addendum to (Nov 23) Irish Independent article
As an addendum to (Nov 23) Irish Independent article I would like to say the following concerning my remarks on Bono and Geldof and the general silence on the part of major internationally successful Irish musicians on recent major events in Irish history.
I need to start by saying that Bono and Bob are both men I have infinite personal fondness, affection and admiration for, not just because of their great musical work ( and in the case of Geldof his great musical inspiration to me, not to mention his utter ride-ish-ness (sorry Bono)) but because of the work they have done for the people of Africa, the mother country of us all.
So it actually pains me to be at odds with them, Or to say anything which may hurt their feelings but sometimes we must compartmentalise and so I have to put aside my vast personal affection and make a plea for the honour of Irish art and The Holy Spirit, whom in history were linked in a way they sadly are not currently. I would like to see this change.
For those outside Ireland please google Easter Uprising Ireland 1916. you will find this was an attempt made to gain control of Ireland by Irish people and the brutal killings in cold blood of it's leaders was what ultimately led (short version) to 26 counties being 'returned' and the so-called Irish Free State being born in 1922. The rising and subsequent creation of the Irish Republic were obviously some of the most important events in Irish history. Along with The Famine and more recently, the revelations concerning the state of the church which ruled us with rods of iron from even before 1916 and who very much ingrained themselves and their horror of Christ in our constitution and ran the country with terror and violence and blasphemy.
As children at school they began to teach us of 1916 by spending a year or so introducing us to the poets, playwrights and other artists of the time. Who they were. Pierce, Yeats, Synge etc. What were they into. Irish mythology. Old Irish culture and history. Alien to us. But we could be with the ghosts when we heard their words. We learned about their lives. What mattered to them. The lovers (and their lover's adult daughters!?) who spurned them.
What mattered most to them though was Ireland. Keeping Ireland alive. Spiritually as well as every other way. They wrote about Ireland. They pled for Ireland. Defended Ireland as a bereft and ravaged woman. They laid their lives and careers on the line regularly, and took nothing but abuse and were often driven into lonely exile in order to say what needed to be said.
They were Ireland's 'voice'. They played an enormous and incalculable role in Irish history. They had a sense of how important their role as artists was. Without them our republic (which is dying. Making way for the 2nd) simply couldn't have happened. Maybe we shouldn't thank them.
Ah no.. We should. But more importantly I think we should honour them by keeping up the traditions they laid themselves on the line for, that Irish artists are part of forming Irish history. And are a passionate voice within that history. And are 'conscious' as Bob Marley would say.
Tits and ass is equally important, don't get me wrong. In fact we need more. We Irish artists have too many clothes on altogether if you ask me. I wanna jiggle my butt with the best of them. And get naked behind my guitar and pose for playboy. But I also most passionately wanna contribute to the spiritual upliftment of my country and use whatever gifts The Holy Spirit may have given me as an artist in order to do that.
In my opinion 90 years from now children in Irish schools will be learning about something which is absolutely non-negotiably equally as important an event in Irish history as any so-called famine, or uprising, or war of Independence, or Civil war, namely, the unleashing of our national psyche and identity from what has been a church taken over by Satan, which never gave us nor Christ anything but the blues. Unless it was the black and blues.
The revelations of what took place in church/state run juvenile incarceration camps, and what happened to so many children, and the revelations of cover-ups and attempted cover-ups of cover-ups, has shattered us, for better in my opinion, not worse. We needed to know.
For the enormity of recent events to be understood one must study how in control of the whole country and of the national psyche of the Irish people the church were.. Still are fifty percent.. It wont be over until all of us over 35 are dead. And that we in Ireland had a very different and more oppressive brand of Catholicism when Bono, Geldof and I were kids than other territories may have had. A thousand times worse for our poor parents and their parents.
My father tells a story.. That when he was 6 years old at school his teacher, a priest, used to bang his fists on the table regularly.. Admonishing the boys to go to confession. he would say that if they died without having been to confession they would go straight to fiery hell.
"Once there was a boy" the priest would yell " who wouldn't go to confession. And didn't I warn him he would go to he'll? And didn't the boy die in an accident? And wasn't I asleep in my bed one night? And didn't the room burst into flames? And when the fire was put out wasn't there two little burned black handprints on the bottom of the bed? The boy had fled screaming back from he'll to have his confession heard". That is the type of fear children of my parents generation had beaten into them. Not a patch on what their parents endured I can assure you. A sin even to desire your husband. Yet not a punishable crime to rape a small boy.
For anyone who really is interested I ask u read The Ferns Report. the Ryan Report. The Murphy Report and The Cloyne Report. These should in fact be mandatory reading for all Catholics. And certainly no one who has not studied the reports should discuss the subject publicly. Neither Geldof nor Bono have read the reports. I don't know about Westlife or The Cranberries or Enya, or indeed The Gallagher brothers or Morrissey.
