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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Juntas don't vote for voting rights for all

Trocaire director Justin Kilcullen has called on the Irish Olympic Committee to consider a boycott of the Beijing games in protest at the Chinese authority's tacit refusal to put pressure on their fellow-travelling Military Junta in Burma.

At the Burma Action protest in Dublin on Saturday, Mr Kilcullen stated that the Olympics had gone to China in the hope that holding such an open and global event would encourage the Chinese Communist Party to move faster on providing basic human rights to the citizens of China.

"However China hasn’t kept up its side of the contract," he said, and who can disagree?

I've written before about how China has denied its people even access to information about themselves and the regime they suffer under, by firewalling the internet.

Their pals in Burma have gone one step further and switched net access off throughout the country in the hope of preventing images of their brutality leaking to media outlets outside of Burma.

I've spoken in the past about how China has abused its military might by occupying a sovereign nation's territory and seeking to wipe them out culturally and politically.

Of course, The Karen people of Northern Burma might well see a parallel there in their own fate. They have fought an intermittent insurgency against the illegal military junta for years. They have reaped genocide as their reward.

I've even highlighted how China has behaved in exactly the same way to its own internal demands for democracy as the Burmese Junta are doing now - with military force and the shooting of unarmed, peaceful protesters.

It is therefore foolish to expect such a regime to exert pressure on an identical one to encourage a democratic process. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas, and military juntas don't vote for voting rights for all.

Nevertheless, as I wrote last week, the Chinese are in a major quandary on this one. They cannot be seen overtly supporting the suppression of a people's demand for freedom, especially by such an internationally unpopular regime.

The world has spoken in relation to Burma, but it must keep speaking out if the UN mission to Burma is to achieve anything. It must also keep speaking out in order to force change in Burma, not only for the benefit of the people of Burma, the Burmese, the Karen, the other ethnic minorities.

It must keep speaking out because only when Burma is free of this horror, can we hold out a slender sliver of hope for the people of Tibet, for the people of China itself, all of whom yearn for their own sovereignty and for democracy, for human rights and freedom.

So for all of those reasons, we should support Trocaire's call for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hairstyles are more important than politics

According to Irishwomen, that is.

An Irish Times survey (subs required) has revealed that politics is the least important thing in my female contemporaries' lives. Only 9% rank politics as very important to them.

Financial independence was considered to be the second most important thing to women. Hardly surprising in a society only half a generation from when women couldn't work after marriage in the state sector and when divorce was illegal.

But the fact that hairstyles and personal grooming were considered more important, not only than politics, but also more important than friends or financial security, more important than ANYTHING ELSE in fact, is a bit of an eye-opener.

Since men aren't considered worthy of polling in and of themselves, we won't get to see a similar poll of male attitudes. But I suspect that a similar poll would see men put family and friends top of any list of interests (closely followed by sport, sex and of course politics.)

These findings may seem obvious to bloggers like FlirtySomething, who have long berated my tedious ranting about the state of politics in Ireland, but all I can say is that they were pretty surprising to me.

Further revelations from the strange land of the Irish female psyche are promised by the IT tomorrow and on Saturday. I for one cannot wait.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ethnic Cleansing in Ireland and Israel

Fionn Mac Cool, a poster on Ireland's leading political discussion forum politics.ie as opposed to the mythical giant whose causeway is being privatised by the DUP, made the following eye-opening pictorial comparison between Ireland and Israel.

I think the pictures say it all really.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Labour's not working

I went to a Labour Party meeting last weekend. It was the first time I'd ever done so.

Now for the first time ever, I understand why they are the half-party in a two and a half party system. The party's internal systems are stuck in the stone age.

I also now realise the reason why no social democratic party has ever been elected to govern in Ireland (unlike pretty much EVERY other European country).

It's because the only viable left-wing party in Ireland (no, the Marxist Revolutionary former terrorist Sinn Fein don't count) has never, EVER, got its act together.

And after a single meeting taster, I'm not entirely convinced that they ever will, despite the undoubted talent that exists within the party.

Recently I met with a local councillor who, after a few years in Labour, left and joined the Greens instead. They cited the internal politics as the reason for their departure.

I appreciate the need for Labour to look inwards at this time of new leadership, and decide where they want to go and what else they need to change.

But while the party's internal rhetoric remains ideological cant and internecine rivalries, Fianna Fail will continue to mop up the natural left-wing vote in Ireland, while Sinn Fein and the Greens nibble at it too. But it's a vote that by rights ought to belong to Labour.

Burmese Days

If you were a military junta that had dominated your populace by terror for decades, you'd be pretty unhappy to see your neighbouring puppet junta facing democracy protests from hundreds of thousands of civilians and religious monks.

And if you had a major world event to put on within twelve months, which you hope to use to whitewash and normalise your regime in the eyes of the world, then you'd be panicking over what to do.

Pity the poor Chinese government. Do they assist the Burmese military in viciously suppressing the demands for democracy, risking a worldwide reaction, or do they leave well alone, and risk seeing another protest in Tiananmen Square next week?

Actually, don't pity them. Instead, offer your support to the Burmese demands for democracy. Petition your local representatives. Email Bertie Ahern (he might get a chance to read them after he's finished spoofing to the Mahon Tribunal).

Congratulations are due to Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern for speaking out in favour of Burmese democracy. Ireland needs to support this burgeoning revolution. We need to call for the release of Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi now.

Otherwise, it might look like we're a bunch of racists who only support democracy when it's nice white Europeans asking for it. Nice white Europeans who we can get to come and serve us coffee for minimum wage in Dublin afterwards.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Everyone waits for the madman to die

Last month, I went to the land where everyone is waiting for one madman to die.

It is also one of the most beautiful countries it has ever been my privilege to visit, populated by one of the most friendly peoples in the world.

I took Mini-Skinner with me. We went to a beautiful safari lodge where each night, as we sat on the veranda for dinner, literally dozens of elephants came to drink at the watering hole below us. Amazingly, there were only two other guests in the lodge.

We visited the nearby world heritage site, a spectacular place of awesome natural beauty that was almost deserted. We stared, awestruck, at one of the greatest natural wonders on Earth, appreciating the famous statement about it that 'Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.'

We went to the local craft market, where we were besieged by craft workers, desperate to sell their excellent work at almost any price, including swapping beautifully carved statues for the grubby, sweaty baseball cap on my head.

I changed one dollar into local currency, just for a souvenir. The country itself runs on what little foreign exchange it can lay its hands on. I got a 100,000 note in the local currency for my single dollar. I was actually short-changed, as the rate was around 260,000 that day. It's a lot more now.

Of course, I was in Zimbabwe, a country of immense natural resources, stunning scenery, amazing wildlife and wonderful people. A country that has been brought to the edge of ruin by one madman, Robert Mugabe.

Thanks to this syphilitic maniac who runs the country like his personal fiefdom, Zimbabwe is now suffering major social difficulties, international isolation and possibly the worst case of hyper-inflation ever seen, and that's including pre-Nazi Germany.

According to the International Crisis Group, which monitors world crises, Zimbabwe is now close to collapse. A quarter of the population has already fled the country, including almost all of the brightest and best, like the doctors, the academics, and the entrepreneurs, not to mention the white farmers. The inflation rate is expected to top 1.5 million per cent.

Tens of thousands of people have been murdered or incarcerated by his Zanu-PF thugs. The opposition parties are regularly intimidated, independent media discouraged by lengthy prison sentences, and the poor cleared from their shanties just as the whites have been murdered on their farms.

Even the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, himself black African born, is now calling for sanctions against Mugabe's regime in order to force the maniac to stand down.

There is an apocryphal story, possibly untrue but likely true, that when George Bush senior was calling a halt to the first Gulf War in 1991, he contacted John Major to ask that all British forces inside Iraq pull back to Kuwait.

Apparently, an SAS troop reported back that they were in Tikrit province, close to Saddam's family compound, and wished to know should they assassinate the Iraqi dictator first, or simply pull back.

