Sunday, 13 November 2016

Post Pop Depression

Phew. Been a while since I did one of these. But here it goes:

Post Pop Depression

Ok, I know this album came out on March 18th and we’re approaching its 8 month anniversary so that is how I’m framing this blog! It’s a celebration of its 8 month birthday! What spurred me to write this was the release of the Post Pop Depression Live at Albert Hall. But the album itself is an album worth celebrating. With the loss thus far this year of such magical storytellers such as Bowie and Cohen and musicians in the last twelve months like Prince and Lemmy, Pop is a remaining legend in the storytellers grouping and deserves wordly recognition. Honestly, I never listened to him much prior to this album. I knew his ‘hits’, I knew of his band with the stooges, but I never paid attention to his work or words. He is 50 years in the music industry. That is incredible. His longevity is incredible in an industry known for its artist’s excesses, the cut-throat nature of the industry itself.

For those who are unaware, the album is a collaboration between Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders and LA multi-instrumentalist Dean Fertita (also currently QotSA). It is Joshua Homme that brought this album to my attention as I follow his work as closely as I can. Anything he touches musically is so so awesome thanks to his ability to evolve his sounds and output. He is smoothness personified in my opinion, his music is like silk to my ears. Even …Like Clockwork, the Queens last output, it dealt with themes of life and death. It was dark. It was heavy. It was supreme. But Homme still makes it 100% listenable. Pop is the essence of 70’s punk: Brash, outlandish, a voice filled with life and experience. But this album is him at his most thoughtful. As NME succinctly put it, this album is a coming together of these two musical deities and their skills: “Brilliantly, that’s what ‘Post Pop Depression’ actually sounds like. Iggy’s vocals and lyrics are astounding – he’s like an angry young man all over again, and is far more gnarly and potent than any of his contemporaries”

Ok. Let’s break down the songs.
1.     Break Into Your Heart
Pop doesn’t need to slowly break you into his style. He just goes for it. The moment I heard the first 0:22 seconds are just so memorable. Iggy with a haunting sounding guitar behind his painfully somber lyrics [emphasis is mine]:

“I’m gonna break into YOUR heart,
I’m gonna crawl under YOUR skin,
I’m gonna break into YOUR heart,
And follow. Till I see where you begin. “

They’re hauntingly beautiful, matching the guitar. Then we get the first taste of the collaboration. Matt’s drums throughout are tight. Dean’s bass is heavy, thumping, rhythmic, mesmerizing. The song as a whole just grips you and pulls you in.

2.     Gardenia
This is my favourite song on the album. I just find the music so uplifting after the emotional journey that was Break Into Your Heart. Wonderfully melodic chords, a perfect balance of clear music and Iggy’s voice. Josh’s backing lyrics add to the songs balance. Iggy’s ‘matter-of-fact story telling come to the fore massively here.
“America’s greatest living poet / was ogling you all night / you SHOULD BE WEARING THE FINEST GOWN.”
The subject is admonished for not looking her best for her ‘oogler’. It’s musical narration at its finest.

3.     American Valhalla
Again, the drums and bass to bring us into this song are excellent. Then, just listen to Pop and Homme speak about this song, from the horses mouths so to speak!

My main takes from it are Josh pointing out that “If I have outlived my use, please take what’s left of me” is wonderfully emotive.

And I love Iggy’s coarse gravelly tones nakedly uttering “I’ve nothing, but my name” are haunting and desolate. The writer is at the end, realising that at the exact moment before death, we carry nothing but our name.

Lyrically, it’s sinister, dark. . .  impending

4.     In The Lobby
The different tones running through this song are interesting. Musically, the sounds are a little erratic, high pitched solos alongside an increasing fragility of the writers mind on each of the “And I hope I’m not losing my life tonight”
From near spoken, to a slightly upwardly lilting to full on panic.
The messages of mortality are ones that run through a lot of the songs, if not all songs on this album.

