TICAP 2010

A comment by Iro Cyr sent me to watch her deliver a statement on behalf of Professor Robert Molimard at the 1st TICAP conference in 2009. And via that link I gradually discovered all the other videos and papers from 1st TICAP conference, and also the 2nd TICAP conference in March 2010.

I’ve been spending the day watching the videos. Watching videos online has only been a relatively recent pastime of mine, because for most of the time when I was living in Devon I only had dial-up internet access, and when I did get broadband installed, it was only about four times faster than dial-up. Now however, I have a 7 Mb/sec broadband connection, and video is no longer a problem.

So it came as a bit of a shock when I was watching the start of the afternoon Q&A session of the 2nd TICAP conference, to hear my name being mentioned, asking a question online:

In retrospect, given the upheaval in the Islamic world over the past few months, my question seems almost prophetic.

CS: I think we’ve got a question from the live blog.

DP: Yeah, it’s from Frank Davis who writes his own blog. Some people may have read it. He says: Dr Chaouachi said that the social lives of millions of muslims has been attacked by false science. Does he know how smoking bans have been affecting those countries where they have been introduced. Can he describe some of the effects? There’s very little news about smoking bans even in Europe, but next to none from Iraq and Morocco.

KC: You’re mentioning the ban in Iraq and other countries? Recent bans? Yes? The bans are now multiplying all over the world, including in the Middle East, and this is  very new, and this is very important, because this is a very centuries-old tradition in Middle East countries. So, for instance, when you ban smoking in Syria, as recently, this is a great shock that even causes unrest, social unrest in these countries. Because you have seen these families for example with their children on the slide[show]. So what do you say to all these families. Go away? Go back home? It’s impossible. So they have softened now the enactment of the bans. For instance, I read recently that in Syria the bans are not enacted so … I think that they will be lifted soon. It happened, for example, there has been a ban in Iran, and then it has been lifted one month later, because the hookah coffee shops there, traditional coffee shops, they organised a protest, and immediately the government lifted the ban. So I have said in my address that the antismoking organisations have faced the biggest problem with prohibition in Islamic countries, let’s say. And in Asia. In Africa.

The video of Kamal Chaouachi’s presentation isn’t available, but the text is.

Prohibition is  an  assault on identity.  For  cigarette smokers,  this  is quite  clear. For hookah smokers,  this is  also an attack  on a collective lifestyle  (gatherings, etc.). From  a  political anthropology perspective, hookah has a libertarian dimension because  the  alternative  values  it suggests  (talking, idleness  and play)  are  revolutionary  in the  sense  of  the  French Situationists  who,  through their political programme  of  ludic  playful urban “situations”, paved  the  way  for  the  May  68 revolt in Paris.  Instead of  the  modern  mottos  “Gain time”  or  “Buy  time”, hookah suggests: “Dare waste your time”. This is a revolutionary libertarian message indeed.

In Tunisia, a smoking ban was imposed in March 2010. In December, the Jasmine Revolution erupted. Did the one cause the other? Probably not. But it was probably a contributing ‘risk factor’.

Anyway, although the last TICAP conference was over a year ago, it might as well have happened yesterday as far as I am concerned, and I’ve been listening to all of it. Does anyone know if there’s another one planned? A year ago, reading Dick Puddlecote’s live blog from the conference, and asking a question through him, I began to wonder whether it was really necessary for people to meet up and have conferences, and whether it could all be done more easily online, with digital video cameras and mikes.

On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for actually meeting people face to face, and having a drink or two (as I did last year with Dave Atherton and Mark Wadsworth at the UKIP conference, and Juliette Tworsey at a Firebug gig in Swindon). People only ever become fully ‘real’ that way. Nevertheless, after watching a number of the TICAP videos, people like Chris Snowdon and Michael McFadden and Wiel Maessen and Pat Nurse and Dick Puddlecote have become recognisable faces and voices.

I must dig out my digital video camera. I bought a cheap one that clips onto a computer screen a few years back. I’ve got a mike somewhere too. I used both briefly (and successfully) with dial-up a few years back to chat online with a friend.

If I got chatting online to people that way, while having a beer and a cigarette, who knows, it might be just like being in a smoky pub again?

