Chronicles from the Moyle Soviet…..Style over content and forgo the notion, if one exists, that via this blog you the reader may be carried along in some splendidly evocative swirl. Do allow for some verbal pyrotechnics while I promote my claim on the truth about questions of local governance, national and geo-political decision making that can impact on our lives. And a light-hearted sprinkling of places and characters with some pictures to complete.
Murlough Bay & Casements final wish that he be layed to rest there.
A group of school kids from the city of Chicago paid a recent trip to the unfulfilled resting place of Roger Casement in Murlough Bay. Oak Park High School in Illinois was on a fact-finding mission in North Antrim last week to unearth the secrets of Irish Republican leaders from the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Moyle Independent Councillor Padraig Mc Shane received a request from the school to facilitate a visit to the historic site and to introduce pupils to the life of the local Republican leader.
Councillor Mc Shane said;
“Casement was not drawn from the archetypical background of Irish Republican leaders of his era but his humanitarian actions at the behest of the Crown in highlighting first, the slave labour of the indigenous people of the Belgian Congo and later, theabuses against the Putumayo Indians of Peru ensured his rejection of Imperialism and his Anglo-Irish identity in favour of simply – Irishman.
“His attempts to procure arms for the Easter Rising in 1916 saw Casement charged with treason and hanged in Pentonville Prison, London. His executioner, John Ellis, said of Casement: ‘He was the bravest man it ever fell to my unhappy lot to execute’.
The Councillor continued;
“I hope the area can continue its links with the school and we have more opportunities to work with groups in the future. As well as learning about political history the young adults enrolled at the James Joyce summer school in University College Dublin and had the opportunity to delve into Ireland’s rich vein of literature”.
The main organiser, Brendan T. Lee, an unrepentant Irish Republican from the South side of Chicago, said of the pupils;
“They researched Casement and other Irish historical leaders and presented in groups in a pre-trip seminar. They then connected the map to the landscape while in Antrim. It was a transformative experience for the pupils.
“We hope to continue our links with the people of Moyle and the Glens and we look forward to returning in the future”.
“Moyle District Council this week advocated for War over Peace, Ignorance over Education and the continued promotion of the interests of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat”.
Too much? Let me develop my argument.
On Monday the 13th of August, The Northern Ireland Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committee made a presentation to the Council. Following the presentation they asked that Moyle appoint an ‘Armed Forces Community Advocate’.
So what does the role of the righteous Advocate entail? Well according to their presentation handout which I quote verbatim;
1. Ensure that the interests of the Armed Forces & the Veterans in N.I. are properly considered.
2. Consider the impact on the Armed Forces & Veterans Community in their area of responsibility of their organisations decisions and policies.
3. Advocate on behalf of the Armed Forces and Veterans Community in their area of responsibility.
4. Raise the profile of the Armed Forces & Veterans Community in their area of responsibility.
5. Liaise with N.I. in-service and Ex-service representatives, third sector and public sector to identify issues that need to be addressed and resolved or areas of good practise that could be replicated either locally or nationally.
6. Be a member of the N.I. Armed Forces & veterans’ community welfare pathway steering group.
It is notable that, even in their own words, the Serving Armed Forces take precedence over the Veterans. Councillors from the TUV DUP & UUP brought fourth their glowing praise on the move. The Chairman moved to have the proposal adopted. I interjected by raising my hand.
“Chairman! Rather than promote an ‘advocate for war’, could Moyle now show itself to be more enlightened and have an advocate for peace?
“We have to look at what is being asked of this Council. We are being asked to endorse the armed forces of a foreign state that are overseas under false pretences, engaged in illegal wars, empire building and committing the systematic mass murders of over 1.5 million souls in Iraq and countless others in Afghanistan.
“Forgive me if I find it hard to believe that sending you’re poor to murder the poor living in another part of the planet is the pretext for the introduction of Peace, Democracy and Freedom. These words themselves have been hijacked and abused to the point that they can often derive evil connotations in an open mind.
“The Nazis propagated the falsehood of racial superiority and today’s similarly evil falsehood, the promotion of the lie informing that – Mass murder would herald the introduction of Freedom and Democracy in the Middle East.
“Chairman, it is your poor, your downtrodden and uneducated drawn from the underclass of society that are sent to war. Wrap them in a flag and give them a gun. Give meaning to their lives! Suggest they are heroes and deny access to educational material. They may quickly learn that the wars they engage are on behalf of Halliburton, Exxon Mobile, B.P. Shell, Wall Street, the financial district of Canary Wharf, and the Military Industrial Complex. Wars and murder have no relationship to the promotion of Freedom and Democracy whatsoever.
“I propose that this Council ignore the calls to normalise war and instead promote a champion for peace with a focus on education”.
Council deferred the decision for one week.
If this was a simple advocate for Veterans, why not use existing charities? Numerous groups exist.
· ABE – The soldiers charity
· The Royal Naval Benevolent Fund
· British Legion
· Royal Air Force Families Federation
· Help for Heroes
· Combat Stress
· Service Personal and Veterans Agency plus many others……..
But it was not the reason. At all times the reason is to give credence to the notion that War is ok among the general population. Look again at the roles of the Armed Forces Champion.
· Ensure the interests of the Armed Forces
· Consider the impact on the Armed Forces in your organisations decisions and policies
· Advocate on behalf of the Armed Forces
· Raise the profile of the Armed Forces
The subject returned to Council on the 20th of August with a motion;
To propose council appoint an armed forces community advocate to represent The Northern Ireland Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committee to carry out the role as laid out by NIVA & PC at their presentation to council 13 August
(Requested by Councillor S McKillop TUV)
The motion was slightly amended and carried with – an advocate for War on behalf of the people of Moyle being adopted by Council
Council’s landslide endorsement of the TUV motion was interesting given that many who supported Jim Allister’s thoughts on the subject would place themselves in the role of peacemakers.
I have this notion their claims would ring ‘somewhat hollow’ should they ever meet the victims of Imperial forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ireland, Palestine etc…………………
A leading journalist from Gaza has arrived in Moyle this week on a fact finding mission following the Council’s recent Twinning Agreement with the coastal Mediterranean Municipality .
Award winning freelance journalist Yousef Al-Helou, best known for his work with Press TV, was introduced to several local Councillors and had a brief introduction to local politics on his recent visit.
Mr Al-Helou said,
“The Palestinians of Gaza City were delighted to hear the news about the Twinning Agreement with Moyle. Many times in the past we have felt the International Community in the West ignored our plight. By this simple act alone, the people of Moyle have truly lifted the spirits and the resolve of the people in Gaza who continue to suffer the humiliating effects of the siege. This agreement will enable both people’s in the two Districts to exchange knowledge, culture and best practise leading to a better future for us all.
The visit was organised by the local, Antrim to Gaza group who toured Mr. Al-Helou around the District including the Causeway, Rope-Bridge and several days in the Glens.
Mr Al-Helou concluded;
“I will return to Gaza with stories of Giants and Fairies plus beautiful Waterfalls. I will also return with the Knowledge that Moyle is home to some of the kindest people on earth. I hope that I may return to Moyle in the near future to brief the local people of what life is like in Gaza ”.