5.     Sunday
A lovely funky riff and drums open this song. Iggy’s lyrics are masterful and storyful. He is part of a musical artistic collective whose words are more than mere letters. They’re descriptive art pieces.
“this street is as cold as a corporate lawsuit.”
Incredible imagery.
Tying into the notion that in our corporate world, Sunday is just another day for them. For us it’s a day where we can say “fuck off! Don’t you know it’s Sunday?!” Iggy eloquently reminds us of this in the live album!

6.     Vulture
In an album dealing with a lot of questions around mortality, it seems fitting there’d be a song about the bird that feasts on the only thing we leave behind: our bodies. Again, wonderfully evocative lyrics provide a masterful imagery to us listeners:
“Vulture waiting
For a life to end
Proving the prophet
He's nobody's friend
If he gets near
Your bones he'll clear
He'll jump your bandwagon
'Til it's your corpse he's draggin'”

7.     German Days
In this song Iggy is reminiscing about Berlin when he was with his good friend Bowie. It’s again a song laced with mortality due to the subject written about.

8.     Chocolate Drops
The lyrics are dramatic, the backing vocals haunting. His words again resonate on many levels:

When is painful to express the things you feel (inside)
When it hurts to share because they're bare and real (so real)
So when everyday is judgement day, I won't pray (don't pray)
When there's none to share that empty chair, well okay (okay)”

He’s fighting to hang on, but understands that if there’s no one to share your burden with, it’s understandable how you might go in search of your own Valhalla. But he qualifies his understanding with a possible double entendre:

“There is nothing in the stars if You fail to move
There is nothing in the dark, it's just some old excuse
Hanging on, let it go”

He could mean ‘let the burden go. Untangle yourself. Be free.’
Or he could understand your letting go of just hanging on. Either way. It’s fascinatingly morbid.

9.     Paraguay

At 6:25, it is the longest song on the album. It is also an angry, I want to say diatribe, but it’s almost an oration of anger. It’s a fascinating trip from the writer attempting to lay the blame on his own feet for wanting to “pack [his] soul and scram”, to full on anger at the “they”; the realisation that “Out of the way I'll get away / Won't have to hear the things they say”, that fear is what drives people to feel this way. His anger builds monstrously thanks to his realisation that it’s ‘their’ fault:

“There's nothing awesome here
Not a damn thing
There's nothing "wow!"
Just a bunch of people, scared
Everybody's fuckin' scared
Fear eating all the souls at once
I'm tired of it
And I dreamed about gettin' away
To a new life
Where there's not so much fucking knowledge
I don't want any of this "information"
I don't want "you"
No, not anymore
I've had enough of "you"
Yeah I'm talking to "you"
I wanna go to Paraguay
Live in a compound under the trees
With servants and bodyguards who love me
Free of criticism
Free of manners and bores [?]
I wanna be your basic Clyde [?]
Who made good
And went away while he could
To somewhere where people are still human beings
Where they have spirit
You take mother-fucking laptop
Just shove it into your goddamn foul mouth
Down your shit-eating gizzard
You fuckin' phony two-faced, three-timing piece of turd
And I hope you shit it out with all the words in it
And I hope the security services read those words
And pick you up and flay you
For all your evil and poisonous intentions
Cause I'm sick and it's your fault
And I'm gonna go heal myself now.”

That last line is almost cathartic – he has mentally dealt with the shit in this mortal world. He’s cleansed of the crap. He’s ready for whatever is next on this life journey. On his terms.
It’s wonderfully poetic.

In conclusion, it’s an album where Iggy’s dangerousness and raw sexuality [are] meshing with Homme’s hypnotic guitar rock.
It’s poetic, it’s a trip through a thought process of what our mortality is and means to this fantastic mind.
Listen to it. Enjoy it. Breathe in his new lust for life.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Keep A Space for Sagna

