“IRA 2, Liverpool 0, and one hit the bar.” This is 35 year-old graffiti that seems to be more durable than the paint that was used to white it out. In 1987 IRA gunmen burst into the Liverpool Bar & Lounge on Donegall Quay – named for the nearby ferry terminal to Liverpool (Belfast Forum) – and killed two off-duty RUC detectives – Michael Malone and Ernest (Stanley) Carson – and injured two others (AP). The case came back into the public eye In 2016 when a man was arrested in connection with the shooting (RTÉ | News Letter); he was later released (BBC).
This is a new mural by Peaball (Fb) and emic (Fb) in Glenview Street, Derry, inspired by the chat on the Golden Years club at the Glenview Community Centre (tw).
The Nissen huts that form the background are perhaps a reference to the US WWII camp in nearby Springtown that was used to house Catholic families from the end of the war until the 1960s (Gavin Pattondocumentary | WP).
The referents of the central portrait and of the title are unknown.
While 17,000 people in red t-shirts – many of them young (see image below) – were marching for an Irish Language Act (Acht Gaeilge) (BBC | Belfast Live | BelTel | youtube video | organised by An Dream Dearg tw), a dozen grey-hairs were outside city hall protesting the 2022 meeting of the World Economic Forum (which ends tomorrow in Davos). Among the … hypotheses … presented: “Zi great rezet needs war” (a German-ised – and thus more sinister – version of The Great Reset (WEF video); “Pfizer knew their vaccine would kill” (a headline from The Light newspaper; a cashless society will mean a social credit score; devices on the internet of things will be hooked up to a “5G monitoring system”; UBI is “Austerity”; an end to privately-owned businesses; an end to single-family homes; a global government, currency, central bank, and military; an end to all privately-owned property (more threateningly put as “You will own nothing and you will be happy” (meme) at the barrel of a gun).
Today’s post is bookended by two images of the emblem of An Dream Dearg – a white ring or fáinne on a red background – flying over the top of the ‘Rock and on Sliabh Dubh.
“End Israeli apartheid”. Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by a shot to the head during a raid by Israeli forces on the refugee camp in Jenin in the West Bank; her producer, Ali Samoudi, was also shot but survived. The Palestinian Authority blamed the Israeli military, who initially tweeted that Palestinian militants in the area might have been responsible. Video footage from other sources (B’Tselem) casts doubt on this claim. (NYTimes | BelTel) The Israeli Defence Forces does not plan to investigate the death; the Palestinian Authority has retained the bullet fragments from Abu Akleh’s body and has said it will conduct its own investigation, though it will not be able to match the bullet to any Israeli weapon (Al Jazeera | NYTimes).
The Tommy Roberts mural at the top of Westland Street, Derry, has been expanded, with a new central image – which now includes a portrait of Stevie Mallon alongside Roberts, against a background of Free Derry Corner – and three additional plaques.
“In proud and loving memory of Tommy Roberts, former IRA volunteer, former POW blanketman, died 8th June 2017 aged 78. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irishwomen is an attitude of revolt.”
“In proud and loving memory of Stevie Mellon, former IRA volunteer, former internee, former GAA referee, died 1st August 2018, aged 65 years. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. Lay him away on the hillside with the brave and the bold.”
“In proud and loving memory of Veronica Taylor, a proud socialist republican. Born11th June 1943, died 16th December 2019, aged 76 years. Her tireless dedication to the republican struggle will never be forgotten. “The only people worthy of freedom are those who are prepared to go out and fight for it every day and die if necessary.””
“In proud and loving memory of Ruairí (Roddy) Carlin, former IRA volunteer, former POW, died 23rd March 2021. A brave son of Ireland who fought for his country against continued British oppression and injustice, an uncompromised republican committed to the reunification of Ireland.”
“Belfast Pogroms 1920-1922.” Against the backdrop of the first Dáil, the War Of Independence, and the debate in Westminster over the fourth Home Rule bill (it would be passed in November 1920), northern Protestants began to assert their de facto independence from the rest of Ireland – both in economic and in military terms.
