Saturday, 30 January 2010

An open appeal to all Republicans from Ms Cahill

Having lived in the United States for many years, I have perhaps witnessed more trial by media than most people who live in Europe. Two of the most outrageous cases of this that come to mind were the trials in California of O. J. Simpson, and Michael Jackson. Hordes of press from all types of media outlets descended on these trials in a feeding frenzy of T V and print sensationalism. Rather than attempting to use these trials as a means of educating the public on the complexities of the U S judicial process, the media turned these events into a circus of luridness, half-truths, and innuendo. During these trials, the daily exploitation of the American judicial process by media outlets, for the financial gains of newspaper sales and T V ratings, left many Americans dismayed.

With this in mind, and not having the benefit of a legal department on my Blog, I have resisted the temptation to add my two cents worth in the Blogesphere, on the recent disclosures surrounding the propriety of the behavior of local politicians, Iris Robinson, and Gerry Adams.

Barring a diminished responsibility defense, due to mental illness, it seems clear that Iris Robinson will have her day in court to explain her very unusual concepts of fund raising, lobbying, and the bidding process, not to mention certain standards of ethics required of elected representatives.

With my very rudimentary legal knowledge, gained from “Lawyering for Idiots”, I would be the first to admit that I would be out of my depth on commenting on the legal issues surrounding the situation that Gerry Adams finds himself in, having admitted that when his niece, Aine Tyrell, accused his brother Liam, her father, of sexually assaulting her as a child, he believed his niece.

What I do know though is this; The actions of Gerry Adams after he was aware that his brother might be a pedophile, raise serious questions as to his judgment, as an elected representative of his community, and his responsibilities to the most defenseless section of that community, children.

The many inconsistencies, in Gerry Adam's many versions of events, detailing the actions he took in response to the accusations against his brother, have been well documented in the excellent reporting of Sunday Tribune Northern Editor, Suzanne Breen. (See Links Below)

Today on the Slugger O’Toole Blog Ms. Cahill, another woman who has claimed that she was repeatedly raped by a prominent Republican and that Gerry Adams was aware of the facts but failed to take action has issued an Open Letter to all Republicans.

Ms. Cahill is a niece of Joe Cahill, a veteran of the organization of which Gerry Adams was never a member.

The open letter is produced below in full.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

An open appeal to all Republicans from Ms Cahill

This statement comes to Slugger from Ms Cahill. It is carried in full.

Over the last number of weeks, there have been several allegations circulating – alleged to have been perpetrated by members of the Republican Movement.

There has been mixed reaction to this within the Republican Community, but particularly those within the Provisional republican movement, and those within Sinn Fein Circles. This reaction ranges from outright disgust, horror, condemnation, to the very damaging “turn a blind eye and say nothing” approach. There are obviously people understandably angry as a result – not least the victims. There is a lot of hurt within this community also, hurt which has been compounded by recent contradictions, mistruths, outright denials and certain media spin, which has the potential to deflect away from the real issue – the alleged cover up of paedophilia within certain quarters. Whatever that hurt, there are also families hurting too, people who are trying to come to terms with their lives right across this island, and trying to deal with the fact that members of these families were abused.

There are also parents, rightly angry and worried about their children. People are now backtracking through the years, wondering if their children have come into contact with perpetrators - and they are also rightly questioning if they trust the people they know now. This is a massive issue, and it is a disgrace that alleged child abusers have had free reign to have access to other children. Collectively, we now know more about the issue of sex offenders and reoffending rates. It is likely that perpetrators do not rehabilitate by just simply moving on somewhere else. We know as republicans of a number of cases being discussed at present – is this just the tip of the iceberg? How many more children have been put at risk as a result of mishandling, and in some cases planned facilitation of moving people around the country?

I also want to make it clear, paedophilia is not restricted to members of the Republican Movement. Unfortunately, paedophiles ingratiate themselves in all walks of life. In some instances they are our relatives, friends, priests, professionals, community and youth workers, lawyers, teachers, doctors – the list is endless. No one is blaming the republican movement for members of that movement who inflicted sexual abuse on others.

The blame, however is rightly centred around how the republican movement dealt with the issue, in several cases. It is clear from these cases that not once did the people involved either in so called investigating or in listening, directly report to any of the authorities. They also retraumatised victims of sexual abuse by either their chosen action, or inaction. It is also abundantly clear, for anyone who wishes to take the blinkers off, that paedophiles have been able to move around the country and further afield. In some cases they continued to masquerade as republicans, which in turn afforded them protection, or at the very least a degree of trust, which then also in turn made it easier for them to do what they did, unchecked. That is disgraceful, and brings a deep sense of shame on anyone who continues to support the republican ideology. The fault for this lies squarely with those in positions of power who espoused themselves as the epitome of republicanism, individuals who were looked up to by some, and who now feel tarnished by that association.

