It was in the revolutionary sixties that the renowned activist and writer, Máirtín Ó Cadhain, wrote his final political pamphlet. It was in this essay, ‘the Irish language movement, a movement astray’ that Ó Cadhain spoke of the radical founding principles that had been abandoned by the official state language revival.
‘The real aim of colonialism was to control the people’s wealth; what they produced, how they produced it, and how it was distributed; to control, in other words, the entire realm of the language of real life. Colonialism imposed its control of the social production of wealth through military conquest and subsequent political dictatorship. But its most important area of domination was the mental universe of the colonised, the control, through culture, of how people perceived themselves and their relationship to the world. Economic or political control can never be complete without mental control.’
The proceeds raised from a book written on the Irish language revival in the North of Ireland have been donated to Irish Medium Education charity TACA.
I was reflecting on the anniversary of Bobby Sands last Tuesday morning, as I always do on the 5th of May. Both Twitter and Facebook were awash with photographs and quotations recalling his brave exploits from 34 years ago. I was reading through some of these when I received the distressing phone-call that Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison has been shot dead.
It is both timely and healthy that campaigning, lobbying and protest have taken centre stage again with political systems across Europe in perpetual crisis. A cursory glance at world history indicates that the powerful only yield when under mounting pressure. The end to slavery, suffrage for women and political equality for African-American community are mentioned as the most recognisable examples of this fact.
Many Gaels and progressive activists throughout the world will be drawing inspiration and courage this week from the powerful memory of Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands as we commemorate 33 years since he gave his life for Irish freedom and a better world.