It’s my first Arsenal blog in a while today but I was in the writing mood so I’ll compose a few thoughts on one of our most consistent players of the past few seasons: Mr Bacary Sagna.
I read that he was the last to depart the pitch on Tuesday night and his waves appeared to be lingering ones. I would fully agree with @LittleDutchVA on his Arseblog column when he said that he’d like to see Jenkinson phased into the team with Sagna there to help the transition. Gunnerblog made a very good observation on Tuesday night when he noticed how Gibbs was “coached through the game by Steve Bould who regularly passed on advice to Gibbs from the touch-line.” I think we can all agree with him that it worked and McManaman was fairly subdued in the game. Gunnerblog went on to say that “Gibb’s positional play and anticipation were as good as I’ve seen him produce.” Remembering how good Sagna was against Sunderland when he was moved into the centre due to injuries, I can only imagine his experience at centre back being a positive were we to keep him for the final year of his contract. I know Merty and Kos are the preferred centre back pairing but if we could persuade him to see out the final year of his deal to help mould Jenks into the brilliant right-back we know he will be that could only be a good thing. He could be that on field coach for the young Jenkinson knowing exactly what's needed having bombed up and down that right flank for his career. I do think our squad now has the right balance of youth and experience and getting one more year from Sagna would be fantastic. The criticism he has received at times this season has been un-warranted. Yes he has made a few mistakes this season but it’s only after 5 years of sterling service. It’s only now I realised he’s only human. But seriously, with abs like the ones in the picture above you can be forgiven for thinking he wasn’t human! Super ability coupled with such impressive determination meant that no cause was lost if it was on Sagna’s radar. I remember this goal saving clearance like it was yesterday! Supreme determination! 

One leg break, let alone two, are difficult injuries to return from. But return he did and he’s rarely if never given less than 100% for the team. His recent error against Man United led to a double error such was his determination to make up for the first error. That’s determination to right a wrong. We all know over determination can lead to two wrongs but I forgive when there’s 100% dedication and commitment to the cause by the player. My belief in his ability to shift from right to centre back is one that comes from watching Thuram make a similar move from right back to centre back while playing for Juventus. Like Sagna, Thuram was a top quality right back, quick in the tackle, strong and his reading of the game was fantastic. All the skills which are necessary to make the move to centre back. 
Keeping this attitude and player in the squad can only be a positive for Arsenal for next season. This season has been a very tough one and we’ve no one to blame for its toughness as it was caused solely by ourselves during the early part of the season. But look at our form since January. If we can continue with this newly found grit and determination into next season, coupled with a few offensive additions I believe we are looking at an Arsenal side capable of challenging for the title. In my view, Sagna could be a big part of this. No Arsenal fan can forgot thee defining gritty and determined goal of the last couple of seasons!

BOOMPH! What a header! What's that? From another angle you say? No problem!

Shiver me timbers! That was a goal

 Obviously it is all dependent on what the man himself wants but he's been a fantastic player for us since 2007 and I'd show the same determination to keep him as he has shown on his right wing since he first sprinted up it

