Monday, November 22, 2010


     John Gormley - Leader of Green Party

So the Green Party have finally decided to show their YELLOW bellies and abandon ship! John Gormley, their leader came out today to say that his party would pull out of a coalition Government with their  brothers of the Fianna Fail party, once the Budget was passed through the Dail on December 7th. He stressed that the reason for not pulling out before the Budget, was because they were putting the country before party politics. Oh yeah right! Does he really think that the people of this country are that stupid? Come on, they got wind of the fact that Fianna Fail backbenchers are at the point of mutiny!!! If the Green Party were really that bothered about the people of this island, they would have removed themselves from Government last October 2009, when the sheer volume of the disastrous mismanagement of this country's finances became unavoidably conclusive.

There were all sorts of discussions going on today about putting the country first by pushing ahead with the Budget in December; that we can't keep the IMF waiting while we hold a general election; that we shall be the laughing stock of Europe etc. etc. Fianna Failers seem to be under the misapprehension that by replacing Brian Cowen as leader, with Michael Martin, Mary Hanafin or Brian Lenehan, the very REAL disquiet felt throughout this country will be miraculously healed. Sorry lads! Absolutely too late for that boys and girls!

I heard a member of Fianna Fail being interviewed from Brussels on RTE Radio today, who said people should stop playing the blame game and that the Government should be allowed to get on with sorting out our financial mess; that this was gone way beyond party politics, and that Fine Gael and the Labour Party were being opportunistic. I found myself agreeing with him to a certain degree. I do not really believe that the present financial disaster will be any easier to rectify, should a coalition of Fine Gael and the Labour Party win the next general election. But that is not the POINT anymore!

When we are ill, we seek the help of the medical profession, who have sworn the hippocratic oath to practice medicine ethically, which, one would think, should include a sympathetic bedside manner, and an overt willingness to explain the diagnosis and prognosis to each and every individual patient, irrespective of age, gender, race, creed or economic circumstance. Referring back to a blog from April re. Tiger Woods and his apology to the world for his infidelity (which I thought was completely unnecessary) and  my absolute horror at hearing our Taoiseach, Brian Cowen making a statement in the Dail, on the very same evening, saying that he didn't have to answer to ANYONE, should have been enough to set alarm bells going off in every home in this country!

This man, our Taoiseach and his merry band of men are about to administer bitter pills with the most serious side effects for all of us to swallow in the forthcoming Budget, without anything that remotely resembles an adequate bedside manner or even a willingness to listen to the wishes of the people that they represent.

Brian Cowen and the Fianna Fail party have to go! Over the last 12 years in Government, they have completely lost touch with the voters, and what's more, they don't even try to pretend anymore! Someone referred to the parliamentary party as being 'infected' by the likes of Haughey and Aherne earlier today. Perhaps, more than a hint of truth in that statement methinks! I do believe this Government could have turned this whole thing around if they had taken their fair share of the medicine themselves, by curbing all unnecessary and frivolous expense at a time when people were losing their homes and their livelihoods, and had told the truth from the start about the financial chaos, which was largely brought about by relatively under-supervised and unethical Banking.

There should be a general election NOW. What is the sense of a Budget and a Four Year Plan being passed through the Dail by a Government that are not going to remain in power beyond January 2011 anyway. That would definitely make us the laughing stock of Europe!

This Government have behaved like frightened rabbits and head-burying ostriches, rather than roaring felines of the supposed 'Golden Celtic Tiger Age'. There will be no phoenix rising from the ashes of this Government! Like lambs to the slaughter, the Fianna Fail Party will be blown out of the water at the next general election by voters who are baying for blood. Those who are lucky enough to hang onto a personal vote by the skin of their teeth, will be glad of a seat on the opposition benches, where they can regroup and hopefully mature into a political party of a 21st Century Europe, away from the politically irrelevant umbrella of civil war mentality.

Colours of white and blue; red, green or YELLOW are no longer relevant in 21st Century global politics unless they include the TRUE COLOURS of political and sociological humanitarianism.

Cyndi Lauper's version of TRUE COLOURS:

Ciao for now!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi's Release - Heart of the Matter II

                                       Aung San Suu Kyi

I believe the tiniest seeds were sown, or at least the soil is being prepared for democracy in Burma over the weekend following the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest on Novemeber 13th 2010. Leader of the National League for Democracy Party, she spent 15 years from the 1989-2010 period of her life incarcerated at her home. (An immensely gifted, highly intelligent, patriotic woman cooped up within the walls of her home for 15 years! What a monstrous waste!)

