Standing out in brutal Dublin

The Sunday Tribune (print edition only) has a harrowing report about the savagery of Dublin late at night (I’m sure it’s similar elsewhere) and how it is affecting the gay community in particular with groups of young men now regularly targetting gays on their way home.
“As Frank walked home on his last night in town, he was lured into an alleyway in Dublin city centre, beaten unconscious and left for dead… When a passerby found him the next morning on his way to work, he assumed Frank was dead. The Gardai couldn’t find a pulse and also thought he was murdered…The Gardai tracked Frank’s attacker down using the GPS satellite technology in his mobile phone. His attacker was 17, a serial gay basher, who left one man in a coma.”
Gay bashings are on the rise and, as a result, the Gardai have increased the number of gay liason officers but the question the article asks is why?

“Why? Why the penchant for violence? Why the pack mentality? Why the targetting of gay men? What are these gangs – some barely out of their teens, others in their early 20s trying to prove? Who do they hate? Do they hate men who are different to them, who threaten their sense of masculinity? Do they hate themselves? Do they need to feel powerful due to a lack of power – economic, personal or social – in their own lives? What values were they brought up? And what were they taught at school?

Dermod Moore, who has suffered two attacks in Dublin says he “is beginning to wonder what’s happening in Dublin street culture. On the island of Ireland, we’re a violent lot. There’s a level of gang mentality and savagery…

“Going through Dublin at 3am, it’s a wild savage place. It’s teeming with young bruisers, looking for trouble.”

Bert Archer, author of “The End of Gay, The death of Heterosexuality”, believes the motivation for gay bashing definitely has something to do with increased acceptance of gayness in Irish society.

“It creates frustration among people who think that being gay is disgusting and are lamenting the fagification of society. Alcohol doesn’t create the feeling behind the bash, it just gives it vent, especially in a culture which tends not to get too outraged.”

Another explanation for the violence is given by French philosophical anthropologist Rene Girard:

“As human beings we replace our innate need for aggression and rivalry between each other onto a victim; we can destroy each other, destroy the object we desire… or instead create ‘scapegoats’ who are believed to be on the margins of society…

“Ultimately, the persecutors always convince themselves that a small number of people, or even a single individual, despite his relative weakness, is extremely harmful to the whole of society.”

  • I think it’s also connected to a crisis in male identity that you can see all over the place. Rising suicide rates, increased numbers of men killed in cars all among the same demographic. Homosexuality is another “attack” on male sexual identity. Theres also a rise in “laddish” behaviour amongst young women – combine this with increased affluence and confidence amongst women generally and there are very mixed messages for young men in particular

    I don’t think we’re seeing enough joined up thinking about how these issues are connected and particularly how male identity is evolving and changing – time for some male consciousness raising I think – and preferably a more mature version that what we see from Mr Waters regularly in the Irish Times.

  • That should of course have been “That which we see” apologies!

  • Fanny

    Who he, Annette?

  • lib2016

    annette,

    “…from Mr. Waters regularly in the Irish Times”

    I blame the editor, myself. 😉

  • Well it’s a particular view on male identity which is predicated on it all being “2omen’s” fault – not exactly enlightened in this day and age although some of his points are pertinent in their own right.

  • Fanny

    Watch out any day now for police advice to gays. It’ll be the queer equivalent of “don’t wear a short skirt and too much make-up.”

    I’m not taking any bets on Garda words being directed at the perpetrators.

  • Fanny

    Annette, was that reply to my question? How eerie. I did my previous post before reading it.

    Or maybe not so eerie, but depressingly expected.

  • Brian Boru

    I don’t think this is typical of wider Irish society.

  • Fanny

    “I don’t think this is typical of wider Irish society.”

    Let’s hope not, though given how “typical” Irishmen behave towards women (and children), I don’t hold out much hope.

  • It’ll be the queer equivalent of “don’t wear a short skirt and too much make-up.”

    I have heard of a Garda in Dublin tell a gay guy after being attacked pretty much that. Something like he should have been expecting it since he was gay.

  • Why oh why won’t the Tribune publish online? Even on Mondays, if it’s circulation they are worried about?

