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How the  M Flighty have fallen

I must confess that up to a couple of days ago I had never heard of Harry MaGuire.   In fact, when I began this article, having only been introduced to him on news reports I assumed his surname was actually the more common McGuire!

What can I tell you?  I’m not a football fan and don’t follow the sport so even though of course I’ve heard of his team – Manchester United – I was unaware of his existence on the planet, much less that he was the team captain.

That of course has now changed.  The footballer hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week, not for his work on the field but the fact that he was arrested at a Greek holiday resort for being involved in a public fracas, punching a local policeman and then attempting to bribe the arresting officers.  He also reportedly asked them ‘Do you know who I am?’  Well, I certainly didn’t!

For any of who not completely au fait with the story, this is a précis

The Manchester United defender was taken into custody along with two friends for being verbally abusive and violent to police officers following a dispute with other British tourists outside a bar in Mykonos in the early hours of last Friday morning.

Police spokesman Petros Vassilakiss claimed that at least two policemen were “thrown down” after one of the men aimed a swing. They are then said to have been punched and kicked, suffering facial injuries as a result. Maguire is alleged to have hit an officer before making an attempt to bribe them.

The three men were eventually detained and taken to the police station, where they were questioned and kept overnight.  In court the following day Maguire was handed a 21-month suspended sentence against which he immediately filed an appeal.

Yannis Paradeisis, a lawyer assisting with the prosecution, told The Associated Press that he was disappointed by Maguire’s behaviour.  Paradeisis added: “The whole thing could have ended with an apology.

In addition to captaining Man U, Maguire, who is the world’s most expensive defender, also plays for England’s national team,  In light of the bad publicity England manager Gareth Southgate withdrew Maguire from the squad for the Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark next month after the verdict was announced, having initially selected him.

“I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week,” Southgate said.

So those are the facts of the case but the public debate ranged far and wide in its wake.  First off many pundits were asking why someone who earns around £160,000 (approx P2.4m) a week – yes, you did read that right! – would choose to holiday in a cheap resort crowded with thousands of low-wage earners on a budget break.

Why indeed?  He could easily afford to hire a private island or even a private yacht where he could party  ‘till he was paralytic and not a soul would see or hear of his exploits.

Secondly,  as the saying goes, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’.  As captain of arguably the planet’s most famous football squad as well as playing for his country, Mr. Maguire is a public figure and perhaps ought to be a role model for young fans of the sport.

So, mindful of his public image and the moral responsibility that goes with it, it wasn’t such a smart move to drink himself half to oblivion in a mass-market tourist resort and then, presumably well under the influence and not in total control of his faculties and physique, to end up in an unseemly brawl,  deck a couple of boys in blue and then try to bribe and bully his way out of the situation?

Back on Planet Earth, let us consider for a moment his 7-figure salary.  I don’t care how good he clearly is at kicking a ball around a field,  no argument you could come up with would justify to me his being able to pocket nearly 2 ½ million pula a week – what on earth do you do with that sort of money?

No wonder its recipients walk around believing they are above laws made for mere mortals which can’t possibly apply to soccer gods and also that their fat bank balances will buy them out of any amount of trouble and save them in any and all situations.

Of course, in criminal terms this whole incident is nothing new, nor would it even have been newsworthy, had it not been for the fame and fortune of the main protagonist..  Young dudes on holiday drinking too much and ending up involved in a boozy brawl .

And whilst bopping a bobby wasn’t the smartest thing to do when the police were called, let’s face it, footballers aren’t picked for their high IQ s so no big surprise there. In fact, when compared to the actions and subsequent fate of another prominent sportsman, that of blade runner Oscar Pistorius, where an innocent victim lost her life,  this is  small beer, okay, quite a lot of small beers and possibly a few bottles of ouzo as well.

The problem is the hero status afforded to soccer players these days – the hype, the high salaries, the aura of glamour, the star status.

Their salaries are in no way commensurate with what they do and their contribution to society.  Playing a sport is a healthy occupation but being paid more than most of the world’s major leaders combined is far from a healthy situation.

It’s enough to make anyone see red.  So there, I do know one thing about Manchester United, after all!

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”


Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”


Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.


Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)


Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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