Well, welcome, come again. The weather made up (or possibly down) for all that good weather in April by giving us some very poor weather in May (wettest, windiest and dullest May for years in parts of the country). ‘April sun brings forth May showers’? I do always advise you to ‘cast not a clout before May be out’, indeed not to cast a clout at any other time of the year, this being a nonviolent publication. But if I did have a bit of clout I might have wanted to say something to a couple of recent visitors to this island about the warmongering activities of their states and their armies acting on their states’ behest. OK, goodwill and all that, and in the debate in the Irish Times (where else would you get such an irrelevant issue debated) on whether people, well, women, should curtsey to Queen Elizabeth during her visit, I thought, well, maybe it is a curtsey visit! And Obama has continued the Afghan war in exactly the same vein as his predecessor, no, I lie, he has increased US military involvement, so, ancestor from Co Offaly or not, some hard questions should have been asked of him rather than mere adulation which seems to be what he got (though see below).
There is a new game in town regarding mediation, a website entitled “Mediation Digest” with the subtitle “Conflict resolution in Ireland and the UK”. It is edited by Brendan Donaghy, worth a look and can be found here. Nice little link there to RSA Animate, short video clips on interesting topics, specifically to the one where Jeremy Rifkin looks at humanity and empathy, and the fact we are wired for empathy and whether that empathy can be extended to take in the whole human race and biosphere.
Incidentally, while we’re meditating on mediation I can also mention the Mediation Northern Ireland site, the MII/Mediators’ Institute Ireland, and PRG/Peace and Reconciliation Group in Derry. With all this mediation communication, I wonder if I have found a ‘via media’? You may not remember the story, told before in this space, about the first mediation course I attended, an extra-mural course at Queen’s University Belfast back in the late 80s. Out of 11 people there the first night, 5 had come for ‘meditation’! The profile of mediation has risen a long way since so today people are probably a lot less likely to read the blurb “Mediation is increasingly used in the United States and other countries as a means of conflict resolution.....” and see ‘meditation’......
Hitting the wall
I have been around the block, or even a few blocks, in my time, and even been (b)locked. Learning new tricks for an old dog is not always easy but if you sit on your posterior for long in this life then you are going to find your posterior on the ground as your support disappears or else you will be left a long way behind (bum bum). I’m not talking careers here since my career long ago went careering in a different direction than upwards, though I’m being a bit facetious in saying this because it was me what chose to not have an upwardly-mobile career. And by ‘career’ I would include everything I do that is ‘work’, paid or unpaid (alas and alack, writing this Colm fits the latter category!).
I did have the opportunity recently to avail of what I – alone - call work-based counselling but is labelled personal consultancy. It‘s interesting as a graduate of encounter groups (a long time ago, in the mode of Carl Rogers) and Re-Evaluation Co-Counselling (for a while) to go back to some of that experience of talking about myself in a deep way with someone who is not my partner in life. It was in a very small group so it was like one-to-one work.
Having shared a bit about going through redundancy (which I have shared on before here) and on some work issues, I wondered what I’d talk about next. I decided to go for reflecting on my working life and career choices which, as I indicated above, have never been about getting ahead. When I shared that I was a sad disappointment to one of my parents in not working my way up some ladder, but being unemployed at 25 (and subsequently), I earned an ‘Ouch’ from the consultant for putting myself down; I disagree since this is, for me, a fact, and, I felt, factually expressed. It didn’t mean my parent did not love or care for me, simply that I did not live up to expectations in relation to work and career position.
However, what was particularly interesting for me was the consultant’s perception of my body language in relation to a) my doubts in relation to my career choices, and b) my pride in my career choices. I was much more expressive and emphatic when talking about a) than b). Very interesting. I am proud of the route I have taken in life, and that route is very important to me, so it was intriguing and revealing that I came across as stronger on the doubts than the pride. Something to get my teeth into there then in terms of reflection and perhaps even further action. I may have to reflect more on my schatomas (blind spots to myself) but in their nature these are unknown unknowns. However this was an intriguing revelation.
Old dogs have a lot to learn too. They just need the right environment to do so. Life doesn’t always have to be wuff, doggone it.
The Queen she did call on us, she wanted to see all of us.....
So what did ye think of the visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Obama to the Re-public? Both have a lot of Irish ancestors though Obama’s are a bit more recent, I think, than Her Maj. While on the one hand you wanted the visits to go well, at least no one to take pot shots at them, there was some sickening sycophancy and thankfully there were at least a few people to break the lovefest, viz. Ciaron O’Reilly and the Catholic Worker. Here’s just a sample of what they got up to:
“Radical Rosary Mystery Tour –
The walking tour of Dublin, on the eve of the visit of Queen Elizabeth, was led by an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe with the slogan: "No queen but Mary Queen of Heaven -- single mother, refugee, role model for a revolutionary!”