    Annette wrote: “I don’t think we’re seeing enough joined up thinking about how these issues are connected and particularly how male identity is evolving and changing – time for some male consciousness raising I think – and preferably a more mature version that what we see from Mr Waters regularly in the Irish Times.”

    I couldn’t agree more, Annette, there’s a lot of work to do there.

    Damien wrote: “I have heard of a Garda in Dublin tell a gay guy after being attacked pretty much that. Something like he should have been expecting it since he was gay.”

    That’s unusual – most reports I’ve heard have been very positive about the guards – and after my second attack 3/4 years ago, although a bit slow and fruitless, I was treated with respect and concern. One sergeant in his fifties in Pearse St looked at my face and said “no one has the right to do that to you”, out of the blue. I was very moved by it. The garda gay liaison officers exist to report exactly those sorts of comments.

  • Kilian

    I think that there are a few confounders within the modern Irish sexual mindset which serve to wrap what should be a simple humanitarian/egalitarian approach to others in a layer cake of contradiction and confusion.

    Where there is complexity, there is a natural tendancy towards simplification, thus you are either Green or anti green, male or female, good or bad. Rather than being the ‘lowest’ common denominator, it is simple the ‘commonest’ denominator.

    Our historical context within Irish political history as the ‘capital’ irish city(and centre of key flashpoints over the years), juxtaposed by a sense that Dubliners live in what is probably the most ‘British’ influenced centre (architecture/social/ British presence etc)creates a social tension between Dubliners and the rest of the (26 )counties. And of course within themselves, more importantly (imho).

    In a more modern manifestation, the sense that Brits are people too, as are Blacks, Unionists,and even the children of terrorists and thieves.

    Our religious history, and our relationship with the church, particularly now our estranged relationship, our decreased sense of the relevance of Catholicism (or any religion).The longstanding and widespread abuse of our ‘Irish Family’ by that same church, the emergent sense that the crucibles of life (sexuality/truth/family/behaviour towards others) have been irreparably damaged by that church’s behaviour, tossed into the clear air of dogma, like dark carcinogens . The resultant sense that perhaps life is, and should be, a little more subtle and complex than voting as Dad did, marrying a girl and being miserable, beating your kids into adulthood, drinking away the reality, hating the Brits, and of course “being a man”.

    And the new sense of pride/achievement(?) our young population sees in the prosperity around it, without any real understanding of what it all means for them…

    I think all of our simplistic bipartist views on life and our role within it are being challenged every day, and our parents are in no position to guide us (collectively)as human beings (they being a product of that simple screwed up Irish past), our institutions of state are still busy shedding their past skins and celebrating their success (!), and the unwise are busy clinging to the simple facts that Green is good, gay is bad, and you gotta be man enough to put your fists where your fear is before the whole tapestry of their existence falls away leaving life in all it’s complex challenging beauty lain bare before them.

    Dark days for Dublin, but we’ll get through it. The old Kings are without clothes, but the new Queens are busy sewing a new, slinkier, off-the-shoulder number for the rest of us.

  • piebald

    “Let’s hope not, though given how “typical” Irishmen behave towards women (and children), I don’t hold out much hope.
    Posted by Fanny”

    i hope this was a tounge in cheek comment and you had started off so well…

    piebald

  • Kilian

    Tongue.
    Tongue in cheek.

    Or just Tung.

    I’m being Tung in Cheke here.

  • The Lamb of God

    These sodomites bring it upon themselves, God did not design a mans penis to be inserted in another mans anus. They are corrupt and beyond redemption, we should pacify Gods anger by smiting them at the neck.

  • Fanny

    “i hope this was a tounge in cheek comment and you had started off so well…”

    Tongue in cheek like fuck, piebald. I follow the court proceedings and read the papers. Try doing the same.

  • DublinLee

    It’s an absolute disgrace that this is happening. I’m not gay but I have many friends who are – the people carrying out these attackes are usually young people from poorer Council estates or the poorer areas of the City Centre (although these areas are quickly disappearing)

    These lads seem powerless – everything around them is changing – people moving upwards and them being left behind – skilled European migrants are now generally taking the lower level jobs that they would historically have taken so they are becoming an underclass – unemployed – powerless witht the rest of the City and indeed country moving on rapidly.

