The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

the finest end of reason is to dispute well

Late afternoon Saturday on O'Connell Street, Dublin.
4.25pm approx.
A group of Muslims have set up desks outside the General Post Office and are proselytising passers by.
At the front is a clean cut white man with a neat beard, urbane and congenial, doing all the talking. To his left hand side, behind the tables taking signatures, are several smiley Africans, some in suits some in traditional robes. To one side of these stands a watchful Arab. You mightn't notice him if you didn't look twice.
The GPO building is considered an icon to the modern democratic incarnation of the Republic of Ireland.
It served as the headquarters for our most famous rebellion against British rule, a rebellion normally styled The 1916 Rising.
Across their desks, the group of Muslims have unfolded a banner which proclaims: Islam Is The Religion Of Peace.
I am on edge after a renewed encounter with the Black Jackets Muslim Al Qaeda street gang in the toilets of the Ilac Shopping Centre twenty minutes earlier.
As I pass the desks outside the GPO, I see their sign and cry: "No, no. Ah f--k no. Get lost. No more Arab terror. Get out. Get out of my country Muslims."
Perhaps a little aggressive.
Not my finest hour.
"You've got it all wrong?" says the clean cut neat bearded white man, stepping forward confidently.
"No more Muslim terror," I cry again.
"We're against terror too," says Neat Beard Whitey mollifyingly.
"No more Al Qaeda's," I roar.
"We agree with you," insists Neat Beard soothingly.
"No more murders of little Jewish schoolgirls in France," I shout.
The Arab standing beside Neat Beard looks up and allows himself a smirk of malicious glee at the mention of the dead Jewish schoolgirls.
His smile is pure evil.
He is positively glowing with pleasure.
"Islam opposes all murder," says Neat Beard.
"Why is your friend smiling at the thought of Jewish schoolgirls being murdered?" I roar, pointing him out to the fast gathering crowd.
"He's not, he's not," insists Neat Beard.
The Arab is still grinning at me like there's no tomorrow.
"Why is your friend rejoicing at the mention of the slaughter of little Jewish schoolgirls?" I persist, appealing now with hand gestures to the crowd to see what is before their eyes.
The Arab faces me frontally and smiles as broad as the Red Sea.
Why! It's almost as if he knows me.
Dimly I notice his black jacket.
"He's not smiling," says Neat Beard weakly.
The Arab seems to be doing an impression of Benny Hill, he is smiling so hard.
I again challenge loudly: "Why does your friend find it so amusing that a Muslim would break into a children's school in France and murder three little Jewish girls? Does this not shame all Muslims? Is this really something that makes Muslims smile with joy?"
It was a Kodak moment.
Neat Beard puts a hand on the Arab's shoulder and says a few words in gum Arabic.
The Arab tries to wipe his smile.
Apparently he actually can't.
He turns his back to me and pretends to play with his mobile phone.
"No more Muslim murders of little Jewish school children in France," I roar again.
Neat Beard starts to look discomfited.
"You're a joke," he says.
So the mask was slipping.
"You're a joke," I roar. "You, and your religion and your prophet are a joke. And you and your religion and your prophet are a joke against humanity and the world."
The grinning Arab who had turned his back to me to play with his mobile phone, did an about face and looked up.
His face was contorted.
The grin was gone.
Not a trace of it.
His features were a testimony to limitless hatred.
I knew what had happened.
I have heard it said that if you insult the Prophet Muhammad, or if Muslims deem you to have insulted the Prophet Muhammad, they will kill you or maim you or do whatever they like without a thought.
Some analysts maintain that Muslims will more readily commit murder over what they claim is an insult to the Prophet Muhammad than they will over an insult to Allah or to the peaceloving religion of Islam itself.
The red line is mentioning the Prophet Muhammed.
I knew I'd crossed it as soon as I said it.
The Arab advanced on me.
"You go," he screamed. "You go. You go. Or I will smash you."
"You're not smiling now Muslim," I roared back.
"Walk. Walk on. Walk on or I will smash you," he screamed again, taking another few steps towards me.
It really seemed he knew me.
I always walk away.
Today I was not in the mood for walking.
"Go kill another schoolgirl, Muslim. That's about your speed," I roared, holding my ground.
"Walk on. Walk on or I will. I will. I will," he foamed.
Literally foamed.
His mouth writhed with spittle like a rabid dog.
His facial expression betokened pure murder.
"Go kill another schoolgirl Muslim," I roared yet once more.
Lotsa roaring.
I was wondering would my voice break.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see the Arab's fist bunching.
I was trying to hold his gaze at the same time.
Let his imagination work on what he thought he might see in my eyes.
I had already decided I wouldn't throw a punch.
