Poverty in life and poverty of spirit

I find that this article (The Upsetting Reality Of Modern Day Poverty.uploaded in an earlier Facebook  piece)) gives a clear , even bleak, introduction to what poverty means to many people. It set me thinking about poverty in Ireland and about the other problems we face and prompted me to push my ideas a bit further and try to clarify them.

I am speaking here of a poverty of thinking as well as a poverty of circumstances. I wish that those who pontificate about their respect for electoral mandates and their dedication to working for the people who elected them, will read this and then recalibrate the urgency required in forming a new government. You asked for a mandate to govern and implement your policies. No party has reached the line to implement their mandate so it is doubtful that your mandate now extends that far because a coalition, an inter-party, a partnership, or any other arrangement will of necessity limit your mandate. Perhaps it would be wise to temporarily interpret your mandate from your share of the electorate as instructing you to negotiate a part for yourselves and them in whatever arrangement is eventually adopted. Any expectations greater than that is pushing it and would appear somewhat arrogant or chancing your arm.

Don’t keep telling us that “the numbers” dictate that it has to be EITHER a Fine Gael OR a Fianna Fáil minority government supported by a few tame independents whom the winner hopes that they can buy off. That is wishful thinking. The “numbers” you speak of are just like squiggles and blobs on a page, like a Rorschach test, and of themselves they have little or no meaning, other than that the electorate is as confused as you are. We are all in new territory. And that requires working with a new map. Any psychologist using the Rorschach (or Inkblot) Test will tell you that a candidate, asked to describe what they see in the random shape of blobs in the picture, will project the contents of their unconscious mind onto the chaos they see and organise it into a picture that they recognise and feel comfortable with based upon the information in their unconscious mind (See note #1 below). Like seeing meaningful shapes in the random pattern of clouds in the sky or of tea leaves on a bottom of a cup. Other observers may decipher different shapes but of you are right – from your own viewpoint.

Our devoted public representatives, suckled for generations on the spiteful milk of unkindness curdled by begrudgery, fraternal strife, clientalism, and political inbreeding, and at the same time remembering with satisfaction the successes that were gained on different occasions in the past, are now looking hopefully into the chaos of the new parliamentary galaxy of stars, and are scanning hopefully the fortunes and recipes of yesterday. They are seeing only the patterns that worked for them in the past and that once helped them to hold on to power and achieve their goals. The Independents, the Alliances, and the embrionic Parties in today’s Dáil are behaving no differently.

four-of-cupsHas none of them the vision, the imagination, and the character to seize the moment? Is there no one with the courage to break new ground, to show us a new vision of society? A revolutionary vision that will respond to what the electorate is yearning for, a better Ireland, a fairer and more egalitarian Ireland that will treat all the children of Caitlín Ní Uallacháin, both young and old, equally. An Ireland which, though small and struggling, has the heart, the creativity, and the spirit to do better, even to taking its place among the Nations of the Earth?

We have done it before and we can do it again. Digging deep and remembering the richness that lies at the roots of our history, we know that the people of this island once played a crucial role when, together with the Greeks and Romans, they rescued Europe from the Dark Ages. As was pointed out in a recent documentary on RTÉ 1 which was presented by former President Mary McAleese, that period in our history is more appreciated and remembered by continental Europeans today than it is recognised by Irish people. At various stages over the centuries since then, our country has contributed in many and varied ways to the development of a unique culture and community that has not baulked at taking and holding a world view, and is now ranked as number one for our peace-keeping efforts under the United Nations. We have gained recognition from those who valued what our ancestors both recent and ancient have contributed on the world stage. In the past week, a documentary on RTÉ, described eloquently how the 1916 Rising had provided the inspiration for the people of India and Pakistan to fight for and assert their countries’ independence from the British Empire. A respect shown by the people of India and Pakistan which is considerably more real and appreciated by them than is our awareness of their gratitude.

We are at a strengthpoint now where we need to form a government. We need a period of stability but not the static equilibrium of a ladder leaning against a wall. We need the dynamic stability and balance of a body moving swiftly and adapting with awareness, intelligence, and co-ordination to meet our changing circumstances, like a thoroughbred horse under a skilful jockey, like a skier on an icy downhill run, or perhaps more aptly, like a bare-footed person picking their terrified way over red-hot coals!