Her father Aung San founded the modern Burmese Army and negotiated Burma's independence from the British Empire in 1947 and was assasssinated by rivals later the same year. Her mother Khin Kyi took a prominent part in the new Burmese government, becoming ambassador to India. Following her mother to India, Aung San Suu Kyi achieved a degree in politics, then moving to London to continue her education, she obtained a BA degree in Philosophy, going on to earn a PhD at the School for Oriental and African Studies University London in 1985. She married Dr. Michael Aris in 1972 and had two sons, Alexander and Kim. In 1988, she returned to Burma to take care of her ailing mother.

                                   8888 Uprising

By coincidence, in the same year, the long-time military leader of Burma and head of the ruling party, General Ne Win, stepped down. This led to mass demonstrations for democracy on 8 August 1988 (8-8-88, a day seen as auspicious), which were violently suppressed in what came to be known as the 8888 Uprising. On 26 August 1988, she addressed half a million people at a mass rally in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the capital, calling for a democratic government. However in September, a new military junta took power. Later the same month, 24 September 1988, the National League for Democracy (NLD) was formed, with Suu Kyi as general secretary.

Influenced by both Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence and by more specifically Buddhist concepts, Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratization, helped found the National League for Democracy on 24 September 1988, and was put under house arrest on 20 July 1989. She was offered freedom if she left the country, but she refused. The general election of 1990 saw her party winning 59% of the vote and 81% of government seats, but the results were nullified creating an international outcry. During her house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; the 1.3 million dollars was used to set up a health and education trust for the Burmese people.

                                     Mahatma Gandhi

The last time that she saw her husband Dr, Michael Aris was Christmas 1995. They had only seen each other 5 times during the period of 1989 - 1995. In 1997, Aris was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, but the Military Junta would not grant him a visa to travel to Burma, even after the intervention of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pope John Paul II. The Junta agreed to grant Aung San Suu Kyi a temporary release to visit her husband, but she refused to go, because she didn't believe the Military Junta would allow her to return to Burma. Her husband died in 1997 and she was separated from her sons, who are both residing in the UK.

One of her most famous speeches is the "Freedom From Fear" speech, which begins: "It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it."

She also believes fear spurs many world leaders to lose sight of their purpose. "Government leaders are amazing", she once said. "So often it seems they are the last to know what the people want."

I watched an interivew between herself and John Simpson on BBC last night, and was absolutely captivated by this woman, the nature of her forgiveness, and all that she stands for! When I read a little of her story, I was reminded of Veronica Guerin, the Irish crime journalist, who was assassinated by drugdealing criminals in 1996; the sacrifices she made for what she believed in, and the criticism that both women have received as a result.

Surely REAL CHANGE comes about by huge individual SACRIFICE  and FORGIVENESS!

Was initially going to use the word 'unforgiveable' in relation to Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest, but decided against it. There can be no progress in any area of our lives without sacrifice or forgiveness.

As in my last blog which referred to the physical health of the heart; so, too, must we look after the emotional well-being of our heart, which has to begin with forgiveness and the ability to say 'sorry'.

I have been encouraged by the release of Aung San Suu Kyi into thinking that just maybe the craziness that seems to have stitched up this whole darn world might be starting to unravel !!!

I shall be watching Aung San Suu Kyi's return to the political life of Burma with huge interest and in the hope that one day she will become President.

In conclusion, a dear friend sent me this link in relation to my last blog, 'The Heart of the Matter'. It is a song of the same title by India Arie. Enjoy!

Ciao for now!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010



Arrived in London, in many ways, the financial and cultural HEART BEAT of Europe, this morning, to watch and listen to my daughter, Emma sing this afternoon. The house that she shares with three other young female aspiring musicians is quietly still this morning. There are no lilting melodies bowed from violins and cello or vocal arpeggios today, just a gurgling dishwasher, expressing its own rhythmical opinion. Now and then, the sound of busy sirens, passing cars and planes overhead, join in unexpectedly with the diswasher's serenade, which continues to suck and guzzle, unfazed.

Standing on their verandah, in the glory of post frost sunshine, there are the worlds of back gardens to my left, right and straight ahead. I look at them as far as my eye will take me, but feel I shouldn't let my gaze rest there too long, for fear of intrusion. Canoes to my right; stones instead of grass to my left; passion fruit threading through a mulberry tree ahead. My head starts! How come there are passion fruit growing in this part of London? The passion flower in my garden, in rural Tipperary, has produced flowers, but never a single fruit. I need to check that out. Soil, wrong position, climate etc. etc. Get to the heart of the matter.

Every living thing, which includes the four female musicians who houseshare here in London and the passion flower back in Tipperary, deserve to be nurtured; to be given the best possible conditions in which to flourish. (I planted an olive tree in my garden some years ago, thereby bringing a piece of Greece into my Tipperary world. Sadly it was killed by the frost and my vanity, two winters ago).The heart of the olive tree belongs to the Mediterranean, Greece and further East. That is where they belong! I learnt my lesson. Speaking about hearts and centres brings me to my next point.

