Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

The Old Comrades:

November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 August 2007 October 2007 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 March 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 October 2009 January 2010 March 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 April 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013

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Friday, November 19, 2004
Glen Hoddle does not deserve to be lumped in with Aragonés. For the most part Simon Barnes in the Times writes well and fairly about the controversy over racist remarks by Luis Aragonés, head coach for the Spanish football team. Or rather the controversy in Britain and lack of controversy in Spain.

But there was one part of his article that I thought was unfair. I quote:

Glenn Hoddle was dismissed as England coach because he said things about the disabled that provoked a heart-felt reaction across the country. The head of the England football team just can’t go around saying things like that.
No, he can't. And that has the unfortunate consequence, particularly for those who oppose racism as Simon Barnes does, that until things change we can never have a Hindu coach for our football team. Hoddle's belief in reincarnation and that misfortune in this life is the result of bad behaviour in past lives may be unusual for a white Briton but is orthodox for thousands of Britons of the Hindu religion. I have no doubt that Hoddle's sacking had a chilling effect on Hindus striving for public eminence in all sorts of fields, not limited to sport.

Perhaps the greatest, the most heartfelt, of all questions is: "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Closely related to it is another question: "How can a good God allow such suffering?"

"There is no God," say the atheists, "and hence no reason why." For those who still hope, there have been two great religious answers; the Free Will of the Judeo-Christian religions (combined with the belief in a future state where "every tear shall be wiped away"), and the Law of Karma proposed by the Buddhists, Jains and Hindus.

It is not my answer. I do not believe in reincarnation. But it is a seriously considered answer with millenia of intellectual tradition behind it. This article by a Canadian Hindu defends the religion against the charge that it is anti-disabled.

The person with the disability is indeed entitled to ask the perennial question, "Why me?" And, for him or her, karma and reincarnation provides an answer: it is a result of your own past deeds. This serves two ends. First, it keeps the one disabled from concluding that we live in a Godless, capricious universe and are victims of a purposeless fate. Second, one can now look to the future, for the doctrine of karma does not end with the proposition that what happens to us is the result of what we have done. It equally advances the proposition that we create our future by how we act now. So, do not wallow in self-pity but strive for a better future, an endeavor in which all others should readily help.
The article also stresses that it is the duty of others to help the sick and disabled in order to help their own karma. C.S. Lewis quoted a Hindu text that said, "Children, old men, the poor, and the sick, should be considered as the lords of the atmosphere."

I wish more prominent British Hindus had spoken out about this at the time of Hoddle's exit - but I find it hard to blame them for their silence, given that it had just been demonstrated that people with their beliefs could be sacked for them to popular acclaim.