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I just happen to work very near the Department of Finance and so I was a first hand witness to how events unfolded on November 3rd during the Students’ Protest. I came out to support the students -“hijack their protest” according to the lazy, subservient and incredibly pro-rich Irish mainstream media journalists, who are unable to understand a simple concept called “Solidarity”.
I just happen to work very near the Department of Finance and so I was a first hand witness to how events unfolded on November 3rd during the Students’ Protest. I came out to support the students -“hijack their protest” according to the lazy, subservient and incredibly pro-rich Irish mainstream media journalists, who are unable to understand a simple concept called “Solidarity”. I supported the students because their cause is fair and I agree with them. Also, I have children and care about their future. I think that it is unconceivable that ordinary workers like myself are made to pay the price of the failure and irresponsibility of Irish capitalists-speculators; after they amassed enormous fortunes, we have to clean up their mess. And now we are not only have our “surplus” extracted in the form of traditional exploitation of our labour, but also, now we are robbed in open daylight through the budget, levies, etc. so WE, the poor, the workers, the marginalised, make sure that THEM, the rich, the powerful, the greedy, keep living an idyllic life in their golden towers. Enough has been said about all this and I don’t want to repeat it all over again.
What I do want to comment on is the role of the Irish Media in all this. I was shocked about the coverage the protest and subsequent repression by the Black and Tans (I decline to call them Garda Siochana –“Guardians of Peace-me-arse”), received on the papers, radio shows and TV news. Sure, we all know this is the capitalist media, the shows of the establishment and their buddies. But this was completely out of order in terms of fabricating straight lies. It was not just biased information – it was open lies.
Civil Disobedience was deliberately turned into “Violent Protest”. “Eggs” were turned into “Bricks”. And a couple of Gardaí with minor injuries (one of them seemingly bit by their own dogs) were turned into the martyrs of the day. Three ambulances full of bleeding and battered students were completely ignored. The only honourable exception to this rule was Gene Kerrigan’s column in the Sunday Independent “The charge of the not-so-light brigade” (Nov. 7th)
Let us not forget that they were aided in this base task of manufacturing lies by that pathetic would-be politician Gary Redmond, who poses as student representative and found it perfectly normal to join the hysterical choir of condemnations against the victims on the very evening of November 3rd.
Now I was there and know what happened. I saw horses charging protestors and dogs being used to threaten them. I saw students being beaten unconscious, being beaten AT PLEASURE (literally) by the Black and Tans, after a peaceful sit-in. Peaceful in all the sense of the word. There was no serious attempt at resisting with violence or harming anyone. Whatever violence took place, came exclusively and unmotivated by the Black and Tans. I saw the chants against cuts turn into chants against police brutality.
There’s plenty of footage that proves this. There are no “two sides” of the story. It is crystal clear to everyone that the Black and Tans went out hyped up, ready to beat wantonly anything that moved. Now, today, November 9th, RTE six o’clock news shows, as if it was a great discovery, footage of the brutal repression that students were faced with a week ago http://www.rte.ie/player/#v=1084459 . A lot of my friends were glad that, at last, the Irish Media “dared” top tell the truth and show actual images of what happened that day, not selective two second clips. They were happy that the “truth” was coming out. I did not get happy. I actually got angry.
I got angry because these images come one week too late. I got angry because they had footage all along and they decided only to show it now, because thousands of people have been finding out the truth in youtube because the Irish media is not up to the job! Worse than that, because the Irish media actually decided to side 100% with the interests of the ruling clique in a shameless way and completely concealed from the public the reality of repression against a peaceful protest. They were forced to show these images of police violence by thousands that can now consult independent media like indymedia or footage in youtube, not out of some sense of responsible journalism. Their only worry was probably not to be exposed as what they are: the shameless apologists for a criminal ruling elite that are ruining the lives of millions.
But we need to do more than name and shame them. It is important to make pressure now on the media and find out why they decided to conceal the truth from the Irish people. Why they decided to deliberately lie about what happened that day. Who are to be held responsible for this blatant attack on a basic democratic right, that is the right to be informed?
I do believe that the violence against the students was nothing but a taster of what is to come after the next budget is revealed and the ordinary folks are forced to take to the streets. This illegitimate government has decreed a policy of Zero Tolerance to protest. They show that their knives are sharpened and that is not in vain that the only part of the budget that seems to be on the raise is that destined for the police to get new “toys”. The State and capitalism are showing their true colours. And the Media will be there to do the PR job for this government and for the financial thieves stealing away the right to education of generations to come.
The media are no less criminal than the Black and Tans that cowardly charged on the students and the government that, like a crazy Robin Hood, robs from the poor to give to the rich. Their cuts are criminal. Their violence is criminal. Their lies are criminal.
The Media coverage represents a brutal attack, as brutal as last Wednesday’s blows against the students, against the basic principles of any formal “democracy”.
They should be exposed for what they are: accomplices of Police brutality, accomplices of the attacks on the rights of the vulnerable.