My Tribute to the Commander

I meant to post this a few days ago and it slipped my mind so apologies for the late and brief tribute Commander!
So the legend that is Commander Hadfield has left the International Space Station. The man who brought us into orbit with him and shared so many wonderful glimpses of our beautiful Earth has returned to terra firma and he should be returning to a lot of gratitude from all of us. I personally was lucky enough to have my home county featured on one of his flyovers. Even more amazingly he got us without cloud. Something that led me to believe he photoshopped his image! This website is amazing.  Kudos to the people who mapped out his pictures into lovely drop down options. From what I can tell, via Dara O’Briain, it was this guy that mapped it out so a big thank you to him!
The Commander is one lucky man however. Even in this day and age he has bosses that evidently don’t have a clue about social media. Their employee was up in space tweeting, playing space sounds on Soundcloud and ‘Youtube-ing’ to his heart’s content! Did the man get any actual work done up there I wonder?! How many billions in working hours did he cost his employers? Actually, now that I think of it, I’m glad the Commander is back. Hopefully the next Commander of the International Space Station actually does some work up there and gets off the Twitterer and Facebuk or whatever they’re called. IT’S NOT A HOLIDAY CAMP SPACE PEOPLE.
On a more serious note, in the last number of years, we have seen the United States decimate its funding of NASA while its military budget is ever increasing: both are to the detriment of humanity. Not only is NASA’s core budget cut for sending shuttles to space, its outreach program is also being destroyed. Commander Hadfield should act as an inspiration to governments around the globe to quit both cuts to education and austerity measures and pump money into science and education. It should be noted the interest this man garnered from the Earth’s populace. Imagine a new age of cooperation among nations and a space race that was not about one country winning, but everyone. Just imagine the technologies that could be invented due to massive investment in new research and people. Look at the jump humanity took when NASA was receiving a mere 4% of the US’ Federal budget in the 1960’s. Sadly since then, NASA’s budget has continuously shrunk. It didn’t even receive half a percent of total Federal funds this year. That is criminal. I mean compare it to the funds the Energy Corporations receive. Massive, profit making, tax avoiding, Earth polluting, energy companies. The figures are terrible.
Upon landing (and at the time of writing) he had amassed 969,338 Twitter followers. Imagine if we could get more people in such wonderfully privileged positions to engage so wonderfully with the general populace. Give people proper role models in life with proper aspirational goals. You would hope that stories like this are true and that he does inspire more and more people to dream about space. That can only have a knock on effect in terms of funding and humanities evolution as a species.
Of course there can’t be many people who didn’t see or at least know about his amazing penultimate departure day serenade! David Bowie’s Space Oddity never looked so good and with over six million views – the world agrees! Can you imagine having written that song, how awesome it must have been to have it performed so fantastically by an actual astronaut?! Actual space footage to go with your words? It sent chills through me watching that video and listening to the words! The Commander has inspired us and governments should ride this wave of inspiration and drive ourselves on for a new scientific age.
I mean when you glimpse at a selection of his best photos it is truly awe inspiring to think of the possibilities for better understanding our planet and its wonders.
So for reminding me of just how amazing our home, Earth, is and just how lucky I am to have a chance at living on this planet, I humbly thank thee.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Musical Mutterings: Encore un Fois

This week I’ve been utilising my Spotify to hear some splendidly eclectic music.  Public Service Broadcasting possibly stood out for me. They’re a London based duo according to who remix up old TV sound bites and for good measure, they mish mash banjo, guitar, drums and electronic into the mix. Really unique sound I have to say. I like a bit of the old spoken word, Gil-Scott Heron being one of those that tickles my fancy, but this was something uniquely different. Lit Up commences with a lovely melodic intro which leads into the following broadcast: “Once again we’re taking you on board HMS Nelson for a description of the scene at Spider Head [I couldn’t pick up the exact name] tonight by Lieutenant Commander Thomas Woodrum…….. At the present moment the whole fleet is lit up…."

The crackling of the broadcast, the voices of the past, the music of the present lends to a really nice ambiance of sound, if that makes any sense! They’re playing in Cork on May 30th and if anyone is reading this from Cork, I’d highly recommend going to Cypress Avenue to check them out. Ironically I’ll be in where their base is, London, on that night. Quite annoyed at that. In the Guardian’s G2 magazine on May 3rd, they described how Public Service Broadcasting perform before a bank of old TV sets showing manipulated footage from the films they get their sound bytes from. Reminds me of both British Sea Power and God Is An Astronaut. Should make for an interesting gig.

I listened to their Spotify sampler and the six tracks available on it were all impressive. I liked Everest a lot. It was a fast paced, lively song. I think it’s at the top of my shopping list when I get a bit of money again. Check them out anyway.

