News Ian O'Doherty

Tuesday 16 September 2014

They're anti-war. As opposed to...

Published 07/08/2014 | 00:00

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Claire Daly, TD, and Artist, Robert Ballagh, pictured at a press conference held by the Irish Anti War Movement launching its new pamplet, "World War 1; What did they die for?"

With this week's commemorations of the Great War in full swing, it should come as no surprise that the usual Irish suspects have hitched a ride on the nearest bandwagon to loftily inform us that war, is like, y'know, bad and stuff.

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That's the stunning revelation from tedious worthies such as Robert Ballagh, Clare Daly and Patricia McKenna who have launched a book of essays called World War 1: What Did They Die For?.

Well, saving you the trouble of having to buy the thing to find the answer, Daly was quick off the mark with her declaration that: "In our opinion, they died for nothing."

Well thanks, Clare. I was about to rush and buy this undoubtedly riveting pamphlet but you just gave the ending away. Honestly, that woman is a walking spoiler alert.

The Left have a predictable habit of stating the obvious (in this case, the idea that war is bad) and then twisting and pirouetting until they have managed to turn the question into an answer that suits them. In this case we have seen the sacrifice of the men who volunteered and died in their tens of thousands reduced to a few contemporary soundbites that fit their current narrative.

Daly went further and claimed that: "This was not a noble cause. This was a struggle for markets and political power." Yawn.

It should come as no surprise that Robert Ballagh, the man for whom it will be always be 1968, popped up to give us his impression of an ersatz Sassoon when he parped that: "With the commemorations that have happened so far, it seems to me that all the generals and all the military people have been polishing up their buttons and their medals. Medals that they got for killing people, let's be pretty frank about that."

That might sound fine and dandy and even a bit brave to Ballagh and his ilk. But it also manages to completely ignore the working-class experience in this country; a working class who are finally free to mark the sacrifice of their elderly relatives who found themselves so disgustingly redacted from history.

But then middle aged, middle class revolutionaries have always found the working classes to be nice in theory, until they start to think for themselves. When that happens, they are casually dismissed with a wave of the hand amid accusations of either stupidity or being brainwashed by the elite.

This is like the annual row over the Poppy, writ large. And it's something that is going to become completely unavoidable in the run-up to the 1916 Rising. Of course, the Rising was an act of unilateral violence as well. But because it fits into their trendy lefty/Republican shtick, that violence was acceptable. No, it's the violence in the name of a cause they don't like that is unacceptable. And so the descendants of those who fought and died routinely see the memory of their great grandparents so routinely denigrated.

Ballagh has form when it comes to this, of course. No cause is too trendy, no argument too complex, that it can't be reduced to mindless piffle that goes down with the dinner-party socialists while leaving everyone bemused or simply cold.

For example, he reckons that, in the commemorations of the war, all military elements should be removed because "I find it offensive, frankly".

Now, I'm sure we all share the same sense of grief that Ballagh finds something offensive. Certainly, I know that I won't be able to get a wink of sleep tonight with the thoughts of poor Bobby being a bit put out by something.

But, if we were to remove the military element, the uniforms, the acknowledgement that these men were soldiers, after all, what would he replace it with?

Perhaps a silent disco? A Galway drum circle for peace? A mass poetry workshop?(stop giving them ideas - ed.)

 

Airports, don't ya love 'em?

The old adage about it being the journey not the destination will be seen as a bad joke by anybody who has used air travel in, say, the last decade.

Airports in America, particularly, seem to hire their staff purely on the grounds that they are amoral misanthropes who get their sick thrills from irrationally bossing people around.

But Dublin airport has its fair share of jumped up jobsworths as well.

Dubliner Richard O'Ferrel was going back to Brussels on Monday when staff at 
the airport informed him that he couldn't take a bottle for his baby through security.

He informed them that the contents were obviously for his kid and were exempt from the usual ridiculous restrictions.

He even drank some to show our ever vigilant security people that it wasn't a liquid bomb.

Their response? Well, if he drank it, they decreed that: "Clearly it's not for the baby, then."

Then, to add insult to fury, the genius at the security desk wouldn't divulge his name or show his badge.

This prompted the furious father to accuse the man of being "childish and unprofessional".
Frankly, that's a rather unwarranted on children, who would obviously have more common sense than that little jobsworth.

 

Well, it's 
a hobby

The seemingly insatiable urge of some people to kill or injure themselves in new and inventively stupid ways has really gone into overdrive lately.

Having obviously decided that something like Neknomination was only for pansies, the latest craze was, as reported in this column the other day, 'the fire challenge', which sees people...set themselves on fire.

That's a particularly risible form of dumb that simply reminds us that some people are doing us all a favour when they remove themselves from the herd.

But now it seems some of the dare-devils are kicking it old school and have revived the 'choking game' when they, well...you get the picture.

Maybe it's the result of a cosseted generation which knows no real risk, and chin-strokers and pointy-heads have been busy trying to find the sociological reasons for such seemingly reckless behaviour.

I wonder, do the fire challenge people look down on the chokers as cowards?

Is there a hierarchy of stupidity which gives greater kudos to more self-destructive people?

Honestly, where's Maslow when you need him.

Ian O'Doherty

Irish Independent

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