Book Review: WHO IS CHARLIE? Emmanuel Todd (Polity, 2015)
The targeted killing of staff at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris took place on 7th January 2015 and on the 11th of the month a mass protest demonstration in the city attracted between 1.5 and 2 million people. The march had an impeccable pedigree, headed as it was by the likes of Angela Merkel, François Hollande, David Cameron, Jean-Claude Juncker, Nicholas Sarkozy and Donald Tusk. ‘I am Charlie’ became synonymous with ‘I am French’ and when the now state-subsidized satirical magazine was relaunched its cover showed Muhammad with a penis-shaped face and wearing a turban from which hung two round shapes like testicles. For protestors a pencil on a poster became a symbol of liberty, forgetting the way caricatures of Jews had been a stock part of Nazi anti-Semitism.
The people on the protest march did not represent a cross-section of French society: the less well-off from the suburbs, whatever religion they did or did not profess, were not on the streets of Paris; nor were the working class of provincial France well represented. It was a largely middle-class affair with its roots in the old Catholic substratum of France and not in the secularism of the country’s republicanism. Emmanuel Todd sees his country lying to itself, provoking the thought that Charlie is an impostor, and reminds readers that two years earlier Paris had witnessed another huge demonstration, between 340,000 and 800,000 people, protesting at the legalisation of homosexual marriages. Such large numbers did not characterise reactions to the spread of anti-Semitism in France that resulted in the killing of three Jewish children in Toulouse in 2012 or the killing by a French citizen of four people in the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014.
Religious beliefs and practices have dramatically declined in France, just as elsewhere across Europe, with the proportion of children born out of wedlock increasing from 5.5% in 1960 to 55% today and the numbers of practising Catholics falling from 33% to 6%. Such a change can destabilise the group psyche of regions where Catholicism was deeply rooted, creating metaphysical anxiety, and Todd’s term for the anthropological and social fallout from this is ‘zombie Catholicism’.
Read Post →
Progressive Film Club – at the New Theatre · 43 East Essex Street · Dublin 2 · Saturday 27th of April
Labour Rights and Immigrant Workers
Admission free. (Donations welcome.)
Living as Brothers (2012)
Living as Brothers looks at the lives of Jamaican migrant workers toiling in the orchards of Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada. In their own words, these men, some of whom have been returning for more than twenty years, tell of the second life they have created for themselves in Canada, the reasons for their making this journey, and their struggles at home in rural Jamaica. Told over a season of picking fruit, their story is arduous, stressful, and precarious, one that offers few second chances. · Produced and directed by Kevin Fraser.
Read Post →
MA in COMMUNITY EDUCATION, EQUALITY & SOCIAL ACTIVISM
Applications are invited for the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism at NUI, Maynooth – http://ceesa-ma.blogspot.ie/
What can we learn from each other’s struggles for equality and social justice – and what do we already know about how to change the world?
This course brings together students who want to learn how to make equality and social justice into realities and more experienced activists in community education and social movements looking for space to reflect on their own work, with a team of staff who are experienced teachers and researchers, community educators and social movement practitioners.
We form a community of practitioners learning from each other’s experiences and struggles to create new kinds of “really useful knowledge” and develop alternatives.
The MA enables students to think about how to build real alternatives to challenge existing structures of oppression and injustice. It is about developing people’s capacity to change the world through community education, grassroots community activism and social movement campaigning.
The women's movement, global justice campaigners, self-organising by travellers and migrant communities, trade unions, GLBTQ campaigning, environmentalism, service user movements, anti-war activism, survivors of institutional abuse, and many other such movements have reshaped our society and put human need on the agenda beside profit and power. This process has not ended.
Read Post →
Last week in the Dáil Alan Shatter justified Ireland opting out of an EU directive to allow asylum seekers to enter the workforce if their application has not been processed after a year on the…
Read Post →
Enda Kenny in his apology in the Dail called it a ‘profound indifference.’ He said we were able to put the Magdalene women away because ‘for too many years we put away our conscience.’ He was talking of course about something that had been happening since the beginning of this state and which only finally came to an end in 1996. For Enda Kenny though and most of the audience the idea was that this, the horror that was the laundries, the sin that was the incarceration of innocent women, could all be blamed on the past, that what we were really talking about was 1950s Ireland, about a prejudice and snobbery and false piety that belonged to an Ireland that was now gone. Our ‘indifference’ belonged to the past, our buried ‘conscience’ was now unearthed. For ‘our’ indifference and conscience what we really meant was ‘theirs,’ those from the past. Them not us. Not us, at all.
Which is nice and comforting, isn’t it? As if we were confronting something when in essence we were just blaming it on those who went before. Like being absolved but of someone else’s sins. Still, the history of societies looking the other away, claiming not to have known what everyone really knew, has a sinister history, with even the worst state murders of the last century being characterised by that very thing. Thankfully, we are not within that sphere of inhumanity, but do we even want to share any of those social characteristics? Do we want to be another society that turned away, that buried our conscience, that lived by indifference, that ‘didn’t know’? Because we do know and if we don’t talk about it we are indifferent or putting away our conscience or lying.
Read Post →
I wish to bring to your attention the numerous incidents of racism that have been in the Irish press over the last 2 weeks. What they amounted to was a public representative, be it a councillor or a senator, as well as a judge using either racist slang or making racist statements in the course of their work. These statements were largely brushed under the carpet by the media despite the long term effects they have on the oppressed groups they targeted. A statement by a Fianna Fail senator last week that he would not get into a taxi driven by an “obvious” non-national resonates quite closely with our own problems with racism in Galway city.
Despite numerous letters to the local media as well as reports categorically confirming that racism against African taxi drivers is rife in the city, the practice continues with more and more non-national drivers reporting incidents of aggravated racial assault and abuse, to the effect now that these men and women see it as normal for them receive racism on a daily basis.
Comments by this Senator only serve to cement such prejudice and make the day-to-day living of an African taxi driver that bit harder. In times of recession and economic crisis, it has been noted that racist attitudes begin to rise due to people lashing out at whoever is the easiest to blame. Surely our political representatives were elected to rally against such attitudes, and not stoke the fires of racism in a bid to represent, and ultimately win votes, from people who play on such racist attitudes, much like the Conservative Party in the UK covers such areas in a bid to make the British National Party irrelevant.
Read Post →
Press Release from Anti-Deportation Ireland, including an Executive Summary of the report which is being launched tomorrow…
‘The direct provision system is destroying people’s lives, and the injustice of deportations must be ended’ according to Anti-Deportation Ireland (ADI). The organization, comprised of asylum-seekers from direct provision centres all over Ireland, and their supporters, will launch a campaign and research report in Unite the Union, 15 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, on October 3rd at 11.30am.
The launch comes a week after the death of a Congolese asylum-seeker, Emmanuel Marcel Landa in Mosney, the 49th person to die in the system of Direct Provision since 2000. It also follows the march of several hundred people in Galway city on September 15th to protest against the summary dispersal of 270 asylum-seekers living in Lisbrook House. They were due to be relocated to other centres around the country, despite the fact that many have been living in and integrated into the local community during the last years.
According to Luke Bukha of ADI, the direct provision system ‘takes people who have been uprooted from their homes and who have often suffered terrible traumas and confines them in a system that leaves them without choice and often hope.
Read Post →
It seems that nationalisation is all the rage these days. The takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, if it does not put paid to the notion that housing finance is too important to be…
Read Post →