Archive for the ‘Irish stuff’ Category

Ta Grain Agam ar Thatcher Fos

December 3, 2008
Prince Bandar with Margaret Thatcher

Prince Bandar with Margaret Thatcher

Trespassing on Peaceful Sands — Marryam Haleem

Spring 1981
Bobby Sands on hunger strike in prison, dying
Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher in Saudi Arabia, visiting

Addressing the Saudi government
Who hosted her

He lay there on his side
Paled, eyes glazed, and weakened,
Battered, bereft, belied.
And you sit in the company of his killer.

In the very land where he was born –
The mantled one, opposer of the oppressors–
You honor and uphold that lady of scorn.
And the boy lay dying in dignity.

Read the rest of the poem.

Bobby Sands Street -- Tehran, Iran

Bobby Sands Street -- Tehran, Iran

You can read a piece here on how the Street became named Bobby Sands Street here. It ran in front of the British Embassy and was previously known as Winston Churchill St. I’ve got issues with both Shi’i theology and left wing ideology, but …..
that’s a beautiful thing.

The Last Third of the Night by Marryam Haleem

September 3, 2008

This poem is from cageprisoners.

Marryam Haleem has a blog here.

In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Mercy-giving


The Guantanamo Bay

Detainees who, I pray,

Will stay on the straight path

And never dismay

Of God’s reward on the Last Day

The Last Third of the Night

Curled on my side

Cheek soft on my pillow

I listen, wide-eyed,

To the crickets chirping

Constant, ceaseless, unending

So unaffected by my heart-rending

Thoughts that are

Constant, ceaseless, unending

On his back, he lays

On a hard board

Listening to the waves

Rush in roaring

Constant, ceaseless, unending

So removed, uncomprehending

Of his heartbeats that are

Constant, ceaseless, unending

I rise from bed

Fixing my mind

On a kind of relief

That will ease my plight.

It is, I know, the last third of the night


Thought for the Day From Padraig Pearse

September 3, 2008

Especially for the Muslims and Mujahideen of Chechnya, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Palestine, Mindanao, and in every place and for all those who resist tyrannical empires, in whatever way, all over the world.

This is from the statement of Pearse at the courtmartial conducted after the 1916 Rising. Pearse read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic at the Dublin General Post Office on 24 April 1916. On 29 April 1916 Pearse surrendered on behalf of the Volunteers to the British army to prevent further civilian loss of life. After the courtmartial he was executed on 3 May 1916 by firing squad.

“From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Ireland and Great Britain as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt convinced that while it lasted this country could never be free or happy. When I was a child of ten, I went on my bare knees by my bedside one night and promised God that I should devote my Life to an effort to free my country. I have kept the promise. I have helped to organise, to train, and to discipline my fellow-countrymen to the sole end that, when the time came, they might fight for Irish freedom. The time, as it seemed to me, did come, and we went into the fight. I am glad that we did. We seem to have lost; but we have not lost. To refuse to fight would have been to lose; to fight is to win. We have kept faith with the past, and handed on its tradition to the future. I repudiate the assertion of the Prosecutor that I sought to aid and abet England’s enemy. Germany is no more to me than England is. I asked and accepted German aid in the shape of arms and an expeditionary force; we neither asked for nor accepted German gold, nor had any traffic with Germany but what I state. My object was to win Irish freedom. We struck the first blow ourselves, but I should have been glad of an ally’s aid. I assume that I am speaking to Englishmen who value their freedom, and who profess to be fighting for the freedom of Belgium and Serbia. Believe that we too love freedom and desire it. To us it is more than anything else in the world. If you strike us down now, we shall rise again, and renew the fight. You cannot conquer Ireland; you cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom. If our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom, then our children will win it by a better deed.”

Thought for the day from Bobby Sands

August 27, 2008

Translation of the meaning of Surah Al-Fatiha in the Irish Language

August 25, 2008

I was led by a beautiful comment by Abu Aisha to discover this translation of the meaning of Surah Al-Fatiha in Irish. It is included as part of this wikipedia article as Gaeilge about the Qur’an.

