June 7, 2020. (IN)JUSTICE

EDITORIAL

After the murder of George Floyd and the following protests in the United States of America the theme of (IN)JUSTICE felt like an apt one, it felt like one that might express the current moment, it felt urgent, and given the nature of this platform and its fast turn around it would seem perfect. However in the past couple of days as the protesting has increased and the police brutality against protestors has seemed to become a given, I felt the urge to write something that spoke to that moment.

I am Irish and I am gay. To this end I have two communities to which I can speak to with confidence. To my Irishmen and Irishwomen and all of those between, I urge you to look to our own past and recognise what you see there. As a nation and as a people we have struggled against oppression and adversity and come out the other end. It is not perfect. But we have come a long way. When you look at our history, it is not possible to see what is happening in the U.S. at the moment and to recognise a fellow people being pushed down by a historical power greater than them. Irish lives did not matter for a very long time. But we fought and we made our voices heard, and we mattered. Black Lives Matter is an echo of a struggle many people have gone through throughout history, and I am calling on you to support our black brothers and sisters and those in between. I am calling for you to say, we see you and we are going to help. I am calling on you to do what you can to eliminate the pain, hopelessness, and hurt of a people being told they are worthless. Because we were there, we remember, and we recognise the pain. If you are not willing to help, or don’t believe it’s your fight, I ask that you refrain from celebrating our rebels, our heroes who fought for our freedom, I ask you to give up your hypocrisy. If you do not see the pain of a people oppressed, you do not deserve to celebrate the freedom you’ve gained.

To my queer folk, I ask the same. Our fight is constant to this day but remember Declan Flynn who was murdered in 1983 by men who served suspended sentences. Queer lives didn’t matter, they didn’t exist as far as many were concerned. That is not long ago. Today we all know friends, loved ones, and probably ourselves at some point who have been abused, battered, and oppressed at various times. But we get through and we will continue to fight to be heard, to matter. See our black siblings in the U.S., recognise the pain. Do what you can to help and support them so that together we can make a better life for us all, we can matter.

It is also worth noting for the people in Ireland that is this not an issue we can pretend is foreign to us. Racism in Ireland is an ongoing struggle and is not helped by the outright denial of the issue nor the attitude of ‘well at least it’s not as bad here’. It is not an issue of scale. I would encourage the people in Ireland to look into Ireland’s Direct Provision Centres and the inhumane treatment that countless migrants to Ireland experience under that system. This is not an American issue, this is a world issue. The scar that colonialism and colonial thought has left on the world is immense and has not even begun to heal. To culture is exempt, and no country should feel as though this is not their problem too.

Do what you can to help, donate if you can, sign petitions, contact your representatives, show support, have awkward conversations, and get educated. Education is key. Learn about the histories of oppressed peoples, learn about the mechanics of fascism, learn about the systems that are designed to oppress us. This form of fascist behaviour displayed by the United States police is a warning sign. Fascism is dangerous and you will not be safe. Prevent it. Oppose it. Destroy it.

Do what you can. Be safe. Remember.

Seán

– – –

"BLACK CHILD" by Minenhle Mngadi
Oh black child
You have suffered so much
at the hands of vain people that condemn you
because of your skin colour
You are being punished
because being black is regarded as a sin
You are being killed
because  being black is regarded as a curse
but ssshhh black child
One day
you will be able to walk the streets
without fear of what might happen
One day
you will be able to send your kids to schools 
without fear of whether or not they will come back alive
One day
you will be able to go out without being judged
but for now black child
they will try to break you 
be strong
fight for your rights
they will try to silence you
be the voice of reason
One day they will see you for who you are
Strong, black, human and beautiful

– – –

“it is not the house on fire” by Linda M. Crate

is there any justice in this world?
so many of my fellow white
brothers and sisters
remain quiet, complicit with
the actions of the police;
 
how many black people do they have
to kill before they say something?
 
i can't imagine how i would feel
to be part of a group of people oppressed
for hundreds of years,
instead of telling them how not to protest;
help them!
 
we have voices,
and unfortunately our voices are
louder than theirs right now;
so let us use our voices for justice
instead of letting injustice continue in this world—
 
we are devourers of cultures
yet we have no culture of our own
 
is it your jealousy of their
depths and their culture that keeps
you silent?
do you hate them because they
aren't as vanilla as you are?
do you hate them because you find them
more talented, more beautiful, more wise
than you are?
 
put aside your hate, your greed, your jealousy;
and your anger and your rage and your misunderstanding—
 
now is not the time to put out your house
it is not the house on fire.

– – –

“Lyrics from an Old Irish Song” by Luke Fallon

– – –

Protest, May 30, 2020″ by Connor Orrico

I
Strangers carry 
strangers to shelter
from tear gas miasma:
solidarity. 

II
Arms raise
to plea with
raised arms:
"Don't shoot!"

– – –

“BLM” by Louise Blake

– – –

"Temples Raised to Pretexts" by M.A.A.
An old thesis, soaked and wrinkly, by some nauseous sprites,
no objectives nor guidance, but a list full of degenerate rites,
with cheap manifestations of guilt, regret and broken ties,
there's a bit of join in pain, I admit,
and it goes like this:
 
I. What an injustice, when a beast considers itself broken,
due to the vilified actions of the mind, permanently swollen!
 
II. A horde of rushing spirits, seeking the home of old,
disagree as they may, it's a pantheon long ago sold.
 
III. Frozen sky turns over, towards it they open their arms,
from atmosphere to underworld, it's always downwards.
 
IV. With their gold and salt, opportunities as far as eye can see,
young minds and beliefs, a trip to paradise ended in Zanjī.
 
V. He was granted all the seas in wine, freed from the flow,
now forced to think of all those years, where did they go?
 
VI. They dance around the fire, in a nightly meadow well-lit,
if someone catches the flame, she's thrown down into the pit.
 
VII. Temples crumbling from the front, rebuilding in the back,
celebrated in foreign terms, they too go through the crack.
 
VIII. And a writer brings up some text, to cast away all this horror,
so the work becomes him in one, self-detached in the other.
 
IX. It may be a short history of decay, with a little hint of nuance,
procession of false Absolutes, on which idolatry is laid upon.
 
Lastly, I shall add a last boring woe of my own:
while justice may come from above, prices are better below,
sell the chips underground, so when they finally come to ask,
they have nothing on you at all.

– – –

“More Blacks, More Dogs, More Irish” by Conal Gilliland and Cara Gilliland

– – –

"Jefferson City, Missouri" by Michael H. Brownstein
My son wishes to return to his home,
his quest marred with the report of differences.
He is strong stone, but he wonders if skin color,
a gesture in eyes, a violence against diversity,
can make the pathway a path of gardens
and not shards of broken concrete,
a mosaic of torn glass, a system of closed doors.
The police car's headlights go to bright,
a few minutes later, the lights atop flare into being,
then a siren, soft at first, then a hurricane
after the first calm: He pulls over, rolls down his window,
places his hands on the steering wheel
as we taught him and waits, seat belt still attached,
eyes facing forward. He does not ask: Why did
you stop me? He already knows the answer.
He waits for the officer to tell him why. This we
also taught him. In a place of white fear,
he is ready for whatever is to happen.
We had reports, the officer says, of an African-American
driving the type of car you are driving.
Then he sees my son's wife, his baby daughter,
and knows this is not the right one. Yet he feels
he has to pursue this, escalate it to another cliff,
but my son is polite, tells him he has just now
arrived across the river and is heading home
for a visit with his parents. By now there are three other
police cars on the scene, flashing lights waking the child,
his wife nervous, my son with the PhD in botany,
molecular science, metabolomics, has come home.

– – –

"Some Simple Ways to Be Anti Fascist" by S.J. Saighead
Learn to Recognise Fascism.
Fascism and fascists are tricky to pin down by design,
research your enemy, learn to recognise the signs,
knowledge is key.
 
Deplatforming.
Find out where and when fascists meet
Organise counter demonstrations, email venues
Raise the social cost of fascism, make it difficult to be one.
 
Stay Safe.
Fascists are cowards by nature, the go after individuals.
Protect your identity, stay in groups.
There is no shame in a mask, the Police use them
so should you.
 
The Law.
Know your rights, be prepared to face the law.
Remember that laws are written by and for people in power,
and supported by the apparatus of the state.
Just because a law exists, does not make it just.
 
It’s the Little Things Too.
Have conversations, sign petitions, write letters.
It only takes a small number of fascists
and a large number of people complicit
to create a problem. Remember, if you’re not anti fascist
you’re pro fascist.
 
It’s For Life
When dedicated to suppressing fascism,
your job is never done. It is everywhere,
always attempting to worm back in.
Be kind to yourself and take breaks
but remember:
if fascists lose, they can be forgiven.
If fascists win, anyone not fitting their views
may die.

– – –

NEXT WEEK’S THEME: PRIDE

Submit at artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ above.

Published by artisticdifferencescurator

My name is Seán and I am the creator and curator of the Artistic Differences Project. I started this project during the lockdown in Ireland due to COVID-19 in March 2020 as a way to get my friends and I creating during a troubling time. From there the project as gone from strength to strength and now we publish a new exhibition every two weeks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: