25 February, 2006

Love Dublin

From BreakingNews.ie

10:59:07 "… Willie Frazer has played down fears that the march will provoke violence, saying: 'The Gardaí are more than capable of policing parades… and if there’s trouble that’ll be up to the Gardaí to deal with, and they will deal with it, irrespective of who it comes from.'"

14:57:54 "…The organisers of the ‘Love Ulster’ parade have cancelled the event following violent clashes on O’Connell Street in Dublin."


Was the March intended to contribute to a lasting peace in Northern Ireland? I doubt it. Echoes of the Dublin Bombings all over again in this pic of a car on fire on Nassau Street from Indymedia. Thankfully nothing that bad from what I’ve heard so far. Not much fun being in town with the kids, so without much information about what was going on we headed as far away from the action as possible. Shops were pulling their shutters down, and it was time to leave.

Report of chairs being thrown through the windows of the Progressive Democrats Headquarters on South Frederick Street. Possibly the same chairs that Pat Rabbitte and Enda Kenny used for their phot-op at Dunne and Crescenzi a few months previously. Speaking of which, whatever happened to that Programme for Government that they were working on, or was it all froth from their cappuccinos?

Meanwhile I’m wondering how the Garda Reserve would have handled today’s disturbances. I’m sure some of the rank and file at work today would have appreciated some back-up.

07 February, 2006

Publish and Perish

Joe Duffy hosted a great old rant on the subject of cartoons about Mohammad yesterday on RTE Radio One. However I came across a similar rant from the US Senate some time ago:

“I do not blame people for being outraged and angered, and they should be angered at us, unless we do something to change this. If this continues and if this goes unrectified, where will it end? They will say, "This is free speech." Well, if you want free speech, you want to draw dirty pictures, you want to do anything you want, that is your business, but not with taxpayers' money.” That was Senator Alfonse d’Amato speaking about the artist Andres Serrano’s work entitled “Piss Christ” back in 1989. Incidentally ‘Serrano’ draws a blank today from the search engine on the US National Endowment of the Arts website today.

Closer to home, no doubt Frank Duff and the League of Decency would have got annoyed by such things in their day. Burning down embassies brings things to another level, but feelings run high when you feel that your country or religion is under attack, as Jim Tunney pointed out after the Burning of the British Embassy in Dublin subsequent to Bloody Sunday back in 1972. I can only imagine that the militants now attacking Danish embassies are venting their rage against the occupation of Iraq, and the civilian deaths that have occurred.

We should be careful not to be smug about democratic freedoms here, or elsewhere in Europe. It’s not that long ago when women had to wear the mantilla in order to receive communion in the Catholic Church. I don’t think the Mohammad cartoons should have been published, simply out of respect for a religion that sees it as blasphemous to depict a likeness of the prophet. Interesting to see that the Jyllands-Posten had previously declined to publish some Jesus cartoons as they might have offended some readers. In the end it comes down to respect. You might not agree with someone’s views, but perhaps respect is needed in order to engage with an opposing view. Cooling down the argument can lead to dialogue and informed debate.

Oh, and the illustration: It is an extract from the 4th prize winner's entry in the Kids Council Arts Competition run by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. It’s a drawing by Abdul Hadi of the Muslim National School, Roebuck Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14.