Ireland and Palestine have a shared experience, bar in Palestine its a returning folk of the same blood, whereas those born there have changed religion, language and culture, and see the returnees as alien. Its a long way from Tullamore to Gaza, and a long way from today to a future peace, but there is hope beyond these troubled times, as we can see from our past troubled times,which we had even before the divisions of religion.
“A common enemy makes friends of enemies”
In Palestine, as we watch the time, someone beneath rubble lies dead,
Midnight approaches in Ireland, we flick the channels instead,
Its all old news, how leaders abuse, their powers and peoples fears,
Its the same old soundtrack that plays back, slogans, bombs and tears…
Imagine if in a future time, all Irish in our land,
Became Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu, for Catholicism did not stand,
And in Canada, America, or in New Zealand or Oz,
The Irish were oppressed being still Catholic,just that reason because
And a slur for the wrongs of a few clerics, against a Holy Man of another faith
Was used to oppress them, and stereotypes make the host nation irate
Say the Irish were massacred, the survivors set to flee
To the land to which they came from, where they could be free…
But there, now, still lived the Irish, under a different faith and name
Who didn’t recognise the returning Irish, that they from this land they came,
And the returnee’s who this landing frees, a people dispossessed
Being resisted by those living there, those living there oppressed…
Would there be love for the returning Irish, who send those living there to refugee camps?
Who raze the villages of those born on the isle, and their culture down stamps
Oppresses their current religion, makes them use passports in their own land…
They returning, once from there, make it so, would those born there, for that stand?
All I know is the story of my people, in my family are each both side:
The Pale – where the Old English, their mayor John DrakeÂ there did reside,
He, according to our family lore, is a direct ancestor of our Drakes,
Dispossessed, the O Tooles of Wicklow, attacked for survival and revenge sakes.
At Bloody Banks a July morning, they were slaughtered to a man,
Before the Drakes helped the English, being so, to fight the O’ Reilly clan,
Which are also my people, from Breiffne lands they fought,
When they lost they signed treatys to be broken, that good Liege be, they aught,
Then there was no religion, men of nations to divide,
But there was soon to be, and Drakes and Reillys took one side,
They fought and died at Boynes waters, they fought King Williams men,
On the fields of Europe as Wild Geese, they faught the British there again…
So, is there hope for Palestine, for whom we Irish have such understanding and affection?
And with our story some may struggle to find common connection:
The answer is yes there is, it will take a generation maybe or more,
And an enemy in common for them to see as comrades those they faught before.
But here as I write in Tullamore, the words I write others have read…
But Palestine has little time for poetry, as they bury their dead.
There are so many parrallels with Ireland in the plantation of Palestine – and Plantation is the only word for it – and the resistance of those born there, to those who claim to be from there and are returning seeking refuge in a hostile world. The clash between the Norman / English / Scots settlers in Ireland even before the Plantations is like a script rerun in Gaza today.