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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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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An Tusa An Chéad Laoch Eile?

Padraig Pearse was a schoolmaster (at St Enda’s in Dublin) and wrote about the importance of education to the character of the nation. He described the English education system in Ireland as a “murder machine“. In a pamphlet of that name he writes, “Education has not to do with the manufacture of things, but with fostering the growth of things. And the conditions we should strive to bring about in our education system are not the conditions favourable to the rapid and cheap manufacture of ready-mades, but the conditions available to the growth of living organisms – the liberty and the light and the gladness of a ploughed field under the spring sunshine.” on which the Irish above might possibly be based (though he wrote about 50 pieces on education): “Is é an tsamhail a bheirim don oideachas, ní rud a dhéanfa ar líne chóimeála i monarcha ach bláth i ngairdín a chothaíonn tú le mórchuid grá agus cúraim.” [I take as a likeness of education not something that is made on an assembly line in a factory but a flower in a garden that you nourish with great love and care.] For some background, see Pearse The Educationalist. Pearse’s likeness and philosophy of education are posted at the entrance to Coláiste Feirste.

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Close Yir Een An Remember Me

“Aye ready they stood, aye ready they fought, through conflict, blood and tears, loyal to the end, every one, the Scottish volunteers.” “Aye ready” was the motto of the 59th Scinde Rifles of the British Indian Army (and later of the Canadian Navy) but is best known from the label of Camp Coffee, in which a Highlander was served a cup of Camp by a Sikh servant (nowadays, they both have a cup of their own). In this new mural and plaque at the newly-christened “Scots Corner” (see final image), a Scottish soldier plays the pipes over a list of the “Battalion Of The Dead”, Scottish volunteers from the (modern) UVF. The list is led by William “Big Bill” Campbell, who has had a small plaque in his memory at this spot since (at least) 2014. Preacher and DUP politician George Seawright (see A Crown Of Life) is also included – he was born in Glasgow in 1951.

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Thoughts Awe Hame

This contemplative WWI soldier is the mural part of a new memorial commemorating fallen UVF volunteers from Scotland. On the shutters of the Pizza Cabin on the Shankill.

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United’s Big Lily

“Big Lily” is a giant (~40′ x 30′) Manchester United flag created by Whitehead man Keith Norris in 1999 as a gesture of friendship towards a fellow United fan from Belfast from the ‘other side’, Martin ‘Faceman’ Cleary. It has subsequently travelled the world – the flags shown are of Catalonia, Japan, Australia, England, the United States, Italy, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Scotland, Russia, Brazil, Spain – uniting United fans and being used to raise funds for anti-racism charity Kick It Out and Unicef. The mural is situated in no-man’s land on Northumberland Street and features the Orange lily of unionism and the Easter lily of nationalism. (Carrickfergus Times | Belfast LiveSignBigLily.com)

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X06833 Global flag of friendship. United’s Big Lily. Manchester United FC, Stretford end on tour

Hand In Hand

A small white hand within a larger black hand. Another piece from Lanark Way: You Are Not Of This World.

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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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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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