As an Irish citizen, the scenes outside the Russian embassy in Dublin this week caused me a good deal of shame and even anger. Is it because I support the invasion of Ukraine? No, I do not support it. But I’m also not joining in the chorus of anti-Russian hatred that has spewed forth since Thursday. And my reason, I believe, is a sound one.
In Ireland, we have a history with big, brute neighbours. We don’t like bullies. Because of our colonial history and the way our psyche has evolved in a post-colonialist society, we are prone to outbursts (usually justified) against injustice. But if you’ve been hurling paint at the Russian embassy this past week or have been launching kicks at the ambassador’s car, you’ve been the victim of mass media manipulation. This is quite easily demonstrated. You need only ask yourself the following questions:
· Have you raised your voice outside the Saudi embassy over the continued genocide against the people of Yemen, a war supported by the US and UK? Up to 400,000 dead by some estimates, county-wide starvation, and the occupation of large parts of the country. Are you an objector?
· Have you raised hell with the Israeli ambassador over the almost-weekly rocket attacks on Syria and the continued violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity by Israel? Do you object?
· Similarly, have you protested outside the US embassy about its continued occupation of Syria and the theft of its natural resources? Are you an objector?
· Or what about the US drone bombing of Somalia this very week––do you object?
· Were you on the front lines of protest over the 20-year occupation of Afghanistan and the persecution of its people by the US and the UK? Were you an objector?
If the answer to these questions is no, and yet this week you’re calling for the Russian embassy to be burned down and for Ireland to send Stinger missiles to Ukraine, then you’re being manipulated by the media.
And what’s more, the Irish government are jumping right on the media bandwagon. Lifting visa restrictions for the people of Ukraine is no doubt admirable, but where were these gestures for the people of war-torn Yemen, or Syria, or Afghanistan, when was was declared on their countries? And to be entirely cynical, with all the vitriol in Ireland right now about the war, there’s no longer any talk about the corporate takeover of the country and the housing crisis, and isn’t that convenient for the government?
Either you’re for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries or none. Peace for all or peace for no one. Whatever your stance, it should not be determined by mass-media hysteria. Before you pick up the can of paint or go petitioning Coveney to dust off the anti-tank missiles, have a think about why there is deafening noise in the media on the Ukraine, and on everything else silence.
‘Mass Media Anti-Russian Hysteria: A Conscientious Objection‘, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.