Forgotten History Limerick Soviet

soviet

With all this talk about the 1916 centenary celebrations I decided to go back to a bit of history which seem to have been forgotten outside of Limerick(and indeed in Limerick).

The era was called the Limerick soviet.

lim soviet

It was a self declared soviet that existed from 15 to 27 April 1919. At the beginning of the Irish War of Independence, a general strike was organised by the Limerick Trades and Labour Council, as a protest against the British Army’s declaration of a “Special Military Area” under the Defence of the Realm Act, which covered most of Limerick city and a part of the county. The soviet ran the city for the period, printed its own money and organised the supply of food

money

proclamation

The general strike was extended to a boycott of the troops. A special strike committee was set up to print their own money, control food prices and publish newspapers. The businesses of the city accepted the strike currency over the short period of the strike, but could not have done so if it had lasted for months. Outside Limerick there was some sympathy in Dublin, but not in the main Irish industrial area around Belfast. The National Union of Railwaymen did not help.

After two weeks the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Limerick, Alphonsus O’Mara, and the Catholic bishop Denis Hallinan called for the strike to end, and the Strike Committee issued a proclamation on 27 April 1919 stating that the strike was over.

It just shows that Limerick people have always been a force to be reckoned with.

Isn’t it interesting to contemplate on how different Ireland as a whole would have been if the Limerick Soviet would have remained. We wouldn’t have the red flags of Munster in the city but the red flag of the Soviet. flag

There is a great alternative history story in this along the lines of Philip K Dick’s ” the Man in the High Castle”

Liam Cahill wrote a book about the era called”Forgotten Revolution-Limerick Soviet 1919, a Threat to British Power in Ireland

cahill

Chapter 1 of Not Just a Guide Dog(Part of it)

History of Sorts

Not just a guide dog Not just a guide dog

Prologue

Frank Johnson an ordinary family man, married with 3 children, lived a reasonably ordinary life.

Until due to a degenerative eye disease he turned blind.

His life had changed but he was determined not to be defeated, he was going to be ready for anything that life was going to throw at him.

With this determination and the help of his family and a guide dog called Faust, Frank was ready for anything, even an apocalyptic event that would change the lives of everyone on the planet.

This is a tale of suffering and despair but above everything else also a tale of hope, love and endurance, or in short a tale of life.

Chapter 1   Coping with Blindness.

I didn’t know that they actually used Rottweilers as guide dogs, however I found it intriguing and decided to go for it. I always did…

View original post 899 more words

Why do we allow history to repeat itself?

With the Pegida marches which took place all over Europe the last weekend, one inescapable fact became clear, History is repeating itself and we are allowing it to do so.

I am not going to dismiss the genuine fears people in the west have about Islam, because some of it is real. There are those in the Muslim community who have a medieval view on the world, but guess what they are not the only ones. You will find people who are stuck in the 15 century in every level of society and in all religions,including atheism. Even withing Buddhism, several months ago some Buddhist . In may 2015 a number of Dutch Buddhist monks were arrested under suspicion of having abused students for decades. On the 6th of January a British Buddhist monk was arrested in Thailand for possession of child pornography. But yet I haven’t seen any protest stopping Buddhists entering Europe.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/thailand/12085598/British-Buddhist-monk-arrested-in-Thailand-on-child-pornography-charges.html

http://www.nltimes.nl/2015/05/25/buddhist-monks-sexual-abuse-revealed/

Bottom line is there are bad people everywhere.

And I do agree that the refugees who arrive in Europe will have to adapt to the cultural values of the countries that take them in, if they don’t like those values well then they have to re-evaluate their situation and leave.

However does this mean we have to stop the refugees coming in for fear that some of them might be terrorists,rapists or child abusers? No.

What this does mean that we do a pan European approach or even a Global approach for dealing with the stream of refugees, to police it adequately,to make sure we leave those in who really need it.

Constantly I hear people say why can’t we help them in their own country in Syria or Iraq.Here is why this is a picture of currently one of the better areas in Aleppo, which is currently under siege by the Syrian army, the Russian air force, the rebels and Isis. None of them have the interest of the citizens at heart.

aleppo

Another theory I hear is “Why can’t their neighbors look after them?” and this is a valid point to an extend. however Lebanon with a population of 6 Million and a similar size as the Netherlands already took 2 Million refugees=1/3rd of the population. I do agree that countries like Saudi Arabia could take refugees, but Saudi Arabia is part of the problem and logic states a part of the problem can never become a solution.

All this is not new.

