Friday, September 28, 2012
Gulliver's Travels of Ireland's Dean Swift 1726, is universally read and has been designated a satire, to a forerunner of the modern novel, to an inquiry into whether men are inherently corrupt or whether they become corrupted. Gulliver washed ashore after a shipwreck, found himself a prisoner of a race of tiny people, less than 6 inches tall, inhabitants of the island country of Lilliput.
After Roisin Shortall's departure yesterday from Government, with little or no support from her so called Labour colleagues, Roisin must wondering today, if she too is a prisoner of the island of Lilliput. Despite Ms Shortall's principled resignation, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, his Labour Tanaiste Eamonn Gilmore and other so called former Labour comrades, all have leapt instead to the defence of super capitalist Health Minister Dr James Reilly or perhaps more accurately, to the defence of their luxurious ministerial salaries, from the little Irish taxpayers. Then of course the Fine Gael Minister has always made no secret of his hatred for the short all, little people of Lilliputian Ireland.
Perhaps then before his next video, he might consider the more diplomatic term Lilliputian rather than, "little people" for all the Irish plebs and gobshites who voted for him and his party. Perhaps Tanaiste Gilmour of (ahem) Labour might consider shifting his political rainbow from Labour to Lillputian at the next election or perhaps he will gamble once again on the irish psychosis of believing their own lies.
Strictly speaking Lilliputian entered many languages as an adjective, meaning "small and delicate" but that won't bother Gilmore, the former Newry republican colleague of Gerry Adams who is considering a brand of small cigar called Lilliput which might be an interesting addition to his image or to any of his Che look alike colleagues for their photo op wardrobes.
There is also a series of collectable model of houses known as "Lilliput Lane" perhaps of some interest to any future FF/SF developments. The smallest light bulb fitting 5mm diameter in the Edison screw series, is also called the "Lilliput Edison screw" which could possibly be changed to the "Lilliput Gilmour screw."
In Dutch, the word Lilliputter is used for adults shorter than 1.30 meters, which will include most of the Irish electorate come next election, after the present term of the Labour austerity diet The Coalition of the two sects of Lilliputians in Government, were divided between those who crack open their soft-boiled eggs from the little end, and those who use the big end. Some say Rainbow Gilmour has always squeezed through some sticky induced cracks at both ends. That dear Lilliputter, leaves all short people like Roisin out in the Irish rain once again.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Racism towards Travellers hangs in the air in Ireland
The State’s failure to recognise the ethnic identity of Travellers is a denial of equal status with others
IN DUBLIN Castle today, at a conference called “Ethnicity and Travellers: an Exploration” being run by the Department of Justice and Equality, the “experts” are at it again – the settled academics, that is.
They will explain and conceptualise ideas about my Traveller identity. Catherine Joyce and Brigid Quilligan, Pavee beoirs (Traveller women), will bring authenticity to the discussion, making real the notion of self-determination.
Personally, ethnicity can only be described in relation to the tangibility of friendship. Often it’s the direct opposite of the abstract language used to describe ethnicity and identity politics.
I have a friend called Katherine, who is a settled woman, and when she came into my life, from the get-go my statement was: “You’re settled. I’m a Traveller. In our country you belong, you’re counted. I’m the nuisance that they don’t know what to do with.”
There have been unsettling moments in our friendship relating to how Traveller identity is perceived and how wilfully ethnocentric Irish society is. Racism towards Travellers hangs in the air between us. It is an often covert racism, an undermining racism, a difficult racism to challenge or articulate. Being friends with me, the buoyancy of Katherine’s position as a settled person gets unbalanced whenever the malignant tides rise intensely against Travellers. Identity is something that can’t be escaped. We’re all grounded in who we are – our tradition, culture and heritage.
Katherine has never wavered into that space of ambiguity where reasonable, kind-hearted settled friends often say “but” and “if”, wanting Travellers to behave more “responsibly” even when they are being hated.
There’s a place for the rights mantra and responsibility mantra – on both sides. There’s a constant realisation that we’re both evolving, developing and stretching the possibilities of what it means to be Irish women, each with our own identities. My mother had settled friends. She paid them “visits”. That’s how she described her connection with them.
The separation of the State from the Catholic Church, the State recognition of the damage done to children in institutional care, decriminalising homosexuality, legislating for divorce and civil partnership, and now the children’s rights referendum – all of these are milestones of progressive change.
But the burning issue of Traveller ethnicity is unresolved.
In Britain, the ethnicity of Irish Travellers has been law since the case of O’Leary and Others v Punch Retail in 2000. In Northern Ireland, since 1997, Travellers have been classified as a “racial group” for the purposes of the Race Relations Order. And the world hasn’t stopped turning.
These pieces of legislation admit Traveller ethnicity is a status equal to that of settled Irish ethnicity. Discrimination towards Travellers in Britain and Northern Ireland hasn’t gone away, but younger Irish Travellers there have a stronger sense of pride and self-esteem.
