2011: In my experience

Posted on December 30, 2011

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2011. What to say. It’s been eventful.

Internationally a euro-crisis that still continues; the fall of three governments in the Europe; the Arab spring in Tunisia, Egpyt, Libya and its ebb in Syria; Voter fraud in Russia; and the United Kingdom’s apparent isolation within the European Union.

Within Ireland, there have been a number of occasions which to me, sum up the great strides despite the pessimism which abounds.

I have always been proud of our Defence Forces. This year I was so extra proud to watch them greet “Bean-Rí” in Baldonell Aerodrome with such decorum and professionalism. See here:

Then there was that Speech from H.M. Queen Elizabeth II in Dublin Castle. I still get a spine-tingling feeling upon hearing the words “A Uachtaráin Agus A Chairde”. The weight of history respected, but not forgotten. See here:

Where the Dáil lost an esteemed member of the house, Deputy Michael D. Higgins left a final speech of which O’Connell, Larkin, Connolly and Collins would have been proud of. See here:

He then went on to make another fascinating speech in Dublin Castle upon his inauguration as ninth President of Ireland. see here:

In the Ireland of 2011 I was very very proud to see the provisions of Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 beginning to take effect and witnessing friends get “partnered”. While it’s not perfect, and legislating for difference is never right, Irish LGBT campaigners  should be proud that we are in a better place than we were this time last year when it comes to respecting the love within a same-sex couple.

The BelongTo “StandUp” campaign is another thing for which we should be proud. IN April 2011, they launched this video to promote the week. It is an amazing piece designed to challenge  Homophobic bullying within our schools. It also reminds us that we have a responsibility to challenge it in all our lives. BelongTo is a trail blazer and we should all be proud of their work. It’s participation recently in the Rio Conference, led to the Rio Statement on Homophobic Bullying and Education for All and I have every confidence in its future endeavors.

In November 2010, the veteran Burmease opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. Her contributions to the 2011 Reith lectures on the theme of “Liberty and Freedom”, provides one of my most spell-binding listening experiences of the year.

2011 was the year that Troy Davis was killed by lethal injection in Atlanta, Georgia. A last minute reprieve from the US Supreme court gave us some false hope that he may be saved. Unfortunately it was not to be and Troy died at on 21st September 2011. His sister, Martina Davis-Correia, who traveled campaigning for Troy’s release around the world, passed away on the 2nd December 2011. When she was in Dublin in 2010 for Amnesty International’s annual conference, the passion which she had for the respect of human rights and for the fair process which had been at that time denied to Troy was astounding. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Troy was not alone in facing capital punishment in 2011. The same night another person, Lawrence Brewer, in a Texan jail was killed by lethal injection for the gruesome racially-motivated murder of James Byrd Jr. in 1998.

Nobody will deny that incarceration and the restriction of freedom is a fair way to seek redemption for ones proven crimes. The extinguishing of life as a result of one’s proven crimes is not just and is not ours to judge. I can only hope that the abolitionist trend reported by Amnesty in March 2011 will continue downwards for 2011 and into the future.

Finally on a more personal note, 2011 has not been a bad year for me. I passed my first exams as a Tax Consultant. For a guy who hates numbers, it turns out I wasn’t half bad at working out Irish Taxation rules. 🙂

I became the secretary of the Limerick Pride Festival and helped to deliver a fabulous week long festival of events with my colleagues in that organisation. I look forward to repeating that in 2012.

I made new friends with the most wonderful of people and I am grateful to have them in my life. I rekindled friendships with others whom I am also ever so grateful to have in my life. And to those friends who have become family, what would life be without you to laugh at my appalling sense of humour and timing.

So to 2011. I salute your eventfulness. It certainly has been anything but boring. And to 2012, may you bring with it hope, friendship and love for the future.

May you also prove once and for all that the Mayans were smoking something funny when they finished that bloody calendar.

*************

The Fairies’ Siege

Rudyard Kipling

I have been given my charge to keep–
Well have I kept the same!
Playing with strife for the most of my life,
But this is a different game.
I’ll not fight against swords unseen,
Or spears that I cannot view–
Hand him the keys of the place on your knees–
‘Tis the Dreamer whose dreams come true!

Ask him his terms and accept them at once.
Quick, ere we anger him, go!
Never before have I flinched from the guns,
But this is a different show.
I’ll not fight with the Herald of God
(I know what his Master can do!)
Open the gate, he must enter in state,
‘Tis the Dreamer whose dreams come true!

I’d not give way for an Emperor,
I’d hold my road for a King–
To the Triple Crown I would not bow down–
But this is a different thing.
I’ll not fight with the Powers of Air,
Sentry, pass him through!
Drawbridge let fall, ’tis the Lord of us all,
The Dreamer whose dreams come true!

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Posted in: TAH.ie