Saturday 17 June 2017

Don't see the world in black and white - humanity is a thousand shades of grey!

Can’t I turn my back for one minute? Last week I went off to London to spend a few days with my mum. Sitting in her living room, pure terror ran through me, as Mum told me a tale of horror about her friends, who live around the corner in the road where I grew up.

Above the front door of Jewish homes there’s a tiny container holding a prayer, written on parchment: a mezuzah.

Vile scumbags had been going down this road, knocking on doors with a mezuzah and yelling

“Heil Hitler!”  

at lone senior ladies opening their doors.

Immediately protective of my mum, I felt amazed yet again by the stoicism she displayed.

After a childhood lived as millions of bombs fell nightly from the sky, her Blitz Generation takes things in their stride.

Alongside the police, my family and friends feel protected by their local Jewish community. There exists a strong sense of belonging, of togetherness, supporting and being supported by each other.

Even though I’m an atheist, I feel culturally and in every other way Jewish. The Nazis didn’t care if Jews believed in God or not, but here in the west of Ireland there’s no similar community to lean on, reach out to, talk to.

In fact Irish opinions on Palestine and Israel are often as naive as many of the views I hear from the other end of the spectrum, back in London. I end up wary of speaking about or writing my views, as I love my friends and family, and if I did so it would upset both.

So often I feel pretty damn lonely in both places I call home.

Maybe this lack of community support was the reason I felt more scared than Mum did: if someone heil Hitlered me at my door, I’d be bloody terrified.

Ah, but wasn’t this why I fell in love with life here in the West of Ireland? Aren’t we compassionate here, preferring people to profit and a heart to heart more than a heil Hitler?

Shaken by mum’s news and rolling coverage of the London Bridge murders, I go online to comfort myself. What’s going on back in lovely gentle Galway?

Fascists are throwing rocks through the windows of the Ahmadiyya Mosque in Ballybane.

You’re kidding me.

The City Council is evicting ten young families, offering no plan for their future accommodation, beyond presenting themselves as homeless to the City Council.

“Ah!” you gasp. “He forgot to say they were Traveller families!”

No, I didn’t. My first job in Galway was working with young Traveller children in the Rahoon Flats, and years later I worked with teenage Traveller boys in Ballybane.

What were they like?

Well, there were a couple of no good violent types, quite a few half-decent boys, loads of good ‘uns and one or two pure salt of the earth diamonds.

If that breakdown sounds familiar it’s because it works for the entirety of the human race. We’re not all angels, but there’s a lot more good than bad.

Over the years I grew weary of debates about whether Travellers were an ethnic minority. The only truth seems to be that they are discriminated against like one.

You might have young family members living in your house or garden. Unable to afford housing, they need a mobile home while they save, or to live rent free while they balance caring for young kids with work.

How would you feel when you hear that the council has evicted them from their home, with no offer of alternative housing?

Wouldn’t happen, would it.
You’re not a Traveller.

None of the tired arguments about bringing it upon themselves will wash in this instance. Awarded by the Diocese, these homes have supported the growth of 10 young families over the past 25 years, and now the authorities wish to wash their hands of them.

There’s been no new Traveller accommodation in Galway for over 20 years, so this eviction is forcing people onto the roadside. Happily there was a wonderful turnout of demonstrators in support of these families, just as there was outside the Mosque.

I wish I could have been there too.
Broken windows make me think of Kristallnacht.

Those protesters belong to the loving and caring majority in that breakdown of human types.

However, some become blinkered by their rush for justice. 

Mentally masturbated by Facebook feeds that mirror exactly what they want to believe, far too many people now see the world in black and white, when humanity is truly a thousand shades of grey.

In a mad rush to attach themselves to one extreme, in order to do battle with another, many lose sight of subtlety and moderation.

We are complex beings and better humans when our opinions reflect that.

I fear the speed with which people are making irrational connections. An ideology that wants me dead inspires an idiot terrorist who’d lived in Ireland to kill innocents in London, which leads to a bunch of dangerous fools attacking a mosque in Galway.

In their eagerness to make sense of this hate crime, some then create erroneous links to the Palestinian flag that flew over Galway City Hall, which leaves this Jew, who yearns for a safe Israel and a free Palestinian State, feeling mildly intimidated.

Ah poor diddums.

Galway is far from Gaza, but in a hurry to fortify their own truths, people are starting to think in two dimensions, so such statements can quickly lead to those neo-Nazi bastards threatening my mother’s friends on their doorsteps.

If you need to feel tribal, support Galway.

©Charlie Adley

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