No excusing rape

A report by Amnesty International revealed a dangerous and disturbing aspect about the student psyche in the 6 counties. The report did not concern the pertinent issues of binge drinking or anti-social behaviour, but rather the very real issue of rape.

The report found that many male students in the 6 counties felt that in rape cases the female was in some part to blame. They evinced a belief in a link between flirting and rape. This is disturbing and opprobrious at the same time. It is wholly unacceptable to attribute the blame for rape to the victim. To do so embarks on a slippery slope of gradually criminalising the victim.

Whilst I acknowledge that some girls do dress and behave in a very sexually provocative manner this does not excuse this sick crime. I am not suggesting that no one can take a look at these girls, far from it, but rather you can not use it as an excuse for touching. The ‘she was asking for it’ line cuts no ice. I do not think it is much of a defence to say that someone was only raped because they were wearing a mini-skirt or because they were acting like a tart. Surely it is beyond the widest realms of imagination to argue that someone deserves to be raped?

Rape is a heinous crime, no half excuse or pathetic reason can diminish this fact. These excuses do nothing for the victim or their family. Will their trauma be lessened by the fact they were scantily clad? I think not.

The report also stated that 1 in 10 students put forward a belief that it was okay to use violence or acts of sexual aggression (including rape) against a partner that nags too much, refuses to have sex or flirts with another man.

It is worrying how devoid of morals students in the 6 counties appear to be. I know that it is only a small minority, but it still looks pretty grim. These people are supposed to be educated yet have the beliefs of a Neanderthal.


Jeffs great escape

I see that Jeffery Donaldson made a great escape of his own yesterday. As many of you will know wee Jeff refused to accept a joint peace award with Gerry Kelly on stage in the USA.

Jeff was seething that Kelly had the gall to feature in a programme remembering The Great Escape. This shows the petty mindedness of rejectionist Unionist like wee Jeffery. Gerry Kelly was one of the prominent master minds behind the escape so it is only logical that he should talk about it.

It seems the main issue is that Kelly admitted shooting a screw during the escape. I do not see the problem as this is a well known fact. Would Jeff prefer Kelly to lie and deny shooting the screw? Furthermore the screw in question knew only too well the consequences of attempting to halt the escape as Kelly left him in no uncertain terms as to what would happen.

The plethora of outrage vented on the Nolan show by Unionists raises a few issues.

Firstly they talk about the poor traumatised screws. Is this the same traumatised screws that hospitalised several prisoners in the aftermath of the escape? One in particular gave wounded escapee Harry Murray a vicious kicking. This from a born again Christian as well! The brutality of the screws in the aftermath of the escape is now clear and has been reinforced by the fact that several prisoners have been awarded compensation for the injuries they received at the hands of these traumatised screws. Unionists have very little to say on this matter.

Furthermore this furore shows that republicans can not tell their story. Any time republicans try to relate their story to the wider world Unionists cry outrage. One of the greatest escapes in the history of man could not be celebrated due to the over sensitivities of Unionism. Had this escape been by Brit prisoners it would be a block buster movie by now.

It is ironic that the Church of Ireland this week said that more has to be done to ensure that Protestant suffering over the last thirty five years is not forgotten. It seems that republicans are not allowed to tell their story. It seems that if you do not agree with wee Jeff you must remain silent.

Now theres a democracy wee Jeff would love.

Small minded bigotry

The worlds number one Celtic band Charlie and the Bhoys were due to play a benefit gig tonight for Mac Millan Cancer charity. However due to the narrow mindedness of some bigots this is no longer the case.

Mac Millan have now pulled out of the venture due to take place at Glasgow Barrowlands tonight after receiving complaints about the planned gig from faceless bigots.

These bigots fail to see the bigger picture. This is not about a Celtic band playing a gig for charity, but about raising money top help the fight against cancer. These bigots have got caught up in their entrenched and warped mentalities, ignoring the grim realities. As anyone with an ounce of rational thinking will realise, cancer is a scourge that has no regard for race, religion , colour or age. I just hope these bigots know the damage they have done in denying Mac Millan this much needed cash.

CATB lead singer Jim Scanlon has been a long term exponent of Mac Millan. Jim is in remission after suffering from cancer himself. He has only two years left before he gets the all clear. He has undertaken multifarious ventures to raise funds for Mac Millan and other cancer charities including marathons, gigs and the donation of revenue from CATB’s new Tommy Burns song. The humanity of Jim has shone through even in these challenging times when he says that he hopes the complainants never know the ravages of cancer nor have to avail of the services and care they are seeking to deny others.

However the bigots have failed to ruin the venture in its entirety. CATB will still play the gig tonight with the proceeds now going to the new charity set up by the family of Celtic great Tommy Burns who succumbed to cancer in May.

For further information on the gig or to make a donation check out further details at www.charlieandthebhoys.com.


Red Hand to raid Kingdom

This is a weird day for this Orangeman. As an Armagh man many a days banter and good natured slagging has been had with our Tyrone brethren in Croke Park.

My best and worst days have been in that stadium against both these teams today. The best was when we lifted Sam in 2002 against Kerry and the worst was in 2003 when we lost in the final to Tyrone.

The debate regarding the back door is for another day but the fact that both these teams would have been out of the competition a few years ago is not lost on Armagh, Cork, Dublin or Galway people.

That being said I am an Ulsterman and I will always support an Ulster team, even Down.

It's for that reason that I hope the Red Hand of Ulster takes the Sam Maguire back up North where it belongs.

The minor final was fantastic and neither Tyrone nor Mayo deserved to lose, a draw was a fair result.

UPDATE: Ulster says NO to Kerry's 3 in a row!

Veni, Vidi, Defeci!

I have spent the last few days reading and listening to the eulogies by political commentators and hacks alike of the PD's and I could not help but think of that great line from Shakespeare.

"I come to bury Cesar, not to praise him"

My view of the PD's is well known and well documented on this Blog, utter revulsion! Not of the people per se, Michael McDowell apart, but of the ideology which they have propagated.

Their very name is an oxymoron, Progressive Democrats!

What is progressive about engineering a gap between rich and poor which is the biggest in Europe? What is progressive about a taxation policy which rewards the rich and penalises the poor? What is progressive about a health policy like co-location which has created a two-tier health system?

What is democratic about one of the smallest parties on this island exerting so much influence on the lives of all? What is democratic about a party implementing policy over a majority of people who would never, ever elect them?

I welcome the demise of the PD’s; I doubt many are surprised by that though some may be by my reason. A greed that has never been present in the Irish psyche before has entered this country, a policy of "I'm alright jack" has been the order of the day.

The PD beast may, or may not have created this but they aren't the ones who have continued it. That blame lies with Fianna Fail and all the other establishment parties. They have all used the PD's as a scapegoat at election time. A bulwark between them and the electorate on issues like criminal justice and health.

With the upcoming demise of the PD's that bulwark will be removed and the emperor will be naked. No longer will Fianna Fail be able to pretend that co-location is the fault of the PD's.

With their undignified departure from the political field all but confirmed I hope for a time when we can have an honest fight with Fianna Fail over the issue of inequality and poverty.

The PD bogey man will be gone for Fianna Fail canvassers, it will just be them and the electorate and I relish that time to come.

"Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor. "

Thomas Jefferson


Yanky Doodle at it again in South America

I see that the Yanks are at it again in South America. This is of course a reference to the mischief that the US has been getting up to in Bolivia and Venezuela.

American detestation of left wing politics in Latin America is well documented, and readers will now only too well the general response of successive, irascible US administrations to the growth of left wing politics in Latin America I.e. military coup to over throw the democratically elected government.

Bolivian president Evo Morales recently expelled US diplomats from his country. According to Morales these diplomats were contriving to stir up dissent in the country and were orchestrating street riots and protests.

Meanwhile in Venezuela President Hugo Chavez claimed to have unearthed a cabal to overthrow him by the military. The main driving force behind the plot was the US administration. Chavez had survived a similar coup attempt a few years previous.

No one should be surprised at these developments. After all the US has an egregious record when it comes to Latin America. The US zeitgeist during the 1960’s and 70’s was to undermine democratically elected left wing governments in South America by any means necessary. Their preferred modus operandi was to back up the military and attempt to cajole them into overthrowing the government.

They were humiliated at the Bay of Pigs when Castro and communism faced them down. Their right wing ‘rebels’ were essentially left isolated and in the absence of popular support had to crawl back to their Yank masters.

On 11th September 1973 the US led a military coup in Chile to overthrow democratically elected president Salvador Allende. The coup was led by America and funded by America. Indeed the CIA had been attempting to have Allende assassinated for several years before the coup. The Yanks then installed despot and war criminal Pinochet in power. The CIA and US administration immediately pledged their support for Pinochet and his military junta. The US were also behind the downfall of governments in Argentina and Nicaragua.

One must wonder what the US had, and still have, to lose from the rise of left wing politics in one of the worlds poorest regions? When one looks at how US foreign policy is dictated by oil resources and greed it all becomes clear.

Gregs Bhoys against Bhigotry?

DUP MP and ardent Cream Buns fan Gregory Campbell this week sent a letter to Celtic to state his opposition to ‘pro-IRA’ songs and chants at Paradise. According to Greg he got his Orange Order Y-fronts in a twist because Rangers have attempted to tackle the issue of sectarianism while Celtic have not.

Gregs latest rant raises a number of issues.

Firstly he claims that Rangers have done enough to stamp out sectarianism. This is a blatant, bare faced lie. He obviously has not heard of the spuds that were thrown at Barry Robson, accompanied by hisses of “the famines over why don’t you fuck off home”. He must not have seen the banners with ‘Nakamura ate my dog’ on them. His ears must have been else where when Cream Bun fans were singing Damn Busters to Andres Hinkel? Perhaps he has not heard about the savage attack on Neil Lennon last month? To Greg Rangers have sorted this out, but to anyone with an iota of intelligence the issue is far from resolved!

Lets just look for a minute at some of the ‘pro-IRA’ songs that are irking Greg of the Rangers.

Aiden Mc Anespie is a favourite amongst the Hooped faithful, particularly at away games. This song is about a young GAA member gunned down in cold blood by British armed forces. Many GAA fans also support Celtic, so I hope that goes someway to helping Greg realise why it is sung by Celtic fans. Furthermore the song is not in any way sectarian, and could only be construed as such by someone with a very obvious ulterior agenda!

The Fields of Athenrye is another favourite. It is a song about the Great Starvation. Thousands of Irish immigrants poured into Glasgow after fleeing the disease and starvation at home. The East End became one of the strongest Irish Diasporas about. Celtic was established to help the fledging Irish community. When it was formed in St Marys Hall, it was a clear and natural progression from Andrew Kerrins Poor Children’s Dinner Table. As such it is only natural that Celtic fans, many of whom are descendents of the original immigrants, are going to identify with the plight of their ancestors. It is only natural that they are going to sing songs about their past.
Furthermore it is only natural that Celtic fans can identify with republicanism and the IRA. Their ancestors bore the brunt of some of the worst displays of anti-Irish bigotry ever demonstrated. The riots in Greenock are testament to this fact. Mistreatment, degradation, humiliation and exploitation are the summary of the experience of the Glasgow Irish. This was institutionalised and was only ever effectively addressed in the mid 1990’s. A lot remains unaddressed. A statue of King Billy on Glasgow’s High Street kept the Irish in place, whilst the rampant anti-Catholic bigotry forced many to live in fear.

However despite this the Irish in Glasgow grew to better their adoptive city. Celtic grew to become one of Europes biggest footballing forces. This is testament to the tenacity of gallant Irish immigrants like Andrew Kerrins, and conscientious Scots like John Mc Lean. Without them the Glasgow Irish would still be marginalised and oppressed. Mc Lean stood up for the Irish in the aftermath of 1916 when no one else would. Furthermore there were 5000 IRA volunteers in Glasgow in the period between 1916-21. Foremost among them was Commandant Ian Mc Kenzie-Smith. This is as much part of the history of the Glasgow Irish as it is Ireland.

As for the modern republican songs, they too have an explanation. Whilst Catholics in the six counties were marginalised by state institutions, Catholics of Irish descent in Glasgow ere also subjected to some of the worst forms of religious and racial discrimination. Indeed it was not until 1992 that Catholics became equal in the eyes of Scottish law. So it is not out of some tribal allegiance the songs are sung but out of genuine empathy with the struggle of Nationalists in the six counties. Indeed many had and still have family connections in the six counties.

So the next time Greg gets hot under his Orange collar about republican songs he should stop and ponder why Celtic fans have come to identify with republicanism. Perhaps had the forces of law and order that Greg prides himself on refused to indulge anti-Irish bigotry then these chants would not be ringing out around Parkhead. The majority of fans have no problem with such songs. Celtic ‘PLC’ are attempting to do the dirty work for people like Greg, by stopping us from singing songs about our history. The real fans it seems have no say, it is only the opinion of a certain war monger that counts. However they fail to realise that whilst true Celtic fans row in behind projects like ‘Let the People Sing’ our songs about our history will always be sung at Parkhead whether Orange Bully boys like Greg like it or not!!!

For those wanting to lend their support to the ‘Let the People Sing’ project log on to www.talfanzine.com for more details.


Support Pól Brennan

Belfast man and Irish political refugee Pol Brennan is facing the prospect of imminent deportation from the USA. As such republicans have launched a campaign to halt the deportation proceedings that are active against Pól.

Brennan has been in custody in Texas since he was arrested at a Border Patrol stop checkpoint over 100 miles from the Mexican border. Brennan had been in America since he escaped from Long Kesh as part of the Bold 38 Great escape. Despite the fact that the British government withdrew extradition proceedings against Pol in 2000, he remains in custody in Texas. His immigration hearing has now been moved forward from 24th September to 17th September. Pol is facing an uphill battle, with the odds firmly stacked against him. The breathtaking injustice of his case is sickening. This is a mans life, and the lives of his family at issue. Surely Homeland Security must realise this! How Pol can be considered a risk to the US or a risk to flight is beyond comprehension.

His case has similarities with the cases of Roisin Mc Al;iskey and Malachy Mc Alister. However Brennans detention appears to fly in the face of the support the US administration has given to the peace process. His arrest and detention are unnecessary. Pol is married to a US citizen, and despite provisions to waive his previous unlawful presence in the US, he remains in detention. Furthermore Pol is being held without bond, and has not even been given the opportunity to contest the refusal of bond despite the AOH making representations in his favour.

Republicans throughout Ireland and the US have rowed in behind Pols campaign. Sinn Fein, in particular Rita O Hare are doing all in their power to aid Pol. Congressmen Peter King, Richard Neal and Jim Walsh have all called for Pol to be released from detention. Pol is not undocumented and has not even been refused a work authorisation application, yet he is being held in confinement in a Federal Holding centre.

Republicans are urged to contact Pol with messages of support at his address:

Pól Brennan
A88 785 324Pearsall Detention Center
566 Veterans DrivePearsall,
TX, 78063

What's the craic?

Just a short update on my lack of blogging.

Work is mental at the moment and I'm working 12 and 13 hour days. I think I've had 2 days off in the last month and blogging is the last thing on my mind at the moment.

I've been blogging on Balrog for 3 years and I think I'm entitled to a short break. I have noticed the site slip in quality this last while and I intend to rectify that.

I will be following the slugger rule of "play the ball and not the man" to see what can be done.

I'm not sure when I'll be back to regular blogging, it could be next week or next month.

I'll be back when I get the time and the inclination.


Same old Sammy!

I see that while many in the DUP have managed to come to terms with the political progress of recent years Sammy Wilson is remaining true to his old self.

It is reported in today’s Irish News that Sammy has banned officials from the 26 counties from sitting on the three councils that advise his Department of Environment.

This is odd considering that the environment is one area where an artificially imposed border has sweet fuck all impact or relevance!

Issues such as bird protection, global warming and carbon emissions have no regard for questions of jurisdiction!

Sammy’s ‘Protestant state for a Protestant people’ entrenched mentality could spark trouble on a number of levels.

Firstly it jeopardises the cross-border work on environmental protection that has already been implemented to date.

Secondly it merely compounds the existing difficulties between SF and the DUP. With issues like the Irish Language Act and the Maze Stadium remaining a bone of contention, Sammy is simply increasing the pressure on the executive. In an even wider context it will strain relations further in relation to the devolution of policing and justice powers.

Sammy and a few of his DUP stooges need to wake up and smell the coffee. The days of the irascible DUP head honchos calling the shots are over. They need to realise that they can not have power without sharing it with Nationalists!

Honouring a campaign of mass murder.

I see that a service was held in St Pauls Cathedral in London today, to mark ‘the end of the British army’s role’ in the six counties.

Among those to attend were cold blooded H-Block martyrs murderer Maggie Thatcher, Britain’s Prince Charles and ex-RUC supreme Ronnie Flanagan.

Just what the service was in honour of remains to be seen.

It seems odd to celebrate one of the most sickening campaigns of mass murder this island has ever witnessed. No doubt there was no mention of the 300 odd people murdered by the British Army in the six counties. The monopoly of suffering was no doubt confined to the 700 British Army personnel( at least that’s how many they officially claimed, figures probably more if you count all the Brits that died in German car crashes etc..) who were killed during the war in the six counties.

Many of those in attendance would know all about the pain and suffering caused by Britain’s forces in the six counties. Maggie Thatcher who presided over mass murder in the six counties and Ronnie Flanagan in particular. Maggie callously let ten brave men starve to death in the Kesh, whilst the RUC shot dead scores of Nationalists in their shoot-to-kill policy during Flanagan’s tenure.

Perhaps the end of the Brits campaign could have been marked with an apology for the hurt and suffering they have forced upon the people of this island. There was no sorry for the families of Peter Mc Bride, Majella o’Hare, Kevin Heatley or Aiden Mc Anespie. There was no apology for kicking in doors and ransacking homes at 4am. There was no mention of beating young men senseless at checkpoints. There was no mention of the Ballymurphy Massacre or the unprovoked murders of Bloody Sunday.

It seems this was a pathetic spectacle of self praise and wallowing in self pity. It would be more apt if these cold blooded bastards finally acknowledged the suffering they inflicted upon this country in what was a tyrannical and barbaric campaign!