To achieve that, both we and our representatives must move out of our respective comfort zones; we must inhabit the visions of our youthfulness and not linger with the consoling dreams of old age. Poverty of vision and lack of courage are not the coinage for the journey we must undertake. And undertake it, we must.



 

References

#1: If you are not familiar with the Rorschach Test, you might like to try a fun version available online at Rorschach (or Inkblot) Test (click here).  I hasten to add that the clinical version is for serious use, but don’t worry about this one. Nevertheless, if you understand how the test operates then you will have a clear understanding of what I mean above. These were my test results:

Test Results:

Congratulations! At a 49% “Sickness Quotient”, you’re almost well-adjusted.

Detailed Diagnosis

  • Interpersonal Insights
    You have trouble being friendly to others, especially people who hate your guts and want to hurt you. You complain about everything regardless of what it is. You wouldn’t be happy even if you were hit by a new car.
  • Job Performance & Attitude
    Your attitude towards work is that you could watch others do it all day long. Although your work can upon occasion be very good, remember that even monkeys can be trained to do what you do. And they don’t call in sick.
  • Personality Insight
    Your personal motto is “If you can’t make them think, make them wonder.” Trust us – you’ve succeeded beyond your wildest dreams.

 

 

 

General Election 2015. Questions to answer?

If you think negative thoughts then you will attract negativity to you. Yes, the situation is a total mess now, and merely talking and dreaming about it will not change it. Neither will old thinking and worn out ways change it. The Game is a rigged one and we are at present caught up in it. We can change that Game by changing the Story that holds the System together. The present story is based upon the belief that we, the people, need a small group of people to take charge of our country, and then, by merely waiting for them to deliver the future that they promised and not interfering, we will have solved every problem and we shall all be wealthy, and, of course, healthy, ever after.

Yes, the System is wobbling at present. Indeed, there are fears that the global Financial System is failing, just as the world’s Climate is changing. The lies and the faults are beginning to show that the old Story cannot be maintained; it is not the whole Story. But all that is being offered in General Election 2015 are a few small groups and individuals who are challenging the Old Guard yet they are not offering any new Story. Even if the old exploiters in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Labour are routed, what are the newcomers offering? Sexier versions of the old Story, is the kindest I can say. In brief, all any party is offering, is that if you support them and they get in, then you and your class/group/tribe/whatever will benefit and the losers will suffer. All based on the nonsense of living our lives as part of an economy. What is the economy? May as well call it the Swings and Roundabouts game! But no, have you not noticed that one section of the world’s society has been increasing its power and its wealth, whilst for the other side, poverty is increasing and so is the percentage of the population that is affected.

All my life I have seen efforts made, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, in Ireland and in other regions of the world, to “grow” the economy! Have you asked yourself for how long more can economies keep growing? Is it possible that one day our descendents will be living in economies where their weekly take home pay will be over €1 million???? What do you think would be the price of a loaf of bread then? Nonsense. This growth is happening only because a Story was created that we can have what we want, provided we use the Market based upon debt. To pay that debt, the Banks manufacture money out of paper and charge for that service. There was a time when bank notes were backed by an equivalent value in gold that could be claimed and redeemed on demand! Needless to say that part of the Story was changed very soon.

We are now being told that the way to grow our economy is by creating a magical circle or cycle, create jobs, negotiate or dictate (or even ‘set’, now that’s a nice word!) the least amount necessary to get people to take those jobs, then those on the receiving side, use that “money” to buy goods and services at an increasing rate, paying taxes, creating more jobs, etc. I am sure you have got the idea by now. In the past, the only thing that increased in that version of the Story is that the tiny percentage of people who are at the top of the pile, got smaller and wealthier, and the rest got poorer and larger. And so it is now also. Even the fairy story of the “trickle down” effect, is like some of the present advertisements for ladies toiletries on TV, and shows no sign of any trickles! This system has brought the planet Earth to its knees, It has consumed non-renewable resources, That is the system which has been growing since the Industrial Revolution but is now beginning to creak under the weight of the lies and fantasies that it carries. Have you yet asked yourself why no Irish political party or individual candidate for election has addressed the issue and stated the obvious?

