The Endless Ways In Which We Rob Ourselves Of Ourselves

The phrase “your silence will not protect you” comes from the essay “The Transformation Of Silence Into Language And Action” (pdf), in which US feminist and civil rights activist Audrey Lorde describes the damage to the self wrought by silence in response to fear and encourages us to find a perspective on fear that gives us strength: “I am not only a casualty, I am also a warrior.”

A week of speaking out from the Museum Of Free Derry/bloodysunday50.com and ArtsEverywhere begins today (June 13th) at 6 p.m. with the launch of an art exhibition entitled ‘From Bloody Sunday To Brexit’.

A graffitist at Amelia’s on Foyle Road has also found their voice: “50 years, no justice”, as the wrangling over the prosecution of Soldier F (and others) continues (Guardian).

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A Tale Of Two Protests

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.

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Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth

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.

Previous uses of the ‘venus’ symbol: Abortion Rights Now | We Too Are Strong | Lenadoon Women In Struggle

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Was This Lawful?

A 2021 command paper that proposed a statue of limitations and amnesty for so-called “legacy” killings included the claim that ‘the vast majority of security force killings were lawful’ (BelTel) and the comment has been attributed to NI Secretary Brandon Lewis (Pat Finucane Centre). (For background see e.g. this eamonnmallie.com piece.) The claim is used against him in this tarp commemorating Stephen McConomy was hit by a plastic bullet forty years ago this month, on April 16th, and died three days later: “Stephen McConomy (11) shot dead by Lanc. Corp. from Royal Anglian Regiment – April 1982. Was this ‘lawful’, Brandon Lewis?” Speaking at the memorial service, surviving family-members vowed to continue resisting the proposed limitations (Derry Journal).

There is also a plaque to McConomy in Fahan Street where he was shot (this one has since been replaced) and long ago there was a mural on Rossville Street.

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Play Spaces Should Be Safe Spaces

“Factory Residents’ Rights – How could any play park be worse than this?” The playground in the Factory area of Larne (Ferris Park) was closed in early 2021 because the surface was deemed unsafe. The local residents held a protest in April aimed at getting the attention of Mid- & East-Antrim council (Fb) and in October the council voted to build a new park some time in 2022 or 2023 if funding is available (NI World). As of mid-February, 2022, the playground is still in disrepair but – as can be seen from these images – it is being used by children.

For the murals on the long wall in the background of the second image, see Ad Vera Petenda.

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Though Absent You Are Ever Near

“Talents have been robbed by addiction, suicide, mental illness” – the shoes of the dead form part of an installation on Stewart Street, around the perimeter of the Markets. The RNU banner off to the right contains the numbers for Pieta House, PIPS, Samaritans, Teen Line, Lifeline, and Breathing Space.

“I am here – a son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, partner, lover, cousin, friend, grandfather, family. Why, why, why??? Are you okay? Our love[d] ones. Every day in some small way memories of you come our way. Through [sic] absent you are ever near, still missed, still loved, and ever dear.”

“The families[‘] pain continues!! They continue to struggle in silence: each loss has had a ripple effect throughout our community! Through the travel of time the pain remains the same!!!”

“It’s OK not to be OK – mental health illness is an invisible illness – breathing space – open up when you’re feeling down”

Below the shoes: “Dream big – smile – be thoughtful – respect – caring – love – be you – support – family”

The final image is from the nearby Friendly Street: Believe in yourself – Be kind – Something inside so strong – Positive mental well-being

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Bullets Travel Also Through Time

“South Belfast – time for truth – exposing collusion – Ormeau Road – ‘Bullets do not only travel distance but also through time'” [Based on a quote by James Kennedy’s father: “The bullets that killed James didn’t just travel in distance, they travelled in time. Some of those bullets never stop travelling.” (Irish Times)]

Police Ombudsman Marie Andersons’s report into various murders and attempted murders in south Belfast was released yesterday (February 7th, 2022) and presented a list of “collusive behaviours” between the RUC and loyalist paramilitaries. Among the incidents investigated was the killing of five people “murdered for their faith” at the Sean Graham bookies’ office on the Ormeau Road in February 5th, 1992; the report found that one of the two UDA gunmen was a Special Branch informant and that a Browning pistol used in the attack had been supplied by the RUC (as had previously been revealed in the 2010 HET Inquiry report) and that records relating to the weapon had been withheld from investigators (Irish Times | Belfast Live). For the 30th anniversary, relatives of the five men killed and of five more who were injured displayed their portraits next to the small memorial garden, which itself was updated to mark the third decade since their deaths: “1992-2022” (Belfast Live).

The plaque on the far left is to Charles Jospeh McGrillen, shot by the UDA/UFF in 1988 at his work in Dunne’s on the Annadale embankment (Sutton). Next to the bookies’ parlour is a plaque to Fian Jim Templeton.

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One World, One Struggle

“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.

See also: the Visual History pages for the front of Free Derry Corner | the rear of Free Derry Corner

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Inspiring Belfast

“25 years of regeneration” – 2021 was the 25th year of work in east Belfast for EastSide Partnership (web | tw). This video highlights some of their activities and projects. The tarp shown above is below the Luminaries & Legends board in Connswater Street.

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Welcome To Loyalist Tigers Bay

The flags of the four “home nations” fly above an arch in Tigers Bay, with a “Brexit” Union flag. Previously the tarp read “Welcome To North Belfast” (see M05014).

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