Home' Greymouth Star : June 14th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, June 14, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1645 - In the English Civil War, forces
under Oliver Cromwell defeat Royalists at
1777 - US Congress adopts the Stars and
Stripes as the nation’s official flag.
1789 - Captain William Bligh and 18 others,
who were cast adrift from HMS Bounty, reach
Timor in the East Indies after a
voyage of nearly 6500km in an open
1928 - Death of Emmeline
Pankhurst, English champion of
1946 - Death of John Logie Baird,
Scottish inventor who pioneered the
development of television.
1951 - The first electronic computer for
commercial use is demonstrated at the Bureau
of the Census in Philadelphia.
1968 - US child care expert Dr Benjamin
Spock is convicted with three others of inciting
1982 - Argentine forces surrender to British
troops on the disputed Falkland Islands.
1989 - Former US President Ronald Reagan is
made an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth.
1994 - Death of Henry Mancini, US
composer of such famous pieces as the Pink
Panther theme and Moon River.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Harriet Beecher Stowe, US writer (1811-
1896); Burl Ives, US actor-singer (1909-1995);
Gene Barry, US actor (1921-2009);
Ernesto Che Guevara, Argentinian
revolutionary (1928-1967); Donald
Trump, US property developer
(1946-); Boy George, English
pop singer (1961-); Grant Kenny,
Australian iron man (1963-);
Yasmine Bleeth, US actor (1968-);
Steffi Graf, German tennis star (1969-); Lang
Lang, Chinese pianist (1982-) .
“ Initiative is doing the right thing without
— Victor Hugo, French writer (1802-1885).
“As He came near and saw the city, He wept
over it.” — (Luke 19.41).
“ If I could play
a guitar I’d be
made.” This was the
afternoon from Greymouth’s Dingo McCarr
— other wise known as West Coast and former
South Island rugby representative Neil McAra.
As a gimmick for the day, guitarless McAra,
complete with a shaggy Beatle-black mop top
wig, entertained in the family’s Mackay Street
clothing store for the day.
The antics certainly attracted attention,
particularly over the lunch break when a group
of about 30 girls clustered around to watch
his performance to the Liverpool beat. And
selling the Beatle wigs? “They’re going well —
we’ve had a demand, notably from members
of women’s institutes,” replied the “musical
This is not the only aspect of Beatlemania
which has caught on here. A spirited demand
has been noted for the Lions’ raffle which
carries the prize of four tickets to the Beatles’
show in Christchurch. Tickets for the sold out
show are now fetching £5 each in the city.
The Queen’s Birthday honours list issued
yesterday includes the name of a well-known
West Coast personality, Mr Michael Joseph
Sullivan snr, of Fox Glacier. Mr Sullivan has
been awarded the MBE for ser vices to local
government and community welfare.
Mr Sullivan was born at Gillespie’s Beach.
He started farming at Waiho with a brother,
the late John Sullivan. He has always interested
himself in local body affairs.
Next year Mr Sullivan, an octogenarian,
will see the achievement of an undertaking of
which he was a prime mover — the opening of
the Haast Pass road.
uFood for thought
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The Iraqi army will have
to destroy Mosul in order
clear whether it can do
the job even then. It is
vast system of patronage
providing employment of
a sort for 900,000 people.
When fewer than 1000 ISIS
jihadis fought their way into Mosul, Iraq’s
second city, over the past few days, most
of the government ’s soldiers just shed
their uniforms and fled.
The government troops never felt
comfortable in Mosul anyway, for they
are mostly Shia Muslims and the vast
majority of Mosul’s 1.8 million residents
are Sunni. (Or maybe it’s only 1.3 million
people now, for up to 500,000 of the
city’s residents are reported to be fleeing
the triumphant jihadis: Shias, non-
Muslim minorities and even Kurdish
Sunnis have faced execution in other
areas that have fallen under the control
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham
(an Arabic word that can mean the entire
Levant, including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan
and Palestine) began as “al Qaeda in Iraq”
during the American occupation, but it is
the Syrian civil war that turned it into a
ISIS actually spent more time fighting
other rebel forces in Syria than the Assad
regime, but it gained recruits from all the
Sunni Arab countries just by being on the
right side. It also got access to the money
and arms that were flowing into Syria
for the anti-government forces. In the
past two years it has established effective
control over most of sparsely-populated
eastern Syria, and it started moving back
into western Iraq in force late last year.