Why has no party or individual candidate stated what “issue” and what is “obvious”? In November last, at the COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris, the Great and the Good from governments, global corporations, international institutions, and groups of environmental scientists, climatologists, presented a stark picture. Our current way of doing things on this planet is destructive, heading in the wrong direction, and if left unrestrained will lead within the next fifty years (the combined lifetime, by the way, of the next six full-term governments in Ireland) to the ‘tipping point’, or the point of no return, the point beyond which it will be beyond our control to stop an irreversible process leading to the destruction of life on this planet within the following century. Apparently we must prevent the average temperature across the globe from rising more that 1˚ or 2˚C before 2150. Some experts fear that we are on the way to a 8˚C ríse or even more. Perhaps, you should pause here to let that point sink in. And perhaps take a deep breath also.

Why then, if we have reached such a dangerous point, does no political party or candidate begin their manifesto by telling us how they, as representatives of the people of this country, are going to face that difficult period of thirty years now facing us? If they were honest and sincere when they agreed with COP21 and signed up solemnly “to do their bit” in averting that disaster, why are they not now putting forward coherent and interlinked policies for every area of government that will fall into place creating an integrated programme to tackle the real problems we are now facing?

 Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.

Taking some of the main headings used in the Election Manifestoes, what are the most important issues that must be addressed if we are to solve existing problems and, at the same time, address the global problems we are now facing?

 International role of Ireland

What part can we play in ensuring the safety of our own people in times of world conflicts? What role should we aspire to play on the international stage? Do we have a role in relation to citizens of other countries? We are told that our economy is the fastest growing in Europe; what are the implications of this for us vis-à-vis other European countries?

 Health

Climate change is going to create greater and more problems for our country as the climate changes. How are we going to cope with that? We have had patients on trolleys for over a decade now. What can we do over the next three decades to ensure the our health and illness system can cope with the anticipated changes in demand. What new threats are likely to emerge in that time. With climate change affecting the geography of the country, more flooding, rising tides, what use will “Centres of Excellence” be, if our entire transport systems, our roads, our countryside, prove inadequate to get people to these Centres? How do we “join the dots” to examine and resolve the various health crises and epidemics coming to awareness? Are we sure that the internationalisation of our diet, the increase in processed foods and meals, the use of more and more chemicals in the production of food to preserve the illusion of freshness, to increase shelflife, is not causing more problems than it is solving?

 Education

Successive government experts and propagandists have told us we have a highly educated and trained workforce. That may be true in cold statistics on a spread sheet, but we also know that technology is changing very quickly and that the life time of many skills, trades and professions is shortening. If a forty-year-old employee now becomes redundant how many of his/her skills are still relevant to the job market? What systems have we in place to upskill and re-educate people for new jobs, new technologies, new opportunities. In a society where the majority of population has been brainwashed into believing that learning more than one language is unnecessary, too difficult, or pointless, can we expect to communicate with a global market where there are customers who do not share those primitive and self-serving beliefs?

And what about access to education? Is our education system fit for purpose? Upon what assumptions is access to educational opportunities based? If couples wittingly or unwittinly are responsible for begetting children, does society have any obligation or responsibility in ensuring that each child is given equal opportunity to develop and make their own unique contribution to life and to society?

 Social Welfare

What is the relationship between the individual and society? Who decides the nature of that link? Why do we appear to believe that individuals are of value to society, and qualify for full membership, only when they have a defined “job”? Should every citizen be provided with a social “wage” to acknowledge them as a member of society, encouraged to find their own role and contribution in a non-defined or a defined way (such as a job, trade, profession) as their skills or talents lead them? How do we organise society in a way that encourages and promotes communities and groups as socially supportive and caring environments, independently of any other work or institutional role an individual may have.

The above items are just some of the initial questions and issues that I believe have to be asked of a new Government. If they don’t answer those questions then what is their framework for planning? But firstly it is essential that every individual ask and answer what it is that they want for themselves, for their families, for their communities. This year we are celebrating the 1916 Rising and commemorating what it means for us, as a people and as a Nation. Their proclamation at Easter 1916 implied a view of the kind of Ireland they aspired to. As each of those leaders was led or wheeled out to execution, I wonder how far they had gone in formulating their answers to these and similar questions before their execution. I also wonder have we yet earned the right to claim their inheritance as a republic by way of the answers we now seek.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight … R.I.P.