About Frank Davis

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7 Responses to TICAP 2010

  1. Magnetic says:

    Here we go (let the “festivities” begin). The Australian Cancer Society (a eugenics puppet) has determined “no safe level” of alcohol consumption. Australia really jumped on the anti-tobacco bandwagon. Australians, however, are very enamored of their booze. We’ll see how they react to the “no safe level” given that they thoroughly lapped it up concerning tobacco. It’s probably good overall: It shows up even more clearly what these cancer societies and other puppet organizations actually represent.

    Don’t drink, it’s carcinogenic: report

    • Junican says:

      Empires always start with great success locally. In the case of the eugenicists, ‘locally’ is in the English speaking, uninvaded hegemony. The USA, Canada, Ireland, UK, Australia, New Zealand – countries in which the people have never experienced the jackboot.

      But we must remember that Empires have always in the past overstretched themselves. The Eugenicist Empire will do likewise.

      It is not necessarily a bad thing that Tobacco Control is spreading so rapidly. The further it spreads, the more likely it is that groups will begin to break ranks, and the more likely it is that Governments which have been forced to comply, will resent it and be all the more inclined to cast the shackles off once the need to comply no longer exists.

      We must hold fast to the following basic idea:

      To be healthy or not to be healthy is a personal choice. It is no business of the state to force people to be healthy, either directly or indirectly. The final phrase refers to State interference in the provision of choice in respect of, for example, ‘unhealthy’ foodstuffs (eg. burgers).

      It is no business of the Government to interfere in the social activities of ‘consenting adults’. This means that if a group of people wish to set up a bar in which the group agree that smoking is ok and make it clear to potential clients that smoking is ok, and in which employees are consenting adults, then there is no justification for State interference. Since this is a matter of individual and collective freedom, it is not possible for Treaties to be created which deny this freedom.

      Lastly (for now!), we have to think of this:

      The organisation which is supposed to defend Human Rights (the EU in this case at the moment) is also the organisation which is presently curtailing Human Rights. But the Human Rights of which we speak are not rights which need to be assured by law. They need no laws – they are ‘self-evident’. They are self-evident because we need no laws to enable us to be free. Freedom by definition is the ability to do what you wish, provided that you ACTUALLY do no harm to others when you do what you wish to do. We must be free TO DO, and not free FROM.

      These ideas are, of course, simplistic. But they form the foundation. Any deviation must be justified, and PROPERLY justified. A mere Act of Parliament is not proper justification. Such ‘justification’ is persecution.

  2. Winston says:

    To my knowledge, there are no solid plans to have a third TICAP conference, but that shouldn’t be taken to mean that no one is thinking about it or talking about it.

    Ultimately, the impact of a TICAP conference can’t be limited to interested people meeting up each year just to talk to themselves. As you note in this post, Frank, the ultimate impact comes from sharing such a meeting online.

    Due to several factors, including Gian Turci’s passing, a server fire, and the absence of some of the key people whom Gian entrusted with many of the technical/behind the scenes stuff that keeps FORCES, F2C, TICAP, and other sites running, others have been left picking up the pieces. I’m happy to say that Wiel Maessen, who has been very influential in the cause of smokers, and who is also very savvy with the technical stuff, is the head of this effort, and the current CEO of FORCES.

    Behind the scenes, a great deal of effort has been going on to find the “keys to the castle” for keeping these various sites up to date. People have been mailing boxes of papers to other people, and these people have been sifting through these boxes, and filling out legal paperwork, as well as connecting loose ends regarding matters involving bank accounts, donations, servers, bandwidth, legally recognized charitable status, etc, etc.

    On the surface, many people tend to think of organizations like FORCES, F2C and TICAP as simply being websites. It’s been somewhat startling for me to realize how many people have to dogged drudge-work just to keep everything afloat. There are people who have been working behind the scenes for years who are almost entirely unknown online, and who haven’t even posted on discussion boards with any regularity.

    So, as for a third TICAP conference, I think there’s good reason to believe that it will occur at some point. Things have been developing positively. For instance, some may have noticed that the FORCES news page is being regularly updated again. Also, Soren Hojbjorg and Andrew Phillips have returned as contributors. (Your recent blog regarding Soren’s latest contribution, Frank, was a positive development in itself.) Bill Brown, aka LightningBoy, is now a columnist for FORCES. FORCES regular Edmund Contoski recently published an article on the popular American conservative website, American Thinker.

