The Dog in Ireland
The Dog quit his lucrative job in San Jose and moved to Ireland - something
he's wanted to do for as long as I've known him. He never been there before.
The Dog is Irish, from Hoboken, New Jersey.
Peace Line started in '69, when all the "Troubles" began. They are 12'-30'
walls that keep catholic/nationalist areas separate from unionist/loyalist
The unionists term comes from wanting to stay part of the United Kingdom.
The loyalist term comes from wanting to be loyal to the Queen of England.
Just today, the IRA made a big step, announcing a plan to decommission
weapons. They have never done such a thing, so there's great excitement
today. It happened just a few hours ago.
I wasn't prepared for how old my parents are getting. They are older
emotionally than they are physically. They spent a lot of time being
nervous about everything, from where to eat to whether or not they
should get off the bus during a tour.
They left yesterday. I'm glad they came. I think they really stretched
just coming here.
I applied to the Troops Out Movement (TOM) delegation from an ad in
the Sinn Fein newspaper. TOM will select the family with whom I stay.
I won't know who they'll be until I get there.
Sinn Fein is a political organization. Literally translated from Gaelic,
it means "We Ourselves". They are widely connected with the IRA,
although they have declared a legal separation for a long time.
The connection of Sinn Fein to the IRA, although present, is over-
emphasized in order to demonize Sinn Fein. Historically speaking, the
unionists have had an army of their own, namely the British Army and
Both the British
Army and RUC kicked the shit out of Catholics almost
exclusively. It's gotten better over the years. Also, no one in the
American press seems to cover the paramilitary organizations associated
with the loyalists/unionists: the Ulster Defense Regiment, the Ulster
Volunteer Force, and others.
Sinn Fein started in 1905, and was instrumental in freeing Ireland
from Great Britain in 1921. In 1921, Great Britain gave back 26 of
Ireland's 32 counties, but kept 6 northern counties, which today
make up Northern Ireland.
From their website, their objectives are: Sinn Féin seeks an end to
partition which is the cause of conflict, injustice and division in Ireland.
We seek the establishment of a new Ireland based on sustainable social
and economic development; genuine democracy, participation, equality
and justice at all levels of the economy and society; and a lasting and
meaningful peace with unity of purpose and action.
Sinn Féin is an Irish Republican party. Our objective is to end British rule
in Ireland. We seek national self-determination, the unity and independence
of Ireland as a sovereign state.
Sinn Féin is committed to the transformation of Irish society and to a
negotiated and democratic settlement. We know that peace is not simply
the absence of violence. Real peace - a lasting peace - is based on
democracy, justice, freedom and equality.
Sinn Féin has a vision that sees beyond the present conflict and beyond
the present phase of our history. Our vision foresees the unity of the
people of this island. Our vision is for the redistribution of wealth, for the
well-being of the aged, for the advancement of youth, for the liberation
of women and for the protection of our children. Our vision is for a free
Ireland and a free people.
Sinn Féin is committed to our peace strategy. We have sought with
honesty and integrity to construct a peace process which reaches
out and embraces everyone on the island on the basis of equality.
Our objective must
be for an agreement that will earn the allegiance
and respect of all sections of our people. To achieve these objectives,
Sinn Féin is backing the Good Friday Agreement, which Sinn Féin reached
with the other northern parties and the Irish and British governments
following multi-party negotiations in Belfast.
These negotiations arose from the Irish Peace Process, itself initiated
in discussions begun several years ago.
Sinn Féin's peace strategy was supported by a renewal of the 1994
cessation of the armed struggle by the Irish Republican Army and was
endorsed again by the decisions taken at the annual Ard Fheiseanna
Through its leadership, the Ard Chomhairle, Sinn Féin maintains its goal
of a just and lasting peace as part of its agenda for change.
The trouble here has been going for a long time - 800 years. The latest round
is 30 years old.
The place still has much old world charm.
Pubs are still the social
center of Ireland.
The government is slowly trying to change that. In terms of drinking as an acceptable
social custom, they're probably where the US was 35-40 years ago.
I've been involved with Sinn Fein and the
IRA to some degree, although any
encounter I've had with the IRA has been unofficial. At social gatherings, pubs,
and political meetings, I'll meet people and ultimately find out later that they're
IRA. It's still an illegal paramilitary organization, but in the current political
environment, IRA and ex-IRA people (mostly men) circulate everywhere.
The IRA has been completely
_ized in the
American press. I've known this for a
while, but it's become more apparent since I've been here. The British have been
_ing Irish nationalists and Catholics in Northern Ireland for a long time.
My mother and father are coming
Friday. After they leave, I'm going to Belfast
for a few days as part of a UK delegation known as Troops Out Movement (they
have a website that tells you what they do).
I'll be staying with a West Belfast nationalist family. The visit coincides with the
West Belfast festival, which include political events.
It's the 20th anniversary of the 1981
Hunger Strikes (where Bobby Sands and nine
other men died), so the event in Belfast is expecting a big turnout.
Hope your well, brother. My best to
Wendy. I'll catch up with you more in the coming
How are you, brother? I'm in Ireland, living in a little town 14 miles south of Dublin.
I've been getting into the politics of the north. Shit's been hitting the fan again.
Was involved in a minor riot two weeks ago. My father saw me on CNN. I saw it later,
and writing, traveling a bit. All my shit's in storage and I drove back to NJ.