I saw a marvellous exhibition at the Patriothall Gallery in Edinburgh created by the Scottish artist Jane Frere, titled ‘Return of the soul: The Nakbah project’.
Frere, who was inspired by visits in the Nazi concentration camps, deciedd to create a project on the plight of the Palestinians, dispossessed by the Zionists during and after the 1948 war, which Israelis calls their ‘war of independence’ and Palestinians their Nakba, or catastrophe.
I have a little grand daughter – I want her to have a world. Yet my mind has been sharpened by reading the prediction of the Onehundred months group (http://onehundredmonths.org/) that in just 100 months time, if we are lucky, climate change will reach an irreversible stage. It’s frightening to think how little governments, international organisations, and you and I have internalised this message. The group’s message is clear: the level of carbon dioxide is the highest ever due to human activity, as 1,000 tonnes of CO2 are released into the Earth’s atmosphere every second, yes, second. If we do nothing, the earth’s climate will be shifting into a more volatile state with catastrophic consequences, yet the British are building a third runway in Heathrow and opening a new generation coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth, while the US presidential hopeful Barack Obama is reversing his policy over petrol prices, promising not to reduce American dependence on fosil fuels, but rather on Middle East oil.
It is clear that the Irish government is panicking about finances. In the run to save money, the area of equality and anti-racism would be hit hardest. Many of the cuts make sense only if they are viewed as an attempt to save money while also axing independent organisations. Thus we saw the axing of Integrate Ireland Language and Training, spearheaded by the TCD Centre for Language and Communication Studies, teaching English to refugees since 1996. Even though the IILT itself was planning to mainstream its activities, the Department of Education closed it down without consultation. Thus we also hear that the NCCRI may be incorporated into the office of the Minister for Integration and, while I have been a critic of the NCCRI which, I believe, has passed its sell-by date, closing it down points to not taking the equality sector seriously.