Lost in translation…

AN Irish language activist fined £100 for allegedly shouting a republican slogan at police has won her appeal against her conviction. Sinn Fein had tried to elevate this trivial case to another cause celebre, though I don’t think the defendant ever denied being drunk and shouting at the police, who didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory either.

  • willowfield

    OILIBHEAR

    Willowfield: good stuff man. Straight into the whataboutery now, aren’t you? There was apartheid in the south so then it’s ok if it was in the north, too. Your argument is pathetic.

    Dear me, more sophistry and another straw man. I never made such an argument. I merely present your own logic back to you: you say there was apartheid in NI because discrimination there differed only in “degree and scale” to apartheid; therefore it follows that any regime which discriminates is an apartheid regime with the distinctions merely being in terms of degree and scale; therefore Southern Ireland was also an apartheid regime, albeit lower down the scale than NI.

    You offer a quotation from a NI prime minister as evidence that NI was an apartheid regime. I offer a quotation expressing the same sentiments from a SI prime minister as evidence – using YOUR logic – that SI was an apartheid regime.

    At no stage have I ever said there was apartheid in the South or in the North. Quite the opposite. I would never make such an outrageous claim. You say there was apartheid in the North, and I merely point out that the logic upon which you base this assertion also leads to the conclusion that there was apartheid in the South, and, indeed, in almost every state across the world.

    Rather than address the point – by either accepting the logic or accepting that apartheid was something wholly different in nature to discrimination in NI – you create yet another straw man. It’s so transparent.

    And you still haven’t cited anywhere that I have denied that NI was a cold-house for Catholics. Why, when I have prompted you several times now, do you lack the integrity to withdraw the allegation? Do you lack the self-confidence to admit when you have misrepresented someone? What is it? Are you and Billy the same person?

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    No I am not the same person as Billy – whoever he is.

    And I won’t withdraw any ‘allegations’ against you. The fact that you deny the north was an apartheid like regime while clinging to the notion that it wasn’t actually as bad as apartheid is enough to highlight how completely and utterly self delusional you are.

  • willowfield

    I think your last sentence – clinging to the ludicrous notion that NI was an apartheid regime even after having failed to demonstrate how and having failed to deal with the crazy logic of your attempted argument as to how – actually demonstrates you, rather than me, to be self-delusional.

    Your allegation was that I denied that NI was a cold-house for Catholics. I didn’t. I never have. I don’t. And I never will. You have failed to offer any evidence for your allegation, and yet you fail to withdraw it. You possess integrity in the same quantity as credibility, i.e. not very much.

    A shame, as your contributions to Slugger would be much improved if you knock the exaggerations and MOPEry on the head, put your hands up when you have misrepresented someone, and address the flaws in the logic that you use for your assertions. You do yourself a disservice otherwise.

  • Oiliféar

    willowfield,

    Ah, got me!

    But you left out a bit in the middle: “Since the coming of St. Patrick, fifteen hundred years ago, Ireland has been a Christian and Catholilc nation. All the ruthless attempts made down through the centuries to force her from this allegiance have not shaken her faith. She remains a Catholic nation.”

    Two wrongs, etc. 🙂

    Came across a comment by CCO’B on the statement (on the NI Assembly site) while looking it up: “… the peculiar nature of Irish nationalism, as it is actually felt, not as it is rhetorically expressed. The nation is felt to be the Gaelic nation, Catholic by religion. Protestants are welcome to join this nation. If they do, they may or may not retain their religious profession, but they become as it were, Catholic by nationality.”

    True, I suppose. But back to Dev, “Since the coming of St. Patrick, fifteen hundred years ago …”? Didn’t Henry II look for the papal OK to bring Ireland into the Church of Rome before he gave the thumbs up to Strongbow and the boys? And if momory serves me right, wasn’t there some theological rumfus shortly after Patrick where the Irish argued that the pope had no right to head Christ’s church in Ireland? Lost of course – English judge, incidentally – but carried on with only a superficial Roman hierarchy until the coming of Henry.

    Anyway, got me. Well done.

  • Oiliféar

    Still deflecting attention, Oilibhear?

    “The matter at the heart of this thread is what happened to Maire Nic an Bhaird” – silly me! I though the matter at the heart of this thread was the blog: “Sinn Fein had tried to elevate this trivial case to another cause celebre though I don’t think the defendant ever denied being drunk and shouting at the police, who didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory either.”

