[Return to related issue of Nonviolent
I am starting a campaign against artificial
smells (just send in your £20/€30 fee) [and you
can smell a rat for free - Ed]. Well, I am against real horrible
smells too and there can be underlying causes (bad ventilation,
stale food, toilets not cleaned etc) which need radical action.
A little bit of a bad smell indicates some action is required,
e.g. to air a room or get out the scrubbing brush. But what
happens today? Mainly, get out the aerosol. Just a squirt
hides the dirt (well, partly, and you then have the mixture
of stale and artificial smells which is the worst of the worst).
Apart from any possible assault on our nostrils from artificial
smells, the idea that a room in a house should smell 'country
fresh' (whatever that means) is just plain stupid.
I have had the fortune or misfortune to visit
numbers of nursing homes north, west and east of this island
and I can safely say that the worst nursing homes tend to
be those who are the heaviest users of aerosol smells. Why?
To hide other smells. But if the smell is obnoxious all you
are doing is masking it and confusing your senses - the smell
hasn't gone away, just masked by another more overpowering
If you do want different smells to enhance rather
than hide, and smell is an important sense we humans possess,
go for the essential oils which you know are honest to goodness
smells not cooked up in a lab by a chemist trying to make
complex sets of chemicals to create that 'fresh' feeling -
and large profits for the company. And flowers are just the
job too - lavender, honeysuckle, meadowsweet, jasmine, roses.
Please let everything come up smelling of roses and not of
complex chemicals. Our senses have enough to cope with as
it is. My own favourite? Sandalwood soap from India to shower
with. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Though you may remember the old adage,
if your nose is running and your feet smell then you're upside
It is not so much the War on Terror. It is the
War of Terror. Bush and his bushwhackers are happy to allow
the so-called 'War on terror' to be used in what can only
be called state terrorism. It is good to see that some of
the British media have continued to take a critical stand
on the 'War on Terror' and the Iraq war in particular (the
BBC and the British government having their horns locked in
a bitter struggle - I don't always hold the BBC to be a great
impartial reporter but in this case it is acting bravely and
honestly, it is the British government who are trying desperately
to hide their actions and deceits).
One British paper which has been facing the
facts is the (London) Independent. Its 26th June issue took
a look at the 'War on Terror'.
"12,117 people have vanished
from their homes since 11 September 2001 in the 'War on
Terror'. They have been branded as terrorists, enemy combatants,
'material witnesses' or just undesirable aliens. Most are
in secret jails with no access to lawyers or the Red Cross.
Some have been interrogated by the CIA and MI5 using 'stress
and duress' tactics. Others have been sent to be questioned
in countries where torture is commonplace. They are subject
to no judicial process. They do not know if they will be
locked up for months, years or even decades. To their families,
they are simply missing."
There have been at least 28 suicide attempts
at the USA detention/ internment camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
(why the hell the USA still has a naval base there is another
question, one of US imperialism in the region) and the servants
of the USA government can now label a US citizen as an 'enemy
combatant' and therefore with no rights. Around the world,
right wing governments were handed a carte blanche for atrocities
after September 11th.
But what goes around, comes around. Apart from
the denial of basic human rights, the US, Britain and others
are stocking up on trouble for the future. And when the boot
is on the other foot (as when US soldiers were captured in
the Iraq war) it is the US that is the first to call 'foul'.
All of this augurs badly for peace, human rights and stability
around the world. The politics of the last atrocity, and tit
for tat killings and reprisals, does not work. Look at Israel
and Palestine. Let us hope that the USA can learn this lesson
before there are more fearful atrocities like September 11th.
But at the moment Bush, the US administration, and many US
citizens, seem like slow learners.
We 'did' the religious part of the Norn Iron
census recently (NN106) so it's only fair to do the Republic's
one too. The Northern Ireland census revealed 13 people claiming
to be 'Rastafarian' and 12 claiming 'Satanism'......and Catholics
at 44% of the population (not as high as some people were
predicting) compared to 53% Protestant (well, that was the
estimation). So, what were the results south of the border?
Unfortunately the detailed results on religion aren't out
until next April but it looks like 'everyone' is up. With
the population increase the number of those proclaiming themselves
Roman Catholic went up from 3,228.3 thousand in 1991 to 3,426.6
thousand in 2002; but the increase in Prods and various others
was even more marked - 'Church of Ireland' (including those
simply labelling themselves as 'Protestant') went from 89.2
to 115.6 thousand; and Presbyterians and Methodists also increased
(the latter added 5 thousand to their 5 thousand in 1991 -
doubling in size!). 'Orthodox' went from 400 to 10,400, 10,000
more, and Muslims from 3.9 thousand to 19.1 thousand. The
vast majority of increases in most of the above come from
immigration (27,000 immigrants since 1991 indicated they were
Church of Ireland, Presbyterian or Methodist). Of course how
people describe themselves doesn't mean that people necessarily
have an active involvement with that religion or denomination.
'Other stated religions' went from 19.8 thousand
to 40 thousand so we await the results of the details with
interest next spring. Those with 'No religion' also went up,
from 66.3 thousand in 1991 to 138.3 thousand in 2002. We hope
to give you to low down on those more detailed figures as
they emerge in 2004......watch this space to see how your
favourite religious minorities fared. And, as Dave Allen would
say, may your God go with you.
The Catholic Church in Ireland has been having
a hard time of it, mainly though not exclusively over clerical
sex abuse scandals, so that when it does something positive
it now tends to get ignored. This piece is about the Catholic
Church, or should I say about the Roman Catholic Church because
it concerns the Popes of Rome. Now I could lash into some
of the Prod churches (some are sanctimonious holy huddles
and consider they've had their reformation and they're damned
if they're going to change any more). But what I wanted to
do this July Aye edition was take an extract from an official
Catholic document, the current year's 'Irish Catholic Directory',
though my quotes below come in turn from the 'Annuaria Pontifico'
which I presume is the Papal yearbook.
Apostolic succession is an accepted part of
Catholic thinking and teaching but it certainly wasn't easy
going. If anything it simply points to some of the bitter
controversies of old. Take these extracts:
('AD' 657) "St Eugene I was elected during
the exile of St Martin I, who is believed to have endorsed
him as pope."
(966) "Confusion exists concerning the
legitimacy of claims to the pontificate by Leo VII and Benedict
V. John XII was deposed on 4 Dec 963 by a Roman council. If
the deposition was invalid, Leo was an antipope. If the deposition
of John was valid, Leo was the legitimate pope and Benedict
was an antipope."
(1045) "Sylvester III was an antipope
if the forcible removal of Benedict IX in 1044 was not legitimate."
(1047) "If the resignation of Benedict
IX in 1045 and his removal at the December 1046 synod were
not legitimate, Gregory VI and Clement II were antipopes."
"Benedict IX (third time), 8 Nov
1047 to 17 July 1028 (d. c. 1055).
"From 1309 to 1377 Avignon was the
residence of a series of French popes during a period of power
struggles between the rulers of France, Bavaria and England
and the Church. Despite some positive achievements it was
the prologue to the Western Schism which began in 1378."
"Gregory XII (Angelo Correr), Venice,
30 Nov (19 Dec) 1406 to 4 July 1415 when he voluntarily resigned
from the papacy to permit the election of his successor."
"This brought an end in the Council
of Constance the Western Schism which had divided Christendom
into two and then three papal obediences from 1370 to 1417..."
Hope that's cleared that up then. Though maybe
the first true antipope will come when a woman is elected
who has nephews and nieces..... PS The Pope in 1690 who would
have been praying for King Billy and victory in Ireland against
King James was Alexander VIII (real name Pietro Ottoboni)
who was pontiff for less than a year and a half when he died.
[Aren't you the champion of totally useless information? -
Ed] [It's what I excel at - Billy]
Well, it's the ould summer break, so have a
good one, climb a mountain or jump in a lake. May the road
rise to meet you, except for cyclists like myself where the
greeting should be more like 'May the road slope downhill
at a gentle angle so you can get up a bit of speed, and may
you not meet any ferocious potholes'. But that doesn't roll
off the tongue just so easily. Anyhow, have a good rest/break/holiday/the
weather you want. See you in September again......not my favourite
time of year, that, the return to school seems to encapsulate
the busi-ness of life. But, until then, slán, ciao,
Watch this. Cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman
pass by (because there'll almost certainly be very little
about horses even if someone with a similar name is
found astride them on gable ends around certain parts
of Norn Iron).