On July 12th, 1920, Edward Carson spoke to a crowd in Derry and, addressing the government in Westminster, said “if you are yourself unable to protect us from the machinations of Sinn Féin, and you won’t take our help; well, then, we tell you we will take the matter into our own hands.” (Treason Felony). Nine days later, the “clearings” of Catholics from Belfast shipyards and mills began, with about 5,700 Catholics and 1,850 socialists (“rotten Prods“) being expelled from Workman Clark and Harland & Wolff yards, and in total 10,000 workers from yards and mills over the next two weeks (History Ireland). In combination with the straitened economic circumstances of the time (post WWI) thousands (23,140 according to this mural, which reproduces a flyer derived from the Irish News of October 6th, 1920 – via The Irish Story’s account of the start of the “Belfast Pogrom”) were on relief.
Militarily, in October, 1920, the Ulster Special Constabulary was established (drawing on members of the Ulster Volunteers, which had been reconstituted in June 1920, and the 21,000 members of the Ulster Imperial Guards (WP)) as an alternative to the Royal Irish Constabulary in fighting actions by the IRA in Belfast, Derry, and elsewhere in the north. On March 23rd, 1922, two officers of the Specials were killed in Belfast city centre by the IRA. In reprisal, two Catholic civilians were killed in the Short Strand, and in the early hours of March 24th, a party of five men, four dressed in RIC uniforms, burst into the home of Catholic businessman Owen McMahon and shot McMahon, his six sons, and one of his employees – only two of the sons survived. District Inspector John Nixon of the RIC was suspected of leading the attack on the McMahon household – see The RIC Murder Gang and Pat And Dan Duffin. (The headlines are from the Freeman’s Journal of March 25th, 1922 – see Joe Baker’s 80-page account of the murders of summer 1922; the photograph of the McMahon corpses that is reproduced in the mural can be seen at Slugger.)
This is the first half a new mural in Ascaill Ard Na bhFeá; the “1922” part will be presented tomorrow.
“Belfast Expelled Workers – How Carsonism has disgraced Belfast – Help from all quarters of the globe for victims of sh[a]meful pogrom – Drain on Ex[p]elled Workers[‘] Relief Fund. Total number of expelled workers registered – 8,104; Applications for registrations yesterday – 500; Average number of persons receiving relief daily – 23,140.”
“Belfast Butchery – Horrif[y]ing story of massacre of McMahon family – Dying man[‘]s declaration – Murderers dressed in police uniform and spoke with Belfast accents.”
The city of (London)Derry takes its named from the Irish word “doire” meaning “oak wood” (and generically a “grove”) and the oak leaf is often used as a symbol of the city (here are 11 murals with oak leaves from the Peter Moloney Collection – Murals). In the mural above, in addition to the three leaves on the right-hand side, we also have some acorns.
Two criticism of neoliberal globalism in Frederick Street, Derry: above, a rationale for the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “Fuck NATO – warmongers”; below, “Sinn Féin globalists” – criticism of Sinn Féin’s support of Ireland’s membership in the European community (which is possibly a critique from the far-right National Party (web), according to the Guardian).
A draft of the up-coming decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn ‘Roe v. Wade’ was leaked by Politico magazine on Monday but this ‘Venus’ symbol for ‘female’ on Sliabh Dubh is a response to a decree by powers closer to home, namely the assertion by a west Belfast priest that Catholics should restrict themselves to Aontú or the DUP when choosing whom to vote for, because their platforms forbid abortion (Belfast Media | Sunday World).
“Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.” is attributed to comedian George Carlin.
Voters go to the polls today for the NI Assembly elections, with the potential for significant changes compared to previous years: a CNR party – Sinn Féin – is predicted to win the most seats and votes for the first time in the 100-year history of Northern Ireland (LucidTalk). Here is a third and final batch of electoral hoardings and placards (previously: What Did You Do In The Election? | Had Enough?). Above: SDLP hoping to “deliver” a Tiny Life “miracle baby”; second: UUP‘s “Northern Ireland deserves better” and Alliance‘s “Together we can”; third, (Lucozade,) SDLP “working” for west Belfast, IRSP “Demand better”, and Aontú “Life, unity, economic justice”. in CNR west Belfast; fourth, TUV‘s “Principle, integrity, strength”; fifth, the Socialist Party’s “We can’t live with capitalism” along with independent Elly Odhiambo (occasional columnist in Belfast Media publications) in south Belfast. Not included here are Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, the Green Party, the PUP and the DUP.