This week I also listened to and was glad I found a wonderful band called Haiku Salut. Their album Tricoloure is a lovely light, floatsy glide along album. Their use of accordions, ukeleles, glockenspiels, pianos, loopery and laptopery (’s description) makes for a splendidly different album. You honestly don’t know what to expect from one song to the next. You listen to a rock album, you expect rock. You listen to this, you honestly don’t know where it’s bringing you but you trustingly go along for the journey and it does not disappoint you. Beautifully uplifting, there’s a zest to the album that I haven’t heard in a debut album before. Sounds Like There’s a Pacman Crunching Away at Your Heart typifies the album. It sounds like it could be a sad, crushing song of despair, of lost love, but it’s a beauty of a song. I urge a listen. Leaf Stricken is just something totally different following on. It’s the laptopery, loopy stuff described before but strangely it just fits right in. Not expecting or anticipating any particular journey when listening to this album is a major plus. The different sounds they fit in add to the incredible musical journey Haiku Salut offer. Again – definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

Otherwise I spent a bit of time making up a 20 track, fast rock playlist. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

My Response to Mr. Hopper

My apologies this response is a bit late but better to destroy non-factual and ridiculous arguments later than never!

So in a response to Ruth Dudley Edwards absurd blog there arrived this supporting beauty posted on January 28th. I honestly didn’t think anything could beat Richard Humphries article in the Irish Independent but Mr. Hopper’s does.

To defeat his argument entirely and to save you from absolute boredom, I (and you dear reader) need not go past the title. [I did venture past the title and decided nothing in it was worth responding to as it did not make Ireland any more or less unique than any other country in the world. I let the facts speak for themselves in a few lines time] For Mr. Hopper to begin as he did with such an inaccurate statement in the title - “ancient hatreds” – was ridiculous. What ancient hatreds sir? There was a so-called ‘pogrom’ in Limerick in 1904 and from the research I conducted I found nothing of serious note. A boycott against Jewish business organised by a young Redemptionist Catholic priest [crazy warning number 1] by the name of John Creagh  which unfortunately forced the Jewish population from their homes in Limerick where many fled to Cork and they were welcomed into peoples own homes. That in itself was a blessing. Have you been to Limerick?* It was a embarrassing and disgusting period in Catholic Limerick history, not Irish history. Irish Protestants in Limerick supported the Jewish people in Limerick, Corkonians welcomed them into their homes when the Jewish people decided they (understandably) had to leave Limerick.

To quote from a letter sent to the Jerusalem Post by a retired History teacher, Leonard Hurley, I give you a small timeline of Irish Jewish relations:

“Daniel O’Connell, the “Liberator,” was responsible for the Catholic emancipation in 1829, but Honig failed to mention that he rejected anti-Semitism and in 1846, in the House of Commons, helped repeal the law, De Judaismo, which discriminated against Jews. O’Connell stated: “Ireland has claims on your ancient race, it is the only country that I know of unsullied by any one act of persecution against the Jews.”

Our [Mr. Hurley’s] church is called the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church, and buried on the grounds is Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty. O’Flaherty was given the title Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government for the work he did in saving many Jews in Rome during the war.

Many other Irish historical figures, including Michael Davitt and John Redmond, rejected anti-Semitism. Redmond stated: “Race hatred is at best an unreasoning passion.”

Both Dublin and Cork have had Jewish lord mayors, and all political parties, including the present government, have Jews in senior positions.

Of course, you will find anti- Semitism in Ireland, but you will also find anti-Irish sentiment if you look for it in other countries.

But the claim that Ireland has a history of anti-Semitism is based on one disgraceful episode and therefore is factually incorrect.

I suggest that Honig visit the subject again and this time focus on the positive.”

Lastly I will add one more point: You’ll notice Mr Hurley said definitively that what happened in Limerick was a pogrom. I personally said ‘so-called’ pogrom in my paragraph above because in 2010 “the new Israeli ambassador, Boaz Modai, speaking at the Jewish cemetery in Castletroy said: "I think it [the ‘pogrom’] is a bit over-portrayed, meaning that, usually if you look up the word pogrom it is used in relation to slaughter and being killed. This is what happened in many other places in Europe, but this is not what happened here. There was a kind of a boycott against Jewish merchandise for a while, but that's not a pogrom. That's something that is, unfortunately, a bad mark for the history of this city, but I don't think it is something anyone should pay more attention to than it deserves."