There are people out there now who have knowledge in different parts of Ireland on similar allegations of sexual abuse. Are you one of them? There are also people who have heard things on the grapevine about similar alleged cover-ups. Again, does this apply to you?
By not speaking out, you allow yourself to become complicit in the same alleged collective cover-up. I am appealing directly to all republicans from all persuasions to tell what you know. No perpetrator should be allowed to continue to abuse. No movement should give them succour by shielding them. And no republican should sit on the fence on this issue, waiting on other victims to come forward in the hope that the full story should start to emerge.

Be proactive. Do not continue with the legacy of silence. Out all the cases of child and adult sexual abuse. Highlight any suspicion, or knowledge of cover ups. Do this through whatever channel is comfortable for you. An email has been set up, by myself to deal with this issue. If this is an avenue you feel comfortable with using, use it.

I also want to directly appeal to those still within Sinn Fein. I am aware that some of you refuse to believe that this happened at all. People will make up their own minds on the issue. However, as a human, there has to be a shadow of doubt in your mind. Ask the hard questions, and demand an answer. If you are not happy, demand again. No one can afford to put politics over the safety of children. As a human being, you cannot afford to stay silent on this issue. Do the right thing.


Is mise le meas
******* Cahill

EXCLUSIVE - Gerry Adams ignored two more rape victims
Grand-niece of Provo legend endured horrific sexual abuse
Sinn Fein denies mishandling abuse claim
‘Article was accurate and truthful account’ – rape victim

Rusty Nail @ 11:08 AM

Monday, 25 January 2010

Northern Ireland Assembly Collapses

The current political crisis at the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the possibility of a collapse of that institution if the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein, are unable to resolve their differences over the transfer of Policing and Justice, again raises the possibility of Direct Rule from Westminster.

The first imposition of Direct Rule occurred on March 1972, and continued for the next 27 years, with the exception of five months in 1974.

The cartoon below, by Dan ÓNéill, was published by the Civil Rights movement while ÓNéill was on a visit to Ireland in 1972, as Stormont was stood down.

Dan has granted Soñar permission to publish his ODD BODKINS cartoon strip.

ODD BODKINS ON Soñar. Vol. 2 No. 1

Select Image for Larger Viewing

© Dan ÓNéill

Thirty years ago Hugh Daniel ÓNéill was described as, “an innovator, a creator and a professional troublemaker” in a foreword to a collection of Odd Bodkins. For seven years his Odd Bodkins cartoons ran daily in The San Francisco Chronicle and in 350 other newspapers throughout the world. At its peak, the strip had a readership of fifty million. When he was hired at age 21 —the youngest cartoonist ever hired by a national syndicate— he was given three simple rules: no religion, no politics and no sex in the strip. He did his best to comply — he kept sex out of Odd Bodkins. For further information on ÓNéill.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Remembering Bloody Sunday

St. Patrick's Day Parade San Francisco
© Joe ÓNéill 2009

Despite the fact that for decades, the international court of public opinion have found the British government of the day, guilty of murder in the killing of 14 Civil Rights marchers in Derry's Bogside in January 1972, relatives of the victims still await a final ruling by the Saville Tribunal on the circumstances of that dreadful day.

The findings of the original Widgery Inquiry into the events of that day, which completed its report in April 1972, some 11 weeks after the event, have always been considered a 'whitewash' by victim's relatives and all fair minded people.

The report concluded:
That shots had been fired at the soldiers before they started the firing that led to the casualties;

that, for the most part, the soldiers acted as they did because they thought their standing orders justified it;

and that although there was no proof that any of the deceased had been shot while handling a firearm or bomb, there was a strong suspicion that some had been firing weapons or handling bombs in the course of the afternoon.

After years of campaigning by relatives and their supporters, the Blair government, in 1998, established a new inquiry – The Saville Tribunal. The Tribunal began taking evidence in 2,000, and when it completed its work in November 2004, it had taken evidence from over 900 witnesses.

Five years, and some £180 million later, with a continuing reported monthly tab of £500,000, the Tribunal has yet to produce a report.

