Window on the Middle East

My show will focus on the historical backgrounds of peoples and nation-states of the Middle East.  Discussion will be guided in the spirit of open-mindedness and fairness to include all peoples of the Middle East many of whom have been mired in conflicts for decades, and some, for centuries.  After obtaining more hands-on experience and familiarity with the equipment, I will invite guests for the show and will also include one or two songs.

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Self-Made Individuals: A Model for Middle Eastern Nations (Show 39: 14 April 2015)

Sherwin Moshiri : April 15, 2015 12:37 am : Window on the Middle East




BELOW: Guglielmo Marconi, disputed Italian inventor of what we know as radio.  Without authorization, and residing outside the jurisdiction of the United States, he unlawfully used seven of Tesla’s patented inventions to create radio.  He couldn’t make much of “his” invention until Americans got a hold of his gadget and turned it into a phenomenon that it is today.

Guglielmo_Marconi - Copy


The Genius That Is America: 


The Constitution of the United States of America

Article. I.

Section. 8

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;


The Middle East was once great too.  In fact, it was the birthplace of what we know as Capitalism or Economic Freedom:  below, an ancient Ottoman Bazaar or marketplace




And, the originator of free-enterprise, the Persians.  Below, a typical Persian bazaar which literally means market in Farsi (Persian).

Persian bazaar

They also engaged in what is today the International Trade System: here a caravan on its route to either India or China




Today’s Modern Capitalism is Scientific.  The following is a revised version of capitalism’s definition as edited by this author:

CAPITALISM:  An economic and political  system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.  Under such an economic system, government’s role is to avoid abuse, favoritism and discrimination and to guarantee competition and fairness vis-a-vis the general public.    




That is Those Opposed to the Freedom of Individual to Engage in Economic Activities Without Interference From Government 

The Opposite of Capitalism is a Gangster Approach to Economy where the “Cadre” and “Beloved” Leaders Live in Palaces While the General Public is Forced to Accept Stagnation and Poverty: think Mao Tse-tung, Lenin, Fidel Castro … 

what-is-socialism - Copy



Long Live Freedom & Prosperity!



Model For Middle East by Sherwin on Mixcloud



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Message to ISIS: BACK OFF! (Show 33: 3 March 2015)

Sherwin Moshiri : March 4, 2015 9:57 pm : Window on the Middle East

Those of you who are unmasked need to return to your towns and villages; the West as well as the Civilized World will not tolerate your conducts for long.


For those of you hiding under masks, dire consequences await you and your disguises will not save you. As with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan (remember them?), you will eventually be captured, held prisoners, and would serve looooong sentences; that is, if you were to survive the wrath of Allied invading forces.


Best approach for you at this moment is to depart back to where you used to live and hope no one will find out your true identity. However, if you were to be found out, be man enough to face up to the consequences of your actions. That is what a true Muslim would do.


One thing is for sure, your fellow unmasked comrades will rat you out the moment Allied invading forces touch down in Iraq and Syria. This is exactly the same thing that happened in Afghanistan–when the Americans and NATO forces arrived, regular Afghans pointed out who the al-Qaeda members were. They were rounded up like cattle and transported to the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo in a most humiliating way.


This is NOT Islam. It is Fascism at its best.

Drop your weapons and return to your homes, villages and towns BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

Message to ISIS: STAND DOWN! by Sherwin on Mixcloud

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Separatism: Modern Malady Continues Beyond Scotland (Show 11: 30 September 2014)

Sherwin Moshiri : October 1, 2014 5:38 pm : Window on the Middle East

No later than the defeat of Alex Salmond’s push for Scotland’s independence had been realized that the sane world was to witness another episode of this modern malady, that is, drive for secession from long-established nation-states.  Such secessionist movements are spearheaded by “ethnic” leaders, whom upon close examination, reveal themselves to possess other unconscious needs.   After all, what possible persecution could exist in any of the Western democratic countries against any particular ethnic minority?  Here, the word Western is not meant to imply a specific geographic area but it is rather a conceptual idea.  In fact, Western democracies also include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, and South Africa neither of which is located geographically in the West.  And, of course, there is the East which includes the Middle East.