    Of course it doesn’t explain why they are attacking gays – maybe as Gay people have increased in confidence and acceptence recently or perhaps they associate Gay people with the new Ireland – I honestly don’t know.

    Regardless of this – their should be harsher penalties for this hate crime – they should be locked up.

    At the same time we need to address this underclass in Dublin – young lads with no skills, no future and only aggression to offer the World – living on €164.80 state handout per week –
    These are the same type of people who rioted when FAIR tried to march earlier this year.

  • The Sunday Tribune is online on http://www.tribune.ie. You have to log in, but it’s free. (P.S. The self-styled Lamb of God appears to be getting off on his rather graphic post. I bet he enjoyed “creating” that visual image for the rest of us. But he’s missing a lot more than apostrophes, if you ask me.) Anyway, the article on gay bashing in Dublin is online is my real point. 🙂

  • Quentin, thanks, sorry I didn’t know, it wasn’t online last time I looked.

    DublinLee, I agree, social exclusion is the problem, and until someone in government is moved to discover their concerns, and address them seriously, those young men you mention will continue to act out their hatreds and frustrations on scapegoats.

  • Fanny

    DublinLee, excuse me if I say I don’t give a tinker’s toss about your “young lads with no skills, no future and only aggression to offer the World – living on €164.80 state handout per week”

    For every “young lad” there’s a young lass in the same predicament and worse. I don’t see a whole lot of THEM engaging in queer bashing – or any kind of bashing or child molestation for that matter.

    You’re right, the bashers should be locked up. But let’s see how long it takes for this to happen, and how long the sentences are. It’s time the authorities in this island faced down the burgeoning threat to us all that vicious, idle, lazy and bored young men represent.

  • Fanny

    Dermod, what if “someone in government is moved to discover their concerns” and discovers that these thugs haven’t got any concerns?

  • Fanny,

    “vicious, idle, lazy and bored young men”

    I agree that’s how they are behaving. But violence is a symptom of some pain and disturbance that is not being addressed, and it will persist until the underlying causes are understood. And that will only come about when someone does give “a tinker’s toss” about them.

  • Fanny

    Dermod, violence is also a symptom of badness, disrespect for others, lack of compassion for others, and a penchant for attacking the weak and vulnerable. Don’t think for a moment that the bully will respect you for trying to understand him. He’ll consider you a weakling, have contempt for you, and attack you all the more.

    Slightly off topic, but Israel learned this lesson a long time ago. That’s why she still exists.

  • Fanny wrote: “what if… these thugs haven’t got any concerns?”

    We obviously have very different perspectives on how human beings get through life.

  • Fanny

    Yes, Dermod, the thugs I come across tend not to have any concerns at all beyond self-gratification. You obviously are acquainted with a better class of underclass 😉

  • You see what you look for, Fanny.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”These sodomites bring it upon themselves, God did not design a mans penis to be inserted in another mans anus. They are corrupt and beyond redemption, we should pacify Gods anger by smiting them at the neck.”

    Fighting off ‘stiff’ competition, this has to qualify as the biggest load of bollocks ever posted on Slugger.
    God’s ‘design’ did not apparently envisage the need to wear clothes, but I bet tossers like ‘Lamb of God’ won’t be calling for naturism to be made compulsory (sadly).
    It’s because of delusional half-wits like this that blind hatred is irrationally directed towards what other people get up to in their private lives. Christian charity indeed.

  • lib2016

    Hmm – made a misplaced jocular(?) remark earlier for which I would like to apologise. I wouldn’t go out on foot late at night around any large city anywhere in Europe if I could help it but I realise that some people need to for their social life.

    That said I do agree that all developed countries urgently need to work on how to include the more deprived people in society, many of whom also have behavioural or psychological problems. Even adequate help with reading skills can make a huge difference.

  • Fanny

    Do make up your mind, Dermod. On the one hand you say: “On the island of Ireland, we’re a violent lot. There’s a level of gang mentality and savagery…”

    When I agree with you, and add that these “savages” don’t give a fuck about you or me or anybody except themselves, you go into wimpish social worker mode.

