The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

tilting at windmills

Emerging from the Stephens Green Centre I behold an anti war protest at the head of Grafton Street.
The protest consists of a burly silver haired chap with a handlebar moustache, accompanied by two teenage girls giving out leaflets. They are standing around a table.
Some passers by stop to sign their petition.
The protestors have placards which read: "Stop the bombing of Lebanon."
The noble Heelers halts.
Something is wrong with this picture.
I weigh up the odds. I am far too good looking to be brawling with peace protestors on a Dublin street.
Handlebar lets a roar.
"Stop the bombing of Lebanon."
Without further thought, I let a roar myself.
"Stop the bombing of Israel."
Right at this moment when I want myself to sound most impressive, my voice comes out sounding like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.
Also at precisely this moment I lose the ability to pronounce the word Israel.
I say it: "Is-rah-el," sort of like an old Testament Shaggy might have said it in a 2000 year old episode of Scooby Doo.
Handlebar, to his enormous credit, looks a tad nervous.
He is silent for a moment.
"Stop the bombing of Lebanon," even louder than before.
And from me...
"Stop the bombing of Is-rah-el," just as loud.
This time I sound like Mini Mouse.
There is another awkward silence.
I decide to call the honours even and walk off down the street.
Something good, something honest has happened here.
I am momentarily proud of my country.
In Dublin anyone can still say what they like on the public streets. My heart lifts with the savour of freedom.
I have no ill will towards Handlebar.
Oddly enough in my journalistic life all my best friends have been communists, or socialists, or what we might call fringe elements.
I have found them to be the only ones who really believe in anything.
And as I reach the Laura Ashley cafe half way down Grafton Street, I hear distant but defiant amid the bustle of afternoon: "Stop the bombing of Lebanon."
I leave him the last word.


Blogger Schneewittchen said...

Good for you James!

7:47 AM  
Blogger Schneewittchen said...

I find it bizarre that someone thinks harrassing passers-by in Dublin can have any effect on the actions of governments in other contries.
I find it equally bizarre that that same someone should decide that Israel is at fault and shouldn't have the right to defend herself.
We have the same problem in apathetic old BC where 'peace protestors' are always out there annoying people. Only it now turns out that some of these ppl are actually linked to terrorist organisations.
But even more forceful was someone in our local paper who I thought silenced the constant bitching and whining about Canadian soldiers fighting the Taliban by quoting Canadian poet John McCrae.
In 'Flanders Fields', he urges us not to break faith with those who gave their lives to hold high the torch of our ideals.
I know I've gotten away from the subject of Israel prtoecting herself, but I do condemn my compatriots who dismiss or even scorn the sacrifice our soldiers have made to give better lives to people in other lands and to uphold the ideals of our democracies.

7:09 PM  
Blogger sou said...

this was funny!!! laughed out quite loudly (and i'm at office :|)

yeah it is a great feeling to be able to express yourself.. and i'm sure you made him think!

6:03 AM  

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