Features

Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Features, Foreign Affairs

Tomorrow (5 April) the German Federal Administrative Court will consider whether the US is waging an unconstitutional war via its military base in Ramstein. According to the German peace movement, US military drones are being operated in real-time from the US via Ramstein. The case is interesting from an Irish point of view in that the crux of it is that the use by the US military of a site on German territory for the killing of civilians elsewhere is in contravention of German and international law. Given Shannon airport’s longstanding position as a de facto US military base, the arguments and outcome of this case should be of interest to anyone concerned by Ireland’s facilitating and supporting US wars and invasions around the world.

Below, an interview with Peter Becker, the lawyer for the plaintiff in the case, which was originally published in the German daily Junge Welt. Translation by Niall Farrell.

‘We call for the monitoring of the Ramstein airbase’

On April 5th the Federal Administrative Court will consider whether the USA is waging an unconstitutional war via its military base in Ramstein. An interview with Peter Becker, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in a case against the German government
Interview: Susan Bonath
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Features

Extract From My Inaugural Speech to The Senate

after Juvenal

I will stand up for the fleas
just trying to make an honest living
in the toupees of white men
who like to surprise their mistresses
by leaping out of wardrobes.

We need to start thinking outside
the small parallelogram; realise
large parts of this country are a vast
hair-transplant waiting to happen
the moment the necessary funds become available,
or not available, as the case may be.
We are cycling our high nellies
into uncharted territory right now;
wherever we’re going,
we’re not there yet.

At times like this we think
in particular of those who haven’t
been forgotten but should be;
those who’ve sacrificed
nothing, and when the hour comes
will do so again. Speaking
as the mother of an elderly child,
what we’re all crying out for
right now are more
underwater hospitals.

While these are being built, I promise
to introduce legislation to put
mustard on all your sandwiches,
whether you want it there or not.
The party opposite have used
my longstanding support for the right
of limousine drivers to knock old ladies
down at roundabouts, to accuse me
of being in favour of everything.

Let the record show, I’m against
type two diabetes in most circumstances
and think every sexual relationship,
right down to the humble sweaty handshake,
should be equality proofed by a government inspector
before being allowed to proceed.

These are the issues I’ll be both talking about
and not talking about. Who at the end,
and perhaps also the beginning
of the day, will make your children’s future
that bit more catastrophic?

Posterity, mark my every syllable,
will hold festivals
where members of the public will gather
at their own considerable expense
to aggressively forget what I said here today.
And what I didn’t say.

KEVIN HIGGINS

Features

A brilliant new poem from Kevin Higgins, written for the Luas workers.

Against Plan to Ruin Revolution Day with Strike
for the Luas workers

We’re all for workers’ rights,
like nothing more
than to browse the better variety
of coffee table book for poignant
photographs: cloth caps and blue overalls
whose existences were
exquisitely terrible, down to the way
typhus so cinematically throttled
their two, three, four, and five
year olds, same day industrial slicers
took their little fingers, or perhaps,
if they were lucky,
a thumb.

Because of those bastard
trade unions, we shall not
see their picturesque likes again.
But what makes our pulsing
haemorrhoids pop is Dublin
tram workers’ ongoing plan
to make their customers walk, to disrupt
Revolution Day celebrations
by going on strike for money
they wouldn’t know what to do with
if they had it.

The men and women of 1916
didn’t go out that day
so that a hundred years later
tourists could be inconvenienced,
and distinguished men in eco-friendly
Kashmir sweaters made irritable
in their magnificent armchairs.

When, come that Monday,
the ghosts of Markievicz, Connolly, & Pearse
alight at Heuston Station; they must
be allowed go about the business
of watching us pretend to remember them,
unencumbered by picket lines,
or small people daring
to take their share.

KEVIN HIGGINS

Dáil Issues, Features, Foreign Affairs

Some thoughts from Ed Horgan of Shannonwatch on Mother’s Day.

So it’s happy Mother’s Day isn’t it. Lets hope some of the thousands, and more likely tens of thousands, of mothers, will have a happy Mother’s Day, as they flee from the conflicts in the Middle East with their little children, as they huddle at the razor wire fences, in the snow and rain, on the borders with Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Slovakia, being refused refugee protection.

At Shannon airport this morning it was cold, wet and windy, but I was dressed in warm clothing and was able to go the Park Inn hotel and warm up with tea and a scone after taking the photos below.
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