A waste of all our time


Another evening, another protest. Tonight an unplanned protest. A protest that was hopeless.

I want to clarify that I am not scouring the internet every day in the wastelands, looking for demonstrations to attend. It’s simply that I disembark from my bus very close to the General Post Office on O’Connell Street. Seeing as the GPO is where the modern day struggle for Irish independence began (the 1916 Rising) and seeing as O’Connell Street is the nation’s main thoroughfare, it is a place where protests are routine. I don’t go to these protests, I am taken to them each evening by Dublin Bus, on my way home, whether I like it or not.

Yesterday I got off the bus to a sea of Palestinian flags. It was a demo by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign to protest the killing of 60 Palestinian demonstrators by the Israeli Army at the border of the blockaded Gaza Strip and Israel on Monday. I am not going to get into a discussion of that conflict. It is the most bitter, intractable and utterly unsolvable conflict on earth. Neither side is willing to give an inch – despite whatever they might say. And my tuppence worth isn’t going to add any new insight.

What is not in dispute however is that one side in the conflict has all the weapons; all the money; all the influence and all the cards. The other side is entirely imprisoned without any prospect of improving their situation.

That’s what made the demonstration so frustrating. It seems like such a waste of time. Israel doesn’t care about global opinion regarding its actions. Palestine is just an amorphous blob of ‘terrorism’ to the powers that be – and because the Palestinian people have been dehumanised into ‘terrorists’, issues like context, or self -defence or resistance, or compromise or occupation are irrelevant.

The only way to get any progress on this 70 year old war is for the superpower – the USA – to insist on it. If the US was to tell Israel that financial and military aid was to cease unless the conflict was resolved then it would sort the whole pathetic mess out, pretty damned sharpish. That is not going to happen however. Certainly not with that orange war-crime in place as President of the USA.

So what is the point of the demonstration? What the point of the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney – the emblem of how Ireland’s current government rewards dismal failure – calling in the Israeli ambassador to express Ireland’s concern about the mass murder of unarmed civilians (or ‘terrorists’ as Israel would call them)? Israel doesn’t care. There will be zero consequences.

I only stayed for a short time. There was no point in protesting. Why would anyone living in the Gaza Strip or the illegally occupied West Bank feel any sort of hope for the future?

I wonder what the next seventy years of war will bring to that part of the world.

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