Monday, November 21, 2005

The Monster of Old Trafford

What the hell am I talking about? I am talking about a young man. A young man who left Ireland some 15 years ago or more. No it's not me, I am only out of there 2.5 years,(god is that all???).

This is a young man who grew up in an area steeped in Irish political history. He would have grown up with anti-british establishment sentiment. Pro IRA sentiment? Undoubtedly, but the type of which is not often spoken about.
This young man went to England like many before him to ply his trade and his skills, which were discovered in his native home. Perhaps he struggled with thoughts of Irish history and the fact he was now in England making a living. Surely this must have cost him some conflict at an emotional level. Like many others, his skills became honed around the streets and fields of England, the Empire, the mainland, or in other political colours , the oppressor, the colonial power, the cause of all our suffering and pain, and the unfair and racist.
What? The good ol UK racist? Ol Blighty unfair?
Well, yes!
True, by the 1980's they had gotten rid of the signs that read 'No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish' but unfortunately not the mentality.

I am sure the aforementioned IRA did not help rid the English minds of their preconceptions, but perhaps they(the English) could have asked more questions, before it got to the stage where people felt the need to use bombs to get a vote. It's not like an Irish man got out of bed one day and thought 'what will I do today? hmmn 10 pounds of semtex seems like a good idea, hmmm, now if only I had somewhere to plant it. Pity my neigbours are so nice. I'll just get rid of it' I am digressing and being facetious, sorry.

Into this world of hidden and un publicised prejudice the young Man entered and he was soon rated at the top of his game, first in his league, and perhaps, the best value for money in his sector. However, given that he was Irish, well, it worked against him a little.
Those sort of taunts that many people use in a semi affectionate way with their familiars, would not have been understood as a joke by our young footballer. In fact they probably spurred him on to do better than he would have normally done, in order to show his contemporaries that he was as good as they, he had as many bones in his backside, he could do just as well, and his being had just as much right to be there as theirs did. After all he was only a teenager and very alone in a very big town.

To be the employee of two of the most vocal, hardnosed, and generally old school, tough, no time for fools, managers in the business, might also have helped to contribute to the player that this young man became.
Perhaps the taunting made him ashamed of what his country had failed to achieve on the world stage and spurred him on to do more. Either way the boy had a self belief and rightousness in him that is rare. Yet it is something I and many Irish people identify with. He also had a very bad temper and was given to fits of what was perceived as petulance. I also understand that too. It in fact comes from a deep frustration at the percieved shortcomings of those around you. The realisation that perhaps the goals you set yourself will not be achieved as long as you're dependent on others.

We get to a stage where Roy Keane is considered as one of the best footballers of his time in his position, bar er, well bar who? However this is not what he is remembered for. He is remembered for trying to hurt someone who previously tried to hurt him, only, Roy admitted it. He was honest and apparently was the first person to try to hurt another human being in history. He is remembered for being outspoken, like both his manangers, he is remembered for rowing and fighting with those around him because they didn't believe they could be the best and so they didn't really try.
Finally he even walks out on a team that really didn't need him (love him?) any more. It was as one football pundit a divorce that came from the marriage made in heaven.

Through out his career there were those who took him to court, who accused him of beating them up, of rape, of assault. Not one of these accusations stood up in a court of law. Not one. Now I wonder why that happened? It couldn't be just because he was Irish and brilliant could it?

Finally, the man who had as many, if not more column inches written about his personality as he did his skill, hangs up his boots.
Those enlightened minds who write on message boards all over the UK think to give him a tribute. 'Inbread Irish Scum'was one such comment. This was censored, however the policers of the bbc.co.uk message boards didn't see fit to get rid of 'potato eating scum'. Now if the guy was black and it was banana's I am sure the message wouldn't have seen the light of day. Many messages were posted about his character and many of them, the same messages refered to him being Irish. Sorry guys but Boyzone and Miss World before last were Irish too. So too was the last James Bond, Daniel Day Lewis, and Oscar Wilde. As are U2 and Rory Gallagher when he was alive. Yes so is Sinead O Connor and she spoke out against the influence of both Church and British State in way that perhaps Roy Keane wanted to but couldn't.
See whatever you think of Roy Keane, well I don't care what you think of him, I never met him and I don't know him. However, when you reference what you think of him because of his race or national identity, then you become part of the monster that stalks not just Old Trafford, but many other football grounds and places of employment. It is currently stalking the deserts of the middle east and the streets of the U.S. in relation to Islam and Muslims.

