Fidel by Eduardo Galeano

His enemies say he was an uncrowned king who confused unity with unanimity.

And in that his enemies are right.

His enemies say that if Napoleon had a newspaper like Granma, no Frenchman would have learned of the disaster at Waterloo.

And in that his enemies are right.

His enemies say that he exercised power by talking a lot and listening little, because he was more used to hearing echoes than voices.

And in that his enemies are right.
But some things his enemies do not say: it was not to pose for the history books that he bared his breast to the invaders’ bullets, he faced hurricanes as an equal, hurricane to hurricane, he survived six hundred and thirty-seven attempts on his life, his contagious energy was decisive in making a country out of a colony, and it was not by Lucifer’s curse or God’s miracle that the new country managed to outlive ten U.S. presidents, their napkins spread in their laps, ready to eat it with knife and fork.

And his enemies never mention that Cuba is one rare country that does not compete for the World Doormat Cup.

And they do not say that the revolution, punished for the crime of dignity, is what it managed to be and not what it wished to become. Nor do they say that the wall separating desire from reality grew ever higher and wider thanks to the imperial blockade, which suffocated a Cuban-style democracy, militarized society, and gave the bureaucracy, always ready with a problem for every solution, the alibis it needed to justify and perpetuate itself.

And they do not say that in spite of all the sorrow, in spite of the external aggression and the internal high-handedness, this distressed and obstinate island has spawned the least unjust society in Latin America.

And his enemies do not say that this feat was the outcome of the sacrifice of its people, and also of the stubborn will and old-fashioned sense of honor of the knight who always fought on the side of the losers, like his famous colleague in the fields of Castile.

Taken from Mirrors (2010)
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The mystical divide between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil

A concerted effort is being made since last Friday’s election to lecture us on the s2badeggsignificant differences between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.  The herculean effort to assure us of the gulf between the two is being made by politician and embedded political correspondent alike.  Today’s article by Stephen Collins is a classic of the genre, relying on Jackie Healy Rae’s declaration on the difference being that;

‘Them that know don’t need to ask and them that ask will never know’

However, such argumentation of mystical or even in one case genetic divides are all clear cases of sleight of hand.  Such things if true hardly form an insurmountable barrier to coalition, or even coalescence which seems to be the true fear of these party hacks and their ‘disinterested’ observers.

One doesn’t even have to leave the island to find examples showing this is the case. You merely need to point to the previous coalition governments of Fine Gael and Labour or between Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. The cultural gulfs between these parties couldn’t be lesser than that of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

There are also examples of coalescence, with Democratic Left and Labour finding it fairly easy enough to join forces despite years of rivalry.

All the same it has to be said that the greatest example of coalition between two parties with widely differing cultures can be found just a little bit further north of Dublin in Belfast. Surely if the DUP and Sinn Féin can work together, after decades of bitter conflict, it should be childsplay for these two centre-right parties with rural and urban bases to find common ground.

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5 Practical Things You Can Do About the Refugee Crisis From Ireland


**updated 11.49 4/9/2015**

At this point everyone has seen the shocking images of Syrians, Afghans and other refugees suffering great hardship and even dying for the chance to reach safety in the European Union. The response of the Irish Government has been disgraceful so far, offering only to take in 600 refugees. This needs to change

Taking my cue from this effort from the UK Independent earlier here’s a version for Ireland. These are 5 things you can do to in the fight to ensure refugees get treated with the respect they deserve

 1) Petition the Government

The civil society organisation Uplift has a petition aimed at Enda Kenny calling on him to give shelter to refugees in Ireland.

Sign the petition here

Even better you can contact your local representatives by email, letter or phone and let them know what you think about their lack of action. Find the details of your local TD on 

2) Donate

Theres currently some groups around Ireland gathering donations of money, clothes and other forms of supplies for the refugees in Calais.

Dublin Calais Refugee Solidarity

Cork Calais Refugee Solidarity

Northern Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity

You can also follow the example of people in Iceland and Germany and offer to host  refugees on Uplift’s site.

Pledge a Bed

Heres a list of charities working to help with the crisis as provided by the UK Independent.

Save the Children: distributing essential items such as diapers, hygiene kits and food

Red Cross Europe: providing emergency health services at central train stations

Migrant Offshore Aid Station: dedicated to preventing migrant deaths at sea

International Rescue Committee:  improving living conditions by setting up camps

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): providing water, mosquito nets, tents, healthcare

Refugee Action: advice about claiming asylum, the asylum process, asylum support

World Vision: providing food, water, shelter, education and psychosocial care

Via Jim in the comments

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) are patrolling the Med in 3 Search & Rescue vessels and have so far this year rescued nearly 15,000 people!!


There are plans under way to organise protests to put more pressure on the Irish Government. The first of which takes place this Saturday the 5th of September  in Dublin with a day of action on behalf of refugees. There is also an action in Limerick.

There are also plans for a demonstration to coincide with an International day of action on this issue on the 12th of September.

4) Volunteer

There are several groups in Ireland working on behalf of refugees both inside and outside the country. Here’s some of them

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland

Irish Refugee Council

Doras Luimní (Limerick)

Anti Racist Network

NASC the Irish Immigrant Support Center  (Cork)

5) Support the Campaign to End Direct Provision in Ireland

This latest crisis isn’t the first time Ireland has failed those fleeing war, torture and oppression. Thousands continue to languish in Ireland in the cruel system known as Direct Provision, which has already been called the Magdalene Laundries of our generation.

Many of the groups linked in the volunteer section are also working on this issue, but one of the most impressive is Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI). This group is led and organised by the victims of the DP system itself.


*This is a work in progress please feel free to leave further suggestions, corrections etc in the comments

**Racist trolling will be deleted so don’t bother.

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