Thursday, 12 October 2017

Macron's Double Speak on Catalan Bid for independence

When Emmanuel Macron was elected President of France I was pleased.  Without knowing much about him, I thought he might be a welcome change to his conservative predecessors.  The French electorate may not have known much about him either.  They may or may not have known of allegations of favouritism against his ministry while he was the Minister of Economy and Finance.  That happened in 2016 when he was invited speaker at a Las Vegas technology event that cost €381,759. They probably knew of his intentions to crack down on workers' rights as part of his reform.   Still they gave him a chance.

As an inspirational leader for change in the best sense he has been a big disappointment. His pronouncement on 10 October 2017, purporting not to intervene in the "Catalan matter" while at the same time being a major interventionist on behalf of the Spanish government, underlines that disappointment.

“If I were to intervene in the Catalan matter it would be interfering in the domestic affairs of Spain and that would be intolerable for the prime minister and for the Spanish monarch”, he said.

But he also said “ I continue to hold firm to this line in my declarations of support for Mariano Rajoy - because if I don’t there will be disintegration,”

In a word he will not intervene on the side of the successful Catalan referendum for independence but he will intervene to oppose it.

There was no word of outrage, protest or even concern about the brutal treatment of voters by police during that referendum.

Monsieur Macron signals No Change for politics in France

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Dogs that Follow

I've written a number of plays over the years but never had one produced. The nearest to success was one called "Men in Black" [long before the film of the same name] which drew praise and a special interview (but not production) from the Abbey Theatre. Too many characters (aren't there always?), more suitable for TV, they said. The only TV station that replied was the BBC who gave it even more elaborate praise but said it was more suitable for the Abbey.

Tried the Abbey again lately with the Dogs that Follow. Six months wait. Then a "summary", the contents of which made me realise that the reader had read only a part of the first Act. Damning with faint praise. Rejected. So now, the whole play is available for any drama group or theatre to produce for free.

The following message is on my Facebook page:

Anyone interested in a new 2-act play "The Dogs that Follow"?   Read it here.  Would love if some drama group produced it. Please get in touch if you are interested.

Here is the summary you will see at the beginning of the script to whet the appetite!

[The play is set in midsummer 1978 in the graveyard of Drumcliff Co Sligo where William Butler Yeats is buried.
The action is around another grave near Yeats' where R.I.C Sergeant Joe Duffy his wife and two childen lie.
Two teachers, Jim and Niall arrive from Dublin to tidy the grave. Friends but with different viewpoints on women. Jim's wife Maeve is a niece of the dead infants. Her mother Mabel dislikes Jim.
Jim and Niall discuss women, love, Yeats' work, violence, Jim's trouble with Mabel. Yeats had written that men were like dogs that follow at the heels of women
Two female US students arrive to see the poet's grave and introduce a little banter
Mabel and Maeve arrive at the grave, Mabel insults Jim, rows with Maeve and has a panic attack

In the second Act, Jim is isolated in the graveyard at night after a break-up with Maeve. He encounters fairy dancers, young Mabel and later the ghost of WB Yeats. Young Mabel tells Jim about her father's death from pneumonia after he had been left out all night by an IRA volunteer group and how no-one in Sligo attended his funeral. Jim is overcome with love or infatuation for young Mabel and at her invitation they make love.
In their encounter with Yeats, Jim and young Mabel discuss with him his own influence on the rebels of 1916, and criticise his support for violence in his plays. Jim asks for his opinion of women, especially how to handle the powerful bond between mother and daughter.
As dawn breaks Niall has come with sleeping bags, Yeats and young Mabel fade away, Yeats shouting to the night his discovery of the new word, Ze, to replace “he or she”.   Jim recounts to a worried Niall his sexual encounter with young Mabel and his discussion with Yeats. Eventually old Mabel and Maeve arrive and are overcome with the warm reception given to old Mabel by Jim. All is changed utterly for the better – or is it? Old Mabel puzzles Maeve by saying to Jim “Don't think I've forgotten what happened in the middle of the night!”]

