Aengus Carroll Human Rights(ish) Blog

Things related to LGBT human rights at home (Ireland) and abroad

Aengus Carroll

Aengus Carroll
County Waterford, Ireland
October 26
Author (LGBT Human Rights guidance books), Editor (books/texts/documents - fiction, academic (history/politics/education), and organizational report writing and editing Production (print matter - bringing books through stages from idea to bound copy), Trainer (Working with LGBT groups in human rights awareness and advocacy)


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MAY 2, 2011 5:53AM

Hey Ireland, Duck – incoming Obama!

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Happy Osama day! 

When the Pope visited Ireland in september 1979, a huge mobilisation of the population kicked in, the scale of which not even seen when JF Kennedy arrived on these shores in 1963. Irish people felt they ‘owned’ this papal event. “Young people of Ireland, I love you,” said the Pope, in words heard by the entire population of four million people and in words that would turn out to be more darkly prophetic that anyone realised at the time – many of his agents in Ireland were doing a lot of ‘loving’ on Irish young people. When I was a boy, nearly every mantlepiece in every living room had a picture of the Pope, any Pope, and a picture of JFK above it. Seriously. JFK was revered here – the Irish connection seen in every glint of his green eyes (read: the Irish connection to superpower).

 Peekaboo - I'm nearly a saint

Peekaboo - I'm nearly a saint (John Paul 2 in 2011)

Somewhere in the mid-1980s, twitterings about the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of boys and girls started to emerge across the catholic world. By the late 1990s, much like Boston, it had  developed into a matter of damage liimitation and litigation). Anyway, the myth of the god-given was truly blown – the idea that the divine actually blessed these men of the cloth began to get holes all over it – hol(e)y in quite another sense. The mass de-programming started. 

   run children run

Run, children, run - Pope Benedict's men are coming to a town near you

If, two years ago Obama had spoken about coming here, it would have been like the Pope (of olden day) or JFK himself coming back. He was most definitely our new holy man - our's and the world's as Irish media and the Irish mind would have it. On Monday May 23, 2011, when he does a 5 hour stop-over on his way to London (what is this, a vote-getter?), there will be a relatively sad and damp crowd meeting him. Irish people en masse bought wholesale into Obama fever – we loved it, we wore the badges and T-shirt (literally) and hung the banners. On the night of the election we celebrated – truly celebrated. Samantha Power, a human rights goddess (and now of dubious Libya fame, but alarmingly silent of those same human rights in Bahrain and elsewhere) was all over Irish radio and TV – our new Irish connection to power. Two years ago, Obama was among the blessed – he saved us from the Bushies and the extraordinary renditions going through Irish airports that were confusing us so dreadfully. He promised us that Afghanastan and Iraq would get sorted, and we all knew, didn’t we, that these were just energy-driven wars, right? 

Saint Obama

Saint Obama - see us, bless us, save us 

We were never as invested in you Obama as we were in Jesus and all the saints who had been supporting our nationalism for decades. And you are definitely not as criminal in the minds of your critics here as the Vatican. But we did believe in you. Your crimes are continuing and sometimes enhancing Bush-era policies against the human rights of those who are of no, or of lesser, direct profit to your State (er, oil). 

Much like what has happened centrist Democrats in the US, the Irish have sort of recently twigged that Obama did not really mean “Change We Can Believe In” when he said change we can believe in. Its taken us a while, but I think we get it now: big business does in fact run things and does lead Presidents around by the nose (AT&T etc). Drones in Pakistan and Yemen killing men, women and children indiscriminately, upkeep of friendship with Saudi in the face of their sponsoprship of dictators, extraordinary turnaround on Guantanamo, denial of access to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to Bradley Manning, standing by the further privatisation of almost nearly everything, including government, and the litany of other ‘changes’ Obama stands over, alarms many people here. This stuff does matter, it is not just ‘infotainement’. Undoubtedly Wikileaks has caused big problems for US diplomacy - and of course who is naïve enough to believe that said diplomacy should be visible for all to scrutinise – but the big guns that are being turned on the ‘messenger’ to shoot ‘him’ is rather suspect, to say the least.

 Extraordinary trips to foreign climes from Shannon, Ireland

 Extraordinary trips to foreign climes from Shannon, Ireland 

Anyway, Obama is due on these shores this month, obstensibly to visit the partial homeplace (maybe one sixteenth of his bloodline heritage legged it from here in famiine times), and the question here is much more what the hell is he really coming for – who’s business is he going to promote – which telecommunications firm, which pharmaceutical, which oil compnay. And, I am sorry to say there will be no huge mobilisation of the population – it will be a relatively normal monday morning for most people. The current leader of this country has made the rather strange and underwhelming statement that his visit to us now is a “vote of confidence” for the country, whatever exactly that may mean.


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ireland, obama, pope, jesus, jfk, politics

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Thanks for the view from Ireland, Aengus...there is a lot going on, and it is good to hear what other parts of the world are seeing. Sometimes it is difficult to see clearly from here & try to sort it all out, for me at least.
Hey Clay B
There is as you say, a lot going on, and of course the view from Ireland is of course clouded over in various ways. There is no doubt that Obama is much more than what he is not (if that makes sense - I mean he is so much more than what he has failed to do). The bin Laden thing is impressive and I just hope it means the endgame on this horrible decade of war and threat, but I fear the 'hawks' will now just begin. It is complex. I suppose what I am voicing is the relative horror of so many who have naive hopes of Democrats - at least with Republicans you know what to expect: they are straight up in their approach and you either buy it or don't. With the Dems a lot of unrealistic hopes get packed in with the investment. And in this part of the world it really does matter what happens in your part - we are very linked in.
Hi Aengus, yes, we are very linked. It's important for us here in the US to listen more to voices from all around the world. It is kind of vital that we listen, and try to act more with the future of the whole planet in mind, rather than destabilizing things further, especially with regards to the environment and human rights. Please keep giving us the view from where you stand!
Great piece....well written. Thx for the read...