The American reports are Boston, Philadelphia, and others I have but can't remember now. I have read all reports worldwide and all directly or indirectly associated documents, biographies of popes etc. Those children learning about these Irish reports in 90 years, having first studied the artists and events of 1916 are going to ask what were the artists who were alive when The Murphy Report came out were doing. While authors and playwrights and painters and poets have been active, musical artists, with the exceptions of Eleanor Mc Evoy and Gavin Friday, have been silent. NO major internationally powerful musical artists who move in helpful circles have said or sung a word.
When the reports came out they each recommended that at some appropriTe time, some appropriate 'monuments' should be erected in honour of the thousands of children who either died, or were raped, or abused and whose lives were ruined. I began to feel strongly a monument of some kind should be dedicated by the musical artists of the year the Murphy report came out. I had in mind a small Rose bush, to be planted in The Garden of Rememberence for 1916 With a verse from a song which abuse survivors find very moving, called The Rose...
When the night has been too lonely
And the day has been to long
When you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong
Just remember in winter
Far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the springtime becomes the Rose.
It says a lot about Ireland to me, not just about surviving horror.
I asked Bono and Geldof to ask. They said I should ask. Geldof said I wasn't to compare it to 1916. I told him I didn't need him to tell me what to say thanks, and that I do compare it. And that if he read the reports he might also. In talks with Geldof's English agent I asked would he ask Geldof to send a sentence of support to the victims. The agent told me "Geldof can't be seen to talk about anything but Africa". I asked him did he appreciate how fucked up that sounded coming from an English man, that Geldof can't talk about Ireland. He was highly amused.
I asked Bono also to send support and get involved in asking for truth from The Vatican't. Nothing. I got very angry. I said fine.. You can thank me in a hundred years because I will represent artists because it would be criminal for those kids to ask where we were and find we were nowhere.
I was angry because Bono had met with JP2 after it was public knowledge abuse had happened and been covered up u der JP2's watch and by doing so endorsed him. And on the night JP2 died Bono went on stage with the rosary beads JP2 gave him wrapped around his hand and mike, and went on about what a fab guy JP2 was. This and the silence, made me very angry because Bono says he believes in Christ. But then all rock starssay they believe in God when they're making award acceptance speeches.. But when there's a pitched battle in the street for the honour of God.. None of them the world over.. Not just Ireland... Have a thing to say. No truths to demand. No Christ to be released from bondage. On stage children are wearing masks of incarcerated Burmese ladies. Grand.. But no one is wearing Christ's incarcerated face. Nor the faces of raped little Irish boys.
"if you do believe in God as you say you do" I said, "you have to stand up and be counted. If you don't I can't respect you and by time I finished representing Irish internationally known musical artists on the very important matter of our spiritual condition as a nation, we'll see which one of us truly believes in God That was two years ago. Needless to say I went on to cause as much trouble as possible and I haven't heard a word from Bob nor Bono since, nor do I expect to, nor mind if I do or don't. Neither Geldof, Bono, nor other internationally massive, influential Irish artists are vocal on ANY Irish issues. This is un-Irish in the extreme, and a great let down to Joyce, O'Brien, Yeats, Pierce, Behan, all of them.. All of what they suffered so that we could be free Irish artists. They hoped we would care. There is a stunned silence in the people of Ireland on so many issues. I am convinced that this is in enormous part because the artists, the very people who should be shouting from the rooftops, are silent. We need to get conscious. There are twelve year old children in Ireland with class A drug addictions. That is a spiritual state of emergency and worthy of an actual declaration. We are a small island. How is this happening in plain sight? On north sides, where people are undervalued. On the south side in our rock-star mansions we roll over in our beds and our only problem is what fucking wankers we are. Ireland is heading towards the end of the first republic. All structures are down. Including spiritual. All we have left is our artistry. We need it. We spiritually need it. Ireland need spiritual support and upliftment. And to speak and be heard and valued. The artists are the ones who need to be doing this work because no one else is doing it. So get conscious in-between the nipple tassel songs. Don't wave your Grammy around thanking God if you not gonna stand and fight for him in your own country. Your country needs God. You say you have God. So bring it.
The silence of Irish musical artists on current Irish issues is morally and spiritually corrupt.
To quote Bob Dylan "when you gonna wake up?"
I went by myself in the end to Dublin City Council. They said they respected and appreciated very much the request and that while they didn't feel The Garden of Rememberence was the right place they agreed the publication of the reports were of at least almost equal significance to 1916 and that when the 'official' monuments are decided upon and placed they would be happy to have a small Rose bush planted quietly some night by me on behalf of all Irish musicians living at the time of the reports. for ALL of Ireland's abused children, not just those abused by clergy. So... Result.