1915-1918 Armenian Genocide between 850.000 and 1.5 Million massacred

armenia

1939-1945 Holocaust

holocaust

April to July 1994 Rwandan genocide  Up to 1 Million killed

File photo of a Rwandan boy covering his face from the stench of dead bodies

 

11-13 July 1995 Srebenica genocide 8,373 killed by Serbian troops

srebrenica-massacre

These events all happened in the last 100 years and yet we are letting it happen again, and yet the unfounded hatred is there for all to see.

In all of these cases the victims were HUMAN BEINGS. Part of the Human race, the only race.

Even when I write this backed up with facts I know there will be those who will come with that 3 letter  word that has caused so much damage “but”

They will find an excuse to justify the slaughter of innocent lives, however that is a reflection on their own ignorance and lack of compassion. I sincerely hope that they don’t forget the next time around it might be them or their children who find themselves to be refugees.

Ending this with one of the most powerful poems by Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

the Netherlands

Or rather the paradox that is the Netherlands

I would like to say the Netherlands is just like any other nation on the planet. But that would be lying.

It already starts with the name. Is it Holland or the Netherlands? Technically and officially it is the Netherlands but the Dutch also tend to accept Holland when people refer to the Netherlands. It is actually the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 2 of the 12 Provinces carry the name Holland, South and North.

If you get over the confusion of the name and you take a risk into the history of the country, things get very clear. No I am kidding it doesn’t.

In general countries turn from Monarchies into Republics, not so the case for the Netherlands. They were a republic twice.

The first time around from 1588 to 1795 as “the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands” when part of the Netherlands separated from Spanish rule.

In early 1795, intervention by French revolutionary forces led to the downfall of the old Dutch Republic and a new republic was born with the name “the Batavian Republic.

Flag_of_the_Batavian_Republic.svg

This lasted until 1806 when a French chap called Napoleon Bonaparte took a shine to the country.

In 1813 Napoleon was defeated and on 20 November of that year the then Prince of Orange Willem Frederik van Oranje-Nassau became the sovereign of the state. After the re-unification of the Northern ad Southern provinces in 1814 it was decided that on 16 March 1815, Prince Willem would be crowned King and henceforth the country became a Monarchy

Why Dutch? There doesn’t appear to be a clear explanation where the name Dutch came from, it is probably a confused version of Deutsch which is from our neighbors at the east.But let me stress we are not the same people.

The Dutch are known for their generosity towards their fellow man but on the other hand they are also know to be a bit tight, sayings like “Going Dutch” illustrates this. And yes the Dutch are generous they give substantial donations to charities and they willingly invite those who are in need of help.

However before we get carried away on how great the Dutch are. There are some black pages in the Dutch history books. And no I am not talking about the Dutch national team not qualifying for Euro 2016,embarrassing as it is it doesn’t constitute a black era in the history books.

During the 16th and the 17th centuries,the so called Golden ages, the Dutch gathered enormous amounts of wealth via colonization and by exploiting the colonies for their minerals,spices,gold, silver and via slavery. The Dutch were among the biggest slave traders.

Although the climate is a C-Climate being a moderate sea climate, there can be exteme differences in temperatures from -20deg c in winter to 42deg c in summer, albeit not like that every year, it does regularly happen.

Because of the often severe winters , skating on natural ice is very popular. In the most Northern province ,when weather permits is there is skate marathon called “de elfsteden tocht” meaning  the 11 cities tour which is a track of about 200 KM, for it to be held there needs to be severe frost for several weeks. The last one was held in 1997.

195296913-telefoonkaart-laatste-elfstedentocht-1997

It is said that when a vote was taken which language was going to be spoken in the US , the Dutch language only was short 1 vote. How different the Hollywood movies would have been.

Most of the vegetables you see in supermarkets come from the Netherlands even though it is one of the countries with the highest density population wise.

The biggest enemy of the Dutch is basically the North Sea, but through the innovative approach by the Dutch in most all aspects of life, they appear to be winning that battle albeit at a high cost. During the floods of 1953,  about 1500 people perished. The Delta works are engineering at its best and is second to none.

delta

 

Currently the population is close to 17 Million, packed in a country the size of Munster in Ireland but yet there is enough county side around, the Dutch are very creative with their spaces, they always have been. Ironically we are also the tallest people in the world.

With a few blemishes in the history the Netherlands, in all it’s complexity is a great nation.

The walking dead

The extremely popular TV show is currently in its 8th season

 

I am  a great fan of the show although it is coming to the stage where they should be considering bringing it to an end.

