13 September 2001 Edition
What has changed?
This cartoon is the work of the Danish caricaturist Herluf Bidstrup, from the 1950s.
I saw it for the first time in the 1970s, when I was about nine or ten. I could not understand what these ugly evil people had against this beautiful little girl going to school. I always cried when I looked at it - and I feel so strongly that I want to defend this little girl and so much hatred towards those who are attacking her, that in a way this image has helped make me what I am today.
Today, almost half a century later, in another part of the world, in Belfast, we are witnessing the same barbaric racism in its most naked ugly form. In any normal country there wouldn't even be any negotiations as to through which door the little girls can enter their school - as in normal countries the state opposes racism and does not encourage it by its lack of decisive strong action.
But the North of Ireland isn't a normal state. It is a sectarian state that was created with sectarianism as a tool to ensure British control over this part of Ireland. If anybody had a slightest doubt about it - one look at today's Ardoyne is enough to open their eyes.
I wish somebody could give loyalists who cannot wait until the next morning so that they can go and harass the little girls again, a big, big mirror. Maybe finally they would see the ugliness of their behavior and become ashamed of themselves? Maybe they'll finally start to realize that they've been just puppets in hands of the British establishment for all these years? Maybe somewhere deep down they still have a spark of decency and common sense?
It's hard to say, especially when you are looking at the unionist politicians who claim that the main threat to the peace process in Ireland comes not from loyalist violence, but from the fairy tales created by the British intelligence services around far away Colombia. Hard to say, when you see that these politicians are refusing even to condemn actions for which, in a normal country, the perpetrators would have been imprisoned long ago. Hard to see when you are looking at unreformed RUC, who rushed to send their officers ``to help'' to the same far, far Columbia - while unable to sort things out and to act as a proper, impartial police service even in their home country. Because, you can be sure, if it would have been other way around, and the loyalist kids would have been treated like this by nationalists, they wouldn't spare the most modern plastic bullets.
On Monday 27 August, at a specially convened meeting of Youghal UDC, a motion was passed for the withdrawal of cooperation with Sinn Féin Councillor Martin Hallinan.
The motion was tabled after concerns were raised over the proposed erection of a hunger strike memorial plague in the town's 1798 memorial park.
It should be noted that in a letter to the secretary of the local Sinn Féin cumann from Youghal UDC, permission for the plaque was not specifically rejected but an alternative was suggested.
At a subsequent meeting of the H-Block Committee, it was unanimously agreed that the 1798 memorial park was the most suitable and obvious location for the plaque. And so it was erected.
Martin Hallinan will not be deflected from his work on behalf of the townspeople by the small-mindedness of his fellow councillors, who have failed to come up with a valid argument as to why the plaque should not be erected in the memorial park. We regret the anti-republican views of the councillors concerned.
The H-Block committee would like to invite members of the public to visit the memorial park to view the plaque and form their own opinion.
We feel the plaque is discreet and inoffensive and does not merit the action taken by Youghal UDC against Councillor Hallinan.
PRO Sinn Féin Cumann,
Dráma an Stailc Ocrais
I ndiaidh a chonaic mé an dráma le Brian Campbell agus Laurence McKeown, ``The Laughter of Our Children'', caithfidh mé peann a chur ar an páipéar mar ba mhaith liom comhgairdeas a chur ar gach duine sa dráma agis gach duine a thug an dráma go halla baile i nDún Dealgan.
Ceapaim agus mo chairde, tá sé dráma go n-iontach le scriobhneoirí go n-iontach agus aisteoireach go n-iontach freisin.
Ní raibh mé ach sé bliain d'aois i mbliain 1981 ach dúirt mo thuismitheoirí liom an scéal faoi An Stailc agus léigh mé a lán leabhair faoi An Stailc agus is cuimhin liom an brat dubh ar gach teach in mo eastáit tithíochta agus bhí brón ar gach duine freisin. Thaispeáin an dráma an staid sa tír i mbliain 1981.
Nuair a bhí an dráma críochnaigh an oíche sin i nDún Dealgan, bhí an slua ina seasamh agus tabhair siad bualadh bos mór. Arís, maith thú gach duine sa dráma; tá sé go n-iontach.
Cóilín Mac Oirc
Good job on fluoride
Congratulations again for highlighting the fluoridation disgrace in the 26 Counties.
As someone who visits Donegal regularly, I feel angry at the highhanded enforcement of fluoride on my system, every time I feel like using water. We are told we should drink eight pints of water daily. Imagine the consequences for anyone who follows this advice,
Could I suggest that the only way to make the powers that be notice is by litigation. It should not be too difficult to get a number of people to monitor their families' health profile in order to take a case against the government. Merely going back as far as grandparents should be of some help in looking at what new ailments have come into the family in recent years.
If soldiers can legitimately claim compensation for deafness in the line of duty, surely our solicitors can offer some protection to us in our own homes.
As a pensioner, I have a big problem with the concept of having to buy bottled water, especially when there is so much money in our public coffers. If people really come first in the government's priorities, then our health should be top of their agenda.
Thank you again for the careful research and for the straightforward presentation of the facts.
What was not said about Colombia
I am very surprised to see of late, all the coverage that Colombia has received. What was surprising was that there was scant attention paid to the Colombian government.
I heard nothing about them being condemned by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations; or that they were responsible for training and arming pro-state paramilitaries, who in turn committed thousands of murders against the peasant population, and human rights activists for years.
I believe that there are some who would have been interested in the fact that the Colombian government and their paramilitaries have been implicated by the United States own DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) in drug trafficking. It is interesting that no mention was made of the United Nations Drug Control Program, which largely dismissed the drug-running accusation levelled against FARC. Nor that FARC leaders have called for more education programmes in finding other (viable) crops rather than coca, since IMF/World Trade policies led to the destruction of coffee production.
Nor was it mentioned that when FARC attempted to enter electoral politics through the Patriotic Union in the 1980s, the Colombian military and its paramilitaries were responsible for the disappearance and murder of over 3,500 activists and political representatives. Since this newfound interest in Colombia stems from the fact that three Irishmen, who are being held on possession of false passports, have brought this information to the public arena, a small debt of gratitude is required. That these men gained more attention than the thousands of UDA men who marched in the Shankill recently, several hundred of them masked and in military uniform, is interesting. Considering the treat posed to the peace process by the UDA and the campaign of pipe-bombing, intimidation and murder against innocent nationalists over the past years, the interest in Colombia is dubious.