The Adolf Awards – Conspicuous Disservice to Peace
Our glittering award ceremony is renowned throughout the whole world, which just goes to show how small our world really is. Just once a year there is the fanfare of trumpets, the trumpeting of fans, the twirling of fans, and the fan-tastic sight of the awards ceremony. “I wouldn’t world it for the whole miss” said Michael Flatfeet, the renowned Irish-American solid gold bathtap owner. But, ladies and laddies, once more, without further ado about nothing, well not much anyway, we are justly proud, privileged, and eggsited (that was before the eggs were thrown at us) to once again, welcome you, once again, yet again, for another time, to the timeless, wonderful, annual Adolf Awards, where we give our prizes for Conspicuous Disservice to Peace and Related Causes. Not so much gongs, you might say, as pongs or even rongs.
The Accountant of the Year Award: To An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, for ever more incredible and incompatible stories on his finances and his belief, at a time which included being Minister for Finance, in keeping his money in a drawer. What, we ask, is wrong with under the mattress???? But sweeping it all under the carpet is getting more difficult, which is about the one place around that he hasn’t kept cash. But maybe ‘progress’ is happening in Fianna Fail; Charlie Haughey’s illegal greed got him tens of millions of €uro, Bertie is only accused over tens or hundreds of thousands.
Lobbyist of the Year: Ian Paisley Junior, for using the St Andrews conference (which was significant in bringing power-steering, or do we mean bower shearing, to Norn Iron) as an opportunity to single-mindedly plug local issues in his constituency and thereabouts to Tony Blair.
Dinosaur of the Year Award: We usually give this to Ian Paisley (Senior) for his intransigence and keenness on the word ‘no’. So who should get the Dinosaur of the Year award now that power-sharing is up and running at Stormont with Ian saying yes and present along with Martin in the cockpit or is it bearpit? None other than Ian Paisley. Why? Because he is a pterodactyl and see – he flies, he flies!!!
Paramilitary group of the Year: The Real IRA – for showing us they haven’t gone away (from the preposterous idea that you can unite people by actually dividing them).
The Flood Tribunal Award: This is the other Flood Tribunal, the one on global warming and rising waters, and goes to the Irish government for its Contribution to Global Warming for dragging its heels in the mud on real ecological change in Ireland. They may have had a lightbulb moment but that’s not enough. Getting Irish overseas aid to 0.7% GNP in a few years means nothing if we are doing far more damage through our contribution to global warming.
The Beam Me Up Scotty Award for Contribution to Global Warming: Richard Branson, British businessman, for getting himself in not such a sweet pickle, contributing loadsa money to fight global warming while still continuing with his plan for incredibly fuel-guzzling commercial spaceflights. Duh - it’s not rocket science to work out there’s a total contradiction here.
The General Distress and Misery Award: To the Burmese generals, General Than Shwe and his henchmen, whose actions have continued to thwart a nation wanting to move on in peace and freedom. They have ensured a nation remains enslaved (often literally). The counter on the INNATE website for the numbers of days Aung San Suu Kyi has been in prison, detention or house arrest continues to turn; 4,484 as this edition of Nonviolent News goes out.
Piecemaker of the Year Award: To Tony Blair, for his chutzpah in going to sort out the Palestinians, having done an inordinate amount to damage Muslim-Western relations through his reckless and ungrounded support for the Iraq war. Oh, and regarding his jumping into bed with US bank JP Morgan (which has major involvement in Iraq), we always thought he had a bit of a banker in him.
Human Rights Demoter of the Year (Ireland): The editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette for arguing that it was anti-democratic to introduce a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland - and besides it wasn’t needed. You would have thought any sensible unionist and/or true democrat would be looking for the best possible protection of rights for when demographic change may bring a Catholic majority in the North, or even 50:50 – aside altogether from the need for it here and now.
The We Have Completely Run Out of Awards to Give Him Award: George W Bush, we’d hate to see him left out seeing as he has been a regular feature of the Adolf Awards. So, hopefully for the last time……
Ode to a recycling bin The recycling bin has quickly established itself as a part of the landscape of modern life, literally and figuratively. Wheelie bins of various colours, and sometimes recycling boxes, are ubiquitous, and necessary, apart of course from ‘static’ recycling bins at strategic locations. Places that alternate weekly rubbish and recycling collections get more material recycled than places with weekly ‘rubbish’ collections – that’s human nature for you. Me, I believe everything should be capable of being recycled and nothing should be made that needs dumped in landfill. Anyway, to celebrate this addition to modern life I have written this Ode to a recycling bin – as you will gather, in my neck of the woods the general recycling bin is blue but colours of bins vary from place to place. Hopefully you will get the picture. Bin there, done that, a Bin Laden with too much rubbish.
At Christmas and the Twelfth
You wouldn’t know yourself
When they’ll be collected,
You go on what’s suspected
Of those blue bin blues
Blue, green, brown or black
Sorting the rubbish requires
A particularly good knack –
What kind of plastics go
In those blue bin blues?
Waste not, want not,
Your mother said,
Now it’s gone right to your head,
All the wrapping, the packing
Gives you blue bin blues
Six months of daily papers,
It’s quite a load, bejapers,
Too much to try to fit
I feel I want to quit
Those squashed blue bin blues
The box is just too big
The cardboard will not bend
I’ll get it in there in the end
When I’ve exerted some muscle on
Those oul blue bin blues
Crushing plastic that won’t stay put
And tin cans, well I think I can
With a stamp of my big foot
Owwwww!!! I think I’ve put my foot in it,
I’ve got those painful blue bin blues
I’m late at the gate, too late,
I’ve run up in my jammies,
In fact it’s a double whammy
I’ve got those rocking pneumonia
Blue bin blues
[Billy, that’s a wheelie bad poem, a real bit of give a doggerel a bone, don’t quit the day job – Ed] [And you’re obviously scraping the bottom of the barrel, I mean you’re rubbish – Billy] [Billy, I should really refuse to publish this – Ed] [Ed, trash someone else for a change – Billy].
A bit embarrassing that. Irish Aid (the development aid wing of the Irish government) main offices having been decentralised to Limerick, they decided they needed an office in Dublin, which they duly got on O’Connell Street, and opened in January Fair play. Except it was revealed that some of the Chinese plywood used in the construction of the office included illegally logged hardwoods. Not so fair play. But fair play to pressure group Just Forests for revealing the truth: “the species being used in the construction included bintangor and pencil cedar. Both these species are found in paradise forests of south East Asia, and often used in the manufacture of Chinese plywood. An issue which has been highlighted in recent years, as these species are often logged illegally and unsustainably. For instance the majority of bintangor comes from Papua New Guinea (PNG) where illegal and destructive logging is rampant. Logging companies in the area have been accused of widespread illegality including human rights abuses. Much of this bintangor is shipped to China where it is used in the manufacturer of cheap throw away plywood-such as that used at the Irish Aid centre and on hundreds of building sites in Ireland. It is also readily available in all DIY stores across the country. In spite of all these issues, The Irish Government has not been able to give any assurances regarding the origin or sustainability of the plywood except to say that it comes from China. Chinese logging companies are also wrecking havoc in Tanzania’s forests, where illegal logging is rampant. In many cases the logging is taking place in community-managed forests, some of which receive financial support from Irish sources. Tanzania is one of Irish Aid’s priority countries for development assistance.” (from Just Forests press release).
Bertie and the government have promised to do better next time. Well, they could follow Just Forests advice to adopt a responsible Timber Procurement Policy that will help combat illegal and unsustainable extraction of timber from the world’s forests. According to Tom Roche, co-ordinator of Just Forests, “Deforestation now accounts for 20% of CO2 emissions and having a timber policy that ensures timber comes from well-managed, independently-certified forests is a necessary tool in the struggle to offset the worst effects of climate change due to deforestation, the worst effects of which will be felt in developing countries” Just Forests can be contacted at Just Forests, Rathcobican, Rhode, Co Offaly, mobile 086 8049389, ph 046 9737545 office, web http://www.justforests.org/home.php
That’s a couple of times Co Offaly has featured in our pages in the last year. Which reminds me of the discussion recently on RTE radio as to what you call someone from Birr (also in Co Offaly). ‘Birrmese’ sounded the most intriguing.
From timber to branches Pretty special branches in fact. So special they’re part of the police force. Peace activist Ciaron O’Reilly has reported how a vanload of people going to Afri’s Féile Bríde in Kildare at the end of January were stopped and questioned by the Special Branch ( see www.indymedia.ie/article/85992 ) and he was accused of being a “self proclaimed eco terrorist”. They were asked were they going to Shannon. If the polis really did think they might be going to Shannon then they really can’t have been reading their calendar of events. Plus ca change. Reminds me of incidents from thirty or more years ago where the special branch in Dublin harassed disarmament and peace protesters. I’ve written about this B4 so I won’t do it again (honest officer, I won’t do it again). But on one memorable occasion for me in the early 70s, on a picket of Provisional Sinn Féin in Kevin Street, Dublin, protesting against their violence in the North, I was questioned for being a Provo when I had cycled away. Admittedly the Provos had mounted a counter-picket for a wee while but as I was there both before and after the counter-picket, and if they looked at who I was relating to, it shouldn’t have been too hard for the guys in the squad car parked across the road to work out who I was with. And still they appeared on my doorstep months later and said “We hear you’re a Provo. Would you care to comment?”! Sounds like a bit of wooden police work to me. In fact you’d think they were out of their tree. But unfortunately some things don’t alter, despite root and branch change being what is needed.
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Well, that’s it for now, the first Colm of the year put to bed, and myself I think I might put myself the same place. So, until March comes strolling in, fare well, Billy
is Billy King? A long, long time ago, in a more
innocent age (just talking about myself you understand),
there were magazines called 'Dawn' and 'Dawn Train'
and I had a back page column in these. Now the Headitor
has asked me to come out from under the carpet to write
a Cyberspace Column 'something people won't be able
to put down' (I hope you're not carrying your monitor
around with you).
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).