Before to the Walking Dead I wasn’t really that interested in the whole zombie genre,prior to that the only 2 movies I had seen were The Evil Dead and Braindead and frankly I wasn’t too impressed by them.

However “the Walking dead” captured my imagination maybe it is because the characters are well written and it is very character driven rather than the special effects which are also pretty cool.

It made me wonder though where did this global fascination come from and where did it originate?

A zombie is a fictional undead being created through the reanimation of a human corpse The term comes from Haitian Folklore, where a Zombie is a dead body reanimated through various methods, most commonly magic. Modern depictions of zombies do not necessarily involve magic but invoke other methods such as viruses.

There is some speculation that the word derives from West African languages – ndzumbi means ‘corpse’ in the Mitsogo language of Gabon, andnzambi means the ‘spirit of a dead person’ in the Kongo language. These were the areas where European slavers forcibly transported vast numbers of the population across the Atlantic to work in the sugar cane plantations of the West Indies, the vast profits of which motored the rise of France and England to world powers. The Africans took their religion with them. However, French law required slaves to convert to Catholicism. What emerged was a series of elaborate synthetic religions, creatively mixing elements of different traditions: Vodou or Voodoo in Haiti, Obeah in Jamaica, Santeria in Cuba.

Witch Doctor

The zombie, in effect, is the logical outcome of being a slave

The English word zombie is first recorded in 1819, in “a History of Brazil” in the form Zombi by the poet Robert Southey.

brazil

Nowadays Zombies have become a billion dollar industry with movies like “I am Legend” making $585,349,010 and “World War Z” making a meager $540,007,876. Not even to mention the success of the various books and graphic novels

It was also the inspiration for me to give it a go, hence Not Just a Guide Dog, be it with a different twist.

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/not-just-a-guide-dog

Not just a guide dog
Not just a guide dog

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Making a Murderer, the Steven Avery case

+++++ This Blog contains spoiler alerts++++++++

I watched the Netflix “Making a Murderer” over the last few days and last night I watched the ID Documentary “Steven Avery:Innocent or Guilty” they also referred to the Netflix documentary

Now I am not an investigator or law enforcement agent that’s why I am reserving my judgement whether he is Innocent or Guilty.

In fact at this stage it doesn’t really matter anymore whether he is or he isn’t.

Regardless of all the opinions and evidence used in the case there is one point which just can’t be refuted and that is the issue of ‘Reasonable Doubt’ and the handling by the Police in this case really creates enough cause to apply Reasonable Doubt. I know the term itself is vague enough but if you put all the things together you can only come to one conclusion which is that the DA and the Police are guilty of obstructing the cause of justice, that on its own should have been grounds to throw the case out of court.

It is going back to the 1st time Steven Avery had already spent 10 years in jail for a crime he hadn’t committed.

In 1995 Sgt Coburn who then worked at corrections gets a call from a law enforcement officer telling him that they have the wrong man in jail for the rape of a woman. Sgt Coburn does nothing with this information, he doesn’t even report it.Only 8 years later a few days before Steven Avery gets released he writes a report about it.When Steven Avery actually got out with new DNA evidence. This clearly indicates his incompetence. Does he get disciplined for this? No.

report

I will not go into all the details of the case or documentaries I will leave up to yourselves to watch it , and please do watch it because it will be one of the most amazing stories you will ever hear.

I will however pick up a few facts which I found bizarre that they weren’t followed up on.

In about 80% of all cases where someone goes missing and ends up dead, a family member or someone close to the victims is the perpetrator.

Ryan Hillegas who was Teresa Halbach’s Ex Boyfriend(keyword here is Ex) was involved in the search party and appear to have access all areas, on top of that he hacked into Teresa’s voicemail, using Teresa’s password and username even though Teresa had never given him the details. Yet he was never questioned or considered a suspect

Teresa’s room mate Scott only reported her missing 4 days after she disappeared. Both Scott and Ryan tapped into Teresa’s phone records but Scott also was never questioned or considered a suspect.

None of Teresa’s family were ever questioned.

Then we have the DA who already branded Steven Avery and his Nephew Brendan Dassey as guilty in the media, given all sorts of details of the murder which weren’t true, he had basically already convicted them via trial by media. A jury member later stated that he thought Steven was guilty because of Press conference given by Ken Kratz

The DA who later emerged had been sexting a domestic abuse victim he had helped,extorting her into a relationship, after that news broke several women filed complaints about him, even though this isn’t linked to the case it does show what kind of person he is and the things he does to get what he wants.