I would ask you, and others like you who claim this type of behaviour is acceptable, to consider the following, and perhaps, even more importantly, you might consider making appropriate reparations for the damage and pain and dishonour that you now have incurred.

You callously and coldly subverted local people to help you do something that you personally had neither the skills, the integrity, neither the moral nor ethical right, to do and then claim that it was all legal.

The laws of Nature, the process of evolution, are not fully understood by us humans, since we have over time developed the fanciful notion that we are separated from the rest of our relations on the planet, and that those laws do not apply to us.

Note: You may like to listen to this music while you read. Be sure to open the link in a new window (<alternative Click> and select <Open link in new window>):

1. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=XJuEuRCKq1s> (Ladysmith Black Mambazo)

2. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_LBmUwi6mEo> (The Tokens)

Open letter to:

Walter J Palmer, Dentist
10851 Rhode Island Ave. S
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55438

Topic: The killing of a much-loved Lion King in Zimbabwe, 2015.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Dear Walter Palmer,

Your recent exploits in Africa have been broadcast all over the Internet. I give you credit for not hiding behind anonymity and instead admitting what you did. Nevertheless that apology, though necessary in a civilised society, is totally inadequate.  I would ask you, and others like you who claim this type of behaviour is acceptable,  to consider the following, and perhaps, even more importantly, you might consider making appropriate reparations for the damage and pain and dishonour that you now have incurred.

  1. If you are the responsible hunter you claim to be, then “not realising” is not an option. You were killing for “sport”, or for some other known or unknown reason, because clearly you are in a lucrative profession and surely you did not kill for food.
  2. If you paid the park guides that much money to assist you in your work of desecration of Nature, then I can only presume that the high price you paid is a bribe, official or not. The park guides are also implicated in your crime. Just another example of how wealth corrupts and implicates others. Even though they were complicit in your appalling behaviour, how will they now fare as a result of taking your blood money?
  3. Why was it necessary to decapitate such a noble beast? A trophy for your unsated lust for violence? And skinned? I notice that many visitors to your web site suggested that skinning alive or dead would be too good for you. I would prefer to find out why you thought it necessary or desireable to slaughter that lion for “sport”, before agreeing with them. [Note that Walter Palmer’s Facebook page has been closed within the past few hours. A number of alternative “hate” pages have been lodged now.]
  4. The subtlety of your claim that the hunting trip was “legal” may satisfy your conscience, inured, as your country and American society, in general, continues to demonstrate, to the worship of guns and violence. Wake up, Walter! You no longer are a frontiersman committing genocide against the Indigenous people of your colonised land. You are a mindless, conscienceless, barbarian, destroying a creature whose DNA is similar and partly shared with you, and for what? Do you feel better from the experience? Did you participate in the skinning and beheading? Or did you, as a noble “White Hunter”, sit back and let the “Natives” do your bidding? I bet you hadn’t the courage to look that noble animal in the eyes when you killed him.
  5. Hired professional guides? Secured all proper permits? Nonsense! Lies! Perversion! You subverted local hunters who are paid to protect those lands, those threatened species. They surely were not permitted to kill that Lion. In fact the Safari Park officials have said the killing was illegal. What is “proper” about the permits you received? More legalistic nonsense and self-serving delusion.
  6. Your professional qualifications suggest that you are not an uneducated man. It is a blatant lie to say that the trip was “legal”, it is clear that it was not “properly handled” because of the bribes you paid, and it most certainly was not “(properly) conducted”. You are responsible for your actions. You are an unlicensed killer.
  7. You claim that you “had no idea that the lion (you) took was a known, etc.” When our hunting ancestors tracked their prey, they did so in a way that they first came to know as much as possible about their quarry. Their shamans advised them which quarry it was that they were permitted to hunt. They apologised to the generic spirit of the animal and thanked it for giving up its life for them. You broke that code. You severed the bond that humans once had with Nature. You should be excluded from decent human society till, like the scape-goat, you too die in the wilderness, alone and unloved. It is clear from the reports that the Lion in question was loved.
  8. You speak of your “regret that (your) pursuit of an activity (you) love and practice responsibly and legally” led to this result. What self-deluding, totally self-seeking, and irrational and fabricated nonsense! You callously and coldly subverted local people to help you do something that you personally had neither the skills, the integrity, neither the moral nor ethical right, to do and then claim that it was all legal.
  9. It is clearly to be inferred from the report of the statement made by Conservation Chief Johnny Rodrigues, that you were merely a bloodthirsty foreign tourist relying upon local professional hunters, seeking to sate some primeval lust lurking in your immature mind that would give you some expensive “kicks” to entertain you.
  10. It appears that those whom you bribed to collude with you may now face jail sentences. I will not comment upon this as your beloved Law must decide their fates. Would that you could be extradited to face the same charges. The honourable thing to do, of course, would be to return voluntarily and face the same laws that they now face. I am referring to the laws that you quoted in support of your right to hunt. The ZPHGA “insists” that Cecil, the Lion, “was killed illegally.” Just to remind you, “illegally” means that it was not done legally, despite your pathetic protestations to the contrary.
  11. Was the animal beheaded because you realised the significance of the GPS collar? I presume that with your privileged position and the wealth in your society in America, you will be aware of the significance of a GPS collar. Were you guiltily trying to destroy the evidence and cover up your own tracks as well as destroying the tracks of the Lion?
  12. The laws of Nature, the process of evolution, are not fully understood by us humans, since we have over time developed the fanciful notion that we are separated from the rest of our relations on the planet, and that those laws do not apply to us. So your killing of the Lion King will now lead inevitably to the destruction of his progeny by the new King. Such is the nature of the Lion. If you were the professional hunter you claim to be, then you would have been aware of that effect and the consequences of your actions. Would you wish to add the heads of those cubs to your trophy wall also? Really, Walter, you will have so many unsettling memories to deal with, I hope your nerves can handle it. It would be dreadful for your professional career as a dentist if you clients detected the slightest tremble in your hand. The eyes of that noble animal will forever seek yours now, asking you “Why”? Have you an honest answer that doesn’t depend on spurious legality and subverted testimony? May those eyes follow your movements now for the rest of your days, until eventually you too are tracked down and faced by the Grim Reaper, alone, defenceless, on some empty savannah plain of life, and meet your own pitiless karmic fate. As above, so below; as within, so without. So mote it be.

