Bloody Sunday

Posted: 2010-06-15 20:21   |  More posts about ireland music news politics religion the troubles

Today, the Saville Report into the events of Bloody Sunday was published. You can read it in full here. British Prime Minister David Cameron summed up:

  • No warning had been given to any civilians before the soldiers opened fire
  • None of the soldiers fired in response to attacks by petrol bombers or stone throwers
  • Some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying
  • None of the casualties was posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting
  • Many of the soldiers lied about their actions
  • The events of Bloody Sunday were not premeditated
  • Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein, was present at the time of the violence and "probably armed with a sub-machine gun" but did not engage in "any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire"

The inquiry ran for 12 years at an ultimate expense of £195M. Its findings have been widely greeted positively.

What I post today is not directly connected but certainly not unrelated: a debate -- I use the term loosely -- between Fintan O'Toole of the Irish Times and members of the Wolfe Tones, an Irish rebel music band who have enjoyed a long, successful career. Fintan contends their music and their style of performing are inherently racist and filled with hate-speech, while the Wolfe Tones assert that... Well, that Fintan is lacking a sense of humour, that his knowledge of the history of The Troubles is lacking and that he shouldn't be able to consider himself Irish.

While even after having watched it countless times, to me it is completely obvious who wins this farce of a "debate", the Youtube comments tell a different story:

In any event, here is the "debate", in full:



An anecdote

Posted: 2009-09-30 21:28   |  More posts about censorship football funny oddities politics religion sports

A few weeks ago, I was asked to act as a proxy and present a paper on language evolution at a conference on artificial intelligence and life taking place in Budapest. The presentation went well, considering I'd only had a week or so to read up on what is an enormous subject I'd never studied before.

Later on, in the evening, I had been walking about the town, looking for a suitable place to have dinner when I came across an Irish pub which I decided to have a few drinks in later that night, after having eaten. A match was on that night between Manchester Utd and Besiktas for which they had the projector screen out and all. Upon entering, I attempted to take a seat at the bar, since I had absolutely no interest in the match, only to be chaperoned to the pub audience and told I must be seated with everyone else, in front of the projector screen.

It quickly became apparant that I was the only Irishman in the building: the staff were all Hungarian, there was a group of Americans closest to the screen, then directly in front of me a group of about four Englishmen, and to my left a group of about eight Turks, men and women, who were occasionally chatting to three Danes seated beside them, having dinner. Those Turks immediately to my left were rather friendly and chatty, and after a while we had exchanged pleasantries and stories explaining why and how we had wound up in an Irish pub in Budapest of all places.

One hour and many beers later, and not a goal had been scored. I grew more and more impatient, and the Turks (for whom this game seemed to mean an awful lot) grew more and more raucous. Then, out of nowhere, a shot on-target rebounded off the goal-posts. As it seems, the drink had affected my prior apathy towards the whole event, and I let an annoyed roar of "JESUS!" out of me. One of the Turks turned to me and said with a smile, "Don't you mean Mohammad?" I responded, "Ah yeah, he's pretty good too, just don't draw any funny pictures of him, ye?"

The Danes exploded in laughter.

The Turks went completely silent, staring straight ahead at the projector screen.