“Am le haontacht na hÉireann” [Time for Irish unity]. Between stints in prison in 1976, Bobby Sands carried a green harp flag – symbol of Ireland and in particular of the United Irishmen – in an August march to protest the withdrawal of political status (Gérard Harlay/Bobby Sands Trust). He is shown here marching under the #TimeForUnity message on Sliabh Dubh in the campaign for a border poll and Irish unity “lenár linn”/”in our time” (Fb | tw).
Vermont-based ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would no longer sell its products in the Occupied Palestinian Territory which it says is subject to an “internationally recognised illegal occupation”. In response, Israel threatened parent company Unilever with “extreme consequences” (Reuters). The Saber Al-Ashkar mural has been modified so that his slingshot contains a carton of B&J’s Cookie Dough.
14 year-old Noah Donohoe went missing on June 21st while cycling in the York Road area n route from his south Belfast home to the Cave Hill. His body was found in a north Belfast storm drain six days later and the postmortem showed death by drowning (Irish News). Many details of his last hours remain unknown, however, including how he came to drown in the drain. His mother, Fiona, started a campaign on August 11th on Facebook and Twitter to press for answers and signatures are being collected for a petition into the PSNI handling of the case. CCTV images of Noah were released on Friday by the BBC. An inquest will be held in January, 2021 (BelTel) with a preliminary hearing on September 30th.
“Please, I can’t breathe. My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. They’re going to kill me.” These were among the last words of George Floyd, killed on May 25th after Minneapolis PD officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. The killing has drawn universal condemnation. All four officer were fired immediately and Chauvin was soon charged with third-degree murder, (to which second-degree murder was later added.) The other three officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
“Black lives matter.” “Fight racism.” Every day since the killing protests have taken place in cities all across the United States and the world demonstrating against police brutality and racism (here is a collection of images from Saturday June 6th, 2020) Murals painted around the world, including the one above on the so-called “International Wall” on Divis Street (here is a Guardian gallery of George Floyd murals which describes the incomplete Belfast mural in rapturous terms).
As the in-progress shots show (below), Chauvin was originally painted with sunglasses on his head but these have been replaced by a MAGA cap. Two members of the Ku Klux Klan appear in the top right. Three officers with shaved heads and Minneapolis PD (“City of lakes”) badges are shown on the left in the poses of the three monkeys Mizaru, Kikazaru, and Iwazaru who hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
The title of today’s post is derived from a line in Seán O’Casey’s The Story Of Thomas Ashe (1917, under the name “Seán Ó Cathasaigh”; also later published as The Sacrifice Of Thomas Ashe): “You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea; you cannot put an idea up against a barrack-square wall and riddle it with bullets; you cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell that your slaves could ever build.” Sometimes erroneously attributed to Bobby Sands, as in this 1981 mural.
Public Health England last Friday issued guidelines for reusing personal protective equipment (PPE) when stocks of fresh gowns, goggles, gloves, and masks run out. In response to concerns from local health workers, First Minister Arlene Foster has given assurances that the policy will not be adopted here (iTV | BelTel) but the on-going coronavirus pandemic means that the search for PPE continues. A quarter million gowns were transferred from Northern Ireland to England this week without any firm date for their being returned in kind (BelTel). The Orange Order, on the other hand, was able to make a contribution of masks and aprons via lodges both north and south (NewsLetter | Irish News). Mural perhaps based on this banner. The image below shows the mural at the time of its official launch on April 18th; it was added to the following week.
Tourists to West Belfast/Feirste Thiar are given a tour of the sights on a black taxi tour: (clockwise from left) the entrance to Milltown Cemetery at the edge of Andersonstown, a trio of murals (the Bobby Sands mural on the side of the Sinn Féin offices; the Easter Rising mural in Beechmount Ave; the Acht Anois fáinne on Divis Street (also in Ardoyne)) with a march taking place, Cultúrlann McAdam-Ó Fiaich, gaelic football and hurling, Divis tower, Conway mill, and the Falls library. This is the third such tourist mural in the area, after one at Divis tower (Gateway To West Belfast) and one on the offices of Fáilte Feirste Thiar (Go West! | Fáilte Feirste Thiar | The Conlan Revolution).
This is a new INLA board to deceased volunteers Danny Loughran and Matt McLarnan, Paul (“Bonanza”) McCann, Martin McElkerney, and Gino Gallagher. The new addition here is Martin McElkerney, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in March last year (2019) (Guardian). Shots were fired over McElkerney’s coffin (tw). He was released under the terms of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement after 12 years for his part in a booby-trap bombing of two British soldiers, one of whom died, in which two children also died.
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.
“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.