In ainm Dé atá lán trua agus trócaire!
Moladh go hard le Dia, Tiarna na nUile Dhomhan,
Dia atá lán trua agus trócaire,
Rialtóir Lá an Luain.
Tusa a adhraímid, Ortsa a iarraimid cabhair,
Cuir i mbealach ár leasa sinn,
A mbealach siúd ar bhronn Tú Do ghrásta orthu,
Seachas a mbealach siúd a bhfuil fearg ort leo agus a chuaigh ar strae.

Another article about a possible attempt to do a Scottish Gaelic translation of the meaning of the Qur’an indicates that the Irish translation is already done. Can anyone confirm this, or let me know how I can check out more of it. I can’t think of a better way for me to continue learning Irish than by getting access to this translation.

New Bobby Sands/Blanket Protest/Hunger Strike Film wins prestigious award at Cannes

June 2, 2008

Bobby Sands Mural

Mural of Bobby Sands — IRA Volunteer, Political Prisoner, Gaeilge (Irish Language) Speaker, Hunger Striker, Elected MP, Martyr

From Cumann Na Saoirse Naisiunia — National Irish Freedom Committee

Bobby Sands film wins prestigious award at Cannes

The film Hunger, dealing with the death of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, received the Camera d’Or award at the closing ceremony of the Festival de Cannes on May 25.
The award, one of the most prestigious at Cannes, is given to the director of the best first-time feature film in any section of the festival. The jury chairman, French director Bruno Dumont, and US actor Dennis Hopper presented it.

Director Steve McQueen, the British artist who won the Turner Prize in 1999, accepted the prize. “I’m very proud for myself and the marvelous cast and crew I had on this film,” McQueen said after the awards ceremony. “As we worked on it, I knew that we were making something special. Michael Fassbender [who plays Bobby Sands] is a star, as are Liam Cunningham and Stuart Graham, and our young actors, Liam McMahon and Brian Milligan. They are the weight, heart and soul of the film.”

Hunger became the subject of many bidding battles at Cannes. Before the festival closed, the rights had been sold to distributors in the US, UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Australia and New Zealand. The film is likely to go on cinema release in the autumn.

Hunger employs minimal dialogue for its extended final sequence as it observes the physical deterioration of Sands, who died after 66 days on hunger strike. This is a harrowing, deliberately disturbing sequence in which the performance of German-born, Killarney-raised actor Michael Fassbender is astonishing.

Here is the trailer for the film:

Funeral of Bobby Sands

Funeral of Bobby Sands

The Guardian: Illegal renditions, disappeared prisoners, and “Prison Ships”

June 2, 2008

From The Guardian, a new article by Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor outlines the continuing illegal and immoral conduct of the United States in its War on Islam and Muslims, oops sorry, I mean “War on Terror.”

Prison ships have a long history and are mentioned prominently in many famous Irish rebel ballads (including “Fields of Athenry”). Their use against Irish nationalists and republicans dates back to the time when “transportation” was used against political and other prisoners down until the 1970s when the HMS Maidstone was anchored off Belfast and used to hold Republican political prisoners, including Gerry Adams and hunger strike martyr Joe McDonnell.

“The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US. (more…)

Phil Donahue: Body of War

May 18, 2008

Phil Donahue was all over the media here in Chicago last week promoting his new documentary film “Body of War.”  The film looks excellent, inshAllaah I hope to try and see it in Chicago to support the effort.  I know it is only showing in a handful of cities.  The film is billed as “an intimate and transformational feature documentary about the true face of war today.  The film juxtaposes the struggles of Tomas Young, 25, who was paralyzed in Iraq as he deals with the severe physical repercussions of his injury and develops his own anti-war voice with an aggressive and angry critique of the dishonesty of the administration that pushed the US into this war and the cowardice of the politicians of both parties who did not stand in its way.