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Letter to the Archbishop of Brisbane

Dear brother Mark

Tomorrow four conscientious members of your Church attend a secular court to defend their action of beating swords into ploughshares - a major and significant call to put an end to all war and usher in a new era of peace in the world.

Their action was very much in line with the teaching of the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, and redolent of his own civil disobedience and challenges to the secular authorities of his own daWhat would Jesus do tomorrow if he were Archbishop of Brisbane?

Would he sit at home writing a sermon about the love of God?

Would he write a petition to the people of his diocese asking for more funds for administration of the diocese?

Would he make a call or send an e-mail to the prosecutors congratulating them and giving full support to any term of imprisonment imposed?

Would he go for an expensive lunch with the most important people he could find in Brisbane?

Would he just engage in "normal episcopal duties"?

Am I mad to think, given his own life's history, that he would enter the Magistrate's courtroom and openly support the four Catholic Workers who have taken, like him, such a brave and unselfish stand on behalf of peace, justice and love?

Would Jesus have supported George W Bush's war in Iraq?

Would he support the Australian war effort in Afghanistan where Australian soldiers have cut off the hands of their enemies?

I am not of the Catholic faith although I was once a priest. Now, without that faith, I consider all men my brothers and all women my sisters.

As my brother I ask you to give your support to these Catholic Workers who for me resemble most closely the founder of the Catholic church in which you are a modern apostle.

With best personal wishes

Justin Morahan
Dublin  Ireland

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Mass executions planned for Arkansas

Help stop a mass execution in Arkansas!  Call the governor of Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson, asking him to reverse his barbaric decision to execute eight men over 10 days in late April because the state's supply of lethal injection drugs will expire that month!  (501) 682-2345

Or please read and sign the petition at

The petition needs signatures urgently as the story has not become very widespread.  Today's excellent leading article in the Irish Times might give it some impetus.

Thanks to all who support the petition


Friday, 17 February 2017

Torture in Turkish prisons

Letter to Ambassador in Dublin:

To: Ambassador Levent Murat BURHAN

Embassy of Turkey
8 Raglan Road , Dublin 4

Dear Ambassador

Just read a report about the torture of prisoners in Turkey and it has shocked me.

According to the report, on 23 January, the prison’s vice-director raided a 5-person dormitory together with a group of 20 wardens and tortured prisoners Sahin Encu, Kemal Kahraman, Hakan Bilekci, Ahmet Celik and Ozhan Ceyhun, who were then exiled to separate prisons.

Prison wardens were told over the tannoy to remain in their positions in the evening. That night the vice-director and around 20 wardens raided the dormitory. Referring to an infamous torturer he told them ‘I am going to be your Esat Oktay. You must defer to me. I am the God here,'”

The prisoners were initially beaten in front of cameras. The 5 prisoners were taken to an area underneath the stairwell and beaten severely.
It was  also reported that the prisoners had been thrown in isolation cells following the torture, with some suffering concussion. They were taken to the local hospital but doctors refused to give them medical reports confirming the torture.

Turkey’s Human Rights Association had previously released a report in October detailing hundreds of cases of torture and human rights violations between 15 July and 15 October.

The comparison made by the vice-director with Esat Oktay Yildiran is sinister.

Esat Oktay Yildiran was the infamous torturer in the 1980s decade whose torture of Kurdish and leftist prisoners led to the death of more than 30 such prisoners between 1981-84.

I would ask you as a human being to ensure that no more torture takes place in Turkey and that Sahin Encu, Kemal Kahraman, Hakan Bilekci, Ahmet Celik and Ozhan Ceyhun are given proper hospital treatment and are never again molested by prison officers or others; and that all prisoners are treated humanely while in custody, given fair trials promptly and released when they have been tried  by a fair and impartial tribunal and are found not guilty of crimesl.

Sincerely yours
Justin Morahan
Pacifist, Human Rights Activist