Across the Border and across the Irish Sea, recognising Traveller ethnicity has had an impact. Travellers there have the opportunity to be treated with a new respect and accorded a more equal status in engaging with the state. The relationship shifts to a treatment that takes account of and respects cultural difference.
There’s a symbolic value too – my identity, my history, my culture are still not validated. The 2010 All Ireland Traveller Health Study: Our Geels revealed a strong self-identification among our people. Membership of the Traveller community was important for 71 per cent; Traveller culture for 73 per cent; and Traveller identity for 74 per cent.
Yet the State will not recognise this identity and afford us the status that would go with such recognition.
Friendship with Katherine is unlike that unequal relationship my mother had with settled women, where even to those she paid visits to she was still the subservient beggar at the door.
When Katherine talks about her days in school, the conversation is about expectation and entitlement. Ambition and opportunity are also built into the fabric of her memory.
The dialogue becomes fragile when I speak about my people being brought to special school where we were humiliated by being washed and ridiculed. Believing I wasn’t worthy of an education, they relegated our ethnicity to the dirty corner and the special class.
Katherine’s and my social, cultural, political and personal histories are so different. We share a national identity but there are so many intricate, nuanced differences in how we are prescribed a role in Irish society. Being born into settled privilege gives her more status, more respect, more opportunity.
However, we’re part of a small cultural revolution of friendship that allows us as women to talk about the diversity that we hold. Ironically, it also opens up a chasm of silence and shame as we mutually recognise how Traveller ethnicity has been disrespected, ignored and devalued.
Perhaps such connections and alliances, such sisterhood will form the seedbeds to bring, at last, more radical lasting change whereby Traveller ethnic identity achieves recognition, protection and respect.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Life is Beautiful
Irish writer Brendan Behan said that “other people have a nationality; the Irish and Jews have a psychosis”. The Neo-colonial free state and British Occupied Ireland are both run by liars telling obvious lies, still worse, almost everyone in Ireland chooses to believe them Israel too has similar problems with choosing corrupt leaders like Ireland. Bottom line this is insane and this form of insanity can best be summarized, as telling oneself lies and insanely choosing consciously to believe them. Perhaps, it was developed for survival in the face of the holocaust or abject adversity but both communities experienced it.The results today are Government liars portrayed in the heavily censored west-brit Irish media, as either behemoth buffoons like former Taoiseach Brian Cowen or as Blue blooded imported Brit leaders, above scrutiny or reproach, such as the contemporary Viceroyal Villiers.
Recently, a commentator formerly of Wall Street, Michael Lewis wrote of the Irish mentality giving rise to this ‘mad’ behaviour, as follows. “Two things strike every Irish person when he comes to America, Irish friends tell me: the vastness of the country, and the seemingly endless desire of its people to talk about their personal problems. Two things strike an American when he comes to Ireland: how small it is and how tight-lipped,” writes Lewis, “An Irish person with a personal problem takes it into a hole with him, like a squirrel with a nut before winter. He tortures himself and sometimes his loved ones too. What he doesn’t do, if he has suffered some reversal, is vent about it to the outside world. The famous Irish gift of gab is a cover for all the things they aren’t telling you”.
Secrecy cultivated under occupation, slavery and the British Holocaust that cost 6,257,456 Irish lives, left that pent-up Irish aggression, that can cause Irish people to emotionally explode. While the Irish mostly are overly passive when confronted with the catastrophe of corrupt, bailout, austerity, British ethnic cleansing and the numerous war crimes wrought upon them. Hence Brendan Behan comparing the Irish with the Jews, while not mentioning, how pent-up frustration by the Jews is vented very differently in both Israel and in the US relative to the Irish. Of course the Jewish people generally have dealt in large part with their their acknowledged past unlike the Irish still under the jackboot of the British Government's culture of Irish Holocaust denial and their non compliance of International norms of proper reparation to the Irish nation for the disappearance of 6,257,456 Irish people. Germany has made ample reparation to the Jews but Britain has not.
Holocaust denial is illegal in European countries that criminalize genocide denial. Experts have shown that countries which ban Holocaust denial also ban hate speech.There is a split between the "common law countries of Britain, Occupied Ireland and British Commonwealth countries from the civil law of countries on continental Europe. In continental Europe, the law is generally very strong on holocaust denial. In Britain however Holocaust denial is perfectly legal, with Holocaust denial inspiring violence against the Irish and Jews, particularly in British Occupied Ireland. The Irish experience is similar to the Jewish experience, particularly since the post-World War II era, suggesting that people's rights are best protected in open and tolerant democracies, that actively prosecute all forms of racial and religious hatred, which is currently rife and systemic in Britain and Occupied Ireland. This article has not mentioned the numbers of both continental and Irish travelers murdered by the British and German war criminals because of insufficient reliable data.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
"As early as 1963, civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland had compared themselves to blacks in Alabama and Little Rock, and identified themselves as the 'Negroes' of Northern Ireland. They sang 'We Shall Overcome' at their marches and in early 1969 deliberately modeled a protest march on the lines of the Selma-Montgomery march. Oddly, perhaps, the Northern Ireland protesters identified more with black American protests than the myriad of protests in Europe that year — in Paris, Prague, Berlin, Rome and London. They saw their struggle as closer to that of African Americans in the U.S."