Cad atá le déanamh againn anois? Where do we go from here?

An tseachtain seo caite, do chaith mé roinnt ama ag faire a gcuid fianaise á thabhairt uathu ag na huaisle Enda Kenny, Pat Rabbitte, Joan Burton, Bertie Ahern, et al.,ós comhair an Choiste Dála.

Last week I watched some of the testimony given by Mr. Enda Kenny, Mr. Pat Rabbitte, Ms. Joan Burton, Mr. Bertie Ahern, et al.to the Dáil Committee.

Gaeilge (English version follows after the Irish version)

B’fhéidir gur rinneadh trácht ar seo le déanaí ach ní fhaca-sa é. An tseachtain seo caite, do chaith mé roinnt ama ag faire a gcuid fianaise á thabhairt uathu ag na huaisle Enda Kenny, Pat Rabbitte, Joan Burton, Bertie Ahern, et al.,ós comhair an Choiste Dála.

Agus mé im’ shaoránach ríméadach na tíre seo, do chuir sé clár ar mo chluasa ag éisteacht le, agus ag faire ar, a gcuid iompair ós comhair a gcomhghleachaithe, agus ba léir é go raibh siad ag tapaidh an deis chun “toghchánaíocht de réir an sean-nós” a chur ar siúl. Ní raibh ann dóibh ach ‘charade’, gnáthgheamaireacht na Dála. Bhí mé ag feitheamh, agus ag súil, le réimiúlacht, le meas, agus le humhlaíocht. Dhéanfadh leath-‘apologia’ an ghnó, fiú leithscéal ón gcroí.

