Refugees Welcome

The outline of parents and daughter running is used in the United States along highways near the US-Mexico border. The image was used in Belfast in 2015 in connection with refugees from Africa (see Qaxootiga Soo Dhaweyn) and now appears in Abbey Lane, Armagh. A family of Syrian immigrants last year had graffiti painted on their home in Alexander Avenue (Irish Post).

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Political Policing

“Black lives matter”, a campaign against police brutality originating in the US, beneath a 32CSM (web | tw) tarp “Oppose British political policing”. The stencil is sponsored by People Before Profit (web | tw). Divis Street, Belfast.
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Support The 5 Demands!

100+ politicians, academics, and signed a letter calling for the release of some ETA prisoners during the coronavirus epidemic. This is only the first of the five demands (recalling the Blanket protest here) in this 32CSM poster from King Street, Belfast: “Support Basque political prisoners! Support the 5 demands! 1. The freeing of vulnerable prisoners and those who are coming to the end of their sentences. 2. To receive family visits. 3. Access to materials to avoid being infected (gloves, sanitisers, etc.). 4. Carrying out of Covid-19 tests on prisoners and jailers. 5. In the event of the death of family member, the possibility of a prisoner going to the funeral home to pay their last respects. Stop the torture!”

See also Patxi Ruiz.

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You Cannot Put A Knee Upon The Neck Of An Idea

“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.

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 divis street marty lyons mickey doherty sponsored by Féile an Phobail Fáilte Feirste

A Living Hell For Children

Civil war continues in Yemen with 111 soldiers killed, allegedly by Houthi rebels, in a missile attack on a military mosque on January 18th (BBC). The country remains the country with the most humanitarian need: according to the UN, 24 million people, 80% of the population, are in need. The mural on west Belfast’s International Wall from April 2019 has been completed with the flags of Spain, Canada, and China being added to those of the US, UK, and France on the missiles raining down (now in two ranks) on civilians, blood dripping from cash-filled Saudi hands, and a UNICEF statistic included in our original post: “1 child dies every 10 minutes as a result of the war in Yemen”

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Free Kashmir

Kashmir has remained a disputed territory since the partition of India in 1947. It remains under Indian administration, despite different groups rebelling since 1987, some seeking union with Pakistan and others an independent Kashmir. Indian forces have been accused of human rights abuses against Kashmiris. For the mural on the right, see This Is Our Republic.

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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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And The Cry Was “Keine Kapitulation”

The third (and surely not the final?) season of the popular UK drama Brexit is keeping people guessing. This week, it looks like Boris might betray the ever-loyal Arlene and agree a Northern Ireland-only backstop with EU before time runs out on October 31st. In Belfast, lower Shankill residents are not amused by this potential turn of events and have invoked the classic “No surrender!” catch-phrase from 1688’s Siege Of Derry, painted on the wall between the security gates dividing Catholic and Protestant west Belfast. (Just kidding, of course; this is serious stuff. But the twists and turns are worthy of a telenovela. As Belfasters have always said, “If you’re not confused, you don’t know what’s going on.”)

Other recent messages below the Imagine mural: Victory To IsrealYour Wall, Your Border

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End Apartheid

15 year-old Fian Gerald McAuley was the first member of the IRA to die in the Troubles. He was shot in Waterville Street by a loyalist sniper while helping people move from burned-out homes in Bombay Street, along which the “peace” line separating the Falls and Shankill now runs, overlooking the Clonard Memorial Garden, site of the service for the 50th anniversary of McAuley’s death. In the windows of a nearby house we also see a poster in support of Palestine and a Bobby Sands-Che Guevara hurl.

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Imagine There’s No Countries

No sooner had the pro-Trump message been blackened out (Your Wall, Your Border) than this graffiti appeared below the ‘Imagine’ mural in the neutral ground between the security gates on Northumberland Street: “Victory To Isreal [Israel]” with the Star of David.
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