Sunday, December 12, 2010
Farmleigh and Mind Control
The snow started melting on Thursday... and so yesterday we went to Farmleigh. It was nice: a good (although over-priced) food market, choral singers and Santy (as they refer to him over here) made a few appearances. Nikolai played shy the first time Santy came out, but the second time I had to take him away, as he wouldn't let Santi talk to any other children. Farmleigh is the house where all the visiting dignitaries stay. It was nicely decorated for Christmas, and pictures of its visitors dot the environs (including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton).
As we walked through the park on our way back to the train station, the sky was a bright clear blue, and full of contrails. Now, I know of the scientific explanation for contrails... but Brad told me that there's also a conspiracy theory suggesting the contrail are actually mind numbing chemicals being released from airplanes to ensure submissiveness. And though I'm not a believer in things that are less then rational... it seems somehow fitting at the moment.
The budget faithfully came out on Wednesday... and it came not with a roar but with a mew. Everyone is resigned, sad, and stoic; rather than angry, indignant or shouting with the lungs of a country that staged the 1916 Rising.
I blame the media... which, in Ireland, has never been critical enough... and certainly delivers more of the "party line" rather than analytical information. Also, there's a surprising number of people in my life who willfully choose to know nothing about the IMF, the budget, or the bank bailouts. The only hope now is that the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) has promised to bring the bailout to a vote in the Dail (Parliament). But in order for the Irish not to once again be relegated to a position of European servitude, people need to get angry and get loud.
Some "fun" bailout facts:
-The Irish government won't even be able to pay the interest off on the bailout in the next few years
-The total bailout amount is €85 billion. A ridiculous amount for a population of just €4.5 million to pay back.
-The Irish Government is also putting €17.5 billion into the bank bailout, drawing from it's cash reserves and the pension fund.
Given that the average Irish person is not really living it up to the tune of €85 billion, one has to wonder where all the money is?? As it turns out, the Irish bank bonds are held by a number of other countries... is it irony or just plain feudalism that is resulting in the Irish population receding back into "hard times" so that the rest of the Europe (and perhaps the global economy) can be paid out?
Regardless, the pressure is on... with the threats of Portugal, Spain and Italy going bankrupt "if Ireland is not bailed out" and the Euro failing "if Ireland is not bailed out". Regardless, I would question whether the country should payoff the bill for the banks... but in a country that has a history of indentured servitude, it is only the foreigners that wonder at the lack of anger. To paraphrase a German friend "the Irish are overly polite, and would never complain about anything. Perhaps this results from a feudal history, where to complain of suffering could result in being killed."
Whether it's mind control in the contrails, or a culture of smiling in the face of adversity, it is rare to hear a truly angry complaint. Even my punk rock friends were disparaging of angry protests as "there's no point in creating that much negative energy in a time when we need to keep positive."