Saturday 1 October 2016

Letters: It is in all of our interests to work for peace

Published 01/03/2014 | 02:30

Vladimir Putin: ‘It is important to build trust with Russia and Ukraine’. AP
Vladimir Putin: ‘It is important to build trust with Russia and Ukraine’. AP

* I do not share Gerard O'Regan's sentiments that few have suffered as much as Russia, and therefore its agonised history won't allow it to look the other way.

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Russia is such a wonderful place. I have visited Russia and tremendously enjoyed the hospitality of its people, the attractiveness of its nature and the splendour of its iconic palaces, cathedrals, opera and ballet theatres and museums. Just visit the Hermitage overlooking the Neva river in St Petersburg and see the grandeur of this gem and relax in its surrounding canals and parks. It has an unrivalled corpus of literature collections and cultural treasures.

Russia was also the bulwark of human consciousness against Nazis. It rose on its feet at a critical juncture in history defending humanity against the barbarism of Nazism. I visited the Holocaust memorial museum in Kiev (which was part of the USSR for centuries), depicting images of death chambers, famines and the moral depravity of man towards fellow human beings.

It is true that the Russian empire is besmirched with criminal mischiefs. But every empire has had its share in cruelty. British involvement with slavery stretches over 2,000 years. The Amritsar massacre is regarded as a seminal moment of the British rule of India, when British troops fired on unarmed protesters in Punjab, killing up to 1,000 and possibly more within 10 minutes. The Ottoman empire was responsible for the Armenian genocide and other massacres. And above all the Holocaust is still vivid in the consciousness of humanity as the most depraved act history has ever witnessed.

Those who do not learn from history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them. It is immensely important to build bridges of trust and cooperation with Mother Russia and Ukraine. The east-west strife is going to plunge the world into an abysmal spectacle. It is for that reason the agonised history shared by humanity is bound to allow all nations to traverse their political differences for the betterment of human lives.



Proud of our care

* I recently had the misfortune of having to travel home from America to be at my Dad's bedside as he struggled through his last days of life. My Dad's last days were spent on the Laurel ward at James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Dublin.

I have been away a long time, but like to stay in touch with all the goings-on in Ireland, the quality of healthcare being very much to the forefront of many discussions.

Well, let me tell you that there may be many process and funding issues, but there is nothing wrong with the quality of care offered by the nursing staff, at least on the Laurel ward at JCMH.

My Dad was there for two-and-a-half weeks and I had firsthand experience of the care offered for 11 days. I was there with my Mam and five siblings and they could not have done more for our Dad, our Mam and for that matter all of us. There is something so very genuine about the Irish nurses.

They made us feel so welcome during our difficult time and I will be forever grateful to them for that.

I will look back over the last few weeks with great sadness but also with great pride at the service that was provided to my family in the much maligned health services of Ireland.

From the bottom of my heart thanks to the palliative care team and all on the Laurel ward at James Connolly Memorial Hospital.




* Question: How do you deliver letters to people on the run?




* May I just refer to what is in my opinion a worrying organisation called Pure in Heart.

The group goes around the country giving sex education talks in schools. It has used such tactics as taping teens' wrists together before pulling it off, all in the name of promoting sexual abstinence.

What in God's name is this all about? This to me seems to be very stressful for young school kids and should not be tolerated. Have we not learnt from the mistakes of the past?




* David McWilliams writes excellently on an employment anomaly that defies logic or justice, but is of minor consequence compared to the jobs disaster that will descend on society if there is not a serious rethink of work, jobs and employment in the 21st century.

Unemployment is a catastrophe for the individual, the family and society. Since industrialisation, employment is the only dignified method for inclusion of the masses in the economic life of the world. While work was a necessity in the production of goods and services, there was sufficient employment to sustain coherent society.

All that is changed; technology and automation is eliminating work on an enormous scale and the process is accelerating. Unless policies of generating more jobs from a diminishing pool of work are urgently implemented, the social implications could be horrendous.

The 'Economist' highlighted such a scenario last month; sadly no Irish politician, economist, newspaper or broadcaster even mentioned the article.

One hundred years ago the leaders of Europe marched their populations into a devastating catastrophe because they failed to understand the enormous transformation of warfare by advancing technology.

The present leadership of Europe lead us towards what could be an even more horrific conflagration because they fail to understand the transformation that technology has wrought on economics in recent decades.

I conclude by quoting Mr McWilliams's final sentence. "We can put our heads in the sand because the answers are too awkward, but that's hardly a strategy."




* I would be grateful for the opportunity of both informing and inviting readers to a very special and poignant event next month.

On April 2, 2014, at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin, a service will take place in honour of 222 babies and young children who died in the Bethany Home, Orwell Road, Dublin, during 1922-1949.

The service will commence at 4pm, and we are delighted that representatives from four of the main Christian denominations will be participating.

In addition, we are pleased to be able to announce that following the service, a memorial headstone will be unveiled at the cemetery.

We wish to acknowledge that the considerable cost of the headstone has been met by the Department of Justice, sanctioned by Minister Alan Shatter.

For too long, the short lives of these children have been unacknowledged and their remains unmarked.

It is appropriate that at last we can now rectify this situation, and that all of us have the opportunity to pay our respects, and to jointly remember a very sad occurrence in our history.

I therefore heartily extend an invitation to all, to join with us on this very special day.




Irish Independent

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