Then there is the evidence itself. Allegedly Teresa had been killed in Steven’s bedroom she was stabbed ans shot but there was no blood found anywhere.

Steven Avery claims that he is being framed and the fact that, a blood sample taken from him in 1985, was tampered with clearly strengthen that claim. Regardless if the DA states that the needle hole in the top of the bottle is standard. It was clear that both seals in the outside and inside box were cut.

And most bizarrely of all 2 police officers Lt Lenk and Sgt Colborn from Manitowoc County who were both sued by Steven Averey because of the 18 years false imprisonment for a crime he hadn’t committed, were now active in the investigation of the murder of Teresa Halbach, haven’t they heard of conflict of interest.

The jury had been instructed to ignore the rape and stabbing remarks made by the DA in the press conference but one jury member stated afterwards that he had taken those remarks in consideration, in fact he had already said before the trial started that Steven and Brendan were guilty.

All of these things really should have been enough grounds for a mistrial or at least an appeal but that was also denied.

This means that if Steven didn’t kill Teresa, the real killer is walking free and it has been more then 10 years now since she has been killed, where the focus only has been on Steven and his nephew.

Steven Avery denies he killed her.

Do watch the documentaries though and make up your own mind, regardless what side you’ll be on it is a compelling story.

On Friday 12 August 2016, a federal judge in Wisconsin overturned the murder and sexual assault convictions of Brendan Dassey, and ordered his release from prison unless prosecutors schedule a new trial within 90 days. Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery, were convicted for photographer Teresa Halbach’s 2005 murder and sentenced to life in prison, but their case became the subject of international attention thanks to the Netflix docuseries Making A Murderer. At the time of Halbach’s murder, Avery was just two years out of prison after serving 18 years for a rape he did not commit, and was on the brink of winning a $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County and the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department. The documentary gave credence to the theory that Avery might have been framed for Halbach’s murder in order to thwart the lawsuit.

The federal court’s unexpected and rare decision to overturn Dassey’s conviction is a massive win for the now 26-year-old, because unlike the case against Avery, which is full of physical evidence – contested though it may be – the only thing prosecutors had that linked Dassey to Halbach’s murder was his involuntary confession. However, prosecutors never called Dassey to testify at Avery’s trial, nor did they use his confession as evidence against Avery in court, so its suppression won’t have any immediate impact on Avery’s case. However, it stands to wonder whether the timing of this decision in Dassey’s favor, especially after all his state appeals had been denied, is a sign that the Wisconsin county’s beef with the Avery family is losing ground.

bMZDmiOaADBNRrB-1600x900-noPad

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/making-a-murderer-brendan-dasseys-conviction-overturned-and-could-be-free-in-90-days-34961467.html

 

The vegetarian Zombie

The Vegetarian Zombie

An amusing short undead tale.  by Dirk de Klein

 

It’s just no fun being a vegetarian zombie, sure it’s alright for Mike being a zombie, he had always loved meat, rare steaks were his favourites. As for Frank he was a nutcase anyway, even before he became a living dead.

But me, I just didn’t like meat in any shape or form. How was I am going to survive this apocalypse?

There was nothing in the supermarkets for zombies like me, even normal vegetarians still had a choice of Quorn Chicken Fillets or Quorn Chicken Nuggets and even a soya burger or 2.

But every time I show up in the local supermarket, panic ensues. Screaming mothers picking up their toddlers out of the trolley, running for their lives. At one stage one mother fell just in front of me and when I wanted to help her up she screamed. “I am not that bad” I said “I am just not that dead”

Anyway I suppose life will go on, well actually it won’t, I just have to make the best of it.

It’s just that all the other zombies are bullying me. They go like “Aghg,grrrr,grrh,aahhh” and point to people and making those biting gestures, and I keep telling them “I  am a vegetarian”

At one stage I thought I had the solution, in a market stall I saw a basket of Flesh Tomatoes, “Hey, hey” I thought, so I picked up the basket and when I wanted to pay for them, I noticed the guy behind the stall had ran away. I suppose there are some benefits in being a zombie.

I was so looking forward to these tomatoes, my luck though it turned out I was allergic to them. And when I say allergic I mean allergic. Having the runs as a human being is bad, but as a zombie it is multiplied by a factor of 1000.

No, life is no fun for a vegetarian zombie, note spare a thought for Julie though, she is a vegan zombie and to top it off she likes Justin Bieber, thank God I am not like her.zombie

Picture by someone called Javi Ramos.

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/not-just-a-guide-dog