What Is A Free Nation?

In the Workers’ Republic of February 12th, 1916, James Connolly posed the question “What is a free nation?” and, further, whether the Home Rule bill would make Ireland free in the requisite sense. “No” was his answer to the latter, and instead sovereignty would have to be reclaimed, by force if necessary: “There can be no perfect Europe in which Ireland is denied even the least of its national rights; there can be no worthy Ireland whose children brook tamely such denial. If such denial has been accepted by soulless slaves of politicians then it must be repudiated by Irish men and women whose souls are still their own. … A destiny not of our fashioning has chosen this generation as the one called upon for the supreme act of self-sacrifice – to die if need be that our race might live in freedom.”

For the previous Connolly quote in this location see A Word Of Conjure With.

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Rojava Offensive

“In solidarity with the Kurdish fighters YPG/YPJ. Against ISIS, fundamentalism & patriarchy.” Turkey commenced its ‘Rojava Offensive’ on Tuesday (October 9th) with airstrikes along the border with northern Syria in the autonomous area of Rojava (Guardian). Its aim is to establish a “safe zone” 20 miles deep along the entire length of Kurdish-controlled Syria. Standing against them are the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), including YPG and YPJ units – Yekîneyên Parastina Jin are the Women’s Defense Units, an all-female militia from Rojava founded in 2013 (WP).

Not involved are US forces – US President Trump withdrew American forces in advance of the attack, a move decried by both Democrats and Republicans as a betrayal of Kurdish partnership in the campaign against ISIS, which took 11,00 Kurdish lives (WP). Trump added insult to injury by defending the move on the grounds that the Kurds “did not help us with Normandy” (Guardian). You would expect no less from the man who on Monday touted his own “great and unmatched wisdom” (tw).

The mural above, which reproduces a popular poster on social media, is on the International Wall.

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The Retro Future

An outline, presumably by Leo Boyd (ig), from one of his tech heads pieces, which in this colour-scheme particularly reminds us of the Handmaid’s Tale tech head: She Is My Spy As I Am Hers.

Replaces the ‘This machine kills machines‘ posters for Hit The East 2017 in the alley off Bloomfield Avenue.

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Looking After Each Other

The former Ardoyne IRA memorial garden is now Ardoyne Youth Club’s ‘Garden Of Hope’, launched by Mayor John Finucane and actor Tim McGarry (‘Da’ from Give My Head Peace) on September 10th to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day – see second image, below.

“Be strong enough [to stand alone, smart enough] to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it” is a quote from financier Ziad Abdelnour (whose ‘strong’ promises of return on investment made him the subject of an investigation by the [US] Securities & Exchange Commission). It is used here in modified form in this anti-suicide mural encouraging Ardoyne youth (and others) to seek help for depression from Lifeline, PIPS, Samaritans, Lighthouse, Bridge Of Hope, Extern, Suicide Awareness And Support Group, .

The other quote – “I believe that the basic attribute of mankind is to look after each other” – is from Fred Hollows, New Zealand-born ophthalmologist, initially famous for treating trachoma in Aborigines.

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Is This Our City?

The PPR, champions of the ‘Build Homes Now’ campaign, recently (2019-09-18) launched an updated mural on Northumberland Street (see previously 2018 | 2017 | 2016 ), demanding “safe homes for refugees” as well as the usual suggestions of sites on which to build: “Build homes on Mackies” – “investigate Hillview (which was zoned for commercial use – Belfast Live)”.

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The Men And Women Of Violence

“Saoradh salute the men and women of violence.” Namely the signatories to the 1916 Proclamation, the women of the 1970s IRA, and modern “dissidents” with home-made weapons. Soaradh currently (mid-late 2019, in the wake of the death of Lyra McKee) no longer has a web site or Twitter feed, and the Belfast and Derry section’s Facebook pages are non-existent (other section’s pages are still up, including Tyrone, Dublin, and Munster).

On the same wall as the Larry Marley plaque.

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Protective Sequestration

Here are two images of the “peace” line at the middle and eastern end of Bombay Street. If you want more such images, Frankie Quinn’s exhibition of images of the “peace” lines – Cordon Sanitaire – continues at Belfast Exposed in Donegall Street until October 5th.

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In The Hell Of My Prison Cell

“Free Matt Johnston” IRPWA/Saoradh stencils below Teach Ghráinne in the New Lodge, calling for the release of Maghaberry prisoner (and New Lodge resident) Matt Johnston. Johnston was given four years for his part in a tiger kidnapping in 2008 and appears to have ben re-arrested in late 2017 (Irish News | RN). He was one of the prisoners involved with a “bigoted screw” that led to graffitied threats against Maghaberry prisoner warders (RN | El Norte | Derry Journal).

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Something In The Air

Clonard monastery (and church of the Holy Redeemer) date back to 1897, built on the grounds of Clonard House (1843) and including 3.5 acres to provide spiritual services to the burgeoning Catholic population of west Belfast, about 30,000 in number (Ita | Rafferty). On the night of August 15th, 1969, the complex came perilously close to destruction, like the houses in the streets around it, but became of focal point of locals’ attempts to defend the area (Murray).

For other posts about the 50th anniversary of the August riots, see The Pogrom Of 1969 | Clonard Remembers | End Apartheid | Derry, Enniskillen, Aughrim, And Ardoyne.

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Dan McCann

Although originally from Clonard in west Belfast, at the time he was shot by the SAS in Gibraltar (along with Mairéad Farrell and Sean Savage) IRA volunteer Dan McCann was living in the New Lodge, site of this recently-added plaque in his memory. (He was previously included in a 3rd battalion Belfast Brigade mural on New Lodge Road.)

There are also new plaques to TC Campbell and Seamus McCusker.

“Óglach Dan McCann: On March 6th 1988 Dan was gunned down in Gibrlatar along with two IRA comrades Óglach Mairead Farrell and Óglach Sean Savage.”

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