on the Times, though not as aggressively as others before him. This comes at a time where a storm in a teacup is made because some evil mavericks decided to dress as Catholic religious figures in the Nadur carnival, some of whom are also being prosecuted criminally. I emphasise the word Catholic since in this same island we live in, a Danish cartoonist mocking prophet Muhammed and Islam was considered as an icon of freedom of expression.

 

However what struck me in this particular article was the fact that Fr Paul Chetcuti states everything, even freedom, included that of expression should have limits. (On a general basis I agree with this but not vis a vis Stitching, on things completely different for completely different reasons).

 

From then he proceeds to say that believing in not having limits or the ‘sky is the limit’ mentality would carry serious harms and eventually deprive us of freedom. He then goes to mention issues such as the economic recession, global warming, increasing poverty and teenage pregnancies. What he and many others, no necessary within the Catholic church, fail to see is that with the possible exception of teenage pregnancies, setting limits, especially those on freedom of expression have nothing to do with these catastrophic ills.

 

The problem with these issues, seemingly unrelated but definitely aren’t, is not freedom, it is a malignant tumour that has been plaguing humanity all along. A disease we never found the cure for since we rarely if ever searched for it. This plague that can melt glaciers, bankrupt banks and kill children with hunger is called greed. We have our war on terror, on drugs or even on freedom of expression, yet no state or even minority has ever declared war against greed.

 

When it comes to global warming, not even the sky is the limit. For the sake of profit people not only kept polluting but up to a certain time (after which it could not be denied any longer) even went on the media, corrupting scientists with millions of dollars to say that we humans have nothing to do with this. One scientist said very crudely ‘the cause of global warming is the sun’. Unlike the people of stitching, these scientists were not practicing art or fiction. They were stating these things as facts.

 

Yet as the climate change problem is increasing problems in drought in the poorest regions of the world, fighting rages on in these same impoverished countries. If one looks behinds what meets the naked eye, the fighting is rarely about religion or ideology. From those waging it is for personal power, including financial wealth but not exclusively. Once again – greed. For the victims, the poorest of the world which have become a majority rather than a minority group) the struggle is against the consequence, of this greed – hunger, untreated illnesses, lack of education etc.

 

And the economic recession – greed in its pure form. What has happened (in simple terms, I’m no economic analyst)? The culprits are actually compulsive gamblers. No casino or jackpot could do as much harm as the stock exchange. These people take extremely high risk investments, with the potential of astronomic gain of wealth, or otherwise catastrophe. Yet, for these gamblers we don’t try to provide therapy like the man behind the jackpot. Neither do we imprison them for theft, fraud and misappropriation of funds. No, we bail them out. Rather than a deterrent we provide them with security, since these gamblers employ people, common citizens who work for their hard earned money. Poor guys, we think and rather than point our fingers to the gamblers and their greed we try to save these employees by giving more money to their oppressors. Ironically it’s mostly money that had been paid by the employees themselves through their taxes.

 

So, should there be limits? Definitely but not on a shocking play. It may be distasteful for some, but no Stitching will melt the glaciers, kill innocent people and eventually drown us both literally and metaphorically. I don’t think to explain what these limits are and towards whom. Hopefully it’s pretty obvious