Archive for August 4th, 2005

Busting A Prayer

In these dark days, I find solace in the words of renowned poet Stanley Kirk Burrell.

On a mission start to doubt.here we go
(That’s word,we pray)
Kicking back,read these words we need to know
(That’s word,we pray)
Living high,living good,living long
(That’s word,we pray)
Take a minute,bust a prayer
And you’re good to go

Hanif Kureishi on the ‘fundamentalists’ of Whitechapel and Shepherd’s Bush:

What did disturb me was this. These men believed they had access to the Truth, as stated in the Qur’an. There could be no doubt – or even much dispute about moral, social and political problems – because God had the answers. Therefore, for them, to argue with the Truth was like trying to disagree with the facts of geometry. For them the source of all virtue and vice was the pleasure and displeasure of Allah.

And via Eamonn McCann in today’s Tele: The Presidential Prayer Team.

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Tiocfaidh ar Blah-di-Blah

Now that the end has come, it looks like it’s time to justify the means.

Some dude claimed today on Slugger O’Toole that the IRA ‘had a whole lot to do with the progress Catholics have made here over the past twenty five years’. When I offered advice to the person making the observation to the effect that he should rethink his remarks, I got the following from another commenter:

Have you ever lived in the North? It’s by no means an uncommon view among nationalists that the only reason we have the range of equality measures etc that we do is the IRA’s campaign and the international spotlight it cast on the discrimination practices by all aspects of the state and unionist society against the nationalist community here.

Sometimes I wish that being a Northern Catholic was like playing the harpsichord: something you could simply give up and you would be unlikely to get bothered about ever again. But the tiresome question of credentials, of permission to tell things how you see it, inevitably surges forth when you offer an opinion that could be seen as critical of other Northern Catholics/Nationalists/Papists. Another thing I can’t abide is when people talk about Northern Nationalists in 1st person plural, as if they were some homogeneous horde of clench-fisted papists, bloodied but unbowed. ‘We’ are like this, ‘we’ think this. We my hole. Sometimes it feels like this is an inverted colonial practice e.g:

“The native is lazy.”

“We aren’t lazy; quite the opposite actually – we enjoy working as slaves.”

In some instances, when you actually do offer your own opinion, based on what you have experienced and seen with your own eyes, rather than read about or seen on Scene Around Six, you are told things such as ‘your status as a Northern Catholic has clearly not provided any insight into republican communities’ (as I got told today), or ‘you fail to see the violence in context’ (as I got told another day) as if there were some metaphysical outer space from which you could form a totally objective view of the matter.

But you should strive towards objectivity, even if you don’t always get there. So I wonder: given the IRA’s own reasons for existence – say the creation a 32 county socialist republic for Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter alike – shouldn’t its achievements thus far be judged in terms of what it has done for Protestants, Catholics and Dissenters, whether in the North or on the whole island of Ireland?


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