On “The Conversation,” my friend and colleague Donald Beaudette and I discuss the lessons that the United States can learn from the process of reforming the police in Northern Ireland.
Read it here.
And they’re not green, white, and orange.
In an obscene tweet yesterday, Gemma cited a murder in South Africa and then claimed that “multiculturalism” is the problem.
In many of Gemma’s racist tweets proclaiming that “Ireland belongs to the Irish,” she has been able to at least nominally pretend that she is concerned with upholding the legacy of Patrick Pearse, who declared the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland in the Proclamation of Poblacht na hÉireann in 1916. Most people identified those statements as racist, anti-immigrant screed, but there was at least a veil of patriotism with the invocation of Irish history.
She cannot make the same claim for the tweet above. Her rhetoric directly accuses African people of being egregiously violent, as if all black people are out committing murders and rapes–and, moreover, that no white people commit murders and rapes. [Side note: I have written extensively on sexual assault in Ireland, and I will testify: almost all of the sex crimes committed in Ireland have been by white men who were citizens of Ireland.]
She condemns “multiculturalism” as being the cause of these murders, and warns that if Ireland continues to embrace diversity, all of these “scary” African people will come to Ireland and rape and murder Irish people. This fear mongering invokes an old racist trope that Americans will recognize: the idiotic idea that black men are all looking to rape (and possibly murder) white women; it is trying to make you afraid of people of color.
This particular tweet is especially disgusting, though, because it blames crime in South Africa on African people. It suggests that people of color are the source of “60 murders and 100 rapes” per day in South Africa, and that they are therefore the source of crime in Ireland. In blaming “multiculturalism,” however, she conveniently forgets that she is violating her own principles: if “Ireland belongs to the ‘Irish'” (and she has a narrow, blood-and-soil definition of who qualifies as Irish), then shouldn’t South Africa belong to the “native” South Africans? All of those white people running around South Africa are the descendants of European imperialists. The white people are the purveyors of “multiculturalism” in South Africa; the white people are the immigrants or descendants of immigrants (better known as colonizers).
Gemma is stupid but she’s not that stupid. She full well knows that the white people in South Africa are the descendants of imperialists, which is why her tweet lays bare her racism. There is no argument that can suggest that black people are the purveyors of “multiculturalism” in South Africa. All Gemma is really saying here is that she hates people of color and doesn’t want them in Ireland.
Gemma O’Doherty has always been a racist. She has apparently lost her desire to veil her bigotry in a cloak of patriotism.
This is one of the best stories I’ve seen recently. It is a bright spot in all of the darkness of quarantine, lockdown, sanitize, social distance.
Native Americans helped the Irish during the Famine of the 1840s, and in 2020, Irish people are sending aid to Native Americans, who are struggling in the fight against coronavirus.
The Irish Times should be hanging its head in shame today after this disgusting headline: “Two Men Jailed for Raping ‘Blind Drunk’ student in Co Donegal.”
Two men were convicted of raping a young woman, who is now in her 20s. The men, Boakye Osei (30), of Tooban, Burnfoot, and Kelvin Opoku (33), of Cill Graine, Letterkenny, were sentenced to nine years in prison for their crime. The latter of the two men continues to blither about how he is innocent, and that the victim/survivor set him up by rubbing his DNA on a condom.
Wait, SAY WHAT NOW?
The victim/survivor stated that on a scale of 1-10 of drunkenness, she was a 10 and about to pass out. Does that sound like someone who had the mental capacity to somehow rub a man’s DNA on a condom in order to set him up for rape? Not to mention the fact that the rapist is relying on an outdated, disgusting trope that sets up women as manipulative bitches who falsely accuse men of raping them.
The perpetrators in this case are foul humans. They deserve to every day of that nine years in jail.
And the foulness of these rapists makes the Irish Times headline even more repulsive. These men offered a lift to an obviously intoxicated woman and then raped her. The headline that she was “blind drunk” suggests that the victim/survivor had fault in this scenario.
The Irish Times is reporting this morning that the Dáil is in session to pass the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill in order to give the government authority to take drastic steps to contain the virus and save the lives of Irish people.
According to the paper, the legislation will “include income supports for people who are diagnosed with the coronavirus or self-isolating, and give the State powers to direct people to stay in their homes and detain those believed to have the virus who refuse to self-isolate. It would also allow for events or gatherings which pose a clear risk to public health to be prohibited, or to order entire regions into lockdown.”
I’ve seen on Twitter that many people are calling for the measures to have a sunset clause–that is, a provision that puts a time limit on how long the government has to exercise these extreme measures. I’d say that’s a good idea, but that any such provision should also include the option to renew the powers, because we just don’t know how long this crisis is going to last, and we can’t predict the course of the epidemic.