    Keep running sideways, Oilibhear. Admit nothing! Blame everybody else. Then when Irish is well-and-truly dead, you can sit satisified knowing that at least you never admitted to having a hand on the dagger.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Gee, you’re getting very dramatic OIliféar with your talk of daggers and so on. You must be overdosing on Macbeth.

    There is no running sideways here except by yourself and your fellow apologists for the unprofessional and bigoted PSNI.

    Sinn Féin, with whom I have no links, yet again, did not engineer this situation. The PSNI did.

    Underlining or otherwise highllighting pieces in a post don’t do any good in terms of deflecting us away from the main issue – which was and remains the wrongful arrest of Maire Nic an Bhaird simply because she happened to be speaking in Irish in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

    You could do with a bit of confession therapy yourself Oiliféar, it would help you unburden yourself of that massive chip on your shoulders regarding SF. I, on the other hand, w ill continue working as best I can to promote the Irish language, notwithstanding your words and deeds of support. With friends like you, the Irish language doesn’t need enemies like the DUP, the PSNI and the BBC.

  • Oiliféar

    gaelgannaire,

    “What would you have Sinn Féin do in those circumstances?”

    Give the girl some soft talk. Tell her how terrible it sounds. Advise her to contact a solicitor. Ask her if she knows where the citizens information office is. Tell her they’ll do all they can to look into the matter. Ask her when her court date is. (“Oh, of course, we’ll be there.”). And then, when she leaves their office, ask themselves, “Why does every dunk that gets sick into a policeman’s helmet appear at our door expecting us to get them off?!”

    From your description, is sounds like what is the SDLP did – Not prance around outside courthouses issuing statements about some drunks plight and how this case highlights exactly why there is a need an Irish-language act in Northern Ireland.

    Politicians no not involve themselves in drunk-and-disorderlys. They don’t want to muddy themselves with them, and they don’t want to muddy their policy agendas with them. The former doesn’t bother me. The latter does, because it means that something I care about got kicked around it the mud for the sake of sectarian wind bagging (who ever ‘started it’, Oilibhear, doesn’t matter).

  • gaelgannaire

    “drunk-and-disorderlys”

    The Court of Appeal held a different opinion – and the court had full access to the facts of the case.

    Ms. Nic a’ Bhaird was represented by her legal team, not Sinn Féin.

    Members of the SDLP were also in attendance at the protest as were a number of neutrals.

    I myself, having some experience in such matters was asked my opinion, I felt sure that she would win but passed on my view that she could become somewhat of a hate figure.

  • Oiliféar

    “she could become somewhat of a hate figure” – to who?

  • gaelgannaire

    Oiliféar,

    Have you read all of the comments on this thread?

    Someone called for her tongue to be cut out.

    It is difficult to see how such a wish could be expressed even in jest.

  • Oiliféar

    “The Court of Appeal held a different opinion – and the court had full access to the facts of the case.” So it wasn’t a drunk-and-disorderly charge she was brought up on (though not guilty)?

    “Ms. Nic a’ Bhaird was represented by her legal team, not Sinn Féin.” Never said she was.

    “Members of the SDLP were also in attendance at the protest as were a number of neutrals.” No doubt.

    Why not read comments, instead of just reacting to them? But I suppose you yourself have “some experience in such matters” as reacting without thinking of the consequence too.

  • gaelgannaire

    Oiliféar,

    “(though not guilty)? ”

    No question mark needed here methinks, not guilty.

    I see you have backed up your friends call for the tongue to be cut out.

  • BonarLaw

    Oilibhear Chromaill

    “It is unionist politicians who have politicised the language to the greatest degree”

    Remind me, if you will, which unionist came out with ‘Every word of Irish spoken is like another bullet being fired in the struggle for Irish freedom.’

    Dewi

    Irish language activism is one plank of republican kulture kampf(see above), the rain forest sustains the human race. Apples and oranges?

  • Dewi

    “Irish language activism is one plank of republican kulture kampf”

    Your perception of it as that is because you let it be that.

    “it sustains the human race”

    Personally I think linguistic diversity sustains the human race. My point was about democracy and its use. Undoubtedly a self governing Brazilian rain-forest state would cut all their trees down ( a la Britain with Scotland’s oil) – that wouldn’t be right though would it ?

  • gaelgannaire

    Bonarlaw,

    ‘Every word of Irish spoken is like another bullet being fired in the struggle for Irish freedom.’

    I’m not sure if the person who wrote that line could speak Irish.

