Sex quite often, like eating food or having a dump, are for me, the basic pleasures of life. I prefer the spontaneous quill, with all its quirks, to the censored, pensive one, which is often dead, from the neck down, dull and boring. For some religious people I am aware, this is offensive. Now I don't wish to cause offence, particularly for any of the extended family, of the the victims of the atrocity of Bloody Sunday, but if I am going to write about it honestly, I first have to be true to myself. Having read a very ignorant article in the Pensive Quill recently, about Muslims and other ignorant comments about Jews, from others, professing to be a supporter of the IRA, I have little choice but to be explicit myself, when explaining my own perspective. Of course political enemies will use this, to create misunderstanding and division, again. So, I repeat, I do not wish to cause any offence to the extended family of the Bloody Sunday massacre but getting down and dirty, is for me part of the process, of cutting through the superficial veneer of civility, that often masks War Crimes like Bloody Sunday.
I like passionate people, who have beliefs and matters close to their heart, for which they are intelligently prepared, to put their life on the line, if the case need be. Having said that, I believe life to be a very precious gift, so when I see it wasted needlessly, aimlessly, I can be quite upset, regardless of nationality or tradition. In my uncensored discussions with English friends, no matter how enlightened they seem to be, or how much they have read or tried to understand the troubles n Ireland, they seem to fail to understand, the experience of being under the jackboot of Imperialism. Of course, it couldn't be any other way, if we consider it. The best analogy I can give, is again the following. If my neighbour breaks into my house, kills a few of my children, rapes my wife, and robs all of my valuables, I would be a strange sort of man, if I stood idly by and simply started praying for him.
Now one of my English friends, to whom I have failed to explain our experience successfully, also believes that London needs to be more honest, by taking down the Union Jack and replacing it with the Skull and Crossbones. I respect that sort of honesty and we have had our own pirates ourselves, the most successful, being a woman called Grace O'Malley, who took great pleasure in robbing Spanish wine, en route to a tribe of Blueshirts in Galway City. Their descendants, continue to plunder the poorest and weakest of their own people in Government in Ireland.
Getting back to sex, Muslims, Jews and of my own experience with them, I have found that sexual relationships, are one of the best ways to get to know people. I have had many Jewish friends, one of them being a bi-sexual lady from Tel Aviv, who was quite kinky, in fact, like a lot of Irish Catholic women, I have found that a lot of them are quite kinky. Anyway I knew Vired in Amsterdam, when the Gulf War was happening, and when Saddam's scuds were raining down on the suburbs of her city, while we were having sex on my couch. When there were no casualties, I used to give Vired a slap on the arse, every time one came in, as she watched CNN, when we were having sex. I learned in the process, she was a bit of a masochist, from her reaction, maybe like a lot of Irish she had Stockholm Syndrome. Later as I got older and with less energy, I had a Muslim bi-sexual girlfriend, who used to slap my arse, when we were having sex, and she was a bit of a sadist. Now I might add, I am not bisexual myself, which means I have only half the pleasure, lest there be any more misunderstandings. However having had the experience of working with and for Jews, I would have to say, they are mostly a very fine people, with the exception of one possible Zionist boss but nevertheless, I learned a great deal from Mr Silver.
Now I currently live very happily, in a Muslim village. I have a boundary fence and I do business with them on everyday stuff. I don't understand their language but many, are very well educated and speak excellent English. I find them to be more of a communal, earnest, people, rather than generally is the case in the West. In times of difficulty, I have found them to be very compassionate and gentle, but I have no doubt if I mess with them, they have a very passionate side, so to avoid linguistic and cultural misunderstandings, I approach them respectfully, honestly, carefully and with patience. I have lived here many years and aside from a few dacent arguments, which is more a case of venting, I have had no problems with them. I regard it as their communal village, and despite owning a home here, I am a guest of their village. My real home is Ireland. Anyway as a result of my passionate experiences, with Vired and Aabirah, I learned a lot, which was as fulfilling, as the many wonderful meals, cooked with passion by the many women from Isaan that I have known. The taste of spirit, is fulfilling indeed, perhaps I will elaborate on the passionate Catholic women I have known, from the west coast of Ireland another time. I will just mention, that a lot of them, tore the skin off my back.