Presently, the secessionist malady and outcry for independence is heard in yet another parliamentary democracy; namely, the Kingdom of Spain.


Señor Artur Mas, head of a secessionist movement in Spain

We have observed in the news what happens when such tendencies take place in autocratic nations such as former Yugoslavia as well as former Soviet Union, which today is called Russian Federation.  In the former, Western European countries discovered concentration camps and genocidal crimes purported by the anti-secessionists the likes of which had not been seen in Europe since World War II.  In the later, a mere ultimatum of similar consequences was sufficient enough to discourage any secessionist tendencies, mostly by Moslems in Tataristan some 500 miles east of Moscow.

In democratic nations, however, as we have seen, there are firebrands whom if CIA was to conduct psychological profiles on them, it would demonstrate that these folks suffer from a condition that can only be termed as “lack of power” syndrome.  In their own estimation, they have tired of being mere governors or provincial primers and have decided to stir up public sentiment in order to acquire supreme number-one status.  Such was the dilemma with Alex Salmond in Scotland until cooler heads both Scottish as well as English, prevailed and prevented the 350-year socio-political as well as economic and cultural union from disintegrating in the United Kingdom.

Now we have another political power aspirant in the serene Kingdom of Spain where democracy has prevailed since the passing of General Francisco Franco, 1892-1975. Franco, despite often being demonized by intellectuals, except in Spain, kept his country out of both World War I and II.  He had vowed to keep his people fed while the rest of Europe suffered unspeakable hardship, bloodshed and starvation for nearly a half-century.   Prior to his death, he invited the last Spanish Bourbon monarch, exiled in Italy, to return and become King of Spain.  Thus, Juan Carlos returned to Spain, and upon his coronation, became King Felipe VI of all of Spain.  Thereafter, Spain was formally admitted to the European Union (EU) one of whose elemental requirements is a democratic political system.


General Francisco Franco, 1892-1975

Señor Artur Mas (notice his name is Spanish!) has declared that he wants to put in a referendum to declare Spanish province of Catalonia, whose capital is Barcelona, an independent nation!  Barcelona, that very Spanish “Venice” that has been part and parcel of Spain since the Visigoths and Moslem Moors invaded Spain in 410 AD and 711 respectively is now claimed by Señor Mas to be an ethnically separate enclave after a mere 1600 years of union!  The idiocy of the campaign is such that even the Spanish leftists have ridiculed Señor Mas and compared him alternately to Charlie Champlain and Adolph Hitler.

Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has called Mas’ referendum and tactic opportunistic as well as illegal.  He has vowed to challenge Artur Mas’ referendum before Spain’s equivalent of our Supreme Court, which the Spaniards call Constitutional Court.  I am sure Señor Rajoy will use many citations and precedents by using the American Civil War as an analogy.


A parody of Artur Mas depicted by Spanish Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya



King Felipe VI of Spain (right) and His Family


René Lévesque, Head of Parti Québécois in Canada, 1922-1987

But I am sure thinking Spaniards and residents of Barcelona as well as Catalonia will reject Artur Mas’ referendum so they could stay with their King and within the democratic boundaries of Spain.  This, of course, would be the third failure by secessionists within the confines of democratic nation-states in the West.  Many still recall French-Canadian René Lévesque of the Parti Québécois who tried to make the Canadian province, Quebec, independent but who failed miserably in 1995.  The interesting was that in Canada, as well as in Scotland, not all French-speaking residents of Quebec, or the Québécois, were for independence and secession from Canada.  In fact, the very Prime Minister of Canada at the time was a French-speaker by the name of Jean Chrétien whose position was a testament to the plurality and pragmatism of Canadian parliamentary democracy and which undermined Lévesque’s claims of ethnic discrimination in favor of English-speakers in Canada.  The same thing obviously happened in Scotland where level-headed Scots rejected Alex Salmond’s call for independence from the grand Great Britain, world’s founder of democracy and mother of stability and judiciousness in the world today.

