Antiausterity protesters clashed with police
in Athens on Tuesday, while German
Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Greek
Premier Antonis Samaras
image source; online.wsj.com
like to stay a day or two.
Nice thought, isn’t it?
Now imagine that a day or two later your friend calls you back and says, “Hello, I’ve been thinking about that visit. Of course you can come but I shall have to drive you around in an armoured vehicle with a police guard. When we get to my home, I shall have to barricade you in with huge steel fences all around and I shall have to get 7,000 police officers onto the streets to protect you from the hordes of people. But we are SO looking forward to seeing you.”
Frauline Merkel visited Greece. Did you see the body language between her and the Greek Prime Minister at the press conference? You would see a more friendly atmosphere between a couple in the divorce courts. What is it with politicians that they can’t see when something is wrong?
They get so caught up in ideology and their own propaganda that they believe they are loved when everyone else sees through what is going on. The Greeks are not Germans with Greek accents. They are a separate proud nation and they know when they are being used.
"I have come here today in full knowledge that the period Greece is living through right now is an extremely difficult one for the Greeks and many people are suffering," Frauline Merkel said during a joint news conference with Mr Samaras just a few hundred yards from the mayhem on Syntagma Square, outside parliament.
“Vy don’t you do what Mr O’Kenny from Irilanda does and send the young people off to labour camps in Australia and Canada and den you wud ave less mouths to feed.” (my bit)
Politicians should learn that you can’t force a people to be what they are not. Europe is not one nation and no matter how much you try to con people that it is, the national sentiment of the people shall shine through. A common currency does not a nation make. Hundreds of years of faith, culture, common struggles, shared language and ideas form a nation.
We should know this better than most. The English have tried everything to make us English. But still we refuse to be English men and women with Irish accents.
Image Credit: Ramachandra Babu/Gulf News
The Americans and the English along with a few other so called “Western Democracies” are trying to make Afghanistan a model democratic state in the image of Capitol Hill or the Houses of Parliament.
Won’t work boys and girls!
It’s a different culture, a different country and a different religion. Whether we can identify with their faith and culture or not makes no difference. We shall never be able to impose our values on them.
It was a different culture a few years ago at the BBC. Jimmy Savile is now being shown to be a serial sex offender. Strangely, I remember hearing forty years ago that Monsieur Savile was not as white as his hair. Is this the opening of a can of worms or shall the establishment baton down the hatches and let the story die?
On the subject of stories dying, where has Syria gone? It seems to have dropped off the news radar altogether. Perhaps that is why the EU was given the Nobel Peace Prize; don’t mention that you stand idly by while the people are killed in their thousands and we shall give you a big round of applause for being peacemakers. Let the people of Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal suffer for years to pay the bondholders and we shall consider this peace; riots and poverty in southern Europe doesn’t really count.
These places and peoples are far away. They are not important places like the Great Rift Valley in Africa, the Yellow River in China, Athens in Greece, (ancient Greece, long before the Euro made it a vassal state of Germany) Los Alamos in New Mexico and Berkeley in Gloucestershire. These are important places, according to Andrew Marr.
Robert Oppenheimer is known as the
"father of the atom bomb
"image source; www.bbc.co.uk
Andrew Marr, BBC presenter, news correspondent, and historian of the world, reckons that these are the five most important places in history. Some of his reasoning is beyond me: Los Alamos, the place where they developed the Atom Bomb where scores of great scientific minds figured out how to build the ultimate weapon.
We should give the scientists of Los Alamos the Nobel Peace Prize. They sure put an end to the war when they designed a bomb to kill just over 50,000 Japanese citizens in seconds. The bomb was used twice, once at Hiroshima and again at Nagasaki killing 50,000 a time.
And Berkeley in Gloucestershire, what do you think happened there? Well for your information that is where Edward Jenner developed vaccination. Come on, the show he was making was for the BBC. He had to include an English town. It’s just as well Mr Marr had not a sixth choice or he would have said “Wembley Stadium, 1966.” That would have been too much.
So where would you choose as the five most important places in history? I would go with Nazareth, Bethlehem, the River Jordan, Gethsemane and Golgotha. If you don’t know the story go and look it up, you’ll find it in a few books by boys called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A good story it is. It’s about a man who knew his identity.
Identity is so important to us all. I had an interesting discussion with a friend the other night about this very subject. She works as an interviewer for some company and she told me that there is a new identity being used lately in the New North. She says more and more people are using the term “Northern Irish.”
What is even more surprising, she says, is that this designation is being used by what we would consider unionist people. Rory McElroy gave himself this designation when he was asked at the Ryder Cup was he British or Irish.
image source; www.ideachampions.com
There is rising in the Catholic community a similar sentiment. But this presents problems for those of us brought up in the Republican/Nationalist tradition. We feel to a certain extent that we are selling out on our principles and turning our backs on those who have fought for Irish freedom. I suppose, although I have no way of knowing this, that people of the Unionist tradition would also feel some inner turmoil about saying they are Northern Irish as well.
How do we reconcile this conflict within ourselves?
