Sunday, June 19, 2011

(May/Bealtaine 2011)

Never, in the history of public affairs in this country, have so many worthless clichés been showered on an unsuspecting population by so few shameless media hacks as last month, when the Head of State of Canada came to visit. Tripping over themselves to gush, whoop, tweet and twitter, slobber and simper, the Irish media luvees outdid themselves wallowing in a welter of wimpish royalist subservience not seen anywhere since the sunshine days of Louis XIV in Versailles.

Contorted Dublin accents from the nether end of the Royal Borough of Kingstown abounded as TV, Radio and “News”Papers indulged themselves in an orgy of obsequiousness and fawning apologias for our failures as a people to acknowledge the benefits of Empire disinterestedly bestowed upon us in the past and rejected 95 years ago by an inexplicable intransigence which we ought now be ashamed of. The history of Ireland was re-written on a daily basis as a parade of “expert” psychobabblers and royalist groupies were given free rein to propagandise their imperialist viewpoints across the airwaves and print media.

Now, the Queen of Canada may be a nice old lady with impeccable manners and welcome to drop in for a cup o’ tea anywhere, but, what she represents in her official capacity is a history of bloody conflict over more than a thousand years continuing up to the present day as her Royal Air Force bombs Libya on a daily basis even as she toddled around Dublin streets. No government of a supposedly neutral country, such as Ireland is officially proclaimed to be, should be inviting heads of state from countries directly and currently involved in armed conflict to come here while such conflicts are still going on.

It needs to be stated clearly that our state is in no way inferior to any other in this world in cognisance of the fact that armed force was required to affirm our people’s right to independence, democratic government and national sovereignty. The further fact that the occupation of our country for many centuries by a foreign power, which justified coercion on a regular basis to enforce its rule here with brutality and bloodshed, racism and genocidal murder, and which was not itself a democracy until 1918, the first year in centuries in which the Irish people had an opportunity to make a democratic decision on the destiny of their country, fully justifies the actions of James Connolly, founder of the Irish Labour Party, when he marched his men into the GPO in O’Connell Street in 1916 as Commandant General of the Armed Forces of the Irish People. Two years later, in the 1918 election, the expressed will of the Irish people was overwhelmingly supportive of national sovereignty and independence and complete separation from the coercive rule of the British Empire. As noted by Connolly, reactionary forces at the center of that Empire conspired to frustrate the will of the Irish people and impose, again by force and threat of “immediate and terrible war”, an unjust and regressive partition of our island which persists to the present day. This, as it continues, will define our relationship with Britain until it may be eliminated by future events.

The second official visit of the month was that of the Chief Executive of the United States of Debt, Mr Obama. In a 12-hour stopover on his way to a State visit to Britain, Mr Obama took time to visit the homestead of a remote Irish ancestor, as occupiers of the Washington White House are wont to do, coincidentally close to the time of presidential elections over there. In a rapidly produced series of photo opportunities quite clearly and cynically aimed at the Irish contingent of the American electorate, Mr Obama carried out his task with polish and aplomb and a fair amount of charm and toothy smiles. All style and no substance. Hours later,,in London, he was regaling the combined British parliamentary houses with his delight in the English heritage of his family; so much for the earlier paddywhackery. Mr Obama is the current Commander-in-Chief of military forces with the unenviable reputation of killing more people around the globe than the Nazi Reich did in WW2. He is currently involved in three major conflict zones with thousands of troops and spending billions of dollars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Yet our supposedly neutral country allows his military aircraft to land and rest at Shannon Airport and this has been going on since the start of the illegal Iraq war in 2003. Irish governments have tried to justify this shameful collaboration including the use of kidnapping and torture of so-called “enemy combatants” by the US military.

Despite a promise made by the new Fine Gael/Labour government which took office here in March, that international law would be enforced at Shannon Airport, Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced following a meeting with Mr Obama that there would be “no change” in the situation at the airport; a complete capitulation to the imperial interests of the USA. Controversy has now erupted following publication today in the “Irish Independent” of the Wikileaks cables from the US Embassy in Dublin concerning the Shannon Airport facility. The cables show a vacillating, dishonest Irish government seeking assurance from the US that they wouldn’t be caught out allowing uninspected “rendition flights” carrying torture victims of the US military to pass through Irish territory and airspace contrary to the Geneva conventions and international law on obligations of neutral states. For the first time in years, the issue was debated on RTÉ’s “Prime Time” current affairs programme where PANA international secretary, Dr Edward Horgan, a former Irish army officer, insisted that the government was in breach of its obligations under international conventions and that US military aircraft using Shannon should be inspected despite any diplomatic “assurances” from Washington, smiley Presidents or otherwise. (more articles on this later; see sidebar for link to PANA website).


In a week when the Government announces further new taxes and cutbacks for care workers, the spending of up to €30M on these jamborees is a scandal and an outrage. The disruption, for more than a week, of normal commerce and travel in our capital city totally unjustified as these VIP’s could have been transported by helicopters to wherever they wanted to go without stopping normal street traffic and public transport.

Áth Cliath/Dublin,
03 Meitheamh/June 2011.

(Delay in publishing new articles due to post editor fault on Blogger, not yet fixed, but seems to work ok on this computer).

Saturday, June 18, 2011