The tour will make a number of stops around the city to mark "joyful, glorious and sorrowful mysteries", according to organiser Ciaron O'Reilly, one of the Shannon Five who damaged a US navy plane at Shannon Airport in 2003 and were subsequently acquitted by a Dublin jury. Sites will include "sorrowful mysteries" at the Central Bank and Irish Aviation Authority, "glorious mysteries" at the statues of Jim Larkin and Phil Lynott, and "joyful mysteries" at a drug-treatment centre and among the immigrant businesses of Moore Street.
"The routine at each stop will be short reflection connecting the site to the specific 'mystery' and a song or a recitation relevant to the site," O'Reilly said. "Then those who are into the Rosary can recite a decade, and those who feel uncomfortable can begin the procession to the next stop." (see also http://www.dublincatholicworker.org/ )
“When the head of the empire that is fast tracking our world to a nuclear bang or an ecological whimper arrives in your capital and there is no visible opposition ....you know your movement is sick, co-opted, silenced and in need of diagnosis. What are these paid organisers doing besides conference jumping, internetting and going to coffee with each other...where were they? where were they yesterday? keeping their heads down and their arses covered, maybe?
Oh well could go on forever on that theme...back to the 3-4 strong Catholic Worker vigil on O'Connell St. as the masses of Jedward and Obama fans made their way entranced like the opening scene from Conan the Barbarian movie where they are all off to volunteer as human sacrifice for the Emperor.
As always, you meet good people ....when you as Dan Berrigan advised in the '60's "Don't just do something stand there!"...a lot of folks expressed appreciation that we were offering some visible humble (did I say windswept already?) opposition and took the flyers on Bradley Manning.
We held visuals
photo of Manning with "Free Bradley Manning and All Imprisoned War Resisters!"
"OBAMA talks like JESUS kills like HEROD" ....
The Special Branch took about 3 hours to discover our presence and got all excited...checking bags and issuing an instruction that if we moved any further down O'C St .we would be arrested under Section whatever of the Offences Against the State Act........”
Yes, I had signed the online petition against EU over-control of alternative remedies. A considerable number of animals self medicate (e.g. eating bitter tasting leaves that will cure them of worms) so I consider it the right of Home Sapiens (sic) to do the same. It is not that I don’t think there are dangers in the misuse of alternative remedies, or popping vitamin pills which I would certainly not be into, but I think there are even greater dangers in the abuse of easily available or even prescribed licensed potions and drugs – with little effort you can purchase enough paracetamol to do yourself serious damage or death. To do the equivalent damage with alternative remedies you’d probably have to buy the shop. And if the remedy is not right there may still be a placebo effect, and any effect is to be welcomed.
I recently went into ‘my’ wholefood store to pick up some Avena Sativa, a tincture made from green oats, as it has a reputation for helping relaxation and sleep. It wasn’t for myself but for a friend though who it was for doesn’t matter. It had been delisted and would not have gone through trials and be licensed until 2012. In fact they had a bottle or two still in stock but after that, none for a year or so until expensive EU licenses have been obtained. I know the EU is often lambasted because of urban myths about things it is banning or proclaiming but this was the real thing and, come on, surely there could have been a way of encouraging information listing with a product without requiring expensive licensing? And for a product taken from oats! Enough to make me wild about sowing oats. For small scale producers licensing may simply not be an option and people are criminalised or stymied for taking a proactive interest in their own health. ‘Setting standards’ is a poor reason to take this path when it discriminates against the consumer and the small producer in favour of Big Pharma (but then I consider the EU pretty neo-liberal in its promotion of conservative economic policies).
Right wingers, in particular, but others as well, are continually going on about people taking responsibility for themselves and for their part of society. But, when it comes to health, apparently We Are Not Allowed. That is the territory of the Professionals. Oh, I get it, We Are Not Allowed because ‘We’ are not ‘responsible’ enough. Some serious contradiction here, I think.
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Well, there we go, hopefully we’ll get an ‘Indian summer’ if we get another wet one in the middle [What an optimist! Only the start of June and already talking about an ‘Indian summer’ assuming a poor ‘real’ summer! - Ed]. I note this is issue 190 of Nonviolent News – another year and we’ll be at 200 which isn’t bad going for a tin pot outfit like INNATE [Easy on! We should be at least labelled as a copper-bottomed tin pot outfit – Ed]. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun-damental tasks to perform – Nonviolent News will be at 200 issues next year but INNATE itself will be going 25 years in 2012 (until 1994 the newssheet was occasional). Sounds like an excuse for a party, huh? C U soon, 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).