    You have used the word ‘kampf’, as in fight, struggle, Nelson McCausland uses the word ‘war’ but no Irish Language group ever has.

    The war is yours I think.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    The call by OIliféar and others for Ms Nic an Bhaird’s tongue to be cut out amounts to criminal incitement and should be referred to the police.

  • BonarLaw

    Dewi

    “linguistic diversity sustains the human race”

    Perhaps, but not in the same way as, say, oxygen.

  • BonarLaw

    gaelgannaire

    ah, the “war” is all in my imagination.

    Camille O’Reillys’ essay Nationalists and the Irish Language contains some gems including the bullet firing quote which is attributed to “a prominent member of Sinn Féin, who is also an Irish language activist”.

    Another favourite:

    “When asked why she became involved with the Irish language, a young woman put it this way: ‘I felt that with the struggle going on for nationalists to free themselves, I felt that it was a good chance for me to play my part in the culture, more so than in the military.’”

    No war there then.

  • Dewi

    “Perhaps, but not in the same way as, say, oxygen.”

    Correct and funny !

    The point was however about democracy. A self governing Brazilian rain-forest state would undoubtedly cut the trees all down (a la Britain with Scotland’s oil) – doesn’t make it right though.

    As for “every word is a bullet” – bullet didn’t work so why should language.

    I’m an unashamed Welsh nationalist but respect and welcome the increasing number of Welsh unionists who use the language – it’s wonderful !

  • Oiliféar

    gaelgannaire:

    The questoin mark was outside of the parenthesis, read again.

    “I see you have backed up your friends call” – oeeww – cutting deep with that one! If only I was a racist it might hurt me.

    Oilibhear Chromaill:

    “The call by OIliféar and others for Ms Nic an Bhaird’s tongue to be cut out amounts to criminal incitement and should be referred to the police.” – Running every faster sideways!

    BonarLaw:

    “.. I felt that it was a good chance for me to play my part in the culture, more so than in the military.” – She’s saying the ‘military’ is bad. “No war there then.” Correct. It’s in your head. (And possibly Oilibhear’s)

    “Irish language activism is one plank of republican kulture kampf …” That’s not what I’m about.

  • gaelgannaire

    Bonarlaw,

    Well my reading of the second quote is that this individual has chosen to ‘pay [her] part in the culture’ rather than taking a ‘military role’, hardly an act of war, the person themselves uses the word ‘struggle’, given that many will campaign againist every right and oppurtunity to speak Irish, even going as far as changing people’s names from forms with meaning to forms devoid of meaning in order to demonstrate their own percieved dominance, i think that the word struggle is apt.

    With regards to the first statement, I disagree with it. It does not compare like with like and demonstrates a lack of understanding.

    I my view at least, the act of continuing to cherish and speak a minority language in the face of aggression is a more powerful act than armed resistence coupled with the complete adoption of the culture of the supposed enemy.

  • BonarLaw

    Dewi

    Welsh nationalists and Welsh Unionists have a common identity (Welshness)- the same cannot be said of the protagonists in the same constitutional debate in NI.

    Dear God, we can’t even agree what to call the place or its second city.

    IMHO the second quote demonstrates that the “culture” and the “military” are part of the same “struggle”- two faces of the same coin much in the same vein as the ballot box and armalite strategy.

  • Dewi

    Bonar Law – sorry for delay – been to the rugby.

    Bullets kill people, languages don’t.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    The difference between the Irish language and the culture it represents and the culture represented by the unionists such as Bonar Law and others who are so negative on this thread is simple.

    The Irish language community only wants to share its culture with the rest and wants to be part of the community – it has no interest or ambition to dominate the cultural discourse to the exclusion of others. That appears to be the attitude of the unionists who are posting here – they can’t tolerate the Irish language around the place which is why they have resorted to recycling a 25 year old quotation which has long since past its sell by date, if it was ever current.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    It’s also worth pointing out here that only those like Ziznivy are calling for any violent acts – the cutting out Maire Nic an Bhaird’s tongue – and that’s in the past few days, yet Bonar Law and co seem to be making more play of the quote from a Sinn Féin pamphlet of quarter a century ago, a quote which, as someone else pointed out, was advocating the pursuit of freedom and equality in a manner other than a military manner.

    The reality is that Sinn Féin are far behind the Irish language movement in all of this – they are only playing catch up. It’s a pity that they didn’t take their own advice in 1982 and focused on culture and politics back in 1982.

  • BonarLaw

    “The Irish language community only wants to share its culture”

    I thought the Irish language community wanted statutory protection and support for a badge of Irish identity.

