by Turlough Quinn
(29th July 2012)
I have a problem with the British. I can’t figure out whether to hate them or to love them. Sometimes they would put your head away, especially when they win something, (God help us if Murray ever wins Wimbledon) other times they do something that makes you proud of them.
The opening of the 2012 Olympics was one such moment that you thought “Maybe the Sasanach are not all bad.”
First the negative; David Beckham drove a boat carrying the Olympic torch down the Thames. Big deal! Who really cares about David Beckham? What did he ever do other than marry Posh Spice and score a few goals for a second rate national team?
Put against this the positive; the music that Britain gave the world, the industrial revolution, Mr Bean, James Bond and a queen who can jump out of a helicopter. Now these are what put the “great” in Great Britain.
The opening ceremony was a good show. No doubt about it.
singing at the London 2012 Olympics
Who is Emeli Sandé? I never heard of her until she stood up to sing “Abide With Me” on Friday night. The announcer called on the people in the stadium to pause for a moment’s reflection and remember those who could not be there through sickness or death. While Ireland races headlong into atheism and secularism Britain, “pagan Britain,” as we were brought up to believe, is still proud of its Christian roots. There’s hope for us yet.
surrounded by cemetery
Remembering our dead is a good thing. We all attend cemetery Sunday in our parishes as we recall those we have loved and who have gone before us.
We might soon have more dead to remember.
According to reports on Friday, we in Northern Ireland are getting a new “super-dooper” IRA. This new army is made up of three dissident groups whose names are not worthy of publishing. Are they mad?
If you are like me and were born in the early fifties, you have lived through the whole of the troubles in this wee country. We all have good friends and neighbours who got caught up in the fighting and we have walked behind enough coffins.
“Mr Hooded Man, the war is over!! Go and get a life!!”
Thomas McKearney, a republican of impeccable credentials, said an insightful thing on television one evening; “Republican violence has always been in response to British oppression.”
Sir Edward Carson.
Signing of Ulster Covenant.
Belfast City Hall. 1912
There can be no doubting that from the 1920s till Stormont was unceremoniously closed down in front of their eyes, that the Unionist party ran Northern Ireland as a Protestant club. But those days are gone. A better educated Catholic community, more wealthy and more middleclass shall not be humiliated again by unionism. Those days are gone.
This new ira (I won’t dignify them with capital letters) are people of hate. Whether we liked to admit it or not, most of the men who fought from 1969 believed they were fighting for a just cause. And history has proved them right. But the war is over.
Another point, one which uncle Ché forgot to his cost, a guerrilla army needs the support of the community from which it operates. While many of us did not give the IRA full support, enough people gave them tacit support to allow them to function adequately.
There is not enough injustice in Northern Ireland now to justify the taking up of arms, if ever there was.
I have a hard question for you.
If you knew today that a Catholic lad who had joined the PSNI in good faith, to better himself and to help the community, was about to be shot by this new grouping, would you close your eyes to it or lift the phone?
I wouldn’t face God with his death on my hands. I may not have thought like that in the past, but I am getting older and thinking more of my judgement. I see life as more valuable now. I’m not so big headed anymore.
Kieran Stapleton does not like men with big heads. He told a court in Manchester that “He had the biggest head” was the reason he picked Anuj Bidve from a group of students to shoot on Boxing Day. “Give me 65 years,-I’m not bothered” he said in court. The judge wouldn’t please him. He said Stapleton should be inside for 30 years before being considered for parole.
Stapleton even had a teardrop tattooed on his cheek to feign sadness. Perhaps our new “ira” should spring him from prison.
from Middle East
Talking of springing, I see Barclays has sprung into the news again. This time they hid evidence of shady dealings at the bottom of the annual accounts. It seems that Barclays needed to raise £2 billon in a hurry and borrowed it from their friends in the Middle East at a much higher rate than they could have done at home.
Enter Amanda Stavely of PCP Capital Partnership, and Sheik something or other from Qatar who received, wait for it, £40 million and £110 million respectively in fees. Now that’s a good days pay if you can get it.
Greed and the desire for power are awful things. In a way we are lucky that we are Joe Nobodys. I wouldn’t want to judge these people too harshly. What way would we react if we were offered a large pot of gold for a little work?
We talk ourselves into some handlings in life. We have all done it. We have promised what we could not deliver, or told lies to justify our positions, so we are in no real position to shout and squeal at others. That’s why there is something really offensive about the delight of the Dublin papers in the demise of the Quinn family.
Ok, so they did wrong. Fine them, send them to the clink or whatever you want to do. But the gloating is out of line. What is it about human nature that we want to mock people? Sean Quinn was a great man when he was giving employment to thousands of people. Ask them if they would mock him. I bet not. Many of these people are now unemployed and having big difficulty paying their bills.
