Wednesday, May 30, 2007

HOMESICK

What is it about Irish people? There has just been an election at home and as usual the corrupt party got elected and the right wing got decimated,(Hmmm is it possible to get decimated?).

The political landscape has been a strange one to grow up in. It is only now that I am no longer there, that I can define in a new way what it means to be Irish for me. It has little to do with Church or State even though I have been profoundly effected by both. I grew up in a poor, mostly homogenous, country, where usually the foreigners were tourists.

The Nigerians who came to eat with us, who worked in the same hospital as my mother, and the Arab guys who lived a few doors down, were exceptions. That I had contact with them at all was a priveledge and it is only now as I write I realise I was the only one in a neighbour hood of many children, who spoke and ate with these kind and gentle engineers from another country.

There are now more jobs than workers in Ireland, and it is a thriving multinational island on the west of Europe, and yet at it's heart too. Racism is still rife.

So what am I homesick for? My parents are selling the house they have lived in for over 50 years of marriage. My home will be sold. My home. Me?
My friends have either sold up and moved away, or lost contact with me and I with them. It rains a lot. I have never felt I belong there, neither to the religous conservatives, nor the sporting leftwing or the rich and nazi like right. I could string a few words of gaelic together, I knew where to get 'good' music, a decent pint, what places to avoid, and in a second, I could tell if there was going to be trouble. I could size a guy up by his walk and the look in his eyes, I could meet him on his own level because I have an uncanny ability to imitate, and a great visual memory for movement and body shape.

Maybe it is this. This knowing and understanding that I miss. I am like a man scuba diving without a tank. I speak and it is all bubbles, I hear and it is all muffled. I speak English, every phrase has to repeated. I speak French, every phrase has to be corrected. I don't know the faces, the kids look like adults. The adults act like children. I am completely thrown for six in fact. I am a man who is now swimming more often than in the whole of my life to this point, and yet I am a fish out of water.

I live in paradise. I am no longer in Tir na Og, (land of the young),Ireland.
How strange! I am reminded of the instutionalised who cannot function once set free in society. I am more than capable at home, here I struggle. This is the longing for home, the longing to walk into a bar, look accross the room see a complete stranger, smile, and know that in 20 minutes you will be engrossed in a damn good conversation over a decent pint and there is always fish and chips to eat on the way home. But can you ever really go back once you leave? A friend told me one time, the intelligent leave and grow, and do well, the stupid stay. How frustrating for the intelligent when they see they have arrived in Stupid land. Ignorance is not at all bliss, it is a terrible affliction, and yet I am homesick for my cold and damp ignorant island that is Ireland, that is Home.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Right Has It

The Result of the Presidential Election is that Sarko goes past the post with 53% of the vote. Now we will see if there is a New France or more of the same from the ruling party that is the right. Sego is already giving her speech. Voting closed at 8pm and the outpolls, always accurate give us the result. It's quick clean and simple.
But what now?
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What does it mean when the President elect mentions the opposition and all his supporters boo and holler? What does it mean when the President elect says 'No, we must respect Madame Royale because half of France has voted for her, and it is the job of the President of France to respect all of the people of France?" Does it mean that only because he is president he will give lip service to you? Or does it mean that political views are now as zero, and he will actually respect everyone regardless of race, colour, creed?. Mon Oeil. I could write so much more about what I have seen tonight but why? A country gets the leader they deserve. If 20% of the population couldn't have been bothered to vote or to make a choice they will indeed reap what they sow.
Sarkozy has called on people to support the US. France is a friend of the US. I wonder what this means for both Bush and his war on terror? Or is it Sarkozy's anti Magrebian, anti Arab, anti Berbour, anti anyone from the middle east or a former French colony policy that will change forever the face of modern Europe? It is definitely a strange time to be here. Yes the Right have it, but it doesn't mean they are correct.

Where is Home?

The Election is on today. France will have a new President soon. Those who are voting blank are voting for Sarkozy. They will moan and bitch afterward without realising their refusal to vote against him is a vote for him. He may be the tonic France needs. He worries me. He looks too eager. Strange that his father came from Hungary. I wonder what this country holds for my boys future?

My son is here with us. I am extremely tired. I think I may have had a flu and although now I have come through it I am completely knackered.
My Parents are selling the family home in Ireland. It is causing me some problems. I knew I was attached to my place, my space. Since I have left Ireland I have had to redefine my identity. I had never before had to explain what an Irishman is until I came here. I knew then it was only my explanation, not any other Irishman's or Irishwoman's.
I have watched people make assumptions and crack jokes and completely misinterpret what goes for normal back home. The notion the French have of Irish people is a little like that of those who think French men ride bicycles with strings off onions around their necks, while their wives smoke long cigarettes and wear suspenders under knee length pencil skirts.
Now there is another straw being pulled away. Another thread opened and unraveled. When I go home next, where will home be?
It is certainly not here, not yet. I haven't been able to seep my spirit into the soil and find a connection.
I wonder if there is a reason for that?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Final the Election and Europe

I missed the televised debate. I have no idea what happened. Why ? Well sick as I am I decided to go and watch Manchester United be humbled and thrashed by AC Milian. No, it was not the plan. But I did meet a cool guy, well I had met him a few times, tonight was the first time we talked. An Italian Guy, a father, divorced, devoted to his son. This could be a good step.

I say this however, if you are thinking of not voting, please vote no matter where you are. At the least it may give you the right to bitch for the next 4 years.

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