I was shocked to discover recently, that more women than men are now affected by heart disease, which is a bigger killer in women than all cancer deaths put together. I am a huge fan of the formidably iconic singer/actress/director/film producer/songwriter, Barbra Streisand, who has affiliated herself to many charitable and political causes over the years. I would like to share her words with those who might dip in and out of my blog.

Dear Friend,

As we go about our everyday lives, it’s easy to take for granted the strong, steady beating of our hearts. But, sadly, the odds are that many of us will someday face serious cardiac problems. The fact is heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

Women tend to worry more about breast cancer because it’s always in the news. But heart disease takes the lives of 500,000 mothers, daughters, sisters and friends every year—more than all cancers combined.

In fact, while the mortality rate for men with coronary artery disease has been declining for the past 30 years, the number of women who die from it is rising. This is due, in part, to the fact that diagnostic and treatment methods have been geared towards men.

Women have paid a huge price for the medical and scientific community not knowing about the important gender differences in heart disease. What gives me hope is knowing that the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Heart Center is here for us.

Through gender-specific heart research, the development of new diagnostic tools, breakthrough clinical trials using stem cells to enable the heart to heal itself, and specialized care for women, the Women’s Heart Center is improving the detection and treatment of women’s heart disease. When you consider that 40 percent of women don’t survive their first heart attack, you can see why I’m excited about this work!

I’m writing to you today because I deeply believe that women’s heart disease is an epidemic worthy of our philanthropic support. If you share this belief, I hope you will join me in supporting Cedars-Sinai Women’s Heart Center by sending a donation today. Even a small gift will help save women’s hearts and lives.

Thank you, in advance, for your kind generosity. Working together, we can make a real difference.

Warm regards,

Barbra Streisand

P.S. I have played many roles over the years, but one that makes me particularly proud is the role I play as a supporter of the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Heart Center. It is an honor to have the opportunity to ask for your support of this wonderful program.

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I think its particularly worthy that celebrities think outside their world of plenty in an attempt to help others. Perhaps I shouldn't find that so surprising!

We must ALL do what we can to  ensure that BOTH genders of ALL ages, races and economic circumstance receive the health care they deserve, as LIVING THINGS!

Now to an afternnoon of music. Nurturing myself with food for the soul .... the HEART !!!

Ciao for now!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


She stepped out of the navy winceyette elasticated knickers, that her father's girlfriend had bought her. She hated them. The long ones that came half way down the thigh. She had wanted to embarrass her of course.  She was the only one in her class that had knickers like that, but then, she was the only one in the class whose father had a girlfriend. She lowered her head  in the light of her bedside lamp to check for pubic hairs. Still no sign. Still like a dolphin, sitting on the top of chubby, shapeless legs. No wonder the boys called her Fatso, that is, except for Andrew, whom she married today, in the school playground. She fingered the green lucky bag ring on her left hand,  that Sybil, her friend, had produced, excitedly, from a tartan satchel, that morning. Andrew and herself hadn't spoken another word to each other following the ceremony in the yard.  He went back to his game of football and  his mates, and she rejoined the girls under the oak tree, to look for acorns.

Pulling on pyjama bottoms that were inches too short, the corner of her eye collected a longer black version of herself, pulling up longer bottoms that were still too short! Crabbed hands projected black ducks, dogs and dinosaurs onto a wall, drained of its greenness by the yellow light of bedtime, before drawing back maroon, shining eiderdown, and sliding between striped sheets. As she reached for What Katy Did Next, four chocolate eggs foiled in Purple and Red, tempted from a brown shelf, opposite. She reminded herself of the pact, she had made with herself, not to disturb their perfection until the following Easter. There was an opportunity to command a self-control in this corner box-room, like no other part of the house. She wanted to make the egg moment last; wanted something to last longer than the stretch of the elastic in her knickers! 

Her father's feet travelled from the top of the stairs and into his room, without stealing in to pin, 'Good night' on to her forehead. She called out, 'Dad!', but her door remained closed ... loudly. But he had made her a white cupboard with green handles for her books, hadn't he? She slipped out from underneath the bedclothes and opening the door of her father's handiwork, she picked up an Anglo-Saxon history book; stroked its cover and smelt its smell. It had been on special offer in W.H. Smiths, where most of her pocket money was spilt. They were an obsession ....  the books and the rose-scented writing paper! 

Sneaking back into the warmth of bed, she felt comforted by words, rose oil; the lullaby of a whispering wind, and the licking light of a street lamp belonging to the outside world. The books, the rainbow writing paper, harboured in a white handmade closet, would live on, in her mint imagination, long after the last Easter egg or the elastic in her navy knickers! 

Maureen Walsh October 2010

Ciao for Now!