Tháinig an smaoineamh chugam: “Níl san ócáíd seo ach cluiche dóibh, iad cosúil le páistí seanchríonna, agus iad ag ligint orthu gur daoine fásta iad, fad is atá siad ag magadh faoinár n-institiúidí, gan ar bun acu ach iarraim cúis ar nós matadóra. Ni hea, ach ar nós fir sorcais ag ligint orthu gur matadóirí iad. Ní raibh san éisteacht seo de réir dealraimh ach cró sorcaise. Bhí áiméar ar fáil dóibh an bhinnbharraíocht a bheith acu ar duine agus fonóid a dhéanamh faoi dhuine eile. Ócáid dóibh chun a lucht leanúna a mhúscailt, saillte le dea-chaint, amhail is gur orthusan a bhí an cáipéis.

Bhí mé am shamhlú go raibh cailíní deasa ar an maide luascáin, go raibh fir cróga ar an sreang ard, agus, cinnte, ba chóir go mbeadh ‘pierrot’ ann. Fir sorcais i ndáiriíre, agus deor ollmhóir ar a leiceann acu agus iad ag déanamh trua don chine daonna faoi fhulaingt do-inste. Ach, tada le feiscint. Ní duine sorcais le croí óir a bhí os ár gcomhair amach, ní raibh grá ná trua le feiscint ann. Ní raibh ann ach dróid-anna nua-aimseartha amháin, Daleks na Dála, agus caint an gheilt á chogaint acu. Ba mhaslach a gcuid cainte agus iad gealsúileach agus tom-eireaballach, ag tabhairt masla do mhuintir na tíre seo atá ag fulaingt go huafásach faoina réimeas, muintir a bhfuil deacair orthu foighneamh lena ngréasán bréag, lena bhfeall ar iontaoibh, agus lena seápála.

Ach gan amhras ní raibh na daoine atá faoin fhulaingt is mó feasach faoin bhfeic náisiúnta seo ar raidió agus ar teilifís. Bhíodar ag codail amuigh ar an sráid agus faoin sceach, ag maireachtáil i lóistíní sealadacha. Nó faoi fhulaingt sa bhaile, gan dóthain airgid acu , gan teas, gan solas, gan bia, gan sólás. Nó ag faire ar glao Skype ó aird i gcéin chun a chlann páistí a fheiscint, chun a chéile a chloisteáil, daoine a ligeadh le sruth mar chacamas le sruth dramhaíol as obair dramhaíola na tíre seo chun áit a chur in áirithint don Déine. Don diabhail le clár damanta na Déine!!

Ach fós anois, agus na hócáidí á leanúint agam ar nuacht an lae, agus na pobalbhreitheanna ag teacht ar shála a chéile, cuireann sé iontas an domhain orm faoi chad atá i ndán dúinn. Tá dian-rialú ann ag na Deasaigh anois, agus iad tacaithe le hairgead a ghoideadh, agus le cambheartanna sracaidh leathdhleathacha a bhí dlisteanaithe ag rialtas i ndiaidh rialtais thar na blianta. Tá an Ceartlár plódaithe leis an iomarca polaiteoirí ainléanta atá deamhéineacha agus garúla agus iad ag iarraidh greim a fháil ar sopanna agus ar gearróga an daonlathais. Agus na Ciotaigh, cosúil le Néandertálaigh i bhfolach ó na dineasáir caipitlíocha atá ar díbheargach ar machairí móra na hÉireann, tá na Ciotaigh ina bpluaiseanna díospóireachta, ag míníneacht, ag cur faobhar ar bioranna oighir, agus ag beartú conas ar féidir leo, cosúil le madraí, na conablaigh curtha de láimh ag sealgairí vóta níos éifeachtúla ná iad féin a chosgairt. Meascadh bróid bhréagaigh ar bhonn prionsabal amhrasacha, éide nua don Impire snite as bréaga, as calaois agus deartha ag claonbholscairí. Sea, is soiléir anois é, go bhfuil toghachán ag teach chugainn anois, in éineacht leis an ngnáth-bhús! Tuigim, a Yeats Uasal, beidh “the catch-cries of the clowns” againn, mar aon leis.

