Topical commentary from East Belfast graffitist Hallion: Above, “к черту Путина”, in the blue-and-yellow of Ukraine, is Russian for “To hell with Putin” (or something a bit stronger); below, “Thran rights nai” – “thran” is an Ulster-Scots word meaning “stubborn” or “contrary” (entry for thra – the related verb – at Hamely Tongue) but perhaps here standing for Ulster-Scots in general and commenting on the tortured history of what is now (as of May 2022) the ‘Identity & Language’ bill (BBC) covering Irish/Gaeilge and Ulster-Scots/Ulstèr-Scotch in Northern Ireland. “Hallion” is itself is a Scots/north England word, meaning a scoundrel or rapscallion (MW | etymonline).
More than 35,000 from more than 80 countries people – see the jigsaw pieces on the left of this mural – joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, including 2,300 from Britain and Ireland (Guardian). The slogan “¡No pasarán!” [They shall not pass] comes from a speech by Dolores Ibárruri (“La Pasionaria”) in July 1936: “The Communist Party calls you to arms. We especially call upon you, workers, farmers, intellectuals to assume your positions in the fight to finally smash the enemies of the Republic and of the popular liberties. Long live the Popular Front! Long live the union of all anti-fascists! Long live the Republic of the people! The Fascists shall not pass! They shall not pass!” (WP)
It would also be used in October that year at the Battle Of Cable Street in London’s East End, when approximately 100,000 anti-fascists clashed with police protecting a British Union Of Fascists (“blackshirts”) march (WP).
Yuri Andropov, Michael Heseltine, Margaret Thatcher, and a sari-wrapped Ronald Regan are the four riders of the nuclear apocalypse, riding on rockets fueled by rubles, pounds, and dollars, facing off for the fate of the planet against the dove and CND/anti-nuclear symbol as harbingers of peace.
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).
Henri Cartier-Bresson said of Che Guevara’s eyes that they “glow; they coax, entice and mesmerize.” (WaPo), and (in a special feature ‘This Is Castro’s Cuba Seen Face To Face‘ that he shot for Life magazine) described Che as “an impetuous man with burning eyes and profound intelligence who seems born to make revolution”. The descriptions seem to fit the iconic “Guerrillero Heroico” photo by Alberto Korda, which Jim Fitzpatrick took as the basis for his two-tone poster version, but raised the eyes even more (WP).
This small Che board is in the alley between Ross Road and the Falls Road, near You’re Never Alone, over the back door to someone’s yard. It dates back to at least 2016.
Here are three images from CNR west Belfast commenting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine (plus a bonus one calling for the abolition of capitalism). Above, “End the war” and “Stop war in Ukraine”. The Leeds United flag has presumably been deployed for its blue and yellow colours, rather than for its “Marching on together” slogan. At bottom, “Stop the war! Russian troops out – Disband NATO – Support all refugess – Worker’s [sic] unity across Europe – www.socialistdemocracy.org“. In between, two Lasair Dhearg (web) stickers on pedestrian crossing boxes: “US military out of Shannon – stop imperialist war planes” and “‘The day has passed for patching up the capitalist system; it must go’ – James Connolly [from Labour, Nationality And Religion]”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has increased pressure on already-climbing energy prices (Irish News | News Letter). Since March 1st, petrol is up 17 pence/litre and diesel up 35 pence (Bel Tel). Home heating fuel has gone up 50% and more in the same period (Consumer Council | BelTel). The New Lodge graffiti in today’s post suggest that residents are choosing eating rather than heating, and want sanctions to end. As an alternative, to help people pay for the higher prices the SDLP proposed (on March 10th) emergency legislation that would allow 300 million pounds from the NI block grant to be distributed to funds that help people pay their energy bills (web); there have also been calls to delay or scrap the introduction of the new National Insurance levy, due to come into effect in April. Support in the UK for further sanctions against Russia that would increase costs to individuals is just under 50% (IPSOS | Sky News).
After amassing roughly 200,000 troops along the border, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24th; yesterday thus ended the tenth day of fighting. Perhaps 10,000 soldiers (both Ukrainian and Russian) and 2,000 civilians have died, and roughly 1.4 million people have fled the country. “Слава Україні!” [Slava Ukraini!] is the salute of the Ukrainian armed forces but has become a rallying cry in the mouths of people and nations around the globe in support of Ukraine, amongst which are artist FGB (ig) and the Sunflower bar in Kent Street, Belfast.
“One world, one struggle” and one common cause: British imperialism. The Palestinian flag flies beside Free Derry Corner (and the Petrol Bomber mural), which has been papered over with “There is n0 British justice” – this sets the theme for the march this afternoon (recreating the 1972 civil rights march in Derry from Creggan to the Bogside, starting at 2:30) which not only commemorates the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday (Bloody Sunday 50) but protests the British occupation of countries all around the world – the poster from Bloody Sunday March makes reference to the Amritsar (Jallianwala Bagh) Massacre, the Barbados Slave Code, (Second) Boer War concentration camps, and many others.