    So, in the long wake since Gian Turci’s passing, not only do the behind-the-scenes technical details need to be taken care of, but the ideological and political relevancy of these sites needs to be restored. It’s been two years since Gian passed away, and the internet evolves quickly, so after all of the behind-the-scenes pieces are put together, the additional, creative challenge exists of creating something that generates enough united interest to make something like a third TICAP conference meaningful and possible. It’s certainly worth mentioning that blogs, like your own, are now taking up the voice, rather than the traditional sites like FORCES, etc. So, while you just watched the second TICAP conference, don’t be too surprised if you’re an invited speaker for the third.

    • Frank Davis says:

      For instance, some may have noticed that the FORCES news page is being regularly updated again.

      Yes, I did notice. And was pleased to see it.

      don’t be too surprised if you’re an invited speaker for the third.

      I can’t imagine what I’d have to say. It’s not as if I’m an expert in anything.

      Incidentally, I also watched Gian Turci’s speech at TICAP in 2009. While he was alive, I hardly knew anything about him. It was the first time I’d seen him speak. It may seem a strange thing to say, but it rather brought him to life for me. And watching it, and knowing that little over a month later he was dead, it seemed almost like a final testament. Particularly the last words: “What do you think?”

      There was quite a lot to chew over in that speech of his. I agreed with almost all of it, but I had reservations about one or two bits.

      “As repulsive as the thought may be, you must become like them to fight them, as they leave you no choice but to surrender.”

      This is a difficult one. But it follows from the fact that we are in a war (which is perfectly true). And he spells out quite clearly what war means. All the same, how far do you go?

      And then there’s this:

      “whether you want to sacrifice what it takes and submit to the discipline of coordinated action to raise both our means and our voices until the murmur becomes such roar that no FCTC guideline can ignore it, no bureaucrat can refuse to deal with it, and we emerge to fight the beast that bureaucratic public health has become! “

      I agree with almost all of this, but there’s a problem with “coordinated action”. Who coordinates whom? I see very little coordination. I am a bit suspicious of organisations. And plans of any sort. But I have great belief in the power of ideas, and of individual people to see the possibility of doing something, and doing it, however small it might be. I think that the growing interplay of thoughts and reflections about smoking bans will in due course probably throw up something rather surprising. Something nobody had seen before.

      Smokers have been thrown into considerable confusion by the turn of events in recent years. And they have responded in all sorts of different ways. They have gone in all sorts of different directions. Some have advocated this, and some have advocated that. Like castaways adrift on a boat, wondering which way to row.

      I think such confusion is inevitable. But confusion does not last forever. Out of it all, some clear direction will emerge. Only then there can be coordinated action.

      But that time has not yet come.

      There passed a weary time. Each throat
      Was parched, and glazed each eye.
      A weary time! a weary time!
      How glazed each weary eye,…

  3. JJ says:

    I hope that one day Forest will link up with TICAP and other pro-choice organisations and hold a conference in London. A peaceful rally wouldn’t go amiss either.

  4. Bill Gibson says:

    TICAP has been asked to consider staging a Conference in Cyprus in 2012 to coincide with that country holding the Presidency of the EU. This event may be as a joint venture with the Euro-Mediterrαnean Restaurant Federation (EMRF). This will open the debates to a new audience including former Eastern Block countries and the Middle East


    TICAP is also very aware of the Alcohol issue heading down the same slippery slope as Tobacco and will attempt to address this issue further as the suject was addressed within our last Conference in The Hage by Dr Patrick Basham who is keen to devote an event dedicated to the subject.

    As always, funding such events remains the big hurdle, one that will be looked at in the coming weeks. It would be good to have an event in London, however costs remain prohibative for an organisation that relies on Member Organisation Subscriptions and the goodwill of the Directors to be able to function as we do. We do not enjoy the commercial funding that other organisations operate within and therefore must seek likeminded Groups to pool resources.

  5. Pingback: Idle Conversation | Frank Davis

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