So Mr. Hopper, Ms. Dudley Edwards, Mr. Humphries and anyone thinking they made any argument of sense, desist from your attempts to stir shit due to some silly, silly peoples unfounded garbling and ill informed writing. I am all for reasoned debate about proper issues in regard to Israel and Ireland and actual anti-Semitism but your articles about my country and its people were totally inaccurate and your smears laughable.

*Limerick people reading this – I jest! Don’t do anything mad now

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

In Response to Ruth Dudley Edwards

I’ll start by admitting I don’t know who Ruth Dudley Edwards is but her blog yesterday caught my attention for its content. Her title was certainly meant to catch the attention of people by being entitled ‘The Jews Crucified Our Lord: Irish Anti-Semitism and the Complicity of the Catholic Bishops’.

I write this blog today for a number of reasons, albeit in no particular order:
1) To challenge the notion that Ireland is anti Semitic. It has seemingly been dubbed by the Israeli foreign ministry the most anti Israeli and anti Semetic country in Europe
2) To challenge some of the opinions that various journalists and writers have in their variously linked pieces stemming from Ms. Edwards piece.
3) To offer reasons as to why Ireland is suited to analysing this complex issue
4) To offer my own thoughts on the matter

The aim of this piece is to try and be brief but to document with clear evidence why I believe Ms. Edwards blog and it’s linked articles are so factually incorrect, that they merited this response.

If being able to recognise when abuse is being perpetrated on a colonised people is Anti Semitic and anti Israeli behaviour then I’m afraid I too am guilty as smeared. I come from a country that has a little bit of history with its neighbour, the United Kingdom, who to this day still has in its grasp of a part of the island of Ireland. As a nation, the Irish were colonised and occupied for over 800 years. Our darkest moment in our militarised history one could argue, was in the 17th century when a certain Oliver Cromwell arrived on our shores in 1649 to reconquer Ireland after the Irish Rebellion of 1641. His brief sojourn here resulted in the Irish population being decimated by 15-25% (Padraig Lenihan, Confederate Catholics at War, p112) (exact figures are difficult to obtain for obvious reasons). Massacres and atrocities in Droghada and Wexford and destruction of food supplies later on in the Parliamentarians war led to famine. This famine helped exacerbate the bubonic plague which by then had hit Ireland. So you can see in a very brief synopsis that Ireland too has suffered at the hands of an occupying force and that is why we not only sympathise, but also try to help the Palestinian cause. I feel we are quite suited using the lessons that history gave us to analyse what Israel currently does today.

I do agree with the part of Ms. Edwards’ blog where she writes about Sarah Honig and a visit she had to Cahersiveen Co. Kerry and the disgust that she felt when she spoke to the teenagers collecting for a ‘Free Palestine’. Their answer that Palestine was to be freed from ‘the Jews’ was disgusting. I hope that Sarah Honig made a complaint to the headmaster of the school about the phrasing and educational methods used by their teacher. However there my agreement stops. Ms. Edwards doesn’t mention that the teenagers knew what some of the money might be used for as Ms. Honig explains in her article:
I pressed on: “Do you know where your money would go? “The boys: “To plant olive trees.”
So while they know what the money might be used for, whom they have been taught by needs to revise their belief that Palestine needs to be freed from ‘the Jews’.

Sarah Honig began her article by saying the following:
“There, in the tiny town of Cahersiveen, my doubting compatriots would have been reminded of what we face in the international community and why it has nothing much to do with how liberally we conduct ourselves, how many confidence- building concessions we make at the expense of our physical safety or how much we sacrifice of our rights to our historic homeland.”
I was not too surprised to read the self glowing report she bestowed upon her nation but I really have to take up a few points with her!

Firstly Ms. Honig, you say that Israel currently conducts itself liberally? Really? How about we ask some Ethiopian Women of Jewish descent how they might feel about that statement. 

The Independent notes that “nearly 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has been questioned by some rabbis. Last year, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the health portfolio, warned that illegal immigrants from Africa “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state””

So Mr. Netanyahu links Ethiopian Jews to the separate issue of illegal immigrants?! This acting liberally includes questioning the Jewishness of seemingly black immigrants by rabbis does it? Interesting I’ve never read the same questions in regard to American Jews.