As an adendem, an addition and a P.S., next time you tell me I am English and I tell you that I am not, and you tell me that it's all the same, I will force you at gunpoint (yes your eyes are seeing it ) to read history from an Irish point of view. Because honestly, I am sick and tired of explaining it nicely. And they guy who was in my house the other night at my girlfriends party and said 'Oh dear' when an Irish girl said she was Irish, well I am sorry I was so nice to you and didn't throw you over the balcony, you upper class twat.

Cromwell was a bastard. There was no famine in Ireland, the brits just starved a million people and forced a million others to emigrate, and did their best to keep the rest in ignorance. In the small portion of Ireland that they refuse to give back they installed an apartheid regieme until sometime in the 1980's. Now that we know it we can do something about it. We don't have to cry out and say oi! anti-celtic or anti Irish or whatever at the slightest reference. We do however have a huge responsibility to accept what happened in the past instead of closing our eyes like a family that is psychologically ill. We must accept our pain and abuse and not be like the child that refuses to accpet is has been treated like shit by it's parents.
Much and all as I appreciate his contribution to his sport, it is nuts to be driven to greatness because people don't accept you as their equal.

We cannot either close our eyes to what still happens,once again it needs to be accepted by both Irish and English alike. Acknowledged as having happened, happening and being wrong. Then and only then will Irish people will be free, and the Monster of Old Trafford will be dead and truly buried.

The real P.S. Roy Keane thanks for all your skill and commitment. It's been a blast.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Public wants the trouble to stop! Which Public?

You have heard a load of crap about these riots. There must be a lot of slow news days and there certainly is a lot of racist, inaccurate, and ingnorant reporting going on about what is happening. Yes there are some who are out on the street for the sheer badness and devilment of burning and causing mayhem but believe you me, this doesn't happen by accident.
Firstly this is not and I have to make this clear, this is not about immigrants. It is not about non-French people. You who are the regular reader of this blog may remember the stories I have told about my Arab friends and how little they have.

You won't know however about my experiences teaching the students of rich parents who are in the private business schools. Teaching the girl with white skin, brown eyes, blonde hair, who is in tears. She is in tears because although she is one of the best students in the school, she knows that people will recognise her name as being of Arab origin. She won't get a job in France. That is the reality.
Another friend who was told that her degree in Civil engineering that came from Algeria was not acceptable in France, this friend incidently was born in France and holds a french passport.

A young handsome man speaks out during one class when I touch on the subject of racism and what it is. He says he is fed up with listening to his friends talk about the dirty arabs, and then later they say to him 'oh not you' the others. They forget he is Arab because he does not fill the inherited untruthful steryotype. They forget he is French. He is clean fashionable and articulate, how could he be arab?

Neither are they Irish nationals who by law of the EU have the same rights and entitlements of French people, but who are not given them by the civil servants who do not know EU law.
Neither are they the men who are told to leave the family home, who are working partime and borrowing off friends and family who live abroad to survive while the French government gives them 35 euros to pay their rent and nothing else. And that only after a struggle.

Neither are they the girl who is here illegally. Who used to be an engineer in Algeria. She is not french. She has no rigthts. She gets a job in Monaco. During ramadan her 75 year old employer tells her to sleep with him or to go. She tells asks him how he dare to even bring the subject up during Ramadan. Needless to say the job doesn't last long. She has nowhere to stay. I put her up for a few days and when she leaves my place it is cleaner than when I moved into it.
I don't see her again but the latest is that she has a frozen arm muscle from cleaning for someone who refused to pay her.
In fact all of these people are the public who want it to stop so which public is doing it?

Do you understand what I am saying? Do you have any fucking clue how hard it has been? I stayed for my son and you could even help me with that and fuck it I am white. Imagine how the non white feel?

