Previous editorials

Current editorial

February 2021

December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020

December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019

December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018

December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017

December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016 (supplement)

December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015

December supplement
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014

December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013

December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012

December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011

December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009

December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008

December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007

December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006

December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005

December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004

December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
July 200
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002

December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000

16 Ravensdene Park,
Belfast BT6 0DA,
Northern Ireland.
Tel: 028 9064 7106
Fax: 028 9064 7106

This is an archive of material
mainly from 1992 until December 2020.
Please go to our CURRENT WEBSITE
for material from January 2021 onwards.
What's new?

Billy King


Nonviolence News



These are regular editorials produced alongside the corresponding issues on Nonviolent News.

Issue 124: November 2004

[Return to related issue of Nonviolent News]

What our young people have to put up with
The bulk of young people today in Ireland have never had so much, both materially and in the way of opportunities. This is a statement of fact (though the extent of the availability of opportunities varies according to different factors, mainly class). But if you ask the question of whether young people are any happier, more content, satisfied with themselves and their lives, at ease with themselves, than in other eras then the answer to the question is going to be very different.

Despite (or even partially because of) youth culture, much of which is commercially driven, there are enormous pressures on young people. But youth culture is a sub-set of popular culture as a whole which tends to define itself in terms of "I consume, therefore I am". There is a peculiar mix of lack of role and responsibility for many along with pressure to succeed (usually but not exclusively from adults), there is pressure to be able to consume, there is peer pressure. This leads to a pressure cooker environment - and pressure cookers can blow their top.

Young males in particular have not necessarily been able to work out their role creatively in our environments, North and South of this island. At one extreme this has led to high suicide rates for young men. But it has also led to problems at less drastic levels as well. It is likely that Ireland is not much different to Britain where a study over the last 25 years revealed that the mental health of teenagers has declined sharply and the proportion of 15 years olds with behavioural problems of various kinds has more than doubled; boys are more likely to show behavioural problems, girls emotional problems. Other countries have avoided this youth trap but it is likely Ireland as a whole is more akin to the British model.

Alcohol and drug abuse leading to fights and violence post-pub or post-club is a common phenomenon. We referred to the connection between alcohol and violence in a recent editorial. The wider question is why young people (and more than their share of older people too) feel obliteration through alcohol is a necessary part of enjoying life.

A green culture would value people for who they are rather than what they have or consume. A green culture would place emphasis on different kinds of achievement - collective, social and cultural - rather than careering and consuming. But creating a new and caring culture which does not do violence to the earth (and thereby our neighbours across the globe) is a major step. That major step has to be taken collectively. We need to redefine what the role of a human being is in western society. Let us hope, and work, that future generations of young people will be able to take their place in society without the trauma and angst which society currently puts upon them. That change is the responsibility of those who wield power today, and all of us, young and old, who can influence the decision making process.

It's politics
Mary Kelly's recent trial in Ennis got the State the result it wanted - a guilty verdict. But Judge Carroll Moran refused to allow a variety of expert evidence about Iraq and the war in Iraq (which doesn't come much more expert than Denis Halliday), and Shannon Airport's role in that illegal war. He did not want the case to "degenerate into a political debate". Mary Kelly's defence of 'lawful excuse' for her action in attacking a US war plane was therefore left hanging by a thread.

But the judge was simply wrong - it can be argued legally as well as morally. Mary Kelly did not attack the plane because she was feeling aggressive that day, or normally went around attacking planes. She did a claimed €1.5 million damage to the 737 navy aircraft because it was part of the US war machine engaged in an illegal war in Iraq. She was acting to prevent harm being done. The judge did allow the jury to decide for themselves.

If you want to look at 'political decisions' then Mary Kelly's was not the only one. Judge Moran, in refusing to allow relevant evidence, was making a political decision which ensured, at the end of the day, that a majority of the jury found her guilty. It is a sad day for the law in Ireland, and for action for justice worldwide, that such a decision could be made in a supposedly 'neutral' state. But then if the state really was really neutral in its actions, and taking a progressive role in relation to global conflicts, there would be no passage through Shannon Airport for the USA's war machines and Mary Kelly would not have felt obliged to do what she did.

Eco-Awareness Eco-Awareness
Larry Speight is going to join us regularly with his thoughts:

The line, "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" which opens Keats' poem 'Ode to Autumn' encapsulates for many of us the ambience of the season. If we take a walk along any of the B-roads in Fermanagh we will get an idea of how fruitful the season actually is. On one recent walk near Derrygonnelly I came across six kinds of berries on a single stretch of rod, some edible, some with medicinal properties and some, if we gathered enough of them, would be useful in dyeing or for use in craftwork. Sadly, for most folk today, the lore of the countryside is lost and we are no longer able to distinguish what is useful and what is hazardous.

Many people will go through the entire season without appreciating it and regard the ever longer nights, the increase in rain and cold, as unpleasant and as sooner passed the better. Yet, if we psychologically align ourselves with the season we will embrace it as a time for slowing down; shedding, healing, and mending. The long nights are for story telling and family games - especially if one has young children, they are for reading a good book in a cosy room, upgrading our skills or learning new ones as in attending an evening class. They are for writing and musing. The season also reminds us of the inevitability of aging, of our immortality - which we acknowledge and celebrate at Hallowe'en. Autumn is a time for getting in touch with ourselves - undertaking self-healing, and, if we need to, reconnecting with our neighbours and the natural world. The season, as Keats says, is our "Close bosom-friend". Let is not be the case of appreciating it when it has gone.

Copyright INNATE 2021