In January it seized the city of Fallujah
in Anbar province, only 100km west of
Baghdad, and the Iraqi army was unable
to retake the city although it had suffered
about 5000 casualties, including 1000
killed, by the end of April. But at least it
stood and fought in Anbar. In Mosul on
Monday, it just ran.
It ran although it outnumbered by
at least 15-to-one the ISIS fighters
who attacked the city, and it may not
be willing to fight very hard to take it
back. The entire Iraqi government is
an “institutionalised kleptocracy ”, as
one of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s
own ministers said, and the army is
no exception. Soldiers who go unpaid
because their officers stole their wages are
rarely willing to die for them.
The only real fighting force left in
Iraq is the Peshmerga, the army of the
Kurdistan Regional Government. It is
a tough, well-armed force, but it ser ves
what is a separate state in all but name. It
apparently still holds the part of Mosul
east of the river Tigris, which has a
large Kurdish population, but it may not
be willing to take the large number of
casualties that would be involved in street
fighting to recover the main part of the
At a minimum the KRG would want
the Baghdad government to make major
concessions on the revenue and oil
exporting disputes that have poisoned
its relations with the federal government
before it commits its forces to a major
offensive against ISIS. Or it may just
decide to stand on the defensive in the
Kurdish-majority territory it now holds,
and use the crisis to move even closer
to its ultimate goal of an independent
ISIS has sent the occasional suicide-
bomber into Kurdistan, but it realises
that its main fight is not with the Kurds.
Having taken most of Mosul, its forces
are advancing not east into Kurdistan,
but south through Tikrit (which fell on
Wednesday) towards Baghdad. It will not
try to take Baghdad itself, most of whose
seven million people are Shia, but by
the end of this month it could end up in
control of most of western and northern
At this point the old Iraq-Syria border
would disappear and the Islamic State
of Iraq and al-Sham would become a
reality, extending 400km from Mosul and
Fallujah in Iraq to Deir-es-Zor, Raqqa
and near Aleppo in Syria. It would be
mostly desert and it would control about
only five million people and almost no
oil, but it would be ruled by an Islamist
organisation so extreme that it has been
disowned by even al Qaeda.
The remaining bits of the new regional
map would be the western half of Syria,
still largely under the control of the
Assad regime; the semi-independent state
of Kurdistan; and the densely populated,
Shia-majority core of Iraq between
Baghdad and Basra, hard up against the
border with Shia Iran.
None of this is yet inevitable yet, of
course. It is a war, and wars can take
unexpected turns. But it is certainly a
It is also a possibility that the war could
get wider, as Iran, Saudi Arabia and
Turkey all consider whether they need to
intervene militarily to protect their own
interests. But that is unlikely to happen
this month. Later is anybody’s guess.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles on world affairs
are published in 45 countries.
ISIS rises to threaten Iraq
Children stand next to a burned vehicle during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq
and the Levant in the northern city of Mosul.
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Last week Robin Kingston spoke to us
of the Holy Spirit, the third part of the
Trinity understanding of the concept we
call God. Last Sunday was celebrated
in the Christian church as the day of
Pentecost — the day when the Spirit
was received by the followers of Jesus
and completed the resurrection work of
Jesus. When the cowed, timid, hidden
and silent followers were transformed
into a confident, courageous, out in the
open and vocal group of people. A people
who could be understood and who could
understand what was being said by others
from across the known world of the time;
a people jolted into living out what they
had been taught by Jesus and confident
enough to teach others; a people who
considered what they knew and how they
lived more important than whether they
The Christian church’s history is littered
with abuses that Jesus would have wept
over and would have condemned. It
is also full of transformed lives and
inspirational acts that have established
the place of caring within our society, of
caring for the wider world and of caring
for the future.