Mr. Donahue of course was a prominent war critic before the war, which is a big part of the reason why his show was pulled off the air by MSNBC.  I have to say, over and above my profound agreement with and admiration for his unflinching anti-war stance seeing him interviewed on several programs this week reminded me of what warm feelings I have for Mr. Donahue.  Although of course he comes from my parents’ generation, he does have that Irish Catholic liberal midwestern background.  My affection for Mr. Donahue of course started with his afternoon talk show, which I would occasionally enjoy watching even if I didn’t much care or understand the issues being discussed because of his charismatic liberal humanism  (I mean this in a good way, his love for people and especially for the ‘little guy’ against big powerful institutions).  It continued as I was in high school and college when I would enjoy watching his cable show that he hosted alongside Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner.  It was actually through several interviews on that show with Irish journalist and historian Tim Pat Coogan that my love and enthusiasm for Irish history and Irish republicanism was first kindled.

Of course another great joy of my childhood that I’ve recently rediscovered through dvd with my own children was the film made by Mr. Donahue’s wife, Marlo Thomas, Free to Be You and Me.  It may cause chagrin to those who think that Muslim male (especially us “white” converts) are too feminized but I still can’t find too much that I don’t appreciate in this 1970s feminist classic.

In other random recent events, I also saw the film “Arranged” on dvd.  The film tells the story of an Arab Muslim woman and an Orthodox Jew teaching at the same school together in New York who form an unlikely bond over their concurrent searches to find husbands through the “arranged” marriage procedures of their religions and cultures.  It was a nice little film, heartwarming and funny, and with hardly any of the false notes one expects from films that try to tell the stories of truly religious people.

Roundup of Easter Commemorations

March 24, 2008

The great website Slugger O’Toole

has a roundup of different Easter Commemorations from around Ireland from different segments of the Republican movement here.

Pádraig Anraí Mac Piarais (Patrick Pearse)

March 23, 2008

I want close this series of posts I did for Easter weekend with a mention of Patrick Pearse, one of the leaders of the1916 rising.  (For a dramatic retelling of the events leading up to and inc;uding the Irish Rising of 1916 including great sketches of all the amazing personalities involved I highly recommend this book.) I hope to come back to the topic of Pearse later because he was a very interesting figure.  Pearse was always deeply committed to the Irish language and cultural revival and, though early in his career he was a moderate home rule supporter, he quickly moved towards becoming one of the most radical and romantic of the 1916 leaders.  Pearse was fervently Catholic, but was also a great proponent of the pre-Christian Irish heritage as well as of the Protestant republican tradition of men like Theobald Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmett.

Other than his reading of the Easter Proclamation from the steps of the GPO (see the text here), Pearse is perhaps best remembered for his oration at the gravesite of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa

Rossa, the great Irish Fenian leader and author of “Irish Rebels in English Prisons” was exiled from Ireland in 1870 and died in the U.S. in 1915.  His body was brought back to Ireland to be buried and Pearse gave the funeral oration.

 Padraig Pearseorossa-funeral.jpgJeremiah O’Donovan Rossa Funeral

“It has seemed right, before we turn away from this place in which we have laid the mortal remains of O’Donovan Rossa, that one amongst us should, in the name of all, speak the praise of that valiant man, and endeavour to formulate the thought and the hope that are in us as we stand around his grave. And if there is anything that makes it fitting that I rather than some other–I, rather than one of the grey-haired men who were young with him, and shared in his labour and in his suffering, should speak here, it is, perhaps, that I may be taken as speaking on behalf of a new generation that has been re-baptised in the Fenian faith, and that has accepted the responsibility of carrying out the Fenian programme. I propose to you, then, that here by the grave of this unrepentant Fenian, we renew our baptismal vows; that here by the grave of this unconquered and unconquerable man, we ask of God, each one for himself, such unshakeable purpose, such high and gallant courage, such unbreakable strength of soul as belonged to O’Donovan Rossa.