Not a good start for you.

Confidence- building concessions”

Which concessions would those be Ms. Honig? Would those be the concessions made after the last military incursion into Gaza that Israel has broken not long after the cease-fire was announced

I’m not personally sure how you can build confidence from being in a big warship and forcing fishermen in tiny boats to submit to your will by confiscating their only means of making a living. Your confidence comes from others suffering. Plain and simple – that’s bullying. How do fishermen impact on your physical safety? Investigating what other people have written in the Jerusalem Post opens ones eyes a bit more to the worldview of that paper. 

At the beginning of the last Gaza intrusion Gilad Sharon wrote:
“The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences,” wrote Sharon. He went on to elaborate:
We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.
There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.
Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.
Sharon added that “There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.”
(cited from here )

What you face when you meet the people living in the international community Ms. Honig, is growing anger at the blatant illegal Israeli behaviour. The US shields you at every possible opportunity from UN action with its Security Council vote. It shields you from criticism by threatening countries leaders that if they do anything that it deems to be against Israeli interests there will be consequences. See Palestine and their recent visit to the UN seeking observer status for a glaring example. What happens when you exit the darkness and enter reality is that the sun shines brightest because you are unused to the light, or in this case the truth. The people are aware of what Israel is doing even if your politicians and a lot of ours do not wish to acknowledge it. You state with no obvious irony that “there’s powerful predisposition against us. It’s not fueled by our behavior, because nobody knows much about how we behave and nobody cares to learn.” 
That my dear writer, is a lie! The real concern we should have is that when people do learn the truth about what you are doing and do care to learn, it turns into a question of who can scream ‘Anti-Semite’ the loudest. The truest thing you said in your article was that “facts are irrelevant.” I certainly believe you when it comes to Israeli politicians and your politics. Don’t believe me? Then please feast your eyes on this

Oh how the Zionists would love a war with Iran. Sure haven’t they been peddling the nuclear ambitions of Iran since 1979.

Or was it 1992

My apologies. It was 1995

I don’t know about you but I am insanely fearful even just researching all these warnings. Especially as they get closer and closer

And for comic effect sure I might as well link to the last one.

You were possibly right about one other thing - decent folks don’t dissent. The best folk do. And we have some of those here. Along with decent and bad. The same as everywhere really.

Returning to Ms. Edwards blog, she turns her attention to the Irish charity Trocaire and references an article by Richard Humphries in the Irish Independent

Where. To. Start.

Mr. Humphries writes in regard to Trocaire saying “that their campaign asks the Irish Government and the EU to ban goods from Israeli settlements from entering the EU ‘because they are illegal’ and because these goods are labelled as ‘produce of Israel’. Well I suppose Trocaire's concern for correct consumer labelling is to be commended but it is hardly the key reason for a boycott.”

Mr. Humphries – if something is illegal under international law and under the UN Resolution 446 the Security Council determined: "that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East" and the Resolution was adopted by 12 votes to none, with 3 abstentions from Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States of America – if this is not enough to persuade you that the BDS movement is one of the strongest ways to get Israel to pay attention to their illegalities – then I am sorry for you. It hasn’t been just a year since that resolution, not ten, but twenty three years have passed since that resolution Mr. Humphries and the illegal settlements keep on coming.

A brief point on your comment regarding the recent Gaza attack, you said “It's as if Israel decided to attack Gaza just for the sheer hell of it.” Em….. not for the hell of it, but as admitted by the UK’s chief rabbi Lord Sacks “I think it has got to do with Iran, actually.” 

As the Telegraph article noted, what was amazing is that when Sarah Montague, who was clearly concerned that Lord Sacks did not seem to know his remarks were still being broadcast, could be heard to whisper: “We, we’re live,” it was amazing that Lord Sacks then swiftly adopted a more formal broadcasting manner and suggested the crisis demanded “a continued prayer for peace, not only in Gaza but for the whole region”.
“No-one gains from violence. Not the Palestinians, not the Israelis. This is an issue here where we must all pray for peace and work for it,” he said.