The reason I mention some of these passionate experiences, is that War Crimes, such as Bloody Sunday, have aroused considerable passion in Ireland, the legacy of which, will not disappear overnight, no matter how much British Sinn Fein and Sinead O'Connor, would like us to believe, it never happened. Indeed like the British created Holocaust in Ireland, I doubt the ensuing resentment in our DNA, will be dealt with for centuries, which has considerable repercussions for everyone on the islands, unless truth, justice and reconciliation, are demonstrated transparently at the ICC, as was the case with the Jewish Holocaust. The second reason I mention my experiences of what was quality sex for me, with these two beautiful bi-women, is that afterwards, I was not in much of a mood, for getting hold of some Semtex or a Kalashnikov and giving the Brits a blast. So from these experiences, I would have to say, that John Lennon and Yoko Ono's mantra, of "make love not war," holds true, up to a point. In my own particular case, before I sobered up, I had a long line of resentments, that in all honesty, could only be called, blind hatred, that I was forced to deal with or kick the bucket. My last resentment, as they politely call it, died with Margaret Thatcher, that's not to say, I do not get angry, about day to day stuff since, but its a good idea I deal with it, without delay. Writing helps, but there are definitely outstanding issues between Ireland and England, that need to be dealt with intelligently, sooner rather than later by everyone, who regards themselves as a citizen, rather than a commoner of indentured slavery.
Being Irish, I have much in common, with the working class in Scotland and England, I come from a brutalised culture, and James Connoly of 1916 explained all of this very well. Unlike the armchair generals in Whitehall and the hurlers on the ditch in Ireland, I have experienced brutality first hand, not second hand from my first recollections. I know the poverty of Spirit in no man's land or the fire of Resistance, that burns with a passion, as a consequence. Like Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, I do not hold the foot soldiers, of atrocities committed in Britain's Dirty War in Ireland, responsible, no more than I would, in the atrocities committed in the Dirty War in Argentina. The flesh, blood and bones left on the streets of Ireland from all atrocities, were not picked up by the generals and politicians, who instigated them, be they in London, Stormont or Dublin. Neither did I see the butcher from Derry, Martin McGuinness, comfort the dying, that day.
The truth and responsibility for all of this carnage, is meant to hibernate slowly, in everlasting inquiries, that are meant to outlive the victim's families, evidence and the perpetrators in Whitehall, who have a vested interest, in preventing the truth, seeing the light of day in the Hague, at the International Criminal Court, and will go to extreme lengths, including more murder, to prevent it. However as long as this is permitted, Britain will continue or enable, brutal piracy, with or without its NATO allies, all over the globe, with the plundering and pillage, it first started, eight hundred years ago, in it's neighbour's house of Ireland. You and I are aware, responsible, for allowing this to continue, unchallenged, bequeathing the same legacy, to our children, as sure as night follows day. So, are we going to resolve this intelligently, in a civilised way, my Irish, English, Jewish, Muslim, 'cousin,' or are we going to continue our denial, of our crimes against humanity, such as Bloody Sunday?
We Tell Stories.
Troubled Tunes: The Musical Legacy of Bloody Sunday
by Renounce/Reverb on Feb 4, 2012 • 14:43
This week marked the 40th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, also known as the Bogside Massacre, immortalized by Irish rockers U2. Renounce Reverb’s Will Kennedy looks back and ahead at the musical legacy of that grim 30 January 1972.
Music critic Neil McCormick has a confession about Sunday Bloody Sunday, the song that rocketed his friends from U2 out of regional celebrity toward international stardom. ‘As a private listener, I don’t think I’d ever play it,’ he says. ‘I was troubled by it as far back as when it first came out.’
That was 1983, not long after McCormick and the band members bid farewell to the school they attended together in the Republic of Ireland’s largely peaceful Dublin—more than a decade after British soldiers killed 14 men in the streets of Derry / London Derry, and 15 years before Tony Blair launched The Saville Inquiry, a second investigation into Bloody Sunday.
For the record McCormick, who now works for the Telegraph, likes the band. He ghostwrote the best-selling autobiography U2 by U2. His memoir of failed musical ambition became the movie Killing Bono. A Google image search pulls up pictures of Bono kissing him on the cheek.
McCormick’s personal reservations about Sunday Bloody Sunday are complex. ‘It’s a rabble rousing song, and there are moments when I have responded to it very viscerally,’ he says. ‘But I also find it heavy-handed. Bono is trying to tread a difficult line in those lyrics—he does a remarkable job, but it doesn’t have the subtlety of human spirit that I look for in the greatest of lyrical songs.’
Bono is trying to tread a difficult line in those lyrics.
Amidst the opening verse’s lyrics of metaphorical heart trenches and literal tears, Bono asks ‘How long must we sing this song? Four decades after Bloody Sunday, the martial drums and imploring vocals remain a staple of the U2’s live shows and something of worldwide anthem.
But to what purpose? What’s the legacy, musical and otherwise, of Bloody Sunday in 2012?