Giving the government extraordinary powers like the authority to order an entire region (say, all of Cork city) into lockdown, or to arrest and detain people who aren’t following these orders, is scary and does have a tinge of authoritarianism. Certainly, I would be frightened if Donald Trump wanted to exercise such powers because I would be afraid that he would use them against his political enemies. I have more faith in the Dáil and in Leo Varadkar than I have in Trump (but hell, I have more faith in the intellectual capacity of a gazelle than I have in Trump).
Is there another option, though? Can we just leave the people to their own devices and hope that they keep their arses inside and act collectively to protect themselves, their families, their neighbors, and, yes, people they will never meet?
I wish the answer to that question were a resounding “YES!”
But it’s not. People on Twitter and on television have shown themselves impervious to facts, science, and the heartfelt pleas of their fellow citizens. Gemma O’Doherty, unsurprisingly, is pumping out disinformation about COVID-19 that will endanger the lives of the people who believe her bullshit. And if they weren’t endangering anyone’s lives but their own, I would say, “Have at it, ye gobshites, yer only hurting yourselves, and I’m frankly fine with that.”
But people who don’t take this threat seriously and insist upon going out in public, hosting large gatherings, denouncing efforts by the government to contain the spread of the virus as fascist and Nazi tactics, as these AltShite morons have been doing, are also endangering the lives of citizens who do want to follow the guidelines, and who do want to save people’s lives.
Humanity isn’t perfect. We need better science education in order to dampen the spread of quackery. We need better humanities education in order to help people to understand the history of pandemics and the philosophies behind humanitarian action. Indeed, we just need better education in general.
Luckily, one of the silver linings of this madness seems to be that parents are gaining an appreciation for how difficult it is to be a teacher. Maybe teachers will come out of this as a more respected profession–and then maybe teachers will be given salaries commensurate with the difficulty and importance of their jobs.
I love using baseball metaphors when discussing politics in countries that have no interest in baseball.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar smashed it out of the park last night with his St. Patrick’s Day address to the nation. He spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic in a fashion that was direct, honest, and compassionate. His speech was sobering, yet oddly comforting. His plan for “cocooning” senior citizens and people who are immuno-compromised is a good one, and I hope the United States takes up that plan as well.
In times of uncertainty and, yes, panic, we can all find comfort in a strong, confident leader who can articulate clear plans to help us. The Taoiseach’s stated plans prioritize saving lives, not saving the stock market or saving the fortunes of billionaires. I live in the United States, so I can tell you that this speech was phenomenal in the context of the utter black hole of leadership that we have experienced here.
Watch the Taoiseach’s speech:
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Sláinte!
I have compiled a list of ways that we can all celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without the traditional venues of pubs and parades. Please feel free to add to this list in the comments.
The New York Times reported today that the morons in charge of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Staten Island are continuing to ban LGBTQ+ groups from marching in the parade and celebrating their identity as queer and Irish-American (or just Irish). Or queer and Catholic.
According to the Times, Larry Cummings, the bigoted president of the Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day parade committee, stated, “Our parade is for Irish heritage and culture. It is not a political or sexual identification parade.” He later said, “Here’s the deal, it’s a nonsexual identification parade and that’s that. No, they are not marching. Don’t try to keep asking a million friggin’ questions, OK?”
Cummings’s statements are total bullshit, though, because by banning displays of LGBTQ+ identity, he IS politicizing the event, and he IS making it a sexual display–heterosexual only. His remarks are naive at best, and pathetically disingenuous at worst. Fuck this guy.
Some Catholic officials have distanced themselves from the event, claiming that the the parade doesn’t represent the Catholic church. Good for them for not being overt bigots. But the official policy of the Catholic church continues to be to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. So, therefore, zero points given to Pope Francis for his “Who am I to judge?” remark. In fact, no points will be given until Pope Francis stands up in public–I’d prefer it to happen on Easter Sunday–and declare that God loves gays (why else would He keep making them?).
To imply, as the organizers of this parade are doing, that it is celebrating Irish culture WHILE refusing to recognize LGBTQ+ individuals AS SUCH shows a disgusting disregard for the heritage these idiots claim to be celebrating. Ireland in 2020 is not the Ireland of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid and Éamon de Valera. To the contrary, Ireland legalized same-sex marriage through a referendum in 2015. It’s out-going taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, is an openly gay Irish man. As a whole, Ireland welcomes the queer community–policies of the dumbass Catholic church aside.
This kind of attitude, as perpetuated by Larry Cummings, is the same attitude that keeps religious animosity endemic in certain elements of Irish and Irish-American society. “Irish” and “Catholic” are not synonymous. There are Irish Protestants and Irish Jews and Irish Muslims. You can be queer and be Irish; you can be hetero and be Irish. In my considerable experience living in Belfast and Dublin, as well as earning a PhD in Irish history, I can testify that Ireland has changed a lot–it is a society that values liberal individualism, and it is open to all kinds of people.
This representation of “Irish” heritage that we will see on Staten Island is an archaic manifestation of de Valera’s “comely maidens” bullshit. In fact, I would argue that de Valera’s narrow-minded idealistic view of Ireland never did exist. Statistics on sexual activity and pregnancy outside of marriage bear this out, among many other trends.
Staten Island’s Paddy’s Day parade, and Larry Cummings in particular, need to cop the fuck on. Let the LGBTQ+ community represent their Irish heritage AND their queerness in the parade.
On Saturday, February 8th, the people of the Republic of Ireland went to the polls to decide which party or parties will guide the country’s future for the next chunk of time—up to 5 years.
The votes are still being counted as I write this, however it seems clear at this point that Sinn Féin had a very good day. There is a near three-way tie among Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and Sinn Féin. Independents pulled in about 11% of the vote, and the Greens also had their best-ever showing. Labour, by its own admission, got pounded at the polls. So, too, did the rampant bigotry pushed by Gemma O’Doherty’s “Anti-Corruption Ireland” and Ceannaire Justin Barrett’s Irish National Party.
What does Sinn Féin’s surge mean for Ireland? Most immediately, the popularity of SF in this election indicates a strong preference for progressive policies on social and economic issues.
Sinn Féin’s surge is not an indication that Irish unity is around the corner. Sinn Féin’s boost in the polls was largely among younger voters. These voters, mostly in their 20s, are far removed from the revolutionary generation, and don’t necessarily choose their political allegiances based on what side their ancestors fought for in the Civil War from 1922-23. Moreover, Sinn Féin has adopted a host of progressive social policies that have nothing to do with the “national question,” its raison d’être. Most notably, Sinn Féin takes a liberal stance on women’s rights and the rights of LGBTQ+ people, issues on which young people are almost universally more liberal than older people.
Sinn Fein’s manifesto addresses issues that are important to young people, who likely don’t earn as much money as more experienced professionals. Sinn Féin’s has pledged to abolish the USC on the first €30,000. They have also embraced the politics of climate change, and have vowed to invest an additional €1bn in public transportation in order to cut down on pollution from cars.
Sinn Féin has shown that the party understands how the electorate is changing. Ireland’s two entrenched parties, FG and FF, will not be Ireland’s future if they cannot understand the importance of generational change. In addition, Sinn Féin also understands that people vote with their emotions, not an intellectual evaluation of the various parties’ manifestos. Countless political science and psychology studies have demonstrated this trend—here’s one, for example.
I would be interested to see which factors people name in explaining their votes. Because, back to Sinn Féin’s raison d’être, the party has also pledged to pursue Irish unity by producing a White Paper on the subject and by pushing for a border poll. I’m pretty sure that this factor is NOT the deciding factor for many people who voted for the Shinners. But, when you support Sinn Féin, you know that you’re also supporting their goal of holding a border poll within five years. At the very least, their policies on Irish unity were not a deterrent—nor was the party’s history as the “political wing of the IRA.” Other political parties in Ireland need to wake up.
Of course, Sinn Féin signed up to the so-called “unionist veto” when it signed on to the Good Friday Agreement. So, Irish unity can only occur with the consent of a majority of the people in the Republic of Ireland and a separate, concurrent majority of the people of Northern Ireland.
That means, for my American readers, that we’re not dealing with a majority of people on the island of Ireland—which is, historically, the majority that Sinn Féin cares about, tracing the mandate back to the election of 1918.
Is there a majority in Northern Ireland in favor of Irish unity? I seriously doubt it. The national question is still very much alive in the North, and it still has potency that it lacks in the south of Ireland. See, for example, the 3-year governmental vacuum because Sinn Féin and the DUP wouldn’t agree on basic principles of equality. I personally think Sinn Féin’s shifts on abortion and same-sex marriage are tied to a desire to pull socially liberal unionists into the view that their “natural” home is in a 32-county republic, and for that reason, I tend not to trust the Shinners. If one’s platform is based on cynical political expediency, and not genuine belief, they will just as quickly change their tune once their goal of unity is accomplished, or once they are entrenched in power.
I say this, moreover, because Sinn Féin is not known for being a particularly democratic party in its internal operations. Although I do support an anti-imperialist platform, and therefore I support Irish unity, I have serious qualms about trusting Irish unity to Sinn Féin.
No matter how you see it, though, this general election signals a major change in the politics in the Republic of Ireland. The challenge that the three major parties have now is in forming a government, as no one has anything close to a majority. Some parties still say they will not form a coalition with the Shinners; others will. Those parties that refuse to govern with Sinn Féin refuse at their own risk—it seems to me that any government that does NOT include the Shinners is not a democratic representation of the people’s wishes.
Put Sinn Féin in government and let’s see how they run the country.