Nor would I try to debate him.
I would keep it simple.
For the next five minutes he screamed variations on his threats at me but held his distance just a single pace away.
For each of his screams I answered with the roar I wanted him to remember tonight.
"Go kill another schoolgirl, Muslim."
As long as I was conscious and capable of speech, I was determined to keep saying it.
As the shouting continued towards feverpitch, a Dublin streetcleaner in one of those silly little pseudo environmental path sweeper vehicles drove up the path behind the Muslim and waited politely for him to finish.
The only thing missing to complete the pathos was the Laurel & Hardy theme tune.
Dublin streetcleaners in silly little pseudo environmental path sweeper vehicles normally just drive right through the citizenry if we get in their way.
But they do brake for Muslims threatening to eviscerate citizens.
Who wudda thunk it.
No sign of any police.
Of course there wasn't.
There was a crowd around us though.
I have an actorly sense for crowds.
No one was going to come to my aid.
But no one disapproved of what I was doing either.
And the fiction about Islam being a religion of peace was being repudiated before their very eyes.
"I beat you. I will beat you," panted the Arab.
"Go kill another schoolgirl, Muslim."
"I... I... I.. tear you. You walk on or I tear you. I beat you."
"Go kill another schoolgirl Muslim."
"You... You... I beat you. I beat you. You... You... I beat. I tear. You. You. You."
My! He was upset.
We'd been at it for what felt like ten minutes, when from almost another world I instinctively felt my voice on the verge of cracking.
The actor in me knew to slow it down and take a good breath before each renewed bout of yelling.
No rush.
Plenty of time.
Still loud as justice I thundered: "Go kill another schoolgirl, Muslim."
Even though shouting, I sought to give my voice an element of the mellifluously mocking inflective note that Mick Sneeran and Ian Stewart, my late putative bosses at the Leinster Leader, had come to know and love so well during our pleasant chats about company employment law over tiffin back in the long lost dulcet Summer of 2006.
Days of the halcyon indeed.
You know folks, I can be quite an irritating fellow when I want to be.
I had brought this peaceloving Muslim, so accustomed to hating all humanity, to a place beyond hatred.
He frothed and he fumed and he spumed.
But still he held his position a pace away from me and still his bunched fist remained unthrown, the knife unwielded, the Polonium Ninety uninserted in the water supply, and whatever else he had up his sleeve at least temporarily in abeyance..
Just about.
The threat of violence hung heavy in the air.
It was all so finely poised.
His face still contorted and his mouth still frothed but at last he knew I wasn't going anywhere.
And for some reason, today he was unwilling to kill.
He realised it and I realised it at about the same time.
And it was at this moment that his voice broke.
His shoulders sagged and he unleashed a sob.
"You. You are. You will. You, you, you..." was all he could manage now.
I let him say it.
Then I returned to full throttle with a particularly finely wrought rendition of: "Go kill another schoolgirl Muslim."
The watching Neat Beard and his African friends could take no more and stepped forward.
Had I been lying in a pool of blood dying at this stage, they would have happily sworn blind when the cops arrived presumably some time next week, that it had all happened so fast that there had been nothing any of them could do to stop it.
But clearly they had hung back through it all in order to give the Arab a chance to beat me to a pulp.
Or whatever the hell else he wanted to do.
For equally clearly the Arab, who had stood so nondescriptly to one side at the tables while Neat Beard and the Africans proselytised the infidels, clearly I say, most clearly, the Arab was in fact in charge of the whole show.
He was the boss.
That's the way Islam works.
Now the others gathered consolingly around him.
I resisted the urge to intone: "Where have you guys been? We missed you."
Wrong crowd for that joke.
As his friends joined him, the Arab choked out a few more: "You, you, you's," and managed an occasional heartfelt gasp of: "I tear you."
To each of which I replied with my own set phrase.
Always waiting for him to finish before I opened my mouth.
"Go kill another schoolgirl, Muslim."
And always adding that last key word Muslim just so the crowd of afternoon shoppers and students who were watching might have some contextual handle on the discourse taking place.
Finally Neat Beard and the Africans caught their Arab boss by the arms and he allowed them to lead him back to their booth.
He looked like nothing so much as a particularly murderous James Browne being led offstage by his band after over exerting himself during a pop song.
I let a few more roars of "Go kill another schoolgirl, Muslim," just in case he'd forgotten the salient point.
Then I walked on up O'Connell Street.


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