150th Anniversary of Lourdes Apparitions

On 11 February 1858, the young Bernadette Soubirous experienced an apparition of a 'beautiful lady' in a grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes. Between February and July, Bernadette experienced 18 visions of the 'beautiful lady' The beautiful lady would later reveal her name as:

que soy era Immaculada Councepciou' - I am the Immaculate Conception.
During the visions there was divisive debates about their authenticity. At various points the local authorities tried to stop access to the grotto, so great was the public interest.

However, many who met with the young visionary Bernadette, remarked how sincere and honest she appeared. Many felt at times her eyes reflected a heavenly consciousness.

Bernadette Soubirous later became a nun in the cloisters at Nevres. She was canonised after her death.

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Inspiration of Nelson Mandela

" We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a convenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans both black and white will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world "

- Nelson Mandela

As Nelson Mandela says 'in my country they put you in prison, then they make you President'

There can be few 'terrorists' who are so widely revered and loved throughout the world.
Nelson Mandela has many human qualities, but he inspires others because of:

  • His commitment for justice and freedom in his beloved country.
  • His willingness to sacrifice his personal freedom for the greater good.
  • His compassion and forgiveness of his former 'enemies'
  • Speaking out against injustice and stupidity whoever perpetuates it.

Book Cover Nelson Mandela - In His Own Words

Book CoverMandela - The Authorised Portrait


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Top 100 People Who Influenced the World

I created a list of 100 people who I thought changed the world

If you would like to suggest someone, you canleave a comment. I may update the list in the coming weeks.

You may also be interested in 50 Women who changed the world
and people and for people who changed the world in a good way, see:

The current top 10 who Changed World are:
1. Jesus Christ  
2. Muhammad
3. Mikhail Gorbachev
4. Martin Luther King
5. Nelson Mandela
6. Lord Buddha
7. Winston Churchill
8. William Shakespeare
9. Adolf Hitler
10. Abraham Lincoln
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Inspiration of Martin Luther King

The Inspiration of Martin Luther King.

Martin Luther King was a powerful and eloquent orator of the emerging civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Taking inspiration from his religion and in particular the Gospels of Jesus Christ, King fought a non violent struggle to see a society based on equality and justice.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.

- Martin Luther King from I have a Dream

Books - Martin Luther King

Book Cover Martin Luther King's Autobiography at Amazon.com

Book Cover Speeches of Martin Luther King

Book Cover Essential Writings of Martin Luther King

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Amazing Grace DVD - William Wilberforce

Book CoverAmazing Grace - The Life of William Wilberforce

Amazing Grace is a very good film, focusing on the life of William Wilberforce and his attempts to outlaw the slave trade in the UK.

The film has been criticised for showing a 'white man's view'. It has been further criticised because it doesn't show the horrors of the slave trade. These criticisms entirely miss the point of the film. If you want to see pictures of slaves being whipped this is not the film for you. However, what it does offer is a fairly sensitive and intriguing look at how Wilberforce and others sought to get bills through Parliament. It shows the campaign from their perspective. It is both depressing and also offers an inspirational story of how a small group of committed people were able to shock a nation into realising the horrors of the slave trade and finally be able to pass it through parliament.

The film is fairly accurate in its portrayal of Wilberforce; his evangelical Christianity did play a large part in his life and campaigns for a fairer society. Of course, there is much missed out in the film, but, then it could never be a comprehensive guide to slavery and its abolition. What the film does is give an insight into the motivations and frustrations of William Wilberforce and the passion of those early campaigners.

It is interesting to note that many of the political delaying tactics are very similar today. Give a nation war and it becomes easy to label anyone as a traitor 'seeking to undermine the nation'

Wilberforce wasn't a saint. He didn't support rights of trades unions and women; but, he did throw himself wholeheartedly into the campaign to end the slave trade. His motivations were selfless and borne out of his basic human sympathy. An inspirational person and an inspirational film.