It’s Sunday, 29 January in west London’s historically Irish neighborhood of Kilburn. Unlike the clear Derry day almost exactly 40-years ago, the sky is a blanket grey.
Once upon a time, thousands marched for the funeral of IRA hunger striker Michael Guaghan, while pub collections for armed resistance in Northern Ireland were an open secret. “Now those people are long gone,” says Kilburn resident and history teacher Paul Vickery. “And so are most of the Irish pubs.”
A few remain on Kilburn High Street, and inside the Kingdom, a crowd is gathering. Framed photos of Irish footballers and a stuffed leprechaun hint at the pub’s origins, but the customers provide hard evidence.
Jerry Monteith, 61, is visiting from Tyrone, a town smack in the center of Northern Ireland.
He’s drinking Hennessey, and like the majority of patrons, hasn’t had Bloody Sunday’s imminent anniversary on his mind.
‘I remember the day it happened,’ he said. ‘As far as I can tell, people just want to move on.’
Most everyone sits and drinks in anticipation of Gaelic football, with little to say and less thought given to the event. One young man differs. John Carran, 19, came to London from Southern Ireland in search of work, but with qualms. Anyone who hears ‘Bloody Sunday’ and doesn’t think ‘dirty English,’ he says, ‘doesn’t know their history.‘
When performing the song live, U2 attempts to prevent this kind of tension. On U2VEVO’s youtube channel, Bono, as he regularly does, opens the ballad by telling the crowd, ‘This is not a rebel song. This isSunday Bloody Sunday.’
(You don’t have to scan the comment section long to find disregard for that statement. A recent remark reads: ‘RIP ENGLISH BASTARDS… IRELAND IS FREE THAT IS MOST IMPORTANT.’)
Some of the band’s imitators toe an even more neutral line. ‘When we go out and do a U2 show, it is purely done on a very superficial level if you like,’ says Peter Akid, of the Manchester-based tribute band Achtung Baby. ‘Politically we don’t have any view.’
Akid says Sunday Bloody Sunday always fires up the crowd, but doesn’t always make the set.
‘We did a show in Northern Ireland and were told not to play it,’ he says. ‘You’ve got to be quite careful where you play those kind of songs because there’s still some quite hardcore people.’
Not everyone shied away from antagonistic Bloody Sunday performances. Another pop legend with Irish roots, John Lennon, recorded a song called Sunday Bloody Sunday in 1972.
Yoko Ono’s chorus accompanied the lyrics, “You anglo pigs and Scotties, sent to colonize the north, you wave your bloody Union Jacks, and you know what it’s worth!”
The track has limited appeal. ‘I think it’s pretty terrible and only beaten in terribleness by Paul McCartney’s Give Ireland back to the Irish,’ McCormick says of the song.
‘I can’t say it made any impact on our lives, and I was a John Lennon fan. Really, you’ve got to be careful wading into political issues where you don’t have any subtle understanding of the situation.’
As an Irish band playing in England, U2—despite hailing from Southern Ireland and largely coming from mixed or non-Irish families—was expected to sing about Northern Ireland’s troubles.
‘When they first recorded Sunday Bloody Sunday there was a lot of controversy in Southern Ireland about the very idea that a rock band of West Brits, (as Dubliners were sometimes called), that had previously been talking about ‘masters of the spirit’ and teenagedom, would even have the temerity to comment on Northern Ireland,’ McCormick says.
In the end, he adds, ‘I think it was brave and bold and necessary for U2 to tackle that rather thorny problem.’
It was brave and bold and necessary for U2 to tackle that rather thorny problem.
From Black Sabbath, to Swedish Folk to Celtic Metal, plenty have taken a musical crack at that problem from a range of perspectives.
In 2010 the band T with the Maggies crafted one of the latest attempts, Domnach na Fola (‘Bloody Sunday’ in Gaelic). On the heals of the Saville Inquiry concluding British soldiers had fired unjustly on unarmed protestors, the group diverged from the Irish folk tradition of aggressive rebel songs.
‘I wrote the lyrics on the morning in June, after reading the apology from David Cameron to the Irish people in the newspapers,’ singer Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh said.
‘[It] gave me and those of us who had stayed silent on the troubles or on any Northern politics for years, a voice, to mourn those who were wrongfully murdered on that day. In a way it’s a lament in honour of all those atrocities against humanity that went on.’
The song’s final verse: ‘What sorrow, What sorrow, against human rights, what sorrow.’
40 years on, Bloody Sunday’s legacy remains fraught and its music attests to feelings of loss and anger, division and reconciliation. Today Ireland and England are more peaceful places, but there are likely more songs to be sung. No British soldier has been prosecuted for the deaths, and some of the deads’ families continue to call for them.