In December 2000, this writer submitted a crucial eyewitness account of the atrocity which was entered as evidence in the Tribunal. Since almost nine years have elapsed since that time, I republish two articles which dealt with the events leading up to the disclosure of that evidence. Some links may no longer be current.
Some links may no longer be current.
A transcript of the tape is included in Part 2. PART 1
When I ran the reprint of this story which I covered over 9 years ago,
I had intended to create a link on my Blog to the taped evidence of John Barry Liddy. However, due to technical problems I was unable to do so.
To the rescue, my good friend JFC, who has posted it on his site, available for download.
Be warned! For me, this is one of the most harrowing tales of brutality I have ever heard. Stephen King would be hard pressed to create from his imagination such a tale of horror and brutality, as was perpetrated on the victims of Bloody Sunday, and brought to life in Mr. Barry's eyewitness account.
If this 13 some minute tape does not cause a lump in your throat, or make you want to scream to the heavens for justice for the victims of Bloody Sunday, then I am afraid that you are clinically dead.
IRISH EYES G21 Special Report:
The Liddy Tape by Joe O'Neill G21 Alumnus To read this article in Deutsch, Francaise, Italiano, Portuguese, Espanol, copy and paste the complete URL ( and enter it in the box after you click through.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Joe O'Neill, the author of this article, is a G21 Alumnus who has reported for the IRISH ECHO and IRISH HERALD. Mr. O'Neill was G21's first reporter on Northern Ireland issues, inaugurating our IRISH EYES coverage. We are pleased to welcome him back to these pages. Months back, he offered G21 the Liddy tape, which is now part of a Blair Administration new investigation into "Bloody Sunday" (January, 1972.) What follows is Mr. O'Neill's continued coverage of that tragic event.--RA]
A recently discovered tape recording of a dramatic eyewitness account of Bloody Sunday (when 14 Irish civil rights marchers were murdered by British paratroopers) that lay stored in a basement for the last 28 years, has been entered as evidence in the new Bloody Sunday Tribunal.
The tape, which was stored in the basement of former San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist, Dan O'Neill's Nevada City home after he made a trip to Ireland in 1972, was rediscovered during a basement clean-up.
John Barry Liddy, who participated in the Bloody Sunday civil rights march, is interviewed on the recording as he lay injured in his home waiting for an ambulance.
BEHIND THE STORY A few months back, while working on edits for our story on the Serbian elections, this editor received a call from G21 Alumnus Joe O'Neill. O'Neill had contacted me after being contacted by his friend, Dan O'Neill (no relation.)
Joe was calling to tell me about the amazing, eye-witness content of the tape. He wanted advice on how to disseminate it to the largest number of "the right people." I advised that he burn it onto CDs. He did, and sent me an advance copy the following week.

Listening to the entire tape of John Barry Liddy's words ranks among the most heartbreaking experiences I have had in my entire life. The tales of reported beatings, and their nature, are enough to curdle the blood of any civilized person. That the victims of these "interrogations" were then left on the street to die...

The actual tape, which O'Neill shared with G21 months ago, goes on for an excruciating nearly 15 minutes. Neither the BBC RealAudio broadcast (which only runs a scant two and a half minutes,) nor the official government Bloody Sunday Inquiry site, provides the complete record of the John Barry Liddy tape. As a service to our readers, G21 will provide a complete transcript next week. Sadly, reading the words on the page cannot do complete justice to hearing Mr. Liddy's anquished voice, his sobbing... Most notably, the BBC excerpt gives no account of the torture and beatings of the victims during their hours-long "interrogation".

As Joe recounted later, "Dan turned the tape over to me to see if I could get it to the 'right people'... After our conversation...I sent it to the 'Bloody Sunday Trust' representing the families and relatives of victims. 'The Trust' turned it over to the lawyers. I spoke with the lawyers while I was in Ireland and the tape was entered in evidence, etc...."

We are often asked if the G21 really believes one person can make a difference. We do. Ask Joe or Dan O'Neill... RA Mr. Liddy, along with others, was rounded up after the killings by members of the Parachute Regiment and taken to a British army detention center where they were severely beaten and then thrown out onto the street.

Picked up outside the detention center by good Samaritans and driven home, Mr. Liddy is described by the interviewer as being in a semi-conscious state, suffering from a broken leg, broken ribs, severe contusions of the head and badly bruised about the body.

Ironically, at the start of the interview Mr. Liddy describes himself as a former member of the Royal Navy, British Army, and the U.D.R. (Now defunct Ulster Defense Regiment). The detention center where he was beaten, Fort George, was also his place of employment where he worked as a bartender for the Army, Navy and Airforce Institute.

Describing the horrific details of the killing around him, Mr. Liddy confirms that the first shots fired came from a rifleman positioned on the Derry Walls, a fact denied by the British army and successive British governments who have maintained that their soldiers fired in response to shots fired at them from within the march.