    So sharing it is. No need for that Act then.

  • gaelgannaire

    OC,

    “The reality is that Sinn Féin are far behind the Irish language movement in all of this – they are only playing catch up. It’s a pity that they didn’t take their own advice in 1982 and focused on culture and politics back in 1982”

    Whilst I don’t doubt your knowledge OC I have had my doubts on your approach to ‘unionist engagement’, however the above comment sums up the situation perfectly.

    Dewi,

    Your report on bilingual signage in Wales made the front page of Lá today but I didn’t see your name acknowledged!!!

  • As Lá Nua reported – and thanks due to Dewi – the latest argument against dual language signage in the north – that they might, according to Nelson McCausland, cause road accidents – has been debunked by research from the Institute of Transport as commissioned by the Welsh Assembly.

    The week previously the DRD claimed it would cost ‘millions’ to pay for bilingual signage. Not so says the Scottish Transport Authority, the additional cost is only marginal and, as noone in the Irish language community has advocated the introduction en masse of bilingual signage across the north, all at the same time, this can be done gradually.

    Myself I’d be satisfied if a start was made and a new sign outside Belfast said welcome to Belfast/Fáilte go Béal Feirste. That would keep me going for a year or two….

  • Dewi

    Why not just spell things right. We solved a lot of stuff here by just correcting the spelling Рnow about 60% of place names are just in Welsh. Рwould Unionists go mad if the name was just spelt correctly as B̩al Feirste ? Like Belfast does not mean anything ??

  • Dewi

    “Your report on bilingual signage in Wales made the front page of Lá today but I didn’t see your name acknowledged”

    No worries – I didn’t write it !

  • Rory

    “There are no language rights such as those to which you allude in Finchley.

    Posted by willowfield on Sep 19, 2007 @ 12:15 PM

    I don’t know about that, Willowfield, but there are certainly facilities provided whereby all courts in England enable evidence to be given in a multiplicity of languages other than English and for appropriate translators to be available.

    I know that the courts in London could simply not function without such services. In schools on my borough of Haringey, for example, over 100 languages are used as first languages by the attending pupils and all council documents and signs in offices are are translated into these languages, including, incidentally, Irish.

    If every group of Chinese speakers chattering loudly in Soho on a Friday night were to be arrested there would be an even greater strain on the overcrowded prison system than as with the present scandalous state.

    If the PSNI allocated more resources to teaching the Irish language to its recruits it might find that at least they could tell if they were being insulted in that language or not.

  • gaelgannaire

    Slightly of topic but Baile, http://www.bailegaelach.com, who are attempting to establish new Irish speaking communities in the east of Ireland are still encouraging people to get in contact and to take part in the research.
    http://www.bailegaelach.com/page6/page6.html

    Perhaps there will be some interesting issues for policing if these schemes prove a success?

  • Dewi

    Gaelgannaire

    Couldn’t get that link to work – I’ll try again tonight – As a general principle is the Gaeltacht idea still the way to go do you think ? As internet and travel have got easier is the language of your street / village as important as it used to be ?

  • gaelgannaire

    Dewi,

    ‘As internet and travel have got easier is the language of your street / village as important as it used to be ? ‘

    Point taken but in one word – children.

    One of the primary reasons that the Shaw’s Road Gaeltacht was established was to make bringing up kids with Irish easier by ensuring it a the language of the street – it worked, it works and it will work.

    From the Shaw’s Road came the first bunscoil in the north which they opened under the threat of prosecution and without any funding. This school is the seed from which all the others have grown.

    But more than that, they achieved something that many others before them failed – normalisation.

  • Dewi

    Yes normalisation is certainly the goal. What’s the situation in the Church – Gaelic language services available freely ?

  • gaelgannaire

    Dewi,

    Yes, now! – helped by the fact that the Shaws Road produced a priest! (and a Regae band BTW).

    But it was very controversial, especially concerning the Catholic sacraments.

    The fact that someone did for the Bishop’s (maybe it was just the parish priest?) windows is still a bone of contention.

    There is also a Prespiterian service monthly in Irish.

  • gaelgannaire

    Dewi,

    BTW, there a now a number of trilingual families on the Shaws Road, including Welsh!, Basque and Portugese that I know off.

  • Dewi

    http://www.ultach.dsl.pipex.com/english/Presbyterian%20and%20Gaelic.doc

    That’s the Presbyerian preacher I presumne – what a good bloke !