History might have been very different if Saddam had been removed then. Perhaps the 1.2 million excess deaths in Iraq since the US occupation began might not have occurred.

But whether that tale is true or not, given the inability of Zimbabwe's neighbours, especially Thabo Mbeki's South Africa, to put manners on the madman, perhaps it is time for Britain to send the SAS deathsquad in to hasten the end of the man who seems intent on killing his country before syphilis kills him.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

All roads lead to Skin Flicks

Sorry about the continuing radio silence. This is the sole fault of BT. Send them mouldy kippers in the mail for me, if you can.

Hence I'm still reliant on begging, borrowing or stealing net access when I can for the foreseeable.

But on this brief interlude in the interweb world, I've discovered more disturbing numpties are coming to this blog than ever before.

Here's a taster of some of the most common, yet bizarre search engine topics that have, sadly, led people to me:

"Glenda Gilson nude" is a perennial favourite. Mate, if she wasn't nude here the first time you looked, why do you keep persevering? Even if I had nude pictures of the eyebrow bint, I'd burn them. The mere thought of it makes my eyebrows rise.

"Dali rulings on the property values in ireland" - Never knew Salvador was a follower of the Irish property scene. But given how surreal the prices are, perhaps I ought to have realised this before.

"Suicide note blog"- seriously, things aren't that bad!

From the 'You don't say?' school of internet research I've received visits from people looking for:

"trouble on the terracing leeds united"
"americans are stupid"
"romanian gypsies move to ireland"
"bad thing having a baby"
"leah betts died of drugs"
and "man utd fans trouble liverpool"

Glad to be of service to all you people seeking confirmation of the bleeding obvious.

From the extremely disturbing end of the sexual spectrum, I've been visited by freaks looking for:

"belfast transvestites"
"michel platini nude"
"nude mad mullah photo"
"posh english boy pussy"
and "looking for a girl in cavan for sex"

Serves me right for calling the blog 'Skin Flicks', I guess.

But each and everyone is welcome! Hopefully, one day soon, I'll even have some decent political commentary back to entertain you all. In the meantime, look at the pretty picture of a kitten above.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Swearing Lady leaves Gombeen Nation

I'd like to give a shout out to the new blog on the block Gombeen Nation, who comes dripping with bile and legitimate anger about topics as diverse as the Irish Language industry and Padraig Pearse's latent (or is that blatant?) homosexuality.

Clearly an angry man after my own heart, he's one who'll go far, assuming the death threats from Gaelgeoiri don't succeed.

On the flip-side, I have to acknowledge much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the blogosphere (and that's just from me) at the apparently imminent retirement of everyone's favourite Profanist, The Swearing Lady, pictured right, swearing as usual.

Her tales from the Arse End of Ireland will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

NI bigots advise Iraqi bigots on peace

The world, with its constant ability to astound and amaze with wonderful ironies, has managed an absolute beauty of the genre this week.

The sectarian leaders overseeing the internecine bloodbath in Iraq have sought the help of Sinn Fein and the DUP in learning to overcome their differences.

Yes, when you find yourself embroiled in a bloody conflict between two communities who look the same, speak the same and worship the same God in marginally different ways, the people you need to help find a way out of the horror are obviously those who managed to sustain an identical conflict for three decades past its sell-by date!

Getting advice on creating peace from Martin McGuinness is like getting lessons in bedside manners from Dr Harold Shipman. And being taught about mutual respect and cross-community engagement by Jeffrey Donaldson is akin to being tutored in multiculturalism by Adolf Hitler.

If the Iraqis, already beleaguered by the ongoing occupation of their country by Britain and the United States, really needed some advice from Ulster politicians, surely the people to send were Nobel laureates John Hume and David Trimble?

The fact that those loons McGuinness and Donaldson were sent not only underlines the pointlessness of the exercise, but also confirms it as nothing more than a junket for those whose attention ought to be on the tanking Northern Irish economy instead.

PS I am very keen to let known my thoughts on Africa, and have plenty of pics to accompany the ranting. However, ongoing net deprivation in the burbs continues to frustrate. Please stay tuned!