A cartoon from The Irish Times,
July 9th 1983.
Not much Rock N' Roll there.
I heard Sean Quinn being interviewed on Sunday afternoon on RTE news. If you were watching your family be stripped of everything and seeing your life’s work being taken from under your eyes, what would you do? Sean Quinn a brilliant entrepreneur and employer finishing his life on the dole!
Not much unemployment in China. Seems that the locals are beginning to flex their muscles over there. On Saturday the Chinese called off the building of an industrial waste pipeline after protests by local people that saw them taking over government offices and turning over a few cars.
By coincidence the protests were taking place about the same time as Boris Johnston was stating unambiguously on BBC that the London ceremony was much better than the one in Beijing four years ago. Boris, with his dishevelled blond hair reminds me of a weird science teacher.
On the subject of teachers, John O’Dowd, minister for education in the Puppet Parliament wants to make himself feel important so he decides on a new idea; hold teaching disciplinary hearings in public.
What is this obsession that everything has to be done in public? “Transparency” I hear you cry. Yes, transparency is fine—as long as it applies to someone else. What if it was you who was being held up to such public scrutiny? Would you be safe in your job?
After four years Sean Fitzpatrick, Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan are soon to come under a bit of scrutiny. They have been charged with sixteen offences under the Companies Act and each offence carries a maximum of five years in prison.
Now let’s count that, 16X5, that’s eighty years. Hmnn, Sean and Willie are in their sixties. They’ll never do it. Ah well, they’ll do what they can!
A fleet of Fleet Street hacks were paraded into court in England last week. David Cameron’s spin doctor, Andy Coulson, and his former dinner partner, the red headed Rebekah Brooks were among eight people charged with various offences relating to the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World.
It will be strange for them to have their lives pulled apart in public. Usually they do it to others secure in the understanding that Fleet Street never turns on its own. But those days are gone.
The Ministry of Defence has lost a forklift, worth £35,000, from Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn. They have also lost a set of night vision goggles and dental hygiene equipment. Perhaps some soldier with an obsession for clean teeth wants to move a bit of muck at night. You never know. But its in the paper so it must be true.
What is all this obsession with openness? Everyone wants to know everyone else’s business but no one wants their business shouted from the rooftops. How many of us would stand up to scrutiny? How long would someone really be prodding at your life before you would become defensive? Doesn’t bare thinking about, does it.
Yet in our hearts we know that we are all going to be judged. We may deny it, we may ignore it but deep down, way down where there is only me and my conscience, I know that I will have to give an account of my life and I dread that moment.
This judgement can only come after death because we don’t remember three quarters of the little wrongs we have done. We remember the big ones; they never leave our mind. The handiest way around all this is to say there is no God, and then you don’t have to worry about anything.
The only problem that could arise then is that our poor atheist dies and finds there is a God.
“Oh, I never believed in you. You can’t judge me. I don’t recognise this court,” says our atheist friend.
“Don’t worry,” says God, “you’ll recognise the sentence!”
Singer with his equals.
On the subject of atheists, have you heard about Peter Singer who has been made a Companion of the Order of Australia. Peter Singer is a noted Australian philosopher who has some weird beliefs. He teaches that a healthy pig has more right to life than a sick child and that a cost analysis should be made to decide if a person is worth keeping alive when they are sick. He also says that people do not have the right to life any more than an animal.
For all this nonsense he has been given Australia’s highest award. That’s where the atheist is heading, a place where we are all animals and people are as dispensable as a sick dog.
Christopher Hitchens, one of Britain’s best known atheists died earlier this year. He was rabid in his hatred of God. Born into a devout Church of England family he was married in church, and did not become an atheist till his twenties. A few years ago Hitchens was diagnosed with cancer. Jeremy Paxman interviewed him for Newsnight in April past. Hitchens looked old and sick. They spoke frankly about life and death.
“If you find out that there is life after death, what will you think?” Paxman asked.
“I will be pleasantly surprised,” replied an obviously chastened Hitchens.
Isn’t it amazing, when we recognise our own mortality, how we all mellow?
Alas, our life is a challenging one, isn’t it? Do you realize that our generation is the first to have so much data to sift through? Not only do we have to worry about our problems, our families’ issues, friends and neighbours...but the entire world’s problems are provided to us “real time” for those blessed (or cursed) with a “Smart Phone”.
If only more people would “just turn it off!” and “go out and actually spend time talking with your spouse, children, neighbours,” life would become more tangible, meaningful and enjoyable.
“Our God is a great God.”
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