Remember that random Australian dude MI6 still has banged up in Belmarsh Prison because he was shocked into action by America’s war crimes.
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I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.
Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.
No matter how much the warders in Irish or English prisons spruce up their Yuletide decorations, Christmas is rough on prisoners, just as it was for my old neighbour, legendary IRA leader Ernie O’Malley, who was held by the Black and Tans in Dublin Castle on Christmas Day 1920 at the height of the Tan War. And for Red Hugh O’Donnell, the greatest and most uncompromising Gael of them all, who escaped from that same Dublin Castle on Christmas Day 1591.
And for Enoch Burke, who has been interned without due process for over a year now in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison for refusing to say that girls are boys and boys are girls. And Bridget Scanlon, who is banged up in that same prison for exposing the wholesale sexual abuse of Irish and Ukrainian children in Irish care.
Although I wrote here just over six months ago that that wholesale abuse of Irish and Ukrainian children had been exposed by credible academics, the Irish government recently admitted that they have done absolutely nothing over those six months to rescue those abused children, for whom Christmas is supposed to be such a jolly time.
Fun Fact. Though scores of Ukrainian refugee children remain missing in Ireland, once they reach their 18th birthdays, they are removed from that list, even though they are still missing at best and murdered at worst. Christmas, a great time for NATO’s children all right.
And a horrible time for others, most notably in Jesus’ own Holy Land, where Catholics have long been barred from attending services at their Church of the Holy Sepulchre, just as Palestinian Muslims are forbidden to go to their Al-Aqsa mosque both of which I, a foreigner, have freely visited.
Not only that but Palestine’s Catholics are being murdered in their own churches. We are not talking here about Palestine’s Ernie O’Malleys or Red Hugh O’Donnells but of simple Catholic Palestinian women who are being assassinated in their own churches for no other reason than Israeli soldiers have been ordered to murder them in their own churches.
On the positive side, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has now been forced to do a Julian Assange and to call out their summary executions for what they are: cold-blooded murders by cold-blooded murderers. Though that, I suppose, is progress, no doubt some Israeli Mossad dudes are deciding whether or not they should whack the Patriarch or simply report him as an anti-Semite to the Pope, who has a mini army of minions employed to re-enact the birth of Baby Jesus in some run down crib in downtown Bethlehem 2000 odd years ago.
When I first saw this report of the Pope’s circus act, I thought, good, the Pope is meeting Palestinian and Syrian Catholics. But no, it was just a bunch of dudes doing Cribface, doing Nativity plays that should be the preserve of kindergarten children.
And sure, in an ideal world, we should all support Cribface, sing Away In A Manger and weep for The Little Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother. But we live in an ugly world where any and all women giving birth to babies in Palestine today must be traumatised beyond belief. How could the Virgin Mary, never mind ordinary Palestinian women, hope to successfully give birth when Israel, helped every inch of the way by the United States, has made Bethlehem, Gaza and all of Palestine hell on earth, on a par with the Rape of Nanking, the barbarity of which even shocked Nazi Party members stationed there?
It is when we are no longer shocked that we are as lost as the war criminals of Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany and jolly old Israel were. Although the prisons of Ukraine teem with captives, whose only crime is to be critical of that Zelensky wretch or to be keeping true to the faith of their fathers’ holy faith, they are too far away for me or you to be effective on their behalf. Though there was a time when outfits like Amnesty International would allow us lobby on their behalf, MI6 and the CIA long ago co-opted outfits like them.
And then there is Julian Assange. Remember him, that random Australian dude MI6 still has banged up in Belmarsh Prison because he was shocked into action, as we all should be, by America’s war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and far too many other places to adumbrate here.
Julian Assange should be spending Christmas at home with his wife and children, waiting for Santa to climb down their chimney (whatever!), scarpering back up it and letting Julian settle in to read, for the time of year that is in it, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (download the book here), which deals not only with the American Army’s December 29 1890 slaughter of the Lakota Indians but with many of the other Yankee campaigns of genocide against their own indigenous populations that preceded that notorious war crime.