    Well, suit yourself. Me, I’ve sick and tired of teams of psychologists and sociologists being put on the bullyboys’ cases in an effort to “understand” them, while the victims get little or no help.

    The thugs are laughing their heads off.

  • Colm

    I can’t help but think that ‘Lamb of God’ was actually attempting to mock anti-gay fervour rather than being serious in his (?) comment , but I may be wrong.

    There is nothing wrong with the powers that be doing their best to address social issues of alienation but that should be implemented alongside and not instead of imposing tough and meaningful punishment on violent cowardly thugs.

  • We agree on the problem, Fanny, but not on the solution. I believe “gang mentality” can be changed in time, and a society, if it is willing to address it, can tackle violence, and, if not eliminate it entirely, at least dampen down the fire.

    As much as you may despise my “wimpish” social worker mode, I still believe it’s the only way out. Speaking as someone who has been at the receiving end of the violence.

    BTW I don’t propose that they escape punishment! I am taking a longer-term perspective on the issue. It needs to be addressed in communities and schools.

    What “teams of psychologists get put on the bullyboys’ cases?” In Dublin? I doubt it.

  • Hear hear Dermod. Gang mentality doesn’t just appear from nowhere – it’s a societal and systemic issue therefore it’s all our business and reactionary “lock em and flog em” reactions (a) don’t work, because if they did we’d have solved the issue by now and (b) are generally about making the reactionary feel better about themselves.

    I also find it extraordinary that the one person on this forum who knows what they are talking about (Dermod, having been on the receiving end of violence) is now in the position of having to justify a more humanistic and considered response to the issue. Oh well, shoot the messenger, anyone in fact, rather than think through a less reactionary stance!

  • lib2016

    annette,

    Until recently I was in a job which involved dealing with people from a deprived area. Death threats were a normal daily occurrence.

    It took some time for me to appreciate that most of the young people who made such threats had been brutalised to an incredible degree and had no support in their sometimes heroic attempts to deal with life.

    I’m convinced that it is in societys own interest that we find alternatives for them, and in any case its the right thing to do.

  • I think this issue of how those who are brutalised then go on to do the same (similar with sexual abuse) is really difficult for people to deal with. Just because we understand what has happened to people is not the same thing as justifying the way in which they express that through violence.

    Education offers the possibility of choice – choice to understand what has happened to us, choice about how to react to that and choice about what we do with that. In the absence of that education choice is eradicated – it’s in all our interests to understand how society brualises and how we have to take a systemic and longer term approach (as Dermod advocates). But when the reactionary voices shout to flog em and lock em up it’s not in politician’s interests to resource the very solutions that may deal with this stuff..

  • Fanny

    Annette and Dermod

    Next thing we know you’ll be calling for more funding!

    Oh no sorry, my mistake, that’s Northern Ireland. Down south you’re not as idiotic, and certainly not as idiotic as in Britain, which is now reaping what they sowed in the 70s.

    And they still haven’t learnt. These are the “teams of psychologists get put on the bullyboys’ cases” I was alluding to. In Britain and NI the underclass can now act with impunity. They can steal your car, rob your home, beat you up etc, and if YOU lay a finger on them they’ll have you arrested for assault, and a team of pro-bono rat lawyers will ensure that they’re case is heard and that YOU end up being fined or jailed.

    I’m not exaggerating. It’s happening all the time. What you’re seeing in Dublin is the beginning. If you don’t nip it in the bud–i.e. take tough action–then you’ll be sorry.

    But hey, go on understanding them and educating them. Jesus, Annette, they GET education! They don’t want it. It gets between them and their selfishness. And if YOU get between them and their pleasures they’ll kick your ass as well, just as they did to Dermod and others.

    I know plenty of young people who were brutalized and still behave like decent members of society. But you can actually talk to them. Not so the yobs.

  • LoyalSublject

    Were you Bullied At School Fanny?

    Was it because of your name?

  • Fanny

    “Were you Bullied At School Fanny?”

    Nah. Not that there weren’t those who tried. You’d be amazed how much a well-aimed kick to the goolies can help to concentrate a boy’s mind on his schoolwork.

  • Ian

    There is also a good report on this at http://www.johnny.ie