Truth outs in the end Mr. Humphries.

Returning again to you Ms. Edwards, I feel the silly need to point out that there is a reason, as I have attempted to show, why Mr. Humphries is one the few dissenting voices in Ireland when it comes to Israel. He’s certainly a worthwhile ally in ignorance of facts. Especially when he makes such inherently insufferable claims like “you don't need to be much of a lawyer to know that when it comes to political debate, words like "illegal in international law" or "war crimes" are often used as if these were proven matters of fact rather than, as they sometimes are, tendentious and biased opinions.”  I mean I’m not much of a lawyer since I didn’t study law, but when I’m not something, I search for someone who is. Someone. Or eight of someone. Whatever:

“We have found strong indications of violations of the laws of war and possible war crimes committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip. We are particularly concerned that most of the weapons that were found used in the 27 December assault on Gaza are US-made and supplied. We believe that Israel’s use of these weapons may constitute a violation of US law, and particularly the Foreign Assistance Act and the US Arms Export Control Act.” 

 - Huwaida Arraf (New York, Washington DC), Noura Erekat (Washington DC), James Marc Leas (Vermont), Linda Mansour (Ohio), Rose Mishaan (California), Thomas Nelson (Oregon), Radhika Sainath (California) and Reem Salahi (California).a delegation of eight American lawyers, members of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in the United States.

As I previously cited, Israeli settlements are against international law. So you know. Evidence. Proof.  Humphries + you: nailed.

In closing, I will point to the old saying ‘takes one to know one’. South Africa was a recognised apartheid state and a recent delegation from South Africa that visited Palestine had the following powerful paragraph in their press release:

“Being South African, it felt like walking into another apartheid ambush. We witnessed violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law on so many levels – the multiple Israeli house demolitions, the discriminatory Israeli legal system, the daily intimidation of Palestinians by the Israeli Defence Forces, the Israeli Apartheid Wall and its associated regime of restrictions on movement and access for Palestinians, the damage to Palestinian olive groves, the imprisonment of a large percentage of Palestinians including children, the ongoing confiscation of Palestinian water and land, the closure of previously bustling Palestinian streets and businesses, separate pavements for Israelis and Palestinians and a system whereby the colour of Palestinian vehicles’ number plates restrict them to certain roads.”
Cited from here 

Politically South Africa is taking one of the strongest stands against the apartheid regime in Israel. The ANC recently adopted resolution 35 (c) stating: “The ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel.” 

I think I can safely trust their opinion on a matter of political abuse that they themselves suffered from.

To finish, let me say that I do not think Israel is the worst human rights offender in the Middle East. Another of the USA’s allies, Saudi Arabia, can have that award. But Israel is not the beacon of human rights that it likes to portray itself to be and actions like today for example, in refusing to show up for their obligatory four year rights review in the UN do them absolutely no favours. But then again, their actions speak louder than any words. Google African migrants Tel Aviv to see some of the hatred being spewed there against immigrants currently. It’s truly sickening. We all have our struggles with rights, decency and morals. Do not pretend Israel is above that or above criticism. Ireland may not be perfect, but we are not an Anti-Semitic nation. We just are one of the nations that believes Israel should be held accountable for the crimes it has committed and believes Israel should abide by the international laws we do. Part of our human obligation is to recognise the suffering of others and to try and do something about it.

By having people like you and Mr. Humphries aid Israel in ignoring their responsibilities in international law and supporting them, you enable them put up wonderful images like this on their Irish Embassy FaceBook page:

 Imagine the uproar if the Palestinian consulate put up a belittling image on their Irish Facebook page.

So to conclude, if Israel thinks my country is the most anti-Israel in Europe for its people not kowtowing to an Israeli only narrative and that my country is the most Anti-Semitic for having its people dare to challenge illegal settlements on Palestinian land and asking for a ‘Free Palestine’, then please. Go ahead. Smear me. Make my day. The evidence above points to a different truth.