Turning Towards The Sun

Sunflowers fare better than stoney-faced humans in the glare of the sun. Street art (perhaps by Niko the TMN member and one-time graffitist) on the outside wall of the Red Barn Gallery, off Rosemary Street.

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EU/PIRA

“Dublin hands off Ulster – EU/PIRA” For this Agnes Street muralist, the EU’s refusal to accept a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic make it bedfellows with the IRA.

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Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea, riding for Kawasaki, became Superbike World Champion for a fifth consecutive time with wins in the final three stops of the year, in France, Argentina, and Qatar (WP). He grew up in Ballynure, near Ballyclare. (Belfast Live has a profile.) This mural, by Noel Morrison (Fb), is in Blenheim Drive in the Westwinds estate, Newtownards. (BelTel has a write-up. BBC Bikes has video showing Morrison adding “2019” to the mural after Rea’s recent win.)

The mural replaces The Union Jack. There is a small piece to rider Joey Dunlop at the shops – see The Pride Of Ulster.

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Steeped In Blood

The Westminster election called by Boris Johnson and the Conservatives for December 12th has become a referendum on Brexit, with a pro-Remain pact between the Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Plaid Cymru in 60 British constituencies (BBC). In Northern Ireland, manoeuvring got under way with UDA threats against any UUP candidate who might stand in North Belfast (News Letter). The UUP, which had previously committed itself to stand in all 18 NI constituencies, withdrew (BBC), as did the SDLP (BelTel), leaving the contest essentially between the (pro-Brexit) DUP’s Nigel Dodds and (anti-Brexit) Sinn Féin’s John Finucane (shown second from left). Finucane is current Belfast Mayor but is presented here as part of a “republican family”: he is son of murdered lawyer Pat Finucane (fourth from left) and Shankill bomber Sean Kelly (WP) was seen canvassing for him. The vote in North Belfast is expected to be close. The current Brexit proposal involves customs checks in the Irish Sea (BBC), but the DUP will be hoping for No-Deal or the end to the NI backstop.

For analysis of North Belfast and all of the NI seats, see Bangor Dub.

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Spy Count

“700+ MI5 agents in Ireland.” Lasair Dhearg (twweb) and Red Section (Fb) stencils in Beechmount Avenue protesting the continued presence of British security forces on the island of Ireland. The 700 number comes from reports of additional MI5 agents in the wake of a New IRA car bomb in January (IntelNewsTimes | Irish Central).

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This Was Once The Dole Office

The ‘jobs and benefit office’ in Exchange Street was originally built in 1926 for what was then the Northern Ireland Ministry of Labour and was the largest job centre in the UK. It functioned until 2016 and was demolished in 2017 (FutureBelfast). In its early life it was next to the Mariner’s Church of Ireland between Great and Little Patrick streets (FutureBelfast). The banner now on the site – This Was Once Little Italy – was designed by Deirdre McKenna and erected in July, 2019 (BelTel).

See previously: Jobs That Aren’t There in 2013

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Concerned Unionists

“Public meeting. Concerned unionists of south Belfast. Wednesday 6th November 7.15 pm Sandy Row Orange Hall. Stop the #BetrayalAct”. Tonight will see a meeting in south Belfast (and another at the same time in Antrim) discussing the current Conservative Brexit plan that would allow some cross-border economic activity to continue – see The Betrayal Act. “VTOT” is “Village Team On Tour“.

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The Betrayal Act

Is Brexit more important than the Union? Conservative party leader Boris Johnson, whose current plan involves a border in the Irish Sea, is depicted as betraying the sacrifice of the Ulster Volunteers, formed in 1912 to resist the threat of Home Rule. In response, meetings are being held in different unionist areas: November 1st saw meetings in north Belfast and on the Shankill; meetings are scheduled in Sandy Row and the Steeple (Antrim) for Wednesday the 6th. Rallies and civil disobedience are being contemplated but also that the DUP would join Remainers in order to stop Brexit entirely. “Ulster says “No” to an economic united Ireland”.

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Merdeka

Merdeka! Independence! West Papuans live under Indonesian rule since 1962 when United States, in the guise of the UN, “entrusted” the territory to Indonesia in exchange for a captured CIA pilot (WP). Leader-in-exile Benny Wenda is shown here against a backdrop of the flag of (independent) West Papua, the Morning Star, shown here hanging vertically.

The adjacent mural expresses solidarity with the Syrian Kurds – see Rojava Offensive.

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Barack O’Bama

Former US President Barack Obama with a Tricolour lei. Spotted in an upstairs window in Ireton Street.

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