Now, what you might say is the relationship between the recent separatist movements in Europe and the Middle East?  Well, in fact, several countries on the periphery of the Middle East have suffered disintegration and secession, to wit: Ethiopia and Sudan.  Both nations broke up as a result of religious infighting.  But one must not forget the fact that religious currents were, for a long time, fanned by Soviet and Chinese communist agents.  At the end of the Cold War, the two adversaries very much withdrew from world affairs and focused on internal matters.


Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien, 1993-2003


Separatism & Its Relevancy to the Middle East:



Shah Ismail the Great, 1501-1524, King of Persia (Iran)

Today, we hear voices of “independence” from an ethnic group that until recently was as much part of one nation in the Middle East as Vermont, for instance, has been part of America.  In 1510, Shah Ismael the Great consolidated various tribes and territories of Persia (today’s Iran), called it the Second Persian Empire and made it into a modern Shia Moslem nation-state.  The neighboring Sunni Ottoman Caliph called the occasion bunk and demanded allegiance from what they considered a wayward Persian king who was disrupting the Sunni Caliphate.

Shah Ismael refused to pledge allegiance to the Ottoman Caliph and thus ensued a 250-year war between the Shia Persians and Sunni Ottoman Turks.  During the debacle, no Persian Shah ever bowed down to an Ottoman Caliph, but Persia lost significant territories to the Ottomans to include Baghdad, the ancient capital of Western Persia as well as what is today Basra, Kuwait as well as all of eastern Anatolia which today constitutes eastern Turkey.

What laid in-between the Western and Eastern Persian Empire was a long mountain ranch called the Zagros, and upon it dwelled three major tribes of Kords (Kurds), Bakhtiars, and Lurs occupying the mountain range from north to south respectively.   The Kords were the most populous of the three Persian ethnic groups and when Turkey and Iraq were formed as distinct nation-states, the territories those two countries took up consisted the land Persian Kords had once resided on.  Henceforth, the Iranian Kords were scarred over three nation-states.

In 1945, after the Allied withdrew their forces from Iran, Russian Soviets refused to withdraw hoping to revitalize the long-Russian aspiration of capturing Persia and reaching the warm waters of the Persian Gulf.  Additionally, Iran’s vast oil reservoir was an icing on the cake which could boost the Russians’ industrial expansion.

However, President Truman threw a monkey range into the Russian scheme and threatened them with an atomic attack if they failed to withdraw from northern Iran.  The Russians backed off but left behind two Communist puppet regimes in the Iranian Kordistan and Azarbaijan.  Within two years Mohammad Reza Shah of Iran, with assistance from the French, the British and the Americans retook the two provinces.  But Soviets had effectively planted a web of well-organized Communist cells upon their withdrawal and which came to haunt Iran decades later.  The Communists in Iran twice attempted to assassinate the Shah and came very close to it at one point.   The Kordish branch of the Communists led the campaign for “ethnic awakening” of the Kords in Iran as well as in Iraq and Turkey.  Today, buried beneath the cries of persecution, ISIS invasion, and freedom lay the attempt to create an artificial nation out of the territories Persia lost to the Ottomans and that have now become part of Iraq and Turkey.


Mohammad Reza Shah recuperating in hospital after an assassination attempt by Soviet-trained Iranian Communists


The young Mohammad Reza Shah of Iran in 1945

As with Europe, such manufactured “ethnic awakening” by self-centered ambitious men should not be the groundwork for breakup of the Middle East, thus adding more fuel to the already powder-keg that is the Middle East.

Separatism malady by Sherwin on Mixcloud


Enduring Love, Empress Farah Pahlavi

Answer to History, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

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Show 10: Rebroadcast of Show No. 1 Aired on 22 July 2014

Sherwin Moshiri : September 24, 2014 5:17 pm : Window on the Middle East

This week’s show was a rebroadcast as a result of the host’s illness.