Not that Yankee war crimes or their mutilation of the dead stopped there; because war crimes are what they do, there will be no tears shed within the Beltway for today’s Palestinian Baby Jesuses and Virgin Marys, who don’t even have a donkey’s stable to rest in, nor a Julian Assange-style journalist without an Israeli bullseye on his back to tell their tale. Even British MP Layla Moran, whose relatives are Gazan Catholics, is completely powerless to save their lives. As Finian Cunningham recently wrote about the Israelis mowing down their own, why not? Why not, in the words of Dostoevsky (sorry Russophobes), commit horrible crimes when there is no punishment, no moral compass to guide them?
They envy us both Dostoevsky’s moral compass, and our golden memories, which include the annual re-enactments of the escape of Red Hugh O’Donnell and his brave comrades, as well as the incisive and historically important writings of the great Ernie O’Malley, seen here with John Ford, Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne.
And, in HMP Belmarsh, we have, in Julian Assange, just as we have in the torture chambers of Kiev and Tel Aviv, living, breathing testimonies that their spirit of freedom has survived not only the Wounded Knee atrocity but all the others that the Americans and their allies have committed and continue to commit right down to this year’s Christmas in Ukraine, Gaza and a hundred other slaughter houses.
Because the Church, it is said, was founded on the blood and guts of the martyrs, let us remember them all today not only the Lakota, who made their last stand at Wounded Knee, but all of those who are today confined to reservations where bubonic plague still kills off the Navajos, whose Long Walk is the theme of chapter 2 in Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.
And, though the Gazans might be spared the fate of the Navajos as they are pushed into their own Long Walk to Lebanon or wherever the wind might take them, the Jerusalem Post informs us that Israelis are demanding that “Israel should make Gaza look like Auschwitz.”
Though that is an incredibly ignorant thing to say by those incredibly ignorant thugs, to get a whiff of what that might look like, go check out these links here, here and here to see what Belsen and the “unforgettable Latin Mass” Captain James Molyneaux witnessed looked like when the Tommies got there.
“The sense of shock hit you like a tidal wave. Every step revealed further horrors. It was the stuff of which nightmares are made. Within sight of the main road, the skeletons were hanging on the electric fences. There was the indescribable smell of death. April 1945 was very hot and the bodies hadn’t been buried for weeks. I’d seen awful things in the war but Belsen was different.
From the back it looked like a couple of packing cases draped with a curtain but, as I drew closer, I heard familiar words and saw the cases were an altar and the occasion was a Catholic Mass. The young priest was holding the elements with one hand and was so weak he had to hold the makeshift altar with the other. At his feet was the body of another young priest who’d presumably dropped dead and nobody had the energy to move him. When the elements had been consecrated, one or two of them were able to walk in a halting sort of way, some were already dead, the rest crawled forward and accepted the little token and then asked for more which they carefully treasured in their hand and proceeded to crawl back to some of their friends. They put the wafer in their mouths and then slumped to the ground. Most of them would not have seen the end of that day but at least they had the consolation of the Mass.”
Though God alone knows what consolation Julian Assange, Zelensky’s tortured prisoners and the inmates of Gaza concentration camp will have this feast of St Stephen, this feast to the first of our countless martyrs, they all share that sanctified pedestal with those other immortals who defied Empire in ways big and small, by giving witness in Nanking, Gaza, Bethlehem, Belsen and Wounded Knee. Small consolation, it is true, for Julian’s children and those millions of others, whose childish minds must absorb the horrors their righteous kin were subjected to but, for those of us longer in the tooth, we know that, as with Mexico’s Cristeros, at day’s end, theirs is the kingdom, the power and the glory and that, thanks to the unshakable faith of martyrs like Julian Assange and his young family, freedom from this invidious tyranny will come to the peoples of Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq. Again, small consolation to his nearest and dearest but Nanking, Gaza, Bethlehem, Belsen and Wounded Knee all show that NATO’s Evil Empire leaves no other path to freedom.