The Captains and the Kings

And so, back to normal. Well, almost. No sooner does the Head-of-State of one warmongering, exploitative, imperialist nation leave than another arrives.

The English queen is no doubt a nice woman, something she has in common with the vast majority of women in the world, including those of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Like many of them she is a wife,  a mother, a grandmother. Unlike them, she demands, and receives, extraordinary deference. Unlike them she is surrounded by a wall of steel to ensure her safety, she will never go hungry or live in a hovel, or watch her children die from starvation or treatable medical conditions. Unlike them, when a helicopter flies overhead it is to protect her, not to rain missiles down on her. If being nice was enough the world would be a happier place.

The English queen is no doubt an intelligent woman, something she has in common, again, with the vast majority of women in the world. Like them, she must know that it is wrong to kill, to steal, to cause disharmony, to wage war, to impoverish people to enrich yourself, to preside over the theft of land, resources and even nations, to initiate genocide or to stay silent when others practice it, to facilitate the oppression of people and their effective enslavement. The vast majority of women in the world do not consider doing any of these things. As the British Head-of-State, as an intelligent woman, the English queen knowingly involves herself through her armed forces and her public and private agencies in these crimes, constantly.

The English queen no doubt sees herself as a moral person. She is after all head of the Church of England by right of birth. The vast majority of women in the world would view a claim of that sort as blasphemous, being for the most part moral people themselves whether they belong to an organised religion or not. Having a moral framework set down by her own church, and being very well informed about her government’s policies, there can be no excuse for allowing or promoting all of the above. As a christian, the English queen must be aware of the Sermon on the Mount and what it means. Nowhere in there does it say ‘Blessed are the arms dealers, the oppressors, the warmongers’.

And what of her visit to Ireland, and the things she did and the things she said?

The Irish political class oohed and aahed at her laying of the wreath and her bowing of the head in the Garden of Remembrance. Maybe she meant it, and that would be good – showing respect for the actions of brave men and women is a good thing. But political class amnesia when it comes to ritual and protocol is a handy thing. The English queen is well-practiced at laying wreaths and bowing her head – it is what she does, and does very well.

The Irish political class was completely disarmed at the banquet the uninvited citizens paid for in Dublin Castle by her use of a few words of Irish as she began her speech, as if it was unique or original.  ‘Wow’, the First Mary said, followed by another ‘wow’. We were, fortunately, spared the ‘OMG!’. Get a grip. The English queen is well-used to doing this. It is, like laying wreaths and bowing the head, what ‘one’ does. And the Irish political class grasped at straws in their collective search for something, anything, that could be interpreted as an apology for the disgusting treatment of many generations of Irish people over many centuries by the armies and agencies of English kings and queens – and the straws weren’t worth grasping. Worse than that, the English queen sought to implicate the Irish people in those crimes, as if conflict with the English was ever something aggressively and gratuitously and by desire entered into by the Irish, rather than a necessary reaction in self-defence and in pursuit of national independence and freedom from oppression and exploitation by the English monarchs and the English political class.

The event at the war memorial at Islandbridge was another attempt (facilitated of course by the Irish political class) to implicate the Irish in the twin crimes of the First and Second World Wars. It is reasonable to suggest that very many of the Irish who took part in the 1914-18 version did so for economic reasons – ‘join up or your family starve’. Many others swallowed the spurious ‘Defence of Small Nations’ guff and did what they thought was right. There is an appropriate way to commemorate the sacrifice of ordinary men and women on the altar of capitalist expansionism, and feeding the British nation-building Poppy Day exercise is not the appropriate way.

And so, after four days of  near deification by the  Irish political class and their hangers-on, the English queen has ascended into the heavens boosted by four Rolls Royce engines, the sort favoured by the manufacturers of the tanks, warplanes and warships manufactured in England and peddled to brutal tyrants around the world. Saint Elizabeth she is not.

Hot on her heels comes one of the great disappointments of the political world, the man who promised much by way of change and changed nothing for the good, Barack Obama. The wars go on, the sin against the indigenous Palestinian people intensifies, the torturers remain in business, the Military-Industrial complex gets richer and fatter and more greedy, more people starve as Wall Street manipulates markets and commodities for profit. Old worn-out tyrants may go – not because the US wants them to – but new tyrants line up to take their place.

The Irish political class cannot wait for Air Force One to arrive. Thrilled with their success with the English queen’s journeys through over-policed empty city streets to venues where only the chosen few were deemed fit to be seen, the prospect of yet more vulgar self-aggrandisement is almost too much to bear. This time, the plebs will be allowed to take part in the adulation at the same open-air venue that that other warmonger, Bill Clinton, appeared at. Just like Clinton, Obama will scatter fine rhetoric to the four winds, meaningless rhetoric since we can be certain that what is promised will not be delivered.

But he is Irish, he is O’Bama, he is one of us. No he is not. He may have some DNA that connects him to this island, but that is all. He does not share the values that most people on this island most probably share – of non-interference in the affairs of other nations, of peace-keeping rather than war-making, of a sense of fair play and justice, of genuine compassion at the suffering of less fortunate people in the world, of a sense of solidarity with oppressed people in other places. We are not always good at looking after our own shop, we have many faults, we are far from perfect, but we do have a value system that at its core is decent, despite the worst efforts of the Irish political class to sign us up to the corrupt ‘elites’ of this world.

So, come Tuesday, it will be back to normal. Or perhaps it won’t be. Perhaps the Genie is out of the bottle. Perhaps we will remember how we were ‘locked down’ while others feasted at our expence. Perhaps we will remember how dissenting voices were ridiculed and silenced by a powerful hegemonic media – part of the political class and willingly serving its interests. Perhaps we will think about how the State views its citizens, at least most of them, as too suspect and dangerous to be allowed the freedom of their own streets. Perhaps, as another funding crisis hits the health service, or education, we will imagine how that €30 million spent on entertaining two human beings from outside and the political class parasites from inside might have been used.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Whatever the outcome, normal is going to feel, well, normal. Can’t wait.

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About Tom Stokes

Tom Stokes is a writer and journalist, and has taught media and journalism at foundation and under-grad levels. He holds a BA in Communications and Cultural Studies and an MA in Journalism from Dublin City University. He is a grandson of John Stokes, a striking tram driver in the 1913 Lockout and a Volunteer in Boland’s Mill in the 1916 revolution. He is an organiser of the Citizens’ Initiative to establish a new national day in Ireland on April 24th, to be known as Republic Day, and is co-organiser with Marie Mulholland of the campaign to have Ireland's new children's hospital dedicated to the memory of Dr Kathleen Lynn, to be named The Kathleen Lynn National Children's Hospital. View all posts by Tom Stokes

3 responses to “The Captains and the Kings

  • Gerry Kirwan

    Hi Tom,

    “The Captains and the Kings” incredible article one of your best yet. I have been driven to almost despair over the last few days with the fawning adulation of this Foreign Monarch.

    I was hard pressed to even see one letter in the papers that opposed the visit. Looks like section 31 is back again.

    I wonder what Connolly would make of us today???

    Gerry

    • Tom Stokes

      Thanks Gerry. And the unrelenting tide of guff goes on and on, just in case any of us thought it was going to get back to normal. On the question of James Connolly, and what he would think of us – I’d say that if he had the chance to emigrate to Chile, as he once planned to do, he would book the ticket. We are almost beyond salvation.

  • nokiaunlockcodes

    theirishrepublic.wordpress.com is awsome, bookmarked!

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