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Parochialism – The Case of Scotland Separatists (Show 9: 17 September 2014)

Sherwin Moshiri : September 17, 2014 5:05 pm : Window on the Middle East


Br. flag, top, blog

In today’s show, the focus was on separatism.  Ethnic separatism is a latest malady inflicting our international political system.  It started with Tsar Peter I of Russia (ruled 1682-1725) who was the first sovereign to force a province of Sweden, Finland, to secede for his own self-aggrandizing reasons–he wanted to open up an access for Russia to the Baltic Sea and attacking Sweden and annexing a part of its territory, ostensibly in the name of freeing its ethnic peoples, was the only way to do it.  He thus went to war to force the Swedes, whose country was a powerhouse back then, and took a huge parcel of land from them.  The Finns, who populated the land captured, had been completely integrated into the Swedish kingdom for several centuries.

Ironically, Great Britain, a the victim of separatism at the present and also the subject of today’s talk, had itself had used ethnic differentiation in order to divide up some old-world empires, mostly notably, the Ottoman Empire.  She succeeded in separating the Arabs from the Turkic Ottoman domination.  But unlike Russian attack on Sweden, Britain used subterfuge (remember Lawrence of Arabia?) and politics to achieve its end.   Within the emerging nation-state international system, it was a sound decision; the Arabs although shared the same religion with the Turks, they nevertheless were ethnically and linguistically different from Turkic Ottomans.

But the problem with breaking up modern nation-states is that when the strategy is used incorrectly, it can only lead to catastrophic consequences.  This is particularly true when totalitarian policymakers use this strategy to divvy up modern countries. One can only think back to the 1990s when Communist Yugoslavia broke up in the aftermath of the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe and the genocidal atrocities that followed the breakup.

In fact, ever since the precedence set by Tsar Peter I, the policy to divide up nation-states into smaller ethnic groups for the sake of a more effective domination has been used and misused most effectively by Communists after the establishment of the first Communist nation, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the Soviet Union for short, in 1917.  Since then, Communists the world over, have persistently used “ethnography” as an excuse to campaign for split up legitimate nation-states; this despite the fact that Communist governments  themselves never refrained from imperialistic annexation of other nations’ territories; to wit, Soviet Union’s acquisition of Turkestan in Central Asia and Communist China’s acquisition of Tibet.


Decades before Operation Iraqi Freedom to ride that republic of its wayward dictator, Saddam Hussein, Lenin and his fellow totalitarian theoretician, Leon Trotsky, had schemed to stir up the ethnic pot in their southern border region, the Middle East.  Their goal was to reap the of benefit of acquiring additional territory and gaining their natural resources, especially reaching the warm waters of the Persian Gulf; the frigid northern seaport by the Baltic Sea only allowed a limited gateway to the world that was yet, and hoped, to be conquered.

At the time of the Communists’ rise to power, the Middle East differed geographically from what it looks today.  Except for Persia (Iran), the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), and Saudi Arabia there was no other independently well-organized countries in the Middle East; for instance, Iraq, had not even been established as a nation-state but was simply known as British Mesopotamia.

The warm waters the Persian Gulf in Iran still seemed very inviting to the Soviets especially ever since black gold or fossil fuel was discovered all around the Gulf.  The Soviets, even while attempting to consolidate their hold on Russia itself, had planned on a future endeavor to attack the ancient Persian kingdom and to either wholly annex it or turn it into a satellite nation.  They were eager and delighted that Persia ran geographically from Russian borders directly, all the way, to the warm water shores of the Persian Gulf.  Since they faced formidable obstacles like the might of the Great Britain, the United States, France and the rest of the Free World, they opted for a different plan to take up Iran (Persia) a little at a time; namely, to stir up ethnic conflicts in the country, and then help divide it up into smaller states and then take each, one at a time.


However, the head of the new Persian dynasty, a Cossack himself by the name of Reza Shah, shrewdly read into the Soviets’ scheme and took the first steps to nullify Soviet attempts at inciting ethnic discord in his country.  The many ethnic communities that made up his country had earned his nation the designation “the Land of 1001 nations” in many novels and literary works.

Thus, Reza Shah in 1935 promptly requested at the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations, that his country’s name be officially changed from Persia to Iran.  In this fashion, he followed Great Britain’s example when Britain became a united kingdom and all of its citizens then came to be known as British rather than Englishmen.