Without people like Wilberforce, the abolition of slavery could have taken many years more.

Book CoverAmazing Grace - The Life of William Wilberforce

Book CoverWilliam Wilberforce by William Hague

Film about William Wilberforce - Amazing Grace

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Economics Essays Help

As an Economics teacher I have enjoyed writing a blog about Economics.


Some recent blog entries include:

Finding alternatives to oil and fuel - in particular how will the market cope as resources run out? Will the free market be able to provide alternatives or should the government intervene.

The Economics of Global Warming - The problems created by global warming, also a look at how some countries may benefit, but, overall it looks to be a real problems, especially for countries who will experience desertification or increased flooding

Decline of the Corner Shop
- why small independent retailers are losing out to the likes of Wal Mart and Tesco - and should we be concerned?

The last two essays are published at Economics Essays
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Female Secret Agents in WW2


Odette Sanson

Odette Sanson was one of many female secret agents who risked their lives to enter into occupied France during WW2.

Odette worked as a radio operator for several months in France before being betrayed by a double agent - A German officer who pretended he wanted to share secrets.

Odette was sentenced to death and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp for her execution to be carried out. However, she managed to escape death by pretending to be married to a relation of Winston Churchill.

After the War she worked hard for charities dedicated to healing the wounds of the war.

Her life was dramatised in a film - Carve her name with Pride. Ironically Odette was very modest and only reluctantly accepted a George's cross on the condition it was on behalf of all agents.

There were many other female agents who gave their lives as Secret Service agents. (The average lifespan of a SOE radio operator could be counted in months)

Book Cover

  • A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE (Paperback)by Sarah Helm (Author)

Book Cover Film about Violette Szabo
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Picasso Image of Peace

Pablo Picasso was one of the foremost artists of his generation and of the whole twentieth Century. Ranging from neo classical works to the height of modern cubism; Picasso was at the forefront of the development of Art.

One of his most famous paintings is his simple but powerful 'dove of Peace'

picasso dove peace

With a rather sad irony, Picasso donated this painting to the Stalinist International Communist conference of 1949.

Nevertheless it remain a potent symbol of mankind's sincere aspirations for peace and hope.

Biography of Pablo Picasso

Book Cover

Book Cover
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Il Postino - Massimo Troisi

Book Cover

Il Postino is a beautiful Italian film. It captures the beauty of Salina (a volcanic island off Italy), the Romance of Neruda's poetry and the unique character of Mario Ruoppolo

The success of Il Postino lies in its understated treatment of love, simplicity and human values.The film centres on the character of Mario Ruoppolo played by Massimo Troisi. He gives a convincing performance of a simple, yet genuinely honest soul. It is no coincidence that Massimo Troisi tragically passed away the day after filming was completed. He gave everything to the role (including delaying necessary heart surgery). His performance is profoundly moving, yet avoids the sickly sentimentality of hollywood, it also avoid the mind-numbing predictability of Hollywood. I will not give away the ending, save to say, it is thoughtful and deeply engaging; it will leave you thinking of the different themes long after the film's ending.

I am not a great fan of romance movies, but, if they are made like this I could watch alot more. The simplicity of Mario Ruoppolo is matched through the simplicity of the film. Yet, the simplicity should not be mistaken for being boring. The film offers many little gems turning the ordinary into the significant and beautiful. It seems no scene is wasted, it is the kind of film that benefits from repeat viewing.

Even the dialogue offers great treats from the poetry of Neruda, to the gems of Mario Ruoppolo. For example, on becoming interested in Communism, Mario says (with all integrity) "When we break our chains - what happens then?"

The film deals sympathetically with Communism. But, if this goes against your political views, don't let this put you off. For it is not a political film and there is no sense of propaganda. It is primarily a film of one's man experience of love, poetry, life, regret and hope.

Book Cover

Il Postino
at Amazon.com

It would be a hard heart which did not enjoy at least some aspects of this film. I would highly recommend it.

Music from Il Postino

Book Cover


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