In heartbreaking detail, filled with emotion, Mr. Liddy describes watching helplessly, along with local priest, Father Bradley, as the British army "pumped bullets" into unarmed and wounded victims as they tried to crawl to cover.

While helping his brother, who was hit in the heart by a rubber bullet, he saw his wife's 17 year-old nephew, Michael Kelly, shot. "He was shot in the stomach by a rifleman firing from Derry Walls. I would say that he was the first casualty." said Mr. Liddy.

As he and the priest tried to assist the wounded waving a white handkerchief, soldiers fired on them forcing them to scramble for their lives behind a wall for cover. The dead and dying were denied the consolation of receiving the last rites of their Church from Fr. Bradley due to the intensity of rifle fire from British troops.

The tape has since been passed on to the Bloody Sunday Trust, in Derry. Lawyers, Madden & Finucane, who represent the majority of those murdered and wounded, have sent a letter of thanks for the receipt of the evidence. On behalf of the firm, Fearghal Shiels wrote:

"We are extremely grateful that you have taken the time to send this important piece of evidence to Ireland. Since Mr. Liddy is now sadly deceased, and therefore has not been interviewed by the new Tribunal, this evidence has assumed even greater importance."

All evidence submitted to the inquiry, said Shiels, is posted on the government Web Site. An excerpted recording of the interview with Mr. Liddy can be found on the BBC Web site by following the preceding link. This link takes you on to the "Dublin Monaghan Bombings" article. Go on. +++ HOME +++ RECOMMENDED +++ +++ THE PREVIOUS IRISH EYES +++ THE NEXT IRISH EYES +++ RETURN TO TOP OF PAGE © 2000, GENERATOR 21.E-mail your comments. We always like to hear from you. Send your snide remarks to

PART 2 IRISH EYES The Liddy Tape - Part 2 by Rod Amis G21 Special Report
To read this article in Deutsch, Francaise, Italiano, Portuguese, Espanol, copy and paste the complete URL( and enter it in the box after you click through.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Last week The World's Magazine provided the inside story behind how a thirty year old eyewitness account of the Bloody Sunday massacre in Ireland was provided to the new Blair government Bloody Sunday Inquiry in the United Kingdom. Our reporter, Joe O'Neill was directly instrumental in that process. But neither the official Inquiry Web site nor the BBC provided a complete audio or transcript of the John Barry Liddy Tape. As a service to our readers around the world, with the assistance of Ms. Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch, G21 provides that transcript.--RA]

...Today in Colmcille Court, the British Army opened fired indiscriminately against unarmed civilians whose only weapons were stones.

My own brother Seamus Liddy was hit in the heart by a rubber bullet. I ran forward to render him assistance along with the brother- in-law's son and the son-in-law. We lifted my brother up to carry him in to the side of the road.

My 17, or -- 15-year-old nephew was shot down, he was hit in the stomach from a rifleman firing from Derry Walls. I would say that he was the first casualty. His name was Michael Kelly, my wife's nephew.

Father Bradley, a Roman Catholic curate, knelt down at his head to administer the Last Rites of the Church. While he was doing so, the British army were still firing into us and four more innocent people fell, three of them consequently died; about the fourth one I am not terribly sure.
Father Bradley then went out on to the road to administer the Last Rites to the four people who were shot. As he went out from behind cover, the British army opened indiscriminate fire on him. Myself and another lad --- his name is unknown to me --- went out and pulled Father Bradley back. I got out my white handkerchief and went out at the corner of the building and waved it in the direction of the British army. As I did so, a burst of automatic or semi-automatic fire hit the side of the building beside where Father Bradley and I were standing.

Another chap at the other side of the road had been hit in the leg. He was lying behind cover and both Father Bradley and I appealed to him to stay where he was. As he tried to crawl forward onto cover, the British army pumped the bullets into him. He appealed to us for help but the fire was so heavy, we couldn't get across the road.

Again Father Bradley tried to get out to the four fellows who were shot. Three of them were dead and one of them raised his arm and beckoned us out to help him, but again we tried to go out and they shot at us.

They were calling from across the street for a priest and a boy who was lying dying on the street with his life's blood pumping out on the street, and again we couldn't get across. At this the British army came around the corner. They were no more like human beings than the animals that come from the jungle!

I tried to protect Father Bradley. I was struck across the chest with a rifle. Father Bradley was also struck. Then we appealed to the lieutenant in the paratroop regiment, we were again beaten and told to speak only when spoken to.