Well I was told a story one time of an American woman who was here and while at a dinner she addressed a French national.
What is it like to be an African American ?, this is what she asked him.
" I am not American" he said.
She was flustered. "What is it like to be an African French?" she then asked.
"I wouldn't know"he said. "I am not African".

So which public want it to stop? The Government have just been given 50million euro by the EU.
I think the riots are a waste of time and badly organised and if they get organised then God help France.There is already a dearth of Liberty Fraternity and Equality. Some don't feel the same way I do, and some feel it's beginning to work. Yes there is a malaise and it's killing society.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I see no Magrebian people in the ads

Now the riots are all over France. The Prime Minister is on TV talking. Liberty Fraternity Equality Reality, reads the headlines of one of the National newspapers. The Prime Minister is talking about everyone has their place, their job, their responsibility. He talks about the criminals,........to beat someone to death (sadly it has happened) to burn your neighbours property, this is criminal. The first thing is to bring order. To restore the security of the Territory of France. The priorty is the re-establishment of public order in the face of those who threaten it. They are invoking the law of 1955 that allows the Prefect, the head of each State/County/Department or whatever you want to call it, i.e. the local Mayor to install a curfew. (In other words the State will not take responsibility. If it goes all wrong we can blame the local mayor and if it goes right well he will get the nod of thanks.)
The journalist is asking if parents are responsible, I don't understand completely but he fudges, he talks about each person having a the ability to make a choice. The journalist asks him does it apply to those who cannot find a job or a place to live. We need to give people who live in a quarter of 40% unemployment a hope the PM says, a training, the possibilty of a course to train them to have a job. We must make the Government housing more tasteful better to live in, undertake to make these dwellings more human. Apparently the Turkish leader (of Turkey) said it may have all come about by the French forbidding the veil in the schools.
OKay I have heard enough. He is talking about individual responsibility and choice, he talks about the collective, and the comportement of each individual. Sorry Mate but you are talking crap.
I have lived here below the poverty line for too long. I have survived on the hand outs of friends when I couldn't afford to buy food and on charity organisations. I was 9st 2lbs, 126lbs, or 59kgs, if I have my maths right. I am nearly 6ft tall. I met a few people worse off than I (arabs even though they say they are french) and we shared what we had. Algerians, born in France but to the white French, Algerians, to themselves not Algerians but French, how can they survive here? Why are they not on the street burning cars? The PM of France leaves the the Studio his interview finished and the next story is about a ship of very wealthy english speakers who were on a cruise off the coast of Africa when the pirates attacked and the Captain of the ship managed to save his rich white cargo. How can any person living in a second or third generation unemployed area, with no future, no real education, no idea of the value of hard work and the reality of the system, how can they not riot? When all you are fed is how easy and glamourous it is through the media, and how everyone lives happily ever after, through Hollywood and how Democracy is great, (sorry but I wouldn't know as I haven't witnessed it yet) i.e. the survival of the fittest is the reality of life. When after the news the next thing is Madonna smiling at the camera and announcing in not bad French she will sing on a Talent show this Friday, I have to stop and think how stupid are the media. I see no Magrebian people in the ads.
Why are they not constantly rioting. Why are people here so afraid to stand up and be counted? Why are people so afraid to care for each other? I have met good people here, most of them with nothing, but not one of them who was very well off ever even saw me. I don't agree with burning my neighbours car, I don't agree with beating people up. I do understand why though and to see the Prime Minister with his nice suit, good hairdo, and white skin talk crap on National TV would only make me more angry. Where the hell are the Magrebian people who need to be interveiwed to see their point of view? I see no Magrebian people being interviewed, I see no Magrebian people on Television save the Token one or two. What sort of world am I living in?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Riots in Paris