Nevertheless, the tenacious Communists would not give up and used their Persian-speaking Soviet citizens, acquired centuries earlier through conquests by Tsar Ivan IV (r. 1533-1584) all the way to Tsar Alexander I (r. 1801-1825), in order to penetrate Iran and inflame and incite ethnic discontent and discord.

Decades later, in the aftermath of World War II, after having captured Northern Iran in cooperation with the United States and Great Britain, the Soviet Union violated designated authorized sphere of influence in Iran, entered the Iranian capital, Tehran, and shelled the Iranian Parliament, the Majles.  They had meant to signal the hard-headed Iranian Cossack-turned-monarch how displeased they were with him.  President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill forgave the Russians for their “one-time” discretion especially when they withdrew their forces from Tehran and positioned their forces north capital in Qazvin.

After termination of World War II, however, the Soviets refused to leave Iran but eventually did so when President Truman threatened Stalin with a nuclear attack on Moscow in 1947!  In the aftermath of their departure, the Soviets installed two ideologically-converted puppets in charge of two fabricated “Peoples Republics” in ethnically-mixed Iranian provinces of Kordistan and Azarbaijan.

Of course, this latest scheme did not succeed either as Reza Shah’s young son and successor, Mohammad Reza Shah, having strengthened his military forces through French, British, and American assistance went forward and smashed through the puppet Communist “republics” and freed his citizens from the Soviet yoke.

Today, however, the Communists have weakened tremendously the world over and only a handful of countries still clink to that bankrupt ideology; namely, mainland China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Zimbabwe in Africa.  A few other countries dabble in Communistic ideology such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Equator.  And, the humongous former Communist Soviet Union, known today as the Russian Federation, is currently governed with the iron fist by a former Communist who used to work as an agent in the dreaded Soviet secret police, the KGB.  His name, Vladimir Putin.

Through propaganda and empty emotional appeals, the Soviet Communists have managed to ingrain the notion of ethnic singularity, or ethnography as they call it, into the minds of countless free thinkers and professionals around the world.  This despite the fact that many ethnic groups in Russia yearn to be free of Russian control.  For instance, in 1992, sixty percent of voters, almost all Muslims, in north-central Russian “republic” voted for independence from the Russian Federation.  Their electoral decision was met with a stern warning from Moscow reminding Tartarestan residents of consequences they would suffer that would not to be dissimilar by those who wished to secede in the former Communist Yugoslavia years earlier.


Some free thinkers in our modern world have become so comfortable with the idea of splitting up nations that of practice of advocating splitting modern nation-states that when faced with national tragedy in a particular country, they rush to advance the idea of splitting it up.  Recent forced breakups in Ethiopia and Sudan have left the two countries isolated and cut off from access to the sea and in dire conditions.  Iraq has been the latest example whereby pundits from Left and Right have proposed splitting it along dangerous ethnic and religious boundaries.

Even in the advanced world, attempt at such practices have not ceased.  For example, the topic of this week talk show concerned the referendum for independence of Scotland from Great Britain.  One wonders what went through the mind of the the Right Honourable Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland who reports directly to the British Prime Minister.


slamond, happy

         Scotland’s Pro-Independence Leader           Alex Salmond


Hope Over Fear rally



Could it have been the influence of radical historians and writers in academe that influenced Mr. Salmond’s decision?  There have been many negative literature, or better said misinformation, conveyed in journals and books and then published against Great Britain.  In an odd reverse-xenophobic fashion, many have gone as far as berating the whole Anglo-Saxon race for the world’s troubles, issues, and traumas.

The old saying that history is written by the victor is true to some extent but a logical, impartial, and analytic examination of history reveals some very surprising and opposite summaries.  For instance, to whom does America owe its tradition of freedom and democracy?  Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Adam Smith were the original champions of the concept of free thought on basis of whose ideas such great American thinkers as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and John Dewey based their own formulation of the American democracy.

And, let us dig deeper into the British democratic heritage—the calm and stable nation-states of America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all stand as testimony to the civilized contributions of Great Britain while the rest of the world has been tinted, in the past 100 years, by they barbarities of Nazism, Fascism, Communism, and more recently by religious fanaticism and terrorism.

Even the British colonies, from the onset of their birth, became strongholds of democracy: India in Asia and Kenya in Africa.  Even the racially-divided South Africa, once it became a new country, taken over through free ballot by black South Africans, it did not suffer any of the atrocities of other former colonies such as those that were held by the Spanish and Portuguese in either the Americas or Africa.  Neither was the black takeover in South Africa followed by any kangaroo-courts to condemn people to public hanging, execution, or prison terms.  In fact, in the democratic lessons learned from the English, the locals have even allowed whites-only enclaves to survive in the new Republic of South Africa!

In so far as Great Britain itself is concerned, the English or what the radical writers purposely and irreverently call “Anglos” have extended their hand of friendship and brotherhood to the residents of Scotland, Northern Island, and the Wales by incorporating those other ethnic communities’ flags into their own thus creating the modern Union Jack:

Br-others flag


They further renamed their national law enforcement agency, the Scotland Yard, in honor of their Scot brethren.  Scottish bag pipes and kilts have become the hallmark of everything that is British or touched by the British from start of official ceremonies in United Kingdom itself to the American main street parades, to parades and marches in Canada, Australia, even in Arab kingdoms of Jordan and Kuwait in the Middle East!  Great Britain even went so far as designating the English monarch’s male successor as the “Prince of Wales.”

Of course, every community, tribe, state, and nation has had a dark history.  Without exception, it includes the white Latins from Europe (whose ancestors today prefer to be called Latinos or Latinas), the Chinese, the Japanese, the Russians, Germans, the Arabs, the Persians, and the Turks, ad infinitum.  In other words, no human group has been snow-white clean throughout its history.

The thinking world rejoiced when the Right Honourable Alex Salmond’s referendum failed resoundingly when 55.3%, out of 84.6% eligible voters disapproved of his plan to secede Scotland from Great Britain.

slamond, sad

Alex Salmond after having lost his bid for Scotland’s separation from United Kingdom


Br-Scot flag

A Victory for Great Britain and Civilized World


Br. happy

Pro-Britain Scots After the Failure of Referendum


But the measure of a nation’s sense of justice is assessed by its present-day treatment of its citizens and subjects.  One can only look at the White House and see how a black American, whose racial group constitutes only 13% of the population in the United States, could become an elected President.  Or, how the remnants of the British Empire, white as well as nonwhite, could become bastions of stability and humanity in our today’s turbulent world.

The great American humanitarian, Abraham Lincoln, had a simple solution to the idea of splitting up modern nations.  His formula consisted of a simple and resounding, “Nay.” If force was needed, then that just would have to be!

In modern democratic nations, the idea of force to keep nation-states intact is unthinkable.  However, self-serving politicians continue to strive for separatism despite the fact, for instance, in Britain, there was a Union Act of 1707 in which the four kingdoms of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland were integrated into one United Kingdom.  Legally speaking, the British Parliament should not have even allowed the referendum to be put on the ballot.

Passionate American appeals as those expressed by Hollywood in the high-budget movie, Braveheart, have not been helpful.  In fact, one can assume the widely-seen movie played an important part in tickling the emotional sides of some Scots.   The movie only focused on one aspect of history; namely, the conquest of Scotland without any regards to the integration of Scotland into the United Kingdom over the past 3oo years.




And, what was to become of the British flag, if heavens forbid, Scotland voted to secede?  Obviously, the British flag would have had to be re-drawn.  BUT, and yes, that is a big but, what of other flags that incorporate the British flags into their own flags such as those of Australia and New Zealand?  Would they also have had to change their flags?  The answer is obviously “yes.”  And, how about some of the state and provincial flags that incorporate the Union Jack such as that of British Columbia in Canada and our own beloved Hawaiian flag?

Of course, Mr. Salmond would not allow such trivial matter preoccupy his mind.  Thank God, Scotland comprises of many thinking men and women.  Love Live the Queen and may the sun never set on Britain!


Br. flag, old

Parochialism by Sherwin on Mixcloud



Visiting Great Britain

Visiting Scotland

United Kingdom government

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