We were put again at the wall with our hands on the wall and we were severely kicked about the legs and the private parts of our body.

When anyone fell, they were kicked again. We were then ordered into single file and were run down towards the wire netting that surrounded the GPO.

On my way down, a British soldier again swung his rifle and hit me with the butt. When I fell they hit me with rubber hoses on the back and dragged me by the hair on my head to my feet again.

Again we were put facing the wire netting fences surrounding the GPO in Upper James' Street, again we were physically abused. We were then told to get into the lorry which was about 40 yards away, but before we could reach the lorry, we had to run a gauntlet of about 40 or 50 paratroopers.

Again we were beaten unmercifully. If we didn't get into the lorry quick enough we were again hit with rifle butts.

We were told to sit on the floor facing the back of the lorry... Suddenly they changed their minds and told us to turn around and face the front of the lorry. If we were a little bit slow in doing so we were again unmercifully hammered.

We were threatened with all sorts of repercussions but the lorry eventually moved off. Then it moved to the place of my employment which is known as Fort George, the original naval maintenance base, Strand Road, Londonderry, where I am employed as a barman by the navy, army and their force institutes.

On arrival at camp, we were ordered to leave the lorry one at a time. As we turned around to do so, two paratroopers in the back of the lorry again beat us.

There was a 13 or 14-year-old child just in front of me in the lorry. He asked me if I would look after him and I said I would.

I was a little bit slow getting out of the lorry and I was thrown out of it. When I fell again, I was kicked. I was made to get up and run the gauntlet again. If anyone has ever seen films of a white man running a gauntlet in an Indian village, this will give you some idea of what we had to run.
We were taken into a large shed and were told to face the wall and stretch our hand palms outwards against the wall. Again we were kicked about the legs and were told to turn around and line up against barbed wire which we had to clutch with our bare hands. The paratroopers then came in and started identifying.... (The statement was terminated at this point in the interview because Mr Liddy was taken to hospital due to the injuries he received at the barracks.)

People throughout the world have access to the BBC World News. As you know, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry is now meeting daily. We pray that, perhaps, after thirty years, justice will finally be done. --- Rod Amis This link takes you on to the Brendan Hughes interview. Go on.

+++ HOME +++ RECOMMENDED +++ +++ THE PREVIOUS IRISH EYES +++ THE ACCOMPANYING IRISH EYES +++ THE NEXT IRISH EYES +++ RETURN TO TOP OF PAGE') © 2000, GENERATOR 21.E-mail your comments. We always like to hear from you. Send your snide remarks to

Monday, 18 January 2010


© Joe ÓNéill 2009

I Have a Dream – Address at March on Washington
August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C.
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Saturday, 16 January 2010

A View from the Foothills by Chris Mullan

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
Member of Parliament Chris Mullan, who campaigned for years for the release of Irish citizens falsely imprisoned in England for IRA bombings in the early 1970's, spoke in Belfast yesterday at the Out to Lunch Arts Festival series, at the Black Box in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter.

Mullan, a journalist and author, has been Labor MP for Sunderland South since 1987. His book, Error of Judgment: The Truth About the Birmingham Bombings, was an international best seller. The MP was promoting his latest book, A View from the Foothills.

A review of the book by his old friend and colleague, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain, can be found at the Guardian Review of Books:

Thursday, 14 January 2010


© Joe ÓNéill 2009

Belfast born author Brian Keenan, returned to his native city yesterday to talk about his latest book, 'I'll Tell Me Ma', at the Out To Lunch Arts Festival at the Black Box in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter.

Keenan's first book, 'An Evil Cradling', was an autobiographical account of his four year kidnapping ordeal in Beirut Lebanon, where he was working at the American University.

His latest work is a memoir of his growing up in Belfast in the 1950's. In his talk to a lunch-time audience of over 200 he spoke of the difficulty he had deciding to even start such a work. His early childhood memories were dim, and much of the working-class neighborhood in north Belfast were he grew up has physically changed very drastically due to redevelopment. The work he said, took him to areas where he could never have imagined when he began his odyssey of recollections. At this time his mother was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s, and he was making frequent visits from Dublin where he now resides, to be with her. On these trips he would frequently walk the old haunts of his youth seeking inspiration.

Speaking to Soñar Blog afterward, Keenan said that he is already working on another book. He has made two trips recently to Lebanon. While there, he says he was looking for stories of ordinary Lebanese living everyday lives.

I'll Tell Me Ma, is published by Random House.

The Out to Lunch Arts Festival runs 6-31January 2010.
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