Notes on “Holiday Camp”

Butlin's Mosney, County Meath, Ireland was the...
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[This is a response to the Support the reopening of Mosney Holiday Camp group on Facebook, which I came across via this post on The Antiroom. Apparently there is a character limit on Facebook wall postings. I had no idea.]

People say they simply support the reopening of Mosney Holiday Camp and that this has nothing to do with racism. I beg to differ. What was once Mosney Holiday Camp is now the highly unsatisfactory (to say the least) home for hundreds of asylum seekers.

It seems fairly clear to me, then, that people are calling for its reopening because they like the idea of returning to a time when there were no asylum seekers there.

That means the expulsion of these people from what passes for their home.

If this page were advocating both the closure of the current facility at Mosney and the abolition of the state structures that require all these holding centres across Europe, and in its place, among other things, the liberation of those asylum seekers to pursue a productive and happy life on this island and the creation of a holiday camp to be enjoyed by all, then I might even considering supporting it.

But it is plainly visible to me that this is not what is being advocated here.

As far as I can see, the basic desire is for the state to expel those asylum seekers whom they deem to be scroungers, liars, and so on and so forth.  I suggest that the attitude expressed toward the asylum seekers in Mosney, and their concerns relating to the Mosney site, is not limited merely to the human beings who are confined there, but that it reflects their view with regard to other people living in Ireland who are not Irish citizens.

We can see view this clearly expressed repeatedly in the assertion that ‘we have to look after our own first’. Most disturbingly, this view that ‘we have to look after our own first’ is being openly and proudly declared by someone who works in the health system. So I would like to explore what this ‘we have to look after our own’ actually means in practical terms.

Suppose I go abroad with my family to Spain and my child falls gravely ill and requires urgent treatment. But he fails to receive that treatment, because the hospital, following the law of the land, operates according to the principle that resources must be allocated to Spanish citizens before anyone else, because they pay their taxes, there is massive unemployment, and you can’t expect hard-pressed Spanish taxpayers with mortgages to be paying for the treatment of sick Irish children.

Most reasonable people would recognise this as racism: a realisation of the idea that what defines whether or not you can enjoy basic entitlements is blood lineage.

Now, it so happens that we have a state system that does just that: it says, depending on where and to whom you were born, we shall decide whether or not you have a right to x, y, and z.

But the fact that that system exists does not make it just.

To complicate things, this state system demands our loyalty. In school and in cultural productions and even advertisements, we are led to believe that there is something essentially important and unique about who ‘we’ are that needs to be preserved, even if it violates basic principles of human solidarity.

Well, there isn’t.

If I’m a paramedic and I come across two victims of a road traffic accident, do I look for a passport to see which one I attend to first? Should I contact the hospital to check the number of Irish vs. non-Irish people occupying beds to see whether they can be admitted?

Most people will answer ‘of course not’, but many, among them people contributing to this site, are applying this principle to the provision of protection, shelter and a dignified existence.

‘Looking after our own first’: I would like to ask people to consider what NAMA stands for: National Asset Management Agency. This is an agency, created by the government, on behalf of the nation, which protects the interests of a few rich investors, while the rest of the population suffers deprivation and hardship: crumbling schools, deplorable hospitals, slashed welfare payments.

That’s where your ‘we have to look after our own first’ gets you.

‘We have to look after our own first’ gets you €22 billion into Anglo Irish Bank to line the pockets of a few rich fuckers.

Have you any idea what €22 billion will buy you?

For starters, it’d buy you 244 years of maintaining the existing asylum process. But there are far better uses for it than spending it on racialising the population even further.

The whole thing’s a massive fraud, people.

You pay your taxes to maintain a state that expropriates you, drives your wages and living standards down, turns your children into obedient fools, but you think you’ll get a bit of respite by hoping it’ll pick on someone weaker instead.

If you’re really interested in ‘looking after your own’, then START TREATING THESE PEOPLE AS YOUR OWN, and not the rich Irish people laughing all the way to the bank as you spend your time rounding on the weakest people on this island.

That’s it.

One final thing: I want to distance myself in these criticisms from the class condescension on display in the language used by others who are objecting to your page. I’m not writing this because I think you’re ‘scangers’ but because you’re wrong.

Dead wrong, and I implore you to think again.


6 Responses to “Notes on “Holiday Camp””

  1. 1 coc July 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I’m not into that whole fuckface thing myself so can’t support you there, but well said, nonetheless.

    Two small additional comments on what you’ve said:

    If I’m a paramedic and I come across two victims of a road traffic accident, do I look for a passport to see which one I attend to first? Should I contact the hospital to check the number of Irish vs. non-Irish people occupying beds to see whether they can be admitted?

    Of course not, but if it’s not too dark to judge the skin colours of the victims you might be able to decide on that basis?

    If you’re really interested in ‘looking after your own’, then START TREATING THESE PEOPLE AS YOUR OWN

    JC had some pretty wacky notions in this regard more around 2000 years ago. I refer your readers to the pimptastic gangsta telling of the parable of the Good Samaritan. The one who showed pity? Damn right.

  2. 2 coc July 9, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    This will have them rolling in the aisles on that hatebook page.

  3. 3 Hugh Green July 9, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Yes, this is the question. What is the best surefire criterion for denying someone basic rights? Skin colour is good. Foreskin or lack thereof is another.

    I like that Good Samaritan video. Unfortunately, by the standards of one of my interlocutors, it’s right to expel asylum seekers if that’s what the majority of the public wants, just as it was right for Jesus to be crucified after the crowd called for it (I put this example to him as one example why doing what the majority wants is not always a good idea). So biblical analogies mightn’t go down too well.

  4. 4 Clare Conry July 11, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Hugh, thank you for writing this. Very well said!

  5. 5 Hugh Green July 13, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Thanks Clare. I notice that all my comments have now been removed from the site in an ‘anti-racist’ purge on the part of the group owner, though the latter has not seen fit to remove the comment that starts with ‘My Irish pride I will not hide, My Irish race I will not disgrace, My irish blood Flows hot & true , My Irish peeps I will stand by you’.

  1. 1 Get dem money grabbing foreıgners outta Mosney, say Irish racists « Blunder Woman Trackback on May 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

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