Saturday, July 12, 2014

Belfast: July 12, 1986 (Francis A. Boyle)

Francis A. Boyle is an attorney and a professor  at the University of Illinois College of Law. His books include Foundations of World Order (Duke University Press: 1999) and Tackling America’s Toughest Questions (2009).   His most recent book is United Ireland, Human Rights and International Law.   This is his poem "Belfast: July 12, 1986."

Belfast: July 12, 1986
King Billy
And the Battle of the Boyne
Protestant Triumphalism
The day started out like living
Under military occupation
I had just spent 2 weeks
In Occupied Palestine
So I knew of what I spoke
Sinn Fein leadership had  all
Fled underground
Fearing  the pending  round-up
Surreptitious meeting
In an Abandoned Factory
To Talk, Share Notes
Me to learn
And give advice when asked.
Then a tour around the city
And surrounding environs
By a middle-aged Catholic school-teacher
One of the first of her generation
That the Brits allowed to be so educated.
Keep them dumb and ignorant
So they cannot challenge our Power
The Israelis saw it the same way.
But the power of the human spirit
Overcame colonial tyranny
In both Northern Ireland and Palestine
As the day went on, it became more like
A war zone
Bombs going off, shots being fired.
As night descended, bonfires were lit.
Terrorize and intimidate the native inhabitants
The Israelis knew all about it
Finally, we were stopped on a dark road
By a flying Protestant Paramilitary roadblock
A look of sheer  terror came across her face
The Goon demanded ID
I immediately whipped out
My US passport and gave it to  him
Go right on through sir
So we did
An immediate sigh of relief
Came upon her face
She was risking her life
To inform me about   the situation
The true facts,  you see
Sean MacBride had asked her to do so.
It was Sean who sent me up there on the 12th of July
It was Sean who wanted to educate me as well
See what our people were really up against
War, occupation, torture, violence, terror
It had been that way for centuries
It was not going away.
As long as the Brits are in Ireland
The Irish will resist
Women and Children too
That is our Right.
Brits go home!
The sooner the better
Then we Irish can settle
Our problems among ourselves
Protestants, and Catholics and Jews
All Irish together
Living on this Beautiful Island
That we all call home
You see, I also carry an Irish Passport too.
Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

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