Sometimes it is useful to think again
about what the purpose is of God,
Creator, Redeemer, Companion, in our
lives. What it is that faith makes of
us. My reading of it is that it is about
building community in the truest sense.
Community that values and builds up
its members; community that promotes
justice and wellbeing; community that
protects the vulnerable; community that
strives for understanding within itself
and with other communities; community
that enhances life and living and that
holds relationship as important. The
Holy Spirit, the Companion promised to
his followers by Jesus, was given as the
prompt and power to do this. As
the inner being to remind us and
encourage us and empower us to
recognise and act in ways that will
achieve the purpose.
Paul Henry spoke to a man on Tuesday
night, Robin Banks, about the power of
the mind to influence our living. That
what we focus on in our thinking is what
we will make of our lives. The work of the
Holy Spirit is to guide our thinking to
achieve the living that God has in mind
for the world.
Greymouth Uniting Church
God’s purpose in our lives
eep in the Oregon
woods and rolling hills
outside the Portland
suburbs, where orchards
dot the landscape, a
Boeing 727 appears to
have landed at the top of a steep dirt
driveway encircled by towering pines. For
Bruce Campbell, it is home.
Complete with wings, and landing gear
resting on pillars, it is where Campbell
spends six months of the year. In 1999,
the former electrical engineer had a
vision: To save retired jetliners from
becoming scrap metal by reusing them.
Slightly built and with a charming
smile, the 64-year-old Campbell sees the
task as part of his goal in life.
“Mine is to change humanity’s
behaviour in this little niche,” he said as
he stood beside the plane, lamenting the
need to power wash its exterior and trim
the dense foliage.
Campbell is one of a small number of
people worldwide — from Texas to the
Netherlands — who have transformed
retired aircraft into a living space or other
creative project, although a spokesman
for the Aircraft Fleet Recycling
Association was unable to say precisely
how many planes are re-used this way.
AFRA, an organization made up of
industry leaders including Boeing that
focus on sustainable end-of-ser vice
practices for airframes and engines,
estimates that 1200 to 1800 aircraft
will be dismantled globally over the
next three years, and 500 to 600 will
be retired annually over the next two
“AFRA is happy to see aircraft fuselages
re-purposed in a range of creative ways,”
said AFRA spokesman Martin Todd.
“ We would want them to be recovered
and be re-used in an environmentally
Campbell was in his early 20s when he
paid around $23,000 for the 10 acres on
which his plane rests. His original plan
was to make a home from freight vans,
but then he decided a plane would be
better. A van still sits nearby, covered in
He purchased the 727 after hearing
about a Mississippi hairdresser who had
done it. Now, about $220,000, many years
of work and several hard-learned lessons
later, Campbell is ready to do it all over
again, this time with a Boeing 747 he
hopes to buy and move to Japan, where
he also spends half of the year.
Campbell is working to restore some
of the plane’s original features, from the
cockpit to flight stairs, a working lavatory,
LED lighting and some of the seats.
“For him to be running electricity and
flashing beacons is kind of amazing,”
Katie Braun, a pilot and flight instructor
who came to see the airplane home after
learning about it in 2012, said.
“ It makes perfect sense that they use
those airplanes for something,” she said.
“It’s a fascinating concept. I think it
could take traction if people were more
The transition was not easy. While
restoring the plane, Campbell spent
years living in a mobile home. When
that became infested with mice, he
moved into the aircraft, despite lacking a
On board, Campbell leads a modest
life. He sleeps on a futon, bathes in a
makeshift shower and cooks with a
microwave or toaster, eating mostly
canned food and cereal. A shoe rack with
numerous pairs of slippers greets visitors,
and he asks that everyone wear slippers
or socks to avoid tracking in dirt.
While Campbell has created a website
with details on rebuilding planes, he’s not
the only one with such a vision. Aircraft
have been made into homes in Texas,
Costa Rica and the Netherlands. And
Florida has an airplane boat.
“I think most people are nerds in their
hearts in some measure,” Campbell said.
“The point is to have fun.”
Bruce Campbell stands near his Boeing 727 home in the woods outside the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. Inset: Bruce relaxes inside.
Just plane home
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