Justice For All

When the conflict known as ‘the Troubles’ is discussed, the IRA is often the first thing that comes to people’s minds and rightly so; horrible things were done in its name. But too often the atrocities committed by the British are overlooked. People might’ve heard about Bloody Sunday (the British paratroopers who murdered 14 unarmed civilians were never convicted), but that’s about it. Let me inform you about, for example, the Ballymurphy Massacre of 1971.

Starting on the night of the 9th of August 1971, British paratroopers began to target random civilians in Ballymurphy, Belfast. The first to be shot (not killed) was Bobby Clarke, shot by a military sniper while trying to carry a child to safety during attacks by British terror gangs from the neighbouring Springmartin estate. Local people went to his aid, one of whom was local priest Father Hugh Mullan, waving a white cloth. He was shot in the back. Witnessing the second shooting, nineteen-year-old Francis Quinn rushed out to help the priest but he too was shot, this time in the back of the head. Both men eventually died of their injuries, their bodies left in the open for some time before they could be safely recovered by local people.

The killings went on for three days. Often random civilians were shot from behind or gunned down whilst injured. Perhaps most telling is the death of Pat McCarthy. He was hit by gunfire from passing troops as he tried to distribute milk and bread to families that were suffering under a military-imposed curfew. When wounded he was carrying a large Red Cross flag hoping that it would provide some degree of safety. A few hours later he was seized by soldiers who publicly beat him and carried out a mock execution with an unloaded gun. McCarthy suffered a heart attack and died some time later, the members of the Parachute Regiment preventing local people getting the dying man to a doctor. After three days of violence by the British Forces, eleven civilians were killed and dozens wounded.

“I’m sure this incident was thoroughly investigated!” I hear you think. Well, no. In 2014 the government of Britain announced its refusal to investigate the Ballymurphy Massacre. There is some minor progress at the moment; a Parachute Regiment Facebook has asked former members with any knowledge of the incident to get in touch. This, of course, is a farce. The Ballymurphy Massacre should be properly investigated, but it would cause an outrage among the British people. Even the piteous Facebook inquiry has been described as a “witch hunt against ex-soldiers”.

The British people who fail to see that it wasn’t just the IRA who were in the wrong during the Troubles and dare to describe a hint of an inquiry as a witch hunt, should be ashamed of themselves. No matter what side you’re on – Unionist, Loyalist, Nationalist, or even if you simply don’t give a toss – murder is murder and justice should be for all.

 

 

Choose life

Choose designer lingerie, in the vain hope of kicking some life back into a dead relationship.

Choose handbags, choose high-heeled shoes, cashmere and silk, to make yourself feel what passes for happy.

Choose an iPhone made in China by a woman who jumped out of a window and stick it in the pocket of your jacket fresh from a South-Asian Firetrap.

Choose Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and a thousand others ways to spew your bile across people you’ve never met.

Choose updating your profile, tell the world what you had for breakfast and hope that someone, somewhere cares.

Choose looking up old flames, desperate to believe that you don’t look as bad as they do.

Choose live-blogging, from your first wank ‘til your last breath; human interaction reduced to nothing more than data.

Choose ten thing you never knew about celebrities who’ve had surgery.

Choose screaming about abortion.

Choose rape jokes, slut-shaming, revenge porn and an endless tide of depressing misogyny.

Choose 9/11 never happened, and if it did, it was the Jews.

Choose a zero-hour contract and a two-hour journey to work. And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and maybe tell yourself that it’s better that they never happened.

And then sit back and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s fucking kitchen.

Choose unfulfilled promise and wishing you’d done it all differently.

Choose never learning from your own mistakes. Choose watching history repeat itself.

Choose the slow reconciliation towards what you can get, rather than what you always hoped for. Settle for less and keep a brave face on it.

Choose disappointment and choose losing the ones you love. As they fall from view, a piece of you dies with them. And so you can see that one day in the future, they will all be gone and there’s nothing left of you to call alive or dead.

Choose your future. Choose life.

– T2 Trainspotting

Humpty Trumpty and the European Elections

Let’s not close our eyes for what’s happening: the far right is on the rise (again) and we mustn’t underestimate the possible consequences of this in the coming years. The Netherlands, France and Germany all have elections coming up and it could dramatically change the European political landscape.

Of course, we already have President Trump in the USA. He is well on his way to erase Barack Obama’s legacy and to put his mark on the Western world. With every tweet and executive order he is testing the leaders of the West. So far, none dare to really stand up to him. British PM Theresa May has already dropped to her knees before him, forced by Brexit to swallow any trade deal Trump wants to shove down her throat. A special relationship indeed. The rest of the European leaders remain painstakingly quiet, afraid to lose Humpty Trumpty’s affection.

After the upcoming elections mentioned before, Trump might gain some allies with influence in Europe. Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV)  are in the lead in the polls, as well as Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) in France. The German right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is currently third in the polls and on the rise, with nine months to go. Is Trump’s rise an indication for the changes about to happen in the rest of the Western world? The people will have to decide. But can we still trust the people to make the “right” decision? Yes, we can.

In a time where the political leaders are mainly keeping their mouths shut, the people go out on the streets in thousands and protest against the normalization of xenophobia, bigotry and misogyny. I still have faith in the European people, hoping they’ve learned from both the distant and recent past. For now, while most politicians don’t dare to speak out, you, the people, should. Make yourself be heard, don’t assume it’ll all just blow over. And most importantly: look at the world, think, and when the time is there, vote.

Is this a soliloquy which I see before me?

Some might get the pun that is the title; in a way I pity them. A monologue is a speech by one person to an audience, whereas a soliloquy is a speech by one person to himself. The famous ‘to be, or not to be’-speech from Hamlet is an example, as well as the ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me’-speech fro Macbeth.

The blogs I’ll write here will mainly be soliloquies; a madmen talking to himself. It will be about world events, both minor and major ones. I’ll be ranting, I mean giving my opinion on, Brexit, Trump, interesting novels, uninteresting novels, you name it. It’s nice for me to have a way of unloading my thoughts, hopefully it’ll be interesting to read. Perhaps it even finds some resonance.

I wonder what my first “commentary” will be about, I hope not to be too negative about things all the time. In paths untrodden I proceed.