Richard Jackson

Long Reads: IRA, John Pilger, ISIS and the Bajan Caribbean Domino League

IRA

The Troubles and the IRA, John Pilger, a different view on ISIS and dominoes, care of the Bajan Caribbean Domino League – some juicy Long Reads, care of Rich Jackson (and PB).

 

Where the bodies are buried – Patrick Radden Keefe (The New Yorker)

Here’s a little taste of where I come from. Northern Ireland, or the North of Ireland to some, has many demons in its past thanks to “The Troubles” (late 1960s to 1998), which I guess you could classify as a civil war. As with many conflicts, there are incredibly interesting stories from it and this is one of them. The story focuses on Jean McConville, a 37-year-old widow, mother of ten, who was taken from her young children in the cold early December evening of 1972 by eight members of the IRA (Republican paramilitary group who want a united Ireland). She was never seen again. Jean is a member of the “Disappeared,” a group of victims who, perhaps seen as betraying their side (or being a member of the opposing), were murdered and their remains hidden. What is significant about this case is who it could have involved: Gerry Adams, President of Sein Fein, a Republican political party that had/has ties to the IRA. Adams is largely credited with helping to bring about the ceasefire in 1998, but there have been rumours, which Adams denies, about his involvement with the IRA muttered around the country, which is like a small village in that everyone knows each other’s business. Everyone has heard the rumours, I’ve heard them, it’s just common chat.

 

Why the rise of fascism is again the issue – John Pilger (johnpilger.com)

John Pilger makes you angry. He makes you want to scream into a pillow. And that’s a good thing, because good journalism should make you uncomfortable as it brings uncomfortable truths to light. This article basically concerns a new fascism, our Western fascism, led by America and followed by Britain and Australia. Our governments use subterfuge to influence events across the world allegedly for our own benefits, then blame these countries and the forces within them for their problems, refusing to acknowledge our own malicious actions, while our media go along nationalistic lines.

 

What ISIS Really Wants – Graeme Wood (The Atlantic)

This is kind of a welcome relief from the ISIS articles I generally see. Like you pick up The Daily Telegraph or read the MailOnline and it’s just graphic: “Look what they did now!” You get no context to these horrible things and to question how IS formed? Who is part of the group? What are their motivating factors? There is no new research or attempt to educate readers. It is completely reliant on social media accounts…which ultimately takes us back to my point about John Pilger.

Here’s a great fact:

“…(The Islamic State claims that common Shiite practices, such as worship at the graves of imams and public self-flagellation, have no basis in the Koran or in the example of the Prophet.) That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death.”

Just think how important it is on a geopolitical level for Western and Middle Eastern countries that ISIS wants 200 million Shiite’s dead. This is, and I cannot emphasis this enough, the most important of basic of points that I fail to see articulated. About four months ago I reported from this protest against the construction of an Islamic Prayer Hall in Penrith, NSW. Much of the opposition and the arguments against it were racist. The council hearing was a rowdy angry affair, people were asked to bring forth evidence both for and against the construction. This priest supported the motion and stated that it was ironic that people opposing it were saying they didn’t want a mosque (opposition insisted on calling it that despite there being a difference) because it would lead to the presence of ISIS in the community. The people failed to see that the citizens behind the construction were Shiite, who ISIS wanted dead. The priest was loudly booed because it was so opposed to their entrenched simplistic understanding of a complex issue – one attendee was even asked to leave for swearing.

This is a failure of much of the media.

Anyway, weird thought, but has anyone ever thought that al-Qaeda sounds like the name of an Istanbul taxi rank or even the translated name for Road Runner?

 

Editor’s Pick from narrative.ly

Secrets of the Brooklyn Basement Domino League – Meghan White

Love a piece about community, and this one nails it. Before the pizza chain took over the title, dominoes was a much-loved family game (OK, maybe from quite awhile ago, I’ll bet not too many households have a set laying around any more). And for some it still is, acting as the tiny ivory and black building blocks for community. In Brooklyn, dominoes bring together the Bajan Caribbean Domino League, a group who meet together across eight different basements to ostensibly play dominoes – but really to celebrate their community, albeit far removed from their origins.

 

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