You know there is some things that politicans should never say. The main man over here, and I mean the real main man, the guy with the power. You know the one everyone listens to who isn't the President or Prime Minister? You know the one who is always tipped for future glory? Well that guy here is called Sarkozy. Odd name really from a non french perspective when you think of it. Sounds like Sarcastic, or even Sir Cosy or Sir Caustic........ anyway, I digress as usual.
There have been riots in Paris. What? when? where? and how?
Yes all this week, hundreds of cars have been burned, riot police are out in force and the whole world is looking on.
France, at least the part of it that cares, is embarassed. The Interior Minister on the other hand decided to call all the rioters scum. (pause for a moment and let that sink in.)
See only scum would burn down really usful buildings. Only scum would burn their neighbours car, only scum would..............STOP.
You show me the guy who does all this without a motivating cause and without years of history and stress and problems and then maybe I'll say yep your right, the guy who does this for fun is scum.
So what happened? Well allegedly two immigrant teenagers were chased by the police for something,(does it matter what? it can happen just for walking on the street) and ran into a power station to hide. The ended up dead from electrocution.
A riot started. Eight or Nine days later the problem is spreading. The big honcho in Paris, Mister Sir Caustic, says these people are scum, these people without jobs, bundled into gettos with no edcation about to how to survive in Europe never mind in France never mind in Paris. Some of them are here for years and don't even speak French. The big honcho was criticised roundly by many for speaking his mind and his PR man said 'ridiculous, he was using the language of the streets so the people concerned would understand'. My girlfriend said he was using the language of his voters, I tend to think it has something to do with his parents but anyway..... I digress again. Point is the riots spread and I imagine that many who were standing back and watching and heard the word SCUM decided to say fuck it to hell, and pick up the nearest brick to lob it in the direction of the well clad police officers with riot shields, baton rounds, and armoured cars that were blocking up the neighbourhood.
Oh clamity of clamities now what? Well head honcho sat down with boys in the back room and for his next jewel of a peice came up with the phrase that went something like, the causes of the riots go deep, 30 years deep and we cannot solve in a few days that which we have neglected for 30 years......this is what he should have said on day one,....unfortunately he copped on, sussed it out and then said it late. Damn it to hell I hope the rioters come out and vote next time and remember what this boso said. See the problem here is this guy is not an idiot and that makes him all the more dangerous.


Just one other note, how many of you who got really concerned about New Orleans didn't really give a toss about Pakistan? Just wondering as it may well be the subject of another post!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Learning Hallowed Differences

So halloween has come and gone and my son, my girlfriend and I had a complete and utter blast. We did all the things that I would have done at home for halloween, and it was strange to be with someone who had never celebrated it before.

Imagine meeting someone who had never celebrated Christmas or a birthday, well it was the same for me, to see that there are many people who know nothing of the night of the dead, all souls day, bonfires and witches.

I am not talking about the commercial American crap that is being foisted onto European culture at the moment but the Irish type of halloween, where kids and adults dressed up to help the halloween party, and not a pumpkin was in sight, bonfires burned all night and games were played in each others kitchens as we bobbed for apples with out using our hands.

When I listened to the French reaction to what Halloween is or was for them I was at first surprised and then pleased. They generally criticised the appearance of an American festival in their culture of which they knew little about and cared less.

Many french are anti the commericalisation of culture and I have to say I agree with them.Their reaction was nothing what so ever to do with anti americanism but a rejection of something passing for culture and being celebrated that ten years ago they hadn't even heard of.

Personally I was quite happy to be able to celebrate something of my own in a culture that is so different to mine and to explain that what I was doing had nothing to do with pumpkins. The first time I even saw a pumpkin up close in my life, was this weekend.

Cultural diversity is a good thing. It brings opportunities to talk to each other and to open up and make friends. It allows people to share different views on life and death and the celebration thereof. Imagine living in world where there was no diversity. Imagine how boring life would be. Where would you choose to go on holidays if everywhere was exactly the same as home? Why would you bother traveling and meeting other cultures if everything, the language, the food, the fashion and the culture were the same. God put me to sleep now if that is my future.

Diversity is a great and exciting thing and is nothing to be feared but something to be celebrated.
Let's get over putting people down because they are different and let's stop imposing on others who are different.
If they don't have the same religion, the same politics, the same fashion, or speak the same language and even celebrate different festivals at different times of the year,then let's welcome that.
Take stock of all the negative you know to exist in your way of doing things and then give the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise and assume that those who do different don't have the same negatives as you and therefore can't be too bad then. Can they?
Happy Dead day all. :)

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