Ach an bhfuil sé riachtanach go dtitfidh sé amach mar sin? Cad is tuairim duit faoi? Fad is atá guth fós againn, ar bheartaigh tú conas a gcaithfidh tusa do guth? In ionad a bheith ag glamaíl ar an ngealach agus tú ag súil go haonarach le macalla glaime a cloisint ar ais, an bhfuil dóthain suime agat ann, an bhfuil an ‘nous’ ionat, an bhfuil tú cróga go leor chun an fód a sheasamh? Chun an fhírinne a rá, táimse in amhras faoi, agus fúm féin chomh maith. Dá mbeadh caoi agam air anois, “I would arise and go now, and go to a little Greek island”, chun mo shaol a chaitheamh i gcomhluadar le daoine a bhfuil meas acu ar a ndéithe, ar a stair, ar a dteanga, agus ar a gcultúr. Ach ní bheidh an caoi agam é sin a dhéanamh. B’fhearr liom fanacht anseo in Éirinn. Is i mo thír dhúchais í. Is oth liom é a rá, áfach, ach ní bheimid in ann tada a dhéanamh chun an tír áluinn seo a chur le chéile arís go dtí go ndéanfaimis tarrtháil ar spiorad na tíre seo, ar spioraid na ndaoine. De réir dealraimh, níl meas muice ag formhór na ndaoine anois ar ár n-oidhreacht, mar Ghaeil, ar na bunphrionsabail a cheangal an pobal le chéile in aghaidh ár namhaid san am atá thart. Cinnte ní foláir dúinn ár n-aigne a dhíriú ar sin agus 2016 ag teacht in ionad Disneyland bréag-Gaelach a thógáil ós cionn uaigheanna ár muintir is ár laochra.

English

Perhaps this has already been commented upon and I missed it. Last week I watched some of the testimony given by Mr. Enda Kenny, Mr. Pat Rabbitte, Ms. Joan Burton, Mr. Bertie Ahern, et al.to the Dáil Committee.

As a proud citizen of this country, I felt deeply offended by their attitude towards the questioning, their general behaviour towards their peers, and their obvious seizing of the moment for “d’oul bi’ of electioneering”.  The whole thing was just a charade for them, the usual Dáil circus. I waited and waited for dignity, respect, and humility. Even half an apology from the heart.

I thought: “This is a just a game for them, like precocious children playing at being adults, mocking our institutions, trailing their coats like matadors. No, like clowns in a circus pretending to be matadors. It was a circus to them. It was an opportunity to gloat and deride. A time to stir up their followers with their witty barbs and pretence at being responsible.”

There should have been beautiful girls on the trapeze, men with courage on the high wire, and of course, there should have been clowns. Real clowns, with a giant tear on their cheeks in their pity for suffering humanity. But, no. These were no clowns with a heart of gold, who love humanity and who pity it. These were mere clown droids, Dáil Daleks, muttering insanities. Their wide-eyed bushy-tailed efforts at humour were an insult to the people of this country who have suffered terribly under their reign, who have put up with their lies, their deceits, and their posturing.

The people they have hurt most, were probably not aware of this national spectacle on television.They were sleeping rough, living in temporary accommodation. Or suffering at home, without enough money for heat or light or food or comfort. Or waiting for a Skype call to see their children, their husbands or wives, who were flushed like shite out of the sewer jobs of this country to make a home for Austerity. Austerity be damned.

But yet, as I follow events in the news, listen to the polls, I wonder. The Right is in tight command now, supported by stolen money, barely legal extortion rackets legitimised by our Governments for years. The Centre is crowded with well-meaning political illiterates who are grasping for the straws of democracy. And the Left, like Neanderthals hiding from the dinosaurs who maraud on the plains of Ireland, they are hiding in their caves of debate, splitting hairs, sharpening their ice-picks, and planning on how they can live off the carcases left behind by more efficient hunters of votes. A mixture of false pride in debatable principles, a new garment for the Emperor spun from lies, deceits and designed by spin doctors, yes, it is clear, that there is an election coming down the road, with all the razamatazz that comes with it. Yes, Mr. Yeats, there will be the catch-cries of the clowns, as well.

But does it have to be like that? What do you plan to do? While we still have the Vote, have you decided how you will vote? Instead of howling at the moon in the lonely hope of hearing howling echo back to you, have you enough interest, enough nous, enough courage to speak up? Quite honestly, I doubt it. I doubt that I am ready for the struggle. If I had the chance, I would arise and go now, and go to a little Greek island, to live among people who have respect for their gods, their history, their language, and their culture. But I do not have that chance. I prefer to stay here in Ireland. I was born and reared here. It is my home. I am sorry to say, however, we can do nothing to restore our beautiful country until we salvage what we can from the wreckage we have left behind us, the spirit of a country, the spirit of its people. It appears that most of the population couldn’t care less about our heritage, as a Gaelic people, about the basic principles that united the people in the face of the enemy in times past. Certainly we will need to direct serious attention to this area with 2016 getting closer by the day. Especially if we do not wish to erect a pseudo-Irish Disneyland over the graves of our ancestors and our heroes.

William Butler Yeats: 150th Anniversary of his birth on 13th June, 2015

Yeats’ writing addressed not only the Irish situation but, drawing upon the mythology of the world, his poetic scalpel dissected global issues.

Yeats in his time also saw Ireland as an accessible model of the world’s situation.

Horseman pass byToday is an important day. All this week we in Ireland have been celebrating, talking and thinking about his work, but today, Saturday 13th June, 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Butler Yeats. I make no pretensions to be a poet, and when the truth is told, I struggle to feel the unwritten power between the lines of any poet’s work. But for some reason I cannot explain, I have always been drawn to the work of Yeats. I have no difficulty even now, three score years after I sat in my secondary school desk, in remembering the poems of Yeats, and in moments of doubt and trepidation it is strange how easily his words slip quietly into my mind.

Yeat was an Irish poet, a Nobel Laureate and one of the four such Laureates about whom our small country, but great nation, boasts. Yeats’ writing addressed not only the Irish situation but, drawing upon the mythology of the world, his poetic scalpel dissected global issues. In particular, I sense that his comments upon the emerging Irish State in the early 1900s, are still fresh and true, not only about Ireland today, but they also give us a poet’s insight into the universality of the human condition.

Just as Pierre Turquet in the 1960s suggested that the situations then emerging in Ireland and in South Africa offered a laboratory of social change that the world could well benefit from, Yeats in his time also saw Ireland as an accessible model of the world’s situation. After the relentless viciousness of the Anglo-Irish war that followed the Rising in 1916 and eventually gave way to the Treaty of 1922 and ironically ended with the Civil War, Yeats wrote:

“We are closed in, and the key is turned

On our uncertainty; somewhere

A man is killed, or a house burned,

Yet no clear fact to be discerned.”

Surely, if the hearts and spirit of those who, in increasing numbers around the world, are fleeing persecution and manic ideology, were aware of those words of Yeats, they would resonate in sympathy. Yeats not only saw clearly into the heart of such a situation, he also showed some of his own despair with what was happening:

“We had fed the heart on fantasies,

The heart’s grown brutal from the fare;

More substance in our enmities

Than in our love … “

Having immersed myself in Irish politics in my younger days, devouring the works of Karl Marx and James Connolly, I spent most of my working life outside Ireland and had the good fortune to find work in different countries, with different cultures and different histories. Nevertheless, I became increasingly concerned with the story line that I saw emerging, a story line that said:

  • The world is a violent place that is evolving from violence and must live with violence
  • Ruling classes always use violence to enforce their will; those who are oppressed by them must needs overthrow them with violence
  • Sir James G. Frazer described Magic and Religion as a cultural story or a dream-world within which human beings live their lives. Again violence was a central warp thread in the story that he wove.

Yeats painted a picture of what he saw, and truly, we can see the same picture around the world today. A shared story is still ruling people’s lives and our lives are rounded with that dream:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all convictions, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.”

When I examine what I have learned so far in my life, I see the relevance of what Albert Einstein once said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” I think that Yeats’ despair at what he saw reflects the same thinking. Our only chance of getting out of the spiral dance of violence which is leading us to the destruction of our world, is not to fight our way with violence, but to open our hearts to the silence within, the silence of Spirit, and ultimately to wake from the dream that confines us. We have a chance to write a new story, a story with a happy ending. Then we might turn to those great minds that have led us there and salute them with the words of the Great Man whose birth we celebrate today:

“What they undertook to do

They brought to pass;

All things hang like a drop of dew

Upon a blade of grass.”