The Good Friday Agreement has given ownership of the New North to everyone in the community. Those who are still disgruntled by the peace process are either blind to what is going on or simply do not want to stop fighting.
The changes in our society are immense. Just read this from the BBC news on the internet:
“Members of the loyalist band filmed marching in circles outside a Catholic church in Belfast have been arrested.
The Young Conway Volunteers flute band were videoed playing contentious tunes outside St Patrick's Church in Donegall Street on 12 July.
Police said 11 males, aged between 15 and 42, were arrested on suspicion of provocative conduct. Three others were also interviewed by police.”
Now I am not gloating over the arrest of these people but I am saying that such impartial behaviour shows how far this community has come in upholding the rights of both sides.
My friend also said that the big fear in the Unionist people today is the fear of dominance by the Catholics. This is a perfectly reasonable fear in the circumstances and one that we have to constantly be aware of.
How do I as a Catholic/Nationalist/Republican square this circle? Actually I do it with ease.
I look at the Free State and can genuinely say that as presently constituted I would want nothing to do with it. Connolly and his friends must be turning in their graves.
The United Kingdom has begun the process of breaking up; the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly are taking more and more power into their own hands. Soon Scotland shall vote on independence and no matter what the outcome there is sure to be a weakening of the Union because of this event.
The Northern Ireland Catholic has a lot more in common with his Protestant neighbour than he realises. I believe that it is finally dawning on us all that our imagined homelands of Ireland and England do not really want us.
However, over the next fifty years there shall be big changes in these islands; changes forced upon us by economic realities and probably the breakup of the EU. The Northern Ireland Catholic and his Protestant counterpart shall be a considerable force in the shaping of the sort of Ireland that comes out of all this. History shows that Presbyterians with their natural emphasis on justice are good allies in times of turmoil.
Speaking for myself, I feel no guilt about saying that I feel comfortable in the New North. Rampant capitalism and secularism shall destroy our societies in the years to come. The divide between rich and poor will be magnified and social society shall slowly begin to disintegrate.
The moral vacuum created by secularism and the culture of death shall highlight the difference between believers and non believers. A society that makes immoral acts legal and sees pregnancy as a disease is on a slippery slope to nowhere. Violence against and control of the lower classes, with a corresponding disregard for human life, shall lead to a situation where the Christian message shall have real meaning again.
At the moment, the world lives as if it did not need God and we seem to believe that we shall never have to give an account of ourselves. This attitude is particularly prevalent in the Free State. In the north our bible believing protestant neighbours act as a counterbalance to this attitude.
I am coming to the conviction as I think of these things, that if Ireland is ever to be free in any meaningful way, that that freedom shall come from the North down. For any thinking republican, what exists in the Free State is an insult to the men who fought for freedom; you can’t be independent when you are running around with a begging bowl.
We are living in interesting times. The world has gone mad on secularism, most of the economies in the west are in crisis and still we plough on pretending nothing is wrong. Turkey is getting ready for war with Syria, a war that could destabilise the whole of the Middle East. Iraq and Afghanistan are basket cases because of western intervention, millions are going to starve this year because of increasing food prices and the headline news covered are stories about a dead DJ.
If the allegations against Jimmy Savile are true, then he was a bad man and his victims deserve sympathy, but as the world stumbles from one crisis to another we ignore what is going on and focus on the celebrity news.
And Andrew Marr did not rate Jerusalem, where a so called criminal was put to death, as one of the five most important places in world history. Have we gone mad? We measure our time as AD or BC, Anno Domini or Before Christ, and Andrew Marr does not rate him worth a mention. What a shambles! It’s enough to make a man take a heart attack.
You’d better be careful where you take a heart attack in Northern Ireland. The number of main hospitals is to be cut from ten to five. If you take a heart attack in the wrong place you’d be half way through your wake before the ambulance arrived. They’d probably try and resuscitate you just to make it look good. Fuel prices could also affect your chances.
Eighty two percent of Northern Ireland drivers have altered their driving habits as a result of the increase in the cost of fuel. So if you’re going to take a heart attack in the New “hospital free” North be sure to order an ambulance a day or two early or else make sure this totally unexpected event happens on a day when your spouse shall use the car to take you to hospital. You can’t be too careful you know!
Pink is the new Aristotle. Until today I thought pink was a colour, but, oh, how wrong a man can be.
Pink, it turns out, is a singer and a philosopher. Matthew Stadlen recorded an internet interview called “Five Minutes with Pink” in which she talks about her career and philosophy of life. In the interests of journalistic integrity I listened to the interview and all I can say is that I listened for 4 minutes and 59 seconds too long.
Eric Clapton is selling off the family silver. Well, the family paintings actually. He sold a painting by some bloke called Gerhard Richter for 21 million pounds last Friday. The work of art has been described as a 'masterpiece of calculated chaos,’ and the price is a world record for a living artist.
Here is something to think about, the world is in real chaos and we have people out there who have £21 million to spend on something that will hang on a wall. Strange world we’re living in!
But to me, it looks like a slop of paint thrown at a wall.
A bit like the inside of my head, really. Still, we live in hope and pray for better times ahead.
“Our God is a great God.”
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