April 26 – May 30, 2024

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ‘A Day to Remember’ Gaza fundraiser at DeBarra’s Spoken Word There will be a second fundraiser for Medical Aid for Palestinians at DeBarra’s Spoken Word (Clonakilty) on May 15. Naser Al-Swirki (writer and filmmaker) will again be one of the main speakers. Food is the first topic that comes up in the organisers’ video conversation ahead of the event shares Moze Jacobs .

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A n abundance of tasty fare will be served to the audience at the start of the session on May 15. For free. It will be prepared by Ahmed Hallak of Chop Shop Barbers in Skibbereen, Bashar Alnajjar (a Syrian chef), and Naser himself. The mention of the food makes him smile. “It is a preferred topic. Not as controversial as other subjects. Especially when the food is good. And it will be. We’ll make our traditional dishes, including falafel, now an inter- national cuisine. My Palestinian recipe uses ground chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, coriander, spices. And there will also be shawarma, thin slices of nicely spiced chicken with some pick- les and toppings, cooked slowly and wrapped in flatbread with salad, humus, sauces.” The Palestinians do this as they wish to ‘give something back’ to the growing number of people in West Cork who keep protesting against the ongoing devastation in Gaza and are raising money in a variety of ways. “I am a Gazan,” says Naser. “We want to give the best to the people that we like. And we like the Irish people. They stand with their history and, just like us, have been suffering from occupation. I think we are fighting the same battle albeit at different points in time. It is about the same ideas, the same brutality and viciousness, with a similar impact on the oppressed people.” The gesture is heartfelt and heartwarming. And also some- what heartbreaking. After all, Naser Al-Swirki

Kieran Doyle

Gerry Kelly


famine is a major instrument in the toolkit that Israel uses to fur- ther its genocidal colonisation agenda. The current govern- ment’s end goal seems to be to empty the Gaza strip completely in order to build brand-new settlements. (Pieces of land in the West Bank are already being auctioned off in synagogues across North America). Simul- taneously, Netanyahu is eyeing the local oil and gas resources. Kieran Doyle is the other main speaker on the night. The West Cork People columnist is a teacher, historian and writer of several books (including ‘Be- hind the Wall: The Rise and Fall of Protestant Power and Culture in Bandon’ and ‘Monuments to our past: Understanding com- memoration and the revolution- ary period in Cork 1914-23’). He is going to shine a light on what’s happening in the Middle East from an Irish/historical perspective. Do you see connections between the Irish famine (1845- 1852) and the famine that is cur- rently being deployed in Gaza? “Up to a point. Policy negligence and racism is what caused An Gorta Mór (the Great Hunger). All the decisions were made in England as the Irish didn’t have Home Rule. Remember, news travelled very slowly at that time. There was no photography; only people travelling round the coun- try, communicating through drawings that they sent away. The awareness that there was a famine took a good while to filter through. But whatever the badness of the Irish situation,

funds were sent over from En- gland. Even Queen Victoria did so. Now, people are trying to do the same for the Gazans and most of it is being stopped. As devastating as the Irish famine was, at least many were able to go on a boat and leave for America or Australia. Whereas the people in Gaza are trapped. Everything is cut off – their water, electricity, and aid. It is almost worse than the Irish famine.” Drawings (apart from some graphic art, the occasional Banksy) no longer influence how we see world events. Wars, revolutions, armed conflicts have been televised since World War II, mostly by professional camera persons and journalists. Governments were far more in control of the narrative. Now, anyone with a smartphone can broadcast their individual experience for other individu- als, anywhere in the world, to see. And whatever the official spokespeople and politicians are uttering can be verified against this expanding archive, on social media, of collective experience. On show are the perpetrators as well as the victims, the living and the dead, the dying, the loving, the haters, the lying, and those who speak truth. Like a gigantic lie-de- tector test (hopefully). Will it really make a difference? Time will tell. Who you believe depends on where you get your podcasts and/or visual dopamine. Fox News or Aljazeera? RTE or TikTok or X? What is white on one channel can be black (or


The Maritime Hotel, Bantry, Co. Cork 027 54700 | |

grey) on another. One person’s lies are another person’s truth. May 15, the date of ‘A Day to Remember’ is a case in point. For Palestinians, it is a painful commemoration of defeat and humiliation, the Day of the Naqba (aka catastrophe) that started in 1948. If they live in Israel, they are only allowed to celebrate Independence Day which falls on roughly the same date, depending on the Hebrew calendar. “This isn’t Israel’s first rodeo. It has been suppressing the Palestinians violently for decades,” says Kieran Doyle. “Massacres, huge military attacks. Hollywood is always reminding us of the Holocaust and the horrible past. Rightly so. But we never get any stories about the Palestinians. And very few about what befell the Native Americans. Which was probably the worst holocaust. A whole nation, and its culture, wiped out.” According to Naser, “Look- ing at how it started might help us see how it could end. Israel occupying Palestine is the last large-scale colonialisation in the world. We witnessed such projects in the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries. And it worked very well. Settlers took the land off

the Native American Indians and went to Canada, Australia, New Zealand to oppress people they didn’t know but who they called ‘barbaric’. This time, the horror is unfolding in broad daylight. Eventually, the people in the world may be able to force their leaders to no longer tolerate it.” A Day to Remember, May 15, 7pm, DeBarra’s Spoken Word, Clonakilty, featuring Palestin- ian food, the classical cellist Gerry Kelly, Naser Al-Swirki, Kieran Doyle and others plus poetry accompanied by the Pied Wagtail House Band. Other events for Palestine Every Friday: • Protest and Vigil, Bantry, Town Square, 1:30pm and 5:30pm • Flowers for Palestine Clonakilty, FF Offices, 11am Every Saturday: • Beacon of Solidarity March Baltimore, Sailing Club, 12:30pm • Candlelit Vigil, Clonakilty, Astna Square, 5pm • Peace March for Palestine Skibbereen, Aldi Carpark, 12:30pm

Every Sunday: • Candlelit Vigil, Bandon, Old

TSB Building, 5pm @bandon4palestine

• Moving Grains of Sand for Peace, Inchydoney, Low Tide (check @moving.sand.le.cheile for times) One-off events: • Solas do Pháistí Gaza – Light for Children of Gaza, May 1, 9.30pm. ‘Gaeil ar son Gaza are asking people all over Ireland to light a candle in memory of every child that has been killed by Israel in Gaza’ • Poet, activist, advocate Shahd Mahnavi at the Lit Lounge Skibbereen, Swerve Gallery and Project space, 8 Cork Road, 7:30pm, May 4 (booking essen- tial via info@swervemagazine. org) • Gig for Gaza ft. Lisa Han- nigan, Roisin el-Cherif, and more, May 19, Connolly’s Leap €40, booking via Connolly’s/ Eventbrite More info on Instagram: westcork4falasteen Facebook: West Cork for Palestine Nationwide events:

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