Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wearin' the Green? Well it 'Ain't So Simple You Know

So many "Celtic Festivals", St Patrick's Day celebrations, such popularity for "Celtic music". We adorn ourselves and our entertainment with the green tinge of the Irish and give it not another thought. Even those of us of Irish descent, are prone to the trivialisation of the culture, the symbols, the history of that island that, for most, is really only a place of dreams.

For me, it is a place of ancestors. My father was born there, only to become part of the Irish Diaspora; my great grandfather according to family tradition was executed by the English as a rebel/freedom fighter/terrorist. And me? I spent a long weekend in Dublin and surrounds a long time ago, and have yet to visit to explore and discover ancestors, ghosts, the truth of that part of my story.

On May 6 1981 I heard on the radio that IRA soldier Bobby Sands died after a long hunger strike in what I was then calling an English concentration camp. My horror and anger came out in a small and not especially good poem.

At first the juxtaposition of the image above and this little tribute to a dead "terrorist" might seem odd. But, for me, it in a real sense illustrates and points to the obscenity of a blind donning of colours, the superficial adopting of culture for fun or entertainment. It also highlights that there was once a son (my grandfather) whose father was lost to a fight for freedom as so many have been lost before, are now being lost and will forever be lost to such fights in an unknowable, but often predictable future

Lest We Forget


Home of ancestors.
Defiled by British guns
For centuries
Too long.
British go home.
Let my people go.
How many more will die

For your greed?
Your arrogance?

You have no right.

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