- Brian Dooley -
The Fight for Civil Rights in Ireland and Black America
Martin Luther King was the most influential figure in British Occupied Ireland's struggle for human rights.King's speech in Washington and most importantly on Irish television sets with his famous "I have a dream" delivered to over a quarter of a million people, resonated not just with the segregation and discrimination against blacks in housing and jobs but with Irish nationalists who identified and still do with being the Irish nigger well used to bigoted British political oppression and their cultivated sectarianism. Further televised abuse of civil rights campaigners and marchers made Luther King's Civil Rights Movement, a mirror image of Occupied Ireland and was not just the most significant mass protest against injustice in American history but also, the spark for protest in Ireland too.
Unlike today, the largely uncensored corporate media of that time, played an important role in Ireland's fight for justice, especially when Britain murdered 14 unarmed civil rights protesters and morphed the peaceful Irish civil rights protest, into armed struggle for national self-determination. Martin Luther King's non-violent protests were based on Mahatma Gandhi's type of leadership, who was himself inspired by Ireland's ancient struggle, who himself inspired Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Burma or Myanmar. He was a socialist but avoided communism's strickty, "materialistic interpretation of history" that denied spirituality's place in our reality.
Five years ago the Smitsonian Institute included British Occupied Ireland in its Folk-Life cultural festiva,l with the Bogside Artists invited to take part, despite vociferous objections from the British on the Irish Arts Council, who suggested to the Bogside Artists that they reproduce their Peace Mural on the Mall. They did just but they also paid homage to Martin Luther King. The mural was well received. They chose to paint Luther King for obvious reasons. The mural was a great success at 4th of July celebrations on the Mall where Luther King made his most inspiring speech for the cause for which he gave his life. The article below clarifies the relevance of Martin Luther King in today's society, particularly in British Occupied Ireland, where Internment without trial is again a reality and the negation of civil rights not just for Marian Price and Martin Corey but all of the royal subjects of Viceroyal Villiers.
The Meaning of Altruism
By Paul Balles
"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness." --Martin Luther King
September 23, 2012 "Information Clearing House" - WHEN I was a college freshman, I became completely enamoured with Ayn Rand. As a literary heroine, she surpassed so many of my early heroes.
The self-defence of Rand's hero architect Howard York in The Fountainhead, standing trial for dynamiting a housing project he designed.
It was such a captivating defence that I insisted on sharing it with everyone who would listen. Many of my classmates who did listen came to the same conclusions as me.
Six million copies of The Fountainhead provided evidence of the following that Rand developed.
Many of us couldn't help wanting to be trial lawyers, who could make arguments as convincing as Roark (and Rand).
Over the next decade of subscribing to Rand's "objectivism", I realised that I had been infected with the worst kind of selfishness. Objectivism was the term that Rand used to describe selfishness.
To Rand, altruism reflected the evil she opposed. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness and involves doing for others, without any expectation of reward.
"From her start, America was torn by the clash of her political system with the altruist morality," Rand declared.
This is a near-perfect description of the present conflict between America's two political parties.
For Rand: "Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society."
She perceived a choice between: "A morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man's happiness on earth - or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces."
According to Rand: "The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value."
Martin Luther King Jr opposed Rand's philosophy.
"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness," he said.
Presaging opposition to Rand's ideas, 19th Century British Prime Minister William Gladstone said: "Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race."
Apart from anything else, when asked about her position on the Middle East conflict, Rand firmly supported Israel with a rationale that could have come out of a typical anti-Arab hate speech by Benyamin Netanyahu, Abe Foxman, David Harris or any AIPAC speaker.
She explained her position by saying: "Because it's the advanced technological and civilised country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savages who have not changed for years and who are racists and who resent Israel because it's bringing industry and intelligence and modern technology into their stagnation."
Current Republican candidates for the posts of US president and vice-president, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, both subscribe to a "morality of rational self-interest".
Ryan, an avowed fan of Rand, hasn't grown out of the enamoured college freshman. He not only tried to get all of the interns in his congressional office to read Rand's writing, he also gave copies of her novel Atlas Shrugged to his staff as Christmas presents.
Should the Republicans win the coming elections, there's little doubt that they will carry Rand's philosophy and politics with them.
Economist, teacher and diplomat John Kenneth Galbraith complained that: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins offers some sage advice: "Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish."
Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years.