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.
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"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
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“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.
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“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!"
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"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.
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"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.
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"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.
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NEXT WEEK’S THEME: PRIDE
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