Category Archives: News

news as it is happening-ish

Francois Hollande pays tribute to the police officers killed in the recent attacksFrançois Hollande at the funeral of officers killed in last week’s Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris

Irish expat David Burns writes:

[Police officer who tried to apprehend terrorists on Boulevard Richard le Noir was buried today — received Légion d'Honneur. Wrote the attached because I cycle past where he died every day now...]

When can you justify killing another human being? When it’s in self defence? Whenit’s to protect the lives of others? To defend a cause? Last Wednesday, three men burst into the Paris-based office of a small French weekly called Charlie Hebdo and started shooting at unarmed cartoonists. 17 people are now dead because gun-wielding extremists believed it right to kill people for an ideology. If you live here, your relation to violence has been completely changed by that— changed utterly.

A significant amount of people started defending last week’s bloodshed before those murdered could even be given a funeral. The apologists ranged from the pseudo-intellectual type to the brutally ignorant. All remained unconvincing. What excuse can there be for violence against the non-violent? For shooting cartoonists? You could understand a debate on the merits of Charlie Hebdo as a satirical publication.

Last Friday, the French press reported with outrage the refusal of certain schoolkids to rally behind the slogan for national unity: “Je suis Charlie”. At the same time though, you could understand it. Muslims unwilling to rally to the name of a magazine that had long ridiculed Muhammad; students questioning authority; young people from disadvantaged areas rejecting long overdue invitations to play a part in French society — all of that constitutes an understandable reaction to current events. But posting messages which condone or call for violence against unbelievers? Celebrating the “heroism” of radical men prepared to kill for their religion or their cause? That is beyond the bounds of reasonable or understanding. I cannot agree to it. Or anything like it.

In Ireland, we are about to celebrate 1916. If you’d been here the last few days, you wouldn’t see anything to celebrate about it. There is nothing inspiring about armed radicals with bullets. Not even when they’re proclaiming a republic. Former Taoiseach John Bruton came under fire last year for saying that peaceful, political reform was the nobler route to Irish independence. Now, much more so than before, I can see he was right.

It is doesn’t seem imaginable at the moment to celebrate a rising that held Dublin city to hostage. It is no longer a historic event anymore. It is not just a book explaining why it needed to happen or why the rebels felt they had no choice or even how it was justifiable in the end. It doesn’t matter if you’re born into a system which acts to oppress you and the people you identify with, you don’t have an excuse to grab a gun and go out to shoot people. Not even if you’re hoping to awake the nation.

I’ve followed a lot of the back and forth about the kind of form 2016 should take and how we should frame it. However, it’s the arguments currently going on here in France about the legacy of the past, about post-colonialism, structural discrimination, cultural warfare and all the reasons that don’t justify killing people for a cause that have made up my mind about where I stand at home.

Violence should always be the last resort. Sometimes, it is the only option. The French police last Friday had to use deadly force to save innocent lives. The only justification for killing another human being is those extreme, no-alternative circumstances. Killing people for a political ideology or a religious ideology is not something that can be justified precisely because there is always an alternative. There is always another and better way. History might obscure and shroud that fact with the passing of time but at the moment, it’s bright in my mind. I hope for the sake of society that it outshines whatever people might say to cover it — here and at home.

Previously: A Letter From Paris

(Pic: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images, Guardian)

0009feb1-642

Shooting, explosions heard at French siege (RTE News) Pic via RTE News UPDATE:

Alternatively

00112143_58497375_fight (Top) Foyle MP Mark Durkan and (below) NI Minister for the Environment Mark H Durkan

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 01.41.52
Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 01.46.43 Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 01.47.15Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 09.51.17

Rumours abound that Derry SDLP duo Mark Durkan MP and his nephew, Mark H Durkan MLA and NI Minister for the Environment went toe to toe in a city centre bar on Saturday night.

Both men are believed to have attended a family christening in the City Hotel on Saturday and later moved on to Tinney’s Bar on Patrick Street. They have both denied the story on social media.

Mark H can throw a punch in fairness, as evidenced in a charity fight in 2012.

Meanwhile, the NI Minister for the Environment in yesterday’s Sunday Journal asked the public to be more considerate of others in relation to noise and anti-social behaviour:

“Noise is a serious issue that can seriously affect our health and wellbeing and interfere with our daily lives. I would ask everyone to be mindful of the impact their behaviour may be having on their neighbours, fellow citizens and community.”

In a statement, Óglaigh na hÉireann has called on the SDLP to end its campaign of violence and to disband.

Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland, BBC NI

00067498 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pictured with Martin McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin in 2004

Turkey’s president has declared women are unequal to men in his latest controversial comments on women’s rights.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said putting men and women on an equal footing was “against human nature”.

“They were created differently. Their nature is different. Their constitution is different,” he told a summit on women and justice in Istanbul, attended by his daughter Sumeyye.

“You cannot get women to do every kind of work men can do, as in Communist regimes.

“You cannot tell them to go out and dig the soil. This is against their delicate nature.”

“Our religion has defined a position for women (in society): motherhood,” Mr Erdogan said.

“Some people can understand this, while others can’t. You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t not accept the concept of motherhood.

The president has previously declared that every woman in Turkey should have three children and proposed limitations on abortion rights and the morning-after pill.

In August, he criticised a female journalist, telling her she should “know her place”.

Mr President, the Iona Institute called.

They’d like their policies back.

Turkish President Says Men and Women Not Equal (Sky News)

Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

de1

 Free Dessie Ellis, Sinn Féin TD, spoke this morning  on the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2014.

Yesterday, I stood with party colleagues and other members of the Oireachtas at the Dáil gates for a minute’s silence in memory of the men and women and children who have died at the hands of their partner or ex-partner since 1996. This was a very poignant event coming on the International Day Opposing Violence Against Women. A shocking 78 women and 10 children have been murdered in these 18 years. The event was organised by Women’s Aid who had laid out shoes along a blank sheet to mark a timeline of these needless and tragic deaths. Shoes, flat heels and sandals standing in silent memoriam of the lives stolen. These lives as the vigil so movingly stated are stolen lives. They are stolen from their families, their friends, their communities. Snuffed out by an abuser who should’ve been stopped.

One in five women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. This ranges from physical, emotional, sexual to financial abuse. From abuse, threats to kill and abuse behaviour, to stalking and harassment. By their very nature these are mostly crimes which go on behind closed doors when the curtains are drawn when the world around stops looking. But it also happens right out in the open.

We must strive to improve public awareness of the risk factors of domestic violence and to encourage everyone to make their homes, their community, their circle of friends, a place where this kind of abuse will never be accepted. Because unfortunately we have a culture today where subtly every day teaches young men to do many of the things that can lead to domestic violence. This trend in our society is called the ‘rape culture’. Its name is shocking and some dismiss this as over over the top but the symptoms are undeniable and its effects illustrated by those 78 empty womens’ shoes are too horrific to ignore. Rape culture is the tendency in modern culture to dehumanise, devalue and commodify women. It has always been there but has become much more obvious in the modern era with the partial successes of the early feminist movement and the 24-hour consumer capitalist culture which has sprung up alongside the internet.

Technology is not to blame but it is often the medium through which this culture finds its most vile expression. This tendency creates a culture which normalises the idea that women’s bodies are not wholly their own. It encourages blaming rape victims instead of rapists. It jokes about men who beat their partners and it belittles, demonises and threatens all those who challenge it. This is the culture our young men are growing up in.

It seems like every week there is a new case of a woman who has been a victim of sexual assault who has watched her abuser go free because a judge felt sympathetic to the criminal. These judges have handed down fines for which must be the vile and reprehensible crimes a person can commit. This is a slap in the face to those who sought to have their attacker prosecuted but it also says to women and girls who are victims of sexual violence: Don’t bother, the state will not punish your attacker but you will be put through the mill anyway.

As with many of our worst social issues, there are why many whose voices are not heard. This is why we have brought the bill. It’s to try to make it easier for people to flee this kind of abuse. It is crucial that we promote opposition to this kind of behaviour.

But it is also essential, that people who seek to leave, to get out can do so, can be supported, validated and protected. That is what we seek to do.

*cough*

Full text of speech via Oireachtas.ie here.

Earlier: Staying In Tomorrow Night?

Previously: Falls Memory Syndrome

Féin Concern

Briege Of Trust

Kick In The Shinns

“Unfounded And Untrue